After the relationship retreat – where exes showed up to berate people they’ve already spent years emotionally abusing – finally ends, it’s time to get back to a more standard episode (complete with the more standard forms of abuse) of Are You the One? It’s morning now on the island and rain is falling in great buckets from the sky. Neon paint is potentially forever tattooed on the dirty feet of our contestants and Samantha is ready to move far beyond the bullshit of her ex and into a relationship where the guy she’s with is more than happy to post her face all over his Instagram. Over in the yoga yurt, Asia and Tevin are doing some deep breathing exercises before he explains that watching Kenya avoid him all last night so she could cuddle with her ex hurt him so deeply that he was forced to suck on Jasmine’s lips in an outdoor shower while cameras filmed them. Tevin’s not sure what all this back and forth hurting of one another means for his future with Kenya, though if he could hear me as I scream at my TV, he would know it means that their relationship is doomed beyond repair and he’s gonna have to learn a far more effective coping mechanism in the coming days besides deep inhalations of breath. By the way, Kenya is thrilled with how last night went because she was able to spoon with her ex-boyfriend all the while knowing Tevin will always take her back, though Jasmine – the Perpetual Side Piece – now thinks she and Tevin will be together forever and she was right to swallow her dignity for a couple of weeks and just wait for the perfect moment when Tevin had to lower himself to his second choice. What word means the exact opposite of “romance”? Because that's the word that perfectly defines this entire situation.
Over in another yurt, Bria is furious for a change. She’s got a hoodie hiked over her bonkers skull and she’s decided that today the target of her rage will be Morgan because Morgan had the GALL to lie to Bria about her feelings for Zak and it doesn’t matter that Morgan owes nothing to Bria and it doesn’t matter that Zak called Bria trash and it really doesn’t matter that they are all on a fucking dating show because the only thing that matters is the dystopian universe that is Bria World is Bria’s feelings and those feelings usually involve misguided and quaking anger.
When the rain finally stops, Terrence J greets the group while wearing his camouflage finery and he sends them back to the house where they cheerfully eat tacos together like a huge dysfunctional family. During this fleeting calm moment, Kwasi takes Kenya aside to let her know what went down between Tevin and Jasmine and Kenya actually has the bullshit audacity to be furious even though she spent the entire previous day perched on her ex’s lap while Tevin was forced to watch. These people suck. Anyway, Kenya walks away, grabs Jasmine by the arm, asks if she sucked Tevin’s dick last night, tells Jasmine to shut the fuck up, and bounds over to Tevin like the very normal woman she is. “Why would you do that?” she demands of him and he pretty rationally explains that he hadn’t been expecting to see the amount of emotion he did between Kenya and her ex. That he’s able to communicate in full sentences instead of through interpretive dance or through an always-adorable silent treatment makes Kenya realize that it doesn’t matter that she went down on Lewis that once time or that she ran her fingers through her ex’s braid a few short hours ago while Tevin’s balls dangled in Jasmine’s mouth. So what? These two are soul mates! Oh, and Jasmine? She’s been relegated to being the runner-up again and that’s sad and all, but don’t you worry because she’s very used to it.
Also: At one point, Tevin and Kenya winked at one another and I’m pretty sure something died inside of me. There’s a chance that thing that died was whatever usually controls my gag reflex.
Speaking of very solid couples, Zak and Morgan hang out on a lawn chair and list the facts they’ve now learned about one another because listening and then cataloguing information is key to any relationship. What are these scintillating facts they discuss? Well, Morgan is from D.C. (nope, it’s Maryland), she has one roommate, she was born in August, and she sometimes fears confrontation. “That’s me to a T,” Morgan announces with glee – and if that’s actually all Morgan is, that’s just fucking sad. And since he knows her oh so well, Zak and Morgan decide the time has come for them to head into the Boom Boom Room, so I hope Bria has been sedated with some of Tevin’s deep breathing or a bit of rat poison because you know she will try to barge in and smother Morgan with a pillow.
Also: Someone changes the sheets in the Boom Boom Room, right? Asking for a friend who works at the Department of Health.
Terrence J comes back the next day to help them determine which four people are going on the next group date and this week those people are Kenya, Morgan, Kwasi, and Brett. With both Tevin and Zak not selected, the group will have no shot at shoving either couple into the Truth Booth and now two girls in “relationships” – sorry, but that word seriously requires quotation marks and you all know I’m right – are going on dates with what seems to be two random guys. The date involves a little bit of surfing and then some confessions. Kwasi tells Morgan she’s “pretty as fuck” and she responds, “I feel like you’re just so superficial.” You can’t really blame Morgan. She’s used to men like Zak who show how profound and deep they are by remembering the month some girl they’re doing happened to be born. Kwasi tells Morgan that she can keep trying to have something with Zak, but when Zak goes back to Bria – which we all know will happen because both of those people are nuts and nothing bonds a couple like a shared psychosis – she will know that maybe Kwasi was the one for her. Meanwhile, on another rock, Kenya and Brett discuss how very hilarious they both are and how they are such good friends even though they do not share a romantic spark in the slightest.
The dates end and now it’s time for another Truth Booth. Sent in this week are the good-only-on-paper Brett and Kenya. As Tevin is scared to death that his girl and his best friend could be sent away to the Honeymoon House all because a fake relationship expert deemed them soul mates, Jasmine is crossing her fingers and her toes and her corneas because if Kenya leaves, Tevin will have to settle for her! The rays of light scan Kenya and Brett’s bodies and we find out these two are not a perfect match and never have you seen two people so relieved.
What’s that? It’s time for Bria to lose her mind yet again? For this installment of This Girl Is A Fucking Lunatic, Bria approaches Morgan, snaps at her with her fingers, and makes Morgan sit while she stands so she has better vocal range to announce, “I just want you to know that I’m the baddest bitch in this house, the realest female in this house. ” I truly wish Morgan would have laughed in Bria’s face or inquired if being “the realest female” means Bria was born with four ovaries, but she just stares at her and says, “Thank you for that” before walking away from the scary psychotic lady.
And now it’s time for the next ceremony and there are differing schools of thought as to how to proceed. Should every former couple split up for the night and pair with someone new so they can see if those beams of light change or should people continue choosing based only on feelings and less on strategy? It’s the women doing the picking this week and the choices end up as follows:
· Kayla, clearing deciding to head down Strategy Road, picks Brett.
· Asia selects Cam. Should they work out, their first official date will probably not include a political rally.
· Samantha chooses Moe. Even Terrence J appears confused.
· Morgan picks Zak. Bria is still an asshole.
· Nutsa selects Andrew.
· Lauren – in her one sentence of the evening – announces she’s picking Daniel.
· Cali picks Tomas.
· Jasmine gleefully chooses Tevin.
· Kenya selects Lewis.
· Bria chooses Kwasi.
With the new strategy of choosing random people now officially locked into place, it’s time to see how many of these matches are actually correct and it turns out that only one perfect match was made. “I’m flabbergasted,” mutters Terrence J. “Tonight was trash. I don’t know what kind of strategy you were trying to do, but you damn sure weren’t using your heart.” Then their island parent sends them to their rooms to think about what they just did and I don’t know the layout of those rooms, but I can only hope Bria’s room is far from wherever the knives are kept.
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