Welcome back to the best Bachelor in Paradise recap you’ll ever read! It’s your lucky day, betches, because you’re getting two recaps in one. This of course has everything to do with convenience for you, dear readers, and nothing at all to do with me being so violently hungover from LDW that my stomach still turns if anyone even thinks the words “green tea shots” near my general vicinity. I do it all for you!
And I’m not the only one going hard for America. It looks like this week ABC stopped being polite and started getting real. Monday and Tuesday night’s episodes were truly wild. At one point I had the distinct thought that next the producers might let loose live tigers on the beach to eat them all alive. It would be a kindness at this point.
THE BiP CAST MATES AT ANY POINT THIS WEEK:
There is A LOT to cover from the last two days so, for those of you looking for more of a highlights reel situation (the audacity), luckily for you, I got lazy. So without further ado:
Batshit Things That Happened That Were Only Mildly Entertaining
• Noah’s neck started to look like a Francesca’s clearance rack with the amount of delicate necklaces he’s accumulated
• Tituss Burgess took over as host and I’m not impressed (smite me, I dare you)
• Noah and Abigail’s love was rekindled (or at the very least, they have agreed to go back to being friends who politely kiss for the sake of roses)
• Tia lusted over Kenny
• Mari lusted over Kenny
• Demi lusted over Kenny
• Kenny lusted over himself for being a heartthrob for the first time since the original 90210 aired
• ABC threw a house party
• Becca made the moves on Thomas
And now for the real dirt…
Hurricane Kendall: Continued
Monday night’s episode opens with Kendall returning to Paradise. For those of you newbies to BiP, Kendall and Joe met and fell in love on this very beach a few seasons back. I think I speak for all of us when I say her return is the most shocking thing to happen all season. And by “shocking,” I mean a producer orchestrated the entire scene to within an inch of its life.
The first thing Kendall does is pull Joe aside for a “talk”, and it definitely feels like this conversation didn’t have to happen under such high stakes circumstances. Like, Kendall, whatever happened to getting blitzed on wine flights with your girlies, realizing three drinks in that you’re the last single one at the table and the only guy to get fresh with you recently had the hobbies of a stock photo person, drinking three more drinks, and then ending the night crying in a bathroom, scrolling through photos of your ex before finally finding the courage to leave a tear-stained voicemail on his phone that sounds suspiciously like Olivia Rodrigo song lyrics?? Be a normal person, okay!! You’re not better than us!
I can already tell that Kendall’s interference with Joe’s new relationship will have America wanting to skin her alive like one of her taxidermy babies, but honestly I’m on her side. Supposedly the reason they broke up was over logistics. He didn’t want to stay in LA, she didn’t want to move to Chicago. I’m getting the feeling that the breakup was a temporary move to prove a point, except neither of them caved. And yet here he is dating some Gossip Girl-named Gen-Zer who lives in a whole-ass other country. THE FACTS AREN’T ADDING UP, JOSEPH.
Speaking of which, where does this leave Joe and Serena? While at first it very much seemed like Joe would like to have his cake and eat it too, in the end he decides to only pursue things with Serena. He admits that Kendall’s arrival is bringing up old feelings for him, but they’re done 100%, which is not really how he phrases it to Kendall, but okay pal.
And look, it’s not that I’m rooting for Kendall, I’m just actively rooting for Joe to date someone his own age (hi). Sorry to all you #Jerena shippers, but that’s just the way the cookie is crumbling, okay!!
The First Rule About Influencing Is That You Don’t Talk About Influencing
Every generation needs a Bonnie and Clyde, a hot couple to upend society and blow up their lives for our own entertainment. This season our Bonnie is a girl whose name is spelled like it’s a mistake and a guy whose love language is turtlenecks. Not really what we asked for, but if you’re looking for the end of civilization as we know it, I think it might start with any offspring spawned by these two (and, yes, I’m counting any Instagram couple accounts).
Monday night we saw the return of Pieper. For weeks now, Brendan has been dogged by rumors that he and Pieper were dating prior to his coming to Paradise, and that he’s actually currently in a relationship with her. He, of course, denied the rumors and pledged his feelings to Natasha (if vague affirmations and minimal touching can be considered a “pledge”). Now we know that story was absolute bullshit.
Pieper walks into Paradise and WITHOUT EVEN READING HER DATE CARD OR LOOKING AT ANOTHER HUMAN ON THE BEACH chooses Brendan for the date. Sus. Then we get to their date. Brendan is trying to play it off like the two of them just have some sort of instant connection. Meanwhile, Pieper is blowing their cover story to smithereens.
PIEPER: Why are you acting like we don’t know each other? We’re dating. Here, let me say it 1,000 more times on camera. WE’RE DATINGGGGG.
And this, friends, is why you don’t enlist someone whose resume is just a link to their TikTok to assist you in your grift.
Okay, these two are both garbage monsters who deserve to be banished to a remote cave until the end of their days. Why did they do this? For followers? An Us Weekly spread? A free trip to a mediocre Mexican resort with no air conditioning and a bartender whose “official training” included two hours of liking things on Pinterest? I repeat: I. don’t. get. it.
And what’s worse than Brendan’s betrayal of Natasha or their outright disrespect for the fandom is how supremely bad they are at controlling their own narratives. Brendan fully admits to Pieper that he manipulated Natasha into keeping him around so he could wait for her to show up. He says this ON CAMERA. Like, do they understand they’re being recorded? Just because you yell “cut!” doesn’t mean the cameras have stopped rolling.
And then there’s Natasha. She has been so chill and mature throughout this whole thing. I just really want her to give herself permission to set something ablaze. Instead of acting petty or starting hurtful rumors, she goes straight to the source. She asks Pieper outright if they were dating already and Pieper is like “yeah, but it’s not like we even made a vlog about it yet, so what’s the big deal??” A VLOG. It’s sickening.
While Pieper’s confrontation with Natasha made me want to scream violently into the void, Brendan’s confrontation actually made me consider commenting on his mother’s Instagram to tell her, in detail, what kind of trash her son is. Did you raise him to behave like this??
Instead of coming clean or acting remotely remorseful, he chooses to emotionally bully Natasha into silence. I think at one point he says that he never had feelings for Natasha and that her own “selective hearing” is to blame if she ever thought that was the case.
BRENDAN: She had no viable options other than me. I didn’t keep her from anyone here.
ME TO MY DOG, ALONE IN OUR LIVING ROOM:
Wow, the producers really are trying to get this man killed. Brendan keeps acting like Natasha is not gorgeous and sweet and someone absolutely anyone with working eyes and ears would want to fuck. But by all means, continue to bury your IG stats alive…
More than anything, the thing that cements their fates is how obvious they are about their clout-chasing. The morning after their date, the cameras pan to them lounging in (what they assume is) a secluded corner. To the delight of the producers they then proceed to dissect their Instagram stats and predict how their fake love story will result in better magazine coverage and sponsorship deals. On camera. While talking directly into their microphones. Jesus fucking Christ. Okay, listen kids. The first rule of influencing IS THAT YOU DON’T TALK ABOUT THE INFLUENCING. YOU IDIOTS.
What’s most infuriating is that they seemingly get away with their scam. When Natasha voices her frustrations about the situation to the other contestants, they mostly ignore her. The guys even openly side with Brendan.
By Tuesday’s episode, Brendan and Pieper’s clout-chasing is barely a plot line anymore. Instead, the focus shifts to Chris and Jessenia’s relationship, where Chris is accused, tried, and convicted of the very same crime Brendan and Pieper are guilty of.
Let’s set the scene: One of Tituss’ first decrees as host is to invite a chosen few to a “VIP” party off site. “VIP” feels like a strong exaggeration of the vibe, given the high school gym setting and middle school dance flashbacks the scenery evokes. They might as well play Usher’s “Yeah” and see how long it takes for these boys to pop an accidental boner in their khakis.
Side note: to emphasize the fact that ABC is done talking about the Natasha/Brendan/Pieper storyline, they don’t even invite our queen to their sad little house party. Like, if anyone on this planet deserves a drink rn…
NATASHA NOT GETTING INVITED TO THE VIP PARTY:
The party creates maximum chaos for Jessenia and Chris. I wasn’t far off earlier when I mentioned ABC producers’ inclination to throw live tigers at these people. Sub out “tigers” for “random hoes” and the effect is about the same. That’s right, the moment the party begins, four new girls arrive on the scene to shake things up. Chris immediately hits it off with Alana, whom we are told is a person who was on this franchise at some point in her life. Seems fake, but okay.
Even though Alana has been in Mexico for less time than it takes to go through airport customs, Chris decides he’s in love and breaks things off with Jessenia. I tried to tell you, Jessenia. Never trust a boy with vocal fry.
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Tbh, I barely even took notes during this section because it was so boring compared to the other drama that happened this week. But alas, this is what the people of Paradise choose to rally against. While Brendan and Pieper discuss which TikTok dance to use to debut their couple status, the rest of the contestants plan how to get away with Chris’ international murder.
Riley and Joe are at the forefront of this angry mob. Joe is talking like he knows people who could “handle” the situation. Just say the word, guys. Seriously. Say it. Though I appreciate them standing up for Jessenia, it feels a little hypocritical after Joe completely blew off Natasha’s concerns the night before. I mean, where is the outrage against Brendan?
Sure, Chris and Alana probably knew each other before filming. But I think it was more of a flirty crush and/or one-time hook up. I don’t think they were full-on dating like Brendan and Pieper clearly were. At the very least they gave a decent go at pretending to be strangers before the show. (Thank you for humoring us, btw). Their crimes feel juvenile in comparison. Chris is getting the backlash that Brendan and Pieper so clearly deserve, and it’s infuriating to watch.
We’ll have to wait until next week to see if Natasha gets the justice she deserves. Until then I’ll just keep refining my manifesto that warns against the dangers of trusting men in skinny jeans. TTYL!
Images: ABC/Craig Sjodin; Giphy (4); @thebetchelor /Twitter (1); @bitchelorette_ /Instagram (1)