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For fans of the “Bachelor” franchise, Nick Viall’s comeback narrative is well-known. The first two times around, he was dumped at the last minute and earned villain status. Then, on “Bachelor in Paradise,” the “businessperson” (and… model?) more or less turned things around. So, as Season 21 begins, a question lingers: How will the premiere go about continuing Nick’s journey to redemption? Deploy the three-step plan:

Phase 1: Self-deprecation

(Note: This is really a four-phase operation if you want to count the fact that Nick is naked within the first 30 seconds of the show.)

The real fun begins when Nick shows us how self-aware he is. He mumbles, he doesn’t make eye contact, he touches his face a lot and he’s very long-winded. What a catch!

Phase 2: Family time

Looking through family photos is a great way to get people on board with the idea that you’re a normal human being and not a fame-hungry monster. That being said, it’s pointed out that Nick looked like a vampire in high school. And his youngest sister’s name is Bella. Are we sure this isn’t just a “Twilight” spinoff? Anyway, Bella seems like a “cool teen” and gives her big bro some solid advice: “Pick up the girls in cool rides.”

Phase 3: The Ghosts of Bachelors Past

Before the arrivals begin, Nick grabs a super casual drink with his buds Ben Higgins, Chris Soules and Sean Lowe (all former Bachelors). Sean brosplains Nick’s own narrative to his face, Ben chimes in with charming color commentary and Chris, well… Chris is right where we left him, struggling to form complete sentences.

At last, we meet “A group of accomplished, interesting women from all around the country.” And it’s clear that this year there was an initiative to highlight career-driven ladies. There’s Rachel, a lawyer in Dallas who loves her job; Danielle who owns three businesses; Vanessa who speaks three languages; and Corinne who is taking over her dad’s multimillion dollar company, to list a few.

30 women in all — a dozen or so of whom will be gone by week 3, and 26 of whom no one will remember in a few months — so, for the sake of clarity, here are four contestants to keep an eye on (for now).

1. Rachel: She’s beautiful, charming and won the first-impression rose. Also, notably, the first black contestant to receive a first impression rose.
2. Corinne: This season’s Olivia. She gets the villain edit for “stealing” Nick and kissing him first. And by the look of the “This Season On” she only causes more drama from here.
3. Liz: Here’s some “Bachelor” world inside baseball. Liz and Nick met at “Bachelor in Paradise” couple Jade and Tanner’s wedding. The two had a one night stand. Shout-out to the producers for their clever editing of her “We had sex” sound bite. Despite Nick’s skepticism (she never called him… could she possibly be on the show for the right reasons?) Liz gets the final rose because obviously she has more storyline to play out.
4. Alexis: Ah, Alexis. There’s always that one person that shows up wearing a shark costume (she argues that it is a dolphin costume, but it’s objectively a shark). One might be compelled to be annoyed by her attention grab, but… it’s just so entertaining! An aspiring dolphin trainer from Secaucus, New Jersey, Alexis is yet another example of why the state of New Jersey is a gift to reality television.

While all four end up with roses (as do 17 others), it’s time to say goodbye to Angela, Briana, Ida Marie, Jasmine B., Lauren, Olivia, Lauren, Michelle and Susannah. And with that, the “most controversial Bachelor in history” makes his first cuts.

Stray observations:

  • Danielle was the first one out of the limo, which, history would say bodes well for her.
  • Of all the outrageous entrances — Lacey rides in on a camel and jokes about humping, Jaimi says that she “has balls” (referring to her nose ring), Josephine makes Nick eat a cold hot dog “Lady and the Tramp”-style (literally leaving a bad taste in his mouth) — Danielle M. gets all the points for standing up for her French toast recipe.
  • But did Brittany actually try to perform a rectal exam? Not the only implication that this will be the most sexual season yet.
  • Nick sure does have a lot of positive things to say about dresses!
  • A brief list of things Nick does not seem to understand: German, French, civil defense litigation, a neonatal ICU, Carrie Bradshaw

Which woman made the best first impression? Who made the worst? Weigh in below.