I’ve come to realize that watching Temptation Island is similar in some ways to having an addiction. There are very high highs and some seriously low lows and yet I keep chasing that dragon and coming back for more, even though I could be using the time it takes me to write these recaps to catch up on all the Faulkner I intentionally skipped over the years. (That man went on for pages about sh*t like flora and fauna.) But the biggest reason I feel Temptation Island is similar to an addiction is because the action has become repetitive. We’re on episode nine now, and certain things probably won’t change. Ashley H. will still be amazed by some new boy’s kisses. Casey will still be crying over how poorly things have turned out for him. Gavin will continue to look stunned by Esonica’s growing confidence. Rick, who saw way too much the first week to be stunned by anything at this point, will ride out the next few days until he can finally reunite with Ashley G. and then he will sit quietly while she investigates the imaginary subtext that’s not actually flowing through whatever conversation they’ll have beside a Bonfire. And Dave? Dave will still have the gall to swear up and down that Kate is and has always been his top priority and then he will prove it by promising his future to Toneata.
But some things do change. Though the participants who had the toughest time initially are now doing well, Gavin is not. He’s realizing the choices he made, like sucking some chick’s toes while a camera was pointed his way, may have involved zero emotions, but he’s pretty sure Esonica is developing real emotions for Kareem. This experience seems to have led this couple to completely different pages of two very different books – which were probably not written by William Faulkner. Ultra aware he doesn’t have a lot of options right now, he decides to follow up his declaration of disappointment about the possibility of losing Esonica by hitting on Mia. Unfortunately for Gavin, Mia is not a moron and she is offended to be seen as a tarnished silver lining. But all may not be lost for Gavin! At the other villa, Esonica tells Ashley G. that something went down between her and Kareem – I’m not sure that “something” was sex, but whatever it was did not involve organizing her sock drawer – but she admits she’s still thinking about and missing Gavin.
It seems everyone in the villa is in a bit of a mental tizzy, and into that tizzy walks Mark. He gathers the women and the male Tempters (The blonde guy with the bun is still there?! What has he been doing for all these weeks?) and reminds the women that they came to Temptation Island in order to determine if their boyfriends were right for them in the long run. While that’s not entirely true – several of them arrived there under emotional duress – Mark wants them to now choose dates for what will be a romantic overnight excursion. The selections are relatively obvious at this point and since those not invited on dates have to leave, two guys named Chris are voted off. Bun Man’s name is Chris! Fare-thee-well, boys! And congratulations for mostly staying out of the f*cked up fray! Mark then heads over to the guys’ house for the exact same reason and what should be the only question here is which girl Casey will choose to vent to for an entire evening: Payton or Rachel? That mystery is solved quickly when he asks Rachel to join him. The bigger surprise here is when Gavin asks Mia to be his date and apologizes for not pursuing her with more enthusiasm thus far and she responds sweetly and thoughtfully that the overnight aspect of the date makes her too uncomfortable to accept. Gavin looks hurt and Gavin is not really a bad guy; it’s not much fun to see him momentarily leveled. He has to regroup fast and ask out someone else and he chooses Payton. Have none of these guys looked at Colleen? That woman is gorgeous and she seemingly isn’t nuts! When it’s Rick’s turn, he asks Medinah if she will join him and continue to explore a friendship, which means Rick appears to have made his choice and now only Dave will be getting laid on this fine evening.
We begin with Rick and Medinah’s date and it’s as confusing for us to watch as it probably is for them to be on it. They each have very different goals for the next twenty-four hours. Medinah wants to show Rick her soothing side and she mentions that their dates in real life will probably not involve a helicopter ride. Rick wants to have a nice day with a nice girl, but he is not so much as even considering dating Medinah on the outside because he’s still hung up on Ashley and I think we all know Ashley is not about to allow Medinah to stay in Rick’s life, even as a friend. But they’re staying in a lovely hotel and they toast to being officially in the friend zone and it seems Rick is fully ready to forgive Ashley for whatever she did with KB. I really thought I was one of the most forgiving people on the planet, but I think Rick has me beat. While I’ve forgiven people for pulling some serious bullsh*t over the years – to not forgive just feels exhausting – none of the bullsh*t they ever pulled on me was televised.
Casey and Rachel arrive at a cute house and head to the backyard to hang in the hot tub. As far as Rachel sees it, her job for the night is to prepare Casey for the worst as it pertains to his girlfriend, but this guy is so intent on changing Ashley’s mind about wanting to marry him that he’s not even allowing himself to consider the notion that she is just not interested in him anymore. I’m not sure Rachel has it in her to burst his bubble that’s made out of sheer fantasy, so she just toasts to the fairytale playing out only in the confines of his mind. As for the woman who is technically still Casey’s girlfriend, she is wandering around an idyllic bamboo forest with a boy she cannot stop kissing. You’d think it couldn’t get any more magical, but then they stumble upon a waterfall and they sit beside it while grinning at one another in that way you do in the hours before you know you’re about to be fully naked with someone until sunrise – though maybe that’s just me. Then they get into their swimsuits and make out beneath the waterfall and it’s all shown to us in slow motion because the editors of this show just can’t help themselves.
Also: Ashley H. always struck me as a pretty girl, but this level of happiness she’s got going on has made her truly beautiful. I’m starting to hope she sticks with Ben, if only for aesthetic reasons.
Gavin and Payton spend their day on a boat watching dolphins swim by and Gavin seems happy to spend the day with Payton even though he makes it clear that their day will not end with any form of banging. Esonica, who used to require that Kareem keep a literal arm’s distance from her, is now holding his hand as they walk along the shoreline. She’s pretty sure she met Kareem for a reason, but she’s not certain yet what that reason is and she’s trying to figure it all out. They’re staying in a nice house, she’s allowing him to share her bed, and we’ll have to wait and see what eventually transpires. In the meantime, we head to a cool modern place where Dominique and Kate will spend the night. Kate looks nervous being alone with some other guy, so I guess it’s a good thing there’s also a camera crew along for the journey. Then they get in the pool, she refrains from kissing him for now, he refrains from kissing her, and the sexual tension is getting ratcheted up by the second and since I’m rooting for Kate to end up with anyone besides Dave, I wish I could immediately send them a lovely Welcome to Your Overnight Date basket filled with chocolate kisses and a gallon of lube. I’m very thoughtful that way.
Toneata and her always-glossed lips and Dave and his always-gelled hair hang outside of what I think is a hotel. Toneata is not ready to declare what she has with Dave to be love – and I hope the reason for that is because she’s maybe sane – but she claims to really like the guy and it must be because of how deep Dave is. Let’s see…on this date he tells her that she swept him off his feet, that they are both really good looking, and that he’s ready to be fully transparent with Kate at the final Bonfire because he is a man who only knows how to be honest. (Stop laughing, you guys! I’m attempting to walk you through this thick and chunky horsesh*t!) Though he acknowledges that he will always love Kate and he’s never been as close to another woman as he has been to her, he sees Toneata as being on a different “level,” and I think we all know the level he’s talking about is purely based on conventional standards of beauty. But first of all, Kate is beautiful. Second of all, the fact that Toneata doesn’t inquire about what he means when he refers to this level thing tells me she a) Knows he’s this much of a superficial f*ck and is choosing not to care or b) She’s a woman who doesn’t like to ask follow-up questions because that sh*t was not covered in The Rules. What I do know for sure is that Toneata claims to see this philandering guy, who has cavalierly and continually humiliated his girlfriend, as a potential forever mate and all of it is almost too depressing for words.