Welcome back to another week in Paradise! Never mind that it feels slightly sacrilegious to be watching this much beach-themed nudity while also being simultaneously assaulted by PSL everything. It’s truly a very chaotic time to be alive. ABC, you have no business pushing this much Mexican vacay content this close to October. No. Business.
Kendall Might Be The Inspiration For Olivia Rodrigo’s Next Bop
Speaking of people who have no business, last week ended with Kendall tearfully declaring that she needs to leave, get out, right now, it’s the end of you and me. What was her breaking point exactly? Watching her ex-boyfriend loudly declare “I’m falling in love with you” to a girl whose entire work experience can be summed up as “head lifeguard for three summers, TikTok linked here.” Yes, I can see how that might be upsetting.
KENDALL TRYING TO DATE AND BE FLIRTY ON THIS BEACH RN:
Kendall decides that she wants to have one more one-on-one conversation with Joe. It’s the least she deserves after production held her hostage during that Joe and Serena beach date.
She tells Joe that this whole thing has been so hard for her and that she wasn’t expecting him to reenact their love story with another girl. Honestly, I feel for Kendall. I think she thought they were both coming on this show to rekindle things and Joe went off-script. Also, it doesn’t help that the reason they broke up is supposedly because of distance (he wants to live in Chicago; she wants to live in LA) and yet he’s currently smooching a person who doesn’t even live in the same country as him. Seems sus.
JOE, AN ADULT MAN WEARING SOCKS WITH SANDALS: You’ll be okay, Kendall.
Jesus Christ. Kendall, let’s take a long, hard look at this moment. The man, though completely adorable, always looks dressed for laundry day in a college dorm and is dating a girl whom it would have been age appropriate for him to babysit in high school. He’s living the midlife crisis. Believe him when he says you’ll be just fine. Also, Ivan is riiiight there…
It’s All About The DTR
How is it legal for more men to be allowed on this beach? Once again, new men trickle into Paradise despite literally no one asking for this. We’re told that Ed and Demar will be joining Paradise to “shake things up.” I sure hope so. The last time I felt this particular brand of excitement, I took a ZzzQuil at 7pm and passed out before the finale of Law & Order: Organized Crime.
Also, Ed and Demar?? Ed, fine. Who could forget the man who accidentally wined and dined Chris Harrison? But Demar? If anyone is gaslighting anyone on this show, it’s ABC gaslighting me with all of these fake contestants.
The arrival of new men shakes something in Maurissa. It’s like she suddenly realized she hitched her star to a man whose emotional spectrum doesn’t surpass licking his lips when he likes something. She says she wants “more” from Riley and it’s like, what more do you want from the man? You sucked his toe on national television!! I’m pretty sure those ground rules should have been established before any toenail breached your lips.
Maurissa hints that she wants more than just the physical and she worries that with Riley that’s all she’ll ever get. You guyssss. I want them to work out so badly. The last time I was this deeply invested in a relationship, I was aggressively following #Jelena fan accounts and listening to “Lose You to Love Me” on repeat. Please, god, can I have this one nice thing?
Riley admits that he does need to be more vulnerable with Maurissa. He tells her that he’s not looking for anyone else, he’s all about her. He also opens up about some deeply personal family stuff that’s affected his ability to be vulnerable in relationships. At one point he even starts crying, almost against his will. The moment is so raw that it feels invasive that ABC ever filmed it in the first place.
Riley tells Maurissa that he’s falling in love with her, and my, how far they’ve come from their first date when they were truth-or-daring each other into admitting the intricacies of their masturbation schedules. It’s true what they say: you can find love in a hopeless place!
Meanwhile, Mari and Kenny are finding themselves equally troubled. While Maurissa and Riley’s relationship hurdle was more of an emotional intimacy issue, Mari and Kenny’s hurdle is more of a Kenny’s intimacy-with-every-other-woman-on-the-beach issue. I mean, his dick is literally still wet from sleeping with Demi…
They’re allowed a date card because apparently Kenny knows the right producer to bribe. Stick with him, baby, and you’ll see all the doors his garage band managing experience will open for ya.
I am absolutely sickened by the caliber of one-on-one dates this season. Why is every “romantic” date these people plan an egregious example of a health code violation? The theme for Kenny and Mari’s date is Taco Tuesday. The catch? They have to make and eat the tacos off of each other’s naked bodies. Honestly, they probably didn’t even tell Kenny to take his clothes off, he just started shedding his shorts and was like “no hablo español but this is good, sì?”
Oh god, she’s really going to eat that right off his Axe body spray-doused body. Sometimes I can’t believe I willingly watch this show. I hope they’re allowed to at least rinse off all of that melted cheese and sour cream before they go back to camp? I know this is supposed to be sexy, but I just feel like I’m watching a yeast infection grow in real time.
Mari is like, “I don’t think I’ll ever be able to see tacos and not think of this date!” Yeah, Mari. Thanks, me too. You’ve scarred me.
Rain On My Parade
It seems as if the universe is as fed up with these people as I am. While I’ve spent the last 90 minutes fantasizing about ways to shut it all down immediately (I still think my strongest case lies with those blatant health code violations), it seems Mother Nature beat me to it! As the contestants sip mimosas and agonize over which Revolve outfit to don for the rose ceremony, production tells us that filming must stop immediately. There’s a tropical storm headed straight for them and legally (they already asked) they can’t film the couples being traumatized by a natural disaster—only disasters of their own making.
PRODUCTION: We need you to evacuate immediately.
By all means, move at a glacial pace, people.
I will say, watching these people clamber for a ride like it’s the last life raft on the Titanic is, perhaps, the most exciting thing to happen all episode. They’re all like, “if I don’t make it, remember we had some good times, okay?” If you don’t make it?? Sir, it’s drizzling outside. Calm yourself. Also, I imagine they’re all going to the same hotel? Why are they acting like they’ll be separated?
THE COUPLES RN:
And just like that, they’re back! It seems like a mere 12 hours have passed since the contestants fled the beach before they’re back and ready for a “brunch” cocktail party. A brunch cocktail party. Have you ever heard of such a thing? It’s like they’re trying to tempt fate and give Mother Nature another excuse to wipe this beach from existence.
There shouldn’t be any real surprises at this rose ceremony. Most of the couples are pretty established at this point and are busy basking in each other’s awesomeness in a way that makes me want to singe someone’s eyebrows. The only real wild card is Chelsea. At the last rose ceremony, Aaron gave her his rose. But since then Chelsea has gone on a date with Demar and made out with Ivan. That’s right. You read that correctly. Mere moments before Chelsea was set to hand out her rose, Ivan made one last play for love (or, at least, 72 more hours of a free beach vacation).
Cue Aaron immediately flying into a rage. Look, I could write an entire dissertation on how problematic I think Aaron is, but I’ll leave it at this: Aaron is the most underratedly toxic and misogynistic contestant I’ve seen in a long while. At least since the Luke P days. Think about all the fights he gets into. What are they over? A woman’s honor. He has this disgusting savior complex, this warped view that all women need saving, as if they aren’t rational, free-thinking individuals who are perfectly capable of making their own decisions, romantic or otherwise. He claims he “respects” women, but then the first insults out of his mouth are to call Ivan a “little bitch boy” and a “fucking pussy.” Yes, I can literally feel how much you respect my gender, Aaron. It’s really evident in the way you hurl feminized slurs at other men to make them feel less masculine. The feminist movement needs more allies like you, pal!!
And on that note, we’ll have to wait until next week to see if the Aaron/Ivan confrontation manifests into something physical. How ever will I pass the time? Anyways, I would just like to end things by screaming into the endless void of the internet, that this episode could have definitely been an email. You’re on my list, ABC. You’re on my list.
Images: Craig Sjodin / ABC; Giphy (4); Tenor (2)