Bachelor in Paradise goes high school with 'fake love letter' prank
You can hardly accuse a show that reunites its own rejects for a few weeks of non-stop boozing and partner-swapping of "jumping the shark".
And yet, here we are.
With all the Bachelor in Paradise's couples now solidly entrenched, and no one willing to make a move on fresh Canadian intruder Thomas Perras, the shows' producers went to their ideas Rolodex – and landed on "forged love letter".
I realise we're in a PG timeslot here, but this episode would be at home on ABC Kids on a Saturday morning.
Thomas, a Jesus lookalike from Canada's own Bachelorette, sweeps in with his shampoo-hair, looking to tempt Megan away from Jake. She flutters her eyelids a bit but denies his request for a date, staying loyal to her man.
The poor guy also strikes out with Leah and Simone. Jarrod, feeling bad for the Canadian nigel, organises a bro-date for him with Sam and Apollo, and the four enjoy a friendly milk bath together. Thomas cheers up, but he's facing a stressful rose ceremony.
Before we get there though, the show loses one of its key love triangles. Having exhausted the storyline, the producers send Michael into early retirement. He pines over Lisa, but Lisa's stuck on Luke. "I'm the guy that missed out... again," he cries, a Charlie Brown in Capri pants.
Lisa, meanwhile, has had enough of island shenanigans too. She tells Luke it's time for them to try their thing in the "real world". He demurs for a few scenes, cries to the camera about needing a "couple more days" but after Lisa says she's leaving regardless, he bucks up. It's a successful Paradise coupling, with the two lovers hitching a ride to the next red carpet launch for vitamins or whatever.
At this point, you can feel the producers sweating. A love triangle's gone, no one's feeling the Canadian – but, miraculously, up pops this mysterious love letter.
Elora, it seems, has received a special note from American Jared, one where the i's are dotted with hearts and the u's are smiley faces. Ali compliments Jared on the cute gesture, earning a blank response.
"That's not accurate," he says. "Somebody's f---ing with Elora." The cameras point to Simone, who's been battling Elora for the affections of Apollo. But at the back of the room, Eden giggles.
"The letter is amazing. It's probably one of my best efforts so far," he says, revealing he masterminded the prank. The motive? Who knows, this isn't Agatha Christie.
It's left to Megan to break the news to Elora, like that school prefect you could trust with an honest ear. "That's pretty f---ed," Elora responds, fighting back tears.
Eden says the prank "backfired". "I feel like shit," he tells Elora, in a weird attempt to apologise ahead of the rose ceremony. But she storms off. Eden wisely retreats to the bar for last drinks.
Of course, there's a twist. At rose ceremony, with no one left but Canadian Jesus, Elora still gives her rose to Eden, killing him with kindness. "I'm very hurt by what you have done, but I do want you to find love," she tells him.
Poor Thomas is sent packing before he's even had a date. Megan's sad about it, so sad the camera stays fixed on her reaction for a suspiciously long time.
Thought the fake love letter was a cheap ploy? Just wait for the awkward resurrection.