You know it’s bad when even the host looks worried. Last week, as only four beams of light illuminated the blackest of skies, Ryan Devlin didn’t yell. He didn’t resort to scalding sarcasm. He just looked at the sorry bunch standing in front of him with disappointment and then he shook his head with the kind of resignation that sets in once you realize that several of these people might never get their heads out of their asses or cease proclaiming that they are wolves long enough to find their f*cking soulmates before the production schedule ends.
Ryan’s not the only one who’s worried. Concerns are abounding on that once-peaceful island. After all, nobody has any idea which pairings actually produced two of those flashes of light. There appears to be no strategy for moving forward to snag the prize money. And the participants? Some of them are falling apart. Emma keeps pining after boys who don’t appreciate her resting bitch face or her ability to cry on command. Nicole considers her hookup with John a drunken mistake. Tyler lost Kaylen’s affection after he called John “Trash” several times and the nickname didn’t stick. Gio exists. I tell you: it’s bad.
But if a televised dating show can’t make us all grasp onto shreds of fraying hope, nothing can. With this awareness in mind – combined with my irritatingly high levels of optimism that the world keeps trying to maim – I am tuning into tonight’s episode with the belief that there will finally be some forward momentum. I know our contestants can figure things out, that beams of light will eventually flood the darkness, that whomever is deemed Gio’s perfect match will definitely attempt to swim to another island altogether. And I look forward to watching all of it.
We begin this episode with the group trudging back into the house after having made no progress at the Match-Up Ceremony. Frustrations are apparent, but not if you look at Julia and Stephen! They are fully into one another at this point and not even Gio’s third eye can destroy their bliss. Also starting to seriously connect are Kaylen and John, a pairing that continues to shock the f*ck out of me. But who cares that I’m curled into a fetal position while bellowing, “Don’t do it, Kaylen!” at my television screen? These two are actually finding they have a lot in common, so I am just going to gulp down some anti-nausea medication and wish them both the very best.
As the next Challenge gets underway, Stephen is most concerned that Gio will win and will thus spirit Julia away on a date. What he probably should be more concerned with is that this Challenge involves some of the guys’ ex-girlfriends giving up information that’s designed to be as unflattering as is humanly possible. Now, I’m a normal person. As such, I expected the exes would appear on some screen that was hung from a palm tree or three because a producer went and interviewed them at some faraway location. As a normal person, I have been proven entirely wrong. Yes, into the actual Challenge walk the former girlfriends and the guys instantly appear nothing short of f*cking petrified. At least Asaf deals with it in a funny way, yelling out, “Nicole, how could you do this to me?” to a girl who doesn’t even glance his way or crack a smile. Still, Asaf probably has way less to worry about than Tyler, since the ex that showed up for him is one who heaved a box of wine at his head that one time. Maybe he called her “Trash” a few times and she just snapped.
The competition should essentially be called THE NEWLYWED GAME FOR PEOPLE WHO NOW RESENT THE SH*T OUT OF EACH OTHER, BUT MTV OFFERED US ALL A FREE TRIP TO MAUI, SO I WILL DESTROY YOU FOR SPORT ON TELEVISION AND THEN GO HAVE A MAI TAI WHILE YOU TRY TO CONVINCE SOME OTHER GIRL THAT YOU’RE AWESOME. Prosper doesn’t get to compete because production was unable to unearth a single girl he was with for more than three weeks. In any case, we learn that Gio’s ex describes his personality as “up and down,” which is probably a way kinder way of calling the guy manic. We find out that Morgan’s ex still speaks of his intelligence in glowing terms. We learn that Stephen’s ex does not think he’s ready for a real relationship. We discover definitively that John and his ex know one another very well.
As one of the winners, John selects Kaylen as his date. To nobody’s surprise – but to everyone’s palpable alarm – the other winner, Gio, selects Julia. This particular foursome is a weird f*cking group. Back at the house, Stephen wants to reiterate all the terrible things Gio’s ex said about him so Julia will not fall for him and become the bride of a self-proclaimed wolf, but Julia does not seem to be entertaining any Gio fantasies. She’s dreading their date, but she’s also strategic enough to want the house to vote her into the Truth Booth with Gio so his fantasies can finally be quashed and she can maybe feel safe again in Maui.