We begin this week of Bachelor in Paradise the only way we possibly could: With the arrival of Hurricane Angela. She's here, she looks fabulous, and Nicole is freaking out. Her words go from insecure and funny ("I don't want to look at her creepy bouncy curls and her creepy smile!") to mean ("She's the desperate one. The crazy one."). Although who among us hasn't badmouthed an ex's new partner?
Angela starts pulling the guys, and Nicole starts to panic a little more as she realizes how shaken Clay seems by Angela's arrival. He tells her there's a 0% chance he'd go on the date, and that helps... slightly. Everyone else is questioning Angela's motives, but she asks a fair question: If it's okay for Clay to be here and search for love — especially since he initiated the breakup with Angela — then why isn't it okay for her to be here? She's the one who got dumped!
Of course, Nicole has to pull Angela aside to tell her to stay away from her man. Angela is perfectly nice and says she's not here to ruin her relationship. Nicole is still suspicious (who wouldn't be?), but I felt Angela was as kind as she could be. Although she does note in an interview that Clay did not mention any girlfriend at the wedding, as we saw during their conversation.
Tayshia, meanwhile, decides she needs to confront Clay about exactly that. Did he introduce Angela as his girlfriend at the wedding? No, Clay says, it didn't cross his mind. He assumed everyone knew. To Tayshia, this is more proof that Clay thinks he's available, but actually isn't. According to her, he's still emotionally invested in Angela.
Mike gets the date, and the two of them go to dinner. Angela tells him she and Clay dated for eight months and broke up three months ago. She says it was the worst breakup she's ever had, and that they were serious — they talked about babies and houses. Mike and Angela kiss, but it doesn't seem like they have any sort of intense connection. (This show barely shows us anything about Mike, though, so if they did have a connection I'm not shocked we're not seeing it.)
In other news, Haley thinks her connection with JPJ is still strong after their date. I'm not sure how she hasn't heard about his 17 confrontations with Derek, but it does seem like JPJ is pretty good at staying on the sidelines when he wants to. JPJ confesses his feelings about Tayshia to Mike, and Mike asks him (twice) when he's going to talk to Haley about it. JPJ acts like the idea has never crossed his mind. Maybe it hasn't!
Meanwhile, Derek tells Haley that JPJ has feelings for Tayshia, and she's totally shocked and blindsided. She has a conversation with JPJ, who's basically like, "Oh, yeah, I do. Sorry I forgot to tell you." She's hurt because she was essentially dumped, but also because now even her memory of the date is tainted — she feels like he didn't go because he liked her, but because Tayshia told him to "test the waters." She tries to explain that it wasn't fair to her for him to do that, and he sort of apologizes, but doesn't really. Later, they reprise their conversation at the bar, and nothing interesting happens expect for Demi and Kristian's amazing reactions in the background.
Of course JPJ seems the most angry because Haley heard this news from his sworn nemesis, Derek. In an interview, JPJ talks about how great his instincts are and that they're telling him Derek is a creep. He doesn't have "a lot of claims to substantiate that point," but he just knows.
Tayshia and Haley have a sweet conversation about how crappy the situation is and how Tayshia doesn't want to see her hurting. Tayshia says in an interview that she doesn't know if JPJ is handling any of this the right way, and reminds herself (and us) that he's so young. She has no idea what she's going to do.
But Derek knows what he's going to do: Get JPJ to tell him where their weird adversarial relationship started, and what all this supposed evidence of him being terrible to women is. If you'll recall from last week, JPJ made incessant claims about Derek using women, but didn't back it up or give Derek even a second to defend himself. It's one thing to confront someone, but it's another to scream in their face without letting them get a word in and then storm away.
"Where did all of this start?" Derek asks JPJ. "This went from us being friends to me being attacked." JPJ says that when Derek ended things with Demi, he told him maybe he should get engaged to Tayshia. They fight a little bit over Tayshia and accuse each other of trying to make decisions for her. Across the beach, Tayshia is watching them fight and getting increasingly distressed. "This is so unnecessary," she tells the rest of the group. "Y'all shouldn't be watching." Compare this normal and sane behavior to how Nicole reacted when two guys were fighting over her: "Oh my god! I'm like the Bachelorette of Paradise!" (Guess who I like more?)
Derek tells JPJ he doesn't just get to make things up and throw grenades at him. JPJ says that Derek told him one of the great things about being on this show is you can sleep with some of the girls you follow (on social media). Derek is taken aback and reminds JPJ of what he said right after that: "And I said I CHOOSE NOT TO!" It does seem like a pretty important distinction, JPJ. JPJ starts laughing like a maniac in Derek's face, Derek talks more now that he can finally get a word in, and then they separate. Blake says, "That has got to be the most unattractive thing ever." It's definitely one of them, dude.
The next morning, Tayshia and Sydney are talking, and Tayshia says she feels like it's 100% over with both guys. The fight definitely left a sour taste in her mouth, and it's hard (for us viewers) to tell what her feelings really were about both of them before all this.
So it's the perfect time to welcome some more new blood. Old Matt Donald, a Night One Exit from Hannah B.'s season (though he had a memorable entrance and intro package), comes down the stairs and the women swoon. Sydney, Tayshia, and Haley all perk up. But he only has half of a date card...
... Then another Hannah castoff, Luke S. ("The poor man's Nick Viall," as a contestant so aptly puts it), arrives bearing--what? Oh, the other half the date card, of course. It's a double date! They each chat with a bunch of women, and then Luke S. asks Kristina, and Matt asks Sydney. The foursome heads out shopping, and then to a bar where none of them can handle a spicy margarita. Kristina and Luke joke about how she was on Nick's season and he looks like Nick. Sydney and Matt seem to have more of a real connection. He talks about growing up with two Deaf parents and a Deaf brother, and shows her some sign language, including the sign for "kiss me" (make your hands into two little birds pecking). Sydney does the "kiss me" sign a few times until finally Matt says he wants to be respectful and let it happen at the right moment. Apparently, as he says in an interview, he's really, really nervous about his mom watching. It's nice to see some of the same stuff that made Grocery Joe so compelling — we forget they didn't actually experience weeks of being on TV like everyone else did, so they're a little shy and a little green.
And if you're wondering why Mike and Sydney could both go on dates this week without talking to each other, apparently their partnership was a "slow burn" that fizzled out. I guess that's that!
Back at the beach, it's the same old, same old. Dylan and Hannah get busy on Dylan's birthday. Clay works out with Nicole on his back. Demi and Kristian hang with Derek (look at that!). And Blake is still alone, talking about how he wants something like what Demi and Kristian have (love that!).
JPJ pulls Tayshia aside to talk to her. (Earlier, she specifically said that she wanted to go on the date with Matt Donald in part to avoid having to talk to JPJ and Derek after their latest battle.) He says he woke up feeling emotional and can tell she's been distant, but he wants her to know how seriously he's taking this whole endeavor and that he admires everything about her. He wants her to know where he stands. Tayshia says that their fights really rubbed her the wrong way and the fighting doesn't make her feel good.
JPJ says he realizes he should have communicated better about the Haley thing, but wants to let her know how strong his feelings for her are. He starts to cry and says he wants to give her space because he doesn't want to scare her off. "I came here looking for something serious," he says. "After the moments we shared together, I just can't handle not being around you." He's been making me haaaate him during all these ridiculous fights with Derek, but now suddenly I feel so sad for him. Ugh! Tayshia comforts him but doesn't really say anything conclusive either way about her feelings.
Well, she has conclusive feelings about one person, at least. She pulls Derek aside to chat and tells him that she's had a hard couple days and needs to be honest with him. While they have a great friendship and have had similar experiences (I'm thinking Tayshia's divorce and his broken engagement to Taylor), she just can't get there for the next step. He asks for clarification: Is she not there yet, or is she trying to be nice while telling him she can't get there ever? It turns out it's the latter. She gives him essentially the same speech Demi did: He's such a great guy. He's wonderful. He's amazing. But it's just not there. Derek (understandably, and fairly, I think) takes it a little harder than the breakup with Demi — although to be fair, Demi might have given him a little more warning. He says it's hard to hear, and that there's no one else he's interested in here — and that includes people who might still be coming down the stairs. He thanks her for at least making this about the two of them, and not about the tangled web of love triangles and fights surrounding them.
Shortly after, Derek calls everyone together and thanks them for their friendship. Unfortunately, he says, friendship is all he's been able to build here, so it's time for him to go home. Tayshia is having a hard time holding back her tears, and Demi says they're bummed and don't want him to go. Derek has a sweet, long hug with Kristian, who clearly he's bonded with since her arrival. "I appreciate you so much," he says. On his way out, he says that when he finally clicks with someone, they run away. I have to admit, I'm still holding out a liiiittle bit of hope that Derek could be The Bachelor. I can't help it! I do want him to find love! Maybe I'll just try to listen to this famous podcast of his.
Afterwards, Tayshia is still upset. She feels guilty that she was able to have so much power over someone else's emotions. JPJ hands her a tissue, says, "I'm sorry" (it's a little passive aggressive), and then Tayshia tells Caelynn she can't even think about where her relationship with JPJ stands right now. She didn't break up with Derek because she had feelings for someone else, she says. We leave the episode with her questioning her actions a little — or at least mourning what might have been. "It makes me sad to think maybe Derek and I could have hit it off," she says. "I'm confused and I have no idea what I'm going to do next. This sucks." It's hard to imagine her giving JPJ her rose tomorrow... but we'll find out what happens soon enough!
Bachelor in Paradise airs Mondays and Tuesdays at 8/7c on ABC. It's available to stream on Hulu.