Daniel? Really? He was the best we could do for a surprise entrance during the rose ceremony? Between all the interesting eligible men on Rachel’s season, we’re trotting out Daniel? He seems like the kind of guy who goes around and tells everyone his role model is Jason Bateman but he really means Patrick Bateman. You know this guy looked at the eclipse. Straight on. No glasses. But Daniel’s arrival isn’t the most egregious thing that happens in this episode.
We get another Very Special Bachelor in Paradise and Host Chris put on his big boy shoes to talk to … Jasmine and Matt? Oh, for God’s sake. I haven’t timed it, but I have a hunch that Corinne spends more time talking about DeMario or even watching clips of DeMario than she does talking about her own inner thoughts and feelings. Her segment doesn’t even pass the Bechdel Test. That’s one of my huge issues with this episode, but I suppose we’ll get there soon enough.
It’s still the goddamn rose ceremony. Daniel arrives and says he’s not a Canadian eagle anymore. Now he’s a wolf. Lacey is immediately overcome by an impossible and immense thirst and jumps all over him. Please let this woman get some action before she disappears into herself and her own self-pity. Daniel immediately launches into calling the women “leftovers” because I guess when you’re white and a seven at best, you can be mean to women and it gets chalked up to being “honest” and “funny.” Lacey calls him “witty and smart” with a straight face. See what I mean about the thirst?
It’s time for the rose ceremony. In between every rose given out, we get more glimpses into Jasmine’s mental decline. By the end of the rose ceremony, she’s hunched over, eating a raw fish, complaining about “what a sneaky slimy snake” Christen is and how she thought Matt was a real man. JACK STONE gives his rose to Christen. Suddenly, Matt trots back in and says he wants to give his rose to Jasmine and she spits out the fish spine she’s been gnawing on. She sulks over to him and accepts his rose with all the petulance of a third-grader. Derek gives his rose to Taylor; Robby gives his to Amanda; Diggy gives his to Dominique. When it comes to the love triangles, Adam gives his rose to Raven and Dean gives his to Kristina. You’d think that would be the end of it, but then Ben Z. gives his rose to Danielle L. UGH. COME ON.
The next morning in Paradise, the Tickle Monster comes in. Everyone says he’s way more attractive in person and I just cannot. We could be looking at Kenny or even Blake K. Remember Blake K.? That fine-ass dude who went home way too soon on Rachel’s season? But no, we’re all supposed to act like Tickle Monster is Cary Grant. He takes Christen on a date and Lacey and Daniel go on a luchador wrestling adventure.
Meanwhile, the main emotional drama of the episode is Dean’s fuckboi nature. There was a moment when I thought this was Dean’s Bachelor test run, but man, oh man, he’s squandered all that good will.
Hey, Dean? Telling someone upfront what you’re feeling about the relationship is a good thing. Telling them, “You’re a sure thing, but there’s someone who I think is really hot so I wanna see if I can bang them, so until then, you’ll do!” is not actually a good thing. You can’t keep telling someone “to be patient” while you’re off making out with whomever you want to. You obviously think of yourself as a “good guy” but you’re not a good guy.
Hey, Kristina? Girl, move on. Quit sitting poolside while you watch Dean make out and chicken-fight with Danielle L. Men fuck in the path of least resistance. Dean is fully prepared to keep sleeping with you because you’re still sleeping with him.
Before we move on to the Very Special Bachelor in Paradise, can I just say one thing: WHO KEEPS GIVING WELLS THESE PUPPETS?
It’s time for Corinne’s moment to tell her side of the story. Oh, did I say “her side of the story”? I meant “defend DeMario and explain away what she did to absolve ABC of any wrongdoing.” Corinne said she blacked out because she was mixing medication and alcohol, and that she “overdrank.” First of all, how scary. How terrifying to lose an entire day of your life and find out that you had some sort of sexual encounter in that lost day. It bears repeating that if you’re so incapacitated that you black out and lose your memory of an entire day, you’re too drunk to give consent.
Second of all, it bears repeating that the issue isn’t that Corinne “overdrank,” but that she was overserved. Especially if she was on medication. I’ve had to fill out paperwork to do an escape room that asked if I was on any medication or had any medical conditions that might cause me to be unable to find Al Capone’s gold. Yes, Corinne is an adult and she’s responsible for her choices, but ABC bears responsibility too. They overserved someone. Full stop. I know bar owners in Wrigleyville who do a better job cutting people off.
The most unbelievable part is that Corinne is never really asked to tell her side of the story or even how she felt about the media coverage. DeMario spent more time talking about Corinne being slut-shamed than Corinne did. Host Chris never asked her about it without tacking on a follow-up question about DeMario. You can almost hear the semicolon before DeMario’s name. They even show her clips of DeMario’s interview so we’re watching it TWICE before we even hear anything from Corinne’s perspective.
Again, the show wasted a really powerful moment to engage with a woman who lived through a scary but relatable event and came out the other side knowing who she is. Instead, they kept asking Corinne to say she’s sorry about what happened to DeMario and confirm that this whole thing was very hard on him.
No one tells her they’re sorry for what happened to her.
There’s no moment where the show or Host Chris expresses any major sympathy for Corinne or even extends a hand of apology. Her whole interview is treated like a juicy scoop and a spectacle. Even if Corinne and her team don’t view what happened as assault, this interview still portrays what happened to DeMario as the real tragedy. All of these moments just make me think two things and they’re both incredibly cynical. First, the show doesn’t have enough footage for a whole season. All of the shallow relationships and hollow drama suggest that the show had to cobble together some filler. That’s how we get Jasmine “confronting” Matt and Wells watching a clip of himself kissing Danielle.
My other very cynical thought: Did DeMario and his team demand all of this to clear his name? If not, why the intense focus on him? When you put together everything that allegedly happened, this is what we know: Two people had a sexual encounter, one of them was reportedly too incapacitated to consent, and a producer filed a complaint that prompted the production shutdown and an internal investigation. (The investigation concluded after finding no evidence of misconduct.) I’m not saying that DeMario asked the show to demonstrate his innocence, but if he did, it would look a lot like Host Chris asking Corinne, “But what about DeMario?” three times.
Or maybe both of my cynical reactions are wrong. Maybe the show is just deeply committed to rape culture and the narrative it provides: that the main concern of a woman who dealt with public slut-shaming should be how it affects the man in the equation.
Note: This season of Bachelor in Paradise was shut down for “allegations of misconduct” involving Corinne Olympios and DeMario Jackson. After a Warner Bros. investigation found no evidence of misconduct, production resumed. Vulture will continue recapping the season while providing resources for survivors of sexual harassment and assault.
I will be donating a portion of my writing fee to survivors of sexual assault. Join me this week by donating to Joyful Heart. If you or someone you know has been affected by sexual assault or harassment, please call 800.656.HOPE (4673) to be connected with RAINN’s network of service providers.