It’s time for the dates! Medinah and Rick are having a great time. They are getting closer and he is being more affectionate and I have to say that I’m sort of rooting for these two. Medinah will probably demand that Rick be more communicative than he’s comfortable with, but at least he won’t have to soothe her ravaged ego every sixteen minutes like I imagine he has to do with Ashley. Samantha and Dave are enjoying the day and Samantha is hoping their emotional intimacy will catch up to what they’ve already accomplished physically. Also having fun are Esonica and Kareem and she is patently unconcerned with whether Gavin will be okay knowing that these two have had three straight dates. “He brought me here,” Esonica says with a huff, so Gavin and whatever his reaction may be can suck it. Ashley G. is spending the day with Juan, and while she maintains that he’s being a total gentleman, not a bit of me believes she isn’t spending the day actively hoping that her being out with another man will make KB jealous, even though the guy probably won’t have time to be jealous because he’s extremely busy measuring his foot size and staring at himself in the mirror. But Payton is not having much fun on Date Day. Casey is being way too open and honest by telling her he hopes to one day marry Ashley and such realism really brings her morose feelings forth. Also, two quick questions: 1) What in the f*ck was up with Payton maniacally bursting into laughter when Casey asked if she was pleased to be on the date and 2) Has she or the hysterically laughing person living inside the confines of her mind mentioned her threesome participation to Casey? I’m just curious.
Casey’s future wife is having a lovely time with Deac. She does like him, but she knows she’s in love with Casey. Deac’s quite the good sport about it all. He reclines in a hammock and admits to us that it’s a bit annoying that one day Ashley is into him and the next day she’s seemingly into Ben and then she’s crying about Casey, but he’s wise enough to know that Ashley is going to have to figure out her feelings herself so he’s not about to push her. Aden seems to be taking the same tack with Kate. He tells her the guys were kind of happy when she learned of Dave’s hot tub mess up because they figured maybe it would make her more open to this experience, but Kate misses Dave completely despite knowing that things will probably never be the same between them – and she’s basing that statement on the sh*t that happened before the threesome.
After almost burning down the villa by attempting to make dinner, the female Temptresses ask Payton about her date and Payton’s response to what happened is what I like to call Peak Bonkers F*cking Crazy. See, she’s not particularly interested in what Casey actually said because the imaginary subtext she was able to decipher out of absolutely nothing is so much more comforting. She’s decided that the reason Casey said he wants to marry Ashley is because he’s starting to have feelings for Payton. If you are unable to follow that convoluted logic, congratulations. You’re officially normal.
As for Threesome Dave, he’s inside some lovely structure made out of teak explaining to Toneata that he is so very upset at his behavior the night before. He’s afraid he looks like a jackass and he’s really concerned that the person he disappointed the most is Toneata. Feel free to read that sentence again and then feel free to resist the impulse to slam your head into a wall. Yes, it’s Toneata’s feelings Dave is concerned about and this guy is officially a d*ck, but do not despair! Toneata is totally open to getting closer to Dave because she thinks he seems like a truly great guy and watching this show is starting to make me feel very tired and just a wee bit violent.
Also: Rick goes to bed wearing a satin eye mask.
Also: Medinah crawls into bed with Rick and blows him.
Also: I like these two together, but I hope she didn’t swallow.
When Kate walks into her own bedroom at the villa later, she sees that her bed has been strewn with Hershey’s Kisses and a note Dominique left her apologizing for his earlier behavior. I love that Kate pops a piece of chocolate into her mouth before she does anything else, but then she smiles and heads downstairs to say thank you for a written sentiment that I’d bet is far sweeter than anything her boyfriend of several years ever scribbled to her – though I imagine he would be willing right now to write a sonnet about the majesty that is Toneata. Kate allows Dominique to rub her shoulders, but had he given her some Twix, he might be getting to first base right about now.
It’s about time for a Bonfire to go down and Deac is hoping Ashley will see footage of Casey seriously f*cking up so he can swoop in as a shoulder to cry on – or a deac to go down on. But it’s the guys who show up first and Dave is wearing his I-Feel-Regret glasses, which I’d imagine are on sale at a mall near you. He’s frustrated that he won’t be able to explain his side of what happened to Kate, though that explanation really cannot include anything besides the words “I’m f*cking selfish and I wanted to satisfy my own needs so you and your heart did not factor in at all the very moment I got hard.” In any case, he watches totally benign footage of Kate and solemnly says that he feels badly that he let himself down and his girlfriend down and that he has cried TWO WHOLE TIMES this week. Poor baby. Now ask yourself how many times your f*cking girlfriend has cried since the moment you told her it would be a great idea for the two of you to voyage to Temptation Island.
Gavin, who looks quite cute in pink, watches footage of Esonica telling Kareem that Gavin doesn’t compliment her, but Gavin disputes this charge. He does compliment her, he insists, but he thinks it’s ridiculous he has to compliment her so often for her to be happy. Maybe the funniest shot of this entire episode is Rick nodding sagely in the background as Gavin explains himself because you just know Ashley walks around with a goddamn egg timer and if Rick doesn’t compliment her before it goes off, there is serious hell to pay. When it’s Rick’s turn to stare at the iPad, he looks like he’s being tortured – which he kind of is. He listens to the Ashley/KB “Can I feel your d*ck now?” exchange and his reaction is a very appropriate croaked out version of “What the f*ck?” What the f*ck indeed, Rick. He feels disgusted and admits he’s not particularly surprised, but I think that is probably more of a commentary on how Ashley is so needy when it comes to requiring constant attention than that she has a longstanding issue with fidelity. Still, the woman does not appear to be pining away for him and so he’s choosing to use his time on the island to focus on himself. Then it’s Casey’s turn, and this moment is the most manipulative thing tonight. Casey sees Ashley telling Deac she likes him and he basically shrugs because nothing he is seeing is causing him to feel threatened. But notice, please, that the footage cuts before Ashley adds “But I know I’m in love with Casey” and also note that when Casey has no sort of reaction, Mark jumps in to say how very possible it might be for Deac to one day soon become The New Casey. Yes, if the footage alone doesn’t scar these contestants, the host will come for them with metaphorical razor blades. Nobody leaves Bonfires without spilling a little bit of blood.
So yeah, let’s talk about emotional bloodshed! Let’s discuss how Kate heads into this Bonfire expecting the worst, but she has no real idea yet just how sh*tty the worst can actually be. Ashley G. is also nervous and, almost hilariously, she is now claiming her love for Rick is real and he is all she cares about and the scariest thing about any of this is that I’m pretty sure Ashley believes what she’s saying. She’s up first and she watches Rick and Medinah kiss and then she sees them in bed. “I’m not f*cking made for this sh*t,” mutters the woman who should be awarded a medal for Quickest Bang Scene on Temptation Island. Look, I’m sure watching Rick be intimate is difficult and I do not discount the pain she feels in the slightest, but she played her hand first and that hand clutched some other guy’s d*ck on Day #2 and this is the fallout of the sh*t choices she made.
“KB and I have respectfully gone into the friend zone,” Ashley explains to Mark, as though she had a single say in that decision. She claims, though, that the reason she made such a choice is because she still feels emotionally tied to Rick and this sequence is so bizarre due to Ashley’s sheer lack of self-awareness that it almost defies comprehension.
Esonica watches footage next and, unsurprisingly, it is of Gavin going to absolute town on some chick’s feet. “Dude, eww,” she says matter of factly, but when Ashley H. laughs at the absurdity of it all, Esonica tells her to stop because what she just watched her boyfriend do is disgusting. And yes, seeing your beloved suck on someone else’s feet is tough to see, let’s just say right here and now that there exists a sliding scale of disgusting and Kate is about to experience that scale tipping. But first Esonica gets in a joke that when she and Gavin were setting up parameters before they arrived for this vicious little experiment, she was apparently remiss by not including “don’t slobber on another woman’s feet” on the list. She doesn’t think what she’s watching is anything emotional – and she’s right – but she does think Gavin has already forgotten about her. If these two leave the island together, I will be f*cking stunned.
Ashley H. is crying before a second of video plays for her, but she begins to really sob when she sees Casey pontificating about how he’d be just fine if he and Ashley broke up and he’s not sure he’s really in love with her anyway. Sure, the producers could have chosen for her to see the moment Casey declared he fully intends to one day marry her, but those words will not guarantee that Ashley rushes into the arms of either Deac or Ben – or, if a God is smiling down on production, both of them. The others console her, Ashley G. whispers that she deserves more, but Ashley is feeling exactly the way the people creating this show want her to feel: devastated and drowning in emotional chaos.
And now it’s Kate’s turn, and I swear that Mark looks reluctant just walking towards the iPad to cue the thing up. She breathes deeply and visibly and then stares at footage of her boyfriend showering with Samantha and then rolling around in bed with two women and while Ashley H. shouts “What the f*ck?” Kate sinks so deeply into her shock and her misery that it is going to take a hell of a lot of Hershey’s Kisses – and perhaps a cavalry of therapists – to ever pull her out of this tropical purgatory.
Nell Kalter teaches Film and Media at a school in New York. She is the author of the books THAT YEAR and STUDENT, both available on amazon.com in paperback and for your Kindle. Also be sure to check out her website at nellkalter.com. Her twitter is @nell_kalter.