Love Is Blind’s Uche/Lydia Drama Might Be The Wildest Thing To Happen On This Absolutely Unhinged Show
Mere months after wrapping season 4 of its most entertaining reality dating show Love is Blind, Netflix made like DJ Khaled and gave us another one, this time, based in Houston, Texas. Somehow, a new group of hopeless romantics (or aspiring influencers — it’s kind of hard to tell the difference with this show sometimes) has gathered in the pods in search of their one true love. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but the streamer has somehow done it again; season 5 is, without a doubt, the most trifling iteration of Love is Blind so far, thanks in part to one love connection shrouded in secrets.
Season 5 of the show ramps up the chaos to unbelievable levels by securing a selection of some of Houston’s most…unique individuals. This group’s an especially mixed bag; in the pods this season, we’ve got a guy who almost exclusively wears red, white, and blue, a 25-year-old baby whose biggest turn-on is a sedimentary rock, a “scientist” with a questionable side hustle, a girl I literally went to church with growing up, a few Nigerians (we’re everywhere!), and a self-described “walking red flag.” And those are just the contestants that get airtime; who knows the deal with the other hopefuls whose stories we don’t get to follow?
What doesn’t get scrapped on the cutting room floor is a fascinating display of what many might point out as the issue with dating in the modern age: it’s just too stressful. Even though the show’s aim is to take away some of the factors that might complicate one’s search for love, by condensing the dating process and timeline, it simultaneously heightens the stakes. Yes, you’re bypassing the irritation of the “what are you looking for?” conversations because everyone in the pods is (allegedly) there for the same reason, but you’re being forced to live in the same trailer as the 14 other women you’re trying to make your husband. You have to listen to them rant and rave about your man, to be ranked on an ever-changing list of potential spouses, to watch your new friends get engaged while someone asks you what you’re wearing through the wall. (Also, why are people dressing up in the pods? He can’t see you, sister!) And, if you’re Aaliyah Cosby, you have to find out that the girl who’s been giving you advice and encouragement about your dream guy is actually his ex-girlfriend — and she might not be fully over him.
Let’s break this love triangle (square, if you count Milton Johnson, Lydia’s pod boo) down. Once upon a time, Uche Okoroha and Lydia Velez Gonzalez dated briefly. Things didn’t go well between the two, so they went their separate ways, but fate (read: Kinetic Content, the production company behind Love is Blind) brings them back together in the pods. To Lydia’s obvious disappointment, Uche wants to date other people and preserve the integrity of the experiment, so their connection is severed. But when he starts connecting deeply with Aaliyah, he fails to tell her the full truth about his relationship history. Meanwhile, Lydia takes it upon herself to give her ex’s new girlfriend heartfelt advice and comfort throughout the process but keeps her in the dark about the nature of her concerning level of insight into Uche’s personality.
As someone who’s from Houston, I can say from experience that the Lydia/Uche scenario is pretty common outside of the pods. Even with a population of 2.3 million people, the city is actually really small, so it’s totally normal to run into your ex at a bar or at church or in the frozen food aisles of one of three Trader Joe’s in the city. It’s even more normal to come across someone (or a few someones) who’s dated said ex. Big city, small town vibes, you know? Still, there’s something particularly sinister about how that phenomenon plays out in the pods this time around. Love is Blind show creator Chris Coelen recently shared a statement confirming that, though he and his team weren’t aware of the two’s romantic past prior to filming, they did in fact ask Uche and Lydia not to disclose their former relationship to the rest of the pod because “the information wasn’t relevant” and would be “destructive to everyone’s overall experience” if revealed. Coelen didn’t say this explicitly, but the flipside of this secret was that it would make for excellent television.
Watching Aaliyah sob into Lydia’s chest following her first real conflict with Uche was the stuff of a psychological thriller. We didn’t know it until two episodes later, but there was a reason why that scene was so unsettling. “You’re so like me that I could see this happening,” Lydia tells Aaliyah, eerie music playing over their confrontation. “I see myself in you…[Uche] might have a blind spot because you’re me.” At the time, we had no clue what the hell Lydia was talking about, but it definitely set off alarms in our heads. Come to find out, she was putting herself in Aaliyah's shoes because she had quite literally been in her shoes before! It only gets creepier after Uche ‘fesses up to his history with Lydia. Lydia sees it as an opportunity to tell Aaliyah everything — and I mean everything. She knows Uche’s favourite colour (royal blue!), the kind of car he drives (a Tesla!), the kind of home he lives in (a three-story house!), his preferred brand of whiskey (Wild Turkey Honey — very niche!). She’s met Uche’s dog and hung out with his friends, too. And just three months prior to entering the pods, Lydia and Uche slept together. No biggie.
It’s a big deal. On the day he intends to propose to Aaliyah, Uche’s process is cut short without warning when Aaliyah, probably (reasonably) freaked out, willfully exits the pods and, potentially, Uche’s life. (A teaser of the rest of the season hints that there’ll be a sit-down confrontation between the former flames, and I am already stressed.)
After four major US cities (the show also has Japanese and Brazilian spinoffs), endless hours of deep, personal conversations, and singles from various walks of life, only a handful of contestants from Love is Blind have actually tied the knot and stayed married. (No, seriously — this show does not work for people looking for romantic love. The friendships that have come from the pods, however, are a different story. Maybe we need a spinoff about platonic love instead…) Given the low success rate of the former seasons, you’d think folks would get the memo and maybe give the ghetto that is dating apps one more try, yet here we are once again, gathering around the virtual watercooler to break down every detail of the love lives of 30 strangers who willingly signed up for this very weird experiment. There’s much to discuss this season, perhaps even more so than the trainwreck that was season 4. Just episodes into the latest offering, it’s clear that Love is Blind’s casting and production need a significant raise (or, dare I say it, even an Emmy) for the level of drama that they’re able to conjure up time and time again, starting with the casting.
Now, we’ve seen a lot of truly ridiculous stuff on this show in the past four seasons, but I think we can all agree that the Lydia-Uche-Aaliyah love triangle takes the cake. Even wilder is the fact that that’s just one of the doomed-from-the-start lovelines going on this season. Looking at where things stand for everyone right now, it’s very likely that no one on this show will be able to say that love is blind at the end of the day. And it’s probably for the best; this whole premise still makes no sense! (Shoutout to our only exceptions, though. Lauren and Cam, Brett and Tiffany, we will always love you.) So yeah, another L for the credibility of this experiment. But as far as good TV is concerned? An aggravating but absolutely addictive 10/10. Netflix, you have done it again.
Episodes 1-6 of Love is Blind are now streaming on Netflix. New episodes to come, October 6th.