With only a few episodes of Ex On the Beach left to go, I find myself wondering: what will become of the villa itself? Though I have not wasted one centile of a millisecond contemplating the future of the relationships hatched like tubs of doomed Sea Monkeys in that house, I have spent a great deal of time thinking about the house itself and the relics that will undoubtedly be left behind. I’m just being pragmatic here. Not only do some members of this cast strike me as incompetent when it comes to impersonating human beings, but don’t they also strike you as incompetent packers? I’m therefore imagining half-squeezed tubes of kiwi-flavored lube shoved under beds and shorts that do not cover the labia piled high in the corner of the bedroom closet. I’m betting almost-empty bottles of booze – the only liquid remaining a cocktail of backwash and whatever dribbled out of Faith’s ass crack during her last booty shot of the season – will dot every countertop. There will be a bounty of shit left behind (of this I am certain) and I would like to implore the cleaning crew to not sell any of it on eBay. Sure, there are some crazy people out there who would probably love to tack a used condom filled with the DNA of an MTV “star” up in their basement, but for the sake of humanity in general, can I please make a recommendation? Can the crew instead gather all the crap they find, dig a hole at least sixteen feet deep, and bury that pathetic collection in the ground by only the waxy light of a very full moon? And can they chant words like “Gucci!” or shriek sentences like “Angela needs an exorcism!” as they pile mounds of dirt back on top of the hole in an effort to protect all of civilization? I realize such an act will require a ton of work, so if the chanting and the digging are too much, perhaps the forgotten shit can just be heaved into one of those currently simmering volcanoes. Any geologist who has seen even ten short seconds of this show will totally understand.
But before anyone can wade through the tangible debris, our castmates must first deal with all the emotional debris they’ve so willfully created. I also think it wise to caution that I am writing this recap while on some powerful over-the-counter antihistamine due to a pre-summer cold that walloped me out of nowhere, though perhaps it wasn’t really out of nowhere and these dastardly germs invaded my body when I found myself smooching someone new. I’ll forgive him this time because I am kind and because I am logical – and because I’ve read books that have informed me in no uncertain terms that it’s way too early to show him my crazy. But since MTV exclusively casts people who pride themselves on exhibiting crazy tendencies loudly enough for a family of poodles to hear, we can get started talking about this week’s episode. Just to review what’s recently gone down, Hayley was sent home by a guy who swore his feelings for her were real, Alicia’s second arrival caused Cory’s conflicted feelings to come dribbling out like a halting stream of urine, and Angela is still psychotic. And now that everyone is caught up on the most important news of our time, here’s what goes down tonight:
Realizing he’s pretty happy with Lexi and there’s only a few episodes left to go so probably nobody better will show up, Paulie announces to all his new best friends that he will officially “claim” Lexi once they’re outside the house and nobody besides me cringes when he treats her like a principality instead of a real live girl. Less invested in defining his own romantic future is June. The guy is perfectly willing to nail the crap out of Faith come nightfall, but he’s not all that interested in chatting with her in the light of day and I sort of can’t blame him. At this point, he has to realize any conversation with Faith could quickly devolve into a symphony of deranged bird sounds and no man deserves that sort of insanity. And speaking of insanity, let’s talk about Angela! She hasn’t screamed bloody murder about something totally inconsequential in almost an entire day and she clearly feels like she’s dying inside because of it so she decides to make up a new reason to be annoyed. Alicia’s presence is that reason and Angela explains she already has enough drama dealing with a self-proclaimed Snickers bar of an ex and the horrific loss of her pretend boyfriend of two whole weeks so she cannot possibly be tasked with dealing with the female drama that comes from Alicia breathing in her space. Angela says all of this with a straight face, as though she hasn’t made it abundantly clear to anyone with a pulse that she would keel over and die if new sources of drama weren’t funneled her way because she needs drama to survive like the rest of us need water.
It’s not just Angela who is struggling in that house. Paulie and Chase decide they all need to loosen up – you know, since they’ve all been so exhausted setting up daily meetings with angel investors and attempting to cure gonorrhea – so they decide to throw the first of two parties that will go down during this episode. I think the one nugget of information the viewer is supposed to remember about this particular party is that Chase once bought – and then proudly wears – a denim speedo over his own nugget to go slip and sliding. After the group dries off and congratulates each other for being able to spend an entire afternoon without anyone tearing a quarter-sized patch of hair out of someone’s weave, the flags come up in the distance. It’s Faith, Paulie, and Angela who are brought down to the beach and Lexi is not happy to see Paulie go. Paulie just claimed her like she’s Spain and now some other chick could show up and ruin everything? But Lexi has a bit of time before her joy will be decimated because it’s one of Faith’s exes who crawls out from the sea. Meet Marcus, everyone! He has shitty tattoos in all the colors of the rainbow, he classifies himself as pretty, and he weirdly poses like he’s starring in a douche commercial from the early eighties. He and Faith used to hook up and he’s back for her now because he was raised in an era that taught him talent isn’t at all necessary when it comes to being on TV. I loathe this guy already, but maybe it’s just because I’m over this show. Maybe it’s because this medicine is making me cranky. Or maybe it’s because Marcus actually sucks sweaty donkey balls and I’m just an incredibly precise judge of character.
Since nobody is left and nobody cute shows up, Chase finally deigns to go hang out with Victoria. The two of them go on a picnic – they bring food and a camera crew – and Chase is not wearing his denim speedo and I hope it’s because someone burned it. Three seconds into their picnic, Chase pulls Victoria in for a smooch and I like Victoria so I hope she doesn’t hear him when he whispers the words “consolation prize” into her ear.
Back on the beach, we are treated to some more scintillating information about Marcus! He enjoys plucking his eyebrows, his eyes are green, and he’s very smart. Then he launches into an intellectual monologue wherein he compares the subtext of Ayn Rand’s work to the political history of Russia. Just kidding! He tells Faith her hair is pretty and she giggles because she’s kind of an idiot also. Once he is brought back to the house, we also learn he uses the word “dude” to punctuate every single sentence, he believes processed meat is cured in the bowels of Hell, he would never stick a sandwich anywhere near his lips, and everyone in that house thinks he’s a tool at first site and it’s not like every single one of them can be wrong. I’d congratulate myself for being astute in my immediate assumptions about this guy, but I don’t really have time to do that because I’m too busy weeping in a corner after realizing that Jax from Vanderpump Rules – a man I truly believe to be a coke-guzzling-narcissistic-sociopathic-unrepentant-garbage-person – is the coolest ex Faith actually has.
Moving on from one terrifying thought to another, it seems there is some weird new need for these people – who party all fucking day – to now throw themselves scheduled parties complete with themes. The first theme, Naughty or Nice, is picked expressly so everyone can toss on the least amount of clothing possible. In what I’m guessing is a shock to absolutely nobody, every girl there arrived with a teeny plaid schoolgirl skirt or a fuzzy halo shoved into her luggage because wannabe reality stars are bred to understand that they could be asked to appear in costume at any second and, much like the Eagle Scouts, these bitches are prepared. The guys are also prepared; they appear in thongs and Victoria and Chase start kissing while they’re dancing and the entire group cheers like this is 6th grade and two people just walked out of a closet after someone was felt up for the very first time after a good round of Seven Minutes in Heaven. But when enthusiasm is shown for someone other than her, Angela starts to feel shaky. She decides the party is a great time to take Alicia aside and she knows at least one camera will follow them because there’s always at least a 60% chance that Angela will strangle Alicia and a 40% chance she will forcefully apply a set of her muskrat lashes to the girl’s face. But instead of doing either of those things, the two girls cry at one another. All of it is pretty hard to understand, but it seems Alicia is crying because of all she’s been through and Angela is crying because she saw what her lashes really look like and the two hug one another and agree to pretend to forget that Angela once dragged Alicia across a hotel lobby by her hair.
Also: If a spinoff emerges starring these two and I end up recapping it, please know I am doing it under duress by the same person who clearly wrote Melania Trump’s last tweet.
Since she’s now officially made the decision to not tear Alicia limb from limb, Angela really needs someone new to hate and she settles on Marcus. It’s an easy choice – everyone hates the guy because he’s annoying as fuck – but Angela doesn’t really have it in her to hate him quietly. No, she must make sure everyone knows she can’t stand him and she does so by screaming “Fuck off!” which results in him wondering aloud why everyone who stars on an MTV reality show behaves so dramatically.
The next morning, Lexi laments that she just wants to be able to fuck Paulie the right way, so the two hide in the bathroom while the camera zooms in to the door handle. We are treated to some very heavy breathing and the voiceover guy saying something about Paulie sticking something in his pineapple and I’m now officially only over not just pineapple for the remainder of my life, but all fruit in general.
Also: June sleeps with one eye open. And since he’s cavorting with a woman who twerks for a living and makes bird noises that make me crave deafness, that’s probably a very wise choice.
With all the fun parties and denim speedos and the temporary alliance of Angela and Alicia, the producers know they need to shake things up so it’s inevitable that the Shack of Secrets requests Paulie and Lexi’s presence. Things have just been going too well for them, what with Paulie staking his claim and the two banging happily behind closed doors, so it’s time to destroy Lexi from the inside out. Down in the Shack, Paulie is told to unlock his phone and the guy is all kinds of nervous. He has every right to be nervous; Lexi finds every kind of text she expected to find on there. (I tell you, our phones and the information we so willingly put on them will eventually destroy us all.) Though he is entirely in the wrong, Paulie deals with his frustration about being called out by telling Lexi to shut the fuck up. The two then scream so loudly that everyone can hear them upstairs and much of that screaming is about how Lexi is concerned that the only reason Paulie is into her now is because they are literally on an island and nobody else is around to pull his attention.
When she finally manages to get out of a production designer’s idea of a dungeon, Lexi goes upstairs and she’s joined by all the women who offer her support and compassion as she rightfully rails against the vernacular Paulie used in an effort to absolve himself of his lies. See Paulie, there is really no such thing as “an overlap” when it comes to relationships. What you did is called “cheating” and everyone who’s not currently behaving like a scumbag knows it. Having this knowledge causes Lexi to want to leave the house and she’s a decent enough person that I hope she does. I hope she floats away from that place forever and I hope she does it on a floatie shaped like the guy who beat up Paulie for sport in middle school. But as the elimination ceremony begins, Lexi is no longer sure she wants to leave. She does announce Paulie should go ahead and shove the crush vote he gave her right up his sphincter (which I imagine means they’ll be back together before this season ends because desperation is tangible when you’re on an island) but it’s Marcus who is eliminated after just one episode and nobody except for the person who gave him those tattoos is able to squeeze out even a single tear.
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