Bachelor in Paradise is a television show in which the discarded men and women from The Bachelor and The Bachelorette come to a place called "Paradise" (technically a resort in Mexico) for a second (or sometimes third, and occasionally fourth) shot at love. Each week, they pair off in a game of sexy musical chairs. Throughout the season, the surplus human beings are granted blissful reentry to the real world, and two more men or women are added to the cast as tribute. Who knows how long this could last. Probably forever. We'll stick around for as long as it takes, because we need to know if love is real and we need to know what two dozen hot people will do to find it. We need to know if a game show about love in Paradise is more game or show or love... or Paradise or purgatory.
Kaitlyn Tiffany: It was a sunny, beautiful day like any other. The temperature was perfect — warm enough to make everyone's hot bods really glisten, cool enough to permit constant physical contact. The piña coladas were flowing and so were Carly's insane red lace detachable sleeves. There were, of course, crabs literally everywhere. No one — not Jorge the bartender, not Chris Harrison the straight-faced ghoul, not the bird that tried to convince Ashley to murder somebody one time — could have seen it coming:
The Massacre in Paradise.
This week we saw not one, not two, but seven beautiful dopes we've invested emotional energy in leave Paradise. At random, tender-hearted Caila accuses Ashley of making her feel guilty about the fact that Caila was kissing all over Ashley's ex-boyfriend right in front of her in a confined space. How did Ashley make Caila feel guilty, according to Caila? Mainly by existing and refusing to cloak her emotions. A tortured Caila makes up her mind to leave Paradise. Jared screams at Ashley in her face, then chases after Caila in his swim trunks, carrying none of his belongings. Their SUV ride out of Paradise together seemed pretty romantic — it probably didn't hurt that they had both left the human reminder of their failings behind on an island, never to be seen or heard from again! The downside, of course, is that this scene from There Will Be Blood will trigger them for the rest of their lives.
The bulk of the Massacre in Paradise, however, was carried out by the Twins. The pair decided there was nobody they could bear to make out with for another week, and therefore refused to give out their roses, effectively axing Daniel (JoJo's season), Carl (Andi's season), Ryan (who?), and themselves. It was gory, grotesque, and beautiful.
Lizzie Plaugic: They say it's always darkest before the dawn, and this was at least slightly true this week, because as an Ultimate Frisbee team's worth of contestants departed, some new ones showed up to fill in the gaps. First was Wells, who arrived just in time to save Ashley from the humiliation of being alone, and to save everyone else in Paradise from Ashley. They ate tacos in an abandoned alleyway and Ashley wondered how to look sexy for Wells while performing the decidedly unsexy act of feeding herself. The producers tried their hardest to make this date look very uncomfortable, but the worst part came from Wells himself who asked Ashley if she had ever "heard of the band the Talking Heads." Wells is a DJ, if you didn't know.
wells arrives to save everyone from ashley
The night ended with some kind of staged festival of lights. A small child helped Wells and Ashley put a candle into a paper lantern; if the lantern floated breezily into the night sky without catching fire, it meant their love was true and secure. Anyway, it burst into flames.
But it still seemed like things were finally, finally, looking up for Ashley. Until the show's producers decided to burn it all down, just like the significant and symbolic lantern.
KT: Every week I think this show has gone as far as it possibly can, and every week it goes further. Jamie (Ben's season) and Shushanna (Ben's season) arrive in Paradise shortly after Wells and Ashley find fleeting kinship in the warmth of each other's gaze and both of them, if you can believe it, want to date Wells! Wells, obviously, has great hair and sad basset hound eyes that make me want to carry him around in a backpack, but the main reason that Jamie wants to date him is that she arrives in Paradise at approximately 5:45AM and every single other person on the island is asleep. Truly, truly odd how the cookie crumbles in Paradise. Wells, of course, is very conflicted because he would obviously rather date someone who doesn't carry Ashley's worrisome reputation for having feelings.
nick is really coming into his own as an obnoxious patriarch
For her part, Ashley really holds herself together, despite the fact that every person within a two-mile radius feels the need to saunter up to her and ask her if she's about to erupt like a volcano. My girl does not cry, just to prove these dirtbags wrong. She does not cry even when Shushanna informs her "Wells is a good kisser, you should kiss him." She does not cry even when Nick, who is just now fully realizing his penchant for drama and patriarchal condescension, follows her around asking if she's "put thought into not getting a rose this week," and letting her know that he "needs" her to do that. Lizzie, what else does Nick need?
LP: Nick needs either a) a vacation from Paradise, b) a vacation from the Bachelor franchise entirely (which, given the announcement that he will be the next Bachelor, is not looking likely), or c) Josh to fall in a sand pit. Unfortunately for Nick, the specter of Josh Murray follows him around like a chiseled reminder of his failings with both women and facial hair, and so Nick must avenge his broken dignity in perpetuity. And because Nick has decided that he is every woman's surrogate big brother, he convinces the twins to talk to Amanda about Josh's sordid past before they leave the island. So they do, and then they run away.
Then, because Amanda's entire role in this show is to look back and forth like a confused bird, she does this while Josh confronts whoever is responsible for making his poor bird confused. This person is Nick. The conversation is every conversation Nick and Josh have had in their entire lives, which is that Nick is jealous of Josh and why would Andi Dorfman lie about Josh in her book that nobody has read?
In the end, none of this matters to Amanda, because she can read people better than anyone in the entire world, and if she thinks Josh is good and right, then why wouldn't he be? The happy couple go on a date and talk about how great everything is.
KT: Everything is great! During some heavy petting on a freshly delivered Casper mattress, Carly says she can't believe she is falling for "the penis guy." Evan informs her that he is going to need a minute (wink wink) before they stand up and walk amongst their peers — after all, he's the penis guy! They're in love.
Lace and Grant mainly hate each other, but they're also in love. Jen and Nick are in love, for the time being (thanks a lot for the SPOILERS, ABC), despite the fact that they have never uttered a word to each other. Izzy believes she and Brett are in love, but he thinks Lauren H. (who you might remember for leading the racist vendetta against Jubilee on Ben's season) is "scrumptious." I'm not saying he's a vampire, but he's obsessed with lighting and he called a woman "scrumptious."
Later, Josh explains that the only reason he screamed at a dozen people on a dimly lit beach is that his dog has been battling cancer for six months and going to chemo "every day" and also the dog ate his homework / impulse control. After this revelation, Amanda performs the Classic Bachelor Franchise Contemplative Balcony Shot. She is considering becoming engaged to Josh, and we're all complicit in it. In fact, Chris Harrison, informs us, multiple proposals will occur during next week's finale. Honestly, what are we supposed to do for any of these people from thousands of miles away?!
LP: Thankfully, nothing. The allure of Paradise is how fleeting it is, and how little control we have over any of it.
KT: We have only one more week of Paradise, and several years of forgetting what we've witnessed there. Which brings us to Paradise vs. Purgatory: it was a tight race this week given the fact that most of the cast left and everyone behaved badly.
KT: Wells has three different ladies vying for his attention, which is all good and fine. More importantly, Wells gets a lot of screen time due to the High Stakes Drama he's involved in and this is great for both his career as a local radio DJ and for the morale of your friendly neighborhood Bachelor in Paradise recappers. Going into this finale, the only thing I feel happy about is Wells. Wells, hopping behind the bar to help Jorge the bartender keep up with the insatiable thirst of the lovelorn weirdos on Paradise island. Wells, calling butts "derrières" and apologizing for looking at them. Wells, trying not to judge Ashley for saying that her favorite band is Hanson. Wells, getting smooches.
LP: Wells looks like the Mr. Krabs meme throughout this entire episode because he has just realized that it's not that much fun to have three different women fighting for your affection while trapped on a remote island. Sure, he's safe in Paradise until the finale next week, but he has to send two women home after knowing them for 37 hours, and then, I guess, decide if he wants to be with the third woman forever? There's no way this whole thing is gonna end for Wells with anything but a friendly hug.
Join us next week for the blessed final episode of Bachelor in Paradise, which will air as scheduled and feature everyone making terrible mistakes. There's really nothing we can do about it.