TRUST "THE PROCESS" (BACHELOR IN PARADISE RECAP)
Hoooooo boy, it’s getting messy around here. Mostly accidental messiness, but after last season of Bachelor in Paradise post-Corinne, beggars can’t be choosers. Also, this is your mid-season check-in that there has been no reported sexual assault so far. However, a previous season’s sexual assault was played again for laughs and yes, I’m talking about that time Carly was shamed by Chris Harrison and a crowd of minions into making out with a man for whom she felt no attraction.
Speaking of Carly, she arrives with said man – Evan, whose doggedness is consistently praised rather than reviled because look, they have a kid now – along with Jade and Tanner. It’s the BiP All Stars! Can we pair them up with other contestants and make them dance or something? Wait, the equivalent of that on this show that would be, what ... oh kissing. Never mind.
The current contestants all get starry-eyed, seeing what could be. “This process works!” they’re reminded over and over again between last night’s engagement and the happy couples today. What process? Did the producers read your profile and try to match you with other people suited to your personality? Or did they go down a list of failed, volatile contestants from other seasons and try to make a natural disaster combust? God I’m cynical today.
The current couples are told to sit down with the All Stars and convince them that they are deserving of a date card. Jordan completely bulldozes Jenna, as usual. Tell me something, Jordan: Is Jenna a quiet person? Do you wonder what her voice sounds like? NO. She was telling you about her vibrators at the top of the show. So isn’t it weird that you haven’t heard her voice in QUITE SOME TIME? Kevin and Astrid apparently have a 12-month plan already if this all works out, by which I’m both impressed and terrified. John admits to kissing seven people this season. Eric’s cheese metaphor is even more insufferable now that he’s not a nice guy. New Zealand Jordan – Kiwi Jordan now? – responds to the question “So do you see an engagement at the end of this?” with a bemused expression and a gesture toward Shu being like, “For us?” because indeed, he just got here, and indeed, watching his DGAF attitude is kind of making me want to watch his season of New Zealand Bachelor.
And boy, do Carly and Evan peg Annaliese immediately. They can see her dying inside as she tries to give Kamil space.
In the end, Kendall and Joe get the date card and surprise! They’re babysitting while the All Stars go on the date and reenact a very coordinated music video. It’s like once you’re alumni, you can fool around like that and not taking everything so seriously. When the other contestants hear that Kendall and Joe have to watch two babies, the schadenfreude is palpable. Except for Annaliese. She was all over it.
The crying children while everyone else is minding their own business is the sound of birth control slowly seeping into their psyches.
Joe is not great with kids, FYI, though I don’t know that that’s relevant information for our purposes. Kendall tries playing a ukulele. It fails.
After all their hard work, the All Stars return and bestow upon Kendall and Joe a night on the town. Joe admits to Kendall that this is usually the point in a relationship where he cuts and runs. She asks him the subtlest of all subtle questions, whether it’s because he’s not meant for long term relationships or if it’s because he hasn’t met the right person yet. He gives her the right answer.
Annaliese thinks everyone has baby fever and just when I’m about to write her off, Jordan says he’s looking for a breeder. Jenna tells him the baby names she likes and he makes fun of her so she kicks him off the daybed. LEAVE HIM ON THE SAND, JENNA.
Oh, lord. It’s time for Eric. Either Eric doesn’t know how to translate his thoughts into words or he doesn’t understand words at all. He tells Cassandra he thinks they have a friendship. He tells us he’s not ready for this relationship, even though he wants it so bad. He’s saying that he’s emotionally drained from “The Angela Situation” that was entirely his own making. He’s sad about Angela leaving, so he can’t give Cassandra his full self. He wakes her up from her nap to announce he’s leaving.
Can I reiterate this point: DON’T WAKE A GIRL UP FROM HER NAP. BRING CAKE IF YOU MUST.
The other contestants rally around Eric as he breaks down. John says in interview that Eric was sad because Angela left but ERIC NEVER SAID THAT. Is Eric in denial? Does Eric understand why he’s sad after one woman leaves and then doesn’t want to be in a relationship with a new woman (to whom he gave his freaking rose)?
Chris gets a date card and it just shows how little he knows about Krystal that he goes over to the daybed she’s resting on and is like “Are you ready?” No, fool. If you think this YouTube fitness instructor doesn’t need three hours of prep time to transition from Free People Beach Bum to Glitter Bombshell then you should not be fucking with her.
They go to the same resort that virtually every date has been to, including the All Stars one earlier today (or yesterday, or last week). I believe Chris tells us he loves Krystal before he tells Krystal. There’s a raccoon, and a singer named Ben Rector. Chris says he feels like he won the BiP lottery, which makes his pairing with Krystal sound random, competitive and objectified all at the same time. They dance on water together, which is pretty.
Back at the ranch, some contestants start a game of Truth or Dare around the campfire. Olivia, who are you? What do you want/do/need/care about? Kiwi Jordan dares her and John to recreate Carly- and Evan’s hottest, longest kiss. CARLY DID NOT ENJOY THAT KISS. Regardless of what happened in their relationship after, she was disgusted by that kiss at the time. Anyhow John and Olivia do it and it’s not much hotter next to a campfire but it is better than its predecessor by virtue of it being consensual.
So then Shushanna is in denial about Kamil not being into her. She rebuffs Kiwi Jordan’s advances – another no to a date card! She tries to pull Kamil multiple times. She gets increasingly aggressive even though Kamil, to his credit, is trying to tell her he’s not interested. She’s got veins popping. She’s not taking no for an answer. I was under the impression that they had kissed on their date, but maybe ... it was like a handshake?
Kamil discusses the situation with Annaliese. He uses an elaborate metaphor to express how Shu makes him feel when she’s staring daggers at him: like she’s a witch trying to cast a spell on him. ANNALIESE TAKES THIS LITERALLY. It’s ridiculous. Annaliese, what is you doing.
She decides to take matters into her own hands. Kamil is extremely grateful, to an uncomfortable degree. Annaliese is not an alpha, but I give her points for trying to match Shu’s aggression. They are on completely different pages. Shu gets (even more) irritated when Annaliese says that Shu should have gone on the date with Kiwi Jordan. She tells Annaliese that Kamil tried to kiss her after their date. Then Annaliese accuses Shu of literal witchcraft and casting literal spells to break them up. This upsets Shu a lot and afterward she’s crying to Olivia and she utters the iconic: “Call me a bitch, not a witch.”
The guys talk about voting to expel Shu from Paradise. Is this for Kamil’s sake? For Annaliese’s? To whom do these people swear fealty? The other contestants have each absolved themselves of caring because this is a Crazy Girl, so they can step back and eat popcorn. Chris mentions the popcorn and Krystal goes “You’re such a bad boy” and ewwwwwww.
Wells, meanwhile, seems to recall Shu from his date with her a couple of seasons ago. OMG THEY REPLACED WELLS’S PUPPETS WITH YUKI. I do not appreciate this. Yuki may be an anime character come to life but she is NOT anyone’s puppet. I would watch her sell Chex Mix over the drama of half these contestants any day.
Diggy, He Who Wants No Baggage, returns to Paradise. He goes out with Olivia. While they’re gone, it’s cute watching Jenna pump up John to get off his ass and do something. I still know nothing about Olivia, other than the fact that she told Shu not to go home and to refocus her efforts on Kiwi Jordan, who’s already on a date with Cassandra.
In all the promos, the witchcraft accusations against Shu all seemed kind of preposterous, OTHER THAN the part where she burns Kamil’s photo. That’s some weird shit. When it actually happens on the show, though, there is NO EXPLANATION for it. Is she trying to move on from him? Is it symbolic? Is she actually casting a spell? It’s random and weird and then Kiwi Jordan shows up and tells her that he and Cassandra are on the same page about just having a fun experience here. Shu, rather than saying sorry for turning down his date, stomps away to cry on a daybed.
Rest in peace, dignity.