The most dramatic season ever of Bachelor in Paradise (except for that other one) is drawing nearer to its conclusion every week, but that doesn’t mean the action is slowing down. More previously-rejected suitors and suitorettes are arriving each week, rolling up onto the Mexican beach like waves of invaders marking their own personal D(-bag) Day.

Set to join the fray this time are a man who doesn’t know the meaning of the phrase “overstaying your welcome” and everyone’s favorite science teach-, errr, educator. And then a little later, another member of the “humans can’t be trusted to name their own offspring” club arrives, hopefully for a three-way with Justin and Juelia.

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But those are developments we will cover in due time because first we have to get back to the never-ending roller coaster ride that is moonshine Joe and his infatuation with Samantha. Seriously, they’re the Space Mountain of terrible relationships, only in this case, the ride gets stuck at the top and you have to walk down those terrifying tiny stairs to safety. 

On After Paradise, Joe swapped his dick mask for a “normal guy” demeanor and made his case to America that he was the unwitting prey of the succubus, calling his actions shameful and claiming he is embarrassed to watch himself. It was almost believable until you consider that he pulled the same thing on Mikey and Jonathan, even eliciting tears from the latter. 

Still, even though no one would trust him with a stuffed animal, let alone a human person, he apparently succeeded in bringing the perception of Sam down to his level of awfulness. Whether it’s warranted or not remains to be seen, but I think it’s a safe bet that villains will keep on villing. 

The Trail of Rejection Begins

We pick things up with the arrival of Justin Aurelius and that thing on his face, with phasers set on “stun” and aimed squarely at the object of Joe’s creepy affection. It’s a rainy morning after she accepted Justin’s date, which Joe calls “the dumbest shit I’ve ever seen in my life” and “not fair to Joe.” After all, how could such a strong initial connection fall apart in only a few days? Um, maybe because you’re waving more red flags than China?

But a night of thinking has prompted a change of heart, and Sam cancels her plans because it’s not fair for her to be with Justin while thinking about Joe. So Justin is devastated, but at least paradise’s Jake and Vienna are back together. Justin asks out Amber, who says yes simply to make Dan jealous, because he’s moving too slow for her liking. 

Then the man who has been on nearly as many Bachelor-related shows as Chris Harrison shows up, Chris Bukowski is coming in hot, bothered and unafraid of ruffling some feathers. His fifth appearance (Bachelorette season 8, Bachelor Pad season 3, Bachelor in Paradise season 1 and a failed attempt to join Bachelorette season 10) begins with him deciding to get wasted before figuring out who he wants to ask out. And apparently, his last name serves as his drunken alter-ego. It’s why I’m the king when the sun goes down.

Kiss Me, You Dancing Fool

Amber and Justin head to Sayulita for some Salsa dancing, and the petting gets heavy even though Justin has two left feet. His twirls and dips make her feel sexy, and she tears off his shirt to reveal blotchy burn lines that can only be the result of a sunscreen-related prank. 

That leads to a makeout sesh in the ocean, after which Amber cries over the possibility that she made a mistake in being untrue to Dan. 

She does open up to him about it, and he crushes her soul by admitting there was no pit in his stomach when she accepted Justin’s date. He was totally cool with it because there’s no connection and he doesn’t want to lead her on. With the boom sufficiently lowered, Amber’s tears flow over her regret at blowing a chance with Dan the man.

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Adios, Chris, We Hardly Knew Ye

The Bukowski train is blind sloshed and off the rails by dusk, and basically everyone thinks he’s disgusting. When Joe calls you a toolbag and no one disagrees, you’re doing something wrong. He all but falls into the fire pit before asking Tenley to go on a walk, and her response of “shoot” doesn’t bode well. He slurs her out on a date, and while she’s flattered, she’d never let him kiss her. 

Chris stalks off, throwing drinks about the set. Then Joshua (who has a thumb tattoo?) takes a bad situation and makes it worse by asking him for his date card, since he’s not going to use it, which he then offers to Tenley. As the words of strangers haunt his drunkenly clouded mind, Chris quietly takes off his mic pack and excuses himself from paradise.

A Borrowed Date is That Much Sweeter

It’s off to Guadalajara, where Tenley and Joshua spend the day with celebrity chef Francisco Ruano. The trio goes to the market and eats a variety of Mexican delicacies, including aphrodisiac cheese, then Ruano prepares a feast at his restaurant. 

The food (and more horny cheese) is every bit as delicious as the chemistry, and the date ends with a carriage ride and the happy couple enjoying more with their mouths than just the cuisine. 

Meanwhile, back at the resort, Dan is trying to figure out how to save his ass now that he shot down Amber after dumping Ashley S. And the next logical progression is Samantha, who is suddenly the one with whom he sees himself. The only thing standing in the way is Joe, who he is more than willing to make a casualty. 

Jared’s Wild Ride

One man is going home during the rose ceremony, with Justin, Dan and Jared seemingly on the chopping block. And Ashley I., still reeling from Jared’s “let’s be friends” speech, is trying to win back her man. And since she’s a self-proclaimed natural-born writer, she has penned a note for Love-Man to peruse and ponder.

She rambles on for roughly 28 pages (front and back!), and Jared does his best to skim the important parts of how great he is in every facet of existence. 

Justin pulls Amber aside to profess his like, and he eases her mind to the point where she’s ready to go after Jared. Wait, what? Torn between Dan and Justin, so she’s going after Jared? She interrupts Jared’s letter time to express her intrigue and ask if he’d accept her rose were she to offer him one.

But Ashley I. isn’t ready to give up on her epic love story yet, so she doesn’t take too kindly to another woman advancing on her turf. Amber is the one who brings the news to Ashley, and you have to appreciate the ballsy honesty. Still, Ashley reacts the only way an Iaconetti can, with tears.

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Time for an Joe-tervention

Joe and his giant pit stain are staring at Samantha’s boobs and asking how many times she thought about him today, as Dan watches with disgust and compares the relationship to generic ketchup on a filet. And if Joe is ketchup, he’s definitely catsup. 

Dan pulls Sam aside to throw Joe under the bus and then roll back and forth over him a few times, calling him a liar who will screw her over. He doesn’t want to see her end up with a bad guy because where there’s smoke, there’s fire.

Joe believes that everyone wants to tear him down simply because he’s dating the prettiest girl, and so he steals Sam to pull her into the reeds for a quick kiss. She tells him he can always do that, reminding us that dumping someone on their birthday has no lasting consequences. She reiterates to Dan that she hasn’t seen anything negative yet, but she appreciates the talk.

“Best case scenario going into tonight,” Dan says, “Joe just shoots himself in the foot. Samantha realizes how much she likes me. I get a rose form Samantha. Everyone lives happily ever after.” Except Joe. F**k that guy.

Flower Power

It’s finally time for someone to go, with Ashley I. just hoping she gets her opportunity before Amber. Carly starts off by choosing Kirk, Jade picks Tanner, and Tenley goes with Joshua. Juelia takes Mikey off the market, and Ashley S. locks up Nick. 

Ashley I. is up next, and Jared pauses for a briefly awkward moment before he accepts. A disappointed Amber has to go with Justin, leaving Sam to choose between Dan and Joe. And she shocks the world by picking Dan in a bombshell that sends shock waves reverberating across paradise and beyond. 

She’s tired of the drama and wanted to get rid of the villain, and Joe feels stabbed in the back to the point where the other folks actually feel bad for him. And he has no intention of going quietly. Or with dignity. 

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Joe demands an explanation, wondering what Dan said to change things, accusing her of leading him on and chastising her for all that she put him through. He claims he’s the one and that scares her, and she’s like, uh, no, dude, I don’t even like you. 

He threatens to show her text messages, while she counters that she came to paradise interested in four different people. He wishes she followed her heart instead of listening to other people, and he predicts that her options are to marry Joe or end up old and alone with lots of cats. It’s the way to every woman’s heart, especially when the blackmail didn’t work.

Joe is not a happy camper on his way out, and he vows that if he runs into Dan Cox in the real world, there will be an altercation. Then he shows the infamous texts, which advise him to do whatever it takes to stick around until she arrives and not get completely wifed up yet. But she tempers it by saying that it’s okay if he does. His response is, “Are you being 100% serious?” but then he doesn’t scroll down any further.

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The Aftermath

The gang is still delightfully reeling from the night’s events, and Sam faces them to apologize for everything and drop a load of bull about how this isn’t her. Everyone sees through it, and Jared calls her out for being just as guilty. 

Ashley S. asks if she talked to Dan before the show, then goes on a weird rant about how it’s all a game to Sam because she’s so pretty like Aphrodite, even though she wasn’t born out of a flower or a seashell. Now Sam is just like a dead bird to her. 

Sam runs off crying and is comforted by Dan, who is now completely under her spell. He blames everything on Joe and believes her to be a good person, so he sees no red flags. He compares them to Carly and Kirk, which is a stretch considering he also states they’re probably together by default, but he knows they can forge something special.

Science educator Chelsie is waiting for them back at the hotel, with a date card telling her to choose a man who floats her boat. Tanner, Juelia and Carly are leading the GROSS (Get Rid of Slimy Sam) club’s daily meeting, and so Carly gets crafty while giving Chelsie the scoop and convinces her to ask out Dan, who she describes as “very available” and “the way to go.”

Then Jared ends the episode with a dramatic reading of Ashley’s letter and vain efforts to hide his laughter over its ridiculousness. End scene.

The Couples

So, at this point, we’ve got legit couples in Kirk and Carly, and Tanner and Jade. Then there’s the pretenders in Josh and Tenley; the reluctant in Jared and Ashley I., Nick and Ashley S., and Amber and Justin; the desperate in Mikey and Juelia; and the delusional in Dan and Sam. 

Do any of them have a chance? And how will kale-lover Mackenzie and no-nickname Jaclyn (she was on Ben’s season and then Bachelor Pad) shake things up? And will the show be able to sustain itself without Joe? Oh, wait, we’ve still got Ashley I. And she’s about to play the V card. Stay tuned.

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