I recently read a story about a woman who was arrested after sending 65,000 text messages to a man with whom she’d gone on a single date. Wrapped in a noose-like psychosis, she would send around 500 texts a day to this guy. A few of the texts were probably sweet, you know, in a deranged sort of way, but others included lines about how she wanted to bathe in his blood. When she was finally tossed in jail for stalking, she happily gave interviews where she spoke of her deep love for a person she’d spent one evening with and then she widened her scope of conversation to blather about the Illuminati. Some reporters deigned to inquire about why she broke into that guy’s house and then proceeded to take a bubble bath, but those were questions she didn’t really care to answer.
As for my reactions to this horrifying urban-legend-come-true, they were as follows:
1. I once sent four texts to someone without receiving a response. In my defense, text number one was a regular text. Text number two was an “everything okay?” text because it was rare for him not to respond quickly. Text number three was sent because I thought maybe he died and I was hoping his corpse would respond so I could officially come to terms with his demise. And text number four? That one was sent because I’d started wishing him dead and such feelings briefly caused me to embrace the crazy. Sending four texts without getting a single response made me feel lightheaded, probably from the loss of all that dignity, and though my brief dance with hysteria pales in comparison to the loon now incarcerated, hearing her story helped settle in me a deep resolve that I will never again send someone another text if I haven’t heard back from him. Lesson fucking learned.
2. My second reaction was to stare hard at the picture of the woman who enjoys fantasizing about smoothing platelets of blood from a guy she dated once across her dewy skin to make sure I wasn’t looking at a picture of Angela from Ex On the Beach.
While both women have dark hair and a look in their eyes of spaced-out madness, I’m relieved to report that Angela is not currently locked up in an Arizona prison. She is still in that villa, still determined to make her weeklong romance with Tor’i last, and still willing to forgive him for acting out a scene from Human Centipede with Faith. And as she dreams of which Lucite heels she will wear to tromp down the aisle, Tor’i has found himself another soul mate: Chase. Their love is profound and it’s mutual. They have so much in common! They both work out, they both pretend they can find legitimate love on a reality show, they were both born with a Y-chromosome, and…well, that’s it, but it’s probably more than he’s got going with Angela. Listening to Tor’i rhapsodize about his connection with Chase is like watching the very young woman and the very old man from Best in Show talk about how cosmically aligned they are because they both enjoy soup. That said, the time Tor’i spends with Chase is calm. It’s fun. It never ends with someone screaming in his face. And it could all possibly come to an end because, on this episode, it’s the exes who get to vote one of the original cast members off and it’s certainly possible Tor’i or Chase – or even Angela – will be the one sent back into the ocean atop some bullshit float shaped like a platypus.
But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. The vote will come later and there’s so much to concentrate on first, like how Paulie and Derrick wile away rainy afternoons by philosophizing about how the vibe would be so much different if eliminations weren’t a part of this process. They are absolutely correct, but what’s also correct is that they chose to go on an MTV dating show and there’s no fucking way this show was pitched to the network with words like “serene” and “forever joy” and all of these people know exactly what to expect from a reality show, so I have zero empathy for them. As for Angela, she believes she’s put so much effort into her relationship with Tor’i – the one that’s been going on for less than two weeks and has already been riddled with break-ups – but both she and her horrifying fake lashes want this to work. God, I really hope there’s at least one extra cell available in that Arizona prison…
The flags announcing whose exes will potentially appear break through the clouds and rise high into the sky. It’s Chase, Victoria, and Faith who are summoned to the beach, and though the appearance of someone you once had a complicated falling out with is usually the sort of thing to cause feelings of trepidation, Faith is thrilled. Maybe the person showing up will fuck her! She really needs physical contact that goes beyond some guy licking her rectum. Maybe the guy who shows up will be that one person roaming the hemisphere who told her the bird noise she makes is adorable, though if that culprit does appear, I advocate drowning him on the spot. For her part, Victoria is not particularly worried about who could be showing up from her past. Her concern is that yet another of Chase’s exes will arrive and she’s intent on pursuing something with a man who has shown zero interest in her thus far. But if her crush on Chase doesn’t pan out, maybe she can rekindle things with her ex, Luis. Who is Luis? Well, he’s got tattoos and he flexes when producers tell him to and he used to date Victoria in college until she cheated on him and he’s here for exposure…I mean, he’s here for closure. (I swear, the thirsty transparency of these people makes me queasy.) Victoria’s not all that happy to see him because she’s been keeping secrets from Luis and she knows they’re bound to come out now. Next to emerge from the saltwater is June. He and Faith had a one-night stand after meeting in a club and both of them feel they have a shot at making something work because most great love stories begin with the sentence, “So we met at a club and she made that delightful bird noise with her tongue and then we banged until the sun came up and I never spoke to her again until an opportunity for a free trip to Hawaii landed in my lap just like Faith soon will because this girl is nothing if not entirely desperate.” Suck it, Lord Byron.
Once everyone returns to the house, Jasmine is shocked at how teeny-weeny Luis is and she’s got a point. Seriously, if he and I stood facing one another, the guy would barely clear my nipples. Then Cory tries really hard to use the word “comprehensive” in a sentence, but the entire thing goes awry since Cory’s not so good with the words. Victoria ditches Luis in the kitchen and leads her friends upstairs to let them know she cheated on Luis and she has no desire to rekindle anything. “Why do you think he’s here?” posits Angela, and what I wouldn’t fucking give for everyone to scream, “He’s here because of the cameras!” at the very top of their lungs. This isn’t a mystery and to pretend it is feels insulting. What is actually a mystery is what will occur when the Shack of Secrets once again beckons like a Siren’s song – you know, if those Sirens had been given group lobotomies and were then encouraged to lure only douchebags to their shores. The message in the bottle requests that the exes head down to the Shack where they are told they have the voting power this week. Their response to this news is to jump up and down with total abandon and I think this may be the most responsibility any of these people have ever been trusted with and simply writing that sentence makes me feel sad. Once they return to the rest of the group, Lexi gives the message to Paulie to read and I’m just gonna go ahead and politely request that Lexi enroll in just one Women’s Studies class where her final exam will be to read the fucking message in the bottle aloud herself and not hand it over to some guy who used to cheat on her.
The reactions to the news that they are no longer in control are as follows:
· Angela is terrified she or Tor’i will be sent packing because Derrick is still clearly obsessed with her since not every woman can wear a live mongoose as a set of lashes from dusk all the way until dawn. That shit takes fortitude, people.
· Victoria fears all those lies she told Luis will bring forth his thirst for revenge and she will be thrown unceremoniously back into the waves before she even gets to blow a single person there.
· Cory downs whatever urine-colored liquid is left in a glass bottle.
· Lexi crawls atop Paulie’s lap and bursts into tears because her love for the OGs is bigger than the moon and way bigger than the stars and she cannot imagine harming someone so severely by sending them home from an MTV reality show that will end soon anyway.
· Derrick springs into strategy mode and secures Cameron’s promise to vote out anyone on Derrick’s radar.
· Taylor announces that she will walk out of that house if Cory is the one eliminated and I’d think that was very sweet, but the guy she is so attached to sums up the altered process this way: “You’ve got the kings on the chopping block and the peasants trying to take us out.” My response to this sentence – after I complete my full-body heave – is to announce that I am forming a charitable organization whose sole purpose will be to randomly approach people who have appeared on reality shows and caution them to never publicly declare themselves royalty, especially this week of all weeks. I mean, have some Markle-flavored respect!
Now that the most power they’ve ever had in their collective lives has faded away into nothingness, much like all of these relationships soon will, the OGs realize they’d better start coming up with some creative ways to secure their spots. Angela is the first to test out a strategy and that strategy is lying. With a straight face, she swears to Derrick that she’s had his back since he showed up, even though she has publicly announced she wants him gone so frequently that she may as well get a job as a Town Crier. (Hopefully that job comes with benefits, like a good deductible on a therapist.) Faith’s method is less about telling bold lies and more about taking a bubble bath with a man who first waxes poetic about the size of her ass and then slips into sentences ruled by metaphysical nonsense about the magical connection they share. All of these musings are entirely unnecessary; Faith is desperate for attention and physical contact and she will bang him even if he scrawls “I am a sociopathic homicidal mute with the smallest dick in all the land” across the steamy bathroom mirror using just his bath-shriveled testicles.
Speaking of dicks, now that he’s got some semblance of power, Derrick lies to Tori’s face and swears that not only is he planning to keep him there, but he also thinks Tor’i and Angela make a lovely couple and he hopes they leave that villa together. (Join me in a quick prayer session, won’t you, that the first place this wonderful – and not at all doomed – couple chooses to go once they’re back on the mainland is to a sterilization clinic.) Tor’i doesn’t believe Derrick and lets him know it. In order keep her property safe, Angela begs Tor’i to “stop digging his own grave” and just leave Derrick alone. Now, I don’t know if Tor’i has some prior grave digging experience that causes his subsequent rage – maybe he tried out for the role of the grave digger in a production of Hamlet once and was passed over and he’s harbored fury about grave digging ever since – but he loses his entire mind during the one time Angela actually makes excellent sense. As far as he sees it, to simply ignore Derrick would be akin to kissing Derrick’s ass and he will not kiss any man’s ass besides Chase’s and maybe Cory’s, but that’s only because Cory is pretend royalty.
Tor’i eventually heads outside with King Cory and explains that he no longer feels like he and Angela are on the same page and she’s just not the girl for him. After uttering those fateful words, Tor’i really should do a cannonball off the terrace, head for open waters, and call it a fucking day, but instead he goes inside and basically sends Cory upstairs to end things with Angela. How does Angela deal with rejection, you ask? Well, she begins by bellowing that Tor’i is a motherfucking pussy. He responds by bellowing right back, “We through. You ain’t real,” and all of a sudden I’m pretty sure his grave digging fury has nothing whatsoever to do with any production of Hamlet. Every person in that house – except Hayley, who is passed out completely – attempts to stop Tor’i from melting down. They try verbal placating and physical restraints, but none of it works so perhaps June the Bubble Master can run into the bathroom and chant some more metaphysical nonsense directly up to the heavens in the hopes that the universe itself will somehow stop Tor’i from freaking the fuck out.
“I’ve done everything for you!” Angela shrieks, mascara running in rivulets down her face. (Everybody breathe…her lashes are still holding.) And listen, I’m not entirely a cold-hearted bitch. I know what it feels like to think you have a connection with someone and suddenly have it turn like expired milk. I am sadly familiar with thinking some guy is strong when he’s actually a humungous weenie. I get it, but must she flip out continually in front of cameras? It’s as though some part of her believes that the only feelings she has that matter are those she has in front of an audience and it’s all rather sick and sad because in what warped universe does she expect she’ll ever find a decent person who will take a gander at her screaming and her proclivity for weave-yanking and then snap her up before anyone – like a parole officer – can get to her first? Moreover, it’s legitimately hilarious when she sits in the confessional room and spouts her astonishment that a guy she’s known only for a couple of weeks could possibly question her loyalty. Honey, if you’re not still questioning someone’s loyalty after only two weeks, you need to get your head out of your ass – but don’t then stick your head into Faith’s ass. That sphincter needs a breather.
Also: Taylor and Cory bang and the entire thing is seen via a not-at-all-creepy night vision filter.
Also: Haley sleeps through that too.
Later on, the exes hold a strategy session with Derrick in charge. He explains that everyone should give someone a crush and he will dole out the only cut. That cut will be for Tor’i so Derrick can personally take out his latest nemesis. The plan hinges on everyone agreeing, but Luis is not so sure. While he was instructed to give a crush to Victoria, he isn’t particularly feeling that plan and I suppose this is where we are supposed to feel a sense of suspense. Will Luis, someone we first met less than an hour ago and have no investment in whatsoever, go rogue? I’m yawning just typing this shit.
I’m not sure what transpired in the time between when Angela screamed that Tor’i is a motherfucking pussy and the elimination ceremony, but all of a sudden she cannot deal with the possibility of him leaving. She’d better figure out a way to survive, though, because Derrick’s plan works beautifully and Tor’i is sent far away – from Angela, from Chase’s perfect abdominal muscles, and – hopefully – to a land where he can quickly secure himself an airtight restraining order.
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