“The Bachelor Winter Games” Premiere Recap: First Hookups And Elimination
This latest addition to the “Bachelor nation” franchise was announced last spring. Though filming took place in December, the broadcast is timed to the Olympic games in PyeongChang. Like with the ongoing Winter olympics, the new spinoff brings together past “Bachelor” franchise contestants from not just in the U.S., but from around the world to compete in winter sporting activities. But like with “Bachelor Pad” and “Bachelor in Paradise,” romance is high on the agenda, too. This marks the first time a “Bachelor” series in America involves participants who were previously on the international shows.
The U.S. delegation of “Bachelor” and “Bachelorette” faces includes Ben Higgins, who is a former “Bachelor” lead, Eric Bigger (Rachel Lindsay’s season), Clare Crawley (Juan Pablo’s season), Michael Garofola (Desiree Hartsock’s season), Josiah Graham (Rachel Lindsay’s season), Lauren Griffin (Arie Luyendyk’s season), Ashley Iaconetti (Chris Soules’ season), Bibiana Julian (Arie Luyendyk’s season), Jamey Kocan (Rachel Lindsay’s season), Leslie Murphy (Sean Lowe’s season), Luke Pell (JoJo Fletcher’s season) and Dean Unglert (Rachel Lindsay’s season). The other contestants hail from series in the UK, Canada, Sweden, Australia, Finland, Japan, New Zealand, Germany, Switzerland and China. There are more than 20 competitors in all.
The debut episode, which is the first of four, began with pre-taped introductions from some of the U.S. players, and then an opening ceremony of sorts as the contestants from all of the different countries arrived and paraded through the streets of Manchester, Vermont. Viewers were introduced to Yuki of Japan, who only knows a few words of English, Benoit and Kevin of Canada, Zoe of China, Laura of the UK, Tiffany and Courtney of Australia, Rebecca and Stassi of Sweden, Jenny of Finland, Jordan, Lily and Ally of New Zealand, and Christian of Germany and Switzerland. To officially kick off the games, Trista and Ryan Sutter of “The Bachelorette” presented a lit lantern.
Everyone excitedly settled into a large villa and toasted to the games. Host Chris Harrison explained to the group that the men and women would compete in separate same-sex sporting events. Then the one man and one woman who win each challenge would get to ask another contestant on a date. That first night was all about bonding. Lesley was attracted to Dean, Bibiana and Ashley were both drawn toward Kevin, and Josiah actually made out with Ally.
The next day, the biathlon served as the first official event. It combined cross-country skiing with marksmanship, as everyone had to ski and shoot at targets. There were two qualifying heats for both sexes with three preliminary winners from each. They then had to compete in the male and female finals. The practice runs were fairly amusing, but Ally fell on her butt really hard and tearfully decided to sit out. Josiah hoped to win so he could take her on a date, but he quickly tumbled during the first heat.
The competition ultimately came down to Jenny, Stassi, Lily, Rebecca, Lesley and Bibiana with Rebecca winning for the women and Ben, Benoit, Luke, Kevin, Dean and Christian with Kevin winning for the men. The victories earned Rebecca and Kevin date cards with the right to ask out whomever they wanted. Both Ashley and Bibiana hoped Kevin would pick them, and he found it “super stressful” to have to decide between them. Unsurprisingly, when he chose Bibi, Ashley was left in tears. “Why don’t I ever get picked?” she whined.
Meanwhile, Rebecca asked out Luke for her date, which culminated in a fireworks display. They kissed, of course, as did Kevin and Bibiana. Back at the house, Lesley opened up to Dean about her preventative double mastectomy, and they joked about her having a new chest. They later made out, as did Ally and Josiah (again) and Lily and Courtney. Clare was impressed by Benoit’s cooking and they shared a few casual smooches before a full-on makeout, which made Christian feel lonely as he was attracted to Clare, too.
Ahead of the first rose ceremony the next day, everyone seemed to think the guys would be handing out roses to the women of their choice. But Harrison shocked everyone by revealing it wouldn’t be a matter of picking who you wanted to stay. Instead, he said three women and two men would be going home as determined by a vote-off. Each person had to write down the name of one person of the opposite gender they thought should be eliminated. Those with the most votes would be axed.
Prior to the voting, there was a cocktail party with much chatter over who would and should be given the boot. There were discussions about voting off those who weren’t getting to know others and/or those who didn’t seem ready for love. Laura told Ally that she planned to vote off her beau Josiah because he rebuffed her and seemed “childish.” Clare, too, wanted to send him home, believing he wasn’t “there for love.” Ally told Josiah about the women’s doubts, prompting him to go around assuring everyone how much he wanted to stay and be with Ally.
Ben felt vulnerable since he had yet to find one person with whom he truly connected. Bibiana urged Ashley, who was “freaking out,” to “talk to people.” She worried her fixation on Kevin would make her unpopular with the other men. Indeed, Benoit cast his vote for her, after which he told Clare that she was his “number one” going forward. She confronted Christian about a rumor that he planned to write her name down, and he admitted she’s his “favorite” woman there. And after he called her the “most beautiful” in the house, she in turn called him the “most handsome.” He asked about her hooking up with Benoit and being the “second option,” and she assured him she wasn’t only interested in Benoit.