Bachelorette

It’s going to be the most dramatic season ever, or so says Chris Harrison during each “The Bachelor” franchise premiere. In the 16th season of “The Bachelorette,” however, could a global pandemic, an alleged speedy engagement and a rumored Bachelorette replacement be enough for the season to live up to this all-too-familiar foretelling? 

The new season premiered on Tuesday after the five month delay due to the COVID-19 crisis. The first episode began with a glimpse into the initial shut down of the show's production in March and how the cast prepared to begin filming again in July. The episode followed Clare Crawley, this season's Bachelorette, as she was placed into quarantine and passed multiple COVID-19 tests. The men on the show were required to do the same prior to filming, to ensure the safety of the cast and crew. 

“I definitely don’t take it for granted, knowing that we can hug each other and kiss and date without having to worry about COVID,” Crawley said while prancing around a garden with cheesy clips of birds chirping and happy squirrels. “I’m ready for it. Bring on the men.”

After the quick detour for the obligatory COVID-19 report, the episode went back to a normal first night at the Bachelor mansion. Before the men arrived, Crawley sat down with Harrison for a sweet sentiment about a gift from her late father. Before he passed away from brain cancer in 2004, he filmed a video for Crawley to watch with her future husband: the man who Crawley hoped was about to step out of a limo. 

As the limos came rolling in, Clare’s eligible — COVID negative — suitors stepped out with their flashy gimmicks and pick-up lines in an attempt to win the Bachelorette’s heart. There was a man wearing a straightjacket, a knight in shining armor and even a guy in a giant bubble. However, the man who took Crawley’s breath away was a man with no gimmicks: Dale Moss.

The months with no “The Bachelorette” left fans with more time than necessary to speculate and research. Fans guess Crawley quickly falls in love with Moss — so in love that she ends up leaving the show, engaged two weeks into filming. Fans also speculate that Taysia Adams, one of the contestants from Colton’s season of the Bachelor, takes over as the Bachelorette following Crawley’s alleged departure. 

This first episode, however, gave us more than enough information to see these rumors turn into a reality. The show put more emphasis on Moss than any of Crawley’s other contenders. Not only did he receive the first impression rose, but the romantic music playing in the background of all of Moss’s clips with Crawley are a telltale sign recognizable by most die-hard bachelor fans; this fantasy-like tune is intended to alert viewers that the person in the clip will be important in future episodes. Crawley was clearly smitten from their first interaction, saying, “I think I just met my future husband.” 

Additionally, the teaser clips for the season provide more evidence supporting the rumors. The teaser shows lots of tears and stress, clips of Crawley and Moss in bed together, guys threatening to walk out, confessions of the other guys dislike for Moss and contestants questioning the possibility of a new Bachelorette. The teaser then ends with a gut-wrenching audio of Harrison telling Crawley, “Congratulations, you just blew up ‘The Bachelorette.’”

As for the most dramatic season ever, Harrison might actually be right this time. The producers have evidently heard the speculation and clearly have no intention of downplaying the relationship between Crawley and Moss. There has never been a switch of Bachelors/Bachelorettes in the history of the franchise, and rumors are seeming to hold true based on the first episode and accompanying teaser. This season is proving to be chock-full of chaos and drama. Hold on, Bachelor Nation — this may be a bumpy one. 

culture@dailynebraskan.com