Bachelor In Paradise Season 8 Is Finally Over And I Have Thoughts

Serene and Brandon's engagement
(Image credit: ABC)

After weeks of sweating, swearing, fighting, and kissing on the beach, Season 8 of Bachelor in Paradise has finally come to an end. Emphasis on finally—because this season was by far one of the least entertaining in the dating show’s history. 

Despite a promising cast of favorites from past seasons, Bachelor in Paradise Season 8 fell short in a lot of ways. Here are my thoughts on it, including my current disillusionment with the Bachelor franchise as a whole.

The girls check out some new arrivals on the beach

(Image credit: ABC)

Did All The Contestants Already Meet At Stagecoach?

If you’re not aware, Stagecoach is an annual country music festival that takes place in California. It’s also apparently a breeding ground for Bachelor franchise romances.

I honestly can’t count the number of contestants on Season 8 of BIP who said they’d already met another contestant at Stagecoach and established a good connection. Stop me if I’m wrong, but I thought it was against the rules to come to the beach with a prior relationship established? In my opinion, Bachelor contestants should be banned from Stagecoach and all further music festivals if they have any intention of going to Paradise.

Genevieve Parisi on Bachelor in Paradise Season 8

(Image credit: ABC)

The Goal Isn’t Marriage…It’s Bachelor Fame

Right from the premiere of Season 8, it felt a little off. Personally, I like my Bachelor contestants blissfully unaware of the fact that they’re on a TV show—but this BIP cast seemed all too aware of the Instagram sponsorships waiting for them when they returned home. In the past, contestants kind of avoided talking about the fact that they’re on a show…but that was not the case in this season.

I don’t mean to sound harsh—I’d certainly take on the career of a Bachelor socialite given the opportunity. But it’s a little hard to believe the contestants are ACTUALLY falling in love in two days when they all know they’ll never have to return to their real jobs if they become popular on the show. It’s one thing about the Bachelor franchise that has fundamentally changed since the pre-social media seasons.

Jesse introduces the guys to the replacement girls

(Image credit: ABC)

The Drama All Seemed Manufactured

Usually, the combination of 20 hot single people, alcohol, and a private Mexican beach house is enough to stir up some drama. But in Season 8, it felt like all of the drama occurred at the hands of producers. And since I came here hoping to see some organic drama, I’m leaving disappointed.

The week-long “break” the couples were forced to take certainly caused drama, but never before in Bachelor in Paradise history has such a strange curveball been thrown at the cast. On top of that, the girls got sent away before they could even talk to their guys. A lot of drama could have been avoided with a few simple conversations, but the couples never got the chance.

And, what about Justin? He literally was sent home in the early weeks of the season, but producers brought him back just in time to mess with Rodney and Eliza’s new relationship. I’ve never seen a contestant come back just because the person they wanted to date arrived on the beach…and it’s not like Justin could have waltzed back into Playa Escondida unannounced, so I think I smell some fishy producer intervention.

Finally, the double date between Shanae, Genevieve, Aaron, and James was seemingly planned in the hopes of a blowout fight between the girls (reminiscent of their 2-on-1 during Clayton’s season of The Bachelor), even though the pair became friends over the course of their time on the beach. 

Jill and Jacob chat on the daybed

(Image credit: ABC)

The Switch-Up Week Ruined Good Relationships

Actually, I’m not done talking about the switch-up week. I thought it was unnecessary and took time away from couples who needed more quality time together. But most importantly, the switch ruined relationships that otherwise would have been solid.

Shanae and Logan could have been a really cute couple if Sarah and Kate hadn’t arrived. Their chemistry seemed real, and they seemed to actually enjoy each other’s company (unlike Kate, who seemed to truly hate everything about Logan).

Jill and Jacob’s relationship was also ruined by the switch. Personally, I believe the two could have stuck it out if they could have stayed together the whole time. They even rekindled their romance at the live finale, which makes me feel like the switch was the sole reason they broke up.

Michael A. confesses his love for Danielle at the finale

(Image credit: ABC)

The Producers’ Soft Spot For Michael A.

Everyone’s favorite single-dad sweetheart from Katie’s season of The Bachelorette was in serious danger of going home after Sierra Jackson’s self elimination. While the two had definitely established a connection, Michael ended things with Sierra as he wasn’t ready for something serious.

Luckily, just in time for the rose ceremony, Danielle made her way down the steps to the beach. Paradise bartender Wells Adams even shared that an unaired clip from the season shows him greeting Danielle upon her arrival and telling her to go find Michael. The timing was a little too perfect if you ask me (or Sierra, who shared her grievances via Instagram stories when the episode aired).

The next day, Michael and Danielle left for their first one-on-one date—which conveniently took place while all the other girls were sent away for their week at a different resort. Every other couple had to take a break for a week, but Michael and Danielle got to keep getting to know each other.

Obviously, I’m very happy for Michael and Danielle—the two seem to have a very supportive and loving relationship, and he even told her he loves her during the live finale. I’m just saying maybe we share the love amongst all the contestants. Throw Rodney a bone, for God’s sake.

Wells on a date with Shanae and Joey

(Image credit: ABC)

Date Cards Barely Made A Difference

In past seasons, date cards were used as opportunities to further establish connections. This season however, it felt like date cards only went to people who were tangled up in love triangles.

Besides that, dates weren’t any indication of success on the show. Shanae and Logan went on more one-on-one dates than anyone else, and they still both left the show single.

Aside from the fact that we barely saw footage from any of the one-on-ones, the dates also seemed a little half-baked. Maybe it had something to do with Covid restrictions, but all the dates felt pretty lackluster.

Johnny and Victoria discuss their breakup at the Season 8 finale

(Image credit: ABC)

Johnny, Victoria, And Greg Grippo

Normally, I try my hardest to avoid Bachelor spoilers, but it was pretty impossible to avoid the news that Victoria Fuller and Greg Grippo from Katie’s season of The Bachelorette are currently in a relationship. The news broke several weeks before the finale, making Victoria and Johnny’s emotional engagement feel a little insincere.

I’ll admit, Victoria and Johnny’s relationship always felt a little one-sided, so it’s not exactly a huge surprise that the two are no longer engaged. However, it was pretty heartbreaking to see Johnny admit he’s not sure when Victoria and Greg’s relationship actually started.

And that’s it—that’s the end of the season. We went from the largest cast in Bachelor in Paradise history to only two couples getting engaged, and one of them didn’t even make it to the finale.

Season 27 of The Bachelor, starring Zach Shallcross, is set to premiere on ABC in January 2023. In the meantime, Bachelor in Paradise Season 8 is available to stream with a Hulu subscription

She/her. Lover of female-led comedies, Saturday Night Live, and THAT scene in Fleabag. Will probably get up halfway through the movie to add more butter to the popcorn.