Friday, March 31, 2023

‘Bachelor in Paradise’ Recap: Breakups, Betrayals and Love Triangles Dominate the Beach

SPOILER ALERT: Do not read if you have not watched the Aug. 30 episode of “Bachelor in Paradise.”

There’s trouble in paradise!

As new contestants arrived on the “Bachelor in Paradise” beach, established couples faltered. The first victims were Maurissa Gunn and Connor Brennan, who seemingly broke up after Maurissa’s overnight in the “boom boom room” with newcomer Riley Christian. Connor admitted to feeling “deflated” upon the news and reflected on Maurissa’s less-than-transparent recap of her date.

Even the most secure couples weren’t safe. Ivan Hall and Jessenia Cruz had been a steadfast pair since the beginning of paradise, but their foundation crumbled at the arrival of bromance duo Chasen Nick and Chris Conran.

Chasen and Chris met on Clare Crawley and Tayshia Adams’ season of “The Bachelorette.” The two became fast friends and entered paradise arm-in-arm with a double date card. Chris fixated on Jessenia from the start, and Chasen invited Deandra Kanu to accompany him on the date. The four left for an afternoon with an intimacy coach that led to several kisses between Chris and Jessenia. Meanwhile, on the beach, Ivan expressed confidence in his relationship but admitted to his nerves that she was out with Chris.

His nerves were warranted. Upon her return from the date, she admitted that she felt a “spark” with Chris, despite Ivan “checking all her boxes.” The two split.

The other half of the double date — Deandra and Chasen — also took time to know each other. Former villain Karl Smith gave Deandra his rose the previous week and was threatened by her alone time with Chasen. When they rejoined the beach, Karl tried to reclaim that time and offered Deandra a bracelet to show his feelings. She politely accepted the gift, but Chasen hovered over the conversation, causing tension between the two men.

Another established pair dissolved when Mari Pepin-Solis and Kenny Braasch ended things. Mari initially went to Kenny and proposed that they would be able to accept a date card from another contestant, but Kenny took their non-exclusivity as a sign of trouble. Alternatively, the two broke up and were free to date other people.

Mari was upset by the news and confided in cast member Demi Burnett. However, Demi used the opportunity to begin her own pursuit of Kenny, initiating a “Paradise” love triangle.

Demi pulled Kenny aside for a quick make out, setting Mari off on a tear. Then, during a campfire with the cast, Demi arrived with a birthday cake for Kenny’s belated 40th birthday. (He celebrated while quarantining.) When she took him away to celebrate with a piñata filled with condoms, Mari responded by throwing the cake in the fire.

Mari eventually pulled Demi aside and told her she felt betrayed. She threw insults, calling Demi Kenny’s “second choice” which resulted in a quick back-and-forth. Demi, unfazed by the accusations, continued her pursuit of Kenny, eventually leading the two into the boom boom room.

The final fatality of the week went to Aaron Clancy and Tammy Ly, who were an early couple in the franchise. Tammy drifted from Aaron and straight into his “enemy’s” arms — aka Thomas Jacobs. Aaron and Thomas’ conflict originated long before the beach, as they were adversaries during Katie Thurston’s season of “The Bachelorette.”

But their conflict escalated when Aaron saw Tammy straddling Thomas and making out with him. When he confronted him about it later during the week’s cocktail party, Thomas honestly shared that Tammy pursued him, although he told her that she was his highlight of “Paradise.”

“The entire beach chose chaos,” Noah Erb said.

But while many couples faltered, several did survive: Brendan Morais and Natasha Parker finally shared their first kiss after a pep talk from celebrity host Lance Bass; Serena Pitt and Grocery Store Joe spent a date together, solidifying their space as one of the strongest couples on the beach; and Noah and Abigail Herringer continued on as an established pair.

The episode ended mid-cocktail party with a “To Be Continued…” and teased that more trouble (and former Bachelorette Becca Kufrin) would soon be upon us.

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


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