Well, kids, we made it. I’m exhausted, I’m out of breath, and my liver is fighting hard not to crumble under the amount of boxed wine it took me to get through this season, but we did it. We have (supposedly) made it to the finale of Bachelor in Paradise. It’s not like I’ve been begging for this moment to happen ever since the producers started making food foreplay a thing before each rose ceremony.
Speaking of rose ceremonies, this is a big week for the couples. We’ll get to find out which of these lovebirds will ruin their lives by getting engaged to a person they’ve known for about as long as I leave my suitcases packed after a trip and which couples
will break up have just brought shame upon their households by dry humping anything with a pulse all summer. Let’s dive into it!
Abigail & Noah
Last week was a tough one for Noah and Abigail. Not only did Noah get a glimpse of their future and then promptly attempt to moonwalk away from it, but they were forced to have that conversation while dressed like extras from the set of Pretty in Pink. And not, like, the popular extras from that movie. God, imagine looking so heinous during a breakup that is broadcast to millions of people? That 80s theme was definitely crafted to humiliate them further. Bravo, ABC. Bravo.
As Abigail gives a full-on Josie Grossie meltdown, Noah gives her a solid five extra minutes of his time before being like “well, good season everyone! It was fun while it lasted!” Sir, this isn’t the ending to a Mighty Ducks movie. What kind of exit speech is that? Hearts are on the line here!
NOAH: She’s a great girl, but are we each other’s soul mates?
I do appreciate how realistic Noah is being here. I mean, he’s not wrong. In a matter of days these people will have to get engaged to each other. And while the sanctity of marriage means nothing to this franchise, it still seems laughable to me that any of them feel the relationship they built on mimosas and tequila shots is strong enough to withstand an engagement. Noah is still trying to figure out how to layer all of those delicate necklaces, for god’s sake. He’s not ready for that kind of commitment!
Oh, Jesus Christ. Why is Serena crying? Word gets out about Abigail and Noah’s breakup and the news rocks the rest of the contestants. Why they’re mourning this relationship like it’s a beloved grandparent and not some white dude with a penchant for wearing shirts unbuttoned to his navel turning out to be a fuckboy, I’m not sure. I can only assume it’s the Stolkholm Syndrome fully setting in that has these people in such stitches.
Becca & Thomas
Every time I see Becca and Thomas on my screen, I’m taken aback. A former beloved Bachelorette talking to a man who was banished from his season with all of the power of a generations-strong witches curse? Make! It! Make! Sense!
While Thomas and Becca were mooning over each other at prom and picked each other at the last rose ceremony, Becca is having doubts about attending the fantasy suite with him. Case in point: Thomas tells Becca that he’s all in with her, and she visibly cringes. Wow, not a strong start.
BECCA: I’m just not sure I’m there yet. I think I need more time.
HAHAHAHA. Thomas is so messy for drama and I love it. Before Becca can even finish her thought, Thomas begins openly weeping on that day bed. He warbles something about one day maybe being able to love again and then stumbles for the exit. Becca chases after him to probably tell him to slow his roll, she just meant she wants to continue dating him, but Thomas has already committed to the main character energy and can’t be tamed. He’s like, “if you ever loved me just let me go!” and I’m dead. DECEASED. I’ve had less dramatic exits leaving a Macy’s dressing room in 7th grade. If you really want to perfect that method acting, Tommy, try embodying the mindset of a barely pubescent girl who is both looking for a “sexy” dress for the school dance and simultaneously afraid to shave her legs above the knee.
Also, it feels very meta watching their relationship play out on the show because if you’ve been following either of them at all IRL, you’d see that they don’t go a single day without @ing each other on social media. So, like, what am I even watching here? They’re clearly still together. ABC, stop wasting my time with this old footage and give me the good stuff!!
Maurissa & Riley
Riley and Maurissa continue to prove that love isn’t actually dead. They decide to go to the fantasy suites together, partly because they want to see if their relationship can make it in the real world and partly because they ran out of whipped cream on the beach anyway. Also, I love that they all think a night in the fantasy suites will properly prepare them for the real world. Yes, champagne and private hot tubs is exactly the harsh dose of reality they needed to get an accurate picture of life outside of Paradise.
One of the most raw moments of Bachelor television I’ve ever witnessed occurs when Riley tells Maurissa that he has this recurring dream about Sunday mornings, one where he wakes up to a wife and kids and lazy days in bed and, Y’ALL, I AM CRYING IN THIS CLUB RN.
RILEY: When I see you, I see Sunday morning
I AM NOT WELL. It’s actually unhealthy how happy I am for these complete strangers. I’m so happy for them that I will even ignore Maurissa slipping in a joke about sucking his toes during the proposal scene the next day. I’m so happy that I’ll even ignore how distracted I am by the fact that these people are melting right before my very eyes. My god, did they have to propose on the surface of the sun?! I’ve seen people leave less wet after a SeaWorld performance.
Also, just gonna leave this here:
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Mari & Kenny
Like every other couple this week, Kenny and Mari also have to decide if they’re going to take their relationship to the next level. Kenny says that his only concern about Mari is her age, which is fun because last week his biggest concern was that she wouldn’t let him dip her entire body in queso on a Wednesday. Those seem like two contrasting concerns, but okay.
Going into the fantasy suites, Kenny continues to question Mari’s commitment to their relationship. He says that she’s never really been 100% with him. LOL. This coming from the guy who played topless volleyball with Tia and brought Demi to the boom boom room. But sure, Mari is the one who isn’t ready for marriage…
KENNY: No one expects me to get married, no one expects me to have kids.
Yes, well, that could be because of the smattering of star tattoos sprinkled across your ribcage.
Cut to the proposal day and Mari looks absolutely stunning. Kenny, meanwhile, looks less like he’s about to propose and more like he’s about to shout “SPRING BREAK, BITCHES” into a crowd full of college kids and then pelt them with jello shots. His actual proposal isn’t much better. He says that it wasn’t love at first sight with them but it was “something.” Why do I have the feeling he’s referring to his boner here? At least class it up for this one thing, Kenny!
KENNY: *waggles eyebrows* I asked Mari to mari me
And just like that, they’re engaged! I can’t wait to see the tuxedo-printed bro tank Kenny designs for their wedding day. Should be magical.
Serena & Joe
ABC tried hard to make the finale into something that wasn’t 180 minutes of footage of melatonin given physical form, only to fail miserably in that endeavor. They particularly focused those efforts on Joe and Serena’s relationship. I assume they took one look at Serena’s butterfly hair clips and Soffee shorts and struggled, as I did, to take this relationship seriously. It seems like low-hanging fruit to me, but who am I to judge?
The happy couple goes off to the Fantasy Suites for a night of Joe having to explain to Serena that it’s impolite to ask the waiter the alcohol percentage of each wine. Joe says that he thought he would be more confused going into proposal day, but instead he’s never been more sure about his feelings for Serena. I mean, actually his exact words were: “everything that just happened between us is just natural” and it’s like, we get it, Joe. She’s so young you don’t need lube. Enough.
Cut to proposal day and Joe is standing on the beach wearing his best Costco bulk order polo when who should appear? KENDALL. Okay, this is just cruel at this point. What is the point of bringing Kendall back? Haven’t we exhausted this plot point already? And Kendall, girlfriend, I’ve defended you throughout this season but this is… too far. Which family member is ABC holding for ransom behind the scenes, because I can’t believe you did this of your own free will!
Ultimately, Kendall’s reappearance does nothing to deter him from proposing to Serena. He says that even though he’s old enough to have a MySpace account and she’s young enough to have a Finsta, they can make it work (I paraphrase). Never mind that Serena isn’t even a U.S. citizen. I for one, cannot WAIT to see the 90 Day Fiancé x Bachelor Nation spin-off this relationship has the power to generate. I ask for so little, just let me have this one thing!
JOE & SERENA:
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KENDALL, A GIRL WHO IS TOTALLY DOING FINE:
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And that’s the season, kids! We have exactly two weeks until Michelle’s season of The Bachelorette airs, so I’ll be spending that down time constantly refreshing Maurissa’s IG feed to live vicariously through her happiness. Until then!
Images: Craig Sjodin / ABC; Giphy (4); @joeamabile1 /Instagram (1); @itskendalllong /Instagram (1); @bachelorettewindmill /Instagram (1)
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.
Aaron when he can’t go an entire episode without starting a fight with someone. #BachelorInParadise #bachelorinparadiseabc pic.twitter.com/3qpCxmWXj1
— The Roast Ceremony (@RoastCeremony) September 22, 2021
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)
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)
Welcome back to your regularly scheduled Bachelor in Paradise recap. Well, regular in the sense that I have recapped it despite ABC upending the very fabric of my being by moving all Bachelor-related content to Tuesday nights. There are only a few things I’m certain of in this life: death, taxes, and my right to watch filler-filled twentysomethings tarnish their family names for 120 minutes every Monday night. How dare you, ABC.
Mess With The Bull, You Get The Horns
Speaking of audacity, let’s pick up where we left off last week, shall we? Chris and Alana have just been cast out from Paradise like whores from Babylon. Never mind that the true Judases, Pieper and Brendan, remain untouched by scandal. Look, all I’m saying is if tonight doesn’t end with Pieper and Brendan being tied down in the town square as residents of Paradise launch tomatoes and the dregs of Wells’ shitty cocktails at them for an Instagram Live, then there’s no justice in this world. Give the people what they want.
Thank god for Demi, though, because she’s using her last two brain cells to put two and two together and is realizing Brendan did Natasha just as dirty as Chris did Jessenia. And if anyone gets to be the villain on this beach, it’s her. Don’t get it twisted.
As we move into the third formal rose ceremony, Demi brings her argument to the Powers That Be: the last remaining single women… and Joe. Oh good, the council is convening.
Demi starts pointing out the similarities between the Chris/Alana thing and Brendan/Pieper. She says that the only reason the guys haven’t chased Brendan off the beach with their pitchforks yet is because they like him more than they liked Chris. Say it louder for the people in the back, Demi!!
When Natasha starts in with her story, ABC frames it just right. I mean, I’ve seen less sad Humane Society commercials. They should have put her voice over a Sarah McLachlan track for maximum effect.
And no one is more affected than Joe. He looks positively ill at being bamboozled by a boy who knows too much about the brand Revolve. Oh, sweetie. The dating apps would eat you alive.
Does anyone else feel like Joe is the kind of guy who sprung fully-formed from his mother’s womb, complete with a five o’clock shadow, mortgage, and five teenage daughters to support? He was destined for this shit right here. He’s truly thriving with all of this drama. With every lurid accusation Natasha lobs against Brendan, Joe’s sighs get heavier and heavier. Everyone is tattling to daddy and now he has to dole out the punishment.
Next time he’s cracking skulls, y’all!
Joe leads his kindergarten class of enraged women to confront the happy couple. Brendan doubles down on his claim that he and Pieper definitely weren’t dating before Paradise, he only bought her ticket to Mexico, gave her a key to his apartment, and listed her as his emergency contact. But you can do that with buddies too, okay!!
The crux of Brendan and Pieper’s argument is that they didn’t realize there were any rules to Paradise and thus, them showing up as a fully formed couple didn’t seem “wrong” to them. I don’t think there necessarily is a rule against coming on the show and thinking you might pursue a certain person. I don’t even think there’s a rule against having casually met that person IRL and then coming on the show to form a deeper connection. What’s wrong is how Brendan strung Natasha along for his personal gain. She flat-out asked him if he had a thing for Pieper and his response was the equivalent of calling her crazy.
BRENDAN: We weren’t dating before, I barely knew her.
PIEPER: I knew him and I came here only for him
My god, it’s actually stunning how bad Pieper is at PR. She simply cannot help but bury the two of them alive. At one point Brendan suggests they leave before the producers procure a date card for a cage diving with sharks excursion and accidentally forget to properly secure the cage, and she literally responds with: “I guess, but I would have liked the chance to stay so I could make more money.” It’s like she’s given up on all pretenses that she’s anything but the like-hungry friend my mother warned me about when I joined “Facebox” all those years ago. By all means, live your truth hunnie.
What’s nuts is that the cast doesn’t even know the true depths to Brendan and Pieper’s treachery. Even now as they debate if they should or shouldn’t leave Paradise, they can’t seem to help but sabotage whatever scraps of their reputation they had left. Just wait until everyone hears these behind-the-scenes soundbites, kids.
PIEPER, GEN Z REPRESENTATIVE: I didn’t know it was taboo to use people for followers
JOE’S DELICATE MILLENNIAL SENSIBILITIES:
In the end, Brendan and Pieper decide to leave. Brendan’s final words are that he never meant to mislead anyone, he just “intentionally withheld information.” And that, sir, is exactly the phrase Bachelor Nation will inscribe on your headstone! Good riddance.
The Rest Of The Rose Ceremony
I would be remiss if I didn’t discuss the rest of the rose ceremony, however uneventful it felt after the dismissal of Dumb and Dumber back there. Whilst half of the contestants were off battling Brendan and Pieper for the soul of Paradise, Riley and Maurissa felt their presence was best used to recreate soft-core porn. I have never seen so many close-up shots of whipped cream, sand, and random body parts in all my life.
Look, Maurissa is stunning and for that fact alone there’s not much I wouldn’t watch her do, but I have to draw a line at sucking a grown man’s toe. The only person who should be that up close and personal to an ingrown toenail is your pedicurist, and even then, tongues should be left out of the equation entirely. Is nothing sacred to you people?!
Moving on to the Tammy/Thomas/Becca love triangle. If you’ll recall, last week Becca politely asked Tammy’s permission to take Thomas on a date AND TAMMY SAID YES. I’m just not sure what Tammy’s game plan was here. As a child, did no one ever read to you If You Give a Mouse a Cookie? Well, if you give a hoe an inch, she will steal your man!
When Tammy confronts Thomas about his date, he basically tells her that Becca seems more stable. Do you mean more stable mentally?? Than Tammy does?? Bold to just say it to her face like that. Clearly he likes to live life on the edge.
Lol Tammy is having the worst birthday of her life. First her eyelashes look about ready to take flight from her eyelids completely, and then Thomas straight-up dumps her. Look, speaking as a woman who was not only dumped on her birthday, but the dumping was also done whilst the guy was in mid-beer pong swing, I’m telling you, you will get over it. Look at me! It’s been 10 years since that particular offense and I can confidently say I only think about it every night right before bed and hold it against every man I ever meet. I’m a success story in the making!
Speaking of the rose ceremony, the line-up goes as such:
- Pity picks Natasha
- Riley picks Maurissa
- Joe picks Serena
- Ivan picks Kendall
- Noah picks Abigail
- Kenny picks Mari
- James picks Tia
- Thomas picks Becca
- Aaron picks Chelsea
It’s a new day in Paradise, which means new men are rolling in! Blake arrives on the scene first and I’m starting to think that ABC is doing some sort of social experiment on all of us. Like, were these people actually contestants on the show or are you just hiring actors, slapping them with hot guy names, and telling us they “went home early during Clare’s season”? Is Blake one of Dale’s contacts from his Party City modeling days? Be honest with us, ABC. WHAT IS THE TRUTH?
As if ABC can sense my skepticism hot on their trail, they nudge the contestants into acting like this “Blake” person is sooo well-known in Bachelor Nation that everyone just calls him “Tatty Daddy.” *Gags repeatedly*
And no one is stanning this stranger harder than Tia. She asked the lord to give her a man with tattoos and the lord delivereth.
TIA: Tatty Daddy makes my vagina dance
TIA’S ACTUAL DADDY:
Another new arrival this week: Joe. The other Joe. Doctor Joe. He hits it off with Natasha, which feels especially delicious given Brendan’s recent proclamations that no man would touch her with a 10-foot pole.
Things were looking up for Natasha. Joe asked her on a date and even offered to drink the margarita with a bug floating in it. You won’t find that shit on the apps. But because we cannot have nice things, the date quickly takes a turn for the worse when it’s revealed that Joe and Brendan are in a committed broship. They have the friendship bracelets to prove it.
Unfortunately, the two can’t get over the whole Brendan thing. Natasha was hoping to meet a man who would help her cast a curse on the next three generations of his lineage and instead she met a man who would rather do this:
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For shame, Joe. For shame.
The final moments of the episode set us up for more Serena/Joe/Kendall drama next week. It appears that being marooned on a beach, watching your ex fall in love with a girl who thinks anything from the 1990s is “vintage”, is actually not great for your mental health. Shocking. Until next week!
Images: Craig Sjodin / ABC; Giphy (5); @josephparkmd /Instagram (1)
Welcome back to Hell! Once again, we find ourselves shackled to our couches for the sake of watching grown adults slowly poison themselves one skinny margarita at a time. Ah, yes. It’s good to be home.
The Never-Ending Rose Ceremony
Speaking of home, when last we left off we were moments away from finding out which of the men would live to black out on the beach another day and which of them would have to take their talents back to the DMs (honestly, where all of these barn animals belong). Up on the chopping block tonight we have: Aaron, Thomas, Karl, Connor, Ivan, Chris, and Chasen.
In my last recap, I alluded to there being an undercurrent of sexual tension between Aaron and Thomas, and I’m happy to report that, boy, is that tension still alive and thriving. They both claim that Tammy is the object of their affections and yet “Tammy” appears to only be a thinly veiled excuse for the two of them to bump chests and make heated eye contact on a secluded corner of the beach. I’m picking up what you’re putting down, boys.
Aaron is pissed because he thinks Tammy should be happy with their relationship. I’m sorry but, “relationship” is a bit of a stretch. The two of you have built some sort of connection off of looking hot on beaches and agreeing to generally stand near each other when the cameras are in range. That’s not a relationship, that’s a business transaction.
Meanwhile, Thomas has, like, actually shown physical interest in Tammy. I know because I yell “hands!!” and cover my eyes in disgust every time the two of them start to go at it on a day bed. Idk, Aaron. I feel like this is a you problem, not a Thomas problem.
AARON: I can’t believe she would do this to me… I gave her EVERYTHING!!
ABC’S GREEK CHORUS:
Also, let’s talk about Aaron’s behavior for a second. For someone who has built a reputation on this franchise as some sort of knight in shining armor, slayer of bad-intentioned men, and self-proclaimed “savior” of grown-ass women who have working eyes and ears and can look out for themselves just fine—he is acting like quiet the fuckboy this evening.
Tammy tries to have a calm, adult conversation with him about her feelings for Thomas. Sure, she could have been more honest and upfront with Aaron, but they’ve been dating for five days. Get over it. Aaron, in turn, starts gaslighting the shit out of Tammy. He says that Tammy “straddled” Thomas in front of everyone, and the use of that term feels very strategic and slut-shamey to me. This has everything to do with him feeling embarrassed and hardly anything to do with his actual feelings toward Tammy.
Look at the way he positions this conversation. It’s all about what Tammy did to him. She humiliated him. She made him a laughing stock. And then he ends the conversation with a threat: you will regret this. Yikes.
Our women’s ally, everyone! It’s good to know that we’ll have Aaron in our corner, fighting the good fight, so long as we continually pad his ego and never engage in consensual semi-sexual acts with people he tried to control us from interacting with in the first place. The women’s movement needs more support from guys like this, amiright?
The rest of the rose ceremony is pure chaos. While Aaron sends smoldering looks toward Thomas from across the bar, another love triangle plays out between Karl, Deandra, and Chasen. Both guys have set their sights on Deandra’s rose, and have decided that the best way to go about winning her affections is by gifting her with heinous jewelry. A bold move, Cotton.
Meanwhile, Tre decides to take himself out of the rose ceremony completely and self-eliminate from Paradise, despite absolutely no one asking him to do so. Like… you already had… a rose…? He’s like “me and Tahzjuan just aren’t clicking” and it’s like, is it that you’re not “clicking” or is it that she “clicked” with your uncle first? What’s the truth, Tre!
TRE’S UNCLE RN:
By now, the rose ceremony has dragged on for approximately three quarters of this episode. ABC does love to punish their audience, but this feels particularly Promethean in nature. For those of you uncultured swine whose eyes just stumbled over that analogy, Prometheus was a figure in Greek mythology who was punished by Zeus for gifting man with fire. His punishment involved having his liver devoured by an eagle every day for all eternity. Replace “violent removal of entrails” with “listening to Aaron moan about his romantic prospects on loop”, and I’m feeling Prometheus’ pain. Honestly, I’d take the eagle.
Let’s look at the results of the rose ceremony, shall we? The lineup goes as such:
- Natasha picks Brendan (idiot)
- Serena picks Joe (belch)
- Jessenia picks Chris (why)
- Tammy picks Thomas (lol)
- Demi picks Kenny (of course)
- Abigail picks Noah (snooze)
- Maurissa picks Riley (cute)
- Mari picks James (random)
- Deandra picks Ivan (random-er)
- Becca picks Aaron (acca-EXCUSE ME?!)
That’s right folks! You read that last line right. At the tail end of the rose ceremony, Becca Kufrin makes her triumphant return to the Bachelor franchise. Well, as triumphant as you can be slinking into Mexico to find love with franchise rejects after breaking off an engagement with someone who probably thinks QAnon theories “have merit.” Good luck to you, sweetie!
I guess I’m the only one who’s unimpressed, because everyone is acting like ABC just dropped a Hadid on the beach with them. The girls are like “it’s over for us hoes, Becca can have anyone here!” but they do realize that Becca is just a mall-person from Minnesota… right? I mean, for god’s sake, Tahzjuan took one look at Becca and hopped in a cab back to the airport. It’s madness!
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I wonder if it has anything to do with her age. At 30, Becca is one of the oldest women here. Perhaps it’s that air of authority, that knowledge that Wells won’t question her I.D. at the bar, that makes her so attractive. Like how when you’re growing up you think your babysitter is the hottest person alive, but in reality she’s just an 11th grader with a penchant for scrunching her hair. Yeah, like that.
Tia Booth also returns to Paradise this week. The addition of Tia and Becca to the cast effectively raises the median age of female cast members from “basically 21” to “if I drink two margaritas I’m going to need a Tums.” I love this vibe.
While Becca hits it off with Aaron (ew), Tia only seems to have eyes for Kenny and asks him to go on a date with her. Joe’s like, “I knew it, Kenny is very much her type.” Okay, but who would call that man their type? He’s not so much a “type” as the kind of person you can’t avoid once you cross state lines into Florida.
DEMI: Life is hard when you’re dating the hottest guy on the beach
Seriously, WHAT is the appeal here?
If Demi thought she had reason to worry about Tia, just WAIT until she learns about the other three naked people on their date. While some couples get to go jet skiing or enjoy a romantic candlelit dinner, Tia and Kenny get to play nude volleyball with random beach people. Well, ABC is certainly creating a mood here (even if that mood is “y’all need Jesus”).
The amount of times I’ve heard “labia” and “flaccid penis” in the last five minutes is making me want to soak my brain in bleach. Like, this isn’t even sexy! It’s a miserable day for a beach volleyball game, naked or not. You can tell it’s humid as hell and in a constant state of drizzling. Wet sand has got to be everywhere. The vibes on the beach now are less “second chance at love” and more “naked and afraid.”
What’s crazy is how easy it is for Kenny to talk Tia out of her top. All it takes is a wink and cajoling smile from a townie cover band manager and suddenly she’s throwing away her morals and bringing dishonor to her family’s good name. It’s a tale as old as time.
DEMI: I’m not worried. She’s not as fun as me.
TIA: *flashes china pot*
Tia! What will the prayer circle back home say??
Most of tonight’s episode highlights the love story blossoming between Serena P and Joe. By “highlights” I mean they show a clip of Serena asking Joe what his last name was and we are to understand that this means they’re connecting on intimate levels. The bar is so low here.
But of course, ABC would never just let people be happy. No, no, no. The second they sense Joe isn’t about to fling himself into the ocean from despair, they decide to bring him right back to the brink by calling in the big guns: Kendall. That’s right, KENDALL IS BACK, BITCHES. Question: Has Kendall always had that slamming body? Or did she bring it out just to torture Joe in this moment?
JOE: I’ve finally moved on. I’m so happy.
KENDALL: Hey butthead.
HEY BUTTHEAD. HEY! BUTTHEAD!!!
Can you imagine being Serena P in this moment? And having to watch your new love interest get emotionally ruined after his ex shows up and greets him with a third grader’s slur?
I’ll be on the edge of my seat until next week!
Images: Craig Sjodin / ABC; @bitchelorette_ /Instagram (1); @floridaman_ /Twitter (1); Giphy (2)