A sweet reader of my recaps remarked last week that Bria’s crazed behavior — you know, the kind she exhibited each of the five times she flew into a rage during the premiere episode because a guy she’d known for all of forty-eight hours was speaking with other girls during a DATING SHOW — would lead to producers tossing her from the villa for good. There’s a true sense of logic behind that kind of rational mindset, but my response was that I guessed that not only would Bria never be thrown off this show, but she would instead become the newest face of MTV and eventually appear on every single one of the network’s shows. The girl has chosen to present herself as an unstable hellion who experiences only the briefest pangs of retrospective regret and that, of course, means two things: 1) She is a casting director’s fever dream come true and 2) Anyone who questions if this girl should be anywhere but on a therapist’s couch is someone I would probably choose as a lifelong friend.
With Bria still in the house, the episode obviously begins with her ranting and raving on the floor of a closet. Kwasi attempts to pull her to her feet, Asia predicts that Bria behaving like a loon will scare all the other guys away, and Zak announces that he is not looking for any sort of immature relationship, which is he must have chosen to appear on a reality show where the relationships are always so deep and meaningful. At some point, Asia pulls a hysterical Bria into the confessional to make Bria – who is emitting a low-rumbling gurgle of fury that I’m sure shouldn’t concern any of us – swear she will not put her hands on anyone once they leave that small room. Not put her hands on anyone? This is something Bria cannot promise! Asia eventually leads Bria back into the house while demanding she get her shit together and I realize it’s only 2018, but since the Democrats don’t really seem to have a viable candidate for the next election, I hereby propose we all consider Asia! Sure, we’ve only known her for the two hours she has appeared on our TV screens, but she can’t possibly be any worse than what we’ve already got, right? At least she’s calm in a crisis.
Bria stalks into the house, walks over to Zak, and decrees their relationship officially over. Had Zak been holding a bell in that moment, he probably would have shaken it back and forth to celebrate his freedom. Now, I don’t think for a second that these two are over because making good decisions doesn’t appear to be the thing that bonded them in the first place, but at least the insanity has subsided for a millisecond. And now that those two are on a break, we get to revisit the grossness that is Tevin and Kenya! You remember Kenya, right? She’s the one who sat atop Lewis on the couch and just grinded back and forth across his lap while everyone watched before taking him into the Boom Boom Room. Tevin, who fancies himself Kenya’s soul mate, would like to hear what went down when she was in that room of boom and it turns out Kenya is what went down. She sort of shrugs and admits she gave Lewis head, but it’s not like it meant anything. Besides, she explains, she’s a wild girl and nothing will change that and anyway, Tevin was talking to Jasmine and that pissed her off enough to stick Lewis’ scrotum in her mouth. Big fucking deal! Still, Tevin came into this house hoping to get engaged (stop laughing!) and he’s willing to move forward with Kenya who now wants to prove that she is a loyal girl and maybe I’ll believe her after she heads upstairs to brush her teeth and gargle Lewis out of her system.
The next morning, Bria dons one of Zak’s shirts – which I’m sure was a totally innocent wardrobe choice that did not in any way make me think about the upcoming day when she will skin him and then wear her brand new Zak Shirt to the mall. She’s also icing her hand because she punched a bunch of shit yesterday and there’s always the chance she could punch more shit today, especially if she hears Nutsa espousing Zak’s cuteness to Morgan. Meanwhile, Morgan wants Zak also, and I don’t know if it’s his scruff or the fact that they’re all stuck on an island and their options are limited, but I cannot fathom the hold this guy already has on so many of these girls. Morgan decides it would be prudent to talk to Bria about her plans to get closer to Zak because she thinks the chances of Bria murdering her in the night would perhaps lessen if she’s just straight with her. Bria lets Morgan know that she will not even see the two of them speaking because she no longer so much as looks in Zak’s direction, and that’s probably a good thing, because the second Morgan and Zak sit down to chat, he pulls her into his lap and starts repeating, “You want me, don’t you?” It reminds me of the time I was kissing some guy on my couch and he stopped to ask if I liked kissing him and the whole thing all of a sudden just felt blech and it was the last time that guy was ever allowed near both me and my couch. Watching Morgan cuddle with Zak causes Nutsa to lose her mind. She is flabbergasted Morgan is going after her guy. (Shouldn’t she be more – or at least equally – annoyed with the guy who had his tongue in her mouth last night? You know, the one currently spooning with someone else and demanding to be told how badly he’s wanted?) Nutsa retires to her bed to sob and Morgan comes to check on her only to be told it’s her fault Nutsa is weeping into her pillow. “Morgan is the biggest liar,” Nutsa tells us, and though I’m starting to lose it a little bit that she is not including Zak in the collection of liars she’s furious with, she does have a point. Morgan happens to be a huge fucking liar. She actually sits there, berates Nutsa for inferring what her conversation with Zak entailed, and then explains that she actually told the guy to respect Nutsa. Meanwhile, Kenya – the one who cares so much about Tevin but then stuck someone else’s dick in her mouth – crouches near the door to listen to this conversation all the while criticizing how very messy Morgan is, what with her proclivity to be into more than one guy at a time. These fucking people…
Also: Cali and Brett are getting close and they are adorable together. And since neither has a great likelihood of ramming a fist down someone else’s throat, I expect we will get minimal footage of their courtship.
It’s a new day and Bria is wearing her own clothing when Terrence J walks in. He’s there to tell them once again how badly they all suck at relationships, to expound upon the greatness of the fate button, and to watch as it’s determined which four people are heading out on dates. It’ll be Asia, Nutsa, Cam, and Andrew this week, and if you’re not really sure who Cam and Andrew are, you’re not the only one. We really shouldn’t fault ourselves; the editors have turned this into The Bria and Zak Show, so how could we possibly remember the somewhat normal people in the house? Apparently, some girl named Kayla likes this Cam guy and she’s concerned he’s heading out without her and I would be happy to invest in them and all, but doing so is hard since I don’t recall them so much as existing in the first place. As for Andrew, I now recall that he’s the one who only yammered away about the weather earlier in the episode, but he’s hoping to hit it off with Asia, a girl who swears she finds the guy sweet but also swears that she’s way too much for him and he wouldn’t survive dating her for more than a minute.
After playing in huge blowup balls in what Nutsa calls “The Specific Ocean,” Cam and Asia plop down on a blanket to chat. And since Asia has a brain, she begins by asking Cam if his political views impact his relationships. Then she tells him that while she can respect someone else’s political views, she probably could never be in a relationship with someone rocking a MAGA hat. When she’s told she’s writing off someone just because of differing ideologies, her answer is simply, “True,” and I’ve now decided that I love Asia. I do not, however, love Nutsa. While chatting with Andrew, he asks if she would look twice at him on the street and she blurts out, “Nah. I’m not attracted to you.” Now listen: both Asia and Nutsa spoke honestly to these guys and I respect honesty. But there was a level of kindness to the way Asia spoke and a cavalier assholeness to the way Nutsa spoke and that’s where this can be differentiated. As for Andrew and Asia, she’s wasn’t sure about him because he seemed like sort of a wallflower and all he spoke to her about previously was how yesterday’s cloudiness still burned him like he’s made entirely from the bark of a birch tree, but as they talk on the date, she realizes he could be more interesting than she first realized.
Asia and Andrew are about to have the opportunity to find out if they’re an actual MTV-approved match! They were voted by their fellow houseguests into the Truth Booth. They walk in holding hands and they’re acting all sorts of nervous, and lights that do absolutely nothing in this process flash across their bodies, and the results come back that these two are not a match. They’re disappointed, but Andrew decides to see this as a learning experience he can grow from. And on the opposite spectrum of personal growth, Kenya approaches Jasmine to scream in her face that she does not appreciate how Jasmine is into Tevin and that she announced during the Truth Booth meeting that she didn’t want Kenya to pop off on her – you know, like Kenya is doing right now. “You are a wishy-washy type bitch,” Kenya explains eloquently before storming away while complaining that Jasmine is trying to make her seem like a punk bitch and that is the opposite of who she is and anyone who doesn’t believe her can go ask the ten other girls in the house who are deathly afraid of her and will therefore answer using only words Kenya would like to hear.
In the swing where he first wooed Bria, Zak sits with Nutsa and explains that while, sure, he wants a girl who is hot, what he’s really looking for is loyalty. Hearing this, Nutsa swears up and down about her capacity for loyalty and she positively beams when he says that he thinks they’re a match. “He’s so sweet,” she gushes. “He tells me all the right things…” and that’s about when I tried to reach through the screen, grab Nutsa by her totally loyal neck, and beg her to wake up because this guy says all the right things to every single fucking girl he meets while trotting out stories about how his last girlfriend was unfaithful, as though such betrayal gives him license to lie to every woman in the house. And just as Nutsa excitedly recounts to her friend how perfect Zak is and how his eyes are so pretty and how much he appreciates honesty and loyalty, Bria meets up with him in the kitchen and asks him to come talk to her for a second.
Where do they “talk”? In the Boom Boom Room.
What is said? Absolutely fucking nothing. She throws him on the bed, leaps on top of him, whips off her shirt, and covers their naked bodies with a blanket.
Who is surprised by any of this? Well, technically any viewer harboring a smidgen of self-respect, but I think we all knew where this was heading. Oh, and Nutsa. Nutsa will be very surprised that her loyalty-touting Prince is nailing someone else immediately after he just rhapsodized about the essential quality of honesty.
“Maybe I need to change my ways,” Zak wonders afterwards in a post-coital moment of awareness. “Maybe I need to be a better person.” And then he thinks for a second about how the better people in the house do not currently have three obsessive girls ready to maul one another just to get close to them, so he smirks like the asshole he is and says, “Nah.”
Later that night, it’s time for the Ceremony. The women get to determine their matches and it goes as follows: Kenya picks Tevin – who I’ve finally figured out looks like one of the guys from Milli Vanilli – but he makes sure to hedge his bets by saying he also has a connection with Jasmine. Kayla picks Cam because she doesn’t care what hat he wears. Jasmine chooses Lewis, and that throws Asia for a loop because he was going to be her pick. Asia then selects Brett. Nutsa selects Daniel because the guy she thought she was going to pick fucked someone else earlier in the day. And then Samantha, clad in an outfit of red velvet, decides to throw the gauntlet all the way the fuck down. See, she notices the obvious – that Zak and Bria make one another miserable – so she decides she will choose Zak as her match. While I can’t compliment her on her taste in men, I can compliment her for almost succeeding in getting Bria’s head to spin around like a demon just inhabited her body. I will say that, for once, Bria is finally annoyed at the right person and she would very much like to take the opportunity to hurt Zak as badly as his shadiness is hurting her.
“Don’t say you respect me because you don’t!” she says to Zak in front of everyone. Then she announces that Zak said Samantha sounds like she’s been smoking for forty years. And Nutsa? Well, Zak said Nutsa is ditsy.
“I’m a very very intelligent girl,” proclaims the person who spent yesterday frolicking in the Specific Ocean.
“Be mature,” Zak begs Bria. Then – very maturely – he announces, “I don’t mess with trash.”
“I’m done with this shit,” Bria broadcasts for the eighty-second time – and I don’t even think she believes herself at this point.
And still the Ceremony rages on. Samantha goes ahead and selects Zak while Bria makes gagging motions. Then Bria selects Mo. (I do not know who this Mo person is, but I’m frightened for him.) Morgan picks Andrew. Cali selects Tomas. Lauren chooses Kwasi and finally Maria selects Shamoy. When the beams of light flash through the sky to let them know how many matches they were able to make, they learn that this week they also made three correct selections. They haven’t fallen behind, but they also haven’t progressed – unless progress on this show is measured in self-righteous indignation, naked betrayals, and a battle for a guy who wouldn’t piss on any of them if they burst tragically into flames.
Nell Kalter teaches Film and Media at a school in New York. She is the author of the books THAT YEAR and STUDENT, both available on amazon.com in paperback and for your Kindle. Her Twitter is @nell_kalter