Warning: Spoilers ahead for Love Is Blind’s “The Reunion.”
The Love Is Blind season 1 reunion special was always bound to be an explosive 50 minutes of television. If you had to guess which cast member would be at the center of the reality TV get-together’s most shocking moment, Jessica Batten — she who gave wine to a dog — would have been a solid guess. Even Netflix hinted Jessica would be the one under fire with the reunion episode tease it shared days ahead of the reunion
However, Jessica isn’t the Love Is Blind co-star you should walk away from “The Reunion” fuming over. That honor instead goes to Damian Powers.
As we find out at the top of the special, Damian and his Blind love match Giannina Milady Gibelli are back together after a disastrous breakup in “The Weddings.” Although Damian and Giannina were engaged and living together for much of Love Is Blind season 1, they have since made some changes to their dynamic. Now, they are simply dating after the heady intensity of forming a relationship at a breakneck speed that would even make Bachelor Nation pause. Damian and Giannina are living separately.
It’s a shockingly healthy setup for one of Love Is Blind’s most polarizing couples.
Then, host Nick Lachey asks Damian if he would have done “anything different” on their wedding day. Damian says no.
If you remember Damian and Giannina’s nuptials, you would know this is a terrible response. In “The Weddings,” Giannina is the first half of the couple to say her “I do’s” during their ceremony. She calls Damian her soulmate and, when asked if she takes him as her husband, says, “Of course I do … I’ll plant kisses that will grow trust and confidence within you.” When the same question is asked of Damian, his face crumbles and he says, “I do not.” To make matters worse, Damian blames Giannina for the split, continuing, “I stayed consistent all the way through this and you have not.” Giannina is left crying in front of family and friends as Damian criticizes her at length. She is mortified.
Giannina distills what is so terrible about Damian’s rejection after she runs out of the venue and falls down in some grass. “You couldn’t have told me? Like, for real?” she asks upon first seeing Damian following the altar fiasco. The true problem with the refusal isn’t that Damian wasn’t ready to get married to someone he had been arguing with for a month — it’s that he didn’t prepare Giannina at all before devastating her in front of dozens of people. Even Giannina’s mom Milady Gibelli says the wedding would have been better if her daughter had turned Damian down.
If Damian had given Giannina a single hint he was having misgivings, she could have prepared herself for a possible catastrophe. However, Damian always painted himself as the one who was sure of the relationship. So, Giannina was fully humiliated when Damian said no at the altar.
Damian's continued support of his wedding day antics suggests he believes he was right to treat Giannina so cruelly in such a public setting . If Damian truly wasn’t able to give her prior warning — as he claims — he could have pulled Giannina aside to explain his feelings. No matter what, Damian did not need to air all of his grievances about their relationship in front of everyone his fiancée knows.
This upsetting situation does not improve when Damian explains during the reunion why he wouldn't amend a single thing about the wedding that hurt Giannina so much. Damian claims that in the days leading up to the big day he told Giannina, “Look, no matter what happens, we leave this together.” These words likely hinted to Giannina — who verbally agreed to those terms — that Damian would marry her no matter what. Then Damian says that when Giannina said “I do,” he “didn’t expect that.”
“I thought she was going to be the one to say, ‘I don’t,’” Damian continues. “And I was going to say ‘Okay … I’ll walk away with you.’” But he gives no evidence for this belief. In fact, in the minutes directly following the “Wedding” rejection, Damian offers none of this information as a defense for breaking Giannina’s heart. Instead says he “didn’t know” he was going to refuse her until he said it. “I almost said, I do,” Damian adds, proving he didn’t have the escape hatch plan he shares during the reunion.
In one final display of non-remorse, Damian says he “wishes” he could spare Giannina the hurt and embarrassment he personally caused her on their catastrophic wedding day... But he “would stick by it again because of where [they] are now.”
Congrats Jessica Batten, you are no longer the greatest villain of Love Is Blind.