How could a season that was an absolute train wreck have produced a reunion so blah? There were moments this season where I watched from behind my fingers like I was watching a horror film. I was so drawn into the spiderweb of drama and nonsense that I was diving deep into Reddit and reading conspiracy theories. I dominated every conversation by asking friends and relatives if they were caught up. “Yeah, yeah, your baby is cute or whatever, but where do you think JP was on January 6?” So I was absolutely JAZZED for the reunion. A collection of truly unhinged individuals with zero self-awareness gathered together under the watchful eye of the Lacheys? Please, give it to me. But this? This reunion? A snoozefest. What did we learn? We learned that all of these people did a course-correct once they got to watch their behavior, and no one chose to work through their issues and continue to date. Well, everyone except Lydia and Milton, somehow. Those crazy kids are making it work.
Even the Lacheys seem toned down! Let’s get into it.
The reunion basically has the same structure as Stop Making Sense, in that the stage starts nearly empty and more and more people who hate each other join as the show goes on. The Lacheys are sitting with our couples that Netflix showed us making it to the altar. First, we find out what’s up with Lydia and Milton’s relationship. They’re still happily married, and Milton has learned that it’s really great to leave work at 5:30 p.m. This is a man who discovered he really likes saying “my wife” like a tenth-grader who just watched The Fugitive for the first time. What is pretty sweet is that Lydia’s emotional side has actually opened up Milton’s family. Lydia calls Milton’s mom to complain about him, and then Milton’s mom calls him to tell him that she’s proud of him and that she loves him so much. The Lacheys can’t leave well enough alone and ask if Milton has learned to clean up after himself. He says he’s done the dishes “on occasion” and always hangs up his towel. This would be an accomplishment for a child with their first chore chart, but Milton is a grown and married person. He says that the best thing about being married is “the cleaning.” Cuuuute.
Then, we get a little montage of their first year and a half of marriage. They went to Puerto Rico and had another wedding ceremony, and did some traveling together. It’s mostly clips of Milton with his arms wrapped around Lydia in bed. Vanessa and Nick Lachey give them an agate and amethyst geode that represents stability and peace. Milton says he doesn’t have any short-term plans for their relationship but long-term ones, and he’s ready to tackle their 401(k).
Imagine if the episode had ended there. It would have been boring but entirely pleasant and not confusing. But alas, we press on. Time to chat with Izzy and Stacy! I didn’t mention it at the wedding, but Stacy looks so much better when someone else does her makeup. Stacy says that saying yes to Izzy at the wedding would have been doing it to make him happy, and she had to take care of herself. Izzy says that he didn’t know finances would be such a big deal; that’s why he brought it up to everyone else in the pods, but not Stacy. You understand, right? Izzy says again that he had bad credit and he doesn’t owe any money anywhere. Then why doesn’t he have a credit card? If he had bad credit and didn’t have any debt-with-a-hard-B, what was the issue? Because marriages don’t break up when you find out someone used to have bad credit and doesn’t have debt.
After the wedding, they took about a week apart and wanted to get together again. They didn’t know if they were coming together as boyfriend-girlfriend or fiancés. They went on a date, talked, and Stacy proposed that if they got back together, they’d be starting from the beginning, and Izzy didn’t want to do that. SO HE WALKED OUT AND THEY DIDN’T TALK FOR A YEAR! They ran into each other out in Houston, which we will learn is a very small town, and they’re not together. That’s fine, I guess. I didn’t want these two to end up together because they were so desperately mismatched. But let’s not ruminate on their relationship any longer because we’ve got to get to Johnie and Chris.
THEY AREN’T TOGETHER ANYMORE. After all this, after all that drama, these two couldn’t make it work, and it turns out Chris ghosted Johnie and met a girl at a wedding and just started dating her??? What is it with the men on this show just picking up their bags and never talking to their partners ever again? Chris says he didn’t handle the situation properly, but he’s in love now, so he’s happy now. Deal with it. He says that the whole Love Is Blind experiment is to find someone who accepts you, and he did that. In the pods, Chris. In the fucking pods. He tries to say that they went in different directions, and Johnie corrects him: “You went an opposite way.”
I’m beginning to see what people have been saying about dating in Houston.
He also says that his biggest flaw is that he doesn’t like delivering bad news. Chris, no one does, and that doesn’t explain meeting someone at a wedding and dating them without breaking up with your girlfriend.
Now it’s time for the whole Stacy-Johnie drama. For someone who insists that they aren’t mad, Stacy still seems kinda mad. Like, you’re not even with the guy this was all about anymore. Stacy also says, “I’m a Coke bottle. You wanna shake it? Let’s pop the top.” I don’t know why, but that exact ratio of folksy and bitchy directed at Kirkland Signature Katy Perry set me off to no end. Stacy, you’re not tough for going after Johnie. Unfortunately for Johnie, she’s whispering to Chris the whole time Stacy is talking, and Vanessa Lachey’s instinct to side with the most popular girl in the room kicks in, and she calls out Johnie for talking. And I don’t know, y’all, I can’t really get that worked up over Johnie being upset when Izzy broke up with her and he picked Stacy. Was she kinda bitchy? Yeah. Do I ever think she was a threat or worthy of all this fire? Not at all. Do I think Stacy comes off as the bigger person at the BBQ or the reunion? Also, not at all. Then it’s time to relitigate the BBQ argument where Stacy and Izzy wanted to impress on Chris that Johnie was a bad person. Which is made even more ironic now that we’ve seen the end of the season and know that Chris went to a wedding and returned with a completely new girlfriend. Izzy is the only one who apologizes to Chris and Johnie after watching the clip of all of them at the BBQ. Maybe Stacy is a little chilly toward Johnie because after Izzy and Stacy broke up, Izzy and Johnie made out at a bar.
To wrap this up, Izzy and Stacy are friendly again after running into each other at a few bars and sharing one extremely awkward cooking class together. How old do we think the man with Stacy was? I think she’s just looking for her Mr. Big to complete the Carrie Bradshaw fantasy she’s living in.
Time to bring out another guest, and it’s Aaliyah. Aaliyah has clearly taken a class in the divine feminine or whatever because she’s peppered her speech with a few references to how she’s a queen and how the time in the pods was a sacred moment. First, she gently confronts Lydia about how the whole Uche situation was handled. Lydia sees herself as another victim in all this who was forced to keep everything in and had to deal with Uche’s whole vibe. Aaliyah feels she was robbed of the possibility of the Love Is Blind experience, so she just had to go. She also brings up this story that Lydia was saying she was hoping to run into someone from her past and that she had talked to Uche about coming on the show. Lydia says she wasn’t “hoping” to meet someone from her past on the show, but she had a gut feeling it was possible. And it seems like Lydia and Uche had a conversation about the show that was just “Oh, hey, this is happening” and independently applied.
Then everyone gets their moment to trash Uche, who didn’t come to the reunion. Milton says that Uche was always a little obsessed with his relationship with Lydia and would try to get Milton to dish with him. He also says that Uche acted like they were close friends and tried to text Milton on his wedding day. Uche is basically acting like a clingy ex, but instead of trying to talk to anyone he’s actually dated, he’s trying to stay in touch with Milton. Aaliyah says that she and Uche tried to date after the show (something that Uche revealed in his Instagram Stories once the season was airing). Aaliyah says that he was mean and condescending to her, and she also says that Uche mentioned that she wasn’t the type of woman he usually was attracted to. Hmmm … I think I can sort through that. Aaliyah is a dark-skinned woman who is absolutely gorgeous, but that’s just not Uche’s type. If you saw my group chat from episode one, you would know I called that shit from the start. Uche also kept texting everyone, “If you want to talk about it, I’m here,” which is very funny, and he probably just had another dossier of screenshots to share.
There was one other engaged couple from the pods. It’s JP and Taylor! First of all, Taylor looks outstanding. I will be sending a photo of this dress to my stylist. JP has American flag socks. WHY? Where is he finding all this merchandise? JP says that having the cameras in his face during their time in Mexico caused him to freeze up. He also says that Taylor made things worse by constantly hounding him to open up. Yeah, but what was he actually going to do to make things better or work on their relationship? This feels like a very common thing to do in relationships where one person will just stop trying in the relationship while claiming that they’re going to work on things to force the other person to either break up or suffer a thousand tiny indignities for the rest of time.
Vanessa asks if JP is attracted to Taylor, and he brings up her makeup again. Vanessa wants to know if JP would hit on her in a bar or if he’s ever dated a woman who looks like her. Taylor said she was just relieved that JP was tall, and Milton whispers, “Wait … he’s tall?” Both JP and Taylor are out there dating. It seems like most of these people found someone … just not on this program.
After a little game where they have to guess what Miriam does for work (body-butter-preneur), that’s it! That’s the season! It was bad! What a nightmare! Can Netflix fix this show and make it worth our while again, or is it too far gone?