By Matt Mueller Culture Editor Published Nov 02, 2022 at 5:56 PM

This week's double dose of "Bachelor in Paradise" wasn't the worst thing to happen this season – that would be Ashley and Jared farting around, obviously – but it easily qualifies as the most frustrating portion of the season thus far. (Brace yourself, caps lock key; you're about to get a workout.)

The past four hours featured so many communication malfunctions that even a Shakespearean comedy would exasperatedly say, "OK JUST SIT DOWN AND HAVE A CONVERSATION PLEASE!" You'd think professional Instagrammers and social media influencers would be better at communicating with people! And in case that wasn't enough, most of the catastrophes involved women ... wanting their boyfriend's to be more toxic and controlling? Luke P. has to be muttering to himself somewhere saying, "Why couldn't I have been on THIS season!? They would've LOVED me!"

So let's begin with the season's latest cocktail party and rose ceremony – where someone bailed before the festivities even began. A family emergency, revealed in an Instagram post to be her grandmother passing, struck Sarah, who left the show off-camera to be with her loved ones during this difficult time. Palmer called it a "heart-wrenching decision" which ... was it? Hmm, be with my family after a loved one passed away OR continue to be on a reality dating show that I've barely been here for and thus far has just featured me getting emotionally played by Logan? A TOUGHIE INDEED! I hope she and her family are well – and that she has a better go of it when she's assumably invited back to "Paradise" next season. 

The other big news during the cocktail party? The girls are NASTY – and not in the fun Janet Jackson way but in the, like, actually nasty way because the women's bungalow is apparently more like a disgusting bug-alow. According to some of the ladies, ants are crawling around everywhere, and there's just mess everywhere with not a Marie Kondo in sight to help make it go away. Between the crabs, Jesse Palmer ruining your life every other day, that nasty flatbread pizza thing Jessenia and Andrew ate the other week and now this, I'm starting to wonder if this free ABC-provided vacation is really worth it. 

You know what's fresh and clean on the beach, though? Jacob and Shanae's teeth, apparently! Yes, during the cocktail party, the two bond over their love of dentistry and clean chompers. Turns out Jacob's favorite accessory on the beach isn't a collard green bikini but floss sticks – a turn-on for Shanae, it seems. The two then sexily (kinda?) brush one another's snags with what looks like liquid charcoal – topped off with Jacob tongue-kissing Shanae? Not French kissing her but like ... licking her tongue with his tongue? And with that, this is the worst thing to happen to dental hygiene since the "Is it safe?" scene from "Marathon Man." 

Elsewhere, Johnny's upset his new love triangle with Victoria and Alex, aka Jimmy Garoppolo, from the Estates of Sadness – but that's all going to be settled with the night's rose ceremony. The first bunch are all a deluge of "duhs"– Brandon and Serene, Danielle and Nice Dad Michael, Genevieve and Aaron, Tyler and Brittany, Eliza and Rodney, Jessica and Andrew, and Logan and Kate. (Which LOL give that about two more minutes.) Shanae then gives her rose to fellow odontophiliac Jacob – which isn't a surprise but what IS surprising is just how pumped Andrew is about that decision. 

Unexpected bromance alert?! While we ponder that, let's get to the real drama of the night: Victoria's decision. Will she go with Johnny or Kirkland brand Jimmy Garoppolo? The result ... is JOHNNY! Woo to them: They finally get to commmit to their relationship with no interruptions or WHOOPS NEVER MIND, FLORENCE GAVE HER ROSE TO ALEX, EVERYTHING'S STILL A TIRE FIRE. Props to Florence; if you're going to be a forgotten contestant who no one knows and no one's particularly dating, might as well go full Chaotic Apocalypse Elmo. However, it does result in Faux Thor being the lone guy giving the axe on Monday night, walking out to a chorus of "wait, who was that guy again?" CHRIS HEMSWORTH'S BACK-UP ABS DESERVED BETTER!

Johnny's a little bitter after Alex Garoppolo's non-departure, respecting him as a person but also wanting to not be within 50 feet of him – but he forgets about all that pretty quickly when Victoria gets yet ANOTHER date card, this time for her and Johnny. Boy, this season rules if you're Victoria or Shanae – just dates on dates for them. So the two head off to a native ceremony in the forest, complete with a sweat lodge – all designed to get the two to open up to one another. Perfect, because Johnny's been struggling to do that with Victoria – and still does here at the ceremony. Eventually, though, he cracks a bit and talks about how it's hard for him to open up and that he can push people away when they get close – not the most romantic thing someone can hear, but exciting for Victoria because she feels like he's finally letting her in emotionally. They then end the date with the ancient tribal ritual of intensely making out in a hot tub. 

But wait a second: Haven't I heard this all before from Johnny? Didn't he struggle to get deep with Gabby before talking about having issues opening up and self-esteem ... only to decide, a few weeks later, that nah, he totally wasn't that connected and wasn't ready for a major commitment? Listen, loosen up and emotionally open up on your time – especially when there's cameras in your face, eagerly broadcasting all your feelings to the world – but if Johnny next week is suddenly saying, "Actually, I'm not really there yet for a serious relationship," you can't say the clues weren't there for Victoria. 

Meanwhile, Rodney's having a great time on the beach with Eliza, thrilled about their relationship, certain it's going to last forever and that nothing could possibly derail their happiness. ARE YOU NEW HERE, RODNEY!? Lo and behold, the show sends a new guy down the steps to the beach ... or rather an old new guy, because it's Justin. Again. Didn't you already have your chance, my guy!? Do we not have enough decent "Paradise" candidates this season, so we're forced to double dip with rejects who flamed out? Listen, if getting booted off the show isn't permanent anymore, then why even have rules? Screw it: Kira, come on back for a third go-around. We know you and Romeo were donezo before even arriving at the airport. LOL NOTHING MATTERS!

But hey, if you think I'm bitter about it, just wait until you see Genevieve, who's still seething about Justin's existence despite HAVING A GREAT NEW BOYFRIEND TO FOCUS ON.

Justin isn't even pulling a Kira and trying to finish "unfinished business" with Genevieve – he's here exclusively for Eliza, who is LOVING it. She says that she's never had two guys fight over her before, and she's having a blast, saying yes to a date request from Justin before heading over to tell Rodney. He responds by saying that he doesn't want her to go, but she feels she needs it in order to get clarity on what she wants, he won't stop her – aka a good, respectful response!

And Eliza ... just hates that. Yes, apparently Eliza is disappointed that Rodney isn't controlling and possessive enough to disrespect her decisions and tell her what she can or cannot do. She wanted Rodney to REFUSE to let her go on the date. She wanted him to say "don't go" ... WHICH HE, IN FACT, SAID! MULTIPLE TIMES! But then also said that it's not his decision ... which is true! Eliza thinks this is some evidence that he doesn't care enough about their relationship – BUT GIRL, YOU ALREADY SAID YES TO A DATE WITH ANOTHER GUY! You're mad at him for not being committed enough with your relationship when YOU ALREADY HAD A FOOT OUT THE DOOR!? She goes off on her date with Justin rattled and ready for someone new, while poor Rodney – who just wanted to respect Eliza's choices and free will – is suddenly thinking he should've been a bigger, more toxic jerk in the situation. WE'RE TEACHING AND LEARNING THE WRONG LESSONS HERE!

Sure, he could've maybe verbally underlined how much he didn't want her to go MORE – but this all feels like a Kobayashi Maru test from Eliza, where there was no winning for Rodney. Either he respects your decision and he's not invested enough, or he stomps all over your choice (THAT YOU ALREADY MADE!) and he's too controlling. I just want to give the man a hug – especially because the date with Eliza and Justin goes pretty well, minus some invasive bugs deciding to kill the mood and crawl all over a panicky Justin. GO BUGS! EXCELLENT C-BLOCKING WORK, INSECT COMMUNITY!

Speaking people getting bugged by stuff (another seamless transition, no notes), Aaron and Genevieve get in a surprise awkward fight. OK, not that big of a surprise; Genevieve's spent most of this season in a tizzy, and while Aaron's Mr. Chill now, he spent most of his time in the "Bachelor" universe before as the number one guy likely to harrumph his way into a verbal spat. Perhaps what's more surprising is how mundane it begins: Genevieve and Aaron are explaining to Wells all of the drama with Justin – and in the middle of it, Aaron marches off without a look or word. Wells seems confused, but Genevieve assumes trouble's just broken out and chases Aaron down at a different bar. Maybe he just wanted a drink and Wells is a bad bartender so he went somewhere else?

The verdict: Nope, he grumpy. Indeed, while Genevieve was regaling Wells with their story, Aaron says that she made it seem like they were together because of Justin's failing, not because she made a better connection with Aaron – and that hurt. But now he's walked it off and feels much better, though Genevieve is falling apart and NOT HAPPY about how this all went down. Genevieve seems like a good person – but with everything that's happened this season around her, she seems like she may be ... a lot. In the end, though, the two settle down and continue their sure-to-be smooth courtship. Surely nothing could rattle them now – OH NO, I'VE PULLED A RODNEY!

Yes, things get even messier on Tuesday night – but first we have fun bonfire action, where the gang all has a hoot classifying each other as various high school cliches. Serene and Brandon, for instance, are the perfect couple that everyone loves and sees as #Goals. Michael and Danielle are the cool teacher and nurse who are secretly a couple (but everyone knows it). All makes sense ... except for Logan's the class hippie/drug dealer? That's CLEARLY Jacob – thought Logan does seem out of it A LOT. 

Anyways, "Paradise High" suddenly gets a new student: Hayden. Wait, the guy from Gabby and Rachel's season who everyone hated and was one of the few true villains of the run because he called Gabby "rough around the edges" to her face, compared the stars unflatteringly to his ex and then left because he just loves his dog Rambo too much? THAT GUY!? Again, I must ask: Did we not have enough legitimate people to bring on this season of "Paradise"? 

So this guy shows up – and nobody's particularly about him. The word around the campfire is that he sucks, and Florence – one of the few cast members currently unattached to anyone – doesn't like his frat dude vibes. This is a guy who, when asked about his core values, talks about his dog. THAT'S NOT A CORE VALUE! Though, in fairness, that's just what he says to any question or prompt. What's your favorite food? Well, I love my dog. What day of the week is it? Have I mentioned my dog? Listen, as a guy with multiple puppers, I get it – but it's like the bro heard that ladies like guys who like dogs, so he decided to make that his ENTIRE personality. That and being a douche to women. 

One of the few people to give Hayden the time of day is Kate, who tells him to use his time on the show fully and shoot his shot. So he does ... with Kate, asking her out on a one-on-one. She's not into him ... but she's also with perma-flake Logan, so WHY NOT! She says yes, but then goes to chat things over with Logan – and annoyingly pull an Eliza move, asking Logan what she thinks about HER ALREADY MADE decision to go on a date while hoping he'll become possessive and negate her choices. In fairness, Logan goes about it poorly – while Rodney specifically said that he didn't want Eliza to go, Logan doesn't get around to that VERY important point, just saying that if she wants to, she can. But still: STOP IT WITH THESE MENTAL GYMNASTICS! Especially when you want a guy to show commitment ... WHEN YOU'VE ALREADY SHOWN A LACK OF COMMITMENT BY ACCEPTING A DATE!

Well, it was all worth it at least to go on a date with Captain DidIMentionIHaveADog! Indeed, the two go zip-lining across the rain forest – a hoot for Kate, less so for Hayden – before chatting about, what else, his perfect puppo Rambo. Shocking. But what might ACTUALLY shock you is that he's paid six figures to keep his dog alive through an inoperable cancer. That is an INVESTMENT – one I hope that's not just making that dog suffer miserably through some painful ailment because he can't deal with saying goodbye. Can't say how I'd emotionally handle the same situation though, so fair enough – though I certainly don't have six-figures worth of cash, so that part, eh, not as relatable.

Definitely not relatable? Hayden's attempts to explain his behavior during "The Bachelorette." First he tries to explain why he said Gabby was "rough around the edges" to her face, which goes poorly because THERE'S NO REASON TO DO THAT. Then he tries to tell Kate that he didn't call the Bachelorettes "b*tches" and "settling" as compared to his exes ... but eventually admits that, yeah, he probably did. Listen: If you have to say "I'm a nice guy," you're probably not actually a nice guy. Kate agrees, coming away from the date thinking "this has put into perspective how good I had it with Logan" – which, wow, what a sentence. When somebody says "you make Logan seem good," you have FAILED AT HUMAN-ING!

Speaking of people failing through the absolute floor, Eliza's still navigating her love triangle with Justin and Rodney, with the latter taking her aside to apologize for not giving her what she wanted the other day (aka toxicity, I guess?) and vowing to spend the rest of his time showing and proving his unwavering dedication to their relationship. Seems like a good speech – BUT IT'S NOT ENOUGH as Eliza insists that she wanted to see it before and now it's too late. Did you not hear the part yesterday where HE SAID HE DIDN'T WANT YOU TO GO!?

The worst part is that Eliza tries to say that she didn't HAVE to go on the date with Justin ... even though she'd already said yes to the date with him. She wanted to go! She'd made her choice – and now she's mad Rodney wasn't toxic and possessive enough to veto her free will? That he respected her decisions and didn't turn into a walking red flag? That he didn't read her mind and know the choice she made wasn't something she genuinely wanted but was a test? I know there's wanting a guy to show his commitment and to passionately fight for one's relationship – BUT YOU'D ALREADY MADE A DECISION WITHOUT MUCH A FIGHT YOURSELF! 

To make matters worse, after Rodney tries to make his not-wrong behavior right, Eliza goes off to make out with Justin in eye-shot of him. You know what, I was incorrect before: This isn't a no-win Kobayashi Maru test for Rodney. He's won by getting out of this relationship.

Now that THAT nonsense is settled, it's time for "Bachelor in Paradise" to do its best impression of a Coors Light commercial from the 2000s because AND TWIIIINS! Indeed, remember the twins from Gabby and Rachel's season? No, because they were two-thirds of the first night's eliminations? OK, well they're here – complete with date cards, though Brittany, Victoria and Jessenia all take turns showing Eliza how it's done and telling them that they're committed to other people already. Shanae, however, does NOT do that and gets asked on the double date along with Florence, where the foursome play a bunch of college party games and do a "Double Dare" challenge where they turn the twins into giant messy tacos. 

Actually, they spent most of the date talking how CRAAAAAAZY the age difference is between the twins and the women. Everyone just can't stop talking about how INSANE the age gap is between the two groups. So how MONUMENTALLY MASSIVE is this age difference? The twins are both 24, while Shanae and Florence are 30 and 32, respectively. So ... less than a decade? Like ... just two presidential terms? I get that there's a certain maturation that happens between your younger 20s and older 20s, and that the twins don't exactly seem like sophisticated old souls – but people are making this sound like it's Leo DiCaprio and whatever model he's probably dating now.

Even Aaron gabs about how having them on the beach is going to feel like babysitting. SIR, YOU ARE THREE YEARS OLDER THAN THEM. Johnny and Tyler have been here as 25-year-olds, and I have heard NOT ONE PEEP! Sounds more to me like more Bachelor Nation cast member territorialism, the familiar faces and old guard not liking those who've committed the egregious sin of being not famous enough.

Aaron has more pressing issues to be worried about than PESKY YOUTHS, anyways, because he and Genevieve are at it again. Everyone's all lounging and comfortable on a giant beach pad, when Genevieve decide to ruin everything for everyone and make it awkward by having a tiff. Palmer and the producers must've been watching on saying, "Ruining everyone's cozy vibes? BUT THAT'S OUR THING!" The issue at hand? Genevieve wants to spend more alone time with Aaron, while he doesn't want to feel bad about hanging out with his bros. I understand both issues ... while thinking both of them are very annoying and unreasonable. I think it's QUITE possible that Aaron spends too much time with his bros on the beach ... and that it's QUITE possible Genevieve is demanding a lot more time than maybe is reasonable. Which is a polite way of saying I don't see a great future for these two. 

To make matters worse, when Genevieve comes up to Aaron later to chat about their right, Aaron pauses for a ridiculously long time, saying that he was trying to figure out if it was a good time for him because he had bro hangout time currently in his schedule. BIG FACT: THIS IS NOT HELPING YOUR ARGUMENT, AARON! So Genevieve decides she's going to handle this thoughtfully and carefully ... and packs up all of her things in a harrumph and storms off to leave the beach. Lot of smart, reasonable heads on this show!

Eliza and Victoria try to keep her train from rolling right on out of here, but it's Aaron who gets her to stay, snagging her right before she makes it to the SUVs of Failure. The two bicker some more, with Aaron explaining that he just REALLY likes hanging with his friends and being happy (again, really promising attitudes and behaviors for the real world, which I hear will not be all beaches and "Bachelor" reunions). But eventually, Genevieve busts out the big words – she loves him, and she wants to feel like he loves her just as much in return – and he realizes that maybe, just maybe, he loves her too and wants to show her that commitment. So she puts down her bags and stays, much to the joy of the newly happy (for now) couple. And of Eliza and Victoria, who were stuck nearby as an accidentally captive audience.

We watching at home know their pain – because please, please, PLEASE, let the next person coming down those "Paradise" steps be a relationship communication expert. 

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.