90 Day Fiancé
There’s a thing 90 Day Fiancé does where they show a picture of the couple with their names before going into their story. In previous seasons, they’d use this moment to hint at the couple’s mood. If they were arguing, there’d be a still with them, backs turned to each other and scowls on their face. If things were great, they’d be in a joyous embrace. The show stopped doing that this season and that’s too bad because this episode would’ve had some great angry-scowl couples’ portraits!
Let’s start with Stephanie and Ryan, obviously. Can you imagine the glare Stephanie would give the camera? The absolute apathy on Ryan’s face? I gave Ryan credit last week for showing up with flowers and clearing his phone before Stephanie’s arrival, but he fumbled things in the end. Stephanie wanted sex, Ryan didn’t, and Stephanie finally saw all the red flags. I said a few weeks back I felt like Ryan already knew Stephanie slept with his cousin because men don’t keep secrets, and I was right! Stephanie does a great job of heightening the reveal by projecting her mistake onto Ryan by accusing him of cheating, crying, then saying it was Ryan’s fault for not showing her affection.
But this is where Ryan shows us he’s in it for that trip to America: He forgives her. In the end, it works out great for him. Stephanie is only more likely to trust him and bring him to America if he pretends to be on her side through this. Ryan never talks about the future of his relationship with Stephanie, only his future in America. As long as Stephanie doesn’t find anything else to get mad about and he has sex with her, he might just make it there.
Then there’s Jovi and Yara. I have not been shy about claiming them as my absolute favorite couple this season and they show everyone why this episode. If these two had an angry couple still, they’d probably be fistfighting. Yara decides to finally tell Jovi she’s pregnant and of course she does it in the best way possible: While getting a henna tattoo from a complete stranger. The poor henna tattoo artist tries so hard to turn herself invisible when Jovi starts saying he doesn’t believe her. It’s one of the best moments this episode.
At first, you want to be on Yara’s side! How could Jovi doubt her pregnancy?! How could any man think a woman would lie about that? We all saw the pregnancy test, and why would Yara lie? Then Jovi tells us Yara has a habit of playing a prank on him where she pretends to be pregnant and shows him fake pregnancy tests and, well… you can’t help but understand the guy’s skepticism. Also, telling your fiancé you’re pregnant while getting a casual henna tattoo? That is pretty funny! Call Yara “Ashton Kusher” because that is pure PRANKS! I don’t think Jovi needed to be so aggressive about it, but I credit Jovi for immediately apologizing when the test does come back pregnant. On a lesser reality show, they would’ve played this argument out over weeks, but Jovi and Yara just apologize and move on. Jovi genuinely feels like an ass over the whole thing and that’s it. They’re in love, they’re having a baby, and they’re this season’s best couple.
Brandon and Julia seem like they’re in a better place this week, but they’re not really communicating. Julia has agreed to stay on the farm as long as they can stay in the same room, but she sees this as a temporary fix. Brandon, on the other hand, thinks this is the best thing that could ever happen in his life. This is his dream come true. He has Julia in his bedroom, the farm, and his parents. He tells Julia he’s still eventually going to get them their own place, but I don’t think he’s in any rush to do that. At least Julia does seem happier, but I think that’s just because she got to socialize in a setting that didn’t involve animals for the first time in weeks.
I do want to give Brandon’s dad a shoutout, though. He really did try to stick to his guns, but Brandon’s mom was not about to let her baby bird leave the nest. I think even Brandon was shocked his dad told him to get the hell out if he couldn’t follow their rules. It was also great when they told Brandon he’s the man of the house so he gets to tell Julia what to do, while Brandon’s mom has final say with Brandon’s dad on their sleeping arrangements.
Tarik and Hazel spend “The No Bang Theory” looking for the girl Hazel would rather bang than Tarik. I do think it’s good that they’re giving us a look into Tarik and Hazel’s open relationship in a way that isn’t just about sex. They explain their rules, their boundaries, and how they approach the process together. It’s probably one of the most realistic depictions of non-monogamy on reality TV in recent years, but it’s still odd that they’re not asking more practical questions: Will this third partner be invited to their wedding? If the person is Hazel’s girlfriend, will Hazel’s son be allowed to spend time with them while Tarik’s daughter won’t? They have enough things to figure out between the two of them.
Rebecca’s lie is also revealed this week when her friend shares that Rebecca and Zied live in the same building Rebecca lived in with her ex. These two would’ve had a great couple portrait of them rolling their eyes to the sky over this misunderstanding. Zied plays it cool and does a great job of standing up for himself, but I still think he’s going to bring this up later. This moment did seem to bring them closer, though. Maybe now Rebecca will stop thinking Zied is going to hop on a plane back home at the slightest issue.
We also get a brief check-in with Amira and Andrew this week and it’s everything I wanted. Andrew continues to exist in a totally separate universe. Amira is still processing her experience. She’s only just at the “bitch to my friends about what my man did” stage of things and Andrew is asking her to book a trip to Serbia! He found some strange loophole on the internet that may or may not work and presses Amira to make a decision. Amira’s friend is right: their relationship is not good. I’m not sure what it’ll take for Amira to recognize that.
Obviously, I had to save the best for last: Mike and Natalie. Who needs Marriage Story? Who needs Scenes From A Marriage? I could watch Mike and Natalie’s passive-aggressive mind games for hours. He pushes her buttons. She pulls the silent treatment. She wants to shop for cute wedding decorations. He focuses on an alcohol carafe he doesn’t need for his cabin in the woods, just because it’ll annoy Natalie. She… scratches a tree like a cat. Unlike Yara’s terrified henna tattoo artist, the store employee pulled into Mike and Natalie’s mess is happy to engage. Natalie tells this complete stranger everything about their relationship while Mike just seems embarrassed they’re shopping to fix the smell in his closet.
I’ve mostly focused on Natalie’s mistakes, but it was aggravating watching Mike play around with Natalie this week. He won’t communicate what he thinks they need to work on and just uses vague language to hint at their issues. Even the difference between a “small ceremony” or an actual wedding isn’t something they can agree on. Natalie deserves a fiancé who’s actually excited to be with her, and Mike deserves someone who doesn’t want to change every single thing about him.
Update: An earlier version of this recap mistakenly identified Serbia as Syria. It has been corrected.