It’s that time again! Read below for our best and worst moments from The Bachelorette Season 19 premiere featuring Rachel Recchia and Gabby Windey.
Rose: Rachel and Gabby
In case you missed it in the promotion videos or when host Jesse Palmer opened the episode or when multiple male contestants on The Bachelorette mentioned it, this is a historic season because there are not one, but two leads. Pilot Rachel Recchia and nurse Gabby Windey head what promises to be an exciting, romantic, and, yes, dramatic season after they vied for Clayton Echard’s heart on the past season of The Bachelor (see here to read up on their heartbreaking group breakup that deservedly set them up to be the new leads). Based on the first episode alone, it seems as if Gabby and Rachel are going to kill it this season as they can bounce ideas off of each other, share in each other’s loves and losses, and even sit and gossip about who’s the best kisser. This pairing showcases the strength and beauty of women as well as a nice reminder to always put your girlfriends first, as we all know the saying goes.
Thorn: Dredging up Past Trauma
Yes, Clayton royally screwed up last season when deciding how to break it to Rachel and Gabby that he was changing his mind and going with his third choice, Susie Evans. But the Bachelorette is always a chance to start fresh and new, not a chance to continually relive the heartbreak and humiliation that the two women faced on national television a mere few months ago. Whether it’s the men making jokes that they aren’t Clayton, referencing Rachel’s unfortunately snotty breakdown on a staircase last season, or, I cringe even to repeat it, a middle school quartet singing a melody titled “Clayton Sucks,” the premiere was unfortunately filled with the new contestants focusing on the past instead of their potential futures with Gabby or Rachel. The two women even took it upon themselves to express their distaste for the many references, so here’s hoping the men listen as the season progresses.
Rose: First Impression Roses
If you’re anything like me, you try to guess who the First Impression roses will go to the second the men step out of the limos. I’m proud to say that I was spot on for both Rachel and Gabby’s picks and I’m thoroughly pleased with their decisions. Rachel’s rose went to Tino Franco, a 27-year-old general contractor. Though he was unfortunately the aforementioned man who referenced Rachel on the staircase during Clayton’s season, I begrudgingly admit that it was a cute means to an end: he successfully hoped to change Rachel’s perspective on staircases by kissing her. Their connection was palpable and I hope Tino goes far this season.
Gabby’s choice, on the other hand, was Mario Vassall, a 31-year-old personal trainer. While I did predict that he would get the rose, I’m not exactly as thrilled with him as I am with Tino, mainly because his kissing skills were nothing if not awkward. In what quickly turned into a topic trending on Twitter, Mario’s kiss was quite akin to a fish out of water. That part aside, though, Mario and Gabby really hit it off in their conversations and I can see him also going far as he grows his connection with Gabby as well as, hopefully, his kissing skills.
Thorn: Jacob’s Horseback Entrance
There’s always one contestant that simultaneously makes every other contestant jealous and fuming in one go. This seasons was Jacob Rapini, a mortgage broker who rode in on a white stallion looking every inch a Fabio from romance novel covers. His swoon-worthy—and oily—entrance quickly captured the attention of both Gabby and Rachel, but, in my opinion, that’s where his charm seemed to stop. In a conversation with Gabby, he read her a list of qualities that he’s looking for in a wife and that he hopes Gabby or Rachel have. While on one hand, it’s good to always communicate those “requirements” before the relationship gets too deep, it was a little unsettling of a conversation to open with and I was rubbed the wrong way with how his list included that his preferred woman has to take care of herself physically.
Rose: Personalized Touches
While Gabby and Rachel were the perfect picks for the Bachelorette and a great pairing to go through the process together, it is going to be strange to see how they will choose their partners without overlapping with each other and how the men will in turn choose which one of them to forge a relationship with. No “rules” or “guidelines” have been released yet revealing how the leads will divide the contestants—or even if they will divide the contestants—but upcoming episode sneak peeks have alluded to fights breaking out between the men over liking both women and not knowing how to decide between the two.
It’s a bit of a strange setup, certainly, but a highlight of the premiere was the several men who decided to do personalized touches for each Gabby and Rachel that made them feel, in Rachel’s words, like they were the only woman there. Standouts include Jordan Helman who came with noise-canceling headphones that way he could give each lady a personalized introduction and Hayden Markowitz who bonds with Rachel over their Florida roots and even brings her a homemade birthday card.
Rose and Thorn: The Upcoming Season
It wouldn’t be a season of the Bachelorette without a fair share of tears, secrets, and drama, and that’s just what the upcoming season sneak peek teased. A big portion of the upcoming drama seems to concern, as I mentioned before, that it’s seemingly unclear how these contestants will choose between Rachel and Gabby and vice versa. As Gabby and Rachel hint at in a clip, the very fact that the contestants have to choose between the two puts a lot of power in the hands of the men instead of them, leaving both women feeling quite vulnerable.
This vulnerability seems to reach a head when numerous men reject Rachel at a rose ceremony for Gabby and when Logan Palmer, another early frontrunner, seems to tell Gabby that he can’t continue on with her because he still has remaining feelings for Rachel. Whether it’s because of this or other mishaps during the season, there are many scenes where Gabby and Rachel are breaking down, crying either to each other or alone. Even worse, both women express in the teaser sneak peek that they feel they aren’t worthy of being the lead and wished they hadn’t been picked or hadn’t agreed to do it. In between all of that angst, though, are moments of happiness and true love connections, hopefully signaling that both women end up with their happily ever after.