Bachelor in Paradise, Season 2 Episode 4 Recap
When we return to the second helping of the two-night, three-hour (not counting After Paradise) tour de farce that is Bachelor in Paradise, Mikey T takes to the beach with a new, fresh face. His beard is gone, and this is super troubling to me, not only because it makes him almost indistinguishable from several of the guys in the house, but also because he’s decided to name his recently shorn beard Clare. “I’ve called lots of things my beard,” says Mikey T, and that’s that.
He continues to make more ageist jokes about Clare, who I will repeat is **thirty-four**. Ashley I – who Kirk aptly describes as a child in an adult’s body – fixates on Clare’s age as well. She’s anxious about Clare’s date with Jared, worrying that Clare will “use her voodoo magic” on Jared. I can only assume voodoo magic here means basic social skills, a concept that probably feels supernatural and exotic to Ashley I.
But none of this phases Clare at all, who is instead upset to discover that she will be bungee-jumping over the ocean on her date with Jared. As it turns out, Clare is absolutely terrified of heights. This brings me to one of the things that people who go on these shows continue to not understand: if you tell Chris Harrison your fears, Chris Harrison will use these fears against you. (Which means that if I’m ever on Bachelor in Paradise, remind me to say that my greatest fears are chardonnay, having my taxes done for free and an entire men’s volleyball team feeding me Doritos). However, Jared steps up to the plate and kisses Clare to encourage her, and Clare feels ready to face her fears.
Meanwhile, Juelia declares that her butt hurts, before the worst (or best?) editing move ever cuts to her saying that she had the best date with Joe. But Joe wants Samantha from Farmer Chris’s season (Anybody remember this person? Because I do not.) to arrive already so he can ditch Juelia.
Back from her date, Clare describes the events to some of the girls and Ashley I, overhearing, begins to cry. “I don’t want to hear Clare and her storytelling where she thinks she’s the princess and she’s talking to all her animal friends,” Ashley I whines, and I genuinely appreciate Bachelor in Paradise’s restraint for not using this as an excuse for dubbing in Clare’s wino raccoon friend, who now has its own Twitter account.
Then, Ashley I cries again over always having to compete with other girls for the men she likes, which may have something to do with the fact that she’s been on two competition-style dating shows. Call it a hunch.
But the real competition here in paradise is for Tenley’s heart. Michael of Desiree’s season has arrived and he’s got his sights set on a particular woman. “Her name is Tenley,” he tells a producer, “but to me she’s Elevenley.” Date card in hand, he wastes no time to ask her out. And though he was not intimidated by Joshua, JJ feels threatened by Michael’s education and career. Joshua, meanwhile, just wants Michael to get diarrhea.
The beardless Mikey T decides to inform Juelia that he is a good match for her and then tries to kiss her. Fortunately, even the removal of his facial hair cannot net Mikey T a match, and Juelia literally dodges the smooch. My problem with Mikey T is that not only does he interpret mere eye contact as consent, he seems to mistake interest for entitlement. So he tries to kiss Juelia again, somehow believing that the second time may be the charm, and Juelia just walks away from it.
Meanwhile, Tenley and Michael show up for a dinner that I bet you any amount of money they will not eat. There, our boy Michael lays it on thick. “You were my Plan A,” Michael tells Tenley, “there is no Plan B.” Which I can only hope is not actually the case here because they apparently don’t put condoms in the fantasy suite. The two kiss when their romantic, untouched dinner is suddenly ambushed by the most massive, excessive mariachi band I have ever seen, filling the room in an ant-like progression. But because The Bachelor franchise is really just a love story about capitalism, Tenley and Michael dig it.
Back at the house, Jared confronts Clare about the fact that she is eight years older than him. Although he says that Clare looks great, he believes that he shouldn’t be dating someone he doesn’t feel the spark and butterflies for, which really means that he sees Clare as a walking piece of attractive but rapidly decaying carrion. (Once again, folks, she’s 34.) But Clare continues to be a class act, telling Jared, “that’s unfortunately something I can’t change” and decides that Jared simply isn’t ready for someone like her.
At the pre-rose ceremony cocktail party, Juelia announces to Chris Harrison and the rest of the cast that Joe will be getting her rose. Ashley S, trying on coherency for the occasion, says that she’s angry at Joe for using Juelia. And she’s not the only one: soon Jonathan is taking Juelia aside to bring up his concerns. But unlike Captain Smarmy Mikey T, Jonathan doesn’t use this as an opportunity to try to put his mouth all over her.
But if you thought Mikey T was predatory, meet Joe, who has caught wind of the fact that Mikey T and Jonathan are badmouthing him to Juelia. He proceeds to inform the producers that he wants to break Jonathan’s jaw until his brain is coming out of his ears (what?) and that he’s going to take his brass knuckles to Mikey T’s face. The most dangerous people on this show, though, are the producers, who allow Joe to stay in this house.
Unaware of the peril he is in, Mikey T approaches the sentient garbage that is Joe and says that he believes that Joe is politicking for Juelia’s rose. Not only does Joe promise that he is not screwing around, but he turns the conversation around to say that his behavior is no worse than the fact that Mikey T has asked several women for a rose. Thoroughly chastised, Mikey T leaves Joe alone. Also made ashamed by Actual Sociopath Joe is Jonathan, who is brought to tears when he is made to feel that his confiding in Juelia about Joe is not only a betrayal, but a terrible example for his son. Joe the Monster follows a crying Jonathan back to his room and uses the “your son will be proud of you card” to praise the poor guy for his repenting.
With the rose ceremony drawing close, Tenley says that she is conflicted about her three men. “Now I’m in a love square and it’s time to think outside the box,” she says, though I’m more affronted by the fact that she called JJ a trustworthy man.
On the beach, Ashley I and Jared, ageists in love, have a god talk. “I want to get to know you better,” says Jared, just really grasping for that rose now that he’s definitely not getting Clare’s. For good measure, he kisses Ashley I.
When Chris Harrison summons his subjects to the rose ceremony, Clare announces that she didn’t come to Bachelor in Paradise to play games or strategize. What follows is a really long monologue about how the contestants on this season are not there to find love and that she is unable to find anyone here to be compatible with.
Then Clare starts crying, which everyone thinks is strange but I kind of understand. After all, she’s been given the whole fuckboy treatment from Mikey T, and she’s had to endure comments about her age (34!) from two actual children. Also, I am fairly sure that there is a very specific form of trauma unique to survivors of reality television.
“Basically, she’s looking for attention,” says Ashley I, consummate professional in that particular arena.
Jade, also upset by Clare’s speech, interrupts the rose ceremony to say that Clare offended her, and I am fairly sure Jade doesn’t understand what the word “offend” means. But the ceremony carries on, with Carly picking Kirk, Ashley S picking Dan and Jade picking Tanner to the surprise of no one. What is shocking is that Tenley picks Joshua above JJ and Michael, apparently forgiving him for that one time he did molly and for these atrocious dance skills.
Unable to handle the situation, Clare dashes away from the rose ceremony in tears, pursued by Chris Harrison. The episode then cuts to a “To Be Continued.”
But before you think things can’t get any more dramatic, the preview for next week reveals that Samantha arrives and that Joe is all over that. So fasten your seatbelts, because the road to hell just took a detour through paradise.
Ashley I Tear Tally: 2 for this episode, 11 total.
Asshole Award: A tie between Joe and the producers who keep him on this show.