Ashley G. is spending her day with Jose on a golf course. She’s pretty terrible at the sport, but at least she’s smiling. Later, she and Juan head to a restaurant and she confides that she’s not sure Rick will be able to forgive her for what happened with KB. Juan is the exact right man for the job right now. When Ashley attempts to change the subject so she won’t have to confront her own thoughts, Juan casually stabs his fork into his meal and matter-of-factly says, “If you don’t talk about it, you’re not working on it.” I like this guy! And I think maybe he’d be good for Medinah! Someone on production set them up, okay?
Though we still have no clarification on what (or who) went down between Esonica and Kareem the night before, they are having a lovely time on their picnic. Kareem compliments Esonica’s natural beauty and she is starting to think he may very well be the man who can help her bring all her walls down. And as she allows herself to get giddy about the possibility of a new love, her old love is swearing to Payton that he has to make Esonica see how deeply he loves her. I’d usually caution against taking any of Payton’s advice because she hasn’t come off all that well on this show, but she’s very helpful and wise here and she tells Gavin to be as open with Esonica as he possibly can. She then tries to make the guy feel better by saying that Esonica can’t possibly be ready to throw away such a deep relationship like the one she has with Gavin, but wasn’t Gavin making that very thing a possibility by bringing her on this show? Esonica ends her night kissing Kareem and Gavin ends his night by eating ramen with Payton and I think these back-to-back scenes are clearly meant to teach us very important lessons, like how choices lead to consequences and that reality TV was probably conceived by Lucifer himself.
Also: I’ve been off carbs since June 11th, but I would really like some ramen.
Casey is still using his time to orchestrate a fantasy reunion with his estranged girlfriend, and he’s lost enough mentally at the moment to convince himself that being in a room together will be enough to bring Ashley running back to him. I know he sees these thoughts as rational because Ashley used to be so invested in him, but he chose to thrust the girl into a totally irrational situation. Now he’s attempting to negate what he’s done so that he – and he alone – can rewrite the rules. I feel for the guy, but holy hell, there is a level of arrogance here I cannot quite stomach. And speaking of stomachs, Ashley H.’s heart drops into hers when Ben smiles at her over dinner. He also marvels that he’s genuinely falling for her. To the seventeen Casey fans out there, I feel like now may be the time for you to accept that you probably will not asked to be part of his wedding party in the coming months, but it would still be lovely of you to send him a gift. A large box Kleenex or a nice mood stabilizer would probably be very appreciated right about now.
Over their dinner, Dominique tells Kate “You excite me. You make me happy.” And though she looks drawn to him, there are a zillion emotions flittering across her face. I’m not camping out inside this woman’s brain, but my guess is that she’s not sure she can trust him, not after the supposed love of her life so boldly betrayed her, and though she really wants to kiss Dominique, she also wants to hold on to the moral high ground she’s been standing on (alone) for weeks. But finally Kate leans in and kisses Dominique and being that I’d prefer for this nice person to end up with a piece of lint covered in dogsh*t and the vomit of my enemies rather than with Dave, I hope she and Dominique work out. And if they don’t, I hear celibacy is really not that terrible after a while.
The next morning dawns and it’s pretty easy to figure out which couples banged the night before. Kareem and Esonica are happy as can be and are discussing whether or not the majesty of nature they keep encountering is a sign from the universe that they belong together. Now, I’m not sure I buy the idea of the universe orchestrating things, but what this sequence clearly indicates is that it’s totally f*cking possible to have a deep conversation with someone on this show and the reason we never see scenes of Dave and Toneata having such conversations is because they don’t actually say anything to one another other than “You’re pretty!” I’m rooting for Esonica and Kareem because I believe they actually have a connection that goes beyond the physical.
Though it’s looking like Dominique and Kate also did the deed and he sweetly gets out of bed to bring her some coffee, I’m not sure Kate will be able to disengage from Dave once they’re back in the real world. Maybe watching footage of Dave waking up beside Toneata and agreeing they’re officially boyfriend and girlfriend will be enough for her to cut the guy out of her life forever – or at least cut his jean shorts (!) into itty bitty pieces that she can throw in his face as she tosses him out the door and out of her life. And should she need a pair of scissors that can slice through denim (and probably flesh), she should feel free to call me.
Also: Lest you think Dave is only an assh*le to Kate, do not despair! He is a universal assh*le! While he brings up moving to Los Angeles again to Toneata, he also tells us that he still has to figure out where things stand with Kate and he is not at all closed off to returning to her in New Jersey. “I’m just trying to be honest,” this liar once again says with a straight face. Men like him are why I sometimes consider joining a convent – and I’m Jewish.
And then we have Casey, a man who has decided to buy a ring so he can officially begin planning what I like to refer to as Casey’s Desperation Proposal. There may be nothing sadder than watching a willfully blind man saying things like “Why wait when we both want it?” when he knows full well his girlfriend is currently waking up next to another guy.
F*ck, I hope that ring is returnable.
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.