"Bachelor in Paradise" recap: It's prom night in Paradise
"Bachelor in Paradise" is coming to a close, but unlike Mike doing cartwheels on the beach, it appears this season is going to stick the landing. Monday night's episode featured the redemption of a fan favorite, one of the more in-depth and complex relationship conversations the show's ever featured (admittedly not a difficult title to claim), the satisfying finale to some epic troll-ery and a mutant pineapple. Other than that, pretty uneventful night.
Jokes aside, for a good chunk of the first hour, "Bachelor in Paradise" seemed even more dire than Blake's dignity. Most of that was due to finishing off Dean's surprise arrival on the beach in the hopes of stealing Caelynn away – which we all knew he would. The show didn't ship Dean back in and give him a dramatic shaving montage for nothing. Plus, even with the dirty porno plumber stache, he's still got more charisma than Connor, the human embodiment of vocal fry.
But we still wasted 20-30 minutes on Caelynn wandering the beach looking stressed, Connor pretending like he doesn't know he's about to be dumped and the rest of the cast providing color commentary. Blake, for instance, points out that Caelynn's body language was bad leaving Dean's conversation. As if Blake would know. He also notes that Dean may mean everything he's saying, but that doesn't mean he can follow through on it. Sociopathic douchebaggery? NOW THAT BLAKE KNOWS!
Caelynn eventually takes some time to chat about her conundrum with Connor, who actually makes the strong point that Dean may be good at making a grand gesture, but it's by no means a promise that he won't flake out again when it comes time to commit. After all, he threw Caelynn a big happy birthday celebration right before breaking up with her that very night. However, Caelynn doesn't hear any of that – possibly because when she hears Connor talk, all she can think about is the surfer bro turtle from "Finding Nemo."
So, of course, she chooses Dean, and the two celebrate by rolling around with each other on a daybed and making out – all while Connor is a few dozen feet away. Graceful dismount from that relationship, Caelynn. The rekindled couple then packs up and leaves "Bachelor in Paradise" together, with Dean excitedly telling Caelynn about the glories of your car also serving as your bedroom. Plus: He can make her ramen! Amazingly, neither of this thrills Caelynn, who drives off doing a perfect imitation of the end of "The Graduate," just two young people realizing they have no idea what they've done and suddenly terrified by the future.
I give them about three months until Caelynn's tired of showering in CVS bathrooms – though, in fairness to Dean, in the pantheon of vans, his ranks amongst the bougie-est.
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i'm not sure how or why anyone would know this but for the better half of the 90's my family lived in a converted bus, traveling from trailer park to trailer park, until we eventually settled in CO. i was always sort of ashamed of the fact that my parents panhandled, worked odd jobs, and sold temporary tattoos to make ends meet along the way. shame on me. as i've gotten older, i've realized how fucking awesome that was of them and how incredible they were to be able to raise 4 healthy and (seemingly) well-adjusted children on a shoestring budget, with no real destination or objective. it's kind of ironic that now, at 28 years old, i'm reconnecting with those times. the decision to move my life into a van has been met with an equal amount of scrutiny and encouragement. for me, there's nothing but excitement and wide eyed optimism for what the future holds and where the road will take me 🚙💨🔥 if you see me cruising around, gimme a beep!
I am DISPLEASED to find that his van has better furnishings than my apartment. There is not enough rose in the world to drown these sorrows.
Speaking of sorrows, however, the honeymoon seems to coming to an end for Katie and Gerard Butler – and they haven't even left the beach. They're cold and growing apart, so Katie determines they need a date. AND LO, THE "PARADISE" GODS PROVIDE, as they drop off a date card for Katie and Gerard Butler. Yay! The bad news: Their date is to basically a chintzy and desolate Mexican T.G.I. Fridays that clearly some interns decorated in a rush an hour before. It looks sad – but apparently it's the perfect setting to rekindle a romance, as Gerard Butler and Katie talk things about and reaffirm that they're going to stick together. I'm happy for them; I hope they ordered the sizzling chicken and shrimp skillet meal and some potato skins to celebrate.
BUT WAIT, a ruckus appears down the street! Indeed, a spontaneous parade of paid extras happily married locals comes salsa-ing down toward the T.G.I. Viernes with some sparklers and giant decorations, and invites our newly reinvigorated couple to join. And so they do – complete with Katie grabbing what looks like a bottle of tequila on their way out. Clever girl.
Back on the beach, Matt Donald has somehow found himself in a love triangle – despite both Sydney and Bri having to point a giant neon Vegas-style arrow sign toward their lips in order for him to take the hint about kissing. So, in order to help, his fellow castmates make him a special doll to help practice kissing. I'm sorry; I said "special doll" when I meant to say NIGHTMARES INCARNATE.
Unsurprisingly, the mutant pineapple does not improve Matt Donald's dating savvy, as he plays Marco Polo with a clearly exasperated Bri and then slaps down some pre-massage flirtation from Sydney by talking about his mother. Meanwhile, Blake is SEETHING that this virginal doofus has become the beach's most eligible bachelor while he's sad and alone. You hate to see it happen. While we're on the topic of sad and alone, however, Connor is bummed out about Dean swiping Caelynn off her feet and off the show – so much so he sees no real point in staying unless something changes.
AND MY WORD, THE "PARADISE" GODS ANSWER YET AGAIN, as a woman named Revian strolls down the steps with a date card. She says she's from Colton's season, but I don't believe that for one second. Who is this stranger? Is she another rando from the real world like Kristian? They've made this woman up. Anyways, this figment of our collective imagination politely chooses Connor for her date, and the two go ... on a slow boring Segway tour that the show doesn't even bother with save for a quick stop with a clown who scared me more than anything in "It: Chapter Two." NOT EXACTLY YOUR FINEST DATE CONCEPTS THIS WEEK, "BACHELOR" PRODUCERS.
Unfortunately, there's more dates to come – the next going to Kristian and Demi, who, like Gerard Butler and Katie, also could use some time alone to figure out the state of their relationship. Even though they've been seemingly drama-free since Kristian's arrival, Demi is suddenly irritated by Kristian's flirtations and touchy-feely behavior with other women on the beach. OK, hold on: Didn't you leave Kristian first so you could go flirt with other people on a reality dating show – one of which you actually began a brief relationship with in the process? Seems a touch hypocritical. Also: THIS IS WHY YOU MAYBE DON'T BRING AN OUTSIDE RELATIONSHIP INTO AN ENVIRONMENT THAT'S ENTIRELY SET UP FOR FLIRTATION, DECEIT AND CONSIDERING OTHER OPTIONS. Who could've seen this coming?!
Here's something I actually didn't see coming, though: a thoughtful, authentic conversation about being out as gay in the public eye and how that can impact one's relationships. Demi's discomfort with Kristian's affinity toward public displays of affection isn't just jealousy or emotional chilliness; it's that Demi's still anxious and holding back about being seen in public as a lesbian and how others will react. It's a nuanced conversation that thankfully gets some time to breathe as the two receive a date card and chat more about their different places in their lives (after some smoky tribal ceremony that NEITHER of them look happy about). By the end, the two happily reunite – particularly because Kristian's previously gone through the emotions and conflicts that Demi's currently battling – but props to "Bachelor in Paradise" for a conversation and perspective rarely heard on national television – much less a dopey dating show. IS THIS RULE-BREAKING SUBPLOT SUDDENLY ALL WORTH IT!?
Anyways, since the producers bailed when it came to planning dates this week, John Paul Jones apparently felt the need to pick up the slack. AND BOY DID HE! Realizing fantasy suites are right around the corner, JPJ decides to make a grand gesture by asking Tayshia is she would like to go to prom with him, since she never got to go during high school. She says yes, so the two get dolled up, pin on the boutonnière and stroll down to a specially decorated daybed featuring a polaroid camera, a bowl of punch, balloons and crowns for the king and queen. JPJ, YOU'VE TOTALLY REDEEMED YOURSELF! Is it truly prom, however, if you don't slow dance to K-Ci and JoJo's "All My Life"? Unfortunately, "Bachelor in Paradise" didn't bother to get that slow-dance classic licensed – but they did ship in a sax player to bust out some smooth jams for Tayshia and JPJ to shuffle back and forth to. It's so adorable and sweet that I'll even ignore that John Paul Jones burped right into Tayshia's ear. YOUR NEWLY EXPLODED EAR DRUM WAS WORTH IT!
Then, for maximum cuteness, the rest of the "Paradise" couples make their way down to prom to slow dance with the happy king and queen. Well, every couple but seemingly Matt Donald and Sydney, who asks about dancing but Captain Cool shrugs it off. I like Matt Donald being on my television because he makes me seem courageous, confident and savvy with relationships by comparison. I appreciate that he's put the bar for competent dating experiences somewhere between the mantle and the Earth's core.
Blake sees all of this cute prom stuff happening and thinks to himself, "HEY, SOME DRAMATIC GESTURE MIGHT JUST WORK FOR ME TOO!" So he grabs Kristina for a special date of his own ... which ends up just being the usual meeting place just with a tray of veggies and some rose petals sprinkled about. Amazingly, considering the whole five minutes of effort put into his special date and considering Kristina's spent the past eight hours of this show utterly apathetic toward Blake as a romantic partner, the date doesn't work. Kristina tells Blake that she just can't get there with him. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that Blake only started falling for Kristina once Hannah and Caelynn moved on from him and the rest of the island saw him as more toxic than Jane's devil tacos. Maybe it's because Blake clearly just wanted to fall in love with SOMEBODY on this show, and that's a bad foundation for a relationship.
Or maybe Kristina gave Blake the Heisman pose because she's been trolling him this entire time, teasing him along with roses and date cards only to stick one final stake into his heart when the time was right and his defenses were at their lowest and most desperate. I hope it's that – because if that was the case, MASTERFULLY DONE. That's some South Korean dark thriller-level revenge – and I commend it. If only there was a live octopus involved somehow. Knowing she's burned Blake's heart to the ground and salted the ashes, Kristina walks off the show like an action hero walking away from an explosion without looking. Soon after, so does the now fully destroyed Blake. You almost want to feel bad for him. Almost. But instead I laughed very hard.
That leaves just about only the established couples left on the beach – and only two more episodes (one tomorrow night and one next week Tuesday) of "Bachelor in Paradise" left on the schedule. Will anyone get engaged? Who will crumble under the circumstances? WILL THE MUTANT PINEAPPLE FIND LOVE?! Stay tuned ...
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