Perhaps, instead of writing a full recap about what went down on the fourth episode of this season of Bachelor in Paradise, I could save us both a lot of time and show you a few images of burning heaps of garbage. Unfortunately, I don’t think that’s actually an option, so I guess I’ll just have to unpack every disturbing detail of the first two of four hours of absolute chaos that ABC has chosen to impose upon us this week. It begins with a naked dude named Kenny shimmying in the opening credits, and to be honest, it’s really all downhill from there.
Clearly, a year of doing little but scrolling through memes has done a lot for the contestants of BiP, who now cannot complete a full sentence without the phrases “woke up and chose chaos,” or “dumpster fire.” I can’t really blame them, though. The English language has little else to describe how messy this season has become. After the culmination of what has been described as the “perfect date,” Maurissa and Riley wake up in the Boom Boom Room. Obviously, Riley worked some magic up in there, because Maurissa leaves saying, “Connor is such a sweetheart. He’s amazing. But Riley? He is a dream man in my eyes. He’s an amazing kisser. And literally everything a woman needs. It completely blew me away.” I’m sure if this doesn’t work out, Riley will have no trouble finding someone in his DMs.
The morning kicked off as most mornings following a date in Paradise do: with sheer panic. The girls have the roses this week, but those who aren’t sure who to give them to are starting to look around at any other canoodling couple and consider it a personal attack. If this feels dramatic to you, just think back to precedented times and remember how horrified you felt any time you saw a couple kissing on the subway. Perhaps the girls can petition for a mask mandate to clamp down on the rampant PDA in Paradise.
DEMI: Everyone is fricking married around here.
(Which is, coincidentally, the exact same thing I say every time I open up Instagram on a Sunday morning.)
The Ladies Get Some Fresh Meat
Two new dudes have entered Paradise, and it’s almost as though the producers are trying to get us to mix them up on purpose. They’re two pretty average guys with similar sounding names who you probably wouldn’t remember if the season they previously appeared on wasn’t literally written across the screen every time they spoke. Meet: Chris Conran and Chasen. And no, that’s not the name of the hedge fund responsible for Fyre Fest.
CHRIS CONRAN: I was on Clare’s season. Just barely. Just a little dab. Just a touch of salt.
And you know what? He’s right. I do not know this man. In the iconic words of Keke Palmer: “Sorry to this man.”
What Chris lacks in relevancy, he makes up for in confidence and the “Can I steal you for a sec?” persistence. He has set his sights on Jessenia and has a plan to “scoop” her up. He also has a backup plan, and that includes running off into the sunset with Chasen.
Chasen and Chris get a double date card (barf), which means they have to dabble in a bit of forced, sweaty flirting before they can decide who they’ll take with them. Chasen makes a beeline for Deandra, which obviously upsets Karl. Their chemistry is undeniable.
CHASEN: So, tell me about yourself. What brought you to Paradise?
DEANDRA: I like Paradise because everybody comes here with a common goal.
Yeah… to get laid and gain Instagram followers?
Next, Chasen pulls Mari aside for a chat, and Kenny starts to sweat as much as a man who refuses to wear clothing physically can. Mari and Chasen’s conversation is honestly pretty snoozy, and consists primarily of Mari throwing out a lot of words that end in “ing” in an attempt to define her non-relationship with Kenny, such as “vibing,” “talking,” and “conscious not officially, but also not unofficially, coupling.”
Chasen and Chris head off on their double date, which is Kama Sutra themed. Chris brings Jessenia, and Chasen brings Deandra. Deandra explains that although she normally hates to be touched, getting essentially felt up by Chasen made her “very relaxed” and “more than pleasantly surprised.” Well, okay then! Jessenia also seems to be quite taken by her date… for some inexplicable reason.
CHRIS: Every chance I get tonight, I’m going to steal you away.
What does this man have to offer that is not coming through on screen? Genuinely would love to know, because personally, I would not respond to a thinly veiled kidnapping threat with the same energy I’d use to reply to a passive-aggressive text from a roommate asking me to do the dishes.
Back at the beach, Demi is laying down the groundwork for a Plan B if Chris and Jessenia’s date goes well. While she swirls a mimosa around in one hand, she tells Ivan that he should start talking to some of the other women as a backup. Honestly… that’s a great game strategy. It’s a shame that Demi naturally has such villainous delivery, because it sounded pretty evil.
In Which Mari Gets a Lesson in Casual Dating
Clearly, Mari’s conversation with Chasen sparked a little fire in her, because it immediately prompts another conversation with Kenny in which she basically tells him that she would like to have her cake and eat it too.
MARI: I want to see other people.
ALSO MARI: I think things with Kenny might be a little awkward.
Mari’s suggestion to “open” things up definitely upsets Kenny, who reflects, “This is the first time I’m sensing that she’s not feeling as strong as I was. Why not say it’s completely done, then? If you want to be totally open, let’s be totally open.” And you know what? I’m kind of obsessed with Kenny’s logic that an open relationship is synonymous with a breakup. It seems like the kind of miscommunication that’s going to give us episodes worth of drama.
After telling Kenny she’s trying to play the field, Mari has a discussion with Demi, which is where things really go left. Demi provides some more sound advice that comes across as evil because she’s, well, Demi. She tells Mari, “we should all be dating each other,” and then in a confessional moment seconds later, exclaims, “Sorry, I’m goin’ for your mans!”
Once Mari catches wind of Demi and Kenny’s shenanigans (read: once Mari looks over at them, because all of the events of this show play out in like, an area the size of a tennis court), she’s furious. She seems to genuinely have believed that telling Kenny that she’s interested in seeing other people would make him think she’s playing hard to get, and is now truly shocked that it backfired, and I don’t know what else to say about that. It’s kind of like watching the milk crate challenge. Like, yes, of course I want it to work. I really want to see someone pull it off successfully. But at the end, everyone ends up with the sharp corner of a milk crate up their butt. And that’s just science.
Male Rompers Are Back
Connor B., knowing that Maurissa had just been on a date the night before, decides it’s time to step it up if he’s going to get that rose. He throws on a matching set (or perhaps a romper; I cannot confirm the intricacies of Connor B.’s drip) and makes his way over to invite Maurissa on a DIY date. I’d give anything to hear the behind-the-scenes conversation Connor B. had with a producer that was like, “Can I have a date card? No? How about some craft supplies? Cool, cool, cool.”
Unfortunately, Connor does not know that Maurissa made a little trip to the Boom Boom Room before wasting the best outfit he packed. Ya hate to see it. This leads to a downward spiral in which Connor describes himself as “just the friendly guy who everybody likes,” and yup, I’m crying.
Next, we get an appearance from guest host Lance Bass, who does a little wellness check on Natasha. Natasha says she’s definitely feeling where things are going with Brendan, but that the intimacy is lacking—as if this is year three of marriage and not episode four of a television show. Lance suggests Natasha make a move on Brendan. (Side note: Does Lance Bass’s southern accent feel… stronger than usual? Is he hanging out with Jax and Brittany again?)
Natasha proceeds to give Brendan a very sweaty massage. I’ll hold off on the commentary here, and just let you know exactly how it went down, because I truly don’t have words for this one.
NATASHA: *Massaging Brendan*
BRENDAN: I’m the sweatiest man in America.
NATASHA: We’re not in America.
BRENDAN AND NATASHA: *Kiss*
And Now For a Slew of Relationships That Must Be Defined
After making the very astute observation that “Everyone on the beach seems to be breaking up,” Serena P. uttered the words that will likely curse her relationship with Grocery Store Joe and said, “But Joe and I are going strong.” On BiP, “going strong” means headed to a romantic date in a dark auditorium with a dinner table set up in the middle of a wrestling ring to discuss why Joe seems so miserable.
SERENA: I feel like in Paradise… You hate it here.
JOE: You’re warm.
Joe continues to be the most relatable man on this beach. He explains that he kind of hates Paradise because if he’s “not going to meet someone,” he doesn’t really want to be sleeping in a bunk bed in a room with no air conditioning. Fair! They ultimately decide that they’re “100% all in” on finding that with each other. After defining the relationship, Joe says, “It’s time to have fun.” Um, do you guys know you’re on Bachelor in Paradise? There is an entire team of people whose full time job relies on you guys not “having fun” after defining the relationship. But please, proceed.
Speaking of defining relationships, Karl decides to throw a Hail Mary pass and pulls Deandra aside for a talk. He gives Deandra a charm bracelet he bought in Miami. He’s trying to position this stunt as spur-of-the-moment, but he clearly bought all of the charms before he even had a “connection” with Deandra. Honestly, I’d tell you more about the bracelet and what each charm represents if it wasn’t obvious he just rolled into a Pandora store in an airport. At best, this thing is an Alex and Ani.
Over at the beach, the rest of the cast members are enjoying a little bonfire. Which means it’s time for Demi to ruin the mood, of course. She shows up with a cake she made for Kenny because he spent his 40th in quarantine and makes everyone awkwardly sing happy birthday to him. Then, Demi hits us with a perfectly rehearsed line and says, “Let them eat cake!” before dragging Kenny to a secondary location (which, please never forget, is statistically the point at which you are more likely to be murdered). Demi has decorated a little party set up for Kenny, which includes a piñata full of condoms, to which I say: damn, production will really do anything for Demi. From bringing Kristian in for her last season, to setting up this weird belated birthday party, they’ll go to no end to make sure this girl has the tools to stir the pot.
While Demi and Kenny are off celebrating, Mari grabs the cake and throws it in the fire… which honestly is the least interesting thing she could have done. 3/10.
Mari pulls Demi aside for a little confrontation, which again leads us to another gem from Demi that would actually be sound logic if she didn’t deliver it like a Disney villain laying out their grand scheme to take over the world.
MARI: Earlier today, I confided in you, and now you’re going for Kenny.
DEMI: Well, you said you guys were being open, so why can’t I date him?
MARI: He says he wants to fuck me.
DEMI: I… also want to fuck people?
MARI: So, you’re okay being a second option?
DEMI: No, we’re… all just… dating people here.
Mari short-circuits at this reminder that you don’t have to get engaged to someone the second you decide you’re “vibing” with them, and basically just tells Demi that she threw the cake in the fire and storms off.
Kenny actually is handling the situation quite maturely, which I guess I shouldn’t be giving him so much credit for because the man is literally 40. He tells Mari that everything with her has become “too toxic” and that he’d like to move on.
The episode ends with a dreaded “TO BE CONTINUED” screen while all of the Paradise dwellers run around and set small fires. We also get a little tease of Demi and Kenny entering the Boom Boom Room, and a moment in which Demi says she is “fully prepared to just be massacred out here.” And that’s on self-awareness!
Images: Craig Sjodin / ABC (2); Giphy; Tenor