Bachelor in Paradise
The final days of Paradise loom, and it’s just chaos out there. Bri is still a thing? We’re expected to watch Demi and Kristian have full conversations without looking at each other? Clay is made of sweat somehow? He’s more emotional stress sweat than man at this point, and there’s nothing we can do about it. Without any drama from Blake or Kristina or Caelynn or Dean, Bachelor in Paradise has to do its best to remind us that this is a show about LOVE and SERIOUS RELATIONSHIPS that will be taken SERIOUSLY even though these people have only been dating for ABOUT THREE WEEKS OR SO.
The reason Bachelor in Paradise always fumbles the transition into this more serious and romantic phase of the show is because it doesn’t present any other option for the contestants than walking away with an engagement and a promise to grow old and crash children’s birthday parties together for the rest of their lives. Chris Harrison stomps around on the beach like some Commitment Babadook, saying that the only real relationships are the ones that are SERIOUS and will end in MARRIAGE, when his Babadook ass knows that they’ve only been there for three weeks. When a show that trades in drama for the first 87 percent of the season has to quickly remind us that these are people who like each other, it is jarring. So let’s get to it.
The episode opens with Dylan and Hannah waking up to find out that their former romantic tormentor has decided to leave. They were too busy living inside each other’s swimsuits to notice that Blake had left. The sudden departure of two people no one seemed to tolerate or understand has sent a shockwave through Paradise.
The first couple to succumb to the Final Weeks of Paradise pressure are Demi and Kristian. Demi is still trying to figure out who she is and carries a lot of anxiety about being a woman who dates other women. Kristian feels a lot of pressure to hold in her emotions because Demi is the one who is supposed to have the anxiety in the relationship. Can we start using that instead of asking, “Who is the guy? Who is the girl?” in relationships? “Which one of you just has anxiety and which one of you is allowed to express that anxiety?”
The most confusing thing about this whole narrative is that before Kristian arrived in Paradise, Demi framed their relationship as a very serious one. If that’s the case, shouldn’t they have had one of these conversations about what it means for Demi to be an out woman? Or how they would define their relationship? Or shouldn’t have they been around other humans for Kristian to affectionately touch in a non-romantic manner? My cynicism is telling me either Demi and Kristian’s relationship wasn’t as serious outside of Paradise as they made it out to be, or the show is encouraging Demi and Kristian to have these conversations on-air so they can again be a “progressive” and “cool” dating show for deigning to have two queer women express their opinion on TV.
While Kristian and Demi are trying to figure their relationship out, the date cards start arriving. Wait … this is still a week with date cards and a rose ceremony? End thiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiis.
Hannah and Dylan head out on a date to a random Mexican child’s birthday party. Do you ever think these children or families look at their photo albums years later and are like, “Does anyone remember these two aspiring personal trainers’ names? Kourtneylynn? Hannah Q? … Was her name …Stamp? That doesn’t sound right.” Hannah and Dylan say “I love you” to each other and force a Mexican family to listen to their bad Spanish.
Up next in the gauntlet of emotional terrors is Connor! He wakes up after watching Caelynn make out with Dean in front of him, and he only wants to meet Whitney. He really wanted to meet her and thought she would show up, but after he counts to 20, he decides to leave — approximately three minutes before Whitney arrives in Paradise. What producer fucked up the airport-arrival spreadsheet? When Whitney arrives on the beach and sees that Connor has left, she gets back into the passenger van and heads over to his GIGANTIC hotel room. That’s what the holding cells look like on this show? I’m going to pull a Calloway and buy some followers and try to go on this show just for the time off. Sydney says that Whitney leaving Paradise for Connor is really romantic. So would be sliding in her DMs, but ABC can’t make any advertising money off that.
Clay and Nicole head out on a completely superfluous date card. What’s different? She’s too invested and his entire body is sweating. Clay tells her that he’s starting to fall in love with her, which is too damn much to say to someone you’ve been dating for only three weeks. They slow dance while a man sings a song that’s too on the nose. It contained the lyric, “I hope we can move to a place of less anxiety.”
Chris and Katie are having to deal with the fact that Chris is completely incapable of making up his mind or enjoying a single moment in Paradise. He’s second-guessing everything about their relationship. Seeing Katie go to bed crying while Chris sits at the bar slightly wringing his hands really broke my heart. Katie seems to be intent on making this work with Chris because she’s put in the work already, and Chris seems content to just let his emotional hesitancy destroy his girlfriend. He could spare Katie and choose to leave Paradise altogether or actively work to be with her, but he chooses neither option.
It’s time for the final rose ceremony (but these rubes don’t know that) and Chris Harrison comes in and tells them that the cocktail party is CANCELED and if you’re not in a relationship, it’s time to take your ass home. Luke S. is up first, for some completely inexplicable reason. He asks Bri if she’s willing to accept his rose and she says “no.” Chris Harrison says that no one has ever done that before, then opens his rose up to the floor. Haley has no romantic options but chooses instead to say that Luke S. is nowhere near as attractive as Nick Viall! So she keeps her mouth shut. Thus goes the most humiliating elimination in Bachelor history.
Matt can’t decide between Sydney and Bri because he has a deep emotional connection with Sydney but Bri is like a supermodel. Uuugggghhhh what is a man to do?!? He picks Bri, who immediately dumps him the next morning. What would his mother say! Everyone else picks exactly who we would expect them to pick. Rev, Sydney, and Haley all head home. On the van ride to the AMAZING holding hotel, Sydney breaks down crying about how she continues to put herself out there, and says that Matt is going to get dumped. Sydney has always been one of my favorites.
The next morning, Chris Harrison lures them into a dark room and tells them all that the end is near. Every couple must offer a blood sacrifice to the Spirits of Paradise and if the spirits dance, then their relationship is solid. Obviously Dylan and Hannah are heading to the fantasy suites and somehow, Clay and Nicole are also heading to the fantasy suites. Chase and Angela’s relationship disintegrates in a five-second clip.
Then Tayshia and John Paul Jones have to have one of those difficult conversations, in which JPJ confesses to Tayshia that he is in love with her. Have you noticed that Tayshia talks to JPJ like he’s an actual child? She uses the same tone that kindergarten teachers use during unstructured playtime. She tells him that he doesn’t know what he wants and she just can’t get where he needs her to be. JPJ stands up for himself in the most reasonable way possible when he tells her that she doesn’t know what he knows. Their time in Paradise was the most magical time in his life. Let’s not forget that he’s only like 24 and someone not going to prom was unthinkable to him. Tayshia runs after him and starts crying and tells him, “I’m sorry.” Another couple bites the dust.
Finally, Katie and Chris sit down and Chris tries his best to break up with Katie but she won’t let it happen. He starts to say everything you should and would say in a breakup, and then he goes, “Is this happening? Is this really happening? I don’t want this at all.” Then she TALKS HIM out of BREAKING UP WITH HER? The best he can muster is, “I don’t not want to try.” This motherfucker is in his 30s. Double negatives DO NOT FLY in your 30s. Chris then tells her that he’s a difficult person and her putting up with him is a testament to how great she is. He could try to deal with his behavior or challenge his typical way of thinking, but no, Katie is so brave for dating a straight man with unresolved emotional issues. Katie says she likes him and he makes her happy and she doesn’t feel like she’s settling. This is the night, such a beautiful night and they call it BELLA NOTTE!!!
And since Bachelor in Paradise is not going to let Demi and Kristian not make it to the Fantasy Suites, they’re on their way, along with Dylan and Hannah, Katie and Chris, and Nicole and Clay. Maybe next week, they’ll all be getting engaged so ABC can keep making that good Neil Lane money.