Mexico might be a hot place, but the nation that Donald Trump despises has nothing on the fiery cast of Bachelor in Paradise (Hotel). In fact, I may consider voting for him if he’s willing to build a second, smaller wall around the Playa Escondida resort in Sayulita, trapping the guys and gals there for our 24-7-365 self-loathing enjoyment.

Many thanks to Jennifer Lind-Westbrook for dutifully filling for the previous week’s episodes. I was off celebrating my fiance’s bridal shower, which means I got to arrive two hours after it started, not drink, watch her open presents (we are now the proud owners of an ice cream maker) and then load all the heavy stuff into the car. Penis straws for everyone!

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It’s the type of event that is clearly not in the immediate futures of any of these yahoos, with the possible exception of cutesy tootsie Carly and Kirk. And speaking of the consummated love birds, I’m actually a bit disappointed that they’re in paradise. They class the place up too much. 

It really is a gathering of some of the world’s worst peeps, led by Joe and Samantha. Anyone who can make JJ look appealing has to be terrible; thankfully, he uses his After Paradise time to remind everyone what a colossal douche he is.

Even America’s sweetheart, Jared, leads Clare on a bit before using the age gap to wriggle out of that one. And now that he’s out of excuses, he’s apparently going to fall back on the old “I’m still in love with the Bachelorette” shtick to free himself from the soon-to-be deflowered Ashley I. 

Now let’s knock out some teeth and get somebody pregnant.

Everyone in Paradise Has Crabs

We pick things up with Joe and JJ’s heated confrontation over the whole Juelia sitch, because pretend violence solves everything. You’d think JJ would’ve realized after the Men Tell All that fighting probably isn’t his thing, even if he’ll never learn that it’s not manly to settle things with your fists. Unless Kaitlyn is watching. Then it’s just called dating.

Joe takes his frustrations to Jorge the bartender, while JJ considers offering his rose to Juelia since no one else is going to give her one. She says thanks but no thanks, though, because at this point, she’s ready to go back to her daughter. 

Joe and Samantha continue their away-from-the-group smoochfest, but he’s freaking out over how he’s being treated by the rest of the guests. She’s like, chill out, Nancy, and don’t worry about other people. 

Jockeying for a Flower

There are seven guys and 10 women, so three of them will be saying adios. But, first, it’s time for the airing of grievances. Joe speaks up in what he calls an effort to squash drama, delivering the concocted story he and Sam cooked up when they didn’t realize they were on camera.

Clare plays the role of Juelia’s greatest ally, since she has nothing else to do at this point, pointing out that Samantha is a terrible friend. Everyone knows they’re being fed a boatload of crap, though, and Tanner finally mans up and calls Sam out as a liar. There’s a lot of bullshit being flung around. Where’s Chris Soules when you need him? 

Meanwhile, Ashley I. is still infatuated with Jared, and she’s hoping for a pre-rose kiss after several lip-lock-free days. But instead, they sit in awkward silence on a beach canopy bed before he finally obliges and literally makes her head explode. Like we’d be so lucky. 

Two of the women on the chopping block are newbs (teddy bear bartender) Amber and (blondie) Megan, who is arguably the stupidest person who has ever been alive. But luckily for JJ, she’s easy on the eyes. He and Dan are the swing votes, and Tenley tries to sell him on Juelia. But she wants to stay without accepting a sympathy rose, so she pitches Chris Harrison the idea of bringing back Mikey, who went home petal-less due to the Joe fleecing, despite being genuine and looking out for her.

Finally a Rose Ceremony 

Joshua picks Tenley, Jared settles for Ashley I., Kirk goes with Carly, and Tanner chooses Jade. 

Then it’s JJ’s turn, but he remains torn between Juelia and Megan. So he shocks the world by choosing Ashley S., which he calls the hardest thing he’s ever done. He then reveals that he broke up with someone to come to paradise (which seems infinitely more difficult), and this experience has taught him that she’s the one he wants. 

As triumphant military music plays, he uses words like “selfless” and “courageous” to describe himself and drops one-liners like “You don’t know broken until you’ve walked in my shoes” and “These girls all think I’m awesome, and that excites me.” He says his goodbyes and hops in the van, and at least one shower in the resort is now scum free. 

Joe goes for Samantha, and Dan gives the final rose of the night to Amber. It means Megan, Clare and Juelia are leaving paradise sans love and, in one case, brains. Clare, jaded by the search for a worthy mate, officially retires from Bachelor Nation. 

Joe is gloating over Juelia’s departure, which he sees as the end of his drama, until Mikey swoops in and brings her back. Ask Chris Harrison and ye shall receive.

Tequila in Tequila 

The gang returns from the rose ceremony to find a date card for Tanner, and so he and Jade leave for a private plane to Tequila, Mexico. They tour a distillery and whack some agave, then admit that they’re falling for each other before finding a key and a note inviting them to extend their date overnight. 

Back at the resort, Joe is all in on Samantha, describing her as his ideal wife and the potential mother of his demon babies. But then Nick Peterson (of Ashley’s season, before my BuddyTV days and thus without a nickname) arrives with his eyes on the same prize, and it appears he has a similar pre-show relationship with her. 

He immediately asks out Sam and takes her for a walk, while everyone else salivates at the prospect of Joe’s internal combustion. But she declines, and the delicate balance of paradise remains tranquil.

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One Tequila, Two Tequila, Three Tequila, Floor

Mikey fills Nick in on the Joe drama, so he turns his attention to Ashley S. They’re supposed to go to an island for their date, but it’s closed because of Hurricane Carlos. Unfortunately, they don’t speak Spanish, so they have no idea what’s going on. Instead, they get wasted on shots before a tequila massage. 

All the drunk, oiled-up touching and several extreme close-ups of Nick’s junk amp up Ashley’s sex drive, and at the urging of a chatty crow, she jumps his bones for an intense make-out sesh that continues over champagne, shots and strawberries in the jacuzzi. Ashley’s so sloshed that she loses whatever ability she previously had to speak coherently, but she feels more chemistry with him than she ever did with Dan.

Falling in Love is So Hard on the Knees

Tanner and Jade retire to their hotel, where he’s itching for a conversation about their future and the potential of a post-paradise real-life relationship. He wants to officially make her his girlfriend, but he’s scared of their lives going in different directions after this nonsense is over.

She reciprocates the feelings, though, so it’s all good in the Tequila hood. That is, until he creeps it up by repeating “I’m falling for you, Jade” over and over like you get a prize if you say it the most. Once is enough, Tanner, even if you recognize that she’s way out of your league. Still, she doesn’t seem to mind.

Joe Opens a Birthday Box of Self-Sabotage

As Nick and Ashley nurse their hangovers, Joe announces that he’d like to celebrate his 29th birthday by having a date night with the girl of his dreams. And he has something special planned as well. But even though everything is just peachy, he’s somehow decided that girls like Sam don’t end up with guys like him. 

He starts peppering her with questions about who else she’d want to go out with and why she likes him, then he accuses her of being “different” today. Because nothing is sexier than insecurity and desperation. 

He chases her into her room while she’s trying to dry her hair, and she admits that all the negative talk around the resort is taking a toll on her. He wonders if she needs space and if they need to work on things, which is heavy stuff after, like, four days of making out with someone. 

He confides his fears in Amber and Joshua, who apparently has a giant bladed snowflake tattooed on his right side. As if the tat situation couldn’t get any worse on this beach. Without question, it’s the most heinous batch of body art ever collected in one location. They’re walking cautionary-tale PSAs against drunken mistakes.   

Wait, Ashley I. Hasn’t Cried Yet?

Jade and Tanner return from their overnight date and tell everyone they’re boyfriend and girlfriend, and Tenley surmises that they “took their relationship to the next level.” It makes Ashley I. jealous because she wants that feeling, and she’s hopeful that Jared has a nice date night planned for them. But in reality, he’s preparing to break it off because he’s not over Kaitlyn. 

She’s dolled up for romance, and instead, he tells her he wants her to experience paradise with other guys. He doubts their chemistry, saying it’s not fair to her to have stronger feelings than he does, and he doesn’t want her to miss out on other potential relationships because she’s the sweetest girl in the house. Holding back tears, she tells him to leave, but he doesn’t want to go if she’s upset. It’s such a typical “nice guy” move to try to console the girl whose heart you just broke.

The wails begin, followed by a call to the former Bachelorette to ask what the [expletive] she did to Jared because “he’s obsessed with” her and “can’t stop thinking about” her. “He can’t get over you and is completely consumed,” she whines. “And it just sucks for me.”

The Worst Birthday Present Ever

It’s fitting that the worst person ever would have the worst birthday ever, but Joe is trying to salvage his relationship by throwing himself a two-person party complete with chocolate-covered cherries and a decorated “Happy Birthday Joe” plate. 

But it’s about to become a party for one because Sam is feeling more emotions than ever before. And despite giving him the benefit of the doubt, all the anti-Joe sentiment and drama is a red flag, especially so early in a relationship. Chris Harrison openly confirming that Juelia was deceived at the rose ceremony put her over the edge, and now she wants to be there and be herself, have fun, talk to everyone, go on dates and not start out a relationship like this. 

She hopes that he understands her decision, but he refuses and offers to walk her out of his party. She breaks the news to the rest of the cast, who officially welcome her to paradise. But if you thought this was going to sit well with Joe, well, I hope you enjoyed your first ever Bachelor-related episode. 

He’s on the warpath, and he’ll do whatever it takes to out Sam as a manipulative succubus. He has his phone, with all the text messages he previously denied existed, and for some reason he is under the impression that showing them will “clear his name.” 

He hopes she’s a smart enough girl to realize what she did was wrong, which is the mother of all irony, and he argues that his villain status is all her fault. For good measure, he ends the rant with a resounding good-guy “Gotcha, bitch!”

Break out the Moonshine

Things are about to take an interesting twist with the arrival of Justin Aurelius and that thing on his face, who are about to incite Joe’s rage by making a beeline for the newly-available Samantha. So how will Joe react when Sam accepts Justin’s date? Methinks with class and dignity. 

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