Bachelor In Paradise
This is the way Breneper ends — not with a bang but a whi- …
Wait … is that their couple’s name?
This is the way Pieendan ends — not with a bang but …
Okay, that’s not right. Um…
This is the way Brendar ends …
Fuck. What a genuinely unsatisfying way to end one of the most reprehensible (and positively delicious) dramas ever set forth on the beach. Even in this episode, we had Piepdan sticking to their two very different stories, we had Tituss opening up the floor during the cocktail party for the public shaming of Brendr, we had the Giardiniera council once again led by Joe to drive Piepeendan out of Paradise once and for all … but why didn’t it feel good? Why wasn’t I vibrating like I am when I see Detective Elliot Stabler be the only man on television punch a pervert in the face? (And I know it’s all just copaganda, but I can’t resist seeing a man work through his Irish Catholic guilt who looks like he’s smuggling two sides of corned beef in those performance stretch trousers. What can I say? I HAVE A TYPE!)
And the reason it felt so terrible was that Brendan and Pieper didn’t learn a lesson. Their contrition only came after they started to hemorrhage followers after last week’s episodes aired. On the beach? They left just like they arrived — in a full-ass relationship and with no semblance of a coherent timeline. The thing we like about villains is we want to see them lose. As much as men in fedoras on dating apps insist, it’s not all about the anti-hero. Especially not in romance! When you watch Wedding Crashers, no one is rooting for Sack Lodge!
And now Bachelor in Paradise is right on the edge of making that tricky turn into Full-On Romance, and without the villains learning a lesson and the plucky heroines saving themselves in their own story, we’re marching toward some very shoddy finales. But Tituss is pouring us a big glass of PINOT NOIR, so …
Let’s get into it.
It’s a new day in Paradise, and we’re still dealing with the same ol’ shit. Demi and Natasha have joined forces to point out that what Brendan and Pieper are doing is in fact worse than what Chris and Alana did, but they’re only getting away with it because none of the guys are willing to stand up to Brendan. They are all bewildered and besmitten by his eyes and access to his hundreds of thousands of Instagram followers. What these men don’t know is bottle service and backstage passes to Stagecoach are temporary, but integrity is forever. Brendan laughs with Thomas that he got off too easy and he’s worried that everyone is going to come for him. Thomas says Brendan looks too happy … is that what’s happening here? Also, Thomas, it might behoove you to stay far away from anyone with any whiff of impropriety. You’re on an image-rehab tour, sir. But before we can dig too deep into the Brendan-Thomas friendship, it’s time for the cocktail party.
Jessenia is pissed that she might be going home after what Chris did. Again, you can’t trust a medium-hot guy who got a taste of power. They’re the most dangerous, after guys who were band nerds in high school but got hot in their early 20s. If you’re talking to a man who reveals he played clarinet then took up CrossFit, RUN.
There are certainly a few relationships forming in Paradise, but Tituss wants to recap the week with the whole gang, and he tells them that the purpose of coming to Paradise is to find love, and if you’re in a relationship, that defeats the purpose. Brendan and Pieper do everything they can to avoid the direct gaze of the camera. Natasha stares into the camera lens like Jim on The Office. Demi puts forth the theory that what Brendan did was worse, and for once in my life, I agree with Demi.
For the 10,000th time, Brendan and Pieper’s crime is not that they came to Paradise having already met or even already been in a relationship. It’s that Brendan dangled a romantic relationship just out of reach of Natasha and made her feel like if she worked hard enough and if she was vulnerable enough, she might get there one day with him when he was just waiting for his actual girlfriend to arrive. And after he had no use for Natasha anymore, he asked her what other option she had (so basically, she should be grateful for even a morsel of his attention). It’s not about whether he had a relationship with Pieper before Paradise; it’s whether BOTH OF THEM had to be cruel and malicious about it. In other words, the Girardi Paradox.
There is a critical mass of women and one man (so we know it’s serious) to confront Brendan and Pieper. Brendan knows they’re about to be attacked, but he’s ready to put on a faux cheerful face for the council. Brendan is sticking with his story that he’s only met Pieper two or three times, as if there’s an acceptable amount of times and it’s twice. He also says he never promised Natasha anything romantic. Okay, but you kissed her, though? It was the most platonic kiss in the history of kisses, but you still did it. Brendan and Pieper’s line is that there isn’t some “rule book” of Paradise, and I bet there fucking is. I bet there is some agreement you have to sign before you head to the beach, and I’m sure one of the questions they ask you is, “Are you fully dating some bitch?” Pieper says she came to the beach to get the opportunity to spend time with Brendan without any distractions. Girl, go to a Sandals and leave us out of this!
They just can’t apologize to Natasha. Not even a “Sorry if your feelings are hurt.” A LOT of this would go away if they could manage some apology to Natasha, but instead of doing that, Brendan says he’s going to remove himself from the situation and shout at Deandra and Maurissa, “This doesn’t concern you!” on his way out of the conversation. They go hide on another comfy couch and complain that everyone is soooooooooooooo annoying, and Natasha is salty. Pieper also says she has a master’s in marketing, so she should know how to get some Instagram followers. Bitch, you are about to be buying them from China. Did they go over that in your master’s program?
Brendan and Pieper come down and announce that they’re going to leave together because this isn’t the environment they want to be in this moment. It’s not the environment, sir. They’re going to leave on their own terms after being exposed as liars and manipulators. Brendan says he didn’t lie to anyone. He just withheld information.
THAT’S LYING, BRENDAN. That’s called being a fuckboy! No one is going to say, “Oh, whew, I thought you lied to me, but I see now that you withheld information for your own benefit. I understand now.” As they ride off like the end of The Graduate, a film I’ve never seen but only seen referenced in other forms of white media, it’s time to say goodbye to Brendaieper. Yeah. That one feels right.
There’s still a cocktail party and a rose ceremony to get through. Maurissa and Riley lick whipped cream off each other. THIS? THIS IS CHEMISTRY. This felt as sensual as that Oscar Isaac–Jessica Chastain slo-mo elbow kiss. Riley and Maurissa head to the Boom Boom Room before the rose ceremony. I want this for her titties and his biceps.
On the other side of the beach, it’s Tammy’s birthday. Oh no. Oh no. This isn’t going to end well. Tammy takes Thomas aside; she doesn’t want to know how his date with Becca was, but he should tell Tammy that he’s still into her. It’s her birthday. Unfortunately, Thomas said he had feelings for Becca and didn’t feel guilty about it. Oh my God?!?! What an absolutely deranged way to say that. This sends Tammy into an emotional spiral and sends Aaron on a vindictive one. Aaron! Buddy! It’s becoming more and more evident that you’re more motivated by the humiliation of those who have wronged you than getting to seduce and make out with a literal runway model. You’re like two make-out cycles removed from Tammy at this point. Move on!
And instead of Tammy moving on, she decides to mildly berate Thomas for not “fighting for” their three-day relationship and asks him to fill out a performance review so she can improve in crucial areas related to her job duties. Tammy also feels stupid because she threw away what she had with Aaron, and everyone warned her. She says she gave Thomas everything … what did she give him? Does she mean mouth stuff? Because that’s not everything.
SMASH CUT TO THOMAS AND BECCA MAKING OUT. Thomas knows how to move on.
It’s time for the rose ceremony, and Wells tells us that this rose ceremony will start with bestowing Natasha with a special rose direct from production. And with this rose, Natasha transforms from a sentient, fully independent woman to everyone’s project. Guys, she’ll be fine. She deserves this rose, but can everyone chill.
Riley gives his rose to his lil’ whipped-cream baby; Joe gives a rose to Serena; Ivan gives a rose to Kendall. We’ve seen literally zero footage of their relationship! Cool! Noah gives his rose to Abigail; Kenny gives his rose to Mari; James gives a rose to Tia. Demi starts slowly shaking her head because she cannot comprehend that her infallible plan of sleeping with a dude to get him to like her didn’t work. Thomas gives his rose to Becca, and Aaron gives his to Chelsea. Tammy, Jessenia, Demi, and Deandra are going home.
Tammy says she got COVID last year on her birthday, and this is worse. She eats a cupcake in the van.
Demi is embarrassed about wasting too much time on a 40-year-old boy-band manager. As someone who thought they were really going to make it work with the 36-year-old guy who played the piano for improv shows when I was 24, I can relate.
But before we can be too sad, Lil Jon enters! Sure! This is happening!!!!!!
The next day in Paradise, everyone has rallied around Natasha getting a date, and if someone else gets asked on a date, they should be really ashamed of themselves. I mean it, everyone is, like, a little too invested in this, but I’m excited for Natasha to get a date, too. Also, I found out she’s from Chicago, so Natasha, let’s be friends?!?!?! Also, at some point in there, Riley and Maurissa are literally Lady and the Tramping.
The first new arrival on the beach is Blake from Clayshia’s season. No, not that Blake. Some other unheard-of Blake. Sure, he’s got a lot of tattoos, but you could have told me this was any man, and I would have believed you. Is this Mumford or one of his many sons? Sure. This “Blake” has his eyes on Tia, and James is worried because he’s gone through this with literally every woman he’s interested in. Sorry, box dude, your time in Paradise might be coming to a close. Like a box. Tia and Blake go on a date, and Tia manages to drop some facts about ovulation and says her vagina is dancing, and she doesn’t bring up the Bible or her Bible study group once!
The next arrival on the beach is Dr. Joe. He’s got his eyes set on Natasha, and the entire town (pronounced “ton”) of Paradise-Upon-Wharfe is tickled pink to see a fine woman such as Natasha being courted by a man like Joe. A doctor, no less! Dr. Joe asks her on the date and is really concerned with the fact that no one is buying her drinks or something. It’s a little unclear, and honestly, guys, ladies, anyone — please stop asking someone why they’re single or why they’re still on the apps. The answer is always, “I don’t know! Maybe because everyone is a shady liar?!?!” and no one wants to have that conversation.
Dr. Joe really doesn’t want to have that conversation because he refers to Brendan as “My Brendan.” Read the room, dude. Natasha very tastefully tells Dr. Joe about the situation, and you can see the smile melt off his face as he decides to tell Natasha, “Ummm…you seem cool, and I’ll be around or whatever.” We know! You have nowhere to go, and the women have the roses! I hope after you totally ruin your chances with the only age-appropriate single woman on the beach that you find comfort in the arms of Brendaieper.