I don’t know if you’ve seen it, but there’s this new thing out where a group of miscreants battle against an unseen, largely unthreatening force. You would think I was talking about Suicide Squad, right? Wrong. The force is alcoholism and the thing is Bachelor in Paradise. Also, both things are sexist nightmares with no real semblance of plot and an advertised character missing from 90% of the show.
Other than that they’re both great.
Not functionally different from any of the women in Paradise.
A quick note before we begin. Am I insane, or does the Bachelor in Paradise intro now feature off key singing? It could just be my tendency to overanalyze the show, but the title sequence now seems to feature near Kidz Bop level warbling.
Anyways, Bachelor in Paradise opens with Chad's ongoing departure. Chad tells Chris Harrison he is going to Tijuana and that, "Everyone liked me until they were told not to." In reality, Chad is going to the airport and everyone pretty much hated him before he even arrived in Paradise. Chad also is upset that he can no longer be on The Bachelor, which is like the Secretary of Veterans Affairs wanting to be president. It's not that it can't happen, but a lot of people are going to have to die first.
It's Robert A McDonald. Yes he looks that weird, and don't worry. 17 specific people would have to die before he became our next president.
With Chad gone, life in Paradise returns to its somewhat skewed version of normalcy. The remaining contestants frantically grab their drinks (it's been almost 10 excruciating hours of sobriety) and eagerly await the arrival of the next bachelorette. Unfortunately for them, and everyone watching the show, Leah is the next to arrive in Paradise. You remember Leah, right? She's the woman who didn't say anything to Ben Higgins for weeks and then told a weird lie about his now-fiancée before being kicked off the show.
In keeping with her tradition of doing very stupid things, Leah immediately announces that she wants to take Chad on a date. Everyone tells her not only is she insane for wanting such a thing, but that Chad has already been kicked off the show. It takes a while for Leah to fully understand this second point, mostly because the first is definitely true.
After much hemming and hawing, Leah decides to take Nick on a date. The two leave Paradise and arrive at "Festival de Margarita" which is almost certainly a made up event for this show. While walking through the festival, Leah gushes over Nick and his "lumberjack" aesthetic. Nick, on the other hand, tries his best not to look bored. He fails miserably, but that doesn't stop Leah from grabbing his face for an extended make out session as the date came to a close. Make out session might not be entirely accurate now that I think about it. Full-scale tongue-assault is probably the better term.
Pictured: World's worst lumberjack.
Speaking of assault, Chad’s former partner in domestic abuse, Lace, is celebrating her newfound singleness by drinking alone at the bar. She downs a series of shots before complaining of her loneliness to bartender Jorge, and again before complaining to Vinny, and again before complaining to Grant. By the end, Lace wasn’t so much complaining as she was slurring through her tears. Grant pretended to understand and offered her some vague compliments about her character as a person, which is all it apparently took to make them an official couple.
Upon their return to Paradise, Leah immediately begins bragging about their connection while Nick largely avoids the topic. The producers then give Nick a surprise date card in part for being a good sport, but also to see if they can make Leah cry when he inevitably doesn't choose her. Nick chooses Amanda, whom he has spent most of the episode raving about. Leah cries and then manically laughs while accusing Amanda of “stealing my life!” Well done, producers.
How I imagine their sarcastic bowing.
Nick and Amanda’s date was hands down the sole moment of normalcy in an otherwise insane show. They ate dinner and discussed what they wanted out of both a relationship and life in general before grabbing drinks and sitting beside a bonfire. At one point Nick said, “I love fire!” which would normally be an insane thing to say, but considering he had been drinking all day, I will give him a pass on.
Back in Paradise, Carly is becoming desperate. She has not yet made a significant connection with anyone and is worried that she is on the verge of being sent home. Half-sarcastically, she wonders out loud what kissing Evan would be like. She has elements of his personality that she likes, but wishes he would be more masculine in his demeanor (don’t we all). Full of booze and scientific curiosity, Carly musters up the gumption to kiss Evan one night before bed. He is giddy as a schoolboy and cannot keep from running along the beach at the excitement of kissing an actual human girl. Carly is less enthusiastic, saying, “He can’t even get it together for one kiss.”
For the record, it's like kissing a moist towlette.
Meanwhile, Daniel watches Lace and Grant make out, saying, “Oh they’re really going at it.” Is this just what Daniel does now? In each of the episodes this season, Daniel has creepily stood over a couple and narrated their romantic activities as if this was a thing normal people do. I haven’t been to Canada in a long time, but I sure don’t remember anyone publically recording erotic audio books wherever they went.
Lace and Grant remain unfazed and continue making out in the face of Daniel’s sheer awkwardness. Eventually the two retire to Lace’s room where she takes several drunken pulls from a bottle of vodka before joining Grant in bed. They continue to make out before realizing they were being filmed and covering the offending camera with a blanket. After several seconds of badly dubbed moaning and heavy breathing, the blanket falls off the camera to reveal Grant and Lace still in their swimsuits, clearly not fucking. I’d say “Nice try, producers,” but since they were the ones who literally undid their own lie, I’m not sure it merits anything more than a heavy sigh.
Idris Elba deserves the heaviest of sighs.
Mercifully, the rose ceremony is upon us. Chris Harrison reminds us that the twins (Emily and Haley) are a package deal. This of course makes no sense unless they are both planning to fuck the same guy, which unfortunately wouldn’t surprise me as much as it should.
During the pre-rose ceremony cocktail party, Sarah tells Vinny that she really likes him but is worried she won’t get a rose. To calm her nerves, Vinny kisses Sarah. Later, Izzy tells Vinny that she really likes him but is worried she won’t get a rose. To calm her nerves, Vinny kisses Izzy. Kissing two girls back to back before a rose ceremony is a pretty bold move for a guy who has said a grand total of 15 words in both The Bachelorette and Bachelor in Paradise. My current theory is that Vinny has no object permanence and immediately forgets about any woman not directly in front of his face.
Vinny, assuming he is now single.
Leah uses the party to make one last desperate attempt to win back the favor of Nick. “I know you’ve been through this many times… more than you ever should have,” she says of Nick’s experience on Bachelor shows. Leah then says that she would be a better match for Nick than Amanda because she isn’t a single mother. Having heard enough, Nick cuts Leah off in order to let her know that his rose will be going to Amanda this week. I can only assume this was because it’s not nice to point out someone’s most embarrassing moments and in the same breath denigrate single mothers as unworthy of love. But again, that’s only my assumption.
With most of the roses locked up, the one remaining wild card is Daniel. For all Daniel’s stupidity, he does manage to understand that his rose is the final one up for bid. He initially approaches Leah, who says she “has many layers, like an onion.” Daniel responds by saying Leah “has one layer… like an orange.” I’m not sure what he meant by that, but Leah wanders off confused and rose-less. If this was confusing to read, don’t worry. It was confusing to write as well.
It's not scoliosis. He just stands like that.
Eventually the moment of truth arrives. Grant picks Lace and Nick picks Amanda. Evan is still awestruck by Carly and picks her, while Jared picks Emily for some unknown reason. Vinny picks Izzy, presumably because she was the most recent woman he had seen. Finally, Daniel picks Sarah, because his mind is a deep hole full of mysteries.
Leah and Jubilee are tearfully sent home. I’d like to say I was sad to see them both go, but that would be a lie. Every moment of Leah on the screen was pure agony and I forgot Jubilee was even on the show until this moment. Enjoy your post-paradise lives, ladies.
Goodbye Jubilee. You will always be remembered as having an irrational fear of clowns.
The next morning arrives with a gladiatorial fanfare and the arrival of Josh Murray, the winner from Andi Dorfman’s season. Josh greets Chris Harrison and tells him that he is excited to be here, “Because the process has worked before.” While it’s a nice sentiment, the process obviously didn’t work or he wouldn’t be here.
Within minutes, Josh realizes that Nick is into Amanda and decides to ruin his life. Josh sits down to talk with Amanda, who tells him that she has two daughters, both of whom she misses very much. Josh counters with the fact that he has an old, cancer-ridden dog, so he basically knows how she feels. Amanda accepts this response as not completely insulting and agrees to go on a date with Josh. In similar news, I have recently lost respect for single parents everywhere.
"Like most parents, I too have had dreams snatched from me."
The date itself was exactly what you would expect. Josh tells Amanda the rumors that he called Andi a “slut” and was a general dickhole to her are completely unfounded. Amanda chooses to believe Josh because he is closer in proximity to her than Andi is and therefore must be more honest. The two then make out on a boat for entirely too long.
While Josh and Amanda are making out to an uncomfortable degree, an equally uncomfortable relationship is forming between Evan and Carly. Evan has decided to drag Carly on a date where they will be challenged to each eat a habanero pepper and then kiss for over 90 seconds in order to break a Guinness World Record. Keep in mind; Carly could have ducked out of this date at any point. The habanero pepper, the extended kissing, and Evan’s presence were all more than acceptable reasons to avoid a date. Instead she decided to hang in there and literally kiss Evan until she puked. Well done, Carly.
Carly has been at this level of excitement since she left Chris Soules.
The episode ends with Josh and Nick in an awkward conversation. Josh lists a variety of Bachelor catchphrases in no particular order (something to the tune of, “I’m here for love though I was skeptical of the process and just want to get to know everyone for the right reasons.”) eventually ending with the idea that he and Amanda are very happy. Josh reiterates Amanda’s disinterest in Nick several times, punctuating each with “Just so you know.” When Nick accuses Josh of being a pompous asshole, Josh replies with “only God knows the truth, bro.” At this point he’s become Donald Trump, if Trump believed in a higher power outside of himself.
One thing that is already setting me off about this season is the lack of heroes. Previous seasons of Bachelor in Paradise saw Marcus and Lacey or Jade and Tanner as immediate, long-term power couples anyone could root for. This season sees a handful of barely passable, mostly alcoholic miscreants running around a beach with no discernable plot or progressive storyline. In a matter of one week, Bachelor in Paradise has become Suicide Squad, with somehow less of a plot and fewer interesting characters.