WEEK 4: 'There Are Actually A LOT of Rules in Paradise'
|Sep 5, 2018||Public post|
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Let me tell you about the single most romantic thing that has ever happened on the Bachelor franchise: In week 4 of Bachelor in Paradise, Kevin (Canadian James Marsden) sat Astrid down and told her that after dating for seven days (the BiP equivalent of getting a joint bank account), he kind of wished she would maybe date some other dudes just so they could test the relationship.
No, that is not the romantic thing. That is very dumb! The romantic thing is that after Astrid evacuates the premises because her seven-day-fiancé just told her that their exclusive dating doesn’t "push [his] boundaries," Kevin gave her some space, considered why he might have told his girlfriend who he's really into that she should date other men, and then he approached Astrid for a conversation.
Kevin shares with Astrid that given the fact that he left his season of The Bachelorette Canada in an engagement that proved itself unsustainable in the real world…and given that he left Bachelor Winter Games in a relationship with Ashley that fell victim to her OTP Jared finally deciding it was time to return Ashley's feelings the second Canadian James Marsden entered the picture…and GIVEN that Kevin is now in another Bachelor-related scenario with "the perfect woman" that seems too good to be true…he's just waiting for the other shoe to drop.
"I do therapy twice a week for this exact reason!" Kevin exclaims, telling Astrid that it was a bad day, he had some anxiety, and he's sorry for upsetting her because he really doesn’t want to mess this up.
This, in contrast to last week when Benoit — a similarly Canadian man with a romantic past similarly torn asunder by the misleading machinations of this franchise — entered into it once more shrugging, "It's worked for me twice before, why not a third time?" Kevin will tell you why not a third time while simultaneously carrying out an apparently successful third time:
Because Kevin…is a real one.
I know I said in the first week of Bachelor in Paradise that that this chunk of Canadian chin would have to save the Jerry McGuire kid from a burning building to make up for that nasty guacamole kiss he gave Krystal — but I was wrong. Turns out all he had to do was concurrently expose this franchise's proclivity for luring unsuspecting tummy tea hopefuls into unsustainable romances while also promoting therapy from a platform that is the poster-child for its importance…and yeah, that pretty much did it!
I, frankly, cannot believe the Bachelor powers that be chose to air Kevin's very honest reckoning of the toll these shows have taken on him. But perhaps even they realize that after the toxic displays we've had to endure from the likes of Leo and Chris, we deserve some Kevin. For the record, Astrid also handles this unexpected bit of anxiety in a mature and understanding way while still being true to her own feelings. When she said, "That's what he doesn’t get — as lucky as he is to have found me, I'm just as lucky to have found him," I wept, briefly considered texting every ex-lover in my phone, pasted Astrid and Kevin's faces onto a bride and groom on my mood board, and wept a little more.
But it was Kevin's vulnerability that stood out like Jenna at an Amish farmer's market because on this season of Bachelor in Paradise, it seems that we can expect emotional honesty, self-motivated introspection, healthy self-assurance, and clear communication from nearly every woman on the beach…
But from the men, the absolute best we can hope for is not being emotionally abusive and remembering to flush after number-2s.
So, yes Astrid: you better get you a man who briefly pushes you away, then does the emotional labor to realize that response is just his own insecurities taking over, and that those insecurities are logically rooted, yes, but emotionally surmountable nonetheless. You better get you a man who not only acknowledges his shit, but then makes the decision to work through his shit; get you a man who pushes through the scrape-ups to protect his mental health and become the best version of himself for the both of you…
And girl, get you a man who, given the means, proudly goes to therapy twice a week. Get! You! A! Man! With! Canadian! Healthcare! Coverage, YAAAAAAAAAAS!
And, y'know, if all the Kevins are taken, just do your best to avoid the Leos, I guess. You'll recognize them by the rage in their eyes, the ice in their voices, and the way they keep alternating between asking you how you're single and audibly hissing at you. They might also spend a lot of time declaring, THERE ARE NO RULES IN PARADISE while, in the next breath, defining hard and fast rules of Paradise, such as "Kisses are like handshakes here" (no) and "men don't tattle on other men" (no).
In that last bit though — the declaring new rules bit, the Lying Liar McLiarson bit — Leo is not alone.
Week 4 begins with practically everyone coupled up, and so, with each arrival of a freshly showered single person on the Paradise beach, a new love triangle is formed. These triangles all come together to form the quivering house of cards that is Bachelor in Paradise. And with each new card added, comes some new rule a dude has just created so that he can feel less guilty about choosing to ride go-karts with a hot new NBA dancer hours after telling another woman she was his girlfriend. It is truly a wondrous, gas-lit four hours of to behold:
THE STRONGEST THROUPLE IN PARADISE
Some of it really is wondrous, like any moment when Chris is gloating about his relationship with Krystal, while Krystal is actively making out with Connor, a very hot dummy.
It's fun when Krystal does it because Chris sucks, and also because…Krystal is THRIVING in Paradise?!
Whereas she was an uncommunicative, manipulative, baby-voiced kamikaze on her season of The Bachelor — with the salt of Sayulita running through her veins, Krystal has become a communicative, transparent goddess who only deploys her mystical kitten voice when she's flirting. Which is a lot right now because Krystal seems to be the only human on this island who has a clear understanding of the openness and honesty required to entertain the interests of multiple people at one time.
Chris and Krystal are riding high after a particularly long butt-stroking/purring session on the beach. "The timing for Chris and I is divine," Krystal says while the camera helpfully makes it look like he's jacking her off in front of all their closest friends. And then Chris makes the mistake of saying those five little words that doom every relationship here:
Buddy. If you're in the strongest couple in Paradise, your name is Kevin or Astrid; you have zero percent body fat, the hair and muscle composition of a thoroughbred mustang, and you're too busy overcoming your own insecurities in the name of love to rank yourself against other couples. Chris is so busy bragging about how his and Krystal's fire costumes definitely earned them the most points at the Parade of Tributes that he doesn't even notice the little hearts, abdominal muscles, and FabFitFun boxes scrolling through Krystal's pupils like a winning slot machine the moment Connor walks in, sternum-to-the-wind as ever.
Krystal explains: "I have been wanting to meet Connor long before Paradise, and I came to Paradise really wanting to stay out of my head and just lead with my heart, and just really be true to how I'm feeling in my emotions." How Krystal's feeling in her emotions…is that she has likely has a pre-Paradise DM thread with Connor the length of Jordan's nighttime skincare routine (can you even imagine the serum regimen?).
One of my very favorite things about Paradise is reading between the lines to figure out which people have been talking prior to the season and having to impatiently waiting for the other to arrive while they bide their time with an inferior-follicled chump. In this case, reading between the lines is just looking at Krystal and Connor's mouths awkwardly say "nice to meet you" while their faces say "I have a picture of your butt in my phone."
But for some reason, Krystal genuinely likes Chris. So when Connor pulls her aside, she tells him that even though he was the person she was most hoping to "meet" in Paradise, this thing with Chris has taken her by surprise; if Connor asked her out, she would have Chris in the back of her mind the whole time. And when Krystal relays to Chris that she told Connor he should chat with some other women, Chris responds, "You're lying.” Which is just an adorable attitude to have with the woman you claim to be so interested in.
"Krystal is a rare breed," Chris glows, even though basically every woman on this beach is a respectful, forthright person being forced to pick an island-boyfriend from a pool of deceitful hamburger meat. Luckily Krystal steps aside to talk to Eric, telling him Connor was the main person she wanted to meet here, but she turned him down for Chris, and he says:
Krystal tells Chris that despite deflecting Connor’s interest earlier, when he asked her out again, she told him sure, she'd go on a date with him as long as he understood where she was in her relationship with Chris. This really puts a dent in the "strongest couple in Paradise" lifeboat in which Chris currently resides. "So you don't think where we're at is good enough?" Chris asks. "No," Krystal — an honesty icon, a straightforward queen, a truthful legend — responds.
But in the end, all this humbling of Chris is for nothing. For some reason that goes totally unexplained, Krystal goes back to Chris, and he will remain forever unhumbled. Krystal seemingly has a great time on her date with Connor: they get buried in the sand in an indigenous "mystical" ceremony, growl at each other for a while, and make out in the ocean — you know, real traditional first date stuff. But when Krystal comes back, Chris is waiting on her. Or rather…
Chris spots their return and immediately pretends that he’s sleeping so that Krystal will know he was waiting up on her, but he was feeling so super chill about it, and not at all spiraling out of control, that he was able to fall right to sleep. We never see them talk it out, but it doesn't matter; the women have the roses this week and there was no way in hell Chris was going to lose his one shot at reclaiming the title of Strongest Couple in Paradise, and ultimately winning this falling-in-love game.
As we've already assessed, Kevin being vulnerable with Astrid about his Bachelor-induced anxieties while normalizing the benefits of therapy was the most romantic thing that happened week 4. But the second most romantic thing that happened was Krystal snapping, "You want me to work?" after Chris lays a couple of yoga mats on the ground and tells her he wants her to "relax" by teaching him yoga.
The combination of a freelancer explaining that their work is not a fun little hobby they do for free, plus Chris getting his ass handed to him while having to sweatily realize that he's bad at something…is, apparently, my kink.
A BRIEFCASE FULL OF FRISBEES
Jordan is right about one thing— what am I saying? Jordan is right about most things, he just has the personality of a toddler mixed with a thesaurus-automated computer program trapped inside the body of a 26-year-old Precious Moments doll.
What I should say, is one of the many things that Jordan is correct about, as it turns out, is that Jenna is fascinating.
She is…desperately empathetic; a bleeding heart who cannot bear the idea of anyone else being upset. I think she would rather shave off her beloved eyebrows than even remotely hurt another person’s feelings.
When Jordan tells Jenna, "I'm scared that I'm never going to meet someone like you again, and I'm never going to feel what I've felt the last few days," she is smitten. Jenna says that she knows Jordan would accept her for who she is and love her through anything, so she needs to talk to Benoit and "tell him some things." She ends up telling him those things with her tongue because she just can't bring herself to tell him she likes Jordan more.
Also because Jenna seems to enjoy making out with Benoit — the more exposed, the better.
"Something's up," Jordan tells his bros, "because that's not even the same Jenna I just talked to. Did he brainwash her?" Well Jordan, it seems that part of loving Jenna will be supporting her through her inability to let anyone down. But as Jordan hasn't quite figured that out, hethinks the correct course of action is pulling Benoit aside and demanding to know why Jenna's actions aren’t matching up with her words.
Later, Jenna and Jordan have a conversation on the beach in their own alien language that finally makes Jenna realize Jordan is more tailored for her than Benoit, childish-outbursts be damned. But she's still nervous about it: "I'm scared of falling in love with somebody that gets me so well that they can just destroy me."
Well, that is…some shit, man. And I don't know, maybe Jordan is the man-boy who can love Jenna so fully she doesn’t have to be scared of it anymore. But given the way she breaks up with Benoit, Jenna probably has a little self-reflection to do on not only putting herself first, but owning up to putting herself first when she's able to bring herself to do it. "I want you to be happy," she tells Benoit, "and I don't think that's me that is going to make you happy."
Later, after reflecting upon the fact that a woman chose Jordan over him, and then kind of blamed that choice on trying to protect him, Benoit is a little peeved. It's certainly not fair of Jenna to play off her choice as "making the decision that I think is best for you," and she seems to know that. Because when Benoit points out that her explanation really complicates things for him, she throws her head down on the bar and screams, "That's what I am — I'm complicated!"
Something tells me this is not the first time Jenna has exclaimed this in her life, and something also tells me this is not her first margarita of the day. Jenna completely breaks down in, like, tragic teenage sobs, and when Jordan finds her with a pillow over her face, she cries that "Benoit is making me feel bad for what I said this morning." And, eeeeeeh, the level of Jenna's reaction to Benoit not totally loving the way she ended things with him could be a touch misleading, especially considering she was the one doing most of the frustrated yelling.
Since Jenna's tears are only turned against Benoit, a man who would fall in love with a feather duster if it was presented to him within the Bachelor format, they're ultimately pretty harmless — Jordan marches up to Benoit ready for confrontation, yes, but when Wells tells Jordan there was no yelling or aggression, everything settles back into an extended analogy about Jordan carrying around a briefcase full of passion. Still, watching Jenna completely dissolve over someone being mildly disgruntled with her was unsettling.
But perhaps Jenna's desire to never see anyone else hurt, and Jordan's desire to only ever see himself (and now Jenna) at all, could meet somewhere in the middle and make for a more balanced dynamic. What can I say? I'm rooting for these two weirdos.
Jordan's above oh-so-earnest realization that he is a golden retriever and "Jenna is a Frisbee" bored right into my cold, dead heart and struck a true love artery.
WHEREFORE ART THOU JUBILEE?
Yes I do know what wherefore really means. Yes, I do have Google it every time I feel compelled to use it as a fancy way to say "where." And yes, this is me perfectly deploying it by using both its actual meaning and the meaning it sounds like it has — because WHERE has Jubilee gone and FOR WHAT REASON???
You're telling me that the handsome software programmer who created the Venmo app was dating the beautiful classically-trained cellist Army veteran…I’m not going to get to see any of the relationship…and the way I find out it’s over is by Chelsea rattling off a list of all the cRrrraAaAzy things happening in Paradise, including: "This morning Jubilee went home after her only love connection said he wasn't into her." And you're going to give me one (1) sepia-toned scene of her wheeling an Away bag out to the car without a word? What the hell, Bachelor producers?!
Hey, more room for emotionally abusive dirtbag antics, I guess! But first, we have to lose one more of the good ones. Kenny has been getting to know Annaliese as more than a friend for one day and she's loving it. But he's been having an internal struggle because staying any longer would mean missing his daughter's dance recital, and he just can't stomach doing that.
I am thrilled that one man in this incestuous village of lunkheads repeatedly proves himself to be a thoughtful, caring person without showing every inch of his ass.
Annaliese, on the other hand, is understanding, but also…completely destroyed.
Listen, I like Annaliese — she's got a real "Miss Honey if Miss Honey happened into the slow-motion-natural-disaster that is the Bachelor franchise" vibe to her. Basically, she seems like a nice, pretty lady. But she is also a walking, talking, gasping, crying, grinning, yelping version of the Sunday Scaries.
Every time a potential end to her journey-4-luv draws nigh, she latches on to the next closest bicep in the way that you or I might grasp at one more Sunday beer or one more episode of Ozark before we have to go to sleep, knowing our real ass lives lay on the other side of the night. Unlike those of us who must eventually relent to sleep, Annaliese prefers to suddenly declare that she could see spending the rest of her life with the bicep she's just latched onto, and declare herself and said bicep the Strongest Couple in Paradise. It is wild.
We saw her do this with Jordan, then Kenny, and now, an hour after she was crying over losing "the perfect guy standing right in front of me," another perfect guy (in that he is a guy and he exists) enters Annaliese's life in the form of Kamil.
Kamil left Becca's season on the first night, but while everyone in Paradise seems to remember him as "the 60/40 guy" from his cringe-worthy limo introduction, I only remember him as the man with the job title of…
Between his options of Chelsea and Annaliese, he chooses Annaliese to go on the date. And even though Annaliese is scared of dogs and birds and bumper cars, she is not scared of driving over this v v scary bridge.
And even though she told Kenny she doesn’t always present a sexual energy at first, she is presenting some kind of energy to Kamil, and he seems to be going with it.
But I don't trust this bro. A Social Media Participant has surely sent and fielded a few DMs after his season, and my slide-y senses are telling me he's waiting on someone else to arrive. Best of luck Annaliese…
LEO THE LIAR
Oof, this second-to-last, but not second-to-least love triangle is a doozie.
I'm no psychologist, but I do play one on the internet, and I've long said that Becca's season of The Bachelorette was running unusually rampant with narcissists. My theory here is that Leo assumed — due to his Very Special Hair and what he believes to be a sexy alpha energy (#BARF) — that he would go on Becca's season, become a fan favorite, exit in the Top 4, and be named the next Bachelor. I think he even thought that was the story being told right up until his one-on-one with Becca, and that was why he was so understanding of her clearly not being that into him…
And then Leo wasn't named the Bachelor. He wasn't even a fan-favorite. He was basically a non-entity with a few snarky looks-to-camera. You know who was a fan-favorite?
I think Leo came on Bachelor in Paradise and decided that getting attention by being the villain was better than no attention at all. So I don’t even want to give his Devon-Cajuste-wannabe [ed. note: are you watching this season of Hardknocks? Watch this season of Hardknocks!] any more attention, but like Kevin taught me in my twice-weekly Bachelor in Paradise sessions, we must face our demons if we want to overcome our demons.
To recap, Kendall accepted a date from Leo, risking her longstanding ( ≥ two weeks) relationship with Grocery Store Joe in the process. Now Kendall is confused because she sees Joe as someone she has a really good time with, and Leo as someone "who I can get really in depth with." After their date, Leo expressed a desire to be all-in with Kendall, and repeated multiple times that the idea of her with another man would drive him crazy. Meanwhile, Joe waited patiently in the rafters for Kendall to make up her decision while, I assume, keeping an otherwise perfectly blank mind. Like — there's nothing going on up there except the sound of a grocery scanner and a picture of Kendall with a heart around it. I love him.
So, when Kendall is talking to Kevin about how she and Leo are totally on the same page about the future, and Kevin responds, "Then I feel like he shouldn't have kissed Chelsea," Kendall is…surprised. See, Kevin assumed that because every single other person on the beach knew that Leo kissed Chelsea the moment Kendall went to bed on the night of their date, that Kendall also knew.
She did not. She briefly speaks at 1.5x speed to Kevin about how she could tell Leo seemed worried today, and she just wants him to "be up front with me, and don't tell me that you're gung-ho for me if you're exploring other people."
She marches over to a suspicious looking Leo and says as much. "I thought mentioning that I hung out with Chelsea was enough," Leo replies, biding his time to come up with more excuses.
Then Leo says it wasn't a makeout, just a kiss; then Leo says it was more "something fun that you do to, like, get to know someone." You know who thinks kissing someone is a great way to get to know them in a real friendly, totally unromantic, totally harmless sort of way? Sexual harassers. Oh wait…
Kendall informs Leo that "somebody who has to keep secrets from me because they're worried that they're going to be guilty, that's the sign of a cheater for me."
Now, up until this point, Leo could have just messed up. Kissing someone else or pursuing someone else in Paradise is fine as long as you're upfront about it, and that was Leo's pretty simple mistake. It's how he handles the situation after Kendall tells him she doesn’t trust him anymore that makes it clear this is a nasty, nasty man.
The first thing he says to the camera is, "Kendall and I, we had a phenomenal, phenomenal connection, but instead it's nothing now because someone decided to tell her that I kissed Chelsea." Oh, that's right — it's not that Leo decided to kiss Chelsea, it's that someone else decided to tell Kendall that Leo kissed Chelsea that ruined their phenomenal, phenoooomenal connection.
Leo will go on to use the word "phenomenal" about 7,000 more times in his remaining time on Paradise, the root-word of which I always associate with learning from seeing the movie Phenomenon in the third grade… and I don't think it's not worth mentioning that Leo's mounting creep vibe is not unlike John Travolta's ever-mounting creep vibe [ed. note: if you use a quadruple negative, it wards off the Scientologists].
Anyway, from there, Leo heads out on a warpath to find out who "snitched" on him. "Kissing is a handshake in Paradise!" he yells in the general direction of anyone who will listen over and over again at the bar. Bitch, please, you have been in Paradise one minute, you do not tell Kendall, Weirdo Princess of Original Cast Paradise, top 3 in her season, taxidermy dream girl, what kissing is and is not in Paradise. You ain't shit, and your hair ain't shit, and your kisses ain't handshakes!
"It's bad to snitch," Leo, a 31-year-old man seethes: "I've never talked to another guy about a girl ever, you know why? Because I don't dooooo that!" Oh yes, nothing screams moral superiority like a strict adherence to the bro code. Leo, an adult man, gets in the pool with all the other dudes, and when he spots Jordan and Jenna kissing starts hollering in some sort of mock-sing-song voice: Oh, someone should tell Kendall they're kissing! Somebody should tell, somebody should TATTLE!
Now, tattle is a word I learned not from a John Travolta film (although I'm sure it was used in Look Who’s Talking), but in 4-year-old kindergarten, because that is the peak time in one's life where that word would be used. "I'm tired of fucking soft ass tattle tales," Leo tells Connor, as though tattling has been a real hot-button issue in his world as of late. Anyone who considers someone finding out a truthful thing about them, that they're also trying to play off as not a big deal at all, as tattling, is probably hiding, I dunno — a whole bunch of shit.
Finally, Kevin has had enough, sits Leo down and tells him that he mentioned the kiss to Kendall, not realizing she didn't already know. Kevin also says that as Kendall's friend, he thinks she deserved to know about the kiss, and then Leo starts trying to say that Kevin didn't give him a chance to tell Kendall first himself…y'know after having all day to tell her. Kevin tells Leo that considering he's been running around all day whining about why everyone has to know everything, he doesn’t think Leo had real intentions of telling Kendall.
This is when Leo blows up, making bold claims about the lawless lands of Paradise and screaming, "EVERYONE IS KISSING EVERYONE HERE!" This is…patently not true. Venmo John is kissing everyone, sure, but most everyone else has tethered themselves to a select one or two people and, save Chris, been honest about it to their chosen mouth-mates (sorry).
This is when Kevin, my king, looks down on the beach, spots Colton and Benoit and hollers, "Why aren't you guys kissing right now? Apparently we're just fucking kissing everyone around here!"
For the record, they seem game.
Kevin says that if you're exploring other options, you should tell the women, and Leo bellows, "Where is that written? IS THERE A RULE YOU HAVE TO TELL THEM?!"
That, my friends, is what we call a F L E X. Long live Kevin. And fuck Leo, who proceeds to take part in, I think, the franchise's most aggressive display of gaslighting and attempted emotional manipulation to date. When Kendall sits him down to ask him what's been going on, he presents these neon red flags in this order:
"You ruined my day by making me feel horrible."
"I was extremely hurt that you would do something like that to me."
"They're not lying about me kissing Chelsea, but they're lying about me in every other way."
Saying he would have told Kendall about Chelsea "whenever you were ready to divulge your other relationship in Paradise."
"I'm happy for you and Joe, I hope it works out with you."
At this point, Leo pivots from trying to make Kendall feel bad for hurting his feelings by pointing out his shitty behavior, and into a narrative he's created where Kendall was faking the connection they had on their date. Kendall asks how he can say they had such a phenomenal (drink!) time, but in the same breath say she was faking it. "I'm saying," he elaborates, "that you're a phenomenal actress." Now this is just patently absurd — Kendall would be a terrible actress, and as the star of High Heel Homicide, I'd think Leo would know that.
Leo switches from saying Kendall is an actress to saying that he just wants her to be happy. "And you're doing that by saying I'm a liar?" Kendall asks. "You're not making me happy — you're making me very upset." Then, in a clip that could easily be placed into a horror movie, Leo starts rattling off with his shark eyes zoned just over Kendall's shoulder, "I have no idea how you're single, I have no idea how you haven't found somebody, I have no idea how Arie— " until Kendall cuts him off and tells him to stop trying to make her "feel like crap and amazing at the same time."
It is truly nuts, and it's clear to everyone on the beach that Leo is getting more and more aggressive with Kendall, until finally, Joe says enough is enough.
As Joe takes Kendall away, Leo, a monster, grins: "I hope I made the decision easy for you."
Kendall is beside herself, speaking at the speed of an auctioneer, telling Joe she just wanted to understand why Leo had been so hurtful to the people she cares about. Around the time she says "maybe it was a fool's errand" in under a millisecond, Joe tells Kendall she has to relax, which is a little annoying, but — she does. Because while it may be oversimplifying to say that the worry isn’t worth it, it's true that nothing Kendall could have said or done would have made Leo act any differently in that situation…
And he hasn't even gotten started! Am I going to mention that in between fully calling it off with Leo and the rose ceremony, Kendall somehow manages to kiss John, resulting in perhaps the quickest personification of regret I've ever personally witnessed…
I mean, yeah, I'm mentioning it now, and just because Kendall was treated poorly by Leo, does not mean she hasn’t also treated Joe poorly in a few, much less significant ways. As Eric explains it to Joe, "She's more comfortable with someone who's kind of similar to her because she can understand it more — but because it takes work to get to know more of Joe, it's more uncomfortable." Kendall pretty much explains the same thing to Joe when she immediately goes to tell him about the kiss with John, and he of course forgives her the moment she says she's falling for him, and he returns that he's falling for her too.
And then it's all over, and everyone is happy forever!
Leo insists on giving a toast before the cocktail party in the voice of an 80s fraternity villain: "This toast is to Kendall: we had a great first date, it was one of the best first dates I've ever been on — and it was a shame to find out that you were full of shit." Cool, cool, cool! Very cool thing to say to some who has done nothing worse than ask you why you were dishonest with her. The last 24 hours have been a very calm and normal reaction to that!
Leo is clearly prepared to make a big scene of quitting before the rose cermony, but Astrid, my queen, will not a let this nasty, narcissistic man claim this moment with some grandly schemed exit:
Careening fully into some weird cartoon surfer voice, Leo slurs, "Good luck with grocery store bitch over there," as he exits.
So Grocery Store Bitch himself follows Leo out and asks him why doesn't he say that to his face. Leo, with a little less pep in his step, does say it to Joe's face, steps away, and then throws his drink at Joe. Cool, cool, cool. Before anything physical can really happen, producers are literally swarming all over them, keeping the dudes apart. Benoit and Eric run over to tell Joe it's not worth it.
Tia says, "Colton, go!" Colton does not go.
Joe is fine; he returns to the Rose Ceremony where Chelsea gives the only unclaimed rose of the evening to John. Connor, David, and Benoit are out, and Benoit feels very good about another successful turn on the Bachelor franchise…
THE SHOW MUST GO ON
Scary, aggressive display or not, the Bachelor in Paradise cogs must keep spinning, and they cycle in Olivia who was eliminated Night 1 on Arie's season. She takes the only man available to her on a date: Venmo John. If John can just keep staying technically single, he could make it out of this vacation without even having to get engaged at the end.
For their date, they go to an actual 15-year-old girl's quinceañera, presumably because the show used all its money on a date for Eric and Angela that had a bathtub full of champagne and a toilet made of gold, which I hope was functional, because the date also included a lot of dairy:
As for Eric and Angela, we've seen very little of them forming their bond, but during their date, they're pretty cute if not entirely passionate, and they both unequivocally express that they're "all in" on each other.
Then the BiP cogs bring in Cassandra, the gorgeous, pleasantly awkward single mom and former NBA dancer from Juan Pablo's season. Eric does this:
Then Eric, in what I take as a personal affront given all the faith I've put in him since his Miracle Season glow-up during Rachel's Bachelorette…pulls some dishonest nonsense with Angela.
After just the night before telling Angela that he was "all-in" on their relationship, he tells Cassandra when she asks about his status: "I actually went on my first date a few days ago … we're taking things slow, so I'm open." There is only one way to recover from misleading Angela like this — be completely honest about misleading her, apologize, and move forward.
Instead, Eric tells Angela that after telling her he was so confident in them last night, he woke up after eight hours of sleep feeling differently. It has nothing to do with the beautiful woman who just showed an interest in him and everything to do with, "This is what relationships are about — to have challenges and adversity." Ah, yes, that age old adage: Relationships are about dating other people!
Angela, a woman from my native South Carolina, gives him the ol' "you do what you gotta do," a.k.a., bless your heart, a.k.a. goooooo fuck yourself, and holds it together in front of Eric. But as soon as everyone around her starts spiraling out thinking if their relationship will be in danger the second another NBA dancer or male model enters the scene, Angela goes in a bathroom and weeps "pissed off tears."
I have now transferred all of my former affections for Eric to Angela. Because as Jenna tells her — and as it was in the beginning — "You can't come to Paradise and expect the men to be any better..."
Given what they've witnessed on this godforsaken beach, can you blame them for this outlook? I say we let Krystal do that sage-ing she's been itching for, and fully Red Tent the place. But my guess is that it has to get worse before it gets better — and by better I do mean Kevin and Astrid getting married and having beautiful, tall children they raise in an open-minded, welcoming home with more free healthcare than they know what to do with.
Watch your inbox for a full breakdown of the baffling new virgin Bachelor, but for now I'll just say this: does Colton…have a…job???