Susan: I, like many Bachelor Nation fans, thought this week’s episodes were the last ones. But in a very dramatic turn, I was wrong. So let’s get into this pentultimate recap so we all go into the finale ready to watch some 24-year-old influencers get engaged to their starter husbands.
Emily: One might argue this was the biggest plot twist of Bachelor in Paradise history. I really thought we were done with this show. And I think a lot of people are feeling this way. It’s September, y’all. The pumpkin spice is a-pumping. BiP fatigue has set in. But Susan and I finish what we started, even at the cost of our sanity. So yes. Let’s go.
Susan: We pick up where we left off, with mustacheless Dean telling Caelynn how much he’s changed and how this is evident because some hairs are gone now and he has an upper lip tan line. Dean is now ready to give a relationship a try, even though he still insists he’s a bad boyfriend. (See: Kristina; See also: Lesley)
Connor and the others are on a daybed, and he says he’s not worried because he has a strong connection with Caelynn. Everyone else is basically saying, “Yeah, she’s more into Dean” without saying those exact words to his sad, long face.
We all know what Caelynn is going to do, but she goes to talk to Connor anyway so it doesn’t seem so obvious. He reminds Caelynn that Dean dumped her on her birthday, which is the ultimate insult in the early-twenties community.
Meanwhile, Kristina checks in with Dean. He says he’s leaving today no matter what and has asked Caelynn to join him. Kristina, voice of reason, asks, “Are you crazy?!” and tells him he’s selfish for giving Caelynn an ultimatum. But doesn’t Caelynn strike you as someone who deals in ultimatums in her romantic relationships? It’s just a guess.
Emily: Yes, I’m pretty sure Caelynn thrives on this drama. And come to think of it, maybe that makes Dean the perfect man for her. He’ll treat her like shit, and she’ll get to cry and play victim. Wow, that’s really toxic, and I don’t wish that on her. I feel like an evil person for even saying it. But also… it just feels like facts. Also Caelynn seems like not a nice person, but that doesn’t mean I want her to be in a toxic relationship. I’m so confused. There’s an easy choice and a difficult choice here. Man, now I know what it’s like to be Caelynn.
Susan: Connor, who absolutely cannot read a room, still doesn’t get that Caelynn is definitely gonna ride off in Dean’s van. “I’m not worried about what’s happening right now...but...Dean sucks.”
Emily: This just goes to show how little Connor knows Caelynn, because he’s saying Dean sucks like Caelynn doesn’t routinely date men who suck on purpose.
Susan: This whole thing gets dragged out far too long because, like I said, it was clear from the start what Caelynn was going to choose. She tells Dean she knows what decision she wants to make but is scared. She says “This feels wrong!” which is a great sign it’s a totally fine decision. In true BiP fashion, they make out while everyone is watching. It still takes Connor a few seconds to put this all together.
Emily: Everyone on the beach seems really confused about what’s going on. Haley is happy for them but also feels like Caelynn is making a bad decision. This seems to be the general consensus among everyone, except, of course, for Connor who is pissed.
Susan: Then we get into one of this week’s major dramas with one of our couples, Chris and Katie. Katie says every girl wants what Dean just did -- choosing a girl and saying she’s the one -- but that Chris doesn’t give her any of those same feelings. Uh oh.
Emily: For the record, not all girls want what Dean just did. I’m with Kristina. That shit was selfish and not as romantic as the show is trying to make it out to be. But whatever. Also, for the record, Katie is beautiful and cool and too good for Chris. But she’s going to go on a date with him anyway so they can work out their feelings for one another.
Susan: Katie says she’s really nervous for their date because she feels like she could be anticipating the end. While she gets ready, she tells Demi she just needs more from Chris. Yeah, we don’t blame you, Katie. Bukowski is fully checked out this week. He, too, has BiP fatigue.
Susan: At dinner, Katie says she’s ready for marriage, but Chris has walls up. Chris says he’s been in love before but hasn’t been able to fully express it, which is a tad concerning. But then he says he’s 100% committed and wants to give her 100% of what he has to offer. OK, so on one hand, I accept this conversation because it seems like Chris understands a lot of his own hangups, and that’s good. However. I feel like Katie is talking herself out of saying/asking for what she really wants a lot during this episode because she’s tip-toeing around Chris’s issues.
Emily: Back to Connor. He’s crying because the girl he’s been making out with for two days just left him for some other dude she made out with for about four days. Blake, the comfort king, is there to offer his support. Connor’s like, “It sucks to be sitting there on that daybed and they start making out right in front of you.” Again, Blake lacks the self-awareness to put together that he’s done that exact same thing. I feel like this is Blake’s punishment, listening to other people complain ad nauseam about shit Blake himself has done.
Here’s a quick rundown of what’s going on around the beach at this point. Hannah and Dylan are off somewhere fucking. Connor is sulking. For some reason, Matt Donald is in a love triangle with Bri and Sydney. Why are all these hot women fighting over these loser dudes? Oh right. That’s just REAL LIFE. Ugh, why are things like this
Susan: Total bro Chase is aghast that both Bri and Sydney had to ask for Matt to kiss them, so he gives Matt a “kissing lesson” on a pineapple. This is appropriate because we learn in this episode that Matt only sees women as objects
Emily: Enter Revian, a girl I would not remember at all if it weren’t for her unique name. Revian’s date card tells her to “choose your ride or die.” She takes Matt Donald to the side, but Matt Donald’s not interested in making his love triangle a love square. No one recognizes her, so no one is that interested in going on a date with her because how is some nobody going to help their Instagram following? Eventually, Revian asks Connor on the date, and everyone else is like “dear god love Connor plz” because we’re all already tired of Connor sulking over a girl he’s known for two days. Revian says it’s nice Connor doesn’t know how handsome he is, but I do wish Connor was more aware of his vocal fry because I cannot.
Susan: The vocal fry is out of this world. Also, I don’t think he’s all that handsome. He looks like an awkward teenager who got tall too fast but his face is still years behind. Rev and Connor ride segways and get balloon hats made. He says this has all made him realize Caelynn wasn’t the right one and he’s just gotta move on. So he does that by making out with Rev, and there is zero chemistry.
Emily: Moving on to the only couples drama that actually seems real this week, Kristian and Demi are having trouble in Paradise. Turns out, Kristian is getting along REALLY WELL with the other girls in Paradise. Demi hates that Kristian is flirty with other girls, and she starts crying because she’s so uncomfortable with PDA and doesn’t want people to stare. Was she not affectionate with Derek at all? Seriously, I can’t remember.
Susan: We did get lots of footage of them making out, but they seemed to be away from the larger group when they were affectionate. Think the opposite of Dylan and Hannah. But we find out the PDA issue goes deeper than just being uncomfortable with physicality. In an ITM, Demi admits she is worried about how other people will feel seeing them kiss, etc. “It has everything to do with being comfortable being gay around people.”
Emily: Demi and Kristian go on a date and participate in a sacred ceremony to connect their spirits together. Afterwards, Demi tells Kristian how much it hurts for her to see Kristian touch other girls. Kristian says that’s just how she is with her friends and it’s not flirty. This is funny to me because Kristian was getting jealous about JPJ a couple of weeks ago. And by funny I mean both of these bitches have jealousy issues and a lack of self-awareness. Anyway, Demi’s worried she’s not going to be enough for Kristian, but Kristian says she’s so lucky to be with her. They seem to have worked things out for now. But… Why is this ominous music playing? Everything seems fine?
Susan: Now it’s time for the not-at-all-producer-influenced grand romantic gestures to begin. JPJ is up first with a “very special surprise” for Tayshia. She told him she didn’t go to her prom, and he cannot fathom this. So he throws her a Paradise prom! They change into formal wear, and he even gives her a corsage. At a daybed decorated with prom balloons, he crowns her prom queen and they dance to music provided by a lone saxophone player. (I’m into this because I think sax music is pretty sexy, tbh.) The whole thing is actually really endearing in its corniness. All the other couples join them, and I think it needs to be noted that Chris’s chyron has changed again, and it’s not the last time. It now says “Literally Every Season Ever.”
Emily: Blake also decides to do a romantic gesture for the woman he’s stuck with… erm, I mean… falling in love with. Kristina has trust issues when it comes to Blake, though, which is totally understandable. Blake says, “Her heart does know that I’m the one for her.” At this point, I feel like this is a really familiar Blake line. It kind of reminds me of when Blake wants to remind Hannah of why she has a crush on him. He really thinks he’s all that, doesn’t he?
Susan: I thought Connor was bad at reading people, but Blake is even worse. I’ve seen zero signals from Kristina that she’s into this anymore. I wonder why. It’s almost like she was his fourth choice after Tayshia, Hannah and Caitlyn.
Emily: Blake says, “I don’t think she’s ever had a guy completely fight for her, so I’m gonna be that guy.” So he makes up a date card for Kristina that says, “I know we can’t go back in time, but tonight we can make up for it.” She gives him this look like, “WTF is this bullshit,” but she goes along with it anyway. He leads her off to some sort of daybed area where he’s set up a little meal for them. Kristina is not feeling it though, and that is apparent straight away. She says the date is sweet and now she feels guilty because she doesn’t think she’ll be able to get where she needs to get. She tells Blake that she doesn’t know if they want each other “just because,” which is a GOOD POINT. The first night of Paradise ends with Kristina and Blake both leaving. Dun dun dun.
Susan: I had to really take a moment here and just be amazed that Blake made it to this episode on the season. It seems like so long ago that Tayshia was into him after their first date. But he’s only still there Kristina gave him friendship roses. Remember when she showed up to take him on a “revenge date”? Well, her long con kind of worked. So I guess, good job? Through tears, we get Blake’s parting words: “I learned a lot but like, at what cost? At what cost?”
Emily: At the end of every season, Chris Harrison arrives and puts false pressure on all of these couples to fall in love immediately. It’s absolutely my least favorite part of the show every year because it’s so idiotic. I have no clue how he gets any of these people to take his ultimatums seriously. This pressure is going to be felt for the rest of this episode, and it’s super annoying.
Susan: This episode really tries to make some of these couples happen for us again. Since we haven’t even seen them since the first few episodes, it’s time for the show to remind us that is about “real relationships” and “lifelong commitments.”
Emily: Hannah and Dylan are the next couple to get a date card, and good for them, but this was a weird date. They go to a child’s birthday party? Either way, Hannah is excited about what this date could mean because she says on their last date they told each other they were falling in love with each other. That’s not what I remember. Let’s roll back the tape. I’m pretty sure Dylan said he was falling in love, and Hannah said, “I’m all in.”
Susan: This random local children date is a weird Bachelor trope that only exists for the couple to say, ‘Wow, he/she is sooo good with kids. I can really picture him/her as the father/mother of my children.” Gag.
Emily: Clay is back at the palapa speculating about Hannah and Dylan’s date. Clay ships Dannah so hard. He thinks they might get engaged on their date today and get married on the last day of paradise. I get where he’s coming from, honestly, but also I don’t care about Dylan and Hannah at all.
Susan: Clay says he’s never seen two people spend more time together in his entire life. Which is hilarious because they’ve all been on this beach for about 2.5 weeks.
Emily: Back at the date, Dylan tells Hannah, “I’ve been struggling with the difference between falling in love with you and being in love with you.” That’s because it’s made up, Dylan. There is no difference. So he decides to tell Hannah he loves her.
Susan: Hannah says I love you back. Dylan says he might have just told his wife that he loves her. In her ITM, Hannah says “I just told the guy I’m really into that I love him.” Which was a weird way to say that. Dylan tries to yell “I love Hannah” in Spanish, but he yells “Me llamo Hannah!” which means “My name is Hannah.” The locals are like omg are these white people ok?
Emily: Connor is watching all of these couples go on their final dates, and he’s feeling forlorn. It turns out, he’s no longer pining over the love of his life Caelynn but rather thinking about the one who got away, Whitney. Connor stares at the stairs just waiting for Whitney to come down them with a date card, but there’s no hot brunette in sight. So he waits five more minutes and decides if Whitney’s not coming, he’s leaving. As he drives back to his hotel, he passes Whitney’s van heading to the beach. Wow. Not cool, producers.
Susan: Whitney shows up to meet Connor and is quickly informed that he left. She makes the fastest Paradise exit ever when she heads right back up the stairs to try to catch Connor at the hotel. She says, “I hope he has his shirt off,” and lo and behold: he does! He answers the door and is super happy again. They hang out on the hotel couch, and he’s already got his hand on her leg. And that’s the last we see of them.
Nicole is in love with Clay but wants him to say it first. (Girl, don’t hold your breath.) Clay mentions the logistics of Nicole living in Miami and him in Chicago. Nicole says if she was to introduce him to her family or potentially move, she’d want the reassurance that he is 100% in. At dinner, she tells him she’s still falling in love with him and ask if he is falling. He says she’s his best friend on the beach and wants to spend so much time with her, and he thinks he is starting to fall in love with her, but he can’t say right now that he is in love. They dance to a private concert and Nicole tries to pretend she’s super cool and chill with all this.
Emily: I have to say, while all of this dramatic stuff is going down, JPJ and Tayshia seem to be having a grand ole time. They’re building sandcastles and frolicking on the beach. Then JPJ gets into a denim speedo and Tayshia draws him like one of her french girls. Then they reenact the “I’m the king of the world” scene from Titanic. With how boring Paradise probably gets for most contestants, I can actually see how Tayshia found spending time with JPJ appealing. At least they keep thinking of fun things to do together. Tayshia tells JPJ he’s like an iceberg because there’s so much below the surface. I guess we’ll have to take her word for it.
Susan: I really enjoyed them this episode, but I can’t help but ask: Are we supposed to just forget that JPJ lost his damn mind a few weeks ago and behaved terribly? Because I remember.
Meanwhile, Chris is all up in his head and being weird af to Katie. Katie asks him to tell her what he needs, and he’s like, “I don’t need anything.” Cool, that was helpful. Chris says he isn’t feeling “100% convinced that this is the right thing.”
Emily: Chris Harrison knows we’re running out of hours of television, so he cuts the cocktail party and get us straight into the rose ceremony. Everyone’s freaking out. The pressure is getting to them. Luke goes first, and he tries to give his rose to Bri, but Bri outright refuses it. Bri says she came here to find love and a relationship, and she doesn’t think she can see that with him. Chris Harrisonn says, “this has never happened before. Bri turned down the rose. Is there anyone else who would like Luke’s rose tonight?” Haley thinks Luke is the poor man’s Nick Viall except not as hot, so she’s not stepping forward. No one steps forward, so Luke leaves. Awkward. I wonder what Luke did to deserve this. What did we not see?
Susan: Chris Harrison was a savage here! This was sooo uncomfortable, but I loved it. This scene featured Part 1 of Bri being this episode’s MVP. The rest of the roses go exactly as expected: Matt gives his rose to Bri, and she accepts this one. Dylan to Hannah. (But he missed an awesome opportunity to walk up third and also say “Bri.”) JPJ to Tayshia. Chase to Angela. I forgot about them. Clay to Nicole. Demi to Kristian. Chris to Katie.
Emily: With all of the roses handed out, Sydney, Revian, and Haley leave. Sydney, who is not bitter you’re bitter, speculates, “Matt’s going to get dumped. There’s no way Bri is going to leave Paradise with Matt.” She’s not wrong. The next morning, Kristian orders an iced coffee with coconut milk and I think we might be soul sisters.
Susan: I really like Kristian, and not just for the solid coffee choice. She seems really patient and mature, and it’s refreshing on this show. Now it’s time for Harrison to turn up the pressure cooker on the remaining “serious couples.” Chris B.’s chyron changed AGAIN to say “Hoping This Is It.”
Emily: Chris Harrison arrives to tell all of these tanned Instagram models to get married right away or be forever alone. Of course (JK this makes no sense) everyone starts freaking out. We start seeing the couples take one another aside to decide how serious they are with one another and if they want to go to fantasy suites.
Susan: Couples are about to start dropping like flies. First up: Least Believable Couple Matt and Bri. Matt thinks he and Bri “can make it work outside of here.” Haha, ok buddy. Matt is clearly shallow as all hell and won’t stop calling Bri a supermodel, which she is not into. Bri says she thinks he made the wrong decision giving her the rose because he only sees the exterior of her and she wants to be chosen for the person she is. BRI FOR MVP. She was great in this episode. Direct, no-nonsense, articulate. Bye, Matt!
Emily: Next up are Chase and Angela, two people I keep forgetting exist. Chase says, “this is a heavy conversation we have to have right now.” BUT WHY? I don’t get this at all. Anyway, they decide they’re not ready to get engaged (no shit) so they break up and go home. What is this show? Hannah and Dylan and Nicole and Clay are up next. These couples are so boring I blacked out while they were talking, so maybe fill us in, Susan.
Susan: All I wrote down for Dannah was “Dylan and Hannah are going to the fantasy suite duhhhh,” so that about covers it. Nicole and Clay sit down, and Nicole is already crying happy tears because she feels like it’s finally happening for her. Clay says he is hopeful. They’re going to bang in the fantasy suite as well.
Emily: Next up are Tay-PJ. JPJ tells Tayshia, “I’d like to dance with you at our wedding some day, hopefully. I’m in love with you, and I’m not ready for this experience to end. I want to keep exploring our relationship.” Tayshia says, “That’s a lot,” which is not how you want someone to respond after you tell them you love them. She tells him, “I really do cherish everything we’ve had here in Mexico. But to hear that. My heart is beating so fast. To hear that you’re in love with me. I wanna get there but I’m not there yet. You don’t even know what you want in a partner fully.” He says he does know, and she tells him he only thinks he knows. He says, “I do know. Don’t tell me what I know and I don’t know. I know that I want you, and you are the most amazing woman I’ve ever met. And I’ll never forget the time I spent with you. Thank you for some of the most magical moments in my life.”
Then JPJ walks away. But this is not the end for them. Tayshia runs after him and cries and apologizes He picks her up and carries her about five feet before putting her down again, which was a weird move. Tayshia tells him she doesn’t want him to go, and then he says goodbye. Flashback to all the great times they had together. Notice they left out JPJ yelling at Derek and making Tayshia cry. Convenient.
Susan: I didn’t understand this. She doesn’t seem to be saying she wants to break up, but because this show is built on the premise of “Get Engaged or Perish,” they leave separately. Next up: Demi and Kristian. Kristian says Demi has given her mixed signals. Demi is in an anxiety spiral. She says Kristian is the only person she’s ever felt this strongly about and wanted to be with this badly. “I wanna shout it from the rooftops that Kristian is my girl.”
Emily: Next up are Chris and Katie. This conversation was weird. Chris says it’s been a crazy and awesome journey, which definitely sounds like the beginning of a breakup. Katie says she’s confused and she wants to be with him. So Chris says, “I don’t not want to try.” WHAT is happening? Chris says he wants to give it a shot and asks if she does too. What is going on with this dude, Susan? I do not get it.
Susan: Katie seems like she falls back on trying to be the cool girl here. She really wants this to work, so she seems to say some things that are comforting to Chris just to make sure they get to the next step. She says she doesn’t know it’s him for the rest of her life but that he makes her feel happy and safe. Then he says he is difficult but does want to give it a shot. I really can’t tell if he wants this to work because he wants to be with Katie or because he didn’t want his coming out of retirement to be for nothing.
Let’s find out this week on the ACTUAL finale. Maybe we’ll get out of Mexico before Halloween.