Just as the ash from the Bonfire of Doom goes scattering into the night sky, so too does Shari’s sanity. You really can’t blame the girl, not when the editors and the producers made quite sure the footage she’d see (involving the boyfriend she already doesn’t particularly trust) would be the most incendiary of the sh*t they could locate. True: Shari has no idea what Javen’s out of context blubbering even pertains to, but he does sound really f*cking guilty. They’ve only been in Pretend Paradise for a couple of weeks! He’s already crossed a line? The guy is dead to her.
It would, of course, be prudent for the participants of this show to keep something rather important in the very forefront of their minds: it is in the best interest of production to create conflict. I have no doubt that all these people were interviewed exhaustively prior to heading to the island and they probably revealed their biggest fears and their largest triggers to people who are actually paid to use such vulnerabilities against them. It cannot be an accident that what John saw at the bonfire was his girlfriend questioning both his manhood and his ability to properly turn a boy child into one of those adorably toxic men this society is so sadly lacking and it also should not come as any sort of shock that Javen’s vague but guilty-sounding admission is exactly what they chose for Shari to watch. These producers know what will cause the biggest emotional reaction and while my assumption is that the cast is aware they’re being toyed with in the most extreme manner possible, my other assumption is they’re all drunk and sunburned and seriously susceptible to suggestion right now and that sort of emotional cocktail can wreck havoc on the ability to embrace reason. I mean, can you think of any other reason, other than the total absence of working logic, to explain how Shari can think it makes sense to utter that Javen alone is making “an ass out of our relationship” after the two of them chose to go on a show called Temptation Island? Because I’m pretty sure they both made an ass out of their relationship the instant they signed those contracts.
With Shari’s emotional breakdown contained, it’s time to see what John has done that could perhaps destroy Kady’s soul! Kady gets off easy. All she has to stare at is John venting about her tendency to have a hot fuse and how she might get evicted from his home should they not work out. Kady just shrugs. She knows that if this is what she’s being shown at the bonfire, John has yet to feel up any other girl. Nicole’s heart is on the line next and she watches Karl give a stranger and her ass cheeks a tour of his bedroom before mulling to the camera that he’s beginning to feel tempted. Nicole holds her composure really well, even when Mark – truly earning his salary as the host of this evil little social experiment – asks if watching the footage brings forth any jealousy. It doesn’t, Nicole swears. What it does do is make Nicole annoyed that they’re not on the same page, that she is being held to different standards than Karl is holding himself, but Mark jumps in to let her know that she can do whatever she wants on that island and obviously he’s saying such a thing because he really cares about her wellbeing – and maybe because there’s a chance he’ll get a handsome bonus if he helps convince one of these people to just f*cking cheat already. And now it’s Kaci’s turn and she watches Evan contemplate aloud if it’s even possible for him to find a connection with another woman like the one he has with her and Kaci nods sagely, stays completely calm, and asserts that both of them deserve only the best and they will just have to wait to see what’s meant to be. Once again, Kaci’s total aura of serenity in the middle of what would equal absolute emotional carnage for many both impresses me and absolutely confounds me. While she does eventually tear up during a confessional and admits to Mark that she no longer needs an engagement ring presented to her on a deadline, she’s still doing pretty well in an environment that would make me believe Satan actually walks amongst us – you know, when he’s not very busy serving lukewarm cheeseburgers to college athletes at the White House.
When the guys return to their villa, most of their Tempters are passed out beside the pool. As they mix up some protein shakes, John lets the guys know just how hurtful Kady’s comments were when it came to how he may be lacking as a father. Personally, I’d way prefer the father of my children to sprawl out on the floor of a family room somewhere with the Play-Doh Barber Shop instead of taking the kids out back for some target practice, but to each her own. As for the girls, they arrive back at their house and the mood is grim. Shari really wants to talk to Javen and she’s feeling like she’s lost herself in their long relationship. And Kaci? Kaci’s having herself some serious epiphanies. She’s realizing the issues she and Evan share are minor and yet here they are in an environment literally coined Temptation Island and now she runs the risk of losing him forever.
And since we’re briefly on the topic of forever, I’m just tossing out right here and now what I think will happen to all these couples in the long run:
I think Shari and Javen will stay together. I also think they will remain miserable.
I think John and Kady will leave the island broken up and that Kady will be swooning over a new man with enormous biceps and an even bigger desire to kill things.
I think Evan and Kaci will end up together and I think they’ll actually claim to be grateful for the emotional agony they will have suffered. The sickest part? I think I might believe them.
And Nicole and Karl? I think Nicole will shock herself when she outgrows her older boyfriend.
So those right there are my bets. Anyone wanna start a Temptation Island bracket? I could really use the extra cash just in case someone gives me an ultimatum that involves me having to purchase pricey jewelry on a deadline. This show has caused me to become so pragmatic…
The bullsh*t of the bonfire over, the next day is all about date selection. I have no idea why these girls have yet to ask out Jack, the cute writer with the scruff and the glasses, but maybe they’ve been momentarily blinded by the terrible tribal tattoos in their midst to make an informed selection. Mark shows up to let them know they will not have to choose dates while their boyfriends stare daggers at them, and the much calmer selection process results in Kaci choosing Justin, Kady picking Wynn, Shari selecting Tyler, and Nicole picking James. Now, I don’t have the foggiest idea who any of these men are. What I do know is that Jack the Writer was passed over yet again and I can only imagine the tale he’ll eventually be able to weave about all this sh*t later on. Perhaps he can team up with Val, a man who fancies himself hilarious but has yet to say a single funny thing on camera. I’m willing, however, to take Val’s word for it that he’s a born comedian because it’s not like guys ever lie and they always see themselves absolutely accurately.
The men also choose their dates and some of the women in the house are getting a wee bit restless. Cathalene did not come on Temptation Island to stare at the wonders of nature, you guys. She is there to profess her love to a guy who already has a girlfriend and then earn money every time she posts a selfie of herself sucking on a lollipop that is guaranteed to give you explosive diarrhea. Turns out Cathalene will have herself some time to practice posing in the mirror because she’s not asked out on a date. John picks Rachel, Evan picks Morgan, Javen picks Erica, and Karl picks Allie. Other than Morgan – who made her presence known during a screaming fight about absolutely nothing whilst reclining atop a bunk bed during episode two – I have no idea who any of these women are either, so don’t fret if you watched the proceedings and thought who??? I’m thinking the only thing that matters here anyway is that nobody chose the same date twice.
The date the girls go on involves horseback riding and Wynn gets the horse with the ginormous erection, a clear sign of virility that must make Kady feel all gooey inside. What makes her feel less joyful is the idea that, should she pop out Wynn’s baby and should that baby be a girl, Wynn would ignore Kady AND GIVE THE F*CKING BABY HIS ATTENTION. I don’t even like kids, but holy f*cking sh*t. Even I know the baby should get first dibs on attention. In less horrifying news, Kaci feels herself connecting with Justin, a man who actually looks handsome with a cowboy hat around his neck. She tells him all about the bonfire and what she heard Evan say and how it sort of freaked her out. She also tells Justin that Evan has cheated on her before and she’s preparing herself mentally to move on should he blindside her at the end of this process and, once again, I am just so profoundly grateful that I am nowhere near that evil island and that it is not my primary water source, lest the evil seep in when I attempt to rehydrate myself. As for Shari, she’s almost able to look her date in his eyes, something that should be relatively easy to do because this Tyler guy is all kinds of smiley and cute. He even keeps smiling when Shari mentions that the point of this experience is for her to see how Javen will behave rather than realizing that what should matter here is how she chooses to behave, but the girl actually showed a few teeth when she grinned, so let’s just be grateful for the little things, shall we?
While the women play cowboy, their boyfriends are ziplining. John and Rachel are hitting it off, probably because Rachel has never once asked him for a blood test so she could measure his testosterone levels. They’re getting along so well, we even get a slow-motion shot that I’m just going to take as a little bit of visual foreshadowing. Erica and Javen bond over the way they both smile idiotically when they’re nervous and Evan and Morgan make up from a fight so inconsequential that I can barely remember it even occurring in the first place.
Also: Feeling the need to occupy their attention after they weren’t chosen for dates, the Temptresses choose to leave a message written in lipstick on Javen’s mirror and claim it’s from a secret admirer.
Also: Should this be the clip shown to her at the bonfire with absolutely no added context whatsoever, there’s an excellent chance Shari’s entire head could explode into smithereens.