With lovebirds like Jade and Tanner, and Kirk and Carly, mucking up Bachelor in Paradise (Hotel) with their, eh hem, “normal” relationships, I’d like to wish Moonshine Joe a hearty happy birthday for saving season 2 of this spin-off series.

Without him, all we’d have for drama is Jared breaking up with everybody while attempting to maintain his nice guy status (pair him up with Jade and I bet he’ll be over Kaitlyn real quick) and Ashley I. filling the night sky with her wails of despair. That, and the comedy of JJ distracting from his awesomeness by opening his mouth to talk and Mikey kiss-raping anyone who doesn’t want to give him her rose.

But amazingly sadly, the tables have turned on the now-29-year-old birthday boy, as fantasy girl Samantha has decided that having everyone hate you is not an ideal trait in a mate. She was willing to give him the benefit of the doubt despite the red flags because, really, who doesn’t love a good dad bod? 

Until, of course, she realized he is an insecure little bay-bay who needs constant reassurance from his twiggy security blanket. And she learned this on roughly day four. 

And thus it came to pass that on a warm summer evening in Mexico, during the most pathetic of self-thrown birthday parties, Joe Bailey received a big ol’ box of “My mom says I have to be friends with all the boys in class” as his present, crushing dreams and identifying a new target on which to unload his considerable love-hate rage. So if Sam was hoping for a clean drama-free break, well, then she just didn’t know who she was texting — of the many men she was apparently texting. 

So how will Joe react when his ex accepts another man’s date invitation so soon after the breakup? With the grace and dignity of a southern gentleman? Or with the wrath of a scorned hillbilly? I think we all know the answer. After all, this is Bachelor in Paradise (Hotel). Let’s get to the action.

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Knocking on Heaven’s Floor

Nick fits right in with this crowd because his theme song flexing pose reveals two horrific text tattoos on each bicep, one of which reads either “notorious” or “victorious.” Neither is defensible. 

The gang is reliving the previous evening’s dual breakups, which allows Ashley I. and Joe to commiserate over their shared heartbreak. Is a new romance brewing? Their children would have hooves. Thankfully, Joe shuts it down as soon as Ashley busts out the waterworks. 

Juelia and Ashley S. try to comfort her, but it’s useless, as she is now ruined for every other guy who will pale in comparison to Jared’s perfection. And she can’t blame him because obviously she’s the one who is terrible. 

Carly drops by with a date card for Mikey, so he and Juelia are headed for Guadalajara to find out if their connection can be every bit as bizarre as Michelle Money’s relationship with Cody. They need to bring her back on the show because she’s awesome.

Mexican Summer Slam

The couple of convenience travels via private plane to a Lucha Libre wrestling match, and the trip includes some lap sitting and the making out that was previously shot down. They’re ringside for several high-flying matches, tossing in a kiss here and there, and then it’s time for some participation awards. 

They test out their best grappling moves in the ring before opening up an invitation to extend the date overnight. He finds her easy to talk to and she thinks he’s a good man, so they’re both eager to see if there’s anything more substantial there. He promises to be a gentleman, so she decides to let him inside her suite. The next morning, after breakfast, she straps on a Lucha Libre mask and takes him to the woodshed.

Meanwhile, in light of Mikey’s date card, Kirk feels the need to step up his game with Carly. So he surprises her with a romantic sunset fishing date off the jetty, and they both consider themselves the luckiest people on the face of the earth. 

Hell Hath No Fury

Back at the house, Joe is fuming over Sam’s normal behavior, and he’s determined to make her fess up about her role in the drama. I will admit, it’s pretty shitty to tell him to do whatever it takes to stick around then dumping him for what he did to stick around.

So Joe fetches his phone as proof of “the plan” and hangs it over her head until she chooses between — and I’m not making this up — being lovey dovey with him and eventually getting engaged in a happy love story, or crashing and burning. So, basically, blackmail! It’s the key to every good relationship. 

He tries to convince her to be with him, comparing them to Bonnie and Clyde, and he accuses her of actually coming to paradise for Nick. She points out that even psychos are capable of having decent text conversations (my interpretation of her words), and he simply keeps threatening to release the messages. But neither one of them is willing to take responsibility for anything. 

Joe Dirt

The misery continues for Ashley I. and Joe, who has gone full-on Castaway with his pink I-turned-my-old-shirt-into-a-hat doo-rag. He’s desperate to talk to Sam, but he can’t think of a proper approach that bypasses all the douchebaggery that has transpired. Ashley I. suggests that he attempt a complete reintroduction. 

He rehearses his “Hey, I’m Joe, I think you’re pretty. Nice to meet you,” like, 100 times before actually trying it, then he offers her a s’more, which she declines. He keeps the ruse going, asking her where she’s from, and she sits in awkward silence. You almost need to look away, it’s so painful. 

He stalks off, complaining about how childish she is being, and as much as he deserves every bit of this, it’s almost hard not to feel bad for him. It’s just sad.

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The Competition Arrives and Joe’s Sanity Leaves

You have to commend the way they ordered up the arrivals because at this exact moment, Justin Aurelius and a date card show up with sights set on the same girl. Personally, I think he should go for Juelia because who wouldn’t want to unite a son named Aurelius with a daughter named Ireland? And they’re not technically related, so they could get together and ruin a third generation. 

Joe, Jared and Tanner give him the 411 on the couples, but it doesn’t deter him from the target of his affection. He pulls Sam aside, tells her she’s “f***ing gorgeous” and asks her on the date, all while Joe speculates that he’ll be telling her how great he is as a person. She accepts, prompting Joe to scream, “I’m losing it!”

Joe’s depression falls below the baseline, meaning everyone is on suicide watch. But Sam isn’t capable of totally cutting things off with him, telling him she wants to start fresh with a clean slate. 

He doesn’t get how going on a date with another guy will help her figure out if she wants him, but he’s still sure they’re going to end up together in the real world. She’s not there yet, nor will she ever be, but the game continues. Time to update that hashtag. #SamMadeHimHerBitch, indeed. 

Bachelor in Paradise airs Sundays and Mondays at 8pm on ABC.

(Image courtesy of ABC)

Bill King

Contributing Writer, BuddyTV

Emmy-winning news producer & former BuddyTV blogger. Lover of Philly sports, Ned, Zoe, Liam and Delaine…not in that order