By Matt Mueller Culture Editor Published Sep 07, 2021 at 9:26 AM

We've seen plenty of villains on "The Bachelor" over the years. Lee. Luke P. Petey the Pilot's mom. The show's inability to thoroughly vet its contestants. Literally every part of Matt James' season. But have we ever seen a villain ... couple? A twosome that everyone dislikes and wants to be abolished? Because that's what "Bachelor in Paradise" unveiled Monday night, a couple that hacked the system and appears to truly and unapologetically be in it for the Instagram followers – all while dragging another contestant's emotions through the mud. I've never rooted for a tidal wave more.  

First, we have a few other dramas to unpack – starting with Kendall, who you may remember arrived last week after Grocery Store Joe and Serena summoned her like Candyman. She beelines toward Joe, and the two have a conversation about their once-dead relationship, trying to find a way to OK for both of them. What "OK" means, though, for the two (and Serena)? Up in the air. Kendall says that she still wants Joe as a part of her life and that she's struggling with the end of their pairing because they broke up because of logistical issues, not a lack of love. That may be true – but they still are having those exact same issues now, as Joe complains that she never even considered, much less tried, moving to his homebase of Chicago, and the two still can't agree on how best to handle distance.

But they are on the beach where they fell in love, so cue reminiscing about how they met and that time Kendall recommended cemetaries for picnics. You know parks exist, right, Kendall? Really nice open spaces with all of the nature and greenery, but none of the dead bodies, mourners and stink eye from said mourners? 

After his conversation with Kendall, Grocery Store Joe goes to iron things out with Serena ... which he does and doesn't do. He explains that the next bunch of weeks on the beach are going to be confusing and weird as he and Kendall find out their new normal and get the closure they're both eager for –  BUT at the same time, he also tells Serena that he doesn't want her to miss out on her "Paradise" experience, so if she wants to start looking elsewhere, she can go do that as well. Casually telling your significant other to sample other people is a strategy that HAS NOT GONE WELL THIS SEASON, JOE! (Or in life, in general.) Just ask Mari. Thankfully he clarifies that he's not breaking up with her or looking to reconnect with Kendall, so the two seem like they're going to stay together ... for now, because Kendall is also still on the beach. NOT GONNA BE AWKWARD AT ALL!

Elsewhere on the beach, you may remember that last week Noah and Abigail suddenly fell apart because of communication issues. I don't remember it because their scenes were deeply boring and I fell asleep from how uninteresting it was – but anyways, they're gonna try to figure things out and work better on communication so they don't both feel like they're giving more than they're gettinggggggggggAGH! Sorry, passed out again because this plotline is televised Ambien. 

Thankfully, some better drama kicks up further down the beach as Kenny arrives back from his naked date with Tia, only to be immediately greeted by Mari. No, not because she's angry and has more desserts to throw into bonfires; she genuinely wants to talk some things out about how their relationship fell apart and potentially try to fix things. And Demi is NOT ABOUT IT. The girl is just tired of the drama surrounding Kenny – and I gotta say: TOO BAD! This is your whole shtick, Demi! You happily came here to cause drama and stir the pot – so much so that your intro clip is YOU WINKINGLY STIRRING A POT! And now that you're on the receiving end of the drama – drama YOU HELPED CREATE! – you're like, "But actually this is bad." The girl is turning into the "me sowing/me reaping" tweet personified. 

Shaken by Kenny's potential interest in two other women, she takes Kenny aside to figure out where they are – and to hopefully lure him into sex den again to stake her claim once more and remind him who's the most fun on the beach. Just one problem: Kenny turns down the sex den, saying he just wants to sleep after a big day of playing volleyball and avoiding staring at a stranger's bouncing junk. So things are going great, and there's definitely a non-zero percent chance this ends with a multiple homicide via large pot bludgeoning.   

Yet somehow that whole mess comes in second place to the arrival of Pieper and the reveal of Brendan's grand villainy – all at poor Natasha's expense. Now, I'm sure Natasha saw some of this coming – her resigned reactions and expressions at the rose ceremonies seemed to show that – but not to the blatant and cynical level that ended up happening Monday night. 

So on the beach, Natasha talks abobut seeing a future with Brendan and feeling hopeful – which is a Batman signal for the "Bachelor" producers to screw everything up for them. And lo and behold, who comes down the steps but Pieper, who Brendan was rumored to have a relationship with before coming to "Paradise." And considering Pieper asks Brendan out with her date card without talking to another soul on the beach first, and that she literally introduces herself as "here to see Brendan," it would appear that the rumors are true: that Brendan had Pieper secretly (or not-so-secretly) on the back burner this whole time on the show. Brendan says yes and tries to explain the situation to Natasha, but her soul has left her body so that's not happening. Plus Brendan tries to say that this was an "unexpected coincidence," which LOL YEAH SURE DUDE. 

Pieper and Brendan head off on their date, where either it's been exclusively raining on Brendan or the guy is literally sweating through the night – and considering how he's about to explain his time on the show so far to Pieper, I can see why! So he talks to Pieper about how he's tricked everyone into not hating him thus far and, in the process, just emotionally devastates Pieper. He talks about how the girls all probably think he was waiting for her, but he kept saying that Pieper didn't matter and that what they had outside of "Paradise" was nothing and that he didn't want to see her at all – and even if this was all their devious plan, Pieper doesn't have a great time hearing all about how Brendan downplayed her existence, each of his sentences stabbing like a dagger. You almost feel bad for her, excited to see the guy she's been dating only to find out he's been diminishing their connection while she was gone. And you're thrilled to see that Brendan's perhaps played this game all wrong. 

Unfortunately, good things can't last so instead of Brendan getting kicked into the ocean, he and Pieper start seeing things eye to eye as Brendan explains that he had two options: He could've sat in a corner quiet and alone on "Paradise," waiting for Pieper to arrive and hoping he didn't get the boot, or he could've said right away he had a girlfriend back in reality, to which everyone would hate him and send him home. So he had to lie, pretend and create an essentially fake relationship as cover – to which Pieper nods in agreement and all is forgiven.

There was, of course, a third option in this whole ordeal: NOT COME TO "PARADISE" AT ALL AND JUST STAY HOME! Why would you want to bring your fledgling relationship to this terrible dating atmosphere, where everyone – the contestants, the producers, the crabs – is trying to undermine your connection, anyways!? THIS IS A BAD PLACE! But then again, if they didn't come to "Paradise," then they couldn't get that Instagram clout and they couldn't become a "Bachelor"-approved couple and get interviewed and profiled in the gossip magazines and then get invited to the reunion specials all the time and earn even more Instagram clout and probably turn it all into a podcast. It's all a scam – and I know pretending anyone else on the show isn't here for these reasons is naive, but it's not normally THIS cynical. 

After Brendan ends their date with a creepy cult-esque speech about how IT'S GOTTA BE JUST US NOW, NO ONE ELSE, that only sounds a little like it's ending with a ritualistic poison drinking, the two return to the beach now inseparable – much to the eyerolls of every other contestant. Not only because they clearly gamed the system to get a free pre-honeymoon vacation for their relationship, but because they're clearly THAT couple. You know THAT couple – the one that only hangs out with each other, and even when they're out with friends, they're all over each other and exclusively talking to each other with cutesy inside jokes. So in case people didn't hate them enough for hacking the show, they're also just an annoying couple in general.

Thankfully, Natasha's not going down without a fight – so she puts on her best Poirot hat and mustache, and goes to interrogate Pieper on what her relationship with Brendan was like prior to "Paradise." And for a couple that sneakily plotted to take advantage of the show, they're really bad at being sneaky! Pieper reveals that, instead of just hanging out two times in the real world in the month prior to the show, they actually went out closer to a dozen times across a couple of months – aka what many would call a relationship. In fact, Pieper even clarifies that they KNEW they were a couple. Again: WHY COME ON THIS CRAB-INFESTED BEACH THEN, SURROUNDED BY DESPERATE AND THIRSTY DRAMA ADDICTS!?

Somehow, the worst part of all of this is Brendan, muttering under his breathe about how basically Natasha would be nothing without him, that she didn't have any other relationships to explore on the beach and – when she confronts him about what Pieper told her – making it sound like he was her savior. What happened to you, guy? You seemed like a good dude (though, now that I know you're from Boston, it's all making a little more sense). And now you're conniving your way into Instagram clout and telling your ex that she'd have nothing without you like a Lifetime original movie villain? You're the worst thing to happen to turtlenecks since warm weather. 

Anyways, after Natasha wipes her hands of these follower chasers – including finding out that Pieper FLEW OUT TO BOSTON to hang with Brendan; YEAH, I THINK THAT'S MORE THAN JUST CASUAL THEN! – Pieper and Brendan just wholly commit to the villain couple bit. They talk alone about how many followers they're going to get from this all, how they got Pieper's name trending without her even being on the show, how Brendan laid the groundwork brilliantly for her arrival and how "neither of us is stupid" enough to label each other before coming to "Paradise." But apparently they ARE stupid enough to blab constantly about their preordained plans while mic'd and on camera – something Brendan seems to figure out about an hour into incriminating himself. Enjoy never being invited to any "Bachelor" things ever again, because no one likes you anymore! 

And that includes their brethren on the beach, as Natasha, Deandra and more are wondering why they're still here if they're locked into a relationship – one they were locked into before the show even started. Here's to them getting evicted from the beach on Tuesday. Good luck getting your relationship more clout when you'll end up having less screentime together than a burned chocolate cake!

Matt Mueller Culture Editor

As much as it is a gigantic cliché to say that one has always had a passion for film, Matt Mueller has always had a passion for film. Whether it was bringing in the latest movie reviews for his first grade show-and-tell or writing film reviews for the St. Norbert College Times as a high school student, Matt is way too obsessed with movies for his own good.

When he's not writing about the latest blockbuster or talking much too glowingly about "Piranha 3D," Matt can probably be found watching literally any sport (minus cricket) or working at - get this - a local movie theater. Or watching a movie. Yeah, he's probably watching a movie.