Bachelor in Paradise recap: 'We're going to prom!'
Rose lovers, we're back on the beach for a supersize three-hour episode of Bachelor in Paradise (though not enough occurs in these three hours to justify that extra run time). There are near-breakups, some witchy relationship cleansing, new additions, and the most dramatic prom ever. Let's recap.
We come in still in the midst of Ivan and Aaron's fight over Chelsea (who is nowhere to be found on the beach). Aaron tries to goad Ivan into a fight, saying he can't help but get angry. Dude, we know. That's like your defining characteristic.
Ivan tells everyone he never lied and is zero percent at fault because Chelsea asked him to talk, not vice versa. And what, Ivan, you just fell on her mouth? Natasha smells something fishy and thinks Ivan is just desperate for a rose, but since Aaron is the hothead who cried wolf, pretty much everyone sides with Ivan.
Now, with James as backup, Aaron confronts Ivan again and issues a classic non-apology: "I apologize if you thought I was overly angry." Never apologize for what someone else thinks, just apologize for your actions, bro! Ivan reiterates that Chelsea initiated their talk, but oh look, it's a convenient flashback of the exact opposite happening! I was team Ivan, but why are you lying, sir?
Aaron contemplates leaving because of how everyone (except James) rallied around Ivan, and he's worried this turn of events means no rose for him anyway. But James convinces him to stay. Oh, the bromance.
Finally Chelsea returns from wherever the producers were keeping her to foster drama, and she is shocked to learn she's now in a love triangle. But, record scratch, she did not ask to talk to Ivan. The beach starts to realize that Ivan was lying. Chelsea pulls Aaron for some one-on-one time and gives him the real story, which prompts him to start kissing her.
Now, Chelsea has to confront Ivan about his lies (girl, you must be exhausted). He tries to reframe the story, saying no, what he meant was she showed an interest in him that surprised him. Ivan, we all know that's not what you said or what you meant. Review the tape!
Finally, it's time for the long-delayed rose ceremony. But wait a second, there's something Wells has to deal with first, something that happened at the hotel during the storm evacuation. He asks Ivan to come down to the beach for a moment, while everyone else ponders what Ivan could have done.
Wells goes into stern parent mode, asking Ivan to be completely honest with him. Ivan breaks easily, admitting that he was feeling lost in Paradise and spent time with Alexa from Peter's season last night. Here's what she looks like in case you, like me, forgot.
Ivan was hoping to meet Alexa on the beach, and he decided to go for it when he noticed her room number listed on a producer's phone just lying around. Do we think they did this purposefully to stir up more drama? 90 percent chance, right?
He made an impulse decision, went to her room (the implication being she was eventually going to come to Paradise), and they hit it off. Wells gives Ivan full disappointed dad face.
Ivan can't handle the pressure of a unsmiling Wells and admits that he was wrong and should not have circumvented the Bachelor system. He made a giant mistake. But we're not finished, first, Wells wants Ivan to confess his sins to the group. Ivan cries in the confessional about how he came to Paradise with pure intentions, and you know what? I believe him. I just think the minute Jessenia pulled the rug out from under him he started grasping at straws. Poor guy.
So, Ivan goes back to the rest of the group and comes clean, basically implying that he and Alexa hooked up. He apologizes in particular to Chelsea, telling her he wouldn't have accepted her rose if she'd chosen him (THE AUDACITY, IVAN, THE AUDACITY) because he's not in a good headspace. Ivan says his goodbyes, which Aaron patently refuses to participate in. Riley admonishes him for not sticking to their pledge to be better men. Awwww, Riley.
But Ivan takes full responsibility for his actions saying he was selfish and doesn't want anyone to feel bad for him. He made a choice and he has to own it. Personal responsibility, what a concept! But, no, seriously, did he and Alexa reconnect once he left? I need the details!
Now, it's actually time for the rose ceremony, where everything goes pretty much as it should.
Serena to Joe
Abigail to Noah
Maurissa to Riley
Mari to Kenny
Becca to Thomas
Chelsea to Aaron
Natasha to Ed
Tia to James
Tia makes a pointed comment about appreciating James' efforts to woo her — a.k.a., bye Blake, don't let the door hit you on the way out. I hope you learned something about women, communication, and love languages on this journey.
It's time to bid adieu to Blake, Demar, and Dr. Joe. Sorry, Dr. Joe, you're a great guy, but you made a fatal error being Brendan's pal.
A new day dawns in Paradise, and it's time for these couples to get serious about what their lives could look like together off the beach. But first, we need to meet the new celebrity guest host — and what? It's Wells!
I know Wells is a polarizing figure in Bachelor Nation, but I'm firmly in the pro-Wells territory and between his talk with Ivan and his duty as host here, I'm full steam ahead for him as a Chris Harrison replacement. He gave more insight in 5 minutes with Ivan than Kaitlyn or Tayshia ever did last season (which, to be fair, could be an editing/producer thing). He encourages the couples to have necessary talks to move forward as Paradise winds down (and reminds Aaron to stop fighting with people, lol).
There's trouble in Mari and Kenny paradise, and it seems Kenny is concerned Mari is still being too distant and closed off emotionally. He's worried they're not on the same page and says their relationship has fizzled. There's no more passion. Uh-oh. Kenny wants to pump the brakes and Mari blames herself, feeling like she's repeating a pattern to protect her heart.
Tia is hopeful that she and James' relationship will continue to progress and grow, but here comes Anna ("known for not being very nice" — at least the girl is self-aware) to shake things up. She is ready to play, dabbing pheromones on her wrists. Does that actually work? Anna grabs Kenny and Thomas, but they both say they wouldn't go on a date because of their relationships with Mari and Becca respectively.
So, now it's James' turn, and he makes it clear he hasn't found his person yet. Poor Tia. Though he IS the only one on the beach who hasn't gone on a date yet. Anna asks him out, and he accepts.
Wells is busy bartending and doling out words of wisdom, urging Abigail to tell Noah him how she's feeling. He can tell she's holding back a bit because both her and Noah are afraid to be vulnerable.
James and Anna get to their date at a beautiful resort, and it's a massage — a massage that involves rolling in cinnamon and sugar and pouring hot chocolate over each other to become a human churro. Because churros are definitely great aphrodisiacs. Not. Stop trying to make covering people in food sexy, Bachelor, it's never going to happen!
They get washed off, and it's time for their actual massage. No, wait, just kidding, they're just going to place huge yellow snakes on their backs and let them slither around. Truly, I would leave Paradise before I'd ever allow this to occur.
At last, they get some normal date time, enjoying champagne in the hot tub and talking about their upbringing before making out.
Our final new addition, Mykenna, comes down, looking to find love. But Mykenna pulls literally every guy aside, only to discover that they're taken. She gets increasingly disheartened, but when Aaron seems more open she asks him out. Only for Aaron to tell her he's not emotionally in the right place to go on a date with her, leaving Mykenna crying alone on the beach.
She decides she's just going to leave without going on a date (which feels like a reasonable choice under the circumstances), but then Ed rides in on his white steed — after previously telling her he was coupled off with Natasha — and offers to go on a date with her. Man, this is giving me me flashbacks to the time I asked 7 dudes to my senior prom and they all said no, only to have number 5 come back and change his mind because he felt bad for me. Shudder.
Ed talks Mykenna into giving the pity date a try, talking so rapidly he wears her down into saying yes. Everyone thinks it's so sweet, except for Natasha, who is rightfully mad as hell. #NatashaforBachelorette
Ed and Mykenna head out on their date, which involves roller-skating through a resort with the shiniest floors I've ever seen. Did they polish them just prior to the date in the hopes of creating content for a blooper reel?
Following a trail of arrows, they end up in a disco-themed room having dinner. They attempt to slow-dance in roller skates, Xanadu style, and they kiss.
Back at the beach, Natasha is feeling bereft, having hoped to spend the whole week with Ed and instead just reliving how bad this whole experience has been for her. Serena and Joe are talking about making their relationship work, post-Paradise, especially since she lives in Canada and he lives in Chicago. But they pledge to go back and forth for awhile until they figure it out. For Joe's sake, I hope Serena likes Chicago.
A new presence arrives in Paradise, a woman who introduces herself as a bruja, which is a type of witch or spiritualist in Latin American culture. She wants to help Kenny and Mari cleanse their energy, so they can connect spiritually and plow through Mari's remaining emotional walls.
They eagerly participate in the ceremony, walking around each other with a smoking cup, gazing into a mirror, and tapping each other with a very phallic-looking candle while opening up about why they want to be together. They each mumble their way through declarations about their emotional connection and being meant to meet each other, before burning the candles in the fire. Somehow that works — and now Mari and Kenny are all in once again. You could say they "charmed" each other. I know, I know.
Now, it's time for Abigail and Noah to get vulnerable. He realizes it's now or never, and he tells her he's falling in love with her. She says nothing in response, which Noah takes as a bad sign. He feels like he needs to make a decision if this relationship should continue or not.
But first, it's time for Paradise Prom, an '80s themed extravaganza complete with outrageous outfits, admission tickets, and corsages. The guys offer the gals adorable prom-posals. Joe wins for cuteness with his sand-writing. Joe muses about prom being a symbol for the end of things, both in high school and here in Paradise.
Everyone is excited for prom but Tia, who is feeling very down about being single AF. Just go dance your socks off Tia, you'll be fine! Oh, and she'll be the only single gal there because Natasha is sick (a.k.a. over this show and refusing to leave her bed).
They've really gone all out for Paradise Prom, renting a ballroom, decorating it with balloons, and hiring an '80s cover band (who I might add is way better than 90 percent of the artists they shoehorn into dates and couples have to pretend to be excited by). It's a prom extravaganza. Wells spikes the punch bowl; couples grind on each other; votes are cast for prom queen and queen.
Tia is feeling forlorn, but then Aaron takes her outside for a second. Chelsea is peeved. But, huh? Aaron has a corsage for Tia, and she goes full Charlene "Cha-Cha" DiGregorio at the school dance, kissing him because he made her feel special. Okay, Tia, but does he make your vagina dance?
They return to the dance floor, newly coupled up, both fearing Chelsea's wrath. Chelsea is mad Aaron just did this without having the decency to talk to her first (fair), and she's convinced he was just going to keep her on the backburner in case Tia rejected him. She's probably right.
Paradise superlatives are awarded. Kenny is biggest flirt, Maurissa is the best kisser (of toes, gross), and Serena and Joe are crowned Prom Queen and King. But Abigail and Noah get most likely to live happily ever after. Y'all really know how to jinx things don't you?
Somehow being named the best couple by the producers is the validation Abigail needed. Not, you know, her boyfriend telling her he's falling in love with her. She wants to confess her feelings for him, and she even admits she didn't really hear or process what Noah said last night. Oh man.
Noah pulls Abigail outside to chat, and his confessional statements about needing to listen to his gut don't bode well. He admits that if Abigail had responded better to his confession of his feelings last night, he might not be doing this. "You can love somebody but not be in love with them," he tells us. Oof, ain't that the truth.
As he starts to break up with her, Noah is crying. "I've been trying to force something that I want, when deep down I know that I don't know if you're my person," he tells Abigail. He keeps going, telling her she's perfect in so many ways, she's just not perfect for him. He's tried to fight this nagging feeling, but it's not going away. Abigail is completely blindsided. How could he go from telling someone you're falling in love with them the night before to this conversation? Good question.
Abigail feels like he's been lying to her if he's been feeling this way for a long time. But he insists, no, he's just been trying to fight a little voice telling him she's not his person. She gets up and walks away, and he chases her, until she escapes into the bathroom. Poor, sweet Abigail. Poor confused Noah.
And that's where we leave things before heading into next week's finale. What do you think rose lovers? Can Noah and Abigail resolve this? Should they? Are Tia and Aaron just a prom night fling? Will anyone on this beach actually get engaged next week? Sound off in the comments below.
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