"With all the speculation surrounding the question of whether Australia's first season of "Bachelor in Paradise" would live up to the standard set by the long-running American show, I was excited to watch the first two episodes. Did they live up to the hype? It's early days yet, but I'd say we're in for some captivating drama.

Didn't have time to watch the episode or want to relive the storyline before the next episode? Read on for the highlights of episodes 1 and 2 of this new Australian Reality TV series, as well as insight into how viewers feel about the drama that unfolded before their eyes.

Set in a luxurious villa in the tropical island of Fiji, "Bachelor" and "Bachelorette" fans would have been as happy to see the familiar series' host, Osher Gunsberg, as the contestants who arrived, one by one.

He really did appear to have appeared from behind the tree on command.

We've missed you, Osh!

The first to enter the villa was Tara, who, in true Aussie fashion, promptly headed straight to the bar and made friends with the bartender, Wise.

It remains to be seen as to whether Wise will feature more prominently on the show, like his American counterpart.

Aside from watching the contestants getting to know each other and enjoy some sun (perhaps a bit too much in some cases), it was interesting to see how early some of the contestants began strategizing and pairing up.

With the females in the villa having the power to give out roses in the first ever rose ceremony, some of the boys evidently felt under pressure to make a connection, fast.

The love triangle/square

Almost as soon as he entered the villa, for example, Davey took Leah aside to try and win her loyalty, only to drop her when Florence appeared on the scene.

Apparently, Florence and Davey had been messaging each other on social media for some time but had never actually met until Paradise. After Davey took Florence away for a one-on-one chat, it was evident they were both keen on seeing where life in the villa could lead their relationship.

But then Davey's good friend Jake (who had dated Florence "on the outside" previously) also arrived in the villa, and Davey was torn. Which of course, is why he got the first date card of the series.

While he obviously wanted to take Florence on the date, he chose Leah instead. Why?

According to Davey, he chose Leah out of respect for Jake (in a demonstration of his "bros before ho's" mentality. But pretty much everyone in the villa (Florence included), could see that it was because he was trying to be strategic.

Because of their prior relationship, Davey was obviously concerned that Florence would give her rose to Jake.

The most frustrating thing about Davey's decision was that moment before he was given the date card, Davey was begging Flo for a date and to (ultimately) give him her rose.

I think it's fair to say that the date between Leah and Davey was as awkward and uncomfortable to watch as when you have to sit through the rejection of the runner-up at the end of "The Bachelor" and "The Bachelorette" - but without the slightly-masochist enjoyment. They kissed, but it was obvious to Leah that Davey really wasn't interested, and once they got back to the villa, it was fairly clear neither of them wanted to pursue a relationship with each other.

Meanwhile, while Davey and Leah were on their date, Florence confronted Jake about the rumor Tara told her about his reputation. Apparently, "every girl" on the Gold Coast (where Jake is from) has "a Jake story." It's unclear why the relationship between Jake and Flo had before "Bachelor in Paradise" ended, but in light of this storyline, it may have been the case that he was seeing other people.

The next day, Davey began verbally backtracking on his decision to take Leah on a date, telling anyone who would listen that he should have taken Flo. And then Jake was given the next date card, and promptly asked Flo. This infuriated Davey because he felt Jake should have prioritized their friendship over Florence, as he had apparently done.

While Jake and Flo's date was fairly romantic and they ended up kissing, it was clear there was still some underlying tension remaining from their heated conversation the night before.

Brett already has a girlfriend!

In episode 1, Tara casually mentioned she was happy to see Brett. She knew him, apparently, because he was dating her friend (Stephanie Boulton, also from Matty J's season of "The Bachelor") "on the outside." She said it so innocently, but this revelation caused a lot of confusion and unease amongst the other contestants.

And rightly so. Why exactly would you go on a reality TV show about finding love when you are already happily coupled? It became apparent that Tara wanted to keep Brett in the villa, not just because he was her friend, but because he was hoping his girlfriend would arrive in the villa at a later date, so they could have "their love story.


A lot of the other girls in the villa were obviously not particularly keen on this plan because they were there to meet potential partners, as this is the entire purpose of the show. When the girls communicated this to Tara, she became visibly upset because she evidently felt caught in the middle.

As it turns out, Tara was under the impression that everyone, including the "Bachelor in Paradise" production team, knew Brett was in a relationship with someone on the outside. Considering the premise of the show, I have no idea why she thought that would be allowed.

But in any case, she then began to question Brett, as did Production, breaking the "fourth wall." While Brett tried to deflect, saying he was dating someone but they weren't "Facebook official," it soon became evident that both Brett and his girlfriend had lied to Production to get on the show.

Why they didn't think they could have their "love story" outside of the villa and the "Bachelor in Paradise" bubble is beyond me.

Although actually, it's not. Obviously, they wanted the publicity.

During the conversation with Production and Brett, Tara eventually realized that two of her good friends had lied to her.

Controversy surrounding Blake

I'm not going to lie: there are a lot of people, myself included, who are very confused and angry about the fact that Blake is in the villa and on the show after pleading guilty to physical assault charges two years ago.

Several news sites reported that Blake was involved in a street fight in Perth in 2015 that left another man unconscious and bleeding from the head. Blake was convicted of the charges and ordered to pay compensation to the man he violently attacked.

Blake also had a short-lived relationship with ex "Bachelor" contestant Jen Hawke, which resulted in Jen filing an AVO against Blake and claims he was trying to sell naked images of her.

I don't think I'd be the only one to be taken aback by Laurina's decision to give her date card to Blake.

Considering her long list of requirements in a partner, it's difficult to see how she'd ever think Blake was worth her time.

The rose ceremony

By the time of the first rose ceremony, there were already a number of un-official couples, including Lisa and Luke and Nina and Eden. This is who each of the female contestants chose to gift with their rose:

  • Leah gave her rose to Mack (surprising no one that she didn't pick Davey).
  • Lisa gave her rose to Luke.
  • Keira gave her rose to Sam (two late-comers).
  • Laurina gave her rose to Blake (!).
  • Nina gave her rose to Eden.
  • Tara gave her rose to Michael (considering the drama with Brett, good on you Tara!).
  • Florence was then forced to choose between new love interest, Davey, and old flame Jake. She chose Jake, sending both Davey and Brett home.

Next week, Ali and Jarrod arrive at the villa and things are set to spice up, with another love triangle in sight, between Jarrod, Ali, and Keira. Stay tuned for the recap of episode 3, and for more insight into how viewers are reacting to the latest drama as it unfolds.