Monday night’s Bachelor in Paradise really went above and beyond. Sure, you can bring a pot-stirrer like Demi to the beach and watch the drama ensue, but the producers reaped the benefits of a longer game this episode. Since the beginning, there has been talk that Brendan was secretly waiting for the arrival of Pieper (Matt James’ Bachelor season), who he was dating outside of the show. So, obviously, Pieper was going to show up late to mix things up. What wasn’t so obvious was that Brendan and Pieper would out themselves as scheming clout-chasers, who bond over watching their Instagram follower counts increase. The fourth wall was also broken when producers allowed us to hear the couple's comments about being on a TV show. It's not a common move for the producers — the most similar circumstance we got on BIP in the past was the Samantha and Joe saga of 2015.
Brendan and Pieper are definitely the focus of the episode, but we also get see more from Kendall’s arrival from last week, and witness Kenny thriving as the most eligible bachelor on a beach literally full of eligible bachelors. Also, Noah and Abigail decide to continue their cute and non-dramatic relationship after last week’s hiccup. But, yeah, we barely see those two because they’re so chill.
Kendall’s Tense Return
Episode 5 ended with Kendall arriving to confront her ex-fiancé Joe. “Hey, butthead. Want to talk?” she says. Their conversation sounds, well, like an actual couple who dated for two years hashing some things out. They don’t talk in Bachelor lingo. They talk about viewing the end of their relationship differently and where things went wrong. Basically, Joe wanted Kendall to move to Chicago, and she wanted to stay in Los Angeles. Kendall is still in love with Joe, and doesn’t like that logistics—not a lack of love—is what broke them up. In his confessional, Joe says that while Kendall clearly still loves him, he’s not sure if the feeling is mutual, but definitely doesn’t want to throw away what he has with Serena.
Kendall tells some of the women that she’s going to stay and participate in BIP regardless of what happens with Joe, which I guess explains why she chose to talk to him on a TV show instead of, like, on the phone. Meanwhile, he chats with Serena. He says there is clearly a misunderstanding between himself and Kendall—he already felt there was closure; she didn’t—and he knows they’re going to be having more conversations. He tries to be as honest as possible, telling Serena that this is messy and if things get to be too much for her, he understands. “I don’t know what’s going to happen. It’s going to be weird. But right now you are my main priority,” he says. Serena jokes that she’s “kind of” convinced that Joe is over Kendall. (I love Serena always just says what she’s thinking.) Also, I think Joe’s handling of this situation makes for a great Bachelor audition, if neither relationship works out.
The Kenny/Mari/Demi/Tia Love Square Continues
Kenny returns from his naked volleyball date with Tia to Demi and Mari, who are both still very interested in him. Mari tells him that she regrets that whole “I want to go on dates with other people” thing and wants him back. Demi talks to him about how she’s more “fun” than Tia and Mari and assumed he would realize that. She puts a lot of emphasis on how “fun” she is, seemingly without realizing that’s not the only trait people are looking for. She then whispers in Kenny’s ear, “Do you want to go to the Boom Boom Room right now?” “Tonight?!” Kenny exclaims, before turning her down. He wants to deal with all of this the next day. In his confessional, he says he had something special with Mari. The only other update we get on them this episode is a narration about how they may be working things out.
Brendan and Pieper’s Wrong Reasons Reveal
Ever since everyone arrived at the beach, there’s been talk that Brendan and Pieper were seeing each other in the real world and that he was possibly waiting for her arrival, so they could date in Paradise, too. The problem? Brendan has also been courting Natasha and insisted to her that he was truly interested in her and wasn’t serious with Pieper. So, Natasha is right to call it “fishy” when Pieper arrives, asks Brendan on her date without talking to anyone else, and he says yes.
Brendan chats with Natasha ahead of the date. He says it’s a coincidence that Pieper showed up, wants to explore both relationships, and would want Natasha to have the opportunity to explore another relationship if the roles were reversed. Look, even if Brendan wasn’t holding out for Pieper’s arrival—he was, we’ll get to that—she’s there now and he’s asking a lot of Natasha that she be okay with this. As Brendan leaves, Natasha cries on Becca’s shoulder.
At the date, things start off rocky as Brendan explains to Pieper that the other contestants have been suspicious that he was waiting for her, but says he made clear that they were just casual pre-Paradise. Pieper says that Brendan is downplaying what they had and isn’t being the person she knew. Then, a big reveal: “If you have a full girlfriend going into Paradise, it's not a good look,” Brendan says. “I would go home.”
So, Brendan was downplaying his relationship with Pieper to the group, and then continuing to downplay it to the camera on this date, before being called out by Pieper, because she didn’t know this was part of the plan. “Obviously, I was navigating this in a way to allow myself to potentially, hopefully be here while you’re here,” Brendan continues. “I get it!” Pieper responds. “Thanks for playing the game.” To be clear, she is happy about this and just wishes their plan had been better ironed out. She will wish this even more once she sees how this episode is edited.
With them back on the same page, Brendan mentions something about “what Paradise will promote together” for them, and Pieper confirms that he’s her boyfriend. Brendan asks Pieper to trust him even if he acts differently while they’re on the show.
The next day, everyone, including Natasha, is like, well, those two are clearly a couple. Natasha pulls Pieper aside for a chat and soon realizes that she is in on the plan. Natasha questions whether they just want to be on TV and tells Pieper, “I truthfully don’t think that you guys should be here.” Meanwhile, Brendan says to someone off camera (likely a producer), “[Natasha] had zero prospects. It’s not like I was keeping her from anyone.” Damn, dude. After the convo, Pieper and Brendan joke about how one day they’ll laugh about all of this and tell people they don't even own TVs. Except they're already laughing about it now. Chilling.
Natasha then talks to Brendan. He says just a whole big pile of bullshit about how his and Natasha’s “friendship” was never romantic and how he was clear about that, but she has “selective hearing.” At that comment, Natasha just laughs. This guy is full of crap, and she knows it and now she’s free.
Back on their evil daybed of love, Pieper and Brendan talk about their write-up in Us Weekly and how it contributed to their follower counts. Pieper makes a joke about how poorly Brendan is going to come off on the show, and he says while trying to cover his mic, “I incriminated myself enough where it’s, like, I am screwed.” I’ll say! And this is with them seemingly not realizing that the show is going to use all of their fourth wall-breaking comments, as well as those from other contestants about them. It was really “Bravo, Bravo, fucking Bravo”-esque.
Biggest Bachelor franchise turnaround possibly ever: BRENDAN. My god. Remember when we were all talking about how Tayshia had the most solid Bachelorette final four ever? Brendan was one of those men!
Biggest question of the night: Do Pieper and Brendan even like each other? I have to ask! Perhaps we don’t know the true depth of their plan.
Best accidental pun: “How would you feel if they were to re-Kendall things?” —Mari asking Serena about Kendall’s arrival possibly meaning a rekindled relationship with Joe