Bachelor in Paradise recap: 'If it doesn't make your vagina dance, it's not worth it'
Round up a posse, it's time to take down the people not here for the right reasons...
Hey there, rose lovers! We're back with our first week of Tuesday-night-only episodes (thank the Monday Night Football gods — four hours of this chaos every week is too much).
It's time for our third cocktail party/rose ceremony of the season. How are we 8 episodes in and only on our third rose ceremony? I need Wells to make me a cocktail.
The women are freaking out because five of them are potentially going home. But first, they need to solve a problem like Brendan and Pieper. Natasha is, understandably, very peeved that everyone rallied together to get Chris and Alana to leave when Brendan and Pieper have done the same thing, if not worse. Demi drops some truth, saying that no one has done anything about it because the guys didn't like Chris, but they're all friends with Brendan.
As the cocktail party is about to start, they all gather with celebrity guest host Tituss Burgess for one last moment. He pretends to be confused as to why Alana and Chris left, and Jessenia says they came to Paradise for "screen time." Tituss, the hammiest of hams, is horrified at such an idea. "If you're already in a relationship, that defeats the purpose of coming here," he proclaims. Cut to Brendan and Pieper looking guilty AF.
Demi starts doing what she does best and stirs the pot, pointing out the double standard for Chris/Alana and Brendan/Pieper. On their own, Brendan and Pieper mock Natasha for not taking the situation well, including reiterating their mean intimation that no one was into her anyway.
Once Natasha breaks down what actually happened to Jessenia, Joe, Demi, and others, they realize his story doesn't match Pieper's. So Magistrate Joe, as my colleague Kristen aptly dubbed him, decides to take matters into his own hands once again. Demi rants about them only coming for fame, clout, and followers — which okay, pot meet kettle, but sure.
Joe decides to round up a posse and leads a bunch of fellow contestants across the beach in a fashion that resembles the "mob song" from Beauty and the Beast meshed with something out of the Old West.
Joe confronts Brendan about the situation, and Brendan finally clarifies that when he says he only "hung out" with Pieper two or three times, he meant one-on-one. He's seen her plenty more times in a group setting. He liked Pieper and was hoping she would come down here, but she was never his girlfriend. Dude, not putting a label on it doesn't mean it's not a relationship.
He re-ups his assertion that his connection with Natasha was void of romance. It's "devoid," Brendan, but okay. And if looks could kill, Natasha would be starring in her own production of Chicago right now.
Demi has enough of his excuses and finally asks both of them why they're here. "The reason why I'm here is because in the last three days, I've spent way more time with Pieper than I have before or would have had any opportunity to," he begins. "I know you guys wrote the rule book of relationships and of Paradise." To which Demi replies, "F--- off." Here, here.
Deandra prompts Pieper to give her a chance to speak, and she picks up on Brendan's theme, saying she didn't realize there were any rules to Paradise. Y'all, how? How did you not know? There is like one rule, and it is TO COME HERE FOR THE RIGHT REASONS. You can be naked, you can be drunk, you can sleep with whomever you want. You just can't come on to get famous (and be super obvious about it).
"I came here to meet him and explore this relationship more," Pieper confirms, which Demi points out could've been done at home. Go, Demi! Once again, Joe tries to be a mediator with his rebuttal: "There is no rulebook in Paradise — but everybody is under the impression that you come here open." Which they have both admitted they did not do.
Brendan decides to remove himself from the conversation, but not from Paradise yet (not that it's anyone's business), and walks away. He keeps digging his hole deeper, complaining about Natasha wanting to re-hash this for the 17th time. Bro, you screwed her over and talked to her about it once (that we saw)! He casts (mostly sexist) aspersions on everyone who confronted him.
But since that wasn't enough, Pieper picks up a shovel and helps him keep digging. It turns out she didn't really want to come to Paradise ever. "I was excited for the future possibility of making more money," she explains. "I would've got there on my own. I have a master's degree in marketing; I can figure out how to get more followers." I think you just figured out how to keep losing them.
At the end of the day, Joe reminds us, Brendan and Pieper have to decide to leave on their own. The contestants don't have the power to kick anyone out. They can just make it a very hostile environment. Because as Demi points out, they're way harshing the vibes of the beach right now.
Brendan has an announcement. "This environment isn't where we want to be at this particular moment," he starts. Good, no one wants you in it. "This is the girl I want to be with. I'm going to leave with her, and we're going to do that on our own terms." They head out, while Wells marvels at their audacity to try this. Brendan's final thoughts on the matter are: "I didn't want to intentionally mislead anyone, I just withheld information." Hmmm, Brendan, those are the same thing.
Annnnnnd good riddance to perhaps the two biggest villains to ever come to Paradise. Don't let the boom-boom-room door hit you on the way out.
Now that the drama is over, it's time for Maurissa and Riley to have some fun with strawberries and whipped cream. Maurissa has a bowl of slips of paper and whatever body part they pull out of the bowl, the other has to put whipped cream on and lick off. Can they go back to eating the Fear Factor food? That was less gross. Sorry for the GIF below, but if I had to watch it, so do you.
Things get hot and heavy quickly as Riley licks the whipped cream off Maurissa's chest like he's auditioning for a porno. Not to be outdone, Maurissa fully deep-throats his toe. I hope you're vaccinated for tetanus and whatever else might be on that beach, girl. Wells takes it as proof they're headed for an engagement, which is fair. As long as one of them doesn't get lockjaw first.
While Maurissa and Riley head to the boom-boom room, other couples work out their plans for the evening. Tia and James kiss. After the whole beach sings her "Happy Birthday," Tammy decides to confront Thomas about his date with Becca, reading from the textbook script for desperation. "No matter what happened last night doesn't change how I feel about you," she tells him. "I feel like you're a great fit in my life and you're my best friend." Honey, you have known him for a week, maybe two tops, get some better friends if he's your best one.
But Thomas doesn't feel the need to let her down easy. He admits he has a connection with Becca and wants to end their relationship. Then, when Tammy breaks down and begs him to give her another chance, he robotically gives her a speech about how he just doesn't see them going the distance. How many girls have you said these exact words to, Thomas?
He assures her she's amazing, sweet, capable, and worthy. "I know I am," she retorts. Preach, Tammy! But she's still a crying mess because she trusted Thomas and he did exactly what Aaron warned her he would. A fact that Aaron is all too happy to "I told you so" to the rest of the beach. This is Tammy's worst birthday ever! And last year, she had COVID. Tammy, he's not worth it.
It's time for the rose ceremony at last. And, what's this? Wells has a solemn speech for us. "Some people were lying to you, manipulating you; that is not ok," he intones. "I have to be honest that one person, in particular, had their opportunity at love torn away from them. She was all in for one person that just wasn't honest with her." We all know he's talking about Natasha. And woah, they're rolling out with an extra rose just for her because she deserves a second shot at love. Woohoo!!! Finally some justice for Natasha.
The other roses align with the well-established (ish?) relationships on the beach.
Riley to Maurissa
Joe to Serena
Ivan to Kendall
Noah to Abigail
Kenny to Mari (we cannot NOT share Demi's reaction to this. Classic. Can she get a deus ex machina rose too just for the laughs?)
James to Tia
Thomas to Becca
Annnnd, Aaron to Chelsea.
That means Demi, Tammy, Deandra, and Jessenia are all going home. Jessenia and Deandra take it gracefully, but Tammy is still distraught over how it all went down. She eats her feelings in the form of the saddest birthday cupcake ever in the reject limo. I am dismayed to admit this is probably what I look like while watching this show most nights.
Demi is also genuinely sad to go and just a little bit of that vulnerable underbelly that makes her likable in spite of her being a troll shows for a moment.
Now, it's time for a new celebrity guest host (and season-long announcer) Lil Jon. Let's pop some bottles! Noah executes an embarrassing impression of Lil Jon that should probably get him kicked off the beach, but moving on.
Because there probably wasn't enough drama for the episode, we get some filler of the ladies watching Riley work out in koala slippers. But it's time to shake things up and here comes Blake, supposedly from Clare and Tayshia's season. But I swear I've never seen this man before in my life.
But Natasha and Tia are immediately into Blake. Tia calls him a "tatty daddy." Excuse me for a moment, I just threw up in my mouth a little bit. He talks to Tia about how much he loves Nashville and to Natasha about how people from the Midwest are the best. Scintillating stuff.
But in the end, he asks Tia on his date and she's all too happy to go, leaving James a little bereft. Aaron commiserates, pointing out that it seems like James ends up back at square one every week. Thanks, buddy!
Tia and Blake go off-roading in a four-wheeler type vehicle (which I feel like is a thing she did in one of her Arkansas packages? Or was that Raven?). But screaming with a bandana over your mouth as you drive through a jungle is only interesting TV for so long, so they're quickly sipping champagne on a beautiful overlook.
And oh? It's a Bachelor rarity, an actual serious conversation about compatibility, how they feel about soulmates, and how important timing is in a relationship. Tia confesses that she feels like they've known each other much longer than this one date. That should be the tagline of this franchise. But then she gifts us with some patented Tia wisdom: "If it doesn't make your vagina dance, it's not worth it." Tattoo that on the inside of your eyelids, ladies.
Meanwhile, back at the beach, Maurissa and Riley are Lady and the Tramp-ing it with a piece of spaghetti, while James sits forlornly alone. Aw, poor beefcake James. I haven't been able to work out what his personality is besides "muscles," but I still feel bad for him.
Kenny and Mari are in an especially good space, both admitting that they're feeling like they'll end up leaving Paradise together. They still have plenty of time left to continue connecting (or implode), and Mari is pleased that they're the only couple who've seemingly tested their relationship and come out stronger on the other side. Which means she's ready to go to the boom-boom room with Kenny! I hope they washed the sheets since he was in there with Demi.
There's another makeout montage while Natasha looks defeated. But oh my God, it's Doctor Joe! Finally! And he instantly senses a connection with Natasha. Woohoo! Plus, everyone on the beach is rooting for them. We're all #TeamNatasha now. Joe pulls her aside to chat, and they open up about why they came to Paradise and how hard dating is. I know people love to be like, "Why would you ever go on a dating show?" But like, have you ever been on the apps? Why WOULDN'T you go on a dating show? It cannot possibly be worse. And that's basically the upshot of their conversation.
The beach continues to ship Natasha and Dr. Joe as they leave on their date. Dr. Joe tries romancing Natasha with a little Spanish, but he gets flustered. He's a gentleman and swaps drinks with her because there's a bug in her margarita. Swoon.
But oh no, it turns out Dr. Joe and Brendan are besties. The second Natasha's history on the beach comes up, Dr. Joe looks stunned. "If I am going to be honest, he really almost ruined this entire experience for me," Natasha tells him. Joe's mouth falls open — no, this could not be HIS Brendan. His Brendan would never. Even though, okay, yeah, he did know Brendan and Pieper were kinda a thing.
Natasha's revelations are like flipping a switch, and Dr. Joe immediately starts backpedaling from his full-court press charm, insisting they'll just let it ride and see what happens in Paradise. Natasha knows the jig is up; she can see how this changed everything, and she's disheartened by it. C'mon, Dr. Joe, Brendan is a flaming dumpster fire. Don't throw your lot in with him! But I don't know, Natasha, maybe this is a red flag that Dr. Joe isn't good enough for you either if he's ready to go full team "bros before hoes" for plague amoeba Brendan.
Serena and Joe are getting increasingly closer as Serena teases him for being a messy eater. She admits to Wells that she's getting ready to drop the "l-word" bomb on Joe, but they're both more reserved and find it hard to express their feelings openly. Meanwhile, all of this is making it hard for Kendall to cope. She came here to move forward, but instead, she's watching her ex move on while she's haunted by their memories together here.
Serena and Joe have a date that
he the Bachelor PAs planned for her on a beach blanket. They flirt, and Serena works up the courage to tell him she's falling in love with him. He responds in kind. They start making out and having a cuddle session while much of the rest of the beach, including Kendall and Ivan, look on. Kendall finds the whole thing heartbreaking, and when Ivan goes to kiss her, she rebuffs him. Ouch. PDA is stressing her out right now. Aw, Ivan, you deserve better man. She's clearly not over Joe.
Kendall gets up, telling him she needs space. But it's not clear if that's just from this moment or Paradise overall. "I don't know how much longer I can do this, for Joe to be thriving and him to see that I'm not, it's a painfully vulnerable place to be," she confesses to us. Ugh, I really feel for her. But Joe didn't want to break up with you, Kendall. You wouldn't budge on even giving his hometown a try. Don't go and mess up a good thing for him, please.
What do you think, rose lovers? Are Joe and Serena the real deal? Or should he go back to Kendall? Will Natasha — or James for that matter — ever find love in Paradise? Sound off in the comments below.