It looks as if the 90's sitcom style opening will be a staple of this show moving forward. I can't say it's a bad fit either. Like 90's sitcoms, Bachelor in Paradise is an explosion of emotionally charged plots and half-assed morality tales, which people inexplicably watch both despite being objectively terrible.
I'm looking at you, Boy Meets World.
This week's episode begins post-rose ceremony, with Lauren Iaconetti complaining about the lack of worthy guys on in Paradise. To cut a long, snotty, tear-stained story short, Lauren only came on the show to meet Joshua (Kaitlyn's season) but his absence gives her no reason to stay. As Lauren puts it, "This is my personal hell." For once, I actually agree with her too. Being trapped on a beach with Ashley I for weeks at a time is at least the fourth circle of my personal hell.
As a side note, every time I hear "paradise" based wordplay I become enraged. It happens the same way every time. Someone looks right into the camera and says "It looks like an angel just arrived in Paradise" or "Today was more like Paradise Lost" before smugly staring into the camera like they were the first person to discover puns. It is absolutely terrible and I will not stand for it anymore.
"I guess you could say Paradise is absolutely heavenly..."
It's around this time we find out that Lauren actually has a "boyfriend.” I put "boyfriend" in quotes because it turns out that the man in question isn't exactly the monogamous type. More specifically, he's a huge creep who is cheating on his actual girlfriend with Lauren. Everyone on the show is quite scandalized to find out about Lauren’s “mistress” status, even though they have all done the same thing on The Bachelor/ette. Every person on this show has been one of several people dating the same person, just like Lauren. The only real difference between Lauren and everyone else is the presence of a film crew, which apparently makes this acceptable.
As if summoned by her wailing, Joshua arrives in Paradise with a date card. He is immediately set upon by Ashley I, campaigning for her sister to be his date choice. She describes Lauren as "the chilliest girlfriend ever" which is a bold claim to make about someone who has spent the last week drinking and crying. That said, Lauren is chill enough to let her boyfriend have another girlfriend.
Josh listens to Ashley’s pitch and immediately asks Tenley to go on a date with him. With no perceived prospects remaining, Lauren packs her bag to leave. Ashley pleads with her sister to dump her "boyfriend" and stay on the show saying, "He's just going to keep cheating on you!" To be fair, that sentiment would be more accurate if she said "He's just going to keep cheating with you," but who am I to nitpick?
Finally, Lauren leaves the show. As she walks down the beach, Lauren says, "I don't know why this world is so awful to me." Delusion aside, Lauren says this while struggling to drag a rolling suitcase through the sand, so it's fair to say some of her problems might be her own fault.
One Iaconetti down. One to go.
Back at the house, JJ talks about not being threatened by Tenley's date with Josh. Feeling supremely confident, he said "I've never seen a Disney movie where a blacksmith gets the rose." Really, JJ? You've never seen Pirates of the Caribbean? It literally features blacksmith falling in love with a woman. Also, Disney has never made a movie about a "former investment banker" who gets the girl, so maybe tone it down on the shit talking.
A blacksmith and his sexy ass.
Meanwhile, Josh and Tenley have a great time at dinner. The two have long (very drunken) conversation about their theatrical pasts, the location of Tokyo, and their relative hand sizes. It was about as coherent as you could expect from two drunk people, but still moderately cute.
Not content to let his one-sided feud with Josh end, JJ reappears to remind everyone of how much more desirable he is. "We're not even playing the same game," JJ says. "I'm playing chess, and he's playing tic-tac-toe." Setting aside the fact that checkers would have made for a much better analogy, why is JJ playing chess at all? It's way harder than tic-tac-toe and it takes forever. You can be a tic-tac-toe grand master in a matter of minutes. JJ should either pick an easier game to play, or get better at chess.
Or just become Magnus Carlsen. That would solve most of his problems.
Sometime during Josh and Tenley's date, Joe (Kaitlyn's season) arrived with a date card. As he reads the card, Joe struggles with not only the Spanish portion ("you leave manada") but the English portion as well. After sounding out the words as best he could, Joe proceeds to stare blankly at the group, presumably because they're all drunken strangers and meeting people is hard. Being the accommodating souls that they are, the rest of the cast individually talk about what an awkward guy Joe is. The entire situation reeks of high school politics and mockery.
Joe tries to cut the tension by making a joke about this being Claire's second time on Bachelor in Paradise, but she storms off, saying, "That's the kind of comment that makes drama!" To be clear, no it isn't. Her reaction to jokes is the kind of thing that makes "drama." In this case, her reaction included ranting (again) to a passing raccoon about how weird Joe was. You read that right. A grown woman spoke to forest animals about how weird a grown man was. I was hesitant about the show overusing this bit, but I must say, it's still hilarious to me. We truly live in a golden age of television.
The raccoon was spooning a bottle of wine by the way, which is exactly how I imagine most of you watched the show.
That raccoon is a king.
At some point in the night, Joe asked/mumbled at Juelia to go on a date with him, though it was hard to tell when or how this happened. From what I could tell, Joe somehow tricked Juelia into asking him if she could go on the date, then asked if she was "for real" when she accepted her own proposal. It was very confusing. The whole thing felt like Joe Tom Sawyer'd Juelia into a date. He talks in circles for a few minutes and suddenly she's whitewashing his aunt’s picket fence.
On the date, Juelia and Joe ride horses and swim. Joe was far less awkward than he had been before, and therefore far less entertaining. Both had a good time, but it was pretty boring.
While their date is happening, Josh is back at the main house talking about some of his hard partying days. He tells everyone about a night in Vegas where he did Molly (MDMA) with his friends. Armed with this information, Dan and Mikey run to Tenley to make sure she knows that Josh did drugs once. This was all under the guise of "looking out for Tenley" and not what it really was, "tattling on the competition."
Be careful. Molly is a hell of a drug.
Tenley eventually confronts Josh about his perceived partying, apparently oblivious to the irony of being anti-drug while on a show that features near constant drinking. Josh reiterates that he only took Molly once, and he didn't even like it that much. Tenley remains concerned about Josh's "Drug Lifestyle" saying "he's acting like someone who hasn't done anything wrong." If you ask me, Josh is acting like someone who hasn't done anything wrong because he is someone who hasn't done anything wrong. But what do I know? I'm not drunk on a beach like Tenley, so I may not be qualified to pass judgment on other people's drug use.
Juelia and Joe return from their date, and she couldn't be happier. Joe, on the other hand, was incredibly bored by both Juelia and the date. He tells a producer that Juelia "isn't very smart" and that he's only spending time with her to get a rose. This is played up to be a massive betrayal of trust, even though Claire, Jillian, Tenley, and Juelia all did the exact same thing last week to zero fanfare. Of course what Joe did is deceitful, but it's something everyone on this show does every week. What made this so special?
Finally, we come to the Mikey/Claire/Jared/Ashley I "love quadrilateral" which first formed last week. Mikey gets some surprising (to him) news that Claire won't be giving him a rose this week. Despite the fact that Claire told Mikey as much last week, this is still a surprise to him. He still doesn't fully understand what is happening though, as he asks Dan multiple times "How do you know?" Mikey is essentially a giant, horny toddler.
Don't Google "horny toddler" unless you want to end up on a watch list.
While Mikey's brain is still reeling from trying to hold two simultaneous thoughts, Jared gets a date card. The date card was delivered by Carly, who is apparently so comfortable in her new relationship with Kirk that she is now wearing overalls. That's a bold move. Not only because her relationship with Kirk is less than two weeks old, but also because Mexico is hot as balls. Overalls aren't exactly "beach wear."
In any case, Jared immediately asks Claire to accompany him on a date. Mikey somehow feels blindsided by Claire accepting the date, presumably because he has already forgotten his conversation with Dan from earlier in the day. In a last ditch effort, Mikey asks Jared if he "really wants to date a woman eight years older" than him. The fact that Mikey thought an eight-year age gap would be enough to make Jared say "Eight years?! How will we ever explain this complicated situation to the outside world?" probably speaks to his compatibility with Ashley I more than Claire.
Speaking of Ashley I, she was also none too happy about Jared's date card. She had let herself fantasize about going on a date with Jared and was "completely blindsided" when she didn't receive the card. Like Mikey, Ashley I didn't pick up on all the "little innuendos" being dropped, which in both cases included someone saying, "I don't want to date you." Subtlety is clearly not their strong suit.
Unlike Mikey, Ashley I is capable of some sick burns. When she realizes the date card is not going to her, Ashley I says "She's 34. Her eggs are almost dead." Holy shit, Ashley. Tone it down a bit. Calling someone old is one thing, but saying "I hope you're barren" is something else entirely. The only time it is ok to wish that someone is barren would be if "Barren" was their first name. Even then, you should probably just call them "Mr." because its way more likely that someone misspelled "Darren."
What the hell, Ashley?
The show ends with several guys claiming that Jared was the new villain because he asked out Claire. I get their point, but it seems like the two emotional terrorists throwing tantrums because they can't function in the world are the actual villains here.