This season has been particularly concerned with Tarik and Hazel’s open relationship. I understand that. It’s a topic that’s never been featured on the show before and—even for the network that airs Sister Wives—is still shocking to most of America. But fans who’ve followed Tarik and Hazel since Before the 90 Days know non-monogamy barely scratches the surface of the drama in their relationship! So we’ve sat through episode after episode of them setting up a dating profile for Hazel and talking about their rules, but I think some viewers just want to know: What the hell is going on with Hazel’s son?
I remarked in an earlier review that I wanted to see actual evidence of Tarik’s plan to bring Harry to America. He seemed so nonchalant about it and we barely saw Tarik and Hazel mention him. It felt strange that they were so focused on finding a girlfriend and a place for their wedding, but didn’t even mention Hazel’s son to Tarik’s friends. Last episode, they talked about how quarantine gave them time to make a dating profile, but there was no mention of Hazel being separated from her son during a pandemic! Finally, “The Devil’s Work” focuses on Harry and all of these concerns are addressed. Even on Before the 90 Days, it was unclear how close Tarik was to Harry. Seeing them play together over video chat and finding out Tarik has visited him before makes things more clear.
I can’t blame Tarik or Hazel for any of that; it’s on the producers. They could’ve addressed Harry before diving into the dating profile and “What kind of girlfriend do you want?” footage, but they didn’t. I had the opportunity to interview Tarik and Hazel on my podcast last week and their priorities are clear. It was also great to talk to them about polyamory outside of the show’s “Isn’t this wild and sexy!?” framework.
Yara and Jovi are still the new couple I’m rooting for when it comes to true love. I wish I could say their issues were due to biased producing or editing. Sadly, that’s not the case. Jovi’s full immaturity and dickishness were on display this week! Some credit to Jovi: His friends and family are suspicious of Yara, and Jovi does defend his fiancé. He explains that she’s still getting adjusted and they need to give her time. The thing is, Jovi isn’t communicating any of that to Yara or showing her. Yara is on her own, standing up for herself against his parents’ stereotypes. Yara literally has no idea what she’s walking into when it comes to this engagement party ambush or the family she’s about to enter.
With Jovi gone most of the time, I can see Yara deciding to go back home if she realizes this family doesn’t want to embrace her. It doesn’t help that Jovi is calling her stupid and trying to feed his pregnant, tired wife crawfish. Subjecting an Uber driver to that kind of tense arguing is never a good sign on 90 Day Fiancé, and I’m sadly starting to think they might not make it to their wedding day.
Really, Tarik and Hazel/Brandon and Julia are the only couples I think still have a chance at this point. Brandon and Julia were out this week (thank goodness, I’m getting a little tired of them repeating the same arguments with his parents), so “The Devil’s Work” is great because it’s all about the messiest couples. Even the tension between Mike and Natalie, who’ve been stuck in the same passive-aggressive dance for weeks, finally escalates.
I’ve been harsh on Natalie, but Mike has been a shitty partner to her, too. She came all the way to America and wants a fiancé who’s excited to marry her and will reassure her that they’re in love. Mike has been taunting Natalie with that reassurance by dangling a nebulous goal in front of her: Once we “figure out our problems,” we can plan the wedding. But when Natalie asks what those specific problems are and how they can work on them, Mike evades the subject. This week, Natalie calls his bluff straight on by suggesting they go to couples therapy if they really have problems. It puts the ball back in his court and makes him the one standing between them and a healthy relationship.
Honestly, it was a brilliant move on Natalie’s part, but I don’t think she bargained for that outcome in the therapist’s office. First of all: Mike is such a jerk, he couldn’t even take out his bluetooth earpiece during the session. I actually went and checked to see if it was an earpiece Mike needs to wear, but no, dude was just like, “Might get a business call during this, just want to be ready.” He’s standoffish during the entire session and instead of giving Natalie the reassurance she was looking for, he forces them to confront the truth. They’re not in love anymore and their differences are making them hate each other.
The reality of Rebecca and Zied’s relationship is also made painfully clear in “The Devil’s Work.” I’ve been saying it since the start: Rebecca’s insecurity is one of the greatest threats to this pair. When the trailer for this season came out, I commented that the brief clip of Zied with tattoos was a shocking indicator that he was with Rebecca for the long haul. On Before the 90 Days, he talked about how tattoos were against his culture, so I assumed the tattoos were real and the trailer showed him fully embracing America and Rebecca’s culture. I took it as a positive! But this week, we found out the tattoos were fake! They are as temporary as Zied’s patience if he has to keep putting up with Rebecca freaking out every time a lady is nice to him.
And yeah, while that lady was being pretty flirty, who cares, Rebecca? If you trust Zied, what does it matter? Unless Rebecca thinks her daughter and son-in-law would honey trap her fiancé, why ruin the night like that? It also seemed like Zied was just politely accepting her offer to use a truck, he wasn’t jumping at the idea of being alone with a strange woman. If anything, I think Rebecca’s family wants to rile up her insecurities and jealousy so Zied gets annoyed and goes back home.
Andrew’s vacation is finally over and he returns home to the sad, lonely presents he got for Amira. Andrew is still incredibly selfish, but that iPhone and gift card setup was impressive. It’s good to know he really will take care of Amira if she gets to America. I just think he’s disconnected from the reality of the situation. His mom asks if Amira has talked about her detention center experience and he says she hasn’t. That’s not true, Amira felt like she couldn’t talk to Andrew about it because he was going boogie boarding and drinking cocktails all day.
Also, Andrew’s research on COVID-19 in Serbia and moving forward with Amira flying there is laughable. He says, “From what I see, Serbia seems to be doing really good at it all,” while not wearing a mask in the airport AFTER being in another country WHILE greeting his elderly mother! Sorry, Andrew, but I don’t think you’re good at this whole “knowing what’s good in a pandemic” thing!
Finally, there’s Stephanie and Ryan, who inspired the episode’s title and also provide the best drama. I can’t even really explain the rift that happens between Stephanie and Ryan. First, they’re hula hooping and having a great time. Then, we find out Ryan’s mom blocked Stephanie’s number because she asked for money back when she was mad at Ryan. Still, that doesn’t really cause any issues. Ryan says his mom was hurt and is just going to leave her alone, but Stephanie says she’ll keep sending money.
Then… Stephanie gets drunk and starts brooding on the fact that she and Ryan haven’t had sex yet in the TWO days shes been there. It’s odd and pretty gross that Stephanie is so focused on the sex that she says Ryan “owes her” when you consider the financial power dynamics between them. But that’s still not what pushes things over the edge! No! Ryan casually mentions he likes dating an “experienced” woman and that seems to set Stephanie’s drunk ass off. The comment makes her bring up Maria the Psychic and things go totally off the rails.
Instead of telling Ryan she feels insecure about their age difference, she projects all of this stuff onto her tarot card reader and acts as though it’s inevitable. There’s nothing Ryan can do to address this logically, he’s fighting against “devil’s work.” What reassurance can you provide when the other person is saying their tarot card reader is never wrong? When Ryan storms off after another argument, Stephanie says he’s afraid of the truth, but it’s not clear how or why things escalated. The thing is, Ryan knows the truth: he will do anything to get to America, including putting up with a woman who would disrespect his mom and sleep with his cousin. Stephanie is the one lying to herself.