While I absolutely commend Kaci for the brilliant strategy she whipped out during the last Bonfire – refusing to open her eyes so she wouldn’t have to see footage that would likely cause her insides to feel as though they were sizzling – I think it’s important that we acknowledge right here and now that her plan will not work moving forward. I’m positive Kaci will want to continue to avert both her eyes and her mind from the truth, but these producers know exactly what they’re doing and they will not so much as pretend to entertain the notion that one of their contestants will manage to avoid all the hours of incendiary footage they’ve nabbed of her boyfriend. See, effectively skating around misery is not how reality television works. If Kaci refuses to watch what they stick in front of her face, fine. There’s another move here: play on a sense other than sight. I’m predicting the next thing Kaci will have thrown at her be a sound bite and it will be of Evan telling Morgan he loves her and such a thing will prove devastating. Hearing the synchronized moans of your boyfriend and some chick during probable sex is horrible. But hearing your boyfriend of five years declaring his love to a woman he’s only known for a few weeks? That’s takes “horrible” to another level entirely and that level is subterranean and it’s guarded by demons who have terrible breath and you’d probably have to slay them with a really pointy scythe just to escape and slaying demons is hard.
In other words, Kaci is f*cked.
This episode picks up right after the Bonfire, and what becomes clearer each and every week is that the couples who came to this island are not people who casually dated for a few months. These people have been together for years. They live together. They share a f*cking existence, and the possibility that Kaci could lose such an important piece of her heart while embarrassing her family in the process is destroying her. And since she didn’t give it up like they wanted her to at the Bonfire, a producer joins her in her bedroom to extract even more emotion from a woman who looks like she’s about to fully crack. “I don’t think you guys are getting how truly hard this is for me,” she cries, and maybe she’s correct, but I think these people know exactly what they’re doing to her.
The men are not having the easiest night either. Watching Johnny crawl into Kady’s bed made John feel like he was sucker-punched. He sounds dazed and broken when he speaks about how weak Kady is for giving in to temptation so easily. “You think I’m weak?” asks Evan – and it’s a fair question. Because the thing is, Evan hasn’t just given in to temptation. If you want to lay it out in biblical terms, he bonded with a snake, devoured the apple, and then jizzed all over this Hawaiian Garden of Eden. John takes a moment before answering his friend and he is incredibly tactful in his response. He is not calling Evan weak. What he is saying is that Kady crossed boundaries they both swore they would not cross. They had an agreement. But Evan knows that he and Kaci also had an agreement. And not only did they have an agreement, but Kaci’s boundaries seemed far looser than those of Kady and John’s. Kaci was fine with Evan dating and maybe kissing someone and behaving like he was single, all in the name of this hellish experiment/spectacle, but on the list of things they swore they would not do was f*ck and fall in love. Evan’s done both. Karl tries to make Evan feel better by saying that they certainly do not think he’s weak; perhaps it’s his relationship with Kaci that’s weak. Evan listens to Karl’s sage words and then nods solemnly in agreement because that particular answer is way easier for him to accept.
Not everyone is nipple-deep in misery. Nicole is doing really well! The time she’s spent on the island has been good for her. She feels like she’s been exposed to people who have depth and she’s learned about herself and she very much believes she will live differently from this point forth. I have an idea! Let’s all try to keep Nicole’s positivity and strength in our minds for the remainder of this episode because there’s a humongous possibility that it may be the only comforting thing to flash across our screens. I mean, both villas are currently filled with people having all kinds of breakdowns. John cries in the kitchen and Hannah consoles him. Karl cannot scrub the image of Nicole being in bed with another man from his mind. Katheryn cautions Karl that Brittany needs to be assured that anything that happens with them from this point forward will not be done as a way to retaliate against Nicole’s actions, and the little cartoon angel and devil who apparently reside within the right and the left sides of Karl’s brain and battle daily about whether or not it would be a big deal to nail an Aquarius are continuing to engage in a f*cking death match and all of it is leaving him with a gigantic headache.
Full emotional breakdowns will have to be put on hold, however. It’s time for some dates! Kady selects Johnny and the two jump off cliffs and then kiss – like, for real kiss – as they gaze at the ocean. Johnny is feeling pretty good. He goes to sleep with Kady and he wakes up with Kady and he was chosen to jump off that cliff with Kady and so what that he lives in New York and she lives in Texas and her boyfriend is currently weeping in a kitchen to a woman with a bouffant? Johnny is winning! But wait! John is no longer in the kitchen. He is instead eating sushi down by the shoreline with the bouffanted woman who happens to own lipstick that matches her bathing suit! John selected Hannah for his date because she showed him kindness and he wants to resolve whatever issues caused them to bicker in the past. Hannah is open to whatever it is that John needs right now and she’s quite compassionate in her dealings with him. He plans to try to have some fun on their date, but he also plans to use the time as a much needed therapy session.
Also: At any point did any of you think that John was going to gaze up from where he was standing near the water and see Kady and Johnny smooching on a lounge chair? I totally did. And though I would argue that such a confrontation would make for excellent TV, I’m actually glad it didn’t happen because I’m pretty sure John would have reacted by shoving a wasabi ball into every orifice of his own body and watching something like that would probably make me feel very uncomfortable.
Javen chose to take Erica on a date. She’s fun and pretty, but what Javen is really attracted to is her attitude, especially those expressions of sheer derision she sometimes makes. You all remember how Shari behaved on the first two episodes of this show, right? Seems Javen’s got himself a type. And speaking of Shari, she picks Justin to take on a date and the two eat some frozen pineapple thing I would very much like to try and then they talk about how her perspective has shifted. There was a time she didn’t believe that having friends of the opposite sex was acceptable, but those views have changed. Justin suggests that maybe it was Javen’s influence that made her feel that way and Shari nods that he’s probably right while acknowledging to herself how proud she is that she’s embracing this process and growing stronger as a result. And Nicole? She’s still doing just f*cking fine, thank you very much. She’s on her third date with Tyler and they’re being massaged near a gorgeous beach. Since there is clearly no hysteria about to erupt within Nicole, it’s time to check in with Kaci. She’s selected Luna for the date and he selected overalls as an outfit. Despite the fact that he reminds me of the Cabbage Patch Kid I used to snuggle with (R.I.P., Carlin Ozzy!), Luna appears to be a nice person who allows Kaci to vent about her fears and then validates her feelings really well. He also comforts her by saying there’s no way her boyfriend of five years would possibly fall in love with someone else in under two weeks because such a thing would be insane and that’s about the time the scene cuts to Evan and Morgan having THE BEST DAY EVER. They are swimming in the ocean. They are kissing in slow motion. And they are declaring yet again that this is a relationship that could very well yield them a forever.
“Morgan,” Evan says slowly and deliberately. “All I want is you, girl.”
Also: While all Evan wants is Morgan, all I want after watching that scene is a shot of f*cking Pepto Bismal. I’d also like twenty seconds of consecutive footage that actually illustrates what it is about Morgan that is causing Evan to reconstruct his entire future. I understand that producers want to show us kissing scenes, but at this point maybe they can provide some context about what’s drawing Evan to Morgan in this way, because the way it’s being edited and fed to us, the only reason he seems this smitten is because 1) she’s new to his life and 2) she has a rather perfect ass.
Karl’s date for the day is Brittany. He’s enjoying his time with this woman who is definitely not a lunatic, a woman who constantly touches him and stares at him and threatens to climb into his bed later on without his consent. Karl is in a vulnerable place. I think Nicole may end up ditching him, so I’m going to give him a break right now and maybe just warn him that Brittany probably has her very own pair of rose quartz-encrusted night vision goggles shoved into her bedside drawer.
Over at the girls’ villa, Johnny and Kady are enjoying a nighttime shower in their bathing suits, Nicole (and the abs I very much want to buy from her) continues to connect with Tyler, Shari plops down on a bean bag to engage in a deep conversation with Justin, and Kaci smiles and giggles and does whatever she has to do to make the voices in her head stop screaming. But if she thinks those random voices are shrieking now, wait until she pours out her heart to Evan in a thirty-second video only to discover he hasn’t sent a message of his own. Oh, yeah – it’s Evan’s plan to not say anything to Kaci via video, but Morgan isn’t happy with said plan because she simply cannot fathom why he can’t just break up WITH HIS GIRLFRIEND OF FIVE F*CKING YEARS in a thirty-second video message. Morgan? May karma never ravage your rather perfect ass the way it so clearly could, my dear. And Evan? I get that you don’t want to offer up anything that so much as smells of kindness lest Kaci misread the subtext and think, you know, that you actually still love her instead of a stranger, but to send absolutely no word to a woman you’ve shared your life with for five years, a woman you intend to emotionally annihilate in the very near future? That’s f*cked up.