Where last we left him, Rick was sitting beside a smoldering fire watching footage of his girlfriend of four years getting slammed by a man she’s known for four days. So what I’m saying here is that no matter how bad your week has been, Rick’s has probably been worse. But as he watches KB and Ashley writhe around under the covers, he holds it together like a champ. He does not cry. He does not scream. He does not fall to his knees to begin gathering blades of grass and small rocks and twigs that he can fashion into an Ashley voodoo doll. Instead, he informs Mark he’s not sure his relationship can recover from this, and my presumption is that any clinically normal viewer would agree with him.
“What she expected of me, she did. My heart is broken,” Rick admits. He’s calm, but maybe he’s still in shock. It’s not Rick’s behavior, however, that’s confusing me here; it’s Ashley’s. First she huddles beneath a blanket back at the villa. The retreating part I get, especially if it involves the act of building your very own mini fort, but wouldn’t you go to your bedroom to isolate yourself rather than sit poolside in front of a crowd? Could it be that what Ashley really craves is attention? And look! She gets that attention! She is drawn out of her cotton duvet hiding place to discuss her feelings with KB, and while open discussions are certainly healthy, try as I f*cking might, I do not buy a single word this guy says. I think he’s someone who values being smooth over being honest, but then again, he did sign up for Temptation Island. He did already nail this girl without having to exert a whole lot of effort. I suppose it therefore makes sense for him to want Ashley to regroup as quickly as possible so they can get back to the banging, a.k.a.: the real reason KB is on that island in the first place. And while the possibility exists that I could be reading this guy all wrong, I’m pretty sure I’m A) Not wrong and B) Feeling exactly the way production wants me to feel about him.
Ashley finds some solace in KB’s hollow words, but Other Ashley is having a rough night. She cries in bed as Kate listens and tries to be there for her. This girl is simply terrified of losing her boyfriend. I understand that fear, but I also think we are being shown so much of Ashley H.’s insecurity that it’s bound to be a bit of a misdirection. I think Ashley H. is going to fall so far into her dungeon of dread that she will eventually have no choice but to clamor back up to the light for survival, and once she realizes she can survive by her wits and her t*ts, she will realize her worth and start playing the tropical field. But that moment of strength is not quite here yet. Right now she feels a rush of anxiety and a tsunami of worthlessness, and a new female friend is there for her, saying the important things like how Ashley should never value someone more than she values herself. Kate, who sees herself as kind of a big sister to Ashley, is the hero of this scene. She acknowledges how Ashley feels and then tells her to embrace more perspective. It reminds me of how I called my own best friend two years ago after I ate an entire strawberry shortcake and she told me that what I did was not exactly a wise choice, but perhaps it had more to do with upcoming stressful events in my life than me settling into a new behavioral pattern governed by consuming several pounds of sugar, flour, and butter in one sitting. My point is, sometimes friends make the points you need to hear right when you need to hear them. My other point is, I really miss cake.
Esonica, though far more calm right now than either Ashley, is still bothered that she saw footage of Gavin finally opening up in the way she’s always wanted him to do – except he’s opening up to some other girl about the pieces of Esonica’s personality he doesn’t particularly like. Kareem asks if she’s ready to move on from a guy who treats her with disrespect, but Esonica isn’t sure. Something tells me she will not end the night in a bed straddling Kareem just so she can pretend to locate an easy answer to a tough question.
Over at the guys’ villa, I am…how shall I say this…disturbed by the choices of some of the female temptresses. I don’t know, ladies. Is there no other way to have fun than by twerking in a train and feeding a man and dancing around him as though he’s the Sultan of f*cking Brunei? I don’t expect these women to whip original copies of Betty Friedan books out of their suitcases – we all know that no reading is permitted on Temptation Island – but so much of what I see are girls fully objectifying themselves so they can emulate what they assume is the ideal male fantasy and I’m tired of watching this sort of sh*t. Thank goodness for Medinah. She’s not shimmying against a man’s d*ck so he can feel important; she is sitting outside with Rick where it’s quiet and she’s trying to ascertain what exactly happened at the Bonfire, because something obviously did. Rick doesn’t confide what he saw, but he thanks her for being next to him and showing him some real concern.
The next morning, Dave spends a little time with Toneata, a woman who maybe has the most exquisite set of chompers I have ever seen. Seriously, you guys: they are perfectly straight and iridescent pearly white, and if it doesn’t work out for her as a professional Temptress, she should get herself a job as the Tooth Fairy. I’m sure my Tooth Fairy has retired by now; Toneata can totally take her place. I don’t know if Dave has a tooth fetish or not, but he would like to get to know Toneata better. But Dave also likes Samantha. Samantha, you see, has the very original qualities of being chill and also being able to have fun. Shoot for the f*cking moon, Dave! Samantha thinks Dave is great, but she’s also not the type to fight over him, especially in a house filled with cameras and eleven other twerking women who are battling for four men and as much screen time as they can possibly swallow.
Over at the other villa, both Ashleys seem a little happier as they thoroughly enjoy the view of the men working out in front of them. Out on the driveway, Aden – who is quite cute – makes sure Kate understands that she is a catch and she shouldn’t settle for a guy who only makes her see her own worth when it’s convenient for him to do so. Then they play a little football together and it’s all kinds of adorable. But the person I find most adorable right now is Esonica. Maybe it’s because it bothers her that Gavin has never shown interest in her culture, and that’s a real thing to be upset by. Maybe it’s because it looks as though she’s getting more introspective. Maybe it’s that she’s starting to get a knowing look in her eyes that hints she’s about to snag herself someone who actually deserves her instead of a man willing to drag her to an island filled with people dying to break up their relationship. Maybe it’s that she looks a little like Rihanna and I kind of love Rihanna. Whatever it is, I’m hoping Esonica leaves Hawaii with a man who wouldn’t so much as suggest that cheating is the best way to save their relationship.
With things going perhaps too swimmingly on this sun-splashed morning, Mark shows up to tell the women that, should they choose, they can eliminate one of the male Tempters. It’s almost noon, y’all. Nobody has had his or her dignity crushed like a vice yet, and that has got to change so we can head to a commercial on a mini cliffhanger! Now, I’d say this moment is dramatic and I think producers want it to be, but we don’t actually know many of these guys yet and waving goodbye to any of them won’t make much of an impact unless that person is KB, because you know those size thirteen feet would make quite the exit. It’s not KB, though. Some man named Alex is given the boot, and I’m relatively certain we haven’t so much as heard him say a single syllable – and now we never will. The same kind of thing happens when the men eliminate a Tempter. They say bye to a Samantha, who I think might be a different Samantha than the Samantha who was flirting with Dave earlier, but as I’m already very busy trying to keep track of Ashleys, I cannot commit to deciphering Samanthas and, thanks to the guys’ decision, I won’t even have to try.
To celebrate being one woman down, a luau is thrown that night – you know, so everyone can make a joke about getting leid and so the girls can once again dance around for the men’s pleasure. Dave feels like he’s forming connections with three of the women, and I really hope one of Kate’s superpowers is not that she can read Dave’s thoughts because this particular thought of his could potentially kill her. Dave’s interested in the remaining Samantha, Kari, and Toneata. Rick, however, feels a bit annoyed with the way Medinah is beginning to behave. She’s acting aggressively, and he is not about that right now, not when he’s still thinking about his girlfriend. As Rick explains to Medinah – and as symbolic red flags begin flapping wildly against the horizon – he doesn’t really talk about his feelings, certainly not as he’s feeling them. He would prefer to walk away from a woman treading water in a swimming pool than discuss the betrayal he just watched and the ways those images are now gnawing on whatever is left of his soul.
There are no flower leis at the girls’ villa, but the mood is still festive. Ashley H. has decided Casey is just trying to have himself a pleasant time and she should do the same! That’s why she tosses on a thong bikini and dances beside the swimming pool. And it’s here I realize that it’s not just the women at the other house who think the best possible way to flirt is to literally grind on someone’s lap. The men think the same thing and there are lap dances aplenty. But some concerns begin to settle inside of Ashley’s head. She’s concerned she’s giving Deac and his deac the wrong idea. I’d say her simply being on this show is probably giving Deac that very idea, but the real story seems to be that Deac reminds Ashley of her boyfriend. She is so used to searching for Casey’s eyes across a room, she is almost unable to stop herself from engaging in the same behavior, even if he’s not actually around. Deac is playing the Approval Barometer Understudy role for Ashley right now – and Ben plays that role whenever Deac needs to shower or pee – but Ashley announces she doesn’t want anyone to get hurt, which are famous last words you’re contractually obligated to say when your boat docks on Temptation Island.