Bachelor In Paradise
Somewhere in a Party City in Sayulita, Mexico, an ABC executive takes off a novelty-size sombrero and screams at her assistant:
“No! This theme isn’t right! ‘I Wish You Would Have Expressed-a Your Feelings Fiesta’? It’s a slant rhyme, it’s barely a theme, and honestly, it’s a bad look. I’m not having these tiny influencers walking around in traditional Mexican garb! You need to do better. You need to THINK. You need to INNOVATE.”
“Um … Umm …”
The assistant’s eyes dart around the Ciudad de la Fiesta. A Very Great Gatsby Prom? Cloud 69? Something Something Last Dance Kind of a Disco Thing Something Something? No! We’re doing that for Mykenna and Ed’s date for some reason.
Finally, their weary eyes settle on a bunch of inflatable electric guitars. “’80s?”
“What did you say?” the ABC executive snarls while eating a handful of chocolate coins.
“Huh … it’s a complete non sequitur, most of the contestants were born in the 1990s so their only concept of the ’80s is from That ’80s Show that was canceled after one season, and we can make everyone put on an incredibly unflattering off-the-shoulder dress. IT’S PERFECTION.”
Let’s get to it.
THREE HOURS?!?! This mess needed to be three hours?!?! I don’t even know how to properly address this in a reasonable amount of words. Could I write three chapters of my upcoming book of essays, Will You Accept These Heaux: How The Bachelor Made Me a Better Lover, about this episode? Yes! Yes, I could! But no one is paying me nearly enough to write three separate manifestos — one per hour — about this damned franchise. So we gotta prioritize some things and some things aren’t gonna make it.
Like Ed and Mykenna’s date? Sorry, not gonna make it. A 37-year-old man rushing to a crying 24-year-old and refusing to take no for an answer when he asks her out on a date? YA GETTING CUT!
Aaron making out with Tia for no apparent reason after he lectured anyone within earshot about integrity and not being a little snakey bitch? YA GETTING CUT!
Kendall appearing in the preview for next week?! Kendall, girl, are you the ill-advised breakup bangs you should have gotten instead of doing all this? Because YA GETTING CUT!
We’re getting down to the wire and we gotta focus on what’s important, like Ivan deciding to demolish any and all remaining goodwill by lying to Aaron (someone no one wants to root for) and sneaking out of his hotel room to go see Alexa, a woman whose face I cannot even remotely picture. She has … hair? And definitely two eyes? But I’m flexible on the amount of eyes. Certainly, it could be lower, but I’m willing to admit that it might be higher.
WHAT IS HAPPENING ON THIS BEACH?!? Everyone is truly acting a fool and risking it all for people whose names I barely remember. They might just have to stop having staggered entrances and just put everyone in the warehouse from Squid Game and let them figure it the fuck out.
Listen, I’m fine if these people wanna sneak out and go see each other. That’s kinda fun and a little spicy. But Ivan trying to frame it as “love makes you do crazy things” and “my mind was in a weird place” is a bit much. Everyone thinks they’re smarter than the entire crew of a major network’s star franchise and all of these people are not! You can’t fight City Hall and you can’t outsmart The Bachelor Cinematic Universe. The editors pulled some tricks from the Real Housewives and showed Ivan saying that Chelsea pulled him aside and then following it up with Ivan asking Chelsea to go talk. Sir! They are recording your every move!
The most affecting part of Ivan’s early departure is when Riley pulls him into the shadows, holds his face in his hands, and says, “You fucked up good. You looked me in the eye and treated me like shit, like I was nobody. And now I’ve got to turn my back on you,” and hands him a wad of cash.
So it’s time for the Rose Ceremony, I guess?!
Everyone gives their rose to exactly who you would expect; the only wild-card roses are Natasha’s and Tia’s, which go to Ed and James, respectively. Both of them are over the age of 28, so this will not work out for them in the end! Blake, Demar, and Dr. Joe are eliminated without a word.
Now the show has to pivot to telling a series of underdeveloped love stories from a bunch of people who met each other two weeks ago! We’ve reached the point in the season where the show has to stop being a zany, madcap romp in a tropical locale and has to start being as maudlin and sentimental as a Lifetime TV movie. There’s a moment where the switch is flipped and suddenly, we’re not setting the world record for “World’s Sexiest Churro Kiss” or whatever the fuck, we’re watching two people have conversations about whose couch they’re gonna keep when they move in together. The alleged celebrity guest host is Wells because ABC blew their budget on David Spade and because he’s seen this process work. Even though his fiancée is not someone from the franchise at all, he’s seen his friends get married, so by that logic, every single woman in her 30s is also qualified to host this television program.
There will still be entrances and one of them will not be Alexa because she was carried away by Oompa Loompas for breaking the rules. The way they rhymed “hotel room” with “womb to tomb” was inspired. So, the final two tiny white women will enter the beach but … YA GETTING CUT, ANNA AND MYKENNA!
So let’s check in with our remaining couples and the amazing ways they’re going to fuck this up for themselves.
First up is Kenny and Mari! Kenny has decided that the passion from early in their relationship isn’t there anymore, and he can feel Mari pulling away. You met basically nine days ago but the passion is fizzling? You’ve got a hot 25-year-old trying to marry your ass and you manage a boy-band cover band. I said the sentence, “Oh, he manages a boy-band cover band” to my boyfriend and he walked out the door and has not returned. So Mari gets the great idea that to heal her relationship, she should ask production to find her a bruja, or, in her words, “a witch,” to perform a cleansing ritual for Kenny and Mari. Boy, is it convenient that the ritual that this Indigenous spiritual healer is performing is for the exact same stuff that Mari and Kenny are worried about.
My two favorite parts of the ceremony were Thomas watching them and just repeating, “Yeah, this is like thousands of years old. She’s Indigenous, so this has gotta work,” and Kenny and Mari throwing the candles they rubbed on each other’s bodies into the fire. The flames surge and they have to lean back before their eyebrows are singed off. They’re recommitted to each other! Romance!
Up next is Abigail and Noah.
Oh my fucking God. Abigail. ABIGAIL. I hate to be like, “Uh … this one might be your fault,” but this one might be your fault. You can’t ask Wells for advice on how to handle the situation, hear Wells tell you, “I think you need to talk to him and tell him how you feel,” completely ignore Noah telling you that he’s falling in love with you, and then act indignant and claim you didn’t even do anything. Not doing anything is kinda the problem. It’s also incredibly hard to have much sympathy for Abigail when Noah has been extremely clear that her tendency to avoid being the first to open up has been difficult for him and he’s been having to make all the moves in the relationship. It’s also very hard to have too much sympathy for Abigail when she’s identified that “friend-zoning” guys for months at a time is her exact problem. Because when someone says “I’m falling for you,” you’ve got about a 24-hour window to properly second that emotion or send the guy packing before it just becomes cruel. It appeared Abigail was just outside that window when Noah decided to take her aside at the Totally ’80s Prom and tell her that he just couldn’t do this anymore.
And I don’t blame him! If you tell someone you’re falling for them and they don’t say anything, it wouldn’t be a big leap to start thinking, “Maybe they aren’t right for me! Maybe they aren’t my person!” He was honest about what he felt, what he needed, and he didn’t get it! It could have been he was already a little anxious about their relationship and he said, “I’m falling for you” as a way to test his feelings, but it seems like in the end, Abigail was never going to say it back.
Especially because she goes into the prom hoping to establish how they feel about each other. Girl, he tried to do that already. And ESPECIALLY because the “validation” she needs to try to tell him how she feels is being picked “Couple Most Likely to Live Happily Ever After” by the producers. Abigail needs a team of PAs to tell her that she’s making the right decision, but it’s too late. Abigail says she’s never been this blindsided before and starts saying that Noah has been lying to her and he’s been pushing her and pushing her to open up when he felt this way. Maybe he feels this way because you wouldn’t open up and because you started your relationship by saying, “I basically make a guy work for eight months before I ultimately decide that I’m not into it.”
I really don’t mean to pile onto Abigail, but the frustrating part of being a viewer of these shows is watching these contestants say they don’t want to make the same mistakes again, and then they make the same mistakes and then get mad! Because it’s not working out for them! Abigail says he’s running away from something but he won’t tell her what it is. HOW CAN WE ALL SEE THIS BUT YOU CANNOT! YOU’RE ACTUALLY THERE!!
So who else is clanging around this week? Becca and Thomas are still climbing all over each other. Riley and Maurissa get an award for excellence in toe sucking. Joe and Serena are named King and Queen of Paradise and they can feel everyone staring at them wondering how this incredibly solid plan of “We’ll go back and forth for a while and then figure it out from there” is going to work out when distance was the thing that broke up Joe’s last relationship. Chelsea is just there now and Natasha is at home sick while Ed makes out with Mykenna at prom.
As always, JUSTICE FOR NATASHA as we head into the finale!!! See you next week for … OH SHIT, ANOTHER THREE-HOUR EPISODE!!!??!?!?!