It may only be the first week of Bachelor in Paradise, but the drama on the beach has already begun.
At the center of the tension: Blake Horstmann, the runner-up on Becca Kufrin’s season of The Bachelorette. Before arriving in Mexico, Horstmann, 30, had been talking to both Caelynn Miller-Keyes from Colton Underwood’s season and Kristina Schulman from Nick Viall’s season. Then, during a weekend at the StageCoach country music festival in California in April, Horstmann spent the night with Schulman, 27, and the following evening in bed with Miller-Keyes, 23. And, yes, both women found out about the other.
“He made quite a mess,” host Chris Harrison tells PEOPLE. “He created it outside of Paradise, and it followed him in and then it blew up in his face on a grand scale. I’m not really sure what he was thinking or if he was thinking at all. Why would you walk in here thinking it wasn’t going to be an absolute powder keg? Maybe he thought he was bulletproof and he could do no wrong.”
All three Bachelor Nation stars have since found themselves sharing the sand on Bachelor in Paradise, and Schulman used her date card to confront Horstmann about the situation on Tuesday’s episode. As soon as Horstmann got back from the less-than-romantic date, he and Miller-Keyes had a conversation that left him contemplating leaving Paradise.
But Horstmann, who’d gone on a date with Tayshia Adams during Monday night’s episode, stuck around and tried to woo Hannah Godwin, insisting he only came to Paradise for her.
Craig Sjodin/ABC; Bob D’Amico/ ABC
“Good on him for licking his wounds and getting right back in the game!” Harrison, 48, says. “If I was him I would’ve just dove in the ocean and swam away. He gets right back in the game and goes after Hannah and Hannah’s had a little something going with Dylan. Hannah’s a pretty hot commodity. Blake and her have a connection and it’s undeniable. It’s something that is going to linger.”
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Harrison admits that he and the other Paradise producers knew what they were in for by bringing Horstmann, Miller-Keyes, Schulman and Godwin, 24, together on the shores of Mexico.
“We knew Blake and Caelynn had history,” he says. “We heard about Kristina, but then we heard he had also been talking to, DMing, Hannah, as well, so he kind of had a love square, octagon thing, heading into Paradise. It really is this ongoing soap opera.”
After getting his heart broken by Kufrin, many viewers sympathized with Horstmann and saw him as a kind-hearted gentleman. But Harrison hypothesizes that America’s soft spot for Horstmann might’ve been what landed him in hot water one year later.
“Do I think he’s a bad guy? No. He probably got a little full of himself, started believing all the hype and believing he was as good as everyone was telling him, which happens,” Harrison says. “Hopefully he can come back down to earth a little bit. We all need to be humbled from time to time.”
Either way, Harrison guarantees there’s much more drama to come.
“It’s the best season,” he says. “There’s so much to it. I can tell you this: Paradise works. There is love found in Paradise.”
Bachelor in Paradise airs Mondays and Tuesdays on ABC at 8 p.m. ET.