The editors on Bachelor in Paradise are damn poets. Having already triumphed this season by vengefully creating the illusion that drunk Chad pooped his pants, this week they layer in the sounds of Ashley’s weeping while Jared is speaking to Caila, reaffirming his feelings. It plays like a joke from a Naked Gun movie and is absolutely mean and hilarious. It is hard not to enjoy a joke at Ashley’s expense, in the face of her heartbreak she continues to be really awful all the time. Ashley is the villain now and this week she takes center stage.
At first, Ashley’s reign seems destined to be a short-lived one. Not surprisingly, Ashley’s insistence upon talking and crying about Jared at anyone who will listen has not earned for her the affections of anyone, most especially Jared. At the rose ceremony things go pretty much as expected, coming down to final rose, with Daniel choosing. The remaining women are Sarah, who has just given Daniel a “half birthday” cake, the twins, neither of whom is interested in Daniel but one of whom (Haley?) kisses him in order to win his favor, and Ashley who just cries but seems to have garnered some interest from Daniel who goes on an apparently expletive-filled runner about the virtues of sex with virgins. It seems to be a coin toss whether Daniel will be a sweetheart or total creep in any given moment. The creepy moments make the sweet ones seem false. Daniel chooses Haley (it was Haley!), which is not surprising since Daniel has been outspoken in his opinion about the twins’ looks and he is incredibly shallow, even by the standards of this show. It is a relief to watch both Ashley and Sarah leave; Ashley because she is so awful and Sarah because she seems really sweet and nice and watching her have to work for Daniel’s affections week-to-week is pretty depressing.
What happens next is both startling and entirely unsurprising. Ashley, (characteristically) crying, demands that the SUV taking her away pull over and she walks back to post-Rose Ceremony-champagne celebration to throw herself upon the mercy of her fellow singles stating that she came to Paradise without an open mind and would like a second chance. After a pregnant pause, one of the twins chimes in a with an enthusiastic “yes” followed by some more yes’s followed by a less enthused yes from Nick (who knows what’s up), some side-eye from Carly (who feels bad for Jared and Caila) and stunned silence from Jared and Caila (who feel sorry for themselves). So Ashley is back. The scenario is the phoniest of baloney, it is difficult, basically impossible, to believe that those singles who do not receive roses can take it upon themselves to appeal to those who did not to allow them to stay and if they say yes, it’s all good. It is would also require a pretty significant stretch of the imagination to buy the notion that the others want Ashley to remain in Paradise. Ashley’s back because she is good TV.
Ashley’s pledge to back off of Jared and embrace the spirit of Paradise is thrown out the window like, immediately, despite Nick’s admonishment to “be her best self.” When Caila agrees to go on a date with new arrival Brett, she delights, hoping that Caila will fall for Brett, breaking Jared’s heart and drive him back (well, back-ish) into her arms. There is an insane glint in Ashley’s eye while she describes her most fervent and, honestly unrealistic hopes for Jared’s devastation and subsequent surrender. Ashley takes the opportunity to pour poison in Jared’s ear regarding his lady love, and attempt that mostly flops because it is totally obvious what she’s up to. When Jared is happily reunited with Caila after her date with Brett (which is a non-starter) and he tells her about Ashley’s maneuvers, Caila confronts Ashley, with remarkable civility. Ashley denies any guilt but nobody’s buying it.
Speaking of Brett, while he fails to hit it off with Caila, he does become quite popular in other circles. Specifically Izzy, who is so attracted to Brett that she ditches Vinny with alarming speed to seek a connection with the handsome newcomer. Vinny is devastated, and is threatening to leave. Also not doing so great are Grant and Lace. Grant is smitten and tells Lace that he loves her, and she responds, not graciously, by asking “what is it you love about me?” It is fine that Lace does not yet reciprocate Grant’s feelings, they have not known each other long, but come on. There is trouble in Paradise.
Looking strong this week are (delightfully) Nick and Jennifer, (disappointingly) Carly and Evan, (impressively) Jared and Caila, and (tiresomely) Amanda and Josh. Aside from Caila and Jared, none of these “strong” couples gets much airtime this week, which is fine because they aren’t very interesting. Turmoil is king on Bachelor in Paradise. Keep it up Ashley.