It’s time to take stock, don’t you think?  As the very willing participants of Ex On the Beach limp, crawl, or twerk their way towards the finish line, we should really see how things are shaping up before these people land with an unceremonious thud back in the Real World, a place where flags emblazoned with their faces will not rise in the distance and acting like an unrepentant asshole can have consequences like prison or the presidency. 

Here’s how things stand right now:

Cory is torn.  Should he choose Alicia – whose dignity officially sank to the muckiest layer of the ecosystem when she crawled out of the ocean to appear on this show for the second time – or is his heart with Taylor? My guess heading into tonight’s show is that Cory will elect to be with Taylor. Their relationship is new and will therefore yield him a few calm moments, but let’s not forget that this is a guy who has already appeared on two MTV dating shows and he’s yet to mention having a proficiency in any trade other than getting laid while being filmed by night vision cameras, so I think it’s safe to bet he’ll be back on our TV screens soon – and he’ll be single when we see him again.

Lexi and Paulie? They’re on the outs.  He will no longer mash avocados for her breakfast and she will no longer bang him in bathrooms while a camera crew giggles.  I think they’ll reunite before the season ends, but that’ll mostly be due to boredom; they’re stuck on an island and one can only crack coconuts or wonder what will dribble out of Faith’s ass crack so many times. But once Lexi and Paulie return to a civilization, I doubt they’ll last as a couple for longer than an afternoon, though if they’re temporarily hammered, there’s a chance they’ll make it to dusk.

Then we have Victoria and Chase. She’s been into him since day one – you know, when he romantically asked if she wanted to go upstairs and fuck – and he’s been into her since it dawned on him that nobody else with a vagina would be showing up on that island anytime soon.  I think they’ll be finished by the time the show ends, but I also fully expect that Chase will drop in to see her every now and then and he will make sure to leave behind both mixed messages and a tiny wet spot when he leaves. 

I try not to think about Derrick. I find him so pathologically stupid that his presence on this planet, combined with his ability to breed, actually causes me to feel anxiety about the future of our species. But if I had to take a guess, I think Derrick will return to the mainland, get the Snickers logo tattooed across his chest, and then he will hire the same PR firm that also represents the girl who was voted off fourth on the twelfth season of America’s Next Top Model in the hopes that he will become the chocolate brand’s newest spokesperson.  And when he’s turned away because he’s a fucking idiot, he will claim the company was just too narrow-minded to comprehend all the “extra” he has in his left testicle alone. 

I don’t really care what happens to Chris once he leaves this house, but I sort of hope Chelsko is waiting in his driveway to declare her undying devotion to him and then I hope she goes ahead and actually fucks that uncle while forcing Chris to watch. 

And finally we have Angela, the first person to emerge from the sea during episode one, the girl who claimed she would run that house.  And run that house she has.  Her moods have controlled the climate more than the sun.  Every single one of her emotions has been an emotion she felt she had to share and not one person in that villa told her even once to shut the fuck up or that perhaps she should invest in some intense therapy since it’s actually rather alarming for a grown woman to behave so erratically for such inconsequential reasons.  Maybe the reason nobody sat her down for an intervention was due to unadulterated fear, but as far as I see it, they are all complicit in her behavior now.  Fortunately for society, Angela and her psychotic nature will remain somewhat contained for the foreseeable future. I hear she will appear soon on The Challenge, and since her only life skills appear to be bursting into tears or bursting into anger, it actually sounds like she’s chosen the color of her mentally-deficient parachute quite wisely.

Now, I wrote all that before watching this week’s episode and things could certainly change.  It’s possible a therapist could be put on retainer and hold hourly appointments in the Shack of Secrets when it’s not being used to destroy someone’s already tarnished soul. After only a few sessions with an expert, maybe both Alicia and Taylor would wave goodbye to Cory forever and instead choose to date each other.  Maybe Faith would realize she hasn’t fully evolved and that’s why she makes those bird sounds. Maybe Derrick would let go of his Snickers dream and instead aspire to be like a 100 Grand Bar.  And perhaps Angela would embrace the concept of Stoicism instead of Narcissism – or perhaps the remainder of this show will pan out exactly as we all think it will, so let’s find out.

To kick off the episode, three flags go up and Alicia, Jasmine, and Chris are told to head to the beach.  This is potentially the third ex arriving for Chris and, frankly, I’m surprised he’s gotten so many women to date him.  I mean, they’re all willing to appear on this show so that sort of tells you who they are as human beings, but still.  The only one excited is Jasmine. She has nothing going on in the house and I think she believes there’s a real chance she could actually wither up and die if the show ends and there’s not even one meme made of her being felt up during a Pimps and Hos theme party. It is an ex of Jasmine’s who comes crawling out of the sea, though by the time he reaches Romeo on the shore, his hair is magically dry.  It’s as though maybe he wasn’t subsisting on seaweed and frolicking with mermaids while waiting to be reunited with his one true love!  And speaking of their very significant romance, it doesn’t appear to have been a storybook romance.  These two hooked up for a month and a half – and it was Marco’s longest relationship – so theirs is really more of a storybook pamphlet, the kind you’d find in a doctor’s office next to the pamphlets about venereal disease.   

What do we learn about Marco? He describes himself as “the jalapeno pepper” in his relationships because he’s just that spicy. He also says the reason his romance with Jasmine died is because Jasmine was insecure.  Marco’s explanation of her flaws would probably be the sort of exchange a normal person would roll her eyes at, but Jasmine hasn’t had any luck so far on that island and she’s pretty much willing to entertain anything with a penis at this point. 

Exes do not show up for Chris and Alicia.  They were summoned to that beach just for a wee bit of emotional torture, but it’s all good because they consented to such torture when they signed their contracts to be on this show.  As for Marco, he immediately asks Jasmine if there are any brunettes in the house and Jasmine still thinks they have a chance and if I felt invested in either of these people in the slightest, this whole thing would be really sad.  Alas, I don’t give a shit what happens to any of them, so – snarky and detached – allow me tell you what happens next:

Paulie and Lexi sit down to discuss if they have a future after Lexi saw all the incriminating shit on the guy’s phone.  He assures her she is his number one priority going forward, but I’m not sure he knows what making someone a priority is all about because I just saw a story online about him making out with some girl from The Challenge.  I suppose that chick is Paulie’s number one priority at this very second, but you should probably check back in four more seconds so I can let you know if she’s still holding tight to that esteemed position.   

Also:  I realize we’re dealing with inconsequential silliness here so it’s not like I’m claiming to be Nostradamus, but it’s nice to know I was right about one of my earlier predictions. Not even eight minutes have gone by and Paulie and Lexi are already reunited and doing a confessional together. Just so we’re clear, anyone wiping a sentimental tear from an eyeball right now can never ever be my friend.

While temporary love is being declared in one part of the house, Marco is staking his claim in another.  He seems to like Shanley, so the two sit down and chat about how he played the UPS guy in the Legally Blonde musical and how his one line involved offering up his package.  Watching the two from across the room, Jasmine declares: 1. Marco is a fuck boy and 2. She’s over him.  But since we all know that if this guy so much as smiles at her she will end up under him, we can take Jasmine’s declaration with a grain or six of salt. In the meantime, it appears Angela will soon have someone new to scream bloody murder at, so go ahead and either pretend to act surprised or join me in yawning. Shanley is the one on her shit list because Shanley just doesn’t love how Victoria, Taylor, and Angela have formed their own little coven.  Though I personally wish their superpowers included spells like how to turn Angela sane, it seems this group is instead interested in laughing at Jasmine because she wore the same outfit two days in a row.  Shanley thinks these girls are just plain mean – and she’s probably correct – and then we hear the announcer’s voiceover cautioning Shanley not to make Angela mad.  Um, why not?  What’s this girl gonna do besides what she’s always done?  She will wave her arms and scream her face off and slam doors and WHO FUCKING CARES? But what I wouldn’t give for this show to be Survivor, because someone would have already drowned that chick by now and then blended her remains and swallowed them in one gulp during an immunity challenge. 

Before Angela can again become a case study future psychiatrists will read about in their quest to understand how a mind can be ruled by pure psychosis, the Shack of Secrets sends up a message in a bottle.  It’s Derrick who reads the message (You guys!  Derrick can read!) and Jasmine is sent down alone to what is actually just basement outfitted with smoke machines and some red upholstery.  When she arrives, it’s not a filled-with-sexts iPad that greets her, but Charles, some guy reclining across a chaise wearing a fig leaf over his dick and holding an apple while sipping champagne.  It’s then that Jasmine is offered a choice to play God – or, you know, the generic bullshit form of God Trump pretends to worship when he’s not banging porn stars as his wife is home recovering from an episiotomy.  Jasmine’s dilemma?  Should she welcome Charles and his fig leaf into the house even if doing so would mean she’d have to get rid of someone who’s already there?  For the record, Charles appears to be exactly like every other guy there – covered with terrible tattoos and swearing he’s on this show to find forever love – so Jasmine’s decision doesn’t really appear to have a ton of stakes. I don’t think many of us will even notice anymore if someone leaves and a new MTV-sponsored Stepford Male takes his place.

Taking a bite of an apple like a producer definitely told her to do, Jasmine announces, “Think I know what I’m gonna do,” and she gets in that elevator with Charles and his fig leaf. They arrive on the main floor and are met with reactions that range from confusion (Derrick’s the confused one.  That guy is confused a lot. He’s not very bright.) to mouths dropping open in the way you think would occur when it’s revealed on the news that children in America are currently being held in makeshift interment camps.  (Whoops!  Keep it light in the face of the nearing apocalypse, Nell!)  Anyway, now Jasmine has to vote someone off and sure, she could toss someone who’s volatile or she could eliminate Marco for not showering her with anything resembling affection, but she takes the safe route and chucks Luis back into the ocean. Goodbye, emotionally-stable Luis!  May you live long, prosper, and never appear on one of these reality shows ever again.

Also:  Charles is still wearing his fig leaf.

Also:  Faith, who makes the single worst sound with her mouth I’ve ever heard – and that includes the sound of society at large making that disgusting smacky sound while eating bananas – has the unmitigated gall to deride Charles’ slight lisp. 

Lisp or not, Faith needs attention, and since June is not showering her with nearly enough of it, she’s willing to entertain the new guy.  Seeing what’s going on, Chris cautions June to step it up with Faith, but June’s response is to basically shrug because he knows two things: 1. Faith sort of sucks and 2. She’s already proven that, even if you treat her like garbage, she will suck on you also.  Then there’s the Alicia/Cory/Taylor love triangle.  It no longer seems like much of a triangle, what with Cory and Taylor kissing constantly, but Alicia is not willing to give up quite yet. She has watched the two of them cuddle and kiss and fuck, but she somehow has yet to hit her emotional rock bottom, so there she sits and she wiles away the stabbing pain by tapping her fingers menacingly and wishing Taylor bald and buried seven feet deep in a nearby volcano.  When she’s finally had enough (or when she finally gets the nod of approval from someone wielding a camera), she jumps up like a fucking banshee, but that’s nothing compared to what she does when she hears Cory call her “weak.”  She pushes him into a closet, grips his hair tightly in a clenched fist, and yanks his head back in a way that should really cause someone to send smoke signals to the authorities. And Cory’s reaction?  He’s turned on.  Let’s just sit with that for a moment, shall we?  Physical abuse from a woman he’s spurned excites this guy – and not a bit of it is difficult to analyze.  This is a guy who wants to feel wanted and he doesn’t care in the least how that wanting manifests itself and the entire thing is so fucking disgusting and so fucking sad.  Seriously, watching this show deflates my spirit and my belief in humanity more than The Handmaid’s Tale does, and that’s a show where the plot includes governmentally-sanctioned rape.

When Taylor realizes Cory and Alicia are talking in a bathroom about how Cory is disrespecting Alicia and how Alicia is crazy, well, Taylor is not very pleased.  Alicia and Cory have already discussed their breakup, like, four whole times.  And while it’s not her most pressing issue at the moment, Taylor would also like to take the opportunity to let Shanley know that calling her and Angela and Victoria “mean girls” just because they act mean all the time is just plain wrong.  But wait!  Angela overhears Shanley’s very accurate comment and her blood sugar levels spike as she realizes she can finally go off on someone new because Angela feels dead inside when she’s not screaming her fucking face off.  Then she stands up on her bed – the light’s better up there – and shrieks that Shanley (who has not moved) is getting in her fucking face, bitch.

Angela and her very presence and her idiotic lashes and the way she chooses to conduct herself are all so hideously tragic that I actually feel the need to stop writing about her. Therefore, for the foreseeable future, please know my thoughts about Angela and her deranged actions are as follows:

1.She sucks.

2.Everyone who chooses not to restrain her while  recommending she ingest a steady diet of Lithium also sucks.

3.She really fucking sucks.

4.She will probably soon be elected Secretary of Defense by this administration, but the fact that she kneels so willingly might be a dealbreaker.

Back in the bathroom, Alicia tries one more time to make Cory see that she will allow him to choose between her and some other girl, but if he chooses the other girl, she will tell him for the seventy-eighth time that he’s making a mistake. Cory eventually comes out of the bathroom after nothing gets resolved and he lets Taylor know he’s there just for her and that the ex who turns him on when she pummels him in the head is totally inconsequential.  But Alicia’s not the only inconsequential one.  Faith feels like June doesn’t value her – because he doesn’t – but he attempts to explain (and he does it oh so articulately) that she probably feels that way because he doesn’t like to say words to her.  See, June doesn’t “business with words.”  And since I’m a writer and a grown up and I very much fucking business with words – I mean, I think I do, but who the fuck actually knows what this idiot is saying? – I’m just going to leave this scene here as well and walk away.

Also:  Charles has finally put clothing on over his fig leaf.

And now it’s time for the elimination ceremony and Shanley is nervous because speaking the truth doesn’t really work when you’re living in a house filled with liars who fear self-awareness in much the same way Tor’i fears the moment Angela figures out his home address.  Some exes are declared safe quickly.  Lexi is okay.  Cameron isn’t in danger.  Marco (who is sort of growing on me, but I think it’s because he’s got hair similar to a guy I used to really enjoy) receives one cut, but it’s canceled out with Jasmine’s crush vote. But June is hit with three cuts and he’s sent packing and the woman he’s given very little attention to – the woman he has fucked but has never actually kissed – cannot believe her soul mate is headed back into those waves, and the only thing that consoles her is when June momentarily chooses to do business with some words by lying to her face and saying the two of them are nowhere near over. 

Also: Next week, Taylor spits on Alicia from the balcony. 

Also: Are any pharmacists reading this?  Because I’m going to need some Xanax and I’m going to need it before next Thursday. 


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 in paperback and for your Kindle. Her Twitter is @nell_kalter