Just when you think ABC has hurt you for the last time they go and do it again. If last week’s episode could have been an email, this week’s episode could have been the pile of shit my roommate’s dog likes to leave in the middle of our living room. To clarify, ABC, when I said “please, dear god, give me something to work with, I beg of you” I was not actually asking to watch three hours of emotionally stunted barn animals reenact their prom glory days. *sighs so deeply it creates a new fault line in the earth* Let’s get into it!
Last week things left off on a cliffhanger between Ivan and Aaron. I’m using the term “cliffhanger” here loosely, as the term implies a sense of suspense or tension building, whereas this altercation barely roused me after the three glasses of pinot I chugged to feel something during this episode. But, sure, things between Ivan and Aaron were “heating up.”
If you’ll recall, the source of their feud started when Ivan made one last-ditch attempt at staying in Paradise by making out with Chelsea, even after he explicitly told Aaron he wouldn’t. Aaron responded in the only way his PBR-soaked brain knows how: by choosing violence. Surprise, surprise, Aaron doesn’t trust another man. At this point, it wouldn’t shock me if Aaron decided to fight a mop because it was looking at his girl wrong.
It does make me wonder, though, if there’s something else going on here… Ever notice how Aaron only ever gets this impassioned when another dude is involved? Be honest with us, Aaron. Are you upset because Ivan kissed Chelsea or are you upset because Ivan didn’t kiss you? This is a safe space, pal!!
Also, I should mention that I’m Team Ivan. I’m always Team Ivan. I don’t care if Chelsea didn’t pull Ivan first or if Ivan talked to Chelsea first. That Ivan hasn’t been the #1 draft pick since night one is an absolute travesty and I will be drafting a letter of complaint to ABC HQ immediately following the conclusion of this season. You hoes don’t deserve him!
When Aaron is rebuked for physically trying to rile Ivan, he tries a more covert route of Regina George-ing the others into turning their backs on him. It’s a massive fail because, you know, it’s Ivan. Lol. What’s crazy is that this isn’t even about Chelsea anymore. This is about Aaron’s ego and him looking embarrassed in front of other people. The possessiveness he displays over women who seem mildly interested in him is… staggering.
AARON: *sniffles* and do you know what the worst part about all of this is?
CHELSEA: That you thought I might have made a connection with someone else?
AARON: THAT THOSE MEANIES LAUGHED AT ME!!!
My GOD this man is so insecure.
You’d think that would be the end of the Ivan drama. Not so! Right before the rose ceremony Wells pulls Ivan aside to “chat” about something he did last night in the hotel. So, apparently while the rest of the cast was riding out the tropical storm, sequestered at whatever Mexican hotel had the cheapest last minute drink package, Ivan was canoodling with a yet-to-appear-on-the-beach cast member. Okay, they’re acting like Ivan murdered his mistress, not snuck out past curfew to get a half-hearted handy by the ice machine. Come on! This is so high school.
WELLS: So, you saw a text on a producer’s phone about room assignments and you just… read it?
WELLS: Do you understand the severity of this?
Okay, come on. This is absolutely ridiculous. Wells wants Ivan to come clean to the rest of the cast members before he kicks him out of Paradise. Like, what does Wells expect these people to do with this information? Bend Ivan over their collective knees to give him a spanking? These are all grown adults!
Ivan leaves with relatively little fanfare and the rest of the rose ceremony continues. The rose lineup breaks down as such:
⭐︎ Serena picks Joe
⭐︎ Abigail picks Noah
⭐︎ Maurissa picks Riley
⭐︎ Mari picks Kenny
⭐︎ Becca picks Thomas
⭐︎ Chelsea picks Aaron
⭐︎ Natasha picks Ed
⭐︎ Tia picks James
Mari & Kenny Are In Retrograde
We’re reminded multiple times throughout the episode that this is the last week of Paradise. Mmkay, can I get that in writing though? Because this three-hour not-a-finale episode begs to differ…
Because it’s the last week of Paradise, many of the couples are crumbling over the pressure of having to face the real world. Yes, I could see how it might be difficult to have to go back to the harsh realities of influencer life. Please tell me more.
Kenny and Mari in particular struggle this week. Keep in mind that exactly 12 hours before their “struggles” they were eating Taco Bell off of each other’s pubes. Kenny’s like, “it just worries me that this morning it feels like things fizzled.” I’m sorry, Kenny, but not every day can involve some sort of deviant sex food game. That’s not medically advised by gynecologists!!
What can solve their issues? A bruja! Yes, ABC conjures up a Latin American spiritualist (seemingly straight out of a “So You Think You Might Be Culturally Appropriating?” pamphlet) to “cleanse” their relationship and “plow through” Mari’s emotional barriers. If this feels rife with sexual undertones, just wait until the bruja starts waving around those girth-y ceremonial candles.
Also, I love that ABC heard “I’m worried that the longest relationship this 40-year-old boy band manager has ever had is with his hair gel brand” and thought hexing the man into submission would be the right fix. It’s not like when mercury is in retrograde—these are real problems! And why is it that when ABC orchestrates shit like this everyone thinks it’s “cute” and “kismet”, yet when I do it in the privacy of my own home it gets me an in depth conversation with my roommate about “boundaries in shared living spaces”? Hmm? Riddle me that.
Whatever plowing Kenny does to Mari’s spirit seems to work, because by the end of the ceremony they’re suddenly committed and ready to do this thing called life together. Booooo. Call me when you two get interesting again.
The New Girls Strike Out
ABC spends a solid hour of last night’s programming wasting our time by teasing two new additions to the house: Anna and Mykenna. I’m not sure what the purpose of airing any of this footage is other than to burst one of my blood vessels. These women are coming in at last call and expecting to find true love and not the last, drunkest baboons at the bar. Or in this case, Ed and James.
Mykenna especially struggles. By the time she arrives on the scene, there are approximately two single men left on that beach and one of them is a sand crab. She tries to ask Aaron on a date and he declines in front of everyone. He’s like, “I’ve just had a really tough week.” Hmmm. I’d believe you more, buddy, if you didn’t say that as you were fast-tracking it back to the mimosa bar.
Mykenna starts crying on the beach about how embarrassing this is and how she wants to go home. Honestly, I’ll give her that. This is a little embarrassing and it’s not at all her fault. I know she has the emotional maturity of a butterfly hair clip but, christ, ABC, you could have thrown her a bone!
THE BONE ED: I’d like to go on a date with you!
THIS GIRL. Okay, I take back everything nice I just said about her. This man—who has both a six pack and a personality—is literally throwing himself at her feet and she’s like, “nah, I’d rather spend my evening waiting in a customs line.” That’s how I know quarantine hasn’t been that bleak for you. Also, isn’t she 24? Shouldn’t her dating mentality still be “at least it’s a free dinner”? You’re not better than this, hunnie.
I will say Ed is quite the salesman. I would follow that man straight into a pyramid scheme, he’s that charming. He eventually convinces Mykenna to go on the date with him and it looks like it’s a fine time. As fine a time as can be had for the last two pandas at the zoo, anyways. Every happiness to you both, kiddies!
The last 45 minutes of the episode are devoted to Paradise’s first ever prom. Why prom? I can only assume it’s because production spent the majority of the episode’s budget on financing that bruja. But you know what? The contestants are eating it up. It makes sense, I suppose. I think I have credit cards that are older than the time that’s elapsed since some of these girls’ last attended a high school prom.
I will say, the contestants understood the assignment in terms of manifesting all the moods that go into prom. We have Abigail who is representing every Josie Grossie who never got asked to prom in high school. There’s Serena, the girl who always got five promposals and had her friends vote on them American Idol-style. Then there’s Tia, the Moaning Myrtle of the group. She looks like she’s about to drink too much spiked punch and spend the last two hours crying in the bathroom (relatable).
In typical prom fashion, the night is pure chaos. Tia spends the first half of the dance wallowing in self-pity, grinding in the awkward spaces between couples. But by night’s end Aaron swoops in to sweep her off her feet. They end up horizontal and making out on one of the hotel lobby couches. If this feels random, that’s because it absolutely is. It’s almost like the carbs in the spiked punch went straight to Aaron’s head and he asked the wrong girl to go to the couches. Whatever, I’m sure Chelsea will totally understand…
Abigail and Noah also have a rough night. Abigail spends the majority of prom basking in the fact that someone actually asked her to prom. She says she wants to tell Noah she loves him and she’s ready to ride off into the sunset with him. Cut to Noah, who heard “80s prom” and decided to come dressed like the sixth-year senior who sells you coke by the football field. So, like, basically how he’s been dressing all summer.
Prom is bringing out the opposite feelings in him. Even though a mere 12 hours ago he told Abigail he was “falling for her” he wants to take it back. He asks if it’s possible to be in love with someone but not want to commit to that person in any way, shape or form.
The fact that he thinks “true love” can be contained to a vacation makes me worry that he models his relationships after a Mary-Kate & Ashley movie. And on that note, we’ll have to wait until next week to see how this little admission of his blows up in his face. Until the finale!
Images: Craig Sjodin / ABC; Giphy (4); @roastceremony /Twitter (1)