I’ve been having trouble sleeping this week because my wedding is on Friday, but I swear Bachelor in Paradise is the cure for insomnia. This season has really helped me nod off! And all I could feel for about 85 percent or so of last night’s episode was sympathy for the show’s editors. Think of all the footage that was sifted through to assemble these terrible storylines. Imagine having to watch what didn’t make the cut. Let this soak in for a second: The scallops, Blake’s perspiration, whether or not Jack Stone is a good kisser, the “love square”… these are presumably the cream that has risen to the top. That is, except for an unseen romantic date between Derek and Taylor, because the show that’s trying to convince us that it’s about love refuses to actually show any.
The ticking time bomb that was the Kristina–Dean–D.Lo love triangle finally exploded last night. I struggled watching the disconnect between Dean’s self-aware ITMs (calling himself a moron and generally feeling shitty for how he’s treated Kristina) and how defensive he came off when he finally spoke with her. He avoided taking any responsibility and seemed to make it about Kristina being in the vicinity (which, I agree with her, was so not the point) and not about what actually happened between him and D.Lo. The next chapter in this saga was D.Lo giving Dean a long-overdue ultimatum. What I liked about how D.Lo went about this was that she didn’t take the tone of Kristina being the enemy. Rather, you felt she knew it wasn’t fair to either of them to be led on on this fashion, much less in plain view of each other. What I didn’t like was how there was almost zero eye contact between either of them during this exchange; what should’ve been a heartfelt conversation about choosing and pursuing a relationship with each other was bizarrely spent not looking at each other at all. A highlight was Dean telling D.Lo he had to focus on her while not once focusing his eyes on her. It was too rich to not be preserved as a GIF…
Now for the clear meat-and-potatoes of the episode: the argument between Kristina and Raven. I adore Kristina and think she’s a fantastic mix of strength and vulnerability, and her storyline this whole season has been one I’m sure many, many women can relate to. However, I agreed with Raven in their dispute, and I give her props for being brave enough to tell it like it is. Whether or not Kristina and Raven are actual friends or whether or not Raven was intoxicated, the gist of what she was saying was wholly true. It’s easy to lay blame on the “other woman” when she tempts “your” man to stray, but as Raven SO aptly put it, D.Lo wasn’t the one Kristina had entrusted with her heart. And for every mixed message Dean was giving Kristina, he was surely sending one D.Lo’s way as well. In other words, there’s a ringleader here—a common denominator—and it’s not D.Lo. I was so happy to see Kristina leave on her own (though I’m not sure I would’ve let Dean walk me out or have granted him a farewell hug) and thought it was an excellent display of her aforementioned strength. A lot of Paradise contestants might’ve immediately wondered who else they could pursue, just to stay on TV longer, or just to make Dean jealous. Kristina left right on time, having given that relationship her all (too much, in my opinion), but with her head held high and her self respect intact.
Watch Bachelor in Paradise Mondays AND Tuesdays at 8:00 p.m. EST on City. Then, head on over to FLARE.com/themorningafter every Tuesday and Wednesday for recaps from Sharleen Joynt, GIF recaps and more!