'Bachelor in Paradise' Week 4 recap: Double the madness

Warning: This recap of the “2017/08/28” and “2017/08/29” episodes of Bachelor in Paradise contains spoilers.

Wherever you may live — be it a small town or major metropolis — the hardest part of dating is the actual dating pool. Limited options, too many exes in the mix, or you’re just simply not jazzed about the faces you send scrolling rapidly to the left in your apps. The Bachelor franchise posits an alternate dimension where everyone around you is a major catch and you’ll simply have to decide which catch should YOU catch? Well, that may have been true until this season. You see, Season 4 of Bachelor in Paradise has embraced the gritty reality we all live in: Nobody seems that great. More than usual, cast members have thrown in the towel early and high-tailed it out of there, sure to find more romantic success meeting fans at bars than in this seafood-smelling wasteland.

And as a viewer I have to agree… For me the main attraction of Bachelor in Paradise has been its all-stars aspect. I love seeing returning faces and the strange mashups of people from different seasons. But honestly who even ARE these people? Out of the thousands of cast members in this franchise this was the best producers could do? Ah well. It’s all still pretty fascinating, at least from an anthropological standpoint. Let’s talk about Week 4!

We began with America’s No. 1 shadiest opening credits, which some if not all of the cast seem to be in on!

Christen’s now gorging on seafood in her title card, and as we would learn later in this episode, she was probably unsure of why she was asked to do this! Still, what a good sport.

Our new day in paradise began with two of the saddest souls in Mexico looking as forlorn as humanly possible. In one corner we had Kristina, who spent so many hours with her cheek pressed to a woven pillow she came away with a waffle grid on her cheek. The night before she’d spied Dean making out in a pool with Danielle. In his defense, he didn’t know she was looking?

Great save, Dean! But this excuse didn’t impress Kristina very much and in fact hurt her feelings a ton. But the writing was more than on the wall by this point; it was also on the floor, ceiling, cot, and shared toilet of a prison cell. These people were trapped in an unfun situation and there seemed to be no escape!

At least Jasmine had the right idea. She decided to go after the Tickle Monster by tickling the inside of his mouth with her tongue. Way to go, lady! Back in the saddle!

At this point a couple of Dead Men Walking arrived, since it was the final week of Bachelor in Paradise and couples had either cemented their relationships or had resigned themselves to signing back up for Raya. This guy showed up and was immediately jeered for being superlame on his season of The Bachelorette. But, to defend himself against charges of being overly obsessed with the Waboom! guy from Rachel’s season, he took each woman aside and obsessed over the Waboom! guy. This did not turn anybody on very much.

After all Kristina had been through, getting asked out by the Waboom! Nemesis seemed to be the straw that broke the Russian camel’s back. (Russian camels are very strong.) She politely reflex-gagged and backed away.

Things got worse for this guy when another candidate arrived only minutes later. This was Fred, the guy Rachel was mad at for having been a mean 12-year-old once. Definitely a hotter prospect, but again, the season was almost over. It was going to take an act of desperation for either of these guys to find a fiancée.

Other than the romantic disasters waiting to happen, both this episode and Tuesday’s episode ladled on the random hijinks in order to keep the entertainment value above a minimum standard. For example, it was charming when Jack Stone bopped Robby in the balls for no reason, except maybe as a way to low-five Robby for doing such a great job at dipping his nude lower half in light blue paint. Truly great work, Robby!

I also enjoyed how Christen spread a rumor that Jack Stone was a bad kisser, so each woman took him aside to mouth attack him. And the verdict: He was a great kisser! Leave it to a seafood-gobbling virgin to gather dicey intel.

Speaking of which, Christen spent the afternoon with the Waboom! Nemesis and the date went so well that she became nauseous and obsessed with losing a contact lens. In other words the sexual tension was unbearable. Just kidding, the sexual tension was extremely bearable and also absent. But I did feel very much on Christen’s side, as that date did look very terrible, activity-wise. If I never get catapulted off of an inflatable blob into the ocean I will consider myself truly blessed.

Then Robby was thrown a bone in the form of a date card, probably because this season needs us to believe that he and Amanda are a perfect couple and an ideal romance. So they went into town and Robby beat up a piñata for the local children, possibly to prove to Amanda that he can help take care of her kids. And it worked! She mouth attacked him with the fervor that he’d shown that piñata. Time will only tell if she will enjoy the treats she finds inside of him. (Gross.)

At this point Ben Z. called it a day. He is obviously a major catch and the fact that he mostly sat in shadows staring at happy couples shows what a fraud this show and format can be. He also got the boring-dude edit, which seemed unfair. Get home to that puppy, you big lunk! (Please note that I omitted a Ben-prefers-doggy-style joke and I would very much like credit for this tasteful decision, thank you.)

Dominique had gone on the double date with the new guys, which meant that Diggy needed to pull out all the stops to win her back to his mouth. And in this case all the stops meant… FLASH CARDS. Because everyone loved school and studying. But reader, I will tell you this now. It worked!

They macked out so hard it frightened the wildlife. Happy for ’em.

This was the episode in which Christen discovered that everyone calls her Scallop Fingers. The confused look on her face confirmed that she was just as humiliated by this as we’d thought she’d be, but I admired how she attempted to laugh it off. Points for maturity! Points DEDUCTED for this guy:

Ugh, get out of here, Wells.

Our season’s romantic hero, Dean, suddenly found himself at a crossroads: Continue his difficult, overly emotional relationship with Kristina, or PARTY WITH A BABE! And in a classic dude move, he chose the easier and sexier option. And to Kristina’s credit, she showed a lot of grace when she announced she was not giving Dean her rose, and that she was going home.

Dean had no choice but to walk her out (it would have been reaaall bad if he hadn’t) and I appreciated that during their tearful hug goodbye he said “I hate myself… I’m so stupid.” That is obviously what anybody wants to hear from someone who’s just dumped them. I’m not saying it redeems Dean’s behavior this season, but it definitely humanized him a lot more. Still though, poor Kristina. This whole situation was beneath her, and hopefully she’ll find herself in situations that cause her to smile for a change. Get it, girl!

Speaking of Kristina, in Tuesday night’s episode her title card was replaced by a plate of disgusting-looking scallops getting trampled over by a crab. I did not appreciate this and it actually turned my stomach. Sometimes this show takes the inside jokes too far!

I will always welcome the black box jokes, though. More black box jokes! Build the whole plane out of black boxes! Also congrats to Lacey for getting to rub up on Daniel so much. He might be a semi-conscious flesh golem, but at least it’s something.

Then this lady arrived and wouldn’t stop talking about how bisexual she is. We get it! Although I admit I lit up for a second when she informed Chris she wasn’t sure which gender she’d ask out on a date. Can you even imagine if The Bachelor franchise included a queer date at some point? The world would turn inside out and time would implode. Some laws of physics can’t be broken!

Then the twins arrived, and it was one of the most obvious producer ploys I’ve ever seen on this show. It was basically Bachelor in Paradise admitting that this season was impossibly boring and lame. I feel like someone turned to Emily and Haley and was like “You’ll get an extra ten thou if you can break up a couple.” So they arrived with laser sights for Dean and Derek. But from their confessionals it was clear they did not give a s*** about ANY of this. And not only that, their on-camera testimonials were so wild and raunchy it was like they’d been working with an improv coach. Trust me, I was laughing out loud when they ranked each other’s private parts to the camera. They are true superstars in a season without any, but we have to admit this entire sequence was a full-on charade.

It was hilarious how close Dean came to actually accepting a date card, but not even he was enough of a dunce to ruin his reputation so thoroughly with Bachelor Nation.

Derek, of course, was never going to date one of the twins, and we were presented with a reminder of his love for Taylor when he informed her he was falling in love with her. Yes, such a thing is possible! Derek had done it!

Though one of the twins got Jack Stone to accept a date, he ended up backing out at the last minute… Possibly after the twins openly mocked and jeered at the “dregs” who’d ended up accepting their invitations (the other guy was Tickle Monster). So then they decided to storm out of Paradise flipping everyone the double bird and throwing a plate of conveniently placed scallops down the stairs. It was all very obnoxious, but at this point obnoxious was way more preferable than the boring non-charisma of the rest of the cast. Goodbye, you twin tornados! May you have actual storylines next season.

The end of Tuesday’s (merely hourlong!) episode brought Chris Harrison with the shocking news that the final rose ceremony was but a day away. This was his way of encouraging everyone to stress the f*** out to find a life partner and then please pack their trash on the way out. But I think we can all agree that WHO CARES? Next week we’ll find out who gets engaged (Daniel and Lacey, duh) and which romances will last in the real world? And maybe, just maybe we’ll get to see some actual Bachelor Nation stars in the Winter ’18 spin-off of this thing? As with anybody dipping their toes into the dating pool, may we remain blindly optimistic despite terrible odds! Sometimes it’s the only way to live.

Bachelor in Paradise airs Mondays and Tuesdays at 8 p.m. on ABC.

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