It’s official: I’m throwing every ounce of my vicarious support at the people who had to be dragged kicking and screaming to Temptation Island. I wish they’d had it in them to fight back, to not allow this soul-corroding excursion to become even a possibility (they could have tried ranting, raving, or attacking their significant other with those awful tiny pinches that don’t actually hurt but still feel like momentary death), but I can’t entirely fault them for not being able to talk someone out of a free trip to Hawaii, especially one that comes with amenities like free alcohol and faux fame.
While most of me cannot imagine I would even entertain the notion that the way to strengthen my romantic relationship would be by allowing my boyfriend to be twerked on by a gaggle of aspiring Instagram influencers, I have sometimes unhappily surprised myself with the sh*t I’ve been willing to accept from others. Still, a voyage that promises lifelong insecurity at the very best and complete betrayal at the very worst is, quite simply, an utter f*cking living nightmare. I feel for the people who allowed themselves to believe, if only for a moment, that appearing on this show would not destroy the softest parts of themselves. Look at Kate. This woman did not want to test her relationship, but her boyfriend convinced her that wonderful things would eventually happen between them once he proved he could resist another blonde dangling her nipples in his face while he grabbed her ass and she writhed around on his penis in a hot tub. Except he did not fully resist that girl and now Kate has seen the footage of the writhing and the nipple dangling. Though it would behoove her to focus on the fact that Toneata probably feels exactly nothing for Dave and instead sees him only as a temporary prize with questionable hair, Kate feels betrayed and she is unable to speak with the man who is causing her this pain. What that all means is I kind of hate Dave for doing this to her, much as I sort of hate whichever member of each couple chose to sit down at the dinner table one evening to croak out some version of, “Hear me out, honey. You and I should go on Temptation Island! You know those stabbing pangs of terror you always feel about me potentially being unfaithful? We can end those fears for good if we appear on a show that centers around the premise of will we or won’t we f*ck each other over in high definition!” I don’t think there’s a shot in hell Dave will not succumb to the very produced temptations around him. I don’t think most of these people will be able to glide through this evil experiment unscathed. And sure, you can make the base argument that, because of this orchestrated misery, they are learning all sorts of important things about themselves, but I’d like to argue back that there are a sh*t ton of ways to internalize harsh lessons that do not involve humiliation and a television audience.
I believe it was Casey who talked Ashley H. and her often-exposed ass into coming on this show, and that’s why I feel badly for her when she sees Casey wearing only an apron and holding some girl’s hand at the kitchen table. To be fair, Ashley has shown off her tushy way more than Casey has, but the hand holding thing crosses one of the bullsh*t parameters the naïve contestants expect their partners will actually abide by. Casey is exacerbating all of Ashley’s trust issues, and don’t get me wrong here. It’s very sweet that Mark tells Ashley that her anger at Casey means she now realizes she’s worth more than she once thought, but imagine he then also said to her, “And I have Casey right behind this stack of firewood so you can tell him to his face that you deserve more!” Instead, he sends her back to the villa and towards Deac’s deac while she dances a haunted waltz to the screams coming from inside her head.
Ashley H. may be feeling stronger once she leaves the Bonfire, but Kate arrives home and announces she’s about to puke. Both Ashleys wait outside her bathroom door and she lets them in and reads them a note Dave wrote her before they embarked on this idiotic journey. His words are all about how she is “his person” – I f*cking hate Grey’s Anatomy for the “my person” bullsh*t we’ve now all been subjected to – but after seeing him get so close to some other chick’s areolas, Kate is done. She rips up Dave’s note and claims his sentiments mean nothing because of the flagrant disrespect he’s been throwing her way. The Ashleys are there for her during this time, but I cannot help but wonder if Ashley G. is getting seriously freaked out. After all, Kate is tearing up paper and bawling out her retinas because of some cuddling in a hot tub. Meanwhile, Ashley has to know Rick saw the shots of her underneath KB in her bed. What kind of respect was violated there? Can producers procure something for Rick to rip, like maybe a phone book from a major city or all those subpoenas currently being ignored by government officials? I mean, the many ways his respect has been violated is probably going to require way more than one piece of paper. And maybe he can ask Medinah to join him and then he can tell her to shut up once more and that she’s ripping the paper incorrectly because that’s the way romance grows, you guys. It would, of course, be nice if the romance between them could grow via verbal communication, but Rick doesn’t like to talk when he’s upset.
Also: I do feel badly that Rick thinks his girlfriend of four and a half years has already tapped out of their relationship.
Also: Whenever a man tells you he is unable or unwilling to talk through his feelings, run for the f*cking hills and then climb over those hills and build a fort in a valley because that’s the only way you’ll be 100% safe.
Ironically, it’s not Medinah sprinting for the hills here. Rick is the one feeling put off by what he sees as her aggressive nature, so he lets Samantha know he’d like to take her out on the next date. Rick is going to try to allow himself to lean in to this experience now that Ashley has already done a whole lot of leaning with her clitoris and perhaps her heart. Samantha, meanwhile, is slightly concerned by what Medinah’s reaction will be to Rick taking her on a date and she is fully prepared to sleep with one eye open. As for Payton, she’s looking forward to watching her connection with Casey grow, and that is just a weird f*cking thing to say about a guy with a girlfriend. Yes, I realize that’s the whole conundrum of this show – attempting to woo those currently in a relationship – but it feels legit icky watching these Tempters wish for something that, by its very essence, is just so fraught with chaos and confusion. Perhaps this cast is made up of people who deep down believe that without chaos and confusion, life is not worth living, and I shall consider that terrifying possibility while I light aromatherapy candles, spoon someone I adore, and read up on the ways evolution is not always a perfect process.
Also: Casey asks Rachel out on the next date.
Also: Payton retrains herself from hurling a drink into Casey’s face as she watches the man she’s interested in (who also has a girlfriend) ask someone else out.
Also: Payton’s disingenuous “Aw, that’s sweet” comment made my spleen clench in terror.
Also: Isn’t it just a little bit f*cking weird that Payton is more concerned about Casey taking Rachel out for the day than about the fact that HE LIVES WITH A WOMAN?
Also: Doesn’t Payton’s death glare remind you of that little girl in Orphan? (No judgment. Evil little girls are adorable.)
Rick sits down for a moment to explain to Medinah that he’s taking some other woman on the next date. Medinah is confused, but Rick explains that he’s just looking for a bit of ease and Medinah challenges him in too many ways. And since I too was once told by someone that I’m “too wise” to be the perfect girlfriend, I can only hope Medinah laughs at this guy and focuses her energy instead on someone else in that house or decides to just say f*ck it and spends the rest of her time on that island reclining peacefully beneath a leafy tree while contemplating how to overturn the national debt.
Back at the girls’ villa, I know I am supposed to be focusing on how Kate’s feelings are hurt when Ashley G. says she doesn’t like to sit around and be sad because it ruins the vibe in the house, but all I can focus on is how Kate’s lashes have stayed glued to her eyelids, even after all those flooding tears. Once Medinah figures out the national debt thing, perhaps she can swim over to the girls’ villa, find out what brand of lashes Kate uses, and then send me the information via a telegram flown to me by a seagull. That sh*t will help pass the time! You know what else will help pass the time? Creating a muzzle out of palm fronds that can be applied to KB’s mouth because the abject rage I feel when he decides to assert himself as the top guy in the house – as though that is an actual f*cking thing – makes me want to drain the toxic-masculinity flavored ego out of him with something sharp and very very rusty. The guy is a prick, I stand by this assessment, and he probably won’t mind that I’m saying this anyway because he appears to be the type of person who thinks it doesn’t matter what people say as long as people are talking about you, even when what those people are saying is that you are a garbage person.
Upstairs, Ashley H. hangs out with two parts of what Deac considers her “love square.” (Casey, the last corner, is obviously not around.) Luckily, we still have Deac and Ben, two white men with scruff who look alike and swear they would never cheat on Ashley or even consider running around a kitchen wearing only an apron. Ashley chooses to ask Ben out on her next date and they all giggle because they are such good friends and as a recapper of this show, I am obviously waiting with bated breath for any one of these three to viciously betray each other because that’s way more fun than waiting patiently for KB to be gnawed to pieces by that vat of hungry and angry bees I’ve decided to send to Hawaii.
Also: The shorty shorts on Deac are almost as tragic as the concept of this show.