If you’re reading this, you’ve officially outlived David Spade’s stint as a temporary celebrity host on season 7 of Bachelor in Paradise. (Please don’t pat yourself on the back. This is a loss for all of us.) As all BiP viewing veterans should know, we have now entered the most lawless part of a season: the final push before the first Rose Ceremony where contestants without a confirmed rose start to lose their fucking minds.
This particularly cursed episode opens with Demi—who arrived in Paradise at the end of last week’s premiere—choosing violence. Those who haven’t been following along with her life on social media since she got engaged to her then-girlfriend Kristian on Season 6 of BiP (and by “those,” I mean Brendan) are provided with a quick update.
DAVID SPADE: So… you got engaged. What happened with that?
DEMI: Well, we got un-engaged. Hello?
Proving that they are truly the male and female versions of each other, Demi and David Spade have a quick little moment in which they both thrive off the drama they know she’s about to bring to the beach. He hands her a first date card and says, “Looking forward to the chaos,” and Demi gets on her merry way to make the rest of the contestants sweat more than they already have been in this Mexican heat. She’s definitely getting the villain edit this season (which I guess is hardly an edit when it’s self-orchestrated), which sucks for Goddess Victoria, who clearly thought she was a shoe-in for that role.
A Healthy Dose of Date Card Drama
Right off the bat, Demi invites Connor B. to “go for a chat,” and he immediately loses his ability to play it cool by essentially foaming at the mouth when he realizes she knows his first name. They bond over cats (because Connor B. famously arrived to Katie Thurston’s season in a full-on cat costume), which would have been a snoozefest of a scene had Demi not sprinkled her own little brand of chaos into the mix. She tells Connor B. that she has seven cats, then immediately admits that she only has three, but that she always tells people she has seven because it sounds more impressive. Truly a landmark moment for dog people everywhere. Shockingly, this conversation doesn’t seem to seal their fate as star-crossed lovers, so Demi ditches him for a chat and hand-holding session with Brendan. She then decides she’d like to go on a date with Brendan, which sends Natasha (who was previously feeling pretty secure in her ability to snatch up Brendan’s rose this week) into a downward spiral.
NATASHA: I’m feeling like I need a little alone time.
NATASHA: *THROUGH LOTS OF TEARS* I’m FINE.
Brendan and Demi go through your typical BiP date of making out and jet skiing, so it seems to be going as well as a forced televised interaction could go, which of course means shit’s about to hit the fan. Demi admits to knowing that she wanted to get with Brendan since she saw photos of him, to which he’s like, “I didn’t know you existed until a few hours ago.” He then proceeds to tell her that although he’s having a great time, he’s weighing all other options, particularly the ones that do not include spending the rest of his life with Demi.
Demi handles the rejection like any reasonable person with an IMDb page full of reality television credits would: absolutely horribly. She commits to becoming Hurricane Demi, but Brendan, being your standard millennial man living through the worst climate crisis in the history of mankind, is pretty unfazed by that, and figuratively carries out his plans to vacation in an area that’s under extreme flood watch.
Back at the beach, everyone’s gossiping about the fact that Brendan is potentially in a relationship (you know, out in the real world) with Pieper from Matt’s season. We then get a quick pulse check on Natasha, which reveals that she is, in fact, doing considerably worse than she was when we first discovered she was in a downward spiral.
Serena C., Victoria L., and Kelsey the Champagne Girl proceed to mope around the beach because they know their shot at love (and higher #sponcon rates) is probably going to be over soon, since they have yet to secure roses. Victoria P. decides to go for James, even though she cannot remember his name. She admits that she’ll know she’s with the right person when she “gets the chills,” which unfortunately has yet to happen. To which I say: Ma’am, this is a Wendy’s*.
*A beach resort in Mexico that is intentionally not air-conditioned to promote chaos between contestants.
And Now, For A Genuine Moment Between Two People We’re Actually Rooting For
As I mentioned earlier, the second episode of a season of Paradise is the closest thing reality television has to purgatory, but this time, the producers give us a refreshing break. In what is potentially one of the most authentic conversations the Bachelor franchise has ever aired, Jessenia and Ivan use the second date card of the episode as an opportunity to actually get to know one another on a deeper level in a way that does not involve water sports, surface-level discussions, or dry humping in a cabana. During an intimate dinner, the pair have a conversation about their shared experience confronting racism in the Bachelor franchise.
Ivan acknowledges that, although his decision to tackle tough conversations on TV certainly wasn’t easy, it must have been especially difficult for Jessenia because “people tend to be harder on women.” Are we experiencing an intersectional moment on Bachelor in Paradise?! I never thought we’d see the day. These two proceed to be excellent communicators together, and prove that they’ve got what it takes to be open and honest with their intentions with one another. Here’s to hoping the producers can (for the first time in history) put aside their obsession with messiness to allow an actually good thing to happen for once.
Well, Well, Well. How The Turn Tables…
Demi retreats from her disastrous date with Brendan to tell the rest of the girls that although it was an extremely “sexual” experience, she is now out for blood. They decide this feels like a good time to fill Demi in on the Pieper rumors, and she absolutely loses her mind when she discovers that Brendan has “wasted her time” by making out with her on a date SHE invited HIM on… as if she did not just come off a season of this same exact show in which she was hanging out with Derek, only to reveal that she had been hitting it off with Kristian at home. Make it make sense! <sarcasm> I’m sure when the producers inevitably bring Pieper to Paradise, Demi will handle it just as honorably as Derek did when Kristian arrived at the beach and eventually got engaged to Demi. </sarcasm>
Brendan doesn’t have much to say about the Pieper drama, but he does tell Natasha that he has the “strongest connection” with her. IDK, something about a man who just admitted to wanting to keep his options open in conversation with a woman he was making out with telling me that I’m his favorite of the three ladies he’s been tied to lately feels… not great? It also seems as though the producers are trying to recreate the Blake and Caelynn drama from last season, but unfortunately, “the Brendan and Pieper” drama just doesn’t have the same ring to it as Stagecoach-gate did.
Elsewhere, Victoria P. is trying to learn more about James by asking him questions like “what is your first name?” and “when you get up in the morning, do you pee outside? Or do you pee inside?” While she’s conducting this class-A interrogation, Tammy is doing what she does best: getting involved in everyone else’s drama instead of creating her own storyline. As if this hasn’t already ended horribly for her personally before, I urge this woman to watch just like, ONE episode of any reality show ever. Serving as a plot device in someone else’s story is never the way to finding love and/or becoming a household name. She decides to stir up some drama by revealing that Victoria P. has a boy back in Nashville and is just trying to secure a rose for fame. (For those who are new to Bachelor Nation, the scientific term for this is, “here for the wrong reasons.”)
All of us upon learning that someone would go on a reality show for fame:
Vaguely Notable Moments From The First Cocktail Party
Next, Bartender Wells sets us up for the first cocktail party of the season, which is really just an elaborate way for producers to remind us that although the majority of this two-hour episode has been spent harping on drama between like, four people, there are a bunch of other contestants you may have forgotten about. Some key takeaways here include: Noah has a lot of necklaces on and is in a “good place” with Abigail, Ivan and Jessenia are being adorable, Tahzjuan is still sweating, and Kenny finally put some pants on.
Serena C. then gives us one of the cringiest moments thus far by freestyling for Aaron while he beatboxes in an attempt to be “more creative” in her pursuit of love. While I would have loved to provide you with the full lyrics of her freestyle, I unfortunately had no choice but to spike my laptop across the room and duck and cover when she opened with the line, “I’m going to do my best to keep this classy, I just want you to know I’m a little bit sassy.” I can, however, report that at one point she rhymed something with the phrase “sit on your face.”
Tammy takes a quick break from trying to ruin everyone else’s time to get her rose situation back in order. Shortly after Serena C. and Aaron finish their awkward interaction, Tammy literally mounts him, and Aaron tells America that he has a boner. Lovely. When Tammy is finished with that, she returns to her campaign of telling everyone that Victoria P. has a boyfriend at home and is a “rose chaser.” Kelsey the Champagne Girl gets in on the mess, too, probably because the Champagne Girl schtick is starting to get old. Tammy goes straight to James to deliver the news, and honestly, if everyone didn’t look so sweaty, I would jump into the TV and give him a hug.
TAMMY: You don’t mean anything to Victoria.
James confronts Victoria P. about the rumors, and she maintains that although she dated someone from February until May, they broke up before she came to Paradise, and he “encouraged to get into this with an open heart.” This sounds a lot like when Jed from Hannah Brown’s season had a fame-thirsty girlfriend at home. I am truly just begging the Bachelor franchise to give us new drama. I’ve had enough of aspiring country singers and Nashville influencers trying to scheme ways to become relevant. Even though Victoria P. seems to have an alibi, James takes the opportunity to mention some of the other red flags he’s noticed.
JAMES: You don’t know my first name.
VICTORIA P: This is a lot.
TAMMY, WHO HAS SPENT THE ENTIRE NIGHT TRYING TO GET SOMEONE WHO IS NOT EVEN GOING AFTER THE SAME MAN AS HER SENT HOME: You can’t fix a manipulative person.
As we’re nearing the end of the episode and need some kind of filler drama before we can see how the Rose Ceremony shakes out, Tahzjuan decides to confront Victoria L., because simply looking at the goddess stresses her out. She tells Victoria L. that she thinks she’s “going back to her old ways,” and that she doesn’t appear to be genuine. Victoria L. delivers a brilliantly engineered, Real Housewives-inspired response and says, “I really feel bad that you’re trying to create something.” It doesn’t really go much further than that, TBH.
After realizing fighting an uphill battle is kind of a lot of work, Victoria P. makes the decision to head home. In the limo, she says, “I realized I don’t have to search for what I already have at home,” which I guess confirms that… she does have a boyfriend? Cool, cool, cool. James makes an announcement to the group to let everyone know that Victoria P. has left.
DEMI: I’m going for James. F*ck it.
Demi admits it was “silly” of her to get so worked up over how she was going to find a rose by the end of the night. Kelsey’s still pretty certain that she’s going to end up with James’ rose, but I’d like to remind her that never in the HISTORY of the Bachelor franchise has playing the “this girl is here for the wrong reasons!” card worked in anyone’s favor. Usually, it ends up proving that the alleged wrong-reasoner is being sketchy, but also that the finger-pointer is obsessed with drama and too irrelevant to have their own legitimate storyline.
The First Rose Ceremony
As always, the Rose Ceremony kicks off with a pairing-up of all the couples who seem like they could actually make something work. Here’s how it goes down:
Ivan chooses Jessenia, noting, “We have a great foundation going, and I’d love to continue nurturing that.” I smell Neil Lane Couture!
Noah chooses Abigail. Although she previously hinted that she loves to friend-zone, Abigail admits that she’s “surprised how quickly” she’s developing a relationship with Noah.
Grocery Store Joe chooses Serena P. I’m thrilled these two have already seemingly mastered the art of sitting their asses on the beach and staying out of drama while everyone else burns their futures to the ground.
Connor B. chooses Maurissa
Tre chooses Tahzjuan
Karl chooses Deandra
Brendan chooses Natasha while Demi nervously stares into the void
Aaron chooses Tammy
Kenny chooses Mari
With one rose left for James to give out, Kelsey has a borderline medical emergency, and naturally, Demi thinks she’s faking it in a last-ditch effort to get the rose. Personally, I feel like it’s probably a HIPAA violation for me to comment on that one. James gives Demi his rose, which I’m sure was probably a decision a producer bribed him to make by rewarding him with a few minutes of air conditioning access.
KELSEY (WHILE LEAVING): I’m not going to try super hard to force a connection.
ALSO KELSEY: *Essentially established a shit-talking MLM pyramid scheme to get Victoria P. sent home.*
Perhaps the greatest loss we’ve collectively suffered this episode is the elimination of Victoria L. I think she still had a lot of great one-liners and GIF-worthy moments in her, and I hope we get to see her again, someday. Although, her exit was pretty epic when she literally let the door hit her on the way out.
Images: ABC/Craig Sjodin; Giphy (2)