NEW YORK -- We are at the halfway point of this season of Paradise, and the temperature on the beach only seems to get hotter. Solid relationships seem to be forming between some of the men and the women, but in this episode we learn that the longest-standing couple on the beach may be in jeopardy. Plus, it is Kat's birthday, and we all know how well birthdays in Paradise go (not well at all).
Sam (a new Sam, not the one who left the beach with stomach issues) comes down to the beach for her second Paradise appearance. However, she is not familiar to Jesse nor many of the men and women on the beach, because she was on "Bachelor in Paradise Canada." Just as Sean and Aaron S. are asking for a gift from the Paradise gods to extend their time on the beach, Sam comes down in time for the Rose Ceremony. Sean, Aaron S., John B., and Peter are all quick to steal time with Sam, as she is the only available woman on the beach.
There are 12 men and, with the addition of Sam, eight women on the beach, which means four men will be leaving Paradise after the rose ceremony. For the first time this season, the women have the power of handing out the roses this week. There are several expected roses that are handed out before the music changes, and we reach the end of the road for three love triangles in Paradise.
Kylee --- Aven
Rachel --- Brayden
Eliza --- Aaron B. *not John B.
Kat --- Tanner
Jess --- Blake
Olivia --- John Henry *not Peter
Mercedes --- Tyler *not Will
Sam --- Peter
Sean, Aaron S., John B., and Will say their goodbyes to the men and women and head home.
It is the morning after the second Rose Ceremony, and everyone is coupled up. Some of the relationships are really starting to solidify. Aven and Kylee seem to be going strong, and Kylee says she sees an engagement with Aven at the end of Paradise. Meantime, Aaron B. and Eliza are talking about moving to Berlin.
It's Kat's birthday, but that does not mean she will be getting special treatment in Paradise. As such, Rachel is the one gifted a date card by the Paradise gods, and she asks Brayden out. Rachel and Brayden only started developing a connection the night before, but it seems like they have one of the strongest relationships on the beach. Their date has them turning themselves into piñatas, and somehow it is cute. The two of them seem to have a lot of fun together.
"This is the most romantic date I have been on in my Bachelor career. I don't need fireworks and a yacht," Rachel said.
Davia, from Zach's season, enters Paradise. She tells Jesse she is hoping to meet Tanner on the beach, and she pulls him to talk first. The two of them chat, and Tanner says he thinks Davia is gorgeous. He is pretty enthralled by the fact that she has one blue eye and one green eye (a fact he mentions multiple times). Without giving a thought to pulling any other man to chat, Davia asks Tanner on the date. He says yes, and then asks Kat to talk. After all, it is Kat's birthday, and the man she gave her rose to the night before, just said yes to going on a date with another woman. It is safe to say, Paradise is paradise-ing. Tanner tells Kat that going on the date with Davia will give him clarity about his relationship with her. Kat is visibly frustrated, and she cries in her confessional.
"(She's) brewing and Hurricane Kat might come out," Olivia said.
Tanner and Davia leave for their date, and Kat cries to Kylee. As she sobs, the rest of the men and women, and the kitchen staff, approach with a cake and sing "Happy Birthday." Kat sits there crying as they sing, and then she takes the cake and walks away alone. At some point, she drops the cake into the sand, and it gets washed away by the ocean. I hope some animal in the ocean, maybe a whale or a school of fish, enjoyed that cake.
Davia and Tanner have a "dinner" date, but the edit is mostly focused on Kat's birthday breakdown. Tanner says he is looking for the "real thing" in Paradise, and he is clearly obsessed with Davia's different-colored eyes. We don't hear much else from their conversation, but we do see them making out repeatedly and dancing, so it seems like they are enjoying themselves.
Back on the beach, Kat is the only one who is not coupled up.
"I just want to hit something," Kat said. "All I want for my birthday is a piñata."
Brayden and Rachel return to the beach, dressed as piñatas, happy as ever. Brayden is not upset to see Kat alone and feels like it is karma for when she left him for Tanner. Meanwhile, the women on the beach set up a piñata for Kat as a birthday surprise and tells her to pretend the piñata is Tanner. I do not think I have ever seen someone destroy a piñata so passionately in my entire life. It seems as though Kat has decided she no longer wants Tanner, because he was not "man" enough to choose her, and she does not date children. (Which is a good thing, because that would be illegal.) Kat is in Paradise to find her person.
"I am not living with bugs for no reason," Kat said.
Wells reassembles the Paradise Truth Box, solidifying it with black tape. He explains to Sam what the Paradise Truth Box is for, and Sam seems inspired by it. She says she feels that Paradise is a little boring, and she invites the men and women to play a game of Truth or Dare. Surprisingly, everyone seems to have a good time while playing it. Aaron B. is dared to eat a spicy pepper. Brayden gives Jess a lap dance. Kat takes a body shot off of John Henry, and then Olivia sucks John Henry's finger marking her territory. Plus, Jess is asked to tell the truth about whether or not Blake is her #1 on the beach. She hesitates at first before saying that he is.
Blake approaches Jess about her hesitation during Truth or Dare. He worries that Jess is not fully invested in their relationship, and he says that she has expressed interest in other men like Tyler and Tanner. Jess starts to cry because she feels she should be happy with Blake, she just does not know what she wants. Blake seems to handle this conversation as well as he can and says he is confused but will give Jess space to figure things out.
Although Olivia referred to Kat as "Hurricane Kat" in this episode, I feel like we should be calling her "Twister Kat" considering how much she plays with her hair. It is the morning after Tanner's date with Davia, and Kat has yet to speak to Tanner. Davia pulls Kat to talk, and she explains that she did not know it was Kat's birthday and that Tanner told her that he was open to exploring relationships. At some point, Tanner wakes up and approaches Kat, but the episode ends before we see the two of them hash things out.
"She is nuts man," Brayden said. "I just feel like Kat is going in for the kill, man. She smells blood in the water, and she is a shark swimming."
At the end of this episode the pairings in Paradise are:
Aven --- Kylee
Brayden --- Rachel
Aaron B. --- Eliza
Blake --- Jess
John Henry --- Olivia
Tyler --- Mercedes
Peter --- Sam
The only love triangle remaining (for now) is between Davia, Kat, and Tanner.
From the preview, the conversation between Tanner and Kat does not seem to go well, and she tries to shoot her shot with John Henry. Blake tells Jess to explore other relationships, and we see her kiss Tyler. Aaron B. wants to make his relationship with Eliza exclusive, but former Bachelorette Charity Lawson comes down the stairs to Paradise, and she might jeopardize that.
"Bachelor in Paradise" airs Thursdays on ABC following "The Golden Bachelor."