You know that moment in your dating life when you look up and realize there is nothing out there? Just nothing. You’ve been on every bad date possible. You’ve dated the guy who lives in a pantry like a borrower. You’ve dated the guy who blew his nose no less than 14 times loudly in between bites of his burger. You’ve dated the guy who told you he was in the middle of a vow of voluntary celibacy. You’ve dated all of them. Every single busted-ass-scrub dude out there, AND YOU’RE STILL SINGLE. You start to wonder, “Is my pussy broken, or does every man alive within a 25-mile radius have the personality of a sea cucumber and the financial decision-making skills of an NFL recruit after signing his first contract? Are quality men on hiatus? Did they shut down the factory where they make dudes who don’t live in the apartment their grandma died in?” That moment in your dating life. When the well is empty and the wind is howling over that empty, sad-ass well.
That’s what this season of Bachelor in Paradise feels like. It doesn’t feel like anyone is putting their best foot forward. I don’t know who I’m supposed to be rooting for. So far, the dead crab Alexis tried to shove into JACK STONE’s mouth is a more sympathetic character than any of these other bozos.
This week, the guys have the roses, so prepare for a lackluster, unromantic march toward the rose ceremony. There isn’t even any devious enjoyment of the power from the men, even the ones in so-called love triangles. This season feels like the first few months of 2017: One minute feels like an hour, one hour feels like a day. There’s only been, like, one rose ceremony.
This episode is the closest to what a typical episode on Paradise might feel like, except everyone is 15 times more disengaged and awful. The only real couple going into the episode is Derek and Taylor. Jasmine seems to think that Matt is into her and they’re sailing along smoothly, and you can just see the fear behind his eyes. She’s becoming more and more unhinged as the days go on, and the arrival of Christen from Nick’s season does nothing to help.
Christen is the most impossible name, and it makes me furious. I keep wanting to just complete the thought and type “Christina” or “Christine” because “Christen” is just unreasonable. Christen’s claim to fame was that she is a virgin, but even as someone who closely watches The Bachelor, I remember literally nothing about her from Nick’s season. We need to stop the “virginity as replacement for personality” trope of reality TV. It’s strange and reduces women to the status of their vaginas.
Christen sits down with the gals to figure out the lay of the land, and Jasmine immediately suggests she go out with JACK STONE. Anyone but Matt. Christen goes on her speed dates with the guys, and Matt comes over to her to insist that he is available and that he would love to go on a date. Jasmine is somewhere ranting into the ocean about how annoying Christen is. Jasmine has also dubbed herself “The Queen of Paradise,” and she is the only woman who must not be crossed. You get the sense that most of the women don’t really get along with Christen, so anything she does immediately gets an eye roll. Although that scallop-fingers story is legit bizarre: Christen ordered scallops to-go, ate them in a packed car, with her fingers, and then slapped that shark-ass bitch on the shoulder with her scallop fingers. It doesn’t help her case when later Christen walks around with a jumbo shrimp in her hand, hugging people.
Matt tells Jasmine that he’s going out with Christen, and Jasmine launches into a stream of consciousness about it. “She’s gonna feel so stupid, I’m not gonna get mad; maybe she thinks she’s gonna get a rose from Matt, she’s stupid; Christen’s taking Matt on a date, isn’t that the funniest thing you’ve ever heard; she’s not worth choking, they’re not gonna have fun; she’s wasting her time,” she says to everyone and no one in particular. Jasmine decides to go talk to Christen, and while she’s walking to her room, she turns to the camera and says, “You want good TV, ABC. I’m about to give you good TV.”
But she doesn’t give us good TV. She doesn’t go full villain. She’s just a little bitchy. Jasmine, I know you can do better. If you’re gonna give it to us, give it to us. Christen breaks down in tears, but gets over it to go on her (boring) date with Matt. Jasmine is found huddled under a tropical bush, muttering like Gollum about what a sneaky, slimy person Christen is.
At some point after Christen and Matt return, Wells is asked to chime in on the scandal and someone gave him a puppet. WHO GAVE HIM A PUPPET? I feel like this season is really “trying to make Wells happen,” and he’s not that funny, ABC. A little Wells goes a long way and adding props is not helping.
Meanwhile, Robby has set his sights on Amanda. He’s giving her gifts and trinkets, and his latest trick is to put a bunch of glow sticks in the hot tub. He keeps trying to kiss her and she does not want to be kissed, but he’s moaning about her “mixed signals.” Yo, homey. Turning away from a kiss isn’t a mixed signal. It’s a straight-up signal. Amanda should just tell Robby how she’s feeling because she doesn’t seem to know, but is enjoying his attempts.
Also, Derek and Taylor get into a fight. They seem to be working through some of the challenges or concerns about what their life post-Paradise might look like. Derek is the type of guy who shuts down instead of trying to talk about what’s going on. He really flatly tells Taylor, “Fuck you,” when she points out that he has this tendency. Taylor shuts down and says she doesn’t know if she can be in the relationship anymore. She reveals that she’s been in emotionally abusive relationships before and felt like she was back in those relationships.
I can definitely relate, and I’ve definitely had to explain to boyfriends which seemingly innocuous behaviors might make me shut down.
But … Taylor uses a lot of words to get there and immediately rushes to “WELL, WE HAVE TO BREAK UP.” But she doesn’t even say it like that. It’s more like, “I REALIZE NOW THAT CONTINUING THIS RELATIONSHIP WOULD BE ANTITHETICAL TO MYSELF, AND HAVE DECIDED TO ISSUE AN ULTIMATUM OF DECISIONS.” Girl, unwind for half a second. Taylor is smart enough to know she needs some time away from Derek, but my God, she also seems like a particular brand of exhausting to be around. Derek does manage to apologize and they stay together.
Going into the rose ceremony, who the hell knows who is gonna get a rose? I don’t think we heard one word from Diggy before he sits down with Lacey at the cocktail party. He just wants to check in with her, and she berates him for going on a date with Dominique after going on a date with her. Then she tells him that she’s disappointed in him because that’s not the person she knew. Bitch, you spent one afternoon together. And ma’am? Lecturing a full grown man for his “lack of respect” for you and “forgetting you exist” when he’s not your boyfriend and owes you nothing is not a good look. If anyone was wondering what it looks like to calmly reject a white person … it’s that.
Adam and Dean are basically in the same position: leading on two women and telling them all what they want to hear. This is really souring me on Dean.
Matt sits down with Jasmine and tells her that he’s leaving. He didn’t know the season was going to be like this, so he’s not interested anymore. He probably stopped having fun the second Jasmine jumped on him after his date with Christen to claim her territory. He’s out.
So what to do? Christen makes out with JACK STONE and host Chris brings in some new meat: Daniel.
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.