CHAIN REACTION OF DOOM (BACHELOR IN PARADISE RECAP)
Strapped in for this three-hour special? Did the Bachelor producers know I would already be in pajamas for this particular episode on Labor Day 2018? Is that why it’s three hours long? It’s good television, though. Dramatic arcs are beginning, ending and continuing all over the place. I’m here for it.
It’s gentleman’s choice this week, so per Kendall, it will be messy. Because per Jenna, men don’t know what they want. (I’d be mad about these stereotypes if it weren’t for the fact that they fulfill themselves over and over again.)
Eric is full steam ahead on this Cassandra train and he goes on her date to talk about consistency and honesty. #dramaticirony #haveyouwatchedthisshowbefore He does mention Angela, but only to say that Angela was moving too slowly and not showing a lot of physical affection. Wha? How? If this isn’t him justifying his behavior – and I might be extrapolating here – then it kind of feels like he wanted to get VERY physical? And she wasn’t ready? Am I crazy that that’s what I heard in his explanation? Back home at the ranch, Angela is doing a bang up job of keeping her tears under control.
Tia is gossiping to Colton about Eric’s behavior. Oh baby, she does not know what’s about to hit her. She lounges around with Astrid, talking about how secure she feels in her relationship. Colton, ever the hero of his own story, starts feeling some kind of way about the fact that he has not developed feelings for Tia. He leads her to the Daybed of Despair and breaks up with her. There’s a lot of crying and hugging. It’s pretty darn sad, and pretty clear that Tia was more than just infatuated. They both leave Paradise.
This is a major shockwave for all the contestants who have been faking emotions thus far. Krystal tries to get Chris to tell her if he’s having “wondering thoughts”; Kendall keeps preaching honesty; Chelsea uses the word “shooketh”; Jenna freaks the fuck out about Jordan pulling the same shtick, so Jordan comes over to comfort her, possibly so that he can say in interview that he comforted her. Never before has Paradise seems like an incubation for everyone’s worst relationship fears. Say what you will for alcohol being necessary to breakups, but sometimes you just wanna get away and see a movie or something.
Had Tia and Colton gotten engaged at the end of Paradise, it wouldn’t change the fact that this was a messy relationship. We’d still be questioning Colton’s level of investment. Almost like another couple we encounter this episode ... but that’s for later.
Eric returns from his date with Cassandra and he can’t even look Angela in the eye. Annaliese actually sounds empathetic here; it must be nice for her to feel bad for someone other than herself. So Eric and Angela eventually sit down to talk. His defense, other than “I woke up and felt differently”, is that Angela says she wants to get closer but her actions don’t match. Whatever, bro.
Angela pulls a move that is equal parts boss and petty: she sits Cassandra down and tells her all the nice things Eric said to her while ensconced in a plush hotel bathrobe. Cassandra then goes back to Eric, who makes a point about feelings in the moment being different from ... other feelings? Are those feelings that you wanted to make out with Cassandra, Eric? Anyhow, Cassandra tries to find a nice way to scold him and ends up saying that their nice date has been tarnished and it feels icky and she’s turned off. Go for the jugular, Cassandra.
Can I get wallpaper of that shot of Jordan and Jenna in the hot tub where she is looking full-on Angsty and he’s just eating something?
Kevin retells the story of their meeting to Astrid and it’s really funny to watch her face when he says in the beginning they had eyes only for each other – he was hitting on Krystal, might I remind you? – but then she melts when it’s a lead up to him admitting that he’s falling for her.
Shushanna is back, seemingly for more punishment. She came in late on Season 3 and she’s coming in late now, and apparently with a villain edit? She arrives at the same time as another familiar face: Christen, aka Scallop Fingers. I’m with Kendall on this, that is not a complimentary name and we should not be using it anymore. Only Wells is calling her that, anyhow – he tells Yuki the whole sordid story that Alexis made A Thing last season. Wells, you remember that story but not that you went on dates with Shushanna and that other person who’s about to show up? Trying to stay relevant, are we?
Christen is ... in on the joke? She’s not in on the joke? She came back in from the sea, but she’s not even clear on why that’s funny? Like last season, the men seem enchanted by her and I’m left wondering why.
Shu and Christen get cards for a double date, so they pick Kamil and John, respectively.
Kamil ... Kamil. I am so conflicted on this guy. Like, he acted like he was downers for the past couple of episodes, which annoyed me because that doesn’t make for good television. But he’s coming out of his shell now and I am seriously On The Fence about him. On the one hand, it seemed like it was mighty convenient for him that Annaliese was Suddenly Obsessed with him as soon as he walked in during a lady’s choice week. However, they communicate a LOT, and they agree that he should be “experiencing” Paradise by going on other dates. HOWEVER, in conversation with Shu he calls his relationship with Annaliese a friendzone. That’s weird, no?
Then we have the issue of Annaliese. Poor, poor Annaliese. Annaliese is literally a Disney princess. She is following what Western society determined she should want. She will fall in love, hard, over and over again, until someone decides that works for him. What’s more, she is rationally aware of how clingy she is. She knows that she needs to give Kamil space, so she does. But eventually her true desires come out and while he’s off on another date, she’s pacing and crying, saying in interview that if he proposed to her RIGHT THEN AND THERE she would probably say yes.
So is Kamil wrong for knowing how to deal with Annaliese? Is he wrong for knowing to tell her what she wants to hear (that they’re in a relationship but he would like some space to experience) and then exploring other options (going on a date with Shu, flirting a bissele with Chelsea later)? The answer to the question would be very different if he didn’t end up choosing Annaliese this episode.
While the double date is in effect, Ashley I. and Jared arrive in Paradise. We’re treated to a highlight reel of how this dysfunctional relationship came to be, focused on Ashley’s copious amounts of tears. As a refresher, Jared was not into Ashley. Not their first time in Paradise. Not their second time in Paradise. In Winter Games she started a relationship with Kevin and then there were some murky waters during which Jared kissed her after which she broke up with Kevin. Jenna rightly sums up their relationship as anything can happen if you pursue it mercilessly, for years. I am still in shock that this worked out for Ashley. She wears heels to Paradise, for chrissake. Watching her stilettos sink into the sand is such a perfect metaphor for how she approaches real life situations.
Surprise, they’re here so that Jared can propose to her! Chris Harrison says they’re counting this as a Paradise success story – which, fair – so I guess the ring was free.
We need to talk about Kevin. Poor, adult Kevin. Why did he stand there? Walk away, Kevin. It was classy of him to walk down to the beach to toast the happy couple, but absolutely not necessary. Since Winter Games, Ashley finally shut up about her virginity, making it abundantly clear what went down. Kevin is a “monumental” part of her life, as he explains to Jordan, which is why they parted on friendly terms. I don’t particularly agree with him describing himself as a pawn in Ashley’s plan to win Jared over – don’t you think she’d want to lose her virginity to the person she’s loved all along? – but I can understand Kevin feeling used. You may not be Mayor of Paradise, Kevin, but you’re still #1 right now and you should not have had to watch that engagement.
Astrid stands by her man and calls what happened cheating, straight up. And no, she did NOT toast the engagement, but she DID chug that champagne, thank you very much.
Jordan was hoping to get a date card for him and Jenna, but Jordan has a neckbeard at this moment in time so he doesn’t deserve it. Kevin and Astrid have been in the trenches today, though, so they certainly do. On their date they say “I love you” to each other. A wild mariachi band appears.
Kamil comes back from his double date. Annaliese is overjoyed to find out that he did not feel a connection with Shu, a small fact he fails to communicate to Shu herself. Kamil and Annaliese sleep in the same bed that night.
It’s time for the rose ceremony, which means that Cassandra suddenly forgives Eric and John is kissing both Olivia and Christen. Jordan’s commentary sucks: were you not encouraging Chris’s promiscuity a couple episodes back with disgusting metaphors equating women to courses, but John isn’t allowed to kiss as many ladies as consent to his programmer heart’s desires?
Chris Harrison announces the arrival of a male wildcard and please god don’t let it be Canadian Daniel again. It’s not. It’s the Notorious NZJ, also known as New Zealand Jordan, the guy from Winter Games who DGAF. Will someone please tell me WHAT HAPPENED BETWEEN YOU AND BIBIANA?? Also he has no hair now.
Chelsea is desperate and she’s going to play dirty to stay. After a full episode of listening to Annaliese and encouraging her when she shouldn’t, Chelsea approaches Kamil. She gets him to admit that he would have liked to meet everyone before settling down with Annaliese. She gets him to admit that he finds Chelsea attractive. THEN Ms. Chelsea goes over to Annaliese and tries to get her to realize that Kamil is calling their relationship a friendship – which, fair – but Annaliese is strong and sees Chelsea for the snake she is. This is not America’s Next Top Best Friend in Paradise.
At the rose ceremony, the usuals stick together: Kevin and Astrid, Joe and Kendall, Jordan and Jenna, Chris and Krystal. Kamil gives Annaliese his rose. Eric gives Cassandra his rose. John gives Olivia his rose. New Zealand Jordan gives Shu his rose.
Angela is going home because she was too proud to beg Eric for a rose – which, fair – but then why didn’t she just go home when she realized that would happen? Christen, who flirted with so many people that she got a camera shot for virtually every rose, is going home, which results in her having an undefined medical emergency. Chelsea, who tried to get a rose from both NZJ and Kamil, is going home, and she starts hyperventilating in interview over the fact that she left her kid for nothing.
Our lesson for tonight?
Mariachi bands improve everything.
Also, we now know that Colton is The Bachelor for next season. Spoiler alert if you didn’t watch this episode live and happened to catch GMA the next morning, huh? He’s less detestable than Nick Viall, but, like ... there’s going to be so much crying. A moment of silence for the Kenny season that could have been.