Before we return to Paradise, a couple of weirdos need to get married. ABC wasted their not so precious airtime on revisiting Carly’s journey on Chris Soule’s season of The Bachelor, her days in Paradise Season 2, and her third times a charm journey in Paradise Season 3. We are reminded of Evan’s drama with Chad on Jojo’s season of The Bachelorette, and his awkward times at Paradise High where he met the love of his life. We see footage of the happy couple’s strange relationship development from uncomfortable first kiss, to a Guinness World Record breaking MO sesh complete with saliva strings, to Evan faking “his own death,” to a sweat lodge love awakening, and eventual proposal. We are also forced to watch the network plug their very few success stories with montages of the following weddings:
- Trista and Ryan – The Bachelorette Season 1 (2003) – Jesus, this was a long time ago.
- Jason and Molly – The Bachelor Season 13 (2009) – Complete with intermittent rainstorms for the happy couple.
- Ashley and JP – The Bachelorette Season 7 (2011) – Yarmulkes! Mazel!
- Sean and Catherine – The Bachelor Season 17 (2013) – Bride tells groom that every time she looks at him her heart fills with love sprinkles. Horrific.
- Jade and Tanner – Bach in Paradise Season 2 (2015) – A testament to the power of Paradise.
After 21 seasons of The Bachelor, 13 seasons of The Bachelorette, and going on 4 seasons of Paradise, this is what ABC has to show. The only marriage footage we didn’t see is Chris and Desiree’s (Desiree was The Bachelorette in Season 9).
At Carly and Evan’s big event we have a fun guest list that includes the Twins, Nick & Vanessa (well maybe not “fun” but…), Ashley I, Jared, Jade and Tanner, Kaitlyn and Sean, and my new personal favorite human: Wells Adams. Wells is a part of Evan’s groom gang, and while the boys are getting a pic taken before the ceremony, Wells leans over and kisses his buddy, Evan, on the cheek. It’s honestly the sweetest, most beautiful thing. He’s not doing it to be funny or over the top. He is genuinely happy for his friend on his special day. MORE OF THIS EVERYWHERE ALL THE TIME.
Carly’s mom admits that she prayed for Carly to find a special partner, and she is over the moon that Evan is the one. Carly’s dad on the other hand is like, yo E-Bass, please just take care of my daughter, OK? #family
TBH I think it’s brutal that these two were sucked into having their wedding televised, but I feel very lucky to have witnessed some real moments such as the beautiful friendship between Wells and Evan, Evan crying throughout most of the ceremony, Carly not crying at all, and Evan in complete awe of his bride as she walks down the aisle. Even though these guys wrote their own vows, I didn’t want to vomit. Evan honors Carly for accepting his weirdness, and he talks about them walking through life as equals. Carly promises to accept him no matter what, and she looks forward to being old with her man. Of course the Shaman from their infamous sweat lodge date in Paradise shows up for some hopefully authentic traditional shit…? Whatever. It’s over, and it was fun, and these guys are having a baby, and honestly I hope that they last and it’s a testament to the not so perfect narrative of finding your person on a show that pushes the not so realistic fairytale.
Back to the shirt storm…
Chris Harrison formally welcomes the cast back to Paradise and the squad is shown doing a dirge procession down the beach and up to their host/cult leader. Chris sits everyone down for “the talk.” It’s time to address the sexual misconduct that occurred day one on set between DeMario and Corrine, and led to temporary suspension of the show. Warner Bros hired an outside firm to investigate shit. They looked at all the footage, sent people to down interview staff and crew, and finally concluded there was no evidence of misconduct.
I think that this portion of the episode can be seen as the network using the cast to tell the world what the network wants us to believe. I do however buy what some of the cast had to say. Maybe I am a sucker. I think it would have been apparent if the cast was being forced to say something that they genuinely didn’t believe, and I think that some of these contestants would never have stood for being given a line or a script about how to discuss the sexual misconduct allegations, particularly about people they call their friends.
Alexis says that the media blew it out of proportion. Derek reminds the audience that the cast is actually a group of accountable adults, and that the producers are trustworthy people, not controlling puppet masters. Taylor shares that doesn’t drink. She’s never had a drink on The Bachelor or in Paradise, and even though her fellow cast mates might try to get her to have a swig, production has never once even suggested that she have one. Iggy said that DeMario was type-casted by the media and was portrayed as creating the event in question. Shawty Alex wishes everyone could have seen how the entire day unfolded. He was the narrator for the lead-up afterall…Diggy worries about the repercussions of D-Mo’s name being forever associated with these allegations.
When Chris Harrison asks the fam if they think race played a part in this, Nick pipes up with, “Unfortunately, yes.” Raven talks about the Southern stigma of a Black man with a white woman being “wrong.” She was empathetic to DeMario because she recognizes how backwards that stigma is, and how it creates hateful, shitty stereotypes of Black men. Jasmine shares that the whole time she was thinking about her own brother, and how terrible it would be to have him wrongfully accused and painted as a sexual aggressor. She says DeMario was never aggressive towards anyone in Paradise, and Danielle M. nods her head in approval. Raven addresses the backlash she and Jasmine received for defending DeMario. She says that they were in no way slut-shaming Corrine; they were defending DeMario. Danielle M. suggests that Corrine called herself a victim to save face, and Derek adds that those statements didn’t actually come from Corrine herself, they came from a lawyer. Alexis calls out the fucking garbage double standard of men sleeping around vs. women sleeping around. Men are suave suavecito and women are sluts. So not OK, and Alexis and Danielle M. are all set with that shit. Raven opens up about being a victim of sexual assault, so she hopes that people aren’t deterred from speaking up about their experiences after seeing this situation unfold in Paradise.
Chris asks everyone what consent means and how you know you’re getting it. Freud emphasizes that words of affirmation are where it’s at, and Ben gently reminds everyone that consent throughout your entire sexcapade is also key. “Yes” in the beginning doesn’t necessarily mean “yes” to the full enchilada, so keep the lines of communications open. And duh, you can’t give consent if you’re a litty kitty, and mmhmmmm booze gets in the way of sound judgment. Chris is like fear not, we want you guys to get yours, but please do not fuck this up. He then does this totally unnecessary, shitty fake-out thing where everyone has to go around and say whether or not they really want to be here. If not, no Paradise. RIGHHHTTTT……….Bitch, everyone is back with their beachy gear, and you know they got a solid talking to before coming back to Mexico about how shit was gonna go.
Obvi the entire fam gives a big hell yes, and we are back to the “business of finding love.”
The girls and boys gather separately to talk about where everyone’s at. Raven says that during the break Ben and Robby hit her up and she ghosted both of them. Alexis commends Raven for her ghostly behavior. The ladies are all set with Shawty Alex. Thank GOD. Kristina shares that Dean went back to Kentucky with her during the break, and that they road tripped to Chicago. OK GIRL! Dean blatantly told Kristina that if she gets asked to go on dates with other dudes she should do it, and that pisses Kristina off. Taylor is so into Derek and visa versa. She gets emotional telling the girls that she was so scared she was going to come to Paradise and be excluded, and she’s just so relieved shit is going well! The girls are amped to see a whole new side of her. FUN!
“There’s a lot of tension between Derek and I……..Sexually.”
Alex goes “What up, wifey?” to Amanda and I still haven’t recovered from that trauma. Amanda’s too nice to tell him to piss off, so Danielle M. and Raven blatantly tell him that he’s coming on too strong and he should start conversing with other females. He’s like totally. Great idea. Let me go talk to Amanda. IDIOT.
Lacey has returned to Paradise after her grandfather’s death and we see her emotionally unravel in the confession cam because she’s not “in” with the cool kids, she has no idea who to give her rose to, Iggy is full of shit, and she just wants to find some love. Shit’s rough.
Raven stumbles across a date card addressed to Derek and she rallies the entire squad to storm the beach and surprise attack the happy couple as they are lounging and sucking face on a cabana bed. Derek and Taylor head to their Dia de los Muertos themed date and discuss how ironic it is that they were both skeptical as hell about this whole circus, and now they’ve found each other. Life, amirite?!
Kristina and Dean are slowly falling apart. Dean seems on edge and closed off now that he’s back on the beach. His nervous laugh and adorable smile are nowhere to be found. After piecemeal passive aggressive chats, Kristina calls Dean out for having major walls up. Dean responds with “I don’t feel good about anything” and Kristina walks away frustrated and defeated. Help us understand what the fuck you mean, Dean. Kristina heads to the bar, and we witness a heartfelt group hug between Wells, Kristina and Nick. MY TICKER IS AFLAME WITH THE LIGHT OF FRIENDSHIP AND LOVE.
Jasmine tries to coerce Matt into sneaking away sans mics, but Matt just wants to go to bed. Yikes. Jasmine is embarrassed and upset that he’s not going hard in the paint like she is. She seeks solace in Amanda and Robby’s company by the pool. Do you see what I see…?
REMINDER: This entire show is comprised of ELEVEN DAYS of footage. Hey, when you know, you know. And love is real, and this franchise is where real love is found and then later lost.
Mai-Tai’s and Cranberry Seltzers,