For the second week in a row, Bachelor in Paradise made us watch contestants eat foodstuffs off of each other's sweaty bodies. Human plating is not sexy, people! Plus, one woman went home broken-hearted, and a tropical storm forced a temporary evacuation of Paradise.
First up, we must take a moment to savor the cutest Bachelor in Paradise season 7 intro to date:
ABC Dr. Joe on 'Bachelor in Paradise'
Yes, I know it's a bummer that he's best pals with Br*nd*n, but Dr. Joe is still a truly decent human, and I will not tolerate any smack talk about him.
As you may remember from last week, we left off with Kendall watching glumly as Grocery Joe and Serena shared a cute little rendezvous on the beach. "She's clearly upset," notes Noah. "She is kinda unraveling." Kendall makes her way to the bar, where she pours her sorrows out to Wells. "Have you ever had to watch your ex kiss someone?" she sighs. "I don't recommend it."
ABC Kendall on 'Bachelor in Paradise'
"What's the plan for you going forward?" asks Wells. Kendall says she wants to talk to Joe again because… I'm not really sure why. Let's head over to the daybed and find out. "It's really been hard," she tells him. "I loved the way that we used to be. I still feel like you are my best friend, you know?" All Joe can do is listen and offer Kendall a shoulder to cry on, literally.
ABC Kendall and Joe on Bachelor in Paradise
"It's fine; I'm here for you," he says as Kendall weeps into his t-shirt. "I know you're gonna be okay." (Grocery Joe is being very sweet, so I will not make a snide comment about his painful decision to continue wearing socks with his man sandals. I will not do it, rose lovers.)
Once Kendall stops crying, she asks Joe why he came to Paradise. After a long pause, he drops this truth bomb: "To be honest, I came out here because I knew it was over between us. If I didn't feel that, I wouldn't have came. I was also kind of under the impression that you felt the same way. You were a big part of my life, and I'm always gonna care about you."
Dammit. I hate it when this stupid show makes me cry. Like many of you, I really loved Joe and Kendall together… but it's time for all of us to let that dream go. And honestly, Joe and Serena, despite their somewhat troubling age difference, are very sweet together, too. The heart wants what it wants, I suppose.
Anyhow, Kendall's leaving. She shares a goodbye hug with Ivan and her other Paradise pals before heading out in the Self-Elimination SUV.
ABC Kendall on 'Bachelor in Paradise'
"If she truly wanted me back, she should have told me before I got here," says Joe. "Because I really, really loved her. I see how upset she is, but you know, I'm feeling things for Serena at this point." Clearly.
ABC Serena and Joe on 'Bachelor in Paradise'
"This is the hardest thing I've ever been through," sobs Kendall as she rides out of Paradise. "And it just keeps going." Hang in there, girl. Someday you'll find a nice man who lives in the SoCal area, and everything will work out fine.
Of course, Kendall's departure leaves Ivan in the lurch — especially since the women are handing out the roses this week. And you know what that means, rose lovers:
ABC Lil Jon on 'Bachelor in Paradise'
That's right, Lil Jon! Please welcome two new hunks of man meat to Paradise.
ABC Ed and Demar on Bachelor in Paradise
It's Demar and Ed from Clare and Tayshia's season! Natasha, for one, is pleased. "I saw pecs. I saw abs. I saw traps," she gushes. "Bring in the new stuff. I'm ready." The other men in Paradise are understandably nervous. "They look obviously shredded. They look great," drones Aaron. "[They] may or may not be oiled up. Ed's legs are like two thick Christmas hams. They are absolutely massive. They would feed a whole village of cannibals."
What a pleasant image to contemplate! Demar and Ed get right to work, pulling Chelsea and Natasha, respectively. Demar pulls Maurissa next, which is notable because Becca informs us that Demar was the main guy she was hoping to see in Paradise. And yep, Riley looks a little nervous.
ABC Riley on Bachelor in Paradise
At least, I think that's his nervous face. Maybe he just needs another hit of protein powder? Fortunately for everyone who did not want to see a beatdown, Demar chooses to ask Chelsea, not Maurissa, on the date.
Still, the brush with another handsome dude gets Maurissa thinking about what's lacking in her relationship with Riley. "He's very good at, like, his actions, but he doesn't express his words," she tells Tia and that dude Tia is with. (Not gonna learn his name, sorry.) "I don't want to get blindsided at the end because he hasn't said anything, but I'm all in." Maurissa knows she needs to have the "where is this going?" talk with Riley, but she's worried that she'll scare him away.
We interrupt this existential crisis to bring you the Chelsea-Demar/Natasha-Ed double date, already in progress.
ABC Ed and Natasha on 'Bachelor in Paradise'
First, the women paint shirtless portraits of their dates, and then the art teacher instructs them to use the guys' shirtless chests as their canvas. In other words, a totally normal date activity that absolutely happens in the real world. Still, Natasha and Ed have fun, and later they toast with champagne and share a seaside smooch. Sorry, Dr. Joe, but it looks like you and your ukulele might be leaving on the next flight out.
In other news, it's time for Mari and Kenny's first official date as a couple! They get all dressed up and head to a nearby resort, where Chef Dora Vargas is waiting to make them dinner.
ABC Chef Dora Vargas on Bachelor in Paradise
Oh, my mistake. Instead, Chef Dora tells Mari and Kenny that they're going to be making their own tacos — which they will then eat off each other's bodies. Mmmm, delicioso. Welp, you heard the woman, Kenny. Strip down and get on the table! After "plating" some tortillas, meat, and guac on Kenny's bod — and then rubbing some sour cream onto his bare skin (blech) — Mari begins to chow down.
ABC Mari and Kenny on Bachelor in Paradise
Once again, this is a totally normal and sanitary date activity. Once Kenny hoses off, it's time for Mari to do her best impression of disposable dinnerware. She doesn't mind getting naked ("It's nothing he hasn't already seen," she murmurs) or making this terrible double entendre: "I think Kenny's very excited to eat my tacos. He's expressed that quite a bit."
ABC Kenny and Mari on Bachelor in Paradise
There truly isn't enough "blech" in the world for this whole situation. "Mari is the hottest plate I've ever seen," gushes Kenny. "She's a freak. Behind closed doors, you have to watch out." Correction: She's a freak in love! "It's so weird because we haven't been here very long, but I've fallen in love with Kenny," says Mari with a giggle. "I can't believe I just said that out loud." Neither can we, toots.
Sorry, we've got to cut back to the beach because I'm getting reports that James is trying to woo Tia with… crudely-painted slabs of wood? Let's take a look:
ABC Round of applause for James' art project.
Oh, dear. Apparently, the one on the right is supposed to represent Tia's tiny, "one-stoplight" town of Weiner, Ark., while the one on the left is supposed to be the skyline of NYC, where James lives. "It took us coming to Mexico to link up and kind of have a connection," he tells Tia, before sitting her down for a get-to-know-you chat. I mean, okay? I guess this qualifies as a sweet gesture? Tia must appreciate it because she allows James to plant one on her.
ABC Tia's vagina is not impressed.
"I'm conflicted, of course," she confesses later. "My heart is leading me towards James because he's such a great person overall… but sometimes you just have to listen to your vagina." And Tia's vagina is telling her that Blake (a.k.a. that other guy) is the right choice. Welp, that settles that!
Back at the resort, Mari and Kenny have cleaned up and are ready to confess their feelings for each other. "For me, I was all about you immediately for some reason," says Kenny. "I know we've sort of started talking about, like, the future… It doesn't scare me to talk about [long pause] stuff." Okay, so not a great start for Kenny. But eventually, he pulls it together and manages to spit out a romantic sentence: "I don't know how you feel, but, like, I do feel like I am gonna, er, I am falling in love with you." I'll admit, it is pretty cute how nervous he looks saying it. But he has nothing to worry about because Mari feels the same way.
ABC Mari and Kenny
"To have her say it back, that's what drives me to really want to consider the engagement part of this," says Kenny. "We are falling in love with each other."
As Kenny and Mari make their way to the Boom Boom Room, we're treated to a montage of other happy couples cuddling and smooching on the beach: Grocery Joe and Serena, Noah and Abigail, and Thomas and Becca.
Hmmm… why aren't Riley and Maurissa part of this montage? Oh, because she's over on the couch with Chelsea fretting that Riley hasn't been very vocal about his feelings for her. "Riley isn't the type of guy to get emotional or open up like that," she says. "I need to know why he holds back as much as he does."
To that end, she and Riley head to… wait, is there more than one Boom Boom Room? Or did this conversation happen on a different night? Because otherwise there's no way production had time to kick Mari and Kenny out and change the sheets/hose the entire room down with disinfectant.
ABC How many Boom Boom Rooms are there?
Anyhow, Maurissa asks Riley how he would have felt if Demar had asked her on a date. "I wouldn't have liked it, but you probably wouldn't have known it," he replies. "I probably wouldn't have said nothin' until later." And therein lies the problem! "That's not good," says Maurissa. "You've got to tell me how you feel."
Rather than pushing back, Riley agrees he needs to be more open. He admits that when she was talking to Demar, he was surprised at how much it bothered him — and he hoped that Maurissa told Demar that she was already spoken for. "I don't want you to worry about anything or anybody else coming in here and taking me away from you," Riley continues. "It's not gonna happen." As for why he's so closed off emotionally, Riley says it probably has something to do with the "not great" family situation he had growing up. "My parents got divorced when I was super young, and I remember the way my dad treated my mom," he says. "I remember how essentially he kept me and my brother away from my mom… It kind of shook me up."
Okay, now we're getting somewhere. Props to any man who can articulate the roots of his relationship anxieties. "I took the better part of this year to figure myself out," says Riley. "Where my father went wrong with our family, where I went wrong with him." All his dad wanted was to take care of his family, but "he just didn't know how," Riley says, his eyes welling up with tears. "I hate talking about this…" Awww, give him a hug, Maurissa!
ABC Maurissa and Riley in 'Bachelor in Paradise'
"I can do this. I can do this. I can do this. I can do this," Riley mutters, psyching himself up to talk more about his father. "It scares me a bit to know that even though he did everything in his power, he doesn't have a relationship with his children… and he lost his wife." Dang it! Is this stupid show making me cry twice in one episode?
Having talked so candidly about his insecurities, Riley is ready to tell Maurissa that he is, in fact, falling in love with her. He even wants Maurissa to meet his mom, you guys! Of course, Maurissa LOVES it. "I want you to be my man!" she says. "I know that I am falling in love with you." What a perfect night in Paradise! Surely the next day will be even better.
ABC Producers on camera? Never a good sign.
"I know you guys are all expecting there to be a cocktail party and a rose ceremony tonight," says Nameless Producer. "Unfortunately, that will not be happening. There's a dangerous tropical storm rapidly approaching, and as of an hour ago, it's heading straight for us. So for the safety for all of you guys, our staff and our crew, we are recommending that we evacuate immediately." Everyone looks shocked… except for Ivan, who just keeps shoveling down his lunch.
ABC Ivan enjoys his meal
"Earlier today I was stressed about who I was gonna give my rose to, but now I'm stressed about getting out of here and being alive," says Tia as she and the other Paradisians head out to pack up their stuff. Joe and Serena, faced with their first real separation, keep frantically making out. "I don't know when I'm gonna get to see him again," says Serena. "This could be the end of Paradise for us." Well, here comes the rain. Time for everybody to get moving. Chop-chop!
ABC Escape from Paradise!
As they file into the (gender-segregated) vans, producers start stacking the furniture together and covering what they can with tarps. That night, the beach takes a beating.
ABC God hates Paradise.
But in the morning, everything is fine. The contestants arrive back in Paradise, where Lil Jon is waiting to tell them they have one hour to get ready for the cocktail party, which — shocker! — is happening during the daylight hours. Gotta keep production on schedule, I guess.
With all this chaos, I've almost forgotten to mention which dudes are in danger of being sent home: James, Dr. Joe, Aaron, Ed, Demar, Blake, and Ivan. That means the three women who aren't in an "official" couple — Tia, Chelsea, and Natasha — have plenty of men to choose from.
Though Tia likes Blake ("the bad boy") more than James, she's a little annoyed that Blake hasn't made much of an effort with her today. "I want to be pursued," she tells him. "I want to be chosen." He immediately gets defensive, which is not a great sign. "There's nothing I want more out of this than leaving with you," he says. "Like, what more do you need to hear from me?" Pretty soon, they're in the midst of a full-on fight.
ABC Tia and what's-his-name bicker
"If you just tell me what you want from me, I literally would do anything in the world, Tia," moans Blake. Tia shoots back, "All I needed was for you to act like you gave two f---s for like two seconds when we first got down here. That's it!"
Okay, a couple things. Number 1: Blake clearly doesn't understand women. Like, at all. Honey, she doesn't want to have to tell you how to pursue her — she wants you to take the time and effort to figure out what's important to her and use that information to make her feel special. (See the "I want you to want to do the dishes" scene in The Break-Up.) Number 2: These two are definitely not fighting like people who just met. Seems like they might have had a little pre-Paradise flirtation going (which is fine).
Tia and Blake go around in circles for a bit, and they're both frustrated and annoyed when they part ways. Tia heads straight for James, who smooches her again — but it's unclear whether the kiss makes Tia's vagina want to put on its dancing shoes.
Ivan, meanwhile, says he's "not here to take anybody's rose," and he's just hoping another woman arrives in Paradise. Aaron feels bad for his friend, but he's more focused on entertaining Chelsea and winning her rose. He (or production) sets up a makeshift "runway" in the sand and tries to impress Chelsea with some of his own fashion-model moves.
ABC Aaron works the "runway"
Wait, is he a runway model or a Michael Jackson impersonator? Anyhow, Chelsea LOVES it. They cuddle on the daybed and smooch. "You're beautiful, and you're great, and you're sweet and full-package type deal," Aaron tells her in his weird monotone. "I think something great can come of it."
Hmmm… not if Ivan has anything to say about it. At some point later in the party, he pulls Chelsea for a chat on a different daybed. She seems interested in talking to him, and admits that when they first met, she thought he was "kinda cute."
Unfortunately, their flirty banter is happening about 15 feet away from Aaron, and the fuse on his very quick temper begins to smoke. Uh-oh, someone get the fire extinguisher…
ABC Chelsea and Ivan on 'Bachelor in Paradise '
"They're kissing?" he exclaims. "Bro, he just lied to me… I will slap that stupid beard off his face!" And that's exactly what Aaron decides to do next. He heads over to the bar area and calls to Ivan from the beach. "Hey Ivan — quick word, bro?" he says. "Come here!" What follows is perhaps the most pathetic display of absurd machismo that we've ever seen on the beach, as Ivan and Aaron spend precious seconds of their lives arguing over which one of them is going to walk 10 feet. Eventually, Aaron makes the trek, and pretty soon, they're in full Neanderthal mode.
ABC Aaron and Ivan have beef
Aaron really does need to control his temper, but I'll admit it was funny when he glared at Ivan and then barked, "Why is your lip quivering?"
Would you look at that, it's "To Be Continued" o'clock. With just two episodes of Paradise left — which look insane based on that preview — there is a lot to discuss. Should Tia choose James or Blake, or are neither of those guys right for her? Are you rooting for Maurissa and Riley as much as I am? And how many chicken nuggets can you fit in your mouth? Post your thoughts below!