Just when I had hopes for this season picking itself up, dusting the DeMario and Corinne scandal off, and actually becoming entertaining again (as the other seasons have been), it apparently insists on living in the past. All I could think for a majority of the second hour of last night’s episode was, “Wow, they must’ve been low on footage, because this feels like filler.” As you know, I am a Carly and Evan fan, so the pregnancy announcement was a sweet one, and I found the story about hunting down a pregnancy test at a Mexican pharmacy cute. But the rehashing of contestants’ thoughts on the scandal (once again, Raven and Diggy were MVPs here, as with last week), plus another recap of Paradise love stories (when we also just saw them last week), plus a recap of Carly and Evan’s story (another thing we saw last week), plus a live ultrasound (I’ve never really see the appeal of these in a national television setting) reeked of needing to drag out the episode to reach two hours. The most interesting thing was saved for last: DeMario appearing to discuss what happened firsthand. I sincerely felt awful for him when he described what it was like to read what was written about him and the effect the allegations had on his family. But when Chris Harrison made DeMario paint a play-by-play of the events, it once again felt like beating a dead horse. Like, WE GET IT. Nothing happened and the media blew it way out of proportion.
I’ll move backwards to the first hour since that’s where things actually happened. We finally (finally!) trudged our way through the season’s first Rose Ceremony (pretty remarkable for three episodes in) and last night reaped the hard-earned benefits: mildly entertaining bouts of jealousy. Sarah came in with her sights set on Adam, but was given a hard sell on a rock-lifting Ben Z. Hearing every single female rave about Ben Z, I couldn’t help but wonder why he hasn’t had a real spark with anyone. For what it’s worth, I met him once at an event and was majorly impressed; he’s easy to talk to, affable and warm, not to mention handsome. So it’s hard to imagine him remaining single in Paradise. (They’re clearly showing him talking about his dog incessantly—Andy, sincerely, while Sarah chatted Ben Z up: “Is he trying to turn her off?”—but I take that as his Paradise gimmick, not dissimilar to Josh’s pizza obsession and Clare’s conversations with raccoons.) Anyway, Sarah chooses Adam and this obviously doesn’t thrill Raven. But what I loved about Raven’s reaction was when she said, “If he comes back and is into Sarah… I’m done.” That might sound like an extreme reaction for a musical chairs dating show, but what I appreciated was how Raven’s disgruntlement (Andy swore this wasn’t a word so I’m using it to spite him!) was focused on Adam, not Sarah. After all, you can’t blame Sarah for choosing the guy she likes best for her date, but you can blame the guy who’s just been zealously courting you for accepting said date.
Lacey, meanwhile, for all her endearing ITM commentary (I’ve enjoyed her narration and for calling the men out for only being interested in their bromances), seems a little lost in the romance department. Lacey was angry at Taylor for encouraging her close friend Dominique to select Diggy for her date, but I don’t see how she could expect Taylor to not have her close friend’s interests at heart. Also, when the initial reason Lacey chose Diggy for her date was purely because he was the nice guy who said yes, not because of any chemistry or connection, it’s hard to argue they were soulmates on the brink of something special. And I get that it was a blow for this to go down mere moments after Lacey and Diggy returned from her date, but like Raven, Lacey’s scorn shouldn’t have been directed at the female newcomer (or her friend), but rather at the man whose kiss she’d just laughed into.
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