"Bachelor in Paradise" recap: ABC drowns Labor Day in three hours of tears
"Mad Men." "Game of Thrones." "Breaking Bad." "The Handmaid's Tale." All of these shows are considered some of the best on television; none of them featured a three-hour episode. But hey, when you're producing groundbreaking, plot-heavy, thoughtful television like "Bachelor in Paradise," sometimes you gotta go to three hours. What, you're expected to cut the 45th scene of Colton and Tia debating their relationship? That's obviously gold right there.
There were a lot of tears during Monday night's three-hour Labor Day extravaganza – not even including mine from having to watch this very silly show for THREE FREAKING HOURS. And the tears were flowing right from the start, as the beach was still a twitter about Eric going back on his word with Angela and going on a date with new arrival Cassandra. All the ladies on the beach are paranoid that being a cheat is contagious and will spread to their men, while Angela hides in a bungalow and cries because Eric promised he was all in.
Speaking of Eric, he's finally on that date now! I know; I'd forgotten we still had to do that! He and Cassandra have a nice afternoon noshing on some popsicles when a random guy comes up to them and says he needs them to save his parade. The two then get to be the stars of this small town's celebration, even getting pronounced king and queen of the whole thing. I don't know what's sadder: that a town was fine allowing two randos suck up the spotlight in their traditions or that "The Bachelor" producers think they're being subtle about these prearranged "spontaneous" dates. Anyways, afterward the two talk some more, with Eric explaining that honesty is really important to him and HA HA HA HA ok dude.
Meanwhile, back on the beach, Tia is feeling great and confident in her relationship with Colton and FAMOUS LAST WORDS, DEAR. Yep, the immediate next shot is Colton talking about how he's suddenly not feeling it between him and Tia, and that he thinks he needs to call it a day. So he takes her aside and they break up, spending ten minutes just sobbing on the beach in silence. Truly engaging television.
At least after their cry session, the two show some mercy to the audience and decide to pack up and bail from "Paradise," realizing that it's been too much "will they or won't they" for even them. It's mildly sad, tears are shed, and as a special bonus, if you look closely at the start of it all, you can almost see the moment when the producers leaned into Colton's ear and told him they want him to be the next "Bachelor."
Yes, for those who don't follow allow the "Bachelor" gossip, Colton has supposedly been chosen as the show's next star – and what a miserable choice that would be. We all know how a Colton season would go: Every other week would feature a visit from Tia to make Colton question his heart while we'd also get more references to virginity than in a high school abstinence program. We've been dealing with their drama across two seasons now, and it's beyond played out. But apparently the few people invested and interested in more of Colton and Tia's tedious drama are also the show's producers. Maybe there's still time to book Kenny or Peter though.
Anyways, back on the beach, the whole cast is shook by Tia and Colton calling it quits ... except for sweet, sweet John, who was taking a nap the whole time. He accidentally busts into the middle of Jordan's confessional time for a cute little hug, only to discover not only did the crew's most seemingly stable couple blow up but that you can just go home if you want to. Venmo? More like VenWHOA for computer programmer John.
In case that wasn't enough, Eric finally comes back from his date with Cassandra only to be greeted by bad news and a confrontation with Angela, who wants to know what happened between them. In the process, she uses the phrase "all in" approximately 27,000,000 times. If you played a drinking game where you took a swig every time she said "all in," Monday night's episode would've only been an hour long.
Eric still stands by his answer that he just woke up not interested anymore and changed his mind, which Angela eventually accepts ... and then finds Cassandra like a heat-seeking missile to chat about what just happened to her. Somehow Eric didn't see that coming, and his reaction to realizing he just went from juggling two women to possibly none ALMOST made this three-hour marathon worth it. Angela and Cassandra have their heart-to-heart, with the latter disappointed to find out that honesty-loving Eric was actually a dishonest chump for the past 24 hours, ruining their entire date in retrospect.
He tries to explain to Cassandra that, once again, he just woke up feeling differently – as if that's some GREAT EXCUSE that SURELY every woman would understand – but Cassandra is having none of it. She makes a lot of "who farted?" faces while Eric is talking. This is the correct response.
A drama-filled day indeed on the "Bachelor in Paradise" beach. But it's nothing compared to the next day when – get ready, folks; paradigm changer incoming – Jordan shaves Chris R.'s baby bangs. In case you didn't think the beach could get more shook.
Things go back to normal, thankfully, with the arrival of two new ladies: Shushanna, who announces right away that she's not here to make friends (aka the best announcement) and Kristen, who apparently missed the nice stairwell to the beach and instead just roams in from the damn ocean. Important question for Kristen, quick: Why did you come back here? Let's run down her history on these shows: She got dumped on "The Bachelor," she got dumped on "The Proposal," she got dumped on "Bachelor in Paradise" and, in the process, was made fun of ruthlessly by the cast and the crew for some minor seafood mishap that the program finds ENDLESSLY entertaining. (Which, yes, the show definitely pulled that story back out as soon as possible.) So, I ask again: Why did you come back here? A glutton for punishment, this poor girl.
Anyways, there is now a stupid ratio of girls to guys on "Paradise" – including two new ones with a double date card to hand out – but Annaliese feels confident that her and Kamil have nothing to worry about COME ON ANNALIESE FAMOUS LAST WORDS! So of course Shushanna asks Kamil – who I've just discovered looks like a C-list Baldwin brother – out on her date. And, because who could've predicted the guy who told Becca that he expects a 60/40 compromise would be a bit of a toolbag, he says yes.
Annaliese tries very hard to convince herself that this is fine, that this is just one of those tests that relationships go through and that Kamil will come back to her ... but of course she ends up sobbing in front of that damn rock formation again. Somebody give that girl a hug.
Meanwhile Kristen asks John out as her date, and he says yes. But because it's Scallop Fingers, the show could not care less.
After they're all done banana boating like they're NBA all-stars, we arrive back on the beach where Kevin feels that he and Astrid are in a good place and DO I EVEN HAVE TO SAY IT, KEVIN!? It's like every couple on this show has a death wish. So of course Harrison shows up – complete with Jared and Kevin's ex Ashley, talking about how their love story happened. (According to a corny montage, it happened very poorly, with lots of sloppy tears and sadness! ROMANCE!) Harrison even asks the happy couple, "How did this miracle happen?" as if he doesn't realize Kevin is IN THE ROOM, DYING.
And if all that wasn't enough, while Harrison says that the two are there to judge who will get a bonus date card, instead it's a ruse so Jared can propose on the beach. Because when I propose, I want to be surrounded by horny shirtless strangers who haven't showered and my new fiancee's ex-boyfriend. SWOON.
But enough about them, because Harrison's the one who deserves the real shame. For one: You know Kevin's past better than anyone – and you pull this out and rub it in his face? Just so you can try oh so very hard to prove to people that THIS SHOW ACTUALLY WORKS, DAMMIT, WE SWEAR? Second, you already pulled this garbage this season when you marched Becca out in front of Colton for no reason other than to watch him cry again. And third and finally: YOU SAID YOU HAD A DATE CARD, YOU LIAR! In short, I hope Kevin had some very strong words for Harrison off-camera – maybe some strong fists too.
Whether it was fists or words, it apparently worked because later that same day Harrison coughs up a date card with Kevin's name on it. So the two have a cute date that's a calm breathe of fresh air. She seems great and understanding about Kevin's rough emotional state after seeing his ex paraded in front of him for a proposal, and he, by the end, seems like a weight is lifted off, finally letting go of his past hangups and self-confidence issues. And just when I'm thinking, "Wow, what a nice, quiet date, just two people in love enjoying each other's company," IN STOMPS THE MARIACHI BAND. Because heaven forbid we just have a peaceful, non-extra moment on this show.
Back on the beach, Kamil returns home from his date with Shushanna – and everyone wants to see how Annaliese handles everything. She's either going to collapse into a puddle of tears and wash into the ocean OR she's going to murder somebody – maybe everybody. But there turns out to be a third option: Kamil says that, while the date was fun, it made him realize that he wants to stick by Annaliese instead and the two cuddle under the sheets. Instead, the drama is with sweet John, who Olivia thinks she's moving forward with him while he's macking on Kristen. More like VenOH NO, amirite!
So after all of that nonsense and drama, we finally get a rose ceremony – but, of course, with a twist. Harrison introduces a bonus dude, and therefore a bonus rose, to the proceedings: Kiwi Jordan. Kristen plays her "let me try your accent" card, but just gets called drunk Mary Poppins. Angela tries telling him that she's not messing around, to which Kiwi Jordan says something involving "f*cking spiders." Amazingly, her interest dies down after that. Chelsea plays the "I'm very sad and lonely, and also I have a kid" card – not great! – and Shushanna samples the classic "can I steal him for a sec?" move. All in all, not a great night for flirtation.
Meanwhile, Cassandra suddenly realizes that she needs a rose to stay on vacation so she quickly forgives Eric for being a cheat. I look forward to her never talking to Eric again after getting his rose tonight. And because this show is one long ploy to get Annaliese to snap and go on a killing spree, Shushanna, Kristen and Chelsea all make moves on Kamil. John also goes from dancing and kissing with Kristen to smashing a piñata and kissing with Olivia. More like VenHO, amirite? (Last one I swear.)
And lo, it's finally time to dish out some roses. Well, first Harrison has to assure the audience that "PARADISE IS WORKING!" Yes, several people have abandoned the show out of sadness. And yes, there's been enough tears this episode to rival the beach's Gulf of Mexico view. And yes, the show's romantic batting average in general is so far below the Mendoza Line, it's buried under the sand. BUT PARADISE IS WORKING, DAMMIT! Anyways, here's just a clip of Harrison's speech:
And then roses. Kevin hands his off to Astrid, while Jordan tosses his to Jenna. Chris and Krystal stay together as the beach's worst best couple, while Kendall and Joe are the show's best couple – period. Eric gives his rose to Cassandra, but there's some SUPER awkwardness on the post-rose kiss that turns into just a hug. So yeah, that was their last conversation.
Kiwi Jordan keeps Shushanna around, John sticks with Olivia and, contrary to everyone's greatest efforts and my preconceived notions about the guy, Kamil stays with Annaliese. So Angela, Chelsea and Kristen are all headed home ... but first Chelsea has a scary, breathless panic attack while Kristen starts feeling nauseous, requiring the on-set medic to check her out.
Yet another great "Bachelor" experience to add to her diary – and yet more evidence that, indeed Chris Harrison, "Bachelor in Paradise" is working.
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