By Isabella Biedenharn
August 21, 2017 at 11:22 PM EDT
ABC
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It’s the second week in paradise (or the…fourth, if you count the time they were away during the shutdown), and everything seems to be falling apart. The only real relationship is between Taylor and her John Krasinski lookalike, Derek, and maybe the one between Jasmine and Matt. Dean and Kristina are on shaky ground…but more on that later.

For now, it’s time for a new arrival: Adam from Rachel’s season is here (with his dummy Adam Jr. in tow). He talks to Kristina and Raven while he’s deciding who to take on his date. But again, the shutdown has influenced the show in an interesting way: Raven and Adam actually met in Dallas over the break and seemed to hit it off at a bar (he thought she was “dope”), so she’s already at an advantage over Kristina. Adam sleeps on his decision, but ends up choosing Raven.

They get a meal and do a little dancing — and of course, intercut all throughout their date are scenes of Ben Z. being upset back at the resort. Ben really liked Raven, though his main reason (which he repeats ad nauseam) seems to be that they both have giant dogs. It’s not a bad reason, but like…we get it.

Elsewhere in Paradise, Robby is also annoyed about Raven’s date, though his chances with her went to zero after their own date. As Raven tells Adam, she went in trying to ignore the preconceived notions she had of Robby, but the date was “exactly what I thought it would be.”

The bigger dilemma is Kristina and Dean, which of course will play out all through the episode. We already knew that last week Dean was acting strange and distant after he and Kristina took a road trip together during the shutdown. It seems they got too close too fast, and Dean is freaked out. (As Jack Stone says, “Dean’s great…if you’re in middle school.”) Case in point: Kristina goes to talk to him, and he dodges the conversation by saying he needs to take a shower first. Okay, Dean.

Raven and Adam return from their date. We really saw so little footage from the date, but it seems like they had a good time. Now there’s one last cocktail party before the rose ceremony, and the dudes are desperate.

Vinny seems to be mentally checked out — he thought he was going to get Corinne’s rose, but now that she’s not here, he hasn’t even tried to look at another option. Still burned from last year, Vinny? Alexis and Jack Stone seem to be hitting it off, though maybe more as friends. Still, she’s the only person who somehow doesn’t make him seem sketchy. Am I shipping Alexis and Jack Stone?!

Ben Z. and Adam both pull Raven aside, but with Ben Z., she tells him she doesn’t know who’s getting her rose, and with Adam, they dance and make out. Seems pretty clear to me.

This leaves Robby in a bind — he goes to talk to Amanda and “make some bold moves” since he’s getting nowhere with Raven. The problem here is that Robby is apparently friends with Amanda’s ex-fiancé Josh Murray in the real world (I can totally see that: two bland men who love looking in the mirror). “Can we just call him Anonymous?” Robby asks. “Anonymous would probably be pissed…however, anonymous lost his chance.” Great friend right there! Robby asks for a kiss, and poor Amanda dodges it in the nicest way she can. Which is to say, she’s way too nice: “I don’t know if I’m ready for a kiss yet…it has to be the right moment. You’ve gotta wait.” Amanda needs to invest in a man-sized flyswatter ASAP. This is so uncomfortable.

On a different couch, Matt tells Jasmine he’s there for his friends, and he’s there for her. Jasmine loves it and says he’s “husband material” in an interview.

At the last minute, Iggy realizes he needs to try to put in some effort with someone who isn’t one of his bros, so he prints out a Jewish prayer to bless his cocktails with Lacey. (She’s Jewish.) She seems charmed by it…but then Diggy steals her away, impresses her by using the word “intrigued,” and they make out. Sorry, Iggy.

The most desperate person by far, though, is Alex: He talks to Amanda. He talks to Lacey. He talks to Danielle M. He talks to Alexis. He even talks to Raven. Dude, the girl who’s choosing between two, possibly three guys isn’t the one to bother right now. “I think the girls were willing to recognize I was trying to be vulnerable,” says Alex. Keep telling yourself that.

Dean pulls Kristina aside to talk about taking a step back in their relationship because it was moving too fast. To his credit, he wants to do this before the rose ceremony so he’s not tricking her into giving him a rose. My best friend Kristina looks stunning. (YES I picked sides.) Dean says he’s “sensed a weird energy” between them. Yes, Kristina has tried to have like six different conversations with you while you grit your teeth and giggle. I think that’s more than “sensing” something’s wrong, Dean. Kristina is glad they had the conversation. Have we all been in a relationship like this? He acts like a complete jerk, but he’s nice for four seconds and suddenly he gets another chance? I want someone to come sweep Kristina away!

The rose ceremony happens. Taylor gives her rose to Derek. Jasmine gives hers to Matt. Raven gives hers to Adam. Alexis gives hers to Jack Stone (yesss). Lacey gives hers to Diggy. Danielle M. gives hers to Ben because he’s “an awesome human” and she wants him to find love. Kristina gives hers to Dean and I’m screaming because he doesn’t deserve it. Amanda gives hers to Robby and I am vomiting because he doesn’t deserve it.

Iggy, Alex, Vinny, and Nick go home, and no one is surprised because each of them either put in no effort or way too much effort. (Next: A new arrival shakes things up)

It’s the morning after the rose ceremony, and all is calm — so of course, it’s time for the Paradise boat to be rocked. In walks Danielle Lombard, a.k.a. D. Lo, a.k.a. the person I had as frontrunner for the first few weeks of Nick’s season. The men go insane (“I didn’t realize she was so hot in person!” “She knows exactly what she’s doing with that dress.” “She’s fiiiiine like a glass of wine. Damn!”)

D. Lo immediately asks about the current relationships (even Derek jokes to someone, “I don’t know anymore…”). She tells Kristina she heard she “went on a date” with Dean — not that they’d been essentially exclusive for like three weeks — and Kristina says yes, it was fun. Danielle takes this information in and then goes off to talk to the guys one by one. She asks Ben Z. about his dog, which is smart since that’s the only thing he can talk about. Then she pulls Dean away and says she heard he and Kristina were talking. “We took a step back,” Dean says.

That Dean-Kristina conversation is a classic situation where two people can be involved in the same chat but take two completely different things from it. For Dean, telling Kristina he wanted to take things slower means that he’s free to explore other options and not be completely tied down to her. But for Kristina, it meant they’d keep hanging out, just in a more fun, relaxed way. This sucks. At least Kristina has friends, though: Danielle M. is braiding her hair, and Taylor (prompted by a producer? Trying to do what you’re supposed to do on the show?) asks Kristina what she’s thinking. Danielle M. responds for her: “I think she doesn’t want to think about what she’s thinking.” I love Danielle M.

Obviously, D. Lo picks Dean for the date. He’s excited to go, but of course takes time to track down Kristina to ask what she’s feeling. “I’m still excited to come back and hang out with you,” he tells her. “I told her about us. Don’t hate me.” Why is he playing her like this?!! Just set Kristina free if you don’t want her! UGH, DEAN!

The only light moment comes from a hilarious scene of Jasmine and Alexis play-fighting in the pool. “We’re the two crazy bitches and we’re just killin’ paradise!” Alexis says. I love it. They put on some Steve Irwin accents and pretend to observe the other contestants: “We come across a Taylor and Derek in the wild…she was the villain on Nick’s season, but look at her now!” I would be down for a whole spin-off of Alexis and Jasmine commenting on things instead of watching my beloved Kristina get her heart broken again. Make it happen, ABC.

D. Lo and Dean ride ATVs and talk about their birthdays (riveting) and how they both find each other very attractive. Neither of them knows how to speak without giggling. Sorry that I’m being such a hater but I can’t hide my feelings. Dean says Nick seemed kind of boring and Danielle seems to agree, and they talk about how weird it is to see yourself on TV. “I talk and I’m like, ‘Do I really sound that stupid?’” Dean says. Um, you didn’t sound stupid when you were being nice, but now you do.

As Dean and D. Lo make out, we see scenes of Kristina back at the resort saying she feels like she met the real Dean in Kentucky. This Dean in Paradise is a totally different person. Kristina talks to Robby, who tells her that her relationship with Dean is still “one of the strongest relationships out there.” Really, Robby? In an interview, Robby says Dean has been dragging Kristina along, and he feels for her. “They could be a Paradise couple,” he says. I agree!

When D. Lo and Dean come back, they’re still in their post-date bliss and relishing the attention they’re getting from the rest of the cast. Matt and Diggy talk to Dean, and Dean asks them not to make him feel worse than he already does. Diggy says, “You did what any guy would do: Say yes to the dress,” which was hilarious. But Dean says, “I should probably go talk to her, right? Should I order two drinks and bring one?” He definitely seems like he does not want to be doing this. Or is he asking advice because he doesn’t want to screw things up further? I can’t tell how much he actually likes Kristina and how much he’s just being motivated by guilt.

Dean goes up to the girls’ room (which he correctly says is “an absolute sty”) and is really awkward — he doesn’t want to steal Kristina away in the middle of a conversation, but that’s exactly what she and the other girls want. Eventually they go chat in a cabana, where Dean tells her a little about the date and says he and D. Lo “had a little peck.” Okay, it wasn’t a peck, but I guess he’s being sort of honest. They say they missed each other all day, and pinky promise each other that they’ll be open and honest. “I think Dean and I cleared the air,” Kristina says. “I’m not stepping away just yet.” Ugh, Kristina!!!

There’s a bonfire that night, and Dean and Kristina are cuddling like nothing happened while D. Lo roasts s’mores. But suddenly Dean gets up and comes back with a cake (actually a watermelon covered in whipped cream?), asking to make a quick announcement. It’s D. Lo’s half birthday today, and since her birthday is near Christmas, he says it’s important for them to celebrate. WOW. Wow, wow, wow. This has to be a producer move — but still, Dean agreed to it, and it’s a huge slap in the face to Kristina. “I feel like we don’t make a big enough deal of half birthdays!” Dean giggles. Alexis says she wants to “f—in’ smack him in the face” and I agree.

Dean and D. Lo go take shots at the bar while Kristina walks away sobbing, totally confused at what just happened right in front of her face. “I’m hurt and I’m disrespected,” she says. “I don’t want to be made a fool of. I’m shutting down.” She runs out of her interview to go cry in bed, and Alexis goes to comfort her.

And, aside from a funny blooper scene of D. Lo dropping two full pizzas into sand and Derek taking a bite of one, that’s it!

So what do we think? Is everyone also very clearly Team Kristina? Is anyone out there on Dean or D. Lo’s side? Should Alexis and Jack Stone get married?

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