Before Angela can again become a case study future psychiatrists will read about in their quest to understand how a mind can be ruled by pure psychosis, the Shack of Secrets sends up a message in a bottle. It’s Derrick who reads the message (You guys! Derrick can read!) and Jasmine is sent down alone to what is actually just basement outfitted with smoke machines and some red upholstery. When she arrives, it’s not a filled-with-sexts iPad that greets her, but Charles, some guy reclining across a chaise wearing a fig leaf over his d*ck and holding an apple while sipping champagne. It’s then that Jasmine is offered a choice to play God – or, you know, the generic bullsh*t form of God Trump pretends to worship when he’s not banging porn stars as his wife is home recovering from an episiotomy. Jasmine’s dilemma? Should she welcome Charles and his fig leaf into the house even if doing so would mean she’d have to get rid of someone who’s already there? For the record, Charles appears to be exactly like every other guy there – covered with terrible tattoos and swearing he’s on this show to find forever love – so Jasmine’s decision doesn’t really appear to have a ton of stakes. I don’t think many of us will even notice anymore if someone leaves and a new MTV-sponsored Stepford Male takes his place.
Taking a bite of an apple like a producer definitely told her to do, Jasmine announces, “Think I know what I’m gonna do,” and she gets in that elevator with Charles and his fig leaf. They arrive on the main floor and are met with reactions that range from confusion (Derrick’s the confused one. That guy is confused a lot. He’s not very bright.) to mouths dropping open in the way you think would occur when it’s revealed on the news that children in America are currently being held in makeshift interment camps. (Whoops! Keep it light in the face of the nearing apocalypse, Nell!) Anyway, now Jasmine has to vote someone off and sure, she could toss someone who’s volatile or she could eliminate Marco for not showering her with anything resembling affection, but she takes the safe route and chucks Luis back into the ocean. Goodbye, emotionally-stable Luis! May you live long, prosper, and never appear on one of these reality shows ever again.
Also: Charles is still wearing his fig leaf.
Also: Faith, who makes the single worst sound with her mouth I’ve ever heard – and that includes the sound of society at large making that disgusting smacky sound while eating bananas – has the unmitigated gall to deride Charles’ slight lisp.
Lisp or not, Faith needs attention, and since June is not showering her with nearly enough of it, she’s willing to entertain the new guy. Seeing what’s going on, Chris cautions June to step it up with Faith, but June’s response is to basically shrug because he knows two things: 1. Faith sort of sucks and 2. She’s already proven that, even if you treat her like garbage, she’ll suck on you also. Then there’s the Alicia/Cory/Taylor love triangle. It no longer seems like much of a triangle, what with Cory and Taylor kissing constantly, but Alicia is not willing to give up quite yet. She has watched the two of them cuddle and kiss and f*ck, but she somehow has yet to hit her emotional rock bottom, so there she sits and she wiles away the stabbing pain by tapping her fingers menacingly and wishing Taylor bald and buried seven feet deep in a nearby volcano. When she’s finally had enough (or when she finally gets the nod of approval from someone wielding a camera), she jumps up like a f*cking banshee, but that’s nothing compared to what she does when she hears Cory call her “weak.” She pushes him into a closet, grips his hair tightly in a clenched fist, and yanks his head back in a way that should really cause someone to send smoke signals to the authorities. And Cory’s reaction? He’s turned on. Let’s just sit with that for a moment, shall we? Physical abuse from a woman he’s spurned excites this guy – and not a bit of it is difficult to analyze. This is a guy who wants to feel wanted and he doesn’t care in the least how that wanting manifests itself and the entire thing is so f*cking disgusting and so f*cking sad. Seriously, watching this show deflates my spirit and my belief in humanity more than The Handmaid’s Tale does, and that’s a show where the plot includes governmentally-sanctioned rape.
When Taylor realizes Cory and Alicia are talking in a bathroom about how Cory is disrespecting Alicia and how Alicia is crazy, well, Taylor is not very pleased. Alicia and Cory have already discussed their breakup, like, four whole times. And while it’s not her most pressing issue at the moment, Taylor would also like to take the opportunity to let Shanley know that calling her and Angela and Victoria “mean girls” just because they act mean all the time is just plain wrong. But wait! Angela overhears Shanley’s very accurate comment and her blood sugar levels spike as she realizes she can finally go off on someone new because Angela feels dead inside when she’s not screaming her f*cking face off. Then she stands up on her bed – the light’s better up there – and shrieks that Shanley (who has not moved) is getting in her f*cking face, bitch.
Angela and her very presence and her idiotic lashes and the way she chooses to conduct herself are all so hideously tragic that I actually feel the need to stop writing about her. Therefore, for the foreseeable future, please know my thoughts about Angela and her deranged actions are as follows:
1. She sucks.
2. Everyone who chooses not to restrain her while also recommending a steady diet of Lithium also sucks.
3. She really f*cking sucks.
4. She will probably soon be elected Secretary of Defense by this administration, but the fact that she kneels so willingly might be a dealbreaker.
Back in the bathroom, Alicia tries one more time to make Cory see that she will allow him to choose between her and some other girl, but if he chooses the other girl, she will tell him for the seventy-eighth time that he’s making a mistake. Cory eventually comes out of the bathroom after nothing gets resolved and he lets Taylor know he’s there just for her and that the ex who turns him on when she pummels him in the head is totally inconsequential. But Alicia’s not the only inconsequential one. Faith feels like June doesn’t value her – because he doesn’t – but he attempts to explain (and he does it oh so articulately) that she probably feels that way because he doesn’t like to say words to her. See, June doesn’t “business with words.” And since I’m a writer and a grown up and I very much f*cking business with words – I mean, I think I do, but who the f*ck actually knows what this idiot is saying? – I’m just going to leave this scene here as well and walk away.
Also: Charles has finally put clothing on over his fig leaf.
And now it’s time for the elimination ceremony and Shanley is nervous because speaking the truth doesn’t really work when you’re living in a house filled with liars who fear self-awareness in much the same way Tor’i fears the moment Angela figures out his home address. Some exes are declared safe quickly. Lexi is okay. Cameron isn’t in danger. Marco (who is sort of growing on me, but I think it’s because he’s got hair similar to a guy I used to really enjoy) receives one cut, but it’s canceled out with Jasmine’s crush vote. But June is hit with three cuts and he’s sent packing and the woman he’s given very little attention to – the woman he has f*cked but has never actually kissed – cannot believe her soul mate is headed back into those waves, and the only thing that consoles her is when June decides to momentarily do business with some words by lying to her face and saying the two of them are nowhere near over.
Also: Next week, Taylor spits on Alicia from the balcony.
Also: Are any pharmacists reading this? Because I’m going to need some Xanax and I’m going to need it before next Thursday.
Nell Kalter teaches Film and Media at a school in New York. She is the author of the books THAT YEAR and STUDENT, both available on amazon.com in paperback and for your Kindle. Also be sure to check out her website at nellkalter.com. Her twitter is @nell_kalter.