As this week's episode Bachelor in Paradiseopens, everyone's still processing Derek's exit. (Blake didn't even realize it happened.) People are sad for him and sad he's gone, but everyone seems to agree he did the right thing. Now the question is: What's going on with JPJ and Tayshia?
Chris, as the elder statesman of the resort, takes it upon himself to talk to JPJ and ask how he felt about the way everything went down. JPJ admits that he "could have been more level-headed with Derek," but otherwise doesn't regret anything. Chris tries to get him to see that he might possibly regret something later, and talks to JPJ about the values that he lives by. (Do we know anything about these values? Are they mostly about hair conditioner?) He at least seems aware that Tayshia needs a little space and an apology, especially after he has a chat with Kristian, too.
People who aren't solidly coupled up are getting a little antsy now that Paradise is nearing its end. Tayshia and Mike have a little heart-to-heart about how nice it would be to find a relationship in Paradise. Blake worries that he "burned bridges" (he used air quotes there) with every woman here. Finally, he gets it! Chris asks Katie to spend the night -- they seem great except Katie still isn't 100 percent sure he's husband material. Demi and Kristian share a sweet moment reflecting on how much coming out means to both of them, and Demi says it's easier coming out with Kristian because she's so proud to be with her. Awww.
Surprisingly, our next sweet moment comes from Tayshia and JPJ. Guess all hope hasn't been lost after all! He tells her he's here for her and doesn't want to put any pressure on her. She tells him it really bothered her that it felt like he was pressuring her. It felt like he was giving her an ultimatum. But... she does have a soft spot for him. She likes that he likes her (OK...) but also does seem to love his weird, goofy side. Case in point: He sprints into the water to catch a fish with his bare hands, then brings it to her to "kiss it," then springs back into the sea screaming, "I don't want him to die!" Honestly, if he hadn't gone off on Derek (so. many. times.), I'd love him!
"There's something wrong with him," Tayshia says, "and I kind of like it."
Clay is still feeling extremely distraught about having Angela around, so it's the perfect time to make that a little worse. Chase (from Jojo's season) comes down the stairs and immediately pulls Angela for a date. He doesn't even chat with anyone else: They had connected at the wedding and he knows what he wants.
Nicole is... not taking this well, but pretends she is. She does an impression of Angela at the wedding. She waves and yells, "Bye!!!" as Angela and Chase go to get ready for their date. Insecurity does not look good on you, girl.
Clay has bro chats with Mike, Chris, and Dylan about what it's been like to watch his ex go on dates while he tries to find love. He keeps saying it's what Angela signed up for but not what he signed up for. As we cut between his conversation with Mike and Angela's date with Chris, we learn a tiny bit more about the breakup: It seems like in trying to be nice and let her down easy, Clay sort of left the door open a little more than he should have. Like when you say, "I just need to figure myself out for a bit," there's sort of an implied, "And then we'll check in again after that." So Angela feels like it's dragged on for a while.
As the Rose Ceremony approaches, Blake has an epiphany: It's been Kristina all along. He wants to be with Kristina! Is this desperation talking, or is it the truth? He pulls her aside and tells her they've been right in front of each other this whole time but have never been "all in on each other." She's skeptical but open, and asks him to talk to her about this again tomorrow after she has time to process -- and to make sure he still wants what he says he wants.
And just like that, it's time for the cocktail party. Matt Donald tries to make a speech but his voice keeps cracking, so Chris Harrison tells him it's a normal part of puberty. The big drama with Matt is that he still hasn't been able to kiss Sydney, and it's getting worse as the pressure builds. He's sweating bullets. He gets a pep talk from literally everyone on the beach (Demi's is the best: "It doesn't have to be full French!"). Sydney tells him in 11 different ways that she's open to it, he has permission, and she will make the first move if needed. Finally (after JPJ has toweled him off and complimented his body), he does it. GO MATT DONALD!
Chris asks Katie to officially be his girlfriend. Clay restates to Angela that he doesn't want her to be his girlfriend! But seriously, Clay pulls her aside so they can finally get all their feelings out in the open. Clay says he felt like Angela was farther ahead than he was, and then he says their ambitions and goals weren't parallel. Angela says she's the one who pushed him to go to the gym when he wasn't doing anything. "I wanted you to go with me," Clay says.
Angela: "You go to the gym for four hours!"
Clay: "You didn't have to stay the whole time!"
Then Angela says she does have goals, to which Clay says, "Yeah. Your goal is to be a wife and mother. But what I discovered is that I want more." Clay also says he worried that he'd have to support them. I want to write a dissertation on this whole conversation. Also, I just can't get over everyone whispering about how they dated for eight months like it was this long, serious thing! Anyway, in the end, they just decide to live and let live and try to coexist normally. It was... that easy?
We could apply that same phrase to Blake and Kristina's rekindled relationship. They have Round 2 of their talk, per Kristina's request. She grills him: Is he trying to get a friendship rose? Does he want to see who comes down next week? But Blake remains firm: No, he's here for her. He wants to have a relationship. He sees his future with Kristina and when he thinks of her he feels calm. "I know you're skeptical," he says. "But when you realize the life you want, you want it to start immediately." Um, did he mean to paraphrase the end of When Harry Met Sally? If he did, I might have to forgive him all his sins.
With that, it's time for the Rose Ceremony. It's Nicole and Clay; Angela and Chase; Kristian and Demi; Hannah and Dylan (she thanks him for "continuing to be such an amazing boyfriend"); Katie and Chris; Haley and Luke; Caelynn and Connor; Sydney and Matt; Tayshia and JPJ; and Kristina and Blake.
Unfortunately, that means Mike is going home. It always feels unfair when we didn't see the beginning and end of someone's major Paradise relationship (Sydney). What went wrong? Does it make sense why he went home, or should we blame Sydney a little? In his goodbye SUV, Mike says he feels like the kid who everyone says they love, but he still has to watch everyone else play through a window. HEARTBREAKING! We'll miss ya, Mike.
The next morning, everyone is happy and coupled. Then Bri comes in (she was "fake Australian accent girl" on Colton's season) and immediately asks Blake to chat. This will be the big test to see if he was serious about Kristina, and the conversation goes on long enough to send Kristina crying to the bathroom. (Blake and Bri hit it off, not at Stagecoach, but a few days before at Chris and Krystal's wedding.) Fortunately, he does the right thing and chooses to stay with Kristina. Bri takes Matt and they go surfing. This time, he has no problem making out with a girl on the beach immediately. What's that old saying? Once you pop the fun don't stop?
The other couples are starting to talk about life outside Paradise. Chris says he wants two kids. Hannah says when she moves to California she and Dylan can go on walks! Connor is feeling pretty good about Caelynn, too. So... guess who walks down the stairs?
That's right: It's Dean, bearing an apologetic smile and a freshly-shaved mustache. Caelynn is shocked and confused, obviously, as Dean pulls her over to a daybed to chat. He explains that on his whole flight home, all he thought about was her. He rented a car and drove to the Grand Canyon (this whole episode is just a series of rom-com moments I guess?) and all he could think about was that he'd rather be there with her. He says that after a lot of reflection and introspection, he realized it wasn't fair for him to decide for her that she wouldn't be happy with him. And he realized he needs to stop running away from anything good in his life. He showed Caelynn who he was on their first date and she accepted him, and that's no small feat.
Her guard is up, but she's listening (much to poor Connor's dismay). Then, Dean drops the bomb: He came here to ask Caelynn to leave Paradise with him... now. Caelynn says in an interview that she's torn between a dangerous guy (Dean), and the perfect guy (Connor). I'm sure it is a tough choice, but I think we all know who she's going to pick...
Bachelor in Paradise airs Mondays and Tuesdays at 8/7c on ABC. It's available to stream on Hulu.