Episode 1

Welcome back, dear readers!

Hope your holidays and New Year's celebrations were fabulous and you're revved to analyze Arie's season of The Bachelor with me. :)


Just a few things... 

  1. I've gotten a lot of requests for items or products that were mentioned in past blog posts or recaps, so I've (finally) added a "Search" option for the entire site. It's the icon in the top right corner!

  2. There's a new section, Shop Hub, which will include all sorts of items (like ID-ing pieces, sales, and looks-for-less). Basically, stuff I think you'd want to know about but that don't really belong either on the blog or in these recaps!

  3. I ambitiously plan on doing full recaps for this season, but I must give the disclaimer that I am BUSY right now. I know you guys know these aren't life's priority and I do always appreciate your patience, especially when they come out on the late side. But for REALZ, Andy and I will be in the Cayman Islands during Episode 2, I'll be in Toronto during Episode 3, and then I'm doing an opera in BC for almost the rest of the season, with rehearsals beginning the same day as Episode 4. I know they say busy is good—it is!—but it ain't always good for Pretty Pandas recaps. 😔 As always, though, I'll do my best.

One of my favorite things about these recaps is reading your guys' thoughts and opinions, whether or not they align with mine. I love the discussion, so don't be shy and always feel free to chime in—just keep things respectful! And I know it goes without saying at this point, but just a reminder that this site is always a spoiler-free zone.


And now, let's recap...



“I wanted more time… I wish it was a little bit different. I mean, I don’t remember even what we talked about.”

Maquel, accurately summing up the Night One blur





I'll start by keeping with my tradition of sharing my first-impression notes from the limo exits. These are the women who stood out from the get-go...

Caroline: First out the limos, which usually means something! She is striking, especially in the white. I suspect she'll be around for a long time, probably making at least final 6.

Kendall: In her intro video she gamely serenaded her taxidermy on her ukulele, so her obvious nerves make me take her more seriously. Plus I just LOVE it when contestants confess to crazy nerves. She's a dead ringer for Evan Rachel Wood.

Seinne: Elegant and normal-seeming. This is my ultimate compliment.

Tia: I don't care what anyone says, I laughed at the "little weiner". #mature

Jacqueline: Cool as a cucumber. 

Krystal: I loved her little meditation/moment of gratitude thing. I do sense a bit of affect from Krystal, as evidenced by her smile that just won't quit. When a girl who's already had 1-on-1 time interrupts you early into yours, it's OK to not smile...


Based on the above, I get the feeling Krystal is going for perfect as opposed to real. Either way, her intro video (where she discussed how her brother lives on the streets but isn't ready for help so she now donates food and time to the homeless) secured her a place in my heart.

While the women are still arriving, we catch an early glimpse of Tia's sense of humor and I for one LOVE IT...


... and I cannot wait to hear her commentary throughout the season.

Bekah: As I said in The Morning After, there’s something about her that’s timeless, like she could be from the 50s, 70s, 90s... She OOZES confidence. I love her speaking voice; it belies her youth and makes for a really intriguing combination.

Jenah: So pretty. She looks so much like Nikki Ferrell from my season!

Marikh: She is cartoonishly beautiful, like a drawing or Disney princess. Like, how does she exist?! Also, I loved the salt and pepper line.

Becca: Like Seinne, I find Becca elegant and normal-seeming. Few people can pull off a first-meet proposal scene and not seem crazy. She pulls it off.

Lauren S: She has such a cool-girl vibe to her. SUPER pretty.

Amber: I actually thought this was funny, about how she spray tans and sees "a LOT of dicks". Crazy risky for a Night One exit. Girl's got balls.

Ali: Ahhh, the "pit stop" girl. Also crazy risky for a Night One exit, but alas, without the funny. Sigh.

Annaliese: "Kissing Bandit" thing is cute… tame as far as costumes go. She is gorgeous. Celeb look-a-likes so far are a young Uma Thurman or Sydne Rome. But my favorite thing about her is how modest and unassuming she seems. I sense major frontrunner here.

Maquel: I really like Maquel, particularly based on this week's quote (above). It takes guts to just be honest and say you don't even remember what you talked about, instead of saying what is kind of expected, à la "he's great, so handsome, I'm falling in love already, etc."



Arie finally enters the mansion to give his welcome speech, and note what happens. I think I've said before that producers give one woman a drink to hand to the Bachelor when he enters. In this case, it's Chelsea. I don't think this is was random choice.

Fun Fact: In the case of my season, I was assigned that obligatory drink duty (despite the fact that I wanted to be invisible and tried to get out of it)...

You'd think I was at gunpoint.

You'd think I was at gunpoint.

I have a personal suspicion that this move is designed to potentially paint a contestant as somewhat strategic or conspiring. For example, I have doubts that Elise's shocked reaction is at my handing over that drink. I am the first to admit I could be overthinking this thanks to the chip on my shoulder I acquired due to the internet seeing me that way based on this move. 

Anyway, watch Arie look off to his left...


Zero percent chance a producer didn't interrupt to tell him to get that drink. Just a teensy breakage of the 4th wall there. 

The 1-on-1 times begin and Chelsea quickly proves very willing to not only be the aggressive girl in the house who steals Arie away first, but also the girl who freely talks shit about others. A bit early for that. (Also, isn't it common knowledge by now, 22 seasons in, that interrupting is the name of the game?) This was easy to miss, but I LOVED how Bekah stood up for Maquel (which, in the presence of the shit-talker herself, is easier said than done)...


Maquel may not remember much about their 1-on-1 time, but we all learn that Arie struggles hilariously to make a silly face...


While Jacqueline has her 1-on-1 time, the girls discuss how weird it is to be there after seeing it so many times, which felt wonderfully meta to me...


I love when conversations like the above are SHOWN, because they're certainly often had.

Brittany rapidly tops my fave-ITM-commentary list with her description of Arie's lips...


After her cloud-like peck, Brittany dishes to the girls. Note Ashley's annoyed reaction, as well as the decor around her...


Now note the full view of the room Brittany's in as this conversation is happening (taken from when Chris Harrison brings in the First Impression Rose)...

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Yep, that shot of Ashley was not only taken from a different context, but from a different room. Honestly, there were SO many examples of this (reactions taken from different moments and rooms) that it just wasn't worth it to capture them all. Just take my word for it. :)

With the FIR now in play, the women who haven't had 1-on-1 time yet start scrambling. Seinne continues to become a favorite of mine when her first words upon sitting down with Arie are...


We're shown lots of conversation snippets, but there are none more illuminating than when Arie urges Krystal to reveal things about herself and she leads with...


Now, I am VERY aware that it's possible the above was edited in there and that Krystal did not say "I'm a Libra" in response to what Arie'd just said. But it's still funny. :)

As Chelsea prepares to steal Arie away for the second time, there are TONS of ITMs of hers which are clearly taken from not only a later date (making them Pick-ups), but I suspect a different location altogether (I do not recognize the second room and think it could be from future travels)...


As always with Pick-ups, note the hair and makeup and environment differences. It's like one of those Spot The Differences games from restaurant kids' menus!

Despite having already had time and many women presumably not, Chelsea pulls Arie aside to tell him a collection of completely non-urgent Bachelor trope lines, including but not limited to, "I just want to let you know I'm here for you", and "I can't wait to see where this brings us." For me, as someone who MUST legitimately like someone before I could even fathom kissing them (I've never understood hardcore celeb crushes for this reason), I always laugh when a basically non-existent "conversation" just automatically—almost robotically—leads to a full-blown make out...


And in case we needed further evidence that we're supposed to dislike Chelsea, just listen to the "music" the plays during this kiss...

Seriously, that would be at home in a suspenseful scene of a horror movie. (And for the record, even Brittany's micro-kiss had romantic music in the background.) So yeah, not only did Chelsea provide ample material for us to see her as an early villain, a hand is being lent by the music department for sure.

Lastly, I just had to mention Jenny's phenomenal drawing of Arie because it's SO GOOD:

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Top 4 predictions and The Morning After video can be found over at Flare!





A few of you asked about my top in this week's The Morning After...


I love this sweater. It's slightly sheer and has thumbholes and I've been living in it. It's Blanc Noir's "Cocoon" sweater and it sells HERE and HERE.


Best Dressed

There was some solid Night One fashion and I found myself coveting several pieces. I love it when the girls BRING IT in the fashion department and they certainly did this round.

I have two second runners-up! First is Jenny with her hot pink gown... 


This is all about the color, and the color is WOW. It really pops on her, and it's a ballsy choice that makes a statement while still being elegant and in great taste. I seriously may buy this one as a singing dress. Jenny's Likely "Millbury" dress sells (in 3 colors) HERE and it's available for rent HERE.

Next is Seinne with her navy number...


This dress is understated in color but va-va-voom in cut. Not a lot of people could wear something this revealing and look so classy. But my favorite thing about this look is actually the layered necklaces, which are soooo elegant, delicate, and expensive-looking. Seinne's dress is the NBD "Yani" gown (it also comes in red) and sells HERE. Her necklaces are by Gorjana and there's two of them: one choker (HERE) and one long necklace wrapped twice (HERE). Spoiler alert: I just picked up two of the long ones for myself to recreate the look on the top right.

I also have a tie for first runner-up! First is Marikh with her one shoulder lace dress...


I LOVE the asymmetry and the back-and-forth of exposed skin here. It's kind of funky yet ultra-feminine—I would wear this in a heartbeat. I low-key (to use Brittany's word) wish Marikh had worn her hair up or at least somewhat back to highlight the unique neckline better, but I'm splitting hairs here. Marikh's dress is the "Josette" by Aussie brand Abyss by Abby and it sells HERE. There's a near-identical look-for-less HERE, and if you like the concept but would rather cover up the midriff, there's a very similar option HERE.

Next is Krystal with her red backless gown...


No surprise here! I loooove this dress. A covered-up neckline (with a little added interest in the form of those cutouts) and a KA-POW back. The ruffles could look like too much but I think they're balanced well by such a sleek front. Even the color is the perfect shade of red. Krystal's dress is by Jovani and sells in multiple colors HERE, and in blue at a pretty insane price HERE.

And drumroll, please! My Best Dressed is Lauren J...


In contrast to last year's Worst Dressed, THIS is a white gown done right. There isn't an ounce of bridal in this, and it's sexy yet elegant. I love how the exposed skin is balanced with that high neck, and the belt detail gives the entire look an almost sculptural quality. The green drop earrings are an unexpected yet very red carpet choice, and I even love that her hair is on the shorter side. She is the image of sophistication. (So sad she went home so we won't be seeing more of her—if you want to see more of her style, though, she does have a blog HERE.)

Lauren J's Solace "Piper" dress is sadly sold out in cream (HERE) but it's still available in black HERE and can also be rented HERE.


Worst Dressed

I happen to really like Bibiana already because she seems like a sparkplug who lays down the law (especially based on the season preview), but alas, this dress was not good...


Okay, so she gets points for wearing her hair back, but sadly this color does nothing for her, and the dress itself looks ill-fitting and, especially with the taffeta-like material, costume-y and dated. It has a homemade look to it, but not in a good way. Interestingly, I loved her vintage-looking cape that she wore in some of her ITMs...

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... so maybe the dress was a rare miss for her. Sorry, Bibiana!


What did you think of this premiere? Let me know in the comments below! 

Until next week, fellow pandas,

Sharleen Joynt95 Comments