Bachelor in Paradise Recap: Here We Go Again
Season 9 Episode 6 Editor’s Rating4 stars ****
Photo: ABC Friends, I forgot!!! I can’t believe I forgot! I forgot that Bachelor franchise shows don’t pop off until the fifth or sixth episode, once the novelty of being on camera has worn off and the ennui of having nothing to do all day but drink and talk shit (since production took your phone) sets in. Some shakeups are finally happening now that everyone has felt each other out and is no longer just desperate to make it through the first rose ceremony. This happens every season — after the first couple of episodes, I wonder if I even like The Bachelor anymore, and by mid-season, I’m fully back onboard. (Though I’m still pissed that I’m watching people make out in bathing suits in NOVEMBER.) Remind me of this next time I complain about early episodes being boring.
Okay, here we go. It’s the morning after Davia and Tanner’s date, and Kat is fuming. Tanner pulls Kat aside for the requisite debrief, and Davia says she can feel the tension. In perhaps the least helpful advice ever given, Kylee tells her she’s “allowed to feel some type of way about it.” It sounds nice on the surface, but is actually empty and condescending, just like Kylee.
Tanner tells Kat that he’s conflicted because they have the same values but very different personalities, and he wants something different in a wife. I know he’s just trying to break up with her politely, but that is literally the best-case scenario for a marriage. You have mutual goals but different strengths to help you achieve them together. He also says that he went on the date with Davia “for clarity … to give our relationship something to compare it to” which only makes sense if Tanner has never been on a date before. Everyone on the beach has agreed this is a normal thing to do, though. It’s extremely silly. Someday I will write a lexicon of this show’s bullshit language.
Kat mostly stays silent and stares into the waves while combing her hair with her fingers. Sorry to Eliza’s intro package, but this is the most convincing Little Mermaid impression on the beach. In her confessionals, though, we get full Ursula, with Kat screaming that she is so much better than Tanner and that he’ll regret it. Somehow, I doubt it, but these outbursts just prove how essential an unhinged narcissist is to reality TV. The show has gotten too polite! Kat is here doing the Lord’s work: screaming and sobbing and spouting nonsense. “You don’t even open-mouth make out; I already knew I didn’t want to marry you,” she wails. Perfection. Chef’s kiss. No notes.
Kat marches back to the gathered women and immediately starts spinning the breakup as mutual. Jess quips, “I’m glad we clarified that; thank you.” That’s funny! Where has this Jess been hiding? Tanner, for his part, tells the men that she was very passive-aggressive with him, which is accurate, but the way these guys are talking about Kat still bothers me a lot. As the women below chant, “No F-boys!” (that’s a different show) — Aaron complains about a “double standard” around the women being allowed to go on dates and “explore other options,” but the men are labeled “F-boys” if they do it. They are just as delusional as Kat if they think that’s the way that double standard goes. It was literally two days ago that they were all labeling Kat much worse than “f-boy” for doing the same thing! Soon, Brayden starts accusing her of “homie hopping” when she starts showing an interest in John Henry! There’s no double standard, guys; you’re all just here to hurt each other’s feelings for our entertainment.
Speaking of Kat and John Henry, it’s Kylee who encourages her to go for it, even though he’s been pretty coupled up with Olivia. I told y’all Kylee was a secret mean girl. She has no reason to continue tormenting Olivia! I hate the reunions for these shows, but I do actually want to see what Olivia has to say to Kylee about this behind-the-scenes sabotage. (I have no idea if she’s been posting anything about it because I refuse to engage with reality stars on social media. They live on my TV!)
In between flirting with John Henry by asking about his job and playing with her hair (which Olivia makes fun of, but it’s honestly a good strategy — guys with dangerous jobs love talking about how dangerous they are), Kat makes time to stir the pot with one of our most stable couples: Eliza and Aaron. She tells Eliza that Charity warned her about Aaron B. and mentions that he had some drama with an ex-girlfriend. Once again, I do not engage with outside gossip, so I have no idea what Kat is talking about, but I honestly don’t care. Aaron sucks, I don’t need a 360 review.
Moving on to Jess and Blake, who are still in an awkward place after he confronted her over not seeming all in on their relationship. Blake tells John Henry that she is clearly unsure about where they stand and that maybe they need to be tested, and he should explore things with other people. That’s a trigger phrase for the sleeper agents ABC keeps at the top of those stairs, and Genevie heads down to the beach. This is another person I’m told I’ve seen before, but before tonight, I wouldn’t be able to pick out of a lineup. Anyway, Genevie obviously takes Blake on a date because she “likes that he’s older” and is “hoping that comes with some maturity.” Lol, babe, you’re on the horny beach; the maturity here could fill one of your tiny bikini cups.
Blake says yes to the date but follows the rules and talks to Jess immediately after saying yes. Again, these unspoken agreements are so silly. If anything, you should be having conversations about whether or not you’d go on a date with someone else before another hottie arrives on the beach, but they can’t do that because that would throw a wrench into your relationship and potentially jeopardize a rose. Blake says, essentially, that he didn’t feel wanted by Jess and that Genevie asking him on the date made him feel wanted. This makes Jess feel guilty, and she’s shutting down because she’s overwhelmed. Oof, babe, I think you’re just not that into him! We’ve all been there! It’s entirely valid to just not click with someone despite nothing being wrong with them. It happens genuinely all the time. But! Here’s where the politics of the beach come in again because Jess is also counting on Blake’s rose this week, and if she breaks up with him, she could be going home. It’s a fascinating power dynamic that can play out in so many exciting ways; it sucks that we’re stuck in this weird cycle of formalities.
Honestly, Brayden is the only one who treats this little rule like the stupid comedy of manners it is. Becca, who it appears was on Zach’s season for one episode, arrives on the beach and asks out Brayden. He pulls Rachel aside — literally, they’re standing right next to the tables where everyone eats breakfast — and just does a quick check-in. That’s all a day-old BiP relationship needs. Everyone knows the deal. Everyone signed up for this. Rachel is, of course, bummed, but my guess is she’s more upset about losing a rose than losing Brayden. I mean, it’s Brayden.
Before we get to Brayden and Becca’s date, we must talk about Blake and Genevie’s. They go out on a two-person kayak (or is it a canoe?) and seem to vibe. They make out in the water, at least, though Blake does say he feels guilty thinking about Jess back at the beach trying to figure things out.
Oh, buddy, you do not need to worry about that. Without the pressure of Blake’s (dreamy) eyes on her, Jess is free to flirt her little bob off at Tyler. He says he wants to kiss her but would feel bad about it (Tyler, you’ll recall, has been paired up with Mercedes) — but he can’t feel that bad about it because he goes for it about 0.4 seconds after she agrees. I can’t wait to see how this rose ceremony shakes out!
For their date, Brayden and Becca go to a “tantric kitchen,” which Brayden immediately recognizes. Of COURSE, Brayden is familiar with tantra. He has the exact vibes of a guy who thinks he’s a sex god because he can go for hours, but it actually just takes him 90 minutes to find the clit. Anyway, he’s so excited he does a Borat impression, which is the millennial man’s love language.
Back at the beach, Kat is still shooting her shot with John Henry, who tells Peter that Kat usually seems unapproachable but today was the first time she saw “that side” of her and he’d be lying if he said he wasn’t interested. Olivia, who is quickly becoming my favorite BiPper, accurately reads John Henry as the kind of simple man who will follow whatever pretty girl looks at him last. She interrupts his conversation with Kat and leads him away from the shiny object, where John Henry reassures her that she’s his priority but that he owes it to himself to get to know everyone there. I think Olivia can hold onto John Henry’s rose if she plays this right and just lets Kat blow herself up (because Kat is so, so easy to detonate.) She sees Olivia and John Henry making out and says, “She’s so territorial it’s gross,” right after declaring, “John Henry is MINE.” The lack of self-awareness, the pettiness, the ego! Kat, never change, and please stay on my TV forever.
Meanwhile, Eliza is still thinking about what Kat told her about Aaron and pulls him aside to talk about it. He explains what happened with the girlfriend and gives a full CSI timeline of their breakup, but I truly could not care less about it. Whether or not he was dating someone when he got cast on the show is not interesting — no one is here for “the right reasons,” and it’s time to stop pretending otherwise — but the way he talks about his exe is a major red flag. Again, he speaks like a corporate CEO announcing layoffs, describing her as “disgruntled.” But before we can get too in the weeds on this he-said-he-said-she-said, here comes Charity to clear things up!
I love Charity, but I’m not sure I like her being here. If she’s just going to tell us what Aaron’s ex DMed her, I don’t want it. I’d rather let Aaron’s actions and words speak for themselves. Like Kat, he’s fully capable of blowing himself up! This episode ends with the confrontation between Kat and Aaron, and I could honestly watch these two argue for the entire two hours. They’re two of the best villains we’ve had in the last couple of years, and I am over here like Let-Them-Fight.gif. It’s so much more interesting than going in polite little circles about “clarity.”
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