Maurissa Gunn is kind of the new Grocery Store Joe — as in, someone who was eliminated from her original season criminally early but got a second chance to shine on Bachelor in Paradise. Maurissa originally competed on Peter Weber's Bachelor season, but he sent her home on night one. Fortunately, a year and change later, fans are finally getting to know Maurissa, and she's kind of awesome. Fans aren't the only ones who noticed, either. Maurissa's had a couple of Bachelorette fan faves interested in her — including Connor Brennan from Katie Thurston's season and Riley Christian from Tayshia Adams' season.
On the August 24 episode, Riley showed up on Paradise with a date card, and he pretty immediately set his sights on Maurissa. She was ecstatic to finally go on a romantic date… only to find out that she and Riley would be playing a game of truth or dare where if they didn't answer host Lance Bass' probing questions, they'd have to eat something gross. But even that disgusting date didn't dim Maurissa's shine.
She and Riley answered a fair amount of questions (and we learned that she's a confident, sexually-empowered woman), and they also ate some gross stuff — but together, and in a cute way. Plus, in the history of this show, these types of disgusting dates can actually help people form deeper bonds. Never forget when Carly Waddell and Evan Bass ate spicy peppers, had a slobbery kiss, and then she threw up, only to end up together on their Paradise season. (Yes, their post-Paradise marriage didn't last, but they had a good run and still support each other.) I'm not saying there's a guarantee that a gross date begets romance, but it could bode well for Riley and Maurissa that they made it through such an icky experience and still liked each other enough to share a night in the "boom boom room," as Demi has dubbed it, afterward.
Maurissa has all the power this week, since the women are in charge of handing out the roses. And whether she chooses Riley or Connor, she's already won the season by having a chance to show off more of her confidence and style. A quick look at her Instagram shows that she's often grabbing a cocktail at a ritzy bar and, more often than not, rocking an amazing outfit like the one she wore to her date with Riley. She hasn't even really delved into the #sponcon side of Bachelor Nation — the other downside of early elimination is no basis for future influencerdom — instead working as a patient coordinator for a plastic surgeon.
Since she was eliminated on Peter's season, she's just been living her life, working on self love, and waiting to find her one. Now she may actually be getting a chance to do that — and she has her pick of some of Paradise's best men. And if that doesn't work out, she'll definitely walk away with some fans and followers. Peter made a big mistake (huge!) sending Maurissa home so early, but at least her time on Paradise is finally helping rectify that error.