Spoiler alert: The following post contains spoilers regarding the premiere of Bachelor in Paradise. Proceed at your own risk.
Who won The Bachelorette? Why, Tia Booth and Colton Underwood did, purely because they're still relevant, and Becca Kufrin, like it or not, isn't. Booth and Underwood had a minor fling early this year. During The Bachelorette, this fling reigned over the proceedings. Kufrin liked Underwood, even wanted him to stick around. This meant that Underwood had to confess to Kufrin that he'd had a brief relationship with Booth. Undeterred, Kufrin kept him on the show, long enough that he made his way to Bachelor In Paradise.
Here we are in Paradise, and the relationship is still strong, at least in its mythology. With Booth and Underwood, like Taylor Swift and Harry Styles, the actual relationship isn't as important as the story surrounding the relationship. The pictures disseminated on social media. The conversations had on camera on The Bachelorette. The melodramatic previews for BiP in which Underwood weeps. In short, Underwood and Booth are a Big Honking Deal.
This is their timeline.
December 2017: Underwood undergoes Bachelorette casting.
Per an interview on The Ben & Ashley I. Almost Famous Podcast, some time in December of last year, Underwood found his way to a Bachelorette casting. At this time, a producer asked him to name his favourite potential contestants out of Luyendyk's cast. Among his picks: Tia Booth. He then followed Booth on Instagram, who then responded to Underwood's story about Stranger Things. Underwood claims that at this point he told Booth he was a finalist for The Bachelorette. They chat, text, and FaceTime a little. At one point, Becca Kufrin sees Booth FaceTiming Underwood.
"I met [Kufrin] and Caroline [Lunny] very briefly over FaceTime," Underwood admits. (At this point in the interview, Ben Higgins said, "We are touching the surface of oddness here.")
January 26, 2018: Underwood and Booth hang out in Los Angeles.
Underwood and Booth exchanged DMs on Instagram following his Bachelorette casting session. This is, notably, before he tweeted about Booth. Following some DMs, Booth came to Los Angeles for Underwood's birthday, which is January 26. Per his interview on the podcast, Booth joined Underwood in Los Angeles for just a weekend. They hiked in Runyon Canyon with rescue puppies and went out for a steak dinner. Then, she went back to Arkansas, and he went back to Denver, where he resides.
"It wasn't enough for me to say, 'This is my person, I'm closing all my options out,'" Underwood said. (He's keeping his card at the bar, you know? He'll close the tab later, after a few more drinks.) The below photo is of the hike in Runyon Canyon.
January 29, 2018: Underwood tweets about Booth.
March 16, 2018: Kufrin begins filming her season of The Bachelorette.
Enter: Colton Underwood, who has sort of met Kufrin before.
March 23, 2018: Underwood tells Kufrin that he dated Booth.
This is episode two of The Bachelorette, so here is where things get wonky. (The date could be wildly off.) Just know that in episode two, Underwood owns up to his romantic past with Booth. Kufrin is flummoxed at first, but agrees to keep him on the show.
During this date, she and Kufrin and Underwood all hung out, per Underwood. Things seem fine. Later, Booth tells Kufrin that the weekend amounted to nothing important. Once again, Underwood stays on the show. (Timing is dubious, because the next week's date was filmed on March 27.)
April 22 2018: Underwood films his hometown date.
Shortly after, he goes home. In the same episode, some Bachelor friends come hang out with Kufrin. At this time, Booth tells Kufrin that she still has feelings for Underwood. Le sigh.