"Bachelor in Paradise" recap: Kristina solves Dean's love triangle for him
Labor Day was no day of rest for the drama on "Bachelor in Paradise." Two new guys joined the cast. The rose ceremony was earlier than expected. The tension from Dean's love triangle officially spread to the rest of the beach, driving a wedge between Raven and Kristina. And most shocking of all, BEN Z. TALKED ABOUT HIS DOG.
But best of all, in the middle of all the tense drama, JACK! STONE! nut-tapped Robby in the greatest moment of the season. OK, an overstatement ... but only slightly. "Bachelor in Paradise" is at its best when it's just about silliness and fun, and forgets that it's supposedly about people finding love. As sleazy and fake as regular "Bachelor" and "Bachelorette" are, "Paradise" is worse as half the cast just uses "falling in love" as strategy to get a rose and stay on vacation. So just embrace that you're a goofy show about reality doofuses on a beach where occasionally love breaks out.
Speaking about things breaking out, the rest of the cast's been infected by all the Dean's love triangle – especially after last week's pool rendezvous with D-Lo, classily right in front of Kristina. Dominique, who even having only been there for a hot second, calls Dean a "f*ckboi" while the rest of the group eye-rolls at America's former sweetheart. Dean flailingly tries to be mad at Robby for not stealing Kristina away for his pool time with D-Lo, but it doesn't stick. Nope, Dean, you might just be a rude moron.
So Dean, relationship genius, determines it might be a good idea to chat with Kristina about things. It goes poorly, as Dean still sounds a little evasive and dodgy, saying that if he had known Kristina was right there, he wouldn't have done it. So if she wasn't there, you still would've made out with another woman in a POOL OF LIES AND DECEIT!? He tries to explain hurting her wasn't his intention, but intent doesn't matter; good people can still do bad things to others – and he's doing terrible at owning up to that. Kristina calls him out for wanting something with no hassle or stress, just fun, and it's pretty obvious she's not wrong.
In related pool-escapades news, Jasmine makes out with Tickle Monster in the water, commenting that he "tickled her stomach" – and boy, I hate words now! "Tickled my stomach" sounds like you ate something wrong and it's now fighting its way out somehow. "Tickled my stomach" sounds like a child describing the chestburster scene from "Alien." Don't make me think about "Alien" during your make out sessions.
Thankfully, a distraction arrives in new people – starting with Blake, aka the aspiring drummer from Rachel's season, aka the guy who managed to turn Whaboom Dude into a sympathetic figure. Literally no one is happy – not the cast, who spends most of his entrance complaining about how sweaty he is and staring at him with dead faces, and definitely not the show, which condescendingly mocks him for his entire stint. Blake wants to get past being the guy who yelled at Whaboom Guy, so he spends the entire episode talking about that time he yelled at Whaboom Guy. Blake is the embodiment of the sad trumpet sound – and that's before he tries asking Kristina out and gets promptly, but politely, rejected.
In case matters couldn't get worse for Blake, he doesn't even get the default title of the day's most exciting new arrival, as Fred – the "bad kid" from Rachel's school days – makes his way down the stairs. Everyone's really into Fred – except for Diggy, who's not eager about potentially losing Dominque and his status as the beach's only black dude – and everyone's eager to see where his date card goes. He chooses Dominique, who says yes. Sad times for Diggy.
Sadder times, though, for Blake, who still has no takers for his date card. After Kristina's rejection, he goes to Christen, who's all, "TELL ME MORE ABOUT HOW BADLY YOU GOT REJECTED EARLIER!?" Blake is bad at life – though Christen says yes to the date card because, what the hell, it's a potentially fun and exciting date in Mexico! How bad could it be!?
Answer: pretty bad!
The two new dudes and their dates head out on some spinning stunt boat called "Thriller" (captained by a very prominently displayed company called Vallerta Adventures X; get dem product placement checks, "Bachelor in Paradise") and Christen is having an anti-good time. She's bordering on sea sick, her mascara is running all over her face, her contact is constantly threatening to pop out of her skull and also she's with Blake. Meanwhile, Fred and Dominique are having a full-on BLAST. They're zip-lining down into the ocean and bouncing on some giant sea whoopee cushion. It may not be a good date in terms of romance – I don't even think they had one of those standard-issue candlelight dinners – but it sure seems like a good date in terms of fun.
Back on the beach, JACK! STONE! is having the best bad day of his life. He's worried about Christen being out on yet another date, but while he stress-exercises, the rest of the crew hears rumors about how he might be a bad kisser – and they must find out more, firsthand if possible. JACK! is not about it for a while – but a few drinks later, and all of a sudden, his face is attached to everybody's face: Jasmine, D-Lo, Raven, probably a couple camerapeople, maybe Harrison got in there too. Everyone approves of the kissing prowess of JACK! STONE! – and when you have an entire segment dedicated to your solid smooching abilities, you graduate to JACK!! STONE!!
Good news can't last forever, though, as Harrison pops down in the middle of the day to deliver some news: The rose ceremony's been moved to that night. Also, there's a new date card – though it's not of any dramatic use because it belongs to Robby, who quickly picks Amanda. The two had out on the town, where Amanda makes a pop-a-shot, and Robby feeds the children of the village by beating the hell out of a piñata. The two have a cute meal – cue the intimate candlelight dinner table! – and then watch some fireworks. I enjoy this very predictable couple of blandly gorgeous people.
But enough cuteness; it's time for drama – aka the cocktail party. But the goodbyes start early as Ben Z., whose only other scene in the episode was drinking out of some plastic hulk hands, decides to part with the show. It's actually kind of sad, as he orders one final shot from Wells before saying his farewells. He leaves this world exactly how he entered it: exclusively talking about his dog.
Now back to the drama. Diggy makes his move on Dominique with an endlessly charming question game called "Diggin' Deep with Diggy." He's the best – and I'm just saying, if the show needs somebody for the next season of "The Bachelor" ...
In other low-key love triangles – or more like quadrangles in this case – Christen's trying to figure out where she's going to go with her rose when she discovers her nickname. Yes, "Bachelor in Paradise" still finds Scallop Fingers HILARIOUS. Thankfully, Christen doesn't take the slightly bullying name too hard; in fact, she barely seems able to wrap her head around it. So that's good. Less good: Wells puts a scallop on each finger in a shot that wouldn't have been out of place in a very particularly haunting episode of "Twin Peaks." Even worse: Daniel does some Dr. Seuss-lite rhyme that he's VERY proud of, but actually kills the English language.
After a quick clip of Jonathan threatening to tickle a crab and 27 clips of Raven attempting to catch food in her mouth, it's time to settle KrisDeana versus Dean-Lo. Finally, we hear a little bit from the latter (who's basically been silent this entire time) who seems just as tired of this drama as Kristina – though Kristina's not eager to let her off the hook for her role in everything. Just ask Raven, who attempts to calm Kristina down and move that blame from D-Lo to Dean and just ends up in the crossfire herself. Kristina snaps at her for protecting D-Lo and for being a better friend to Dean's other woman than to her, even sassing, "I'd like to have this conversation sober" to Raven. Oof.
But then Wells – sweet, beautiful, wonderful Wells – cuts in to Kristina about Dean: "Why are you fighting for somebody who's not fighting for you?" It's a killer line that totally redeems the whole scallops-on-the-fingers thing – and, most importantly, knocks some confidence into Kristina.
And just in time for the rose ceremony!
The show gets the boring roses out of the way: Lacey to Daniel, Taylor to Derek, Amanda to Robby and Raven to Adam. Dominique ends up picking Diggy, while Jasmine hands her rose to Jonathan and makes a "tickle your pickle" joke that's lucky the English language was already murdered this episode. Christen goes with JACK!! STONE!!
But all of those are just appetizers for the main course: the resolution of the ultimate love triangle, which actually ends somewhat gracefully as Kristina delivers a speech about deserving more than what she's received. She then holsters her rose, choosing instead to just leave. DEAN, YA BLEW IT! Everyone gets a goodbye hug – save for D-Lo, obviously – and Dean walks her out. The camera stays on Danielle's face as the two leave, hinting that maybe she'll toss her rose to someone else – but all that remains is Fred and Blake, neither exactly sparking enough chemistry for even a spite/revenge rose. So of course she gives her carnation to Dean – who actually predicted she'd bail from the show as well, so ANOTHER GOOD CALL FOR DEANIE BABY! D-Lo's happy that he stepped up and accepted her rose – but that seems generous. Kristina did the stepping up in escaping this Bermuda love triangle.
As we learned during Nick's season, she deserves better than this show. So better luck on Bumble.
Ben Z., Kristina, Fred and Blake
After spending a week in Europe, avoiding this show, Madre Mueller conveniently had to miss last night's episode because of "a cold." Suuuure. Better have been the Black Death.
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