If there’s one thing Netflix is great at, it’s creating outlandish reality dating shows starring hot people who just! can’t! seem! to find love. While some series are more geared toward sex (*cough* Too Hot to Handle) others, like Love is Blind, are supposed to help these poor, painfully attractive people find what they’ve been searching for:
social media followers their soul mates. And in what might be the most dramatic twist in reality show history, Love is Blind season 2 did just that. In fact, when ranking the Love is Blind: After the Altar couples, it’s clear there might actually be some real connections here… just maybe not the ones you expected.
ICYMI, After the Altar — which hit Netflix on Sept. 16 — showcases three 45ish-minute episodes that follow *most* of the couples/singles seen in season 2. I say most because head villain Abhishek Chatterjee (Shake) was noticeably absent. Whether he wanted to stick to his “everyone else is cloud-chasing” narrative or he simply wasn’t invited after his awkward Love is Blind reunion appearance, the jury’s out.
Shake aside, the brief glimpse at life post pods gives a clear look at which duos were worth the emotional investment this season. Ranked from worst to best, here’s our rundown of the After the Altar couples. Major spoilers ahead so consider this your one and only warning to take a sick day and catch up if you’re behind.
9. Shayne and Natalie
Leading up to the wedding it seemed like Shayne and Natalie might actually work. They were complete opposites — a rom-com tradition — and they appeared to at least like each other, which is more than you can say for some other on-screen pairings. Things went downhill, though, when Shayne got drunk the night before their wedding and said some pretty sh*tty things to Natalie (like, that he hated her, just to give you an idea).
Clearly, Natalie saying “no” at the altar was a good idea because hi, talk about spotting a huuuuuge red flag. But alcohol-fueled fights aside, this couple is still the epitome of messy after the altar. Naturally, they did the break-up-get-back-together dance multiple times before Natalie officially called it quits upon finding some scandy messages from (who else?) Shaina in Shayne’s DMs. The guy you gave a second chance to texting his ex? How disappointingly unoriginal.
Everyone except Natalie denied the messages exist, of course, but it was still a crucial plot point of the three-episode special, as is the fact that Shayne and Natalie obviously aren’t over each other. What makes this duo the worst isn’t their breakup, though, but it’s the fact that their relationship lowkey looks like every failed one we’ve ever had. A guy who gets mean when he’s drunk and (allegedly) lies about DMing other girls? C’mon, Netflix. We’re here for fun reality, not reality reality.
8. Jarrette and Iyanna
The only reason this couple isn’t ranked the worst is because Iyanna definitely liked the idea of being married to Jarette. I mean, she put up with every literal f*ck boy trait he exhibited in the name of the experiment, so there’s that. Truthfully, though, I don’t know if two people were ever less suited for each other. Jarrette loves to touch Iyanna; Iyanna doesn’t like being groped so much. Jarrette gives oddly wet kisses; Iyanna doesn’t like that much spit. Jarrette parties with his boys until the literal morning multiple times a week; Iyanna thinks that’s not cool because she’s an adult human with responsibilities and shows to binge.
That’s why it was a surprise to absolutely no one when Iyanna revealed she moved out of the couple’s shared apartment. The major twist, though, was when Iyanna admitted she never really had a direct talk with Jarrette about his actions. Now I’m no relationship therapist, but communication is kind of essential in a marriage, no? I mean, what do you get when you mix an extroverted party boy with an introvert who runs away from confrontation (all while giggling nervously)? A divorce, in this couple’s case. The pair announced their split in August, which is probably great for all involved, especially the bars Jarette frequents in Chicago.
7. Nick and Danielle
As the first duo to get engaged in the pods, Nick and Danielle were one of those couples that either made you smile or made you squirm. While their eight-year age difference was A Thing at first, post-wedding it looked like they found their groove. These two weirdos couldn’t stop talking about the themed parties they hosted together (THEY’RE FUN, OKAY?!), and for a minute, we almost forgot how controlling Nick could be. I mean, he got along with her family, and the pair loved hanging out with cast members to gossip about other cast members, just like a real married couple!
But — and here’s the thing only three rewatches in 24 hours will get you — there were signs, people. From the stiff body language to the lack of ease in conservation and this glint in Nick’s eyes when things weren’t going his way, things seemed off in a maybe scary way? If you’ve read literally any book involving a woman looking out a window, you know what I’m talking about. It wasn’t until the scene where Danielle tried to feed Nick sushi blindfolded, though, that the couple’s future split was evident. They also announced they were separating in August, and I think we should all thank that over-sauced sashimi for setting Danielle free.
6. Shaina and Kyle
If you completely forgot that season 2’s villain lite Shaina and nice guy Kyle were once engaged, you’re not alone. Their storyline lasted for approximately five minutes before Shaina literally left a free trip to Mexico because they didn’t mesh. It mostly came down to differing religious views (not to mention a clear lack of chemistry), but neither of them seemed remotely sad that their coupling didn’t last. Their relationship was brought up like, twice, in After the Altar, and they were both completely nonchalant about it.
Truthfully, Shaina and Kyle hover in the middle of our listing simply because they bring a lot to the reality table as individuals, even if their initial pairing together felt like a joke. Plus, these two did end up in relationships at the end of After the Altar, so clearly casting was on to something when they put them in the pods.
5. Shaina and Christos
The first new face of the season came in the form of Shaina’s now-husband, Christos. The couple got engaged on After the Altar, and Shaina wasted no time flashing her engagement ring at Natalie’s 30th birthday party—a classic mean girl move you just have to admire. Cattiness aside, Christos actually showed an impressive level of devotion when Danielle told the just-engaged couple about the swirling Shaina-Shayne DMs rumors. Instead of getting pissed or questioning his bride, Christos steadfastly had Shaina’s back. Whether or not he should is another story, but hey, at least her man is loyal!
The couple officially tied the knot in Greece this summer, and while you can’t determine much from the little bit of airtime their relationship got in After the Altar, Christos is an obvious catch. He’s a developer and restaurant owner, he’s got those mythical Greek looks, and he said he was first attracted to the sound of his wife’s voice (which is likely something not many other people can say). While Shaina might not be your favorite, this duo somehow seems pretty solid as a couple…for now, at least.
4. Mallory and Salv(ador)
Everyone knew from the start that Mal and Sal weren’t going to last, but as two relatively respectable, quieter people, they didn’t have a ton of drama throughout the show. That doesn’t make them bad, but for watchability purposes, it doesn’t make them good either. Other than some issues when Mallory and Jarrette had a moment in Mexico, these two were basically just the ill-suited ukulele couple.
Truthfully, the pair really only got interesting in After the Altar, which is why they’re ranked so high. Mallory showed more emotion in three episodes than she did the entire first part season, tearing up over the way her relationship ended. In fact, she said the experience made her recognize the walls she puts up to protect herself, so she started going to therapy. We love to see some personal growth! What made things really interesting, though, was when Sal brought his new girlfriend, Jessi, to Natalie’s birthday party. It was like a weekend getaway from hell for Mallory watching her ex make out with someone new. For a couple who provided very little entertainment before the altar, the Sallory drama officially had my attention after the “I don’ts.”
3. Salv(ador) and Jessi
Attempting to turn his “guy who plays the uke” typecast around, Sal might just be the most changed cast member of season 2. There’s so much to love about his evolution, from the savage confession that he was right not to marry Mallory to bringing his new girlfriend, Jessi with an “i”, to a weekend-long, pod squad-only getaway. And uh, speaking of Jessi, if you were straight watching the show, you have to at least be bi-curious after seeing Sal’s new boo.
According to Sal, Jessi is a “firecracker,” and according to viewers (it’s me, I’m viewers), she’s a living, breathing, crop top-wearing 10. Not only is she bold and loud and unapologetically sexy, but she appeared to be rubbing off on Sal. Case in point: While everyone else showed up to Nick and Danielle’s ‘80s party in tights and bodysuits, Jassi (Jessador?) arrived in full leather getups and joked about leaving the whip in the bedroom. Considering this was a guy who once serenaded an uninterested girl with a miniature-looking guitar, this is a major glow-up for season 2’s sweetie pie. After the Altar ended with Sal showing his siblings a ring and saying he wanted to marry Jessi, which feels fast but hey, if he doesn’t lock her down, someone else will. Go get her, bb.
2. Deepti and Kyle
The rumored will-they won’t-they pair finally is, and the world is a brighter, happier, more love-filled place. After the Altar showed Deepti and Kyle navigating a situationship-style friendship before agreeing to be an ~official~ couple in the final moments. Even though they didn’t get engaged on the show, they were actually pretty close to it before they each made comically wrong choices in the name of love (read: Shake and Shaina).
Still, it all worked out because these two proved the friends-to-lovers trope forever reigns supreme. If anything made watching a series of failed relationships worth it, it was the way Kyle kept kissing Deepti when she agreed to be his girlfriend. They both said this could be a forever kind of thing, so if all goes well, there just might be another season 2 LiB wedding in the making.
1. Shake and Deepti
Hear me out: In terms of being good together, Shake and Deepti were like fire and Moira Rose’s wig wall. Deeps was all in, while Shake just couldn’t stop talking about how *not* attracted to her he was. After he finally came around and saw what was in front of him, though, I think the entire world screamed with joy when Deepti left Shake at the altar.
So why are they the best couple? First, Shake spoke the truth in regard to the fact that everyone goes on LiB for fame. Like, I’m sorry, you’re not going to reality show auditions if you DGAF about followers, no matter how genuine you seem. But more than that, Shake’s sh*ttiness truly gave viewers the chance to cheer Deepti on. She went from being a woman who wasn’t appreciated to a role model of boundaries, independence, and self-worth. Plus, in the end, she got the hottest guy on the show and over a million followers on Instagram. If that’s not what true love stories are made of, I don’t know what is.
Images: Patrick Wymore, Adam Rose, Adrian S. Burrows Sr./Netflix; Courtesy of Netflix (9). Featured image courtesy of Getty Images.
I could talk about Love is Blind for hours. I could write multiple theses on the show and what its success reveals about our culture (I have a few drafted, in fact). I could spend hours stalking each contestant on Instagram and trying to figure out who’s still together based on their tagged photos. (Okay, so I have done that last thing.) We all have our favorites, even while we all can agree that Jessica was the worst and Mark deserved better. Personally, my pick for least favorite was a close call between Jessica and Giannina. Sure, Jessica led Mark on for the entire duration of the show and was clearly never really into him in the first place, she just wanted a ring, but at least she was entertaining. Giannina, on the other hand, was borderline scary. I’d watch her try to take any legitimate criticism from Damian (“you criticize me for being on my phone too much when you’re on your phone right now, as we speak”) and turn it around on him. She’d fly into a rage at the drop of a hat. And if anyone I was dating ever called me “motherf*cker”, and said on camera that I was not the best sex they’ve ever had, I would be out the door so fast, it would set Olympic records. But Damian seemed like he was caught under some sort of spell (Giannina’s hotness), and would continue to be her emotional punching bag for the rest of his life. Which is why (spoiler alert, seriously don’t read any further if you haven’t watched the finale yet) I was pleasantly surprised and impressed when Damian grew a f*cking spine and left Gigi hanging at the altar. “You’re doing amazing, sweetie,” I said to my TV. Well, it appears I may have spoken too soon and Damian is not, in fact, doing amazing sweetie, because Damian and Giannina may be back together.
A moment of silence for Damian’s spine. You may have only been on this Earth for a short amount of time, but your brief appearance gave us one of the best moments in reality TV this year:
Chris Coelen, the producer of Love is Blind, told Metro.co.uk that Damian and Giannina have gotten back together. He said, “There was only one couple that broke it off that has attempted to re-engage and that’s Gigi and Damien. And we’ll see what happens with them. We’ll see.”
Damian, I was rooting for you! I can’t say that we were all rooting for you, because I haven’t spoken to everyone, but this is seriously disheartening. Confirming the news that Damian and Giannina are back together is Giannina’s mom, Milady. On Instagram, a commenter asked her why she still follows Damian, and in a now-deleted comment, she basically said it’s because Damian and Giannina reconciled.
Per Buzzfeed, this comment translates to, “It’s not acting, not even a little bit. I follow Damian simply because they reconciled and are still together, they love each other and it was best for to happen because that way they could get to know each other better.”
Now, it’s funny because the original comment in question asked Milady if this was all acting, and she said it wasn’t. But a new discovery that I came across on Reddit would lead me to believe that, actually, it might all be acting. Thank god, because I was about to believe that Gigi and Damian got back together because they actually thought they could make it as a couple. Phew! Maybe they’re not completely naive, just fame-hungry and a little media savvy.
If you watched Love is Blind at all, then you may have felt like a lot of what we got from Giannina just seemed… kind of off. She delivers lines that just don’t sound like the way people would ever naturally speak in conversation, and just acts completely over-produced (moments like her re-proposing to Damian stick out). From giving Damian his bow back after getting left at the altar to telling him his reasons for walking away are “such a beautiful excuse, darling,” it just reads like she had all these lines to deliver planned out in her head. Plus, check out this reaction to Damian telling her he won’t marry her (please excuse the janky recording, I made this gif myself):
That… does not look like shock to me. It looks like, I don’t know, an O-face? A yawn? Whatever it is, it’s not the expression you make when you get dumped at the altar. It’s just weird.
On top of that, someone on Reddit (in a sub that has now since been banned from Reddit) found Damian’s acting resume, which hilariously lists his “lead Role” in an “Untitled Netflix show”, as well as what appear to be a few gigs as an extra (he was “Party Goer” in Dirty Grandpa and “soldier” in Thank You For Your Service). So, while our man might not be an aspiring influencer, he is an aspiring actor, which makes me wonder just how real this reconciliation is. I think Milady doth protest too much and this might, in fact, all be acting.
Maybe Damian and Giannina recognize that they can get way more publicity as a couple than they can as individuals, or maybe love really is blind (and stupid) and they are back together because they really just love one another. Who knows! Without a 10-minute monologue from Nick and Vanessa Lachey repeating everything I already know, I really can’t say for sure.
Images: Netflix (2); betches / Instagram