SPOILER ALERT: Do not read if you have not yet watched the Aug. 24 episode of “Bachelor in Paradise.”
The last episode of “Bachelor in Paradise” included an elimination ceremony that left 10 pairs remaining on the beach but promised more contestants would enter. The men previously passed out the roses, but this time the power dynamics shifted and the women were in charge.
Before fresh competitors joined the cast, another newcomer entered — the season’s second celebrity guest host, Lance Bass. The former member of *NSYNC congratulated the cast for surviving week one and reminded the men it was their turn to step up their game and woo the women.
The challenge was immediately met with new suitors joining. Thomas Jacobs, known as a villain on Katie Thurston’s season of “The Bachelorette,” entered Paradise with a date card in hand. His presence sparked aggressive reactions from the men, who disliked him from their previous experiences on “The Bachelorette” and the rumblings of Bachelor Nation. “I heard he’s the devil,” Noah Erb joked.
However, the women swooned over his height and good looks and took turns to chat with him. Thomas identified Serena Pitt as someone he’d like to spend more time with and invited her on a date. The two spent their afternoon banana boating and tubing in the ocean before enjoying a sandy picnic and a make-out on the beach.
Meanwhile, “Grocery Store” Joe Amabile spent his afternoon moping. He and Serena spent the first days coupled up, and he struggled with her participation in Thomas’ date. The situation felt like déjà vu, as Joe experienced a similar love triangle dynamic during his last stint in Paradise with his ex-girlfriend Kendall Long. He confessed to wanting to leave in her absence, but his reliance was rewarded, as Serena told him she didn’t want to pursue Thomas upon her return from the date.
In addition to getting rejected by Serena, Thomas was also being ostracized by his former “Bachelorette” castmates. Aaron Clancy, Tre Cooper and James Bonsall were vocal about their displeasure and were forced to confront their conflict head on. The men called Thomas manipulative, rude and a liar but eventually came to peace after his apology. They agreed to stay distant and cordial on the beach — but that quickly changed.
Serena confessed that Thomas accused Tre of “emotional weakness.” The news came back to Tre on the heels of accepting Thomas’ apology, and it was quickly withdrawn. The two had a quick but heated confrontation dominated by Tre before they parted ways.
Thomas was not the only new addition on the beach, as Riley Christian from Tayshia Adams’ season joined the cast. The women admired him (and his biceps) upon arrival. Tahzjuan Hawkins, who joined the show hoping to meet him, was especially smitten at first, though she quickly became disappointed because he asked Maurissa Gunn out on a date instead of her.
Maurissa had been linked to Connor Brennan since her arrival. Unlike Joe, Connor was unfazed by her decision to go with Riley on a date. However, unlike Joe again, he had reason for concern.
Maurissa and Riley’s date started as a game similar to James Corden’s “Spill Your Guts or Fill Your Guts” where participants are forced to answer telling questions or eat unappetizing food. But it quickly turned into a sexually charged evening that eventually led the two back to the resort and into the “boom boom room” where couples utilize the privacy for sexual activities.
Unaware of their activities, Connor blissfully played songs on his ukulele, secure in his relationship with Maurissa.
“Bachelor in Paradise” airs Mondays and Tuesdays at 8 p.m. on ABC.