There are those collective anxiety dreams a ton of us share. You know the ones I’m talking about, right? The nocturnal miseries I tend to experience on repeat are of having to run but not being able to move or searching for a classroom to go take some test I didn’t study for in a class I’ve cut for an entire semester. I’ve only had the delightful whoops-I-just-showed-up-in-public-naked dream once, but I do often awake knowing I’ve just been tormented through a final REM cycle because Dream Me ran into one or three of my exes when I was least expecting it – and when my hair looked like sh*t. Well, MTV has decided to take that last night terror and make it real on tonight’s Are You the One? while ostensibly still pretending that every hideous thing they are doing is all in our contestants’ very best interests.
The last ceremony ended with only two new beams of light and some very bizarre pairings since several of the once happy couples already crashed and burned spectacularly. A house meeting is in order! After yelling at one another for a while, Kenya proposes that they all start over tomorrow and get to know one another on a deeper level. I suppose such a statement means she will no longer randomly blow one of her housemates, though there is a school of thought that suggests that’s one way of learning at least something about someone, even if that “something” only involves information about girth. While the group swears to start fresh in the morning, Maria and Shamoy enter the Honeymoon Suite where there are fresh flowers on the bed and zero random chicks grinding in corners and what I wouldn’t give for this entire series to be about these two! Alas, there are still ten other matches that need to be discovered so it’s back to the Loony Bin where it’s a brand new day. Tomas and Brett sit on some couch and discuss how this retreat Terrence J announced would happen will be a positive thing. That statement alone is hilarious, but it’s nowhere near as funny as when Tomas actually gives credit for the idea to the host and not the producers. Um, Tomas? I’m quite sure Terrence J isn’t sitting around on some lounge chair under a palm tree plotting how to help any of you succeed. His job is to blow in, tell someone to press a button we’ve all agreed to pretend involves fate, pose pointed questions producers have instructed him to ask to create even more conflict, watch beams of light illuminate the sky, and then go back to his vacation, but it’s sweet – or f*cking idiotic – that anyone thinks differently.
The retreat involves a bonfire, a yurt, a gazebo, and – obviously – available alcohol. Terrence J greets them, reminds them once again of how badly they suck at relationships, and then explains that to move forward, they need to address the past. And that’s when, with a huge and sickening smile, Terrence J announces their nightmares are about to become a reality because their exes are showing up! Most of the contestants look vaguely terrified and Asia sums up how very foolish this entire sadistic experiment is by saying, “You’re an ex for a reason. Stay an ex. I’m looking for my next.” Unfortunately, logic is not about to win here, not when there is humiliation that can occur in high-definition. Before the exes arrive, we learn about some of the sh*t that went down in those now-broken relationships. Samantha’s ex f*cked two of her friends. Zak’s ex was disloyal as well. Kenya is nervous about seeing her ex, but Tevin takes her into a yurt for some deep breathing and to reiterate that the two of them are solid, which probably means Kenya will blow her ex later on that evening in that very yurt while Tevin stands outside and mutters to himself that everything between him and Kenya is still going great.
And here come the exes! First to arrive is Zak’s ex, Emily, and Lewis immediately decides the very best move is to locate Bria, point her gaze towards Emily – Lord, I hope Emily is wearing a bullet-proof thong under those shorts – and then Lewis plans to sit back and watch the carnage with a nice bowl of popcorn. Bria is located in the yurt and when she’s told about the first arrival, she bolts out the door like a legitimate lunatic to find Zak and Emily chatting in a hammock about whether either has slept with anyone since their breakup. Emily says she has not and so does Zak and let’s just say that I believe one of them. As Bria draws near, she howls loudly like a mental patient, points, and then shouts, “That’s her?! Ha!” This girl is an assh*le, y’all. Still, after laughing in the girl’s face, she sits down and asks what Zak was like as a boyfriend and because Bria seemingly remains sane for twelve consecutive seconds and refrains from pulling Emily’s spleen out through one of her nostrils, Zak is impressed, even as Bria runs away laughing with a wreath of leaves around her neck when what she really requires is a straightjacket.
The next ex to show up is Tyler, Samantha’s ex, and she reacts with shock and with tears – which seems like a totally normal reaction. What’s entirely not normal is how Daniel immediately takes the guy aside to ask whether Samantha has always been sort of hard on the inside. Listen: this is a fair question, but it’s seriously f*cked up that some guy you’ve never met pulls you to the side to inquire about some girl you used to love seconds after you’re finally seeing her again. I know the exes signed up for this, but it’s awkward as hell to watch. As for this Tyler guy, he intentionally calls Daniel “David,” announces he was prepared to clock whichever guy is currently feeling up his former love, tells him flat out that he doesn’t like him, and behaves like a general d*ckhead. Tyler? Would you maybe like to meet Bria? You two have so much in common, the most significant thing being that you both seriously suck.