This show might be at its best when it achieves self-awareness

Bachelor in Paradise, Season 2 Episode 2 Recap

August 03, 2015 / by / 0 Comment

Tonight’s installment of Bachelor in Paradise began with a bizarre opening sequence set to Footloose‘s “Almost Paradise,” part homage to the 1980s sitcom opening montage – with the cast members looking up as if they’ve been snuck up on before jovially acknowledging the cameraman – and part an acknowledgement of the show’s absurdity (and maybe a veiled shoutout to “Too Many Cooks”?) Regardless, I’ll maintain that the show is the best when it’s at its most self-aware.

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Shameless product placement.

To remind you of the current entanglements in the house: Dan likes Ashley S, Ashley S likes a parrot that may have attacked her, Carly likes Kirk, Kirk likes Carly’s small hands, Tanner and Jade like each other, Jared likes Ashley I, and Ashley I likes attention.

When we last left paradise, Clare had just arrived and received a date card. This episode kicks off with Clare consulting the girls on who is still available for her to ask out. With all the men Clare’s interested in already coupled up, the ladies of paradise suggest Dan the Libra. But just when prospects seem to be looking good for Clare, Dan and Ashley S return from the emergency room, though the reason for their visit remains a mystery. (I’m not saying the parrot did it, but I will say the parrot conspicuously wasn’t there).

I'm on to you.

I’m on to you.

In the absence of explaining what had gone down, the two share that they had a date in the hospital. Ashley S says it was the best first date she ever had which is just…wow. After Paradise, the show’s post-show show (because three hours of this crap this week wasn’t enough) gave viewers an inside look into the date, but I have nothing interesting to report.

Meanwhile, Clare mulls over who she’s going to ask out on a date, and the snarky little interns take advantage of Clare’s inability to have any kind of an internal monologue once more. Last season, it involved them syncing up her tears to footage of a raccoon, effectively making it look like Clare is confiding in the animal. This time, it’s a crab. (I really hate to break it to you guys, but Clare is clearly talking to a producer or some poor production assistant, who, unlike the crab, unfortunately cannot just scuttle away from this girl).

After Adult Baby Clare refers to relationships as “relashes” (really), Mikey T decides to take the initiative and ask himself on Clare’s date. Despite the fact that Mikey T has decided to override her Sadie Hawkins date card, Clare accepts.

“I want to go on a zip line or in a shark tank or on a dinosaur’s back,” says Clare to the rest of her kindergarten class, before she learns that they will instead be doing some tantric couples’ yoga. Mikey T’s excited because somebody said sex. “I hope we don’t have to rub ‘privies,'” Clare the Toddler confides to a producer, confirming why this country needs universal sex education.

Soon, the two are butt-to-butt. “My favorite position was downward Clare,” says Mikey T, who is unfortunately the smoothest man in the house. However, while they soak in a hot spring, Clare says she’d like to see other people in the house before coupling up. Mikey T’s meat brain interprets this as meaning Clare wants to be with him.

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Just look at that body language.

Back at the house, everyone hangs out in the pool except for Tenley, who simply won’t take the plunge (more on that later). Another date card shows up, this one for Ashley S, who picks Dan the Libra. Tenley, who is worried for her place in paradise, is quite upset.

On their date, Dan and Ashley S sit down to dinner (again, they conspicuously do not eat it) and discuss their recent trip to the hospital. “I had a lot of fun,” says Dan the Libra, without a touch of irony in his voice. Of all the dates on this show, the most successful was a trip to the ER. Ashley S muses that she isn’t sure if Dan makes her feel like a woman or a child.

On the subject of age-based weirdness, Tenley is concerned that she is too old for the group. Alas, everyone has coupled up. This includes Jonathan and Juelia, as well as JJ and Jillian, I guess proving that even the grossest individuals can find love if you literally trap a woman in a house with them. But there’s no one left for Tenley, and she frets that she is a cougar in a house full of cubs. “You’re no cougar!” assures Mikey T, who is also weirdly one of the more progressive — or at least sane — individuals in the house, reassuring her that being in her thirties isn’t old and that she’s allowed to date men in their late twenties. Because, duh.

However, when a newly-confident Tenley asks Jared to take a walk with her, Ashley I exclaims that she “hates it when they’re with old ladies” and bursts into her first crying fit of the night. (What’s really fascinating about this one is it bleeds into her one-on-one interview later, so Ashley I is both crying in the moment and recalling the moment, a cry that echoes through time and space). After taking a few shots, Ashley I snatches Jared back from Tenley, who laments that she doesn’t “want to work for it,” clarifying for everyone why she’s still alone. And then Tenley weeps, the tear baton effectively passed.

But Lauren is not convinced that Ashley I has secured Jared, and bemoans the fact that the two will leave Mexico husbandless. “You’re just awkward when it comes to boys and now we will have to go home,” Lauren admonishes them, as if they are two ill-fated sisters in a Jane Austen novel, never to wed.

Get thee to a nunnery.

Get thee to a nunnery.

Summoned by the sound of women fearing spinsterhood, Goblin King Chris Harrison emerges to announce that the first rose ceremony will soon commence. “Last night, JJ promised me his rose,” boasts Jillian, making me feel like that expression is a euphemism for something else.

But Tenley, desperate to stay in paradise, decides to pursue him anyway. “I know the JJ under there is sweet,” she says, really grasping here. She takes him aside and after a brief conversation, she gives JJ permission to kiss her. He does.

“I actually liked it. I’m happy that I enjoyed myself,” says Tenley of the kiss, proving you’re never too old to experience Stockholm Syndrome.

Also on the path to self-preservation is Ashley I, who approaches Jared once more to ensure he reciprocates her interest.

“My hands are super sweaty right now,” she admits.

“That’s nice. I like that,” Jared replies, and America collectively vomits.

But before you think the chemistry between these two can’t get any more out of control, Jared sneaks off to talk to Clare. Ashley I notices, which brings our tear tally up to two. But I can only imagine the absolute volume of sob that would emit from this woman were she to hear the extent of their conversation. Jared, just as duplicitous as that parrot (allegedly), assures Clare that if she does not have a rose by the time her name is called, “my rose is going to you” (try and tell me that’s not a euphemism). Even if Clare receives a different rose from a different man, Jared promises that he will spend time with her next week.

With Jared and Clare pining for each other, the cast goes into their first rose ceremony:

  • Tanner picks Jade.
  • Kirk picks Carly.
  • Dan picks Ashley S.
  • Jonathan picks Juelia.
  • Mikey T picks Clare, who considers that she may not have been clear enough with Mikey T about her feelings.
  • Jared, with Clare holding Mikey T’s rose (hubba hubba), picks the sister wives.

This leaves JJ, who complains that he’s just not ready to make this sort of decision. He is, however, ready to receive a lot of attention while doing it.

“Is there something you want to say?” Chris Harrison asks.

“No, I won’t be able to,” JJ hams, really gunning for that SAG card.

In the end, he picks Tenley, which means Jillian and her butt bar go home, its mysterious censorship remaining unanswered. What was it hiding? The answer to why Ashley S went to the hospital? Next week’s Powerball numbers? The world may never know.

The episode ends with a trailer for the upcoming season, but I’ll say right now the true shocker here was the reveal that Bachelor in Paradise will air on both Sunday and Monday nights. That’s right. Sister wives, sister nights, sister episodes. Because what else were you doing with your Monday night?

Ashley I Tear Tally: 2 for the night, 6 total.

Award for the Most Barf Hand-related Compliment: Jared, stealing the title away from Kirk’s “you have small hands and an average-sized body” move last episode.