Recap and opinions on the 5 final couples of the very scientific experiment that is Love is Blind season 2
With another February behind us, so is another season of Love is Blind on Netflix. Another group of eligible bachelors and bachelorettes entered the “pods”—pairs of rooms with a wall in the middle that allowed them to hear, but not see, each other—and conversed for hours on end to try to find a life partner. After ten days, they had to get engaged if they wanted to progress to the next phase of the show.
“Is love truly blind?” hosts Nick and Vanessa Lachey asked whenever they popped up like rare Pokémon. “Will you marry the one you chose, sight unseen?”
The show isn’t really about whether emotional bonds can overcome physical preferences alone, though. The first season already made this abundantly clear. Although some of the participants did struggle with their partner’s appearance, other roadblocks were more likely: families, friends, finances, and quirks that only became apparent through time spent physically together (homemade toothpaste, anyone?).
Incredibly, not a single participant in either season has complained about their partner’s body odor or sweatiness. Am I just overly sensitive about this?
Anyway, now that this season’s reunion episode has dropped, let’s recap and reminisce over the five final couples’ journeys to matrimony. Of course, expect spoilers through episode 11.
Danielle and Nick
There was no doubt in my mind that these two would go through with tying the knot. Sure, there was drama at the couples’ retreat in Mexico with her having a panic attack and his staying out late without her. They got into some arguments later about Nick not being present enough or Danielle being too self-centered.
These just seemed like everyday conflicts that any halfway compatible couple should be able to work through. Factor in their highly unusual situation of going from strangers to spouses in 38 days, and then layer on the typical reality-show editing that was undoubtedly applied to spice things up. Of course, these are going to end up looking like ~*dramatic deal-breakers*~, and of course, they’re really not.
According to her Instagram post, Danielle has been “dragged down on the internet for [her] mental health,” which is disheartening. With her video games, full-body costumes, and table-breaking friends, Danielle seemed like a nice, fun person I would probably befriend. Nick seemed okay, more like a coworker I’d view favorably. At the reunion, it was heartwarming to see the clip of their shared home and that they were going strong.
Deepti and Shake
Deepti was my favorite contestant this season. She was warm, genuine, funny, and cool. I hate to admit, her refusal at the altar was a big twist to me. It shouldn’t have been, because she said point-blank in an earlier episode that she knew Shake was still irresolute. She hated feeling as though this gave him “all the power.” I thought she would try for an I do anyway, which I later realized meant that I was underestimating her strength. I felt so proud when she chose herself and made it clear to the world that she could do better.
As annoying as Shake was, I did feel a little bad for him during the reunion episode when he tried to “keep it real.” When he pointed out that the desire to stay on the show could be a driving factor, everyone else groaned and piled on him for being crass, but I thought it was a fair point (*cough Shaina Kyle cough*). If you get engaged, you get a vacation in Cancun. If you don’t progress past the pods, you miss out on a tropical trip, the opportunity to see everyone else from the other side, and the additional airtime.
Nor was it fair for Vanessa to berate him for signing up for the show in the first place, spicy and entertaining as it was. Shake was obviously well aware of his fixation on looks and wanted to test whether he could overcome it. That’s the point of an experiment: to see if something works, not to manifest an alternate reality. I think he did make a genuine effort to suppress his shallow side, but the effort was overshadowed by his poor attempts at humor and deflection.
Still, there was no excuse for his constant degrading remarks about Deepti and the other women on the cast. He lost what few points he had remaining in my book about two-thirds of the way through the reunion, after constantly insisting that he was “turned into” the villain and showing no remorse for how he’d acted throughout the show. I really hope he heeds Iyanna’s recommendation to find a psychologist who can help him “navigate relationships as a narcissist.”
Natalie and Shayne
Here was one couple that made me think, Thank goodness that’s over; they can both do better. They clearly have different love languages: Shayne’s being words of affirmation and Natalie’s a violent flavor of physical touch. Shayne wants compliments and verbal reassurances of love, while Natalie wants to be Jun Ji-hyun’s character from My Sassy Girl (if you haven’t seen the film, here’s what I mean).
Both of them were emotional rollercoasters for me. At first, I was rooting for Natalie as a fellow Asian sick of being stereotyped in the dating scene. I found Shayne obnoxious and silently urged her to go with someone else, especially with the way he was flirting with Shaina in parallel. Their first scene in Cancun, I figured she was being rude to Shayne because she was regretting her pick. Then she kept doubling down on her claims of being in love, so I had to conclude that this was simply who she was. Since I thought Shayne was annoying anyway, they seemed appropriate for each other.
But Shayne grew on me after a while. He was goofy but well-intentioned, and didn’t deserve all the insults that he was somehow supposed to interpret as love. At the beach in episode 6, he held steady despite an attempted homewrecking by Shaina.
We learned at the reunion that he had told Deepti about the disparaging things Shake was saying behind her back, something I didn’t expect him to do (“bro code” or whatever, you know?) but earned a lot of respect from me.
My opinion of him dropped back down in episode 10. Out of the blue, Shayne got hammered the night before the wedding and told Natalie that he hated her and that she was the worst thing that’s ever happened to him. I felt so sad for Natalie as she recounted their fight in her wedding dress, and even sadder as she broke down in pain and regret at the reunion. But you know what? Now she can find her Gyeon-woo—that’s another My Sassy Girl reference—and hopefully he believes in saving for retirement.
Mallory and Salvador
Here was another couple where each person could do better. The conversation that Mallory had with Jarrette at the bar in Mexico was inexcusable and unforgivable. She said outright that she wanted someone more sporty and masculine. (If only she could have seen Sal swing a baseball bat!) She didn’t defend Sal’s ring choice or try to shut down the discussion. I had the vague impression that she would have preferred someone more career-driven, as well. I saw zero chemistry from her end. Was she just “awkward” as she was so fond of saying, or was she just not that into him? If Sal hadn’t said no at the altar first, Mallory definitely would have.
I don’t think Sal did anything wrong the whole show. The only thing they tried to put on him was the weird ex-girlfriend or -hookup showing up at his sisters’ apartment in despair like a jilted lover. He might have seemed a little shady about it, but I believe he was more passive than anything. He is extremely romantic, but so passive. May he someday find someone who appreciates him for who he is.
Iyanna and Jarrette
I liked Iyanna a lot. I liked that she was self-aware, self-deprecating, introverted, and strong yet vulnerable. So I felt really bad for her when Jarrette told her she was his second choice for a proposal. Just as Shake’s mom said about Deepti, I believed Iyanna didn’t deserve someone who would give her even half a percent less than full devotion.
Jarrette came across as someone who 100% wanted to get married, but had trouble following through with some of the things expected of a serious relationship. He was part of that inexcusable and unforgivable conversation at the bar in Mexico. Up until the wedding day, he was still going out with his friends all the time. It seemed he wasn’t even inviting her along or asking if she would like to do something together, instead. Her “one thing” for the wedding was that he not show up drunk, which he laughingly relayed to his groomsmen as they took shots together in the dressing room.
If he could grow up and prove his commitment to her, then they could be a cute couple. Even though he had hurt her, Jarrette had good intentions and wanted to do right by Iyanna. He also warned Deepti against marrying Shake, and I respected him for that, too. At the reunion, it looked like happily ever for the two.
Each season saw 8 couples engaged. Uncannily, the breakdown in this season was exactly the same as in the previous:
- 2 tied the knot
- 3 broke up at the altar
- 1 split up during the couples’ retreat
- 2 didn’t get air time because they weren’t interesting enough, but they also split up anyway, so whatever
This scientifically proves that love is 25% blind.
Man, what’s up with Danielle’s friend Rebecca? She is so cute! Love at first sight!