Connections were quick to form on the beach between Connor and Maurissa, Abigail and Noah, Tre and Tahzjuan, and more, while Grocery Store Joe wondered if he could go through this all again.
A goddess, a late love connection and a last-minute arrival rounded out the intense premiere.
Keep reading for a full recap of the premiere episode of Bachelor in Paradise.
Vaxxed, Waxed and Ready for Some Boys
Tammy was eager to welcome viewers back to Paradise, and kicked off the episode by declaring, "We're vaxxed, we're waxed, I'm ready for some boys."
The hopefuls were introduced next, with Serena P. sharing that she has "no regrets" over breaking up with Matt James and expressing interest in Brendan, a guy from Katie's season who admitted that the wholeParadise prospect is "a tiny bit scary."
Tahzjuan revealed excitement over meeting Ivan because he caused a "party in my pants," while the guy in question said he's looking to get engaged on the beach.
Queen Victoria announced that she's dropped the royal moniker in favor of being a goddess, while Mari's excited to meet Kenny, and Clare Crawley and Tayshia Adams' ex is ready to bare it all by arriving naked to Paradise.
Kelsey shared that she decided to use a laxative on her face to keep her makeup from sweating off, while Connor the Cat expressed interest in Abigail and Jessenia, the latter of whom is hoping to meet Grocery Store Joe.
Joe is back in Paradise and "ready to get married" following his January 2020 split from Kendall Long, whom he met during the show's fifth season in 2018.
"Kendall and I dated for two years and it was a great relationship. We were in love, but our futures didn’t align. Breaking up was the hardest thing I ever had to do, right away you have your doubts and you’re obviously upset, but I forced myself to get over it," he said. "... I believe in the process because it did work for me."
Let the Flirting Begin
Abigail was the first contestant to meet and fangirl over David, and when Joe arrived next, the guest host couldn't help but poke fun at the former grocery store owner.
"If any hookups happen, do you think you’re gonna double bag it?" the comedian teased.
When Ivan arrived next, Joe realized he had some competition over Serena P.'s interests, while Brendan appeared to be a hot commodity from the girls' point of view, with Kelsey, Serena P. and Abigail all expressing interest.
Natasha and her "festive, flirty, fun" attitude came onto the beach next, and she was followed by Tammy, who mistook David for John Paul Jones... and Dave Chappelle, before expressing interest in Aaron.
Kenny let it all hang out when he showed up completely nude and Natasha said she was "loving the scenery." Noah followed that memorable interest with his attention completely focused on Abigail.
Joe finally got his chance with Serena P. next, but the conversation left Joe admitting, "I never cease to amaze myself. I just can’t believe how awkward I can be," and Serena P. jumping into a conversation with Brendan, which made the former grocery store owner question everything.
"My conversation with Serena P. was like talking to Kendall," he told the cameras while getting choked up. "I think I thought this was going to be fun. I did before. But now I don’t know if I want to do this. I don’t know what I’m going to do. It’s weird. Probably shouldn’t of come back."
While Joe was moping, Tammy began feeling "good vibes" with Kenny, and Victoria was on the hunt for her "sun god." Kenny's eye wandered from Tammy with the arrival of Mari, whom he considered to be "the hottest girl on Matt's season." Tammy likewise changed her focus, flirting with Aaron instead of Kenny.
Tahzjuan came back after previously overheating in Paradise, and quickly caught Tre's attention. Things hit a massive roadblock, though, when Tahzjuan confessed to previously going on a date with -- and kissing! -- Tre's uncle.
Abigail landed the first date card in Paradise and was quick to ask out Noah. The pair made their way to a piñata-filled room, as Noah told the cameras that he considers Abigail to be "wife material."
Abigail told Noah that she doesn't go on many dates, moves slowly when she does, and is quick to friendzone guys, but Noah is not deterred. Noah asked Abigail to relax, and shared that he believes there's more to her than she lets many people see.
Noah lightened things up when he joked that he wanted to "smash" all night, and the pair got up to do just that... to the piñatas. It was during that sweet montage that Noah escaped the friendzone by kissing his date.
For Noah, the kiss was "great."
It's Getting Hot and Heavy on the Beach
While Noah and Abigail were away strengthening their connection, relationships were already beginning to form on the beach.
Connor and Maurissa made out after looking at constellations, and Tahzjuan and Tre likewise shared a kiss, one that Tahzjuan said was "better" than the smooch she shared with his uncle. Aaron and Tammy, Ivan and Jessenia, and Kenny and Mari all decided to make out, too.
On his own through it all was Joe, who admitted to bartender and master of ceremonies Wells Adams that he isn't sure if Paradise is for him because of "the whole idea of falling in love again the same way."
That all changed when he got another chance with Serena P., who told the cameras that she got "fiesta flutters" after her first chat with Joe. Their conversation began with a focus on Joe's ex, as he explained to Serena P. that he and Kendall were talking about kids, but couldn't agree on where to live and were "growing apart."
From there, though, the conversation seemed to flow naturally, as they talked about their 12-year age gap -- he's 35, she's 23 -- and she made fun of him for his socks-and-sandals combo. A kiss came next, with Joe proudly declaring, "That's how 35-year-olds do it." At the end of their time together, Joe was committed to staying in Paradise, as he'd begun "developing feelings" for Serena P.
A Late Arrival, and Promises That 'This Can't End Well'
Bachelor Nation favorite Demi marked the last arrival of the first episode, and she quickly announced that she's "gonna f**k some s**t up." The season preview seemed to point to that, as substantial drama was teased in the show's final minutes.
The sneak peek shows a girl eating whipped cream off of a guy's toes, Demi flashing the group, and a proposal.
Serena P. blindfolds and kisses Joe in the preview, before he tells her that she's "the second girl I've ever loved." Kendall, the first girl to fit that bill, seems to shake things up with her arrival, though, and Serena P. gets insecure.
Maurissa and Connor's relationship seems to continue, too, as she tells the teacher that she "loves the way" he makes her feel. Tre and Tahzjuan likewise develop more of a connection, as do Noah and Abigail and Kenny and Mari, though the latter couple may be in danger if Demi has anything to say about it.
Bachelorette Becca Kufrin arrives and seems to fall for Thomas, a villain from Katie's season of The Bachelorette. Becca isn't the only girl that Thomas has his eye on, as he appears to go for Tammy too, reigniting his Bachelorette feud with Aaron.
When it comes down to it, one single declares, "This can’t really end well."
Bachelor in Paradisewill air two episodes next week, on Monday, Aug. 23 and Tuesday, Aug. 24, on ABC. Check out all of ET's coverage for the latest drama on the beach.