Emily: Hi Bachelor Nation. It’s me, ya girl. This week, Susan is busy with some work thing (she told me but I already forgot because I’m that friend). Anyway, we’re all sad Susan can’t be here. But I’m happy to announce my husband and BFF Ben will be joining us this week instead! Say hello to the people, Ben, and maybe tell them a little bit about your thoughts about this season so far and The Bachelor franchise in general?
Ben: Hello to the people! It is great to be here experiencing the 20-car pile-up known as Bachelor in Paradise. And I mean that in every sense of the metaphor. There’s been a lot more stalling, yelling, and waiting around than action this season than past seasons, and I’m blaming ABC for this one. They ramped up stability this season with a more grounded opening cast to prep their delicate viewers for the decade past-due “bombshell” of a bi-sexual woman on the reality small screen. Maybe they’ve never seen MTV? But I digress . . .
Emily: So now that our introductions are out of the way, let’s get into the episode? We return to where we left off, with Nicole reiterating that Clay makes her feel “sexy and confident and proud” before dun dun dun… Angela shows up.
Ben: Apparently she’s an actual hurricane? At least that’s what showrunners must want us to believe. Seriously, what’s the big deal?
Emily: I’m very torn here. On the one hand, I don’t care about this drama at all. On the other hand, why is everyone being so mean to Angela? What has she done besides get broken up with? On the OTHER OTHER hand, why does Angela keep pursing her lips? It’s weird, right?
Ben: Very weird. I assume she pursed her lips one time, and someone told her it was sexy, so like a normal human being, she vowed to do it forever. Sex sells baby, and aren’t they all pro influencers these days? But no, this whole Angela-Clay thing is horribly overblown. The guy finds every person, plant, and animal on the island to talk about how he didn’t sign up for this. And then moe waiting, more whining, etc. Snore.
Emily: Finally, Nicole just says fuck it and goes to talk to Angela. Angela greets her by saying, “hi chickie!” which is how you know Angela is a bitch. Nicole tells Angela, “I am boyfriend and girlfriend with Clay.” This is weird. Why not just say “I’m Clay’s girlfriend”? Is that not clear enough? Angela tells Nicole she’s not a drama person so she’s cool with that, but also, to be clear, when she talked to Clay at the wedding there was no mention of a girlfriend.
Ben: So Angela takes the sane route and asks our boy smilin’ Mike out on a date. Tayshia decides that Clay is a soft-spoken devil because he didn’t tell his ex who he unexpectedly saw at an unexpected wedding about his weeks-long girlfriend. Really? Have you been watching the other men? Clay’s a teddy bear compared to the Stagecoach prowlers we’ve been watching ravage the countryside so far (Sorry, Blake. Couldn’t help myself). But back to Mike. What is going on here?
Emily: So I guess Mike and Angela are going on this date. It’s really weird how we’re not seeing the Mike and Sydney story at all. How does Sydney feel about Mike going on this date? I guess they just broke up and we didn’t see it? Why is ABC so intent on depriving me of Mike Johnson?
Ben: Oh, they just want his hype train to derail. That’s all. They’re not ready to put a black man in the spotlight as we poor viewers are still recovering for the scandal that was Rachel Lindsay [see tongue planted firmly in cheek]. It’s just insulting at this point. We can see what you’re doing, ABC. We can recognize a non-story when we see one.
Emily: Meanwhile, Nicole sits down with Tayshia and is like, “It’s kind of funny we had two guys fighting over us, right?” It’s very clear Nicole is still not over her semi-Bachelorette status from earlier in the season.
Ben: It’s honestly hard to even comment on it. This was a particularly dull episode, and Nicole is one of the last people I’d task with entertaining an audience. She’s basically just a hyper-jealous, hyper-masculinity-focused woman who loves a good push-up. That’s it. Depth reached. I can’t even feel sorry for her, especially compared to the other B story of Haley’s JPJ debacle.
Emily: Poor Haley has decided she has a big ‘ole fat crush on JPJ. She says he’s funny, he’s playful, he’s serious, he’s smart, he’s so intelligent. We’ll have to take your word for that one, I guess. Also she knows her family would love him. Too bad for Haley JPJ has set his sights elsewhere.
Ben: So we have another case of “boy likes girl but doesn’t have the guts to tell the other girl (who likes him) that he just isn’t that into her.” It is so rare to find a guy on this show that doesn’t wait for the rose to do the talking. JPJ talks Haley up so much when they are together and leaves her crushed when she finds out it is all just talk. I can’t believe Tayshia is putting up with that behavior, much less becoming even more invested by episode end. I mean, could someone please share a clip of JPJ saying something intelligent? Please?
Emily: So Derek sits down with Haley and accidentally spills the beans that JPJ is into Tayshia, essentially crushing Haley’s dreams of getting engaged here on the beach in a week or so. Derek says he’s sorry he had to be the one to tell her, and Haley’s all, “Don’t be sorry. I’m glad you told me.” I really feel for her here. It sucks to find out this way. Haley says, “I’m not plan B, bitch.” And I get it. Who wants to be plan B?
Ben: It is nice to get to know this twin a little better. She does seems sincere despite her delusion of finding real love on this beachfront. If I were her, I’d be happy to avoid a twenty-four (?) year-old man who has been looking for his wife for twenty years. Danger zone.
Emily: While breaking Haley’s heart, JPJ is also going off the rails about Derek some more. He’s doubled down and said he regrets nothing he’s said or done in regards to Derek. So, like, starting a fight at someone’s wedding was totally chill, apparently. Then he says this, which I really feel like we need to unpack: “I just have instinct. I feel when something’s off. There’s a reason why animals fly south for the winter. We have instinct just like them. I have a pretty good feel for instinct, alright? Derek is a creep. He’s a fraternity brother who is in here to take advantage of women. That is a fact. I don’t have a lot of, like, claims to substantiate that point, but listen. I know the frauds when I see them, okay? Derek is a fraud. That is a fact.”
Ben: JPJ could give Trump lessons on alternative facts. I really feel like this Derek/JPJ conflict must go deeper than we have even seen. The level of animosity shown is unparalleled. This whole storyline is what turns me off about JPJ. He seems so funny and chill but randomly explodes in the most childlike manner. Tayshia should be terrified.
Emily: While JPJ is running around telling anyone who will listen that Derek just LOOOVES to manipulate women, Caelynn and Connor are still hitting it off. Caelynn’s like, “Connor and I went on a very romantic and sexual date.” Was that what that was?
Ben: And here I was thinking that sexual was implied by romantic. How silly of me. But seriously, is Caelynn adding that in to make Connor a more serious relationship candidate? So far all I see is constant macking interspersed with the occasional vocal fry. Seems like a tongue-deep connection from where I’m sitting and nothing more. Of course, still deeper than Haley and JPJ. I got a few goosebumps when she confronted him at the bar. His lack of apology was hard to watch. I really think he just cannot fathom what was wrong with stringing her along with straight lies. Once again, men just wait on the rose to have the tough convos for them.
Emily: After JPJ royally screws up his discussion with Haley, Derek’s after a chat with the man of the hour. Derek’s like “hey John can I ask you to talk to me?” Because Derek’s not here for this John Paul Jones bullshit any longer. JPJ is not interested in talking to Derek AT ALL, probably because he knows what he said is bullshit and will crumble under the smallest amount of scrutiny.
Ben: Uh, excuse me Emily, but can’t you just feel the facts flowing from JPJ?! Are you insulting his intelligence?!
Emily: Hard yes. Here’s just a TASTE of the argument. JPJ tells Derek, “You told me, ‘you can fuck some of the girls who follow you.” Derek’s like, “And I said I choose not to. You continue to put words in my mouth.” JPJ’s like, “My reputation is impeccable.” Derek says, “Why are you laughing? You don’t take this seriously at all… Were you messing with Haley? And now you’re messing with Tayshia?” JPJ replies, “Go talk to Tayshia and ask her.” Derek says, “You don’t get to tell me what to do. You don’t get to tell Tayshia what to do.” Meanwhile, Blake’s watching all of this go down and asks, “This is the most unattractive thing ever, right?” In other words; “I look okay in comparison, right?”
Ben: Ha I noted the same thing. Blake is loving his stock’s addition by subtraction moment here.
Emily: It’s time for some fresh meat on the beach. Matt Donald is here, and for some reason Dylan is really excited to see him. I don’t know why, because Matt Donald went home on night one, so they couldn’t have spent that much time together. Anyway, somehow, Haley is into him. Tayshia is into him. Kristina is also into him. And I’m just sitting here like WHY. Is it the sign language thing? Is that a turn-on?
Ben: I think it is more of a “Please dear God anybody but these people” thing. Latecomers have to deal with a lot of established relationships, but the few singles left are starving for attention. He seems bashful at least. Something newish on the beach.
Emily: Next, Luke shows up, and the poor dude still finds himself in the shadow of Nick Viall. Seriously, “kinda looks like Nick” is his entire storyline here. Anyway, these two late arrivals have a date card to share between the two of them. That’s right. It’s gonna be a double date! Matt asks Sydney and Luke asks Kristina. Tayshia is bummed she didn’t get asked on the date because now she has to stay here and deal with this JPJ/Derek drama and she is OVER IT.
Ben: Double date?! Double the snores! Matt Donald is talking like he doesn’t know how the BAchelor franchise is literally a sped-up version of relationship progression. Worry about you mom later, sir. Poor Luke gets treated to Kristina’s strange Blake obsession and probably feels like a fool for not taking Tayshia (duh). And then, wham, we have the MTV crossover moment: Hannah and Dylan prove that the boom boom room is fully operational. Thanks, I guess?
Emily: Back in palappa land, Blake is like… uh… “I’m lonely. Everyone’s coupled up around me and I don’t have a connection here, and I’m bummed.” He says he’s looking for what Demi and Kristian have. Blake tells Demi he’s frustrated and at this point he thought he’d have a connection. Yeah, Blake, the problem is you’ve tried to make TOO MANY connections.
Ben: Too many connections on too public a stage, my dude. Does anyone else love the irony of desiring a relationship like Demi and Kristian’s? Demi heads off to Mexico to screw around with a bunch of dudes, leaving the girl at home (who thought they had a real relationship) in a lurch. I mean, Blake’s already on his way to happytown. And it is apparently population Kristina? I mean, it really makes sense if you think about it. Ever since she showed up in Paradise and cornered Blake on her revenge date, she has been obsessed with getting all up in his business. But more on that later.
Emily: Sydney is having a great time on this date. She says she wanted that instant connection with Mike and just wasn’t feeling it and with Matt she’s having more of that instant connection. I’m just going to have to take her word for it because MIKE WAS LITERALLY ERASED FROM THE SHOW.
Ben: Erased and replaced with the Lay of Derek, AKA crushfest 2019. The guy falls hard twice and gets absolutely destroyed twice, and I really feel for him. I know a lot of people love Demi and Tayshia, but they were nothing but selfish towards him. First Demi uses him to “find herself” and realize she just wants the girl back home, and then Tayshia pulls Derek out of his sadness and stupor to “explore” what they might have before dumping him right in the middle of his totally unwarranted JPJ feud. I’m starting to think Shakespeare wrote this guy onto the screen.
Emily: At this point, Derek has had enough of Paradise. He’s been able to build wonderful relationships, but that’s about it, so he’s decided it’s time to head out. He gathers everyone together and says, “I love so many of you in so many ways. And just thank you all.” Everyone is sad. Everyone loves Derek. Tayshia is crying; she’s upset and confused because part of her feels like maybe she and Derek would have been able to hit it off. Demi tells Derek she’s going to miss him. Even Kristian and Derek have a moment. It’s all very emotional, and I’m just wondering what’s wrong with these women that Derek and Mike are still single on this beach. And… that’s a wrap on night one.
Ben: And Night Two begins with Blake . . . wondering why he’s here. I have to admit I’m surprised you hung on this long with so many people hating you and the producers bent on making you the worst BiP pariah since Chad-bear.
Emily: But there have been many BiP pariahs. And as a former BiP pariah himself, Chris has a sit down with JPJ and says, essentially, hey dude, I have fucked up on this show countless times, so take it from an expert. You fucked up. JPJ tells Chris he regrets nothing he’s done. And Chris is like, “Really? Not even… anything?” At the end of the day, Chris tells JPJ that he knows he has values and that he could have handled the situation with Derek better. I really don’t get what JPJ has that makes everyone root for him, but people are still #TeamJPJ after everything. Meanwhile, Mike is talking to Tayshia and they’re both hoping someone will show up who can be their person and I just keep looking at them and thinking WHY AREN’T THE TWO HOTTEST PEOPLE ON THE BEACH JUST TOGETHER?
Ben: The whole Tayshia and JPJ thing . . . I just can’t see it. I sound like a broken record here, but when does chasing someone around with a fish on a beach become sexy? I tried that in my youth, and believe me, it doesn’t work. But she seems honestly captivated by him, and my theory is that she is so afraid of any confrontational drama that she will choose the Fool over anybody else. Maybe she has some growing to do herself as she acts with little maturity in dealing with the conflicts occurring around her. I love Tayshia, but this is a bad look.
Emily: Next up, Chase shows up, and he’s here to date Angela. And I don’t know how to break it to him, but literally no one wants to see two BiP n00bs date.
Ben: Yeahhhhh I mean what is there to say? I don’t even know these people. They kiss probably. They say lukewarm things and imagine the babies they could make together. End of story.
Emily: Then! After being a Charlie Brown for days, Blake has an epiphany.
Ben: Suddenly, a single dim light clicks on in his skull: Kristina! Of course! She was right there all along. Cue Mr. Timberlake. Yeesh.
Emily: And so he does what any hopeless romantic would do in this situation. He goes to the bar to win Kristina’s heart immediately. Kristina’s like, “nah, I’ll pass.” Blake persists. He tells her, “We’ve never been all in on each other, so maybe we just owe each other this. To give it a shot.”
Ben: I mean, Blake has taken a beating this season, but don’t try to rope Kristina into the blame game for y’all’s previous relationship not working. You clearly weren’t all in on anyone (for more than a night at least), so don’t make this some laughably awkward Hugh Grant misunderstanding. You played yourself. And I don’t get Kristina.Her reactions are so big to Blake leading her away and dropping this truth bomb that she is asking if the sky is always blue by the time they make it to a private space. I’m just ready for hypocrisy on so many people’s parts to end. Blake, you a player. Kristina, you jelly. Move on.
Emily: It’s COCKTAIL PARTY TIME. Blake says he’s CONFIDENT about how he feels about Kristina. The ladies are handing out the roses this week, and I’m very concerned about Mike. Meanwhile, Sydney’s not feeling it with Matt. She wants him to make a move, but he’s not picking up what she’s throwing down. All the ladies take Matt aside and are like, “Make out with Sydney, asshole.” Matt Donald also gets kissing advice from Chris Harrison. I didn’t realize Chris Harrison just hangs around during these things, did you? I want to see more of this.
Ben: Chris Harrison was having Colton virginity flashbacks. I’d pay for more Chris to be sure. Some readers may remember a delightful little dirt speck called The Lion King 1 ½ (when The Lion King was told from Timon and Pumba’s perspective) and a day in the life of Chris Harrison in Paradise alongside the drama would be a perfect rehash of that too rarely used trope. But yes, Matt gets his advice, grabs Sidney, and proceeds on the most awkward kiss quest seen on that beach. But I guess it was good enough that she still likes him? Weird.
Emily: Finally after a lot of hemming and hawing, Angela and Clay finally sit down to chat. It’s boring. What did you make of this conversation? I think Clay basically broke up with Angela because she didn’t want to spend 4 hours at the gym with him every day and because she wanted to get married and have kids. Am I understanding this correctly?
Ben: That’s the heart of it. The whole talk just reeked of fear of commitment to me. Clay freaked out about starting something long term right at the end of his now ended football career (which must be a tough pill to swallow), and anything domestic just reaffirms that major life change. One thing I don’t think we have mentioned is how much everyone on this show respect each other “as human beings.” What the fuck does that even mean? Is there another way to respect a person? It’s as pointless and boring an expression as this entire Clay/Angela “drama.”
Emily: Okay let’s just hammer out this rose ceremony already. Rapid fire. Nicole picks Clay. Kristian picks Demi. Hannah picks Dylan. Katie picks Chris, and Chris says he feels like he’s falling in love. Haley picks Luke. Caelynn picks Connor. Sydney picks Matt. Tayshia picks JPJ. Kristina picks Blake, and she says this is more than a friendship rose. All this means Mike is going home, which is bullshit. Poor Mike says, “I’m the little kid everyone says they like but I have to watch everyone else play from the window.”
Ben: A moment of silence for Mike standing at his childhood window, the rain falling down down down. Or was that Bill from It? Just saying, things could be worse, Mike.
Emily: Yeah, your brother could be eaten by a sewer clown. Anyway. The next day, Blake is trying to romance Kristina, but Kristina still has her guard up. Blake is “all in” on Kristina though. He says, “Suddenly Kristina is like the future, and it’s such a weird calming feeling.” Blake tells Kristina if a girl walks down, he’s not going to go on a date. He wants to kiss her, but first he has to show her that he’s going to prioritize her. Kristina does not seem at all interested in kissing Blake at the moment.
Ben: And walk down a girl does. Brie. Another blonde whatever who’s too late to the party to bother remembering. She makes a run at Blake (supposedly), and Blake keeps his good boy pants on and dutifully reports to Kristina about his fidelity. Progress?
Emily: So, Old Matt Donald and Bri go on a date. Meanwhile, Blake keeps talking about how hot Bri is and what a great dude he is for not going on the date with her. This seemed extremely manipulated/edited to paint Blake in the worst light. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think he and Kristina are going to work out. But is he really this much of a douchebag? I have trouble believing it.
Ben: It does seem edited. I don’t know who decided that Bake needed to be erased from the Bachelor world, but they are doing a damn fine job.
Emily: Everyone else on the beach is just, like, working out and talking about feelings. Typical Bachelor shit. Chris wants Katie to give him twins OR ELSE. Hannah and Dylan just want to, like, hang out. It truly does feel like Paradise is winding down (THANK GOD).
Ben: I’m just so tired. So much forced drama is bad for the body.
Emily: Speaking of drama… Caelynn is fully gloating in her newfound perfect relationship, and isn’t AT ALL thinking about Dean. Which is why she says, “I’m just happy I didn’t end up with Dean. I don’t want to live in a van. No more mustaches for me.”
Ben: BZZZZZZZZZ. Dean is back for Caelynn, and the mustache is no more. Apparently, Dean found his razor back home and did what the FBI was bound to take care of themselves if he held onto that fuzzy lip worm any longer. I’m really not sure what Dean’s plan is. A week in Paradise is a month in the world, and after telling Caelynn repeatedly that he can’t give her what she’s looking for, showing back up in dramatic fashion and trying to convince her that you actually can give her what she’s looking for is not the best of moves. But he drops the bombshell anyway: Leave paradise with me today. Dum Dum Dummmmmmmmm!
Emily: And that’s where we leave off this week. What will Caelynn do? Will she stick with Sir Vocal Fry? Or will she drive off into the sunset in a creepy van helmed by a slightly less hairy Dean? What do you think, Ben?
Ben: I think that Adam Driver said it best in The Dead Don’t Die: “It’s all going to end badly.” For them, for us, for whomever has to clean that beach when all of this is done.
Emily: Well, I guess we’ll find out on Monday! Hooray?