The music gets increasingly ominous on "Temptation Island."
After last week's episode ended dramatically in a disorder of braids, freckles and tears, it was only fitting that tonight's episode should begin in darkness.
It's always darkest before a cliché.
"I cautioned against it," says Shannon, shaking her head. "Because what you learn out of context is only going to destroy you."
She's talking, of course, about the forbidden video Mandy chose to view last week. Here it is again! A slowed-down, sepia-toned, flash-framed Billy -- a Billy nightmare! -- peels off his clothes for perfect-10 cover girl "Broncobuster" Vanessa as his friends cheer him on and the triangles go plink and the drums go bonk.
The girls, naturally, are concerned. Billy's behavior indicates that they have reason to worry. "If Billy is acting that way," Valerie says sagely, "I'm screwed."
Shannon might have chimed in as well, but her face has frozen into a stiff rictus of fear. She can barely dislodge her upper lip from her teeth.
On the other side of the island, the boys are considerably less distraught. They deduce that the girls are "getting more wild"; but, Andy concludes, "everything happens for a reason."
His reason is that he's on this show, see? And there are a bunch of girls there, too, and they have to go out with him or get kicked off the island.
Walberg collects the girls and tells them it's time to send another fantasy single home to wherever it is that fantasy singles reside. First, however, the singles must come before the ladies and declare their undying like for one of them. Mandy can hardly contain her delight. Shannon shudders, visibly ill once again. "I'm screwed," Valerie thinks sagely.
As predicted, the first two boys choose Mandy. She smiles and shrugs and shucks and shuffles and looks to her buddies for approval. Shannon smiles a hard little smile and turns away. She has been overlooked for more popular, more flamboyant girls before. And she just hates it when Andy does that to her.
The next two singles pick Valerie.
"I mentioned your tan before, Valerie," says one sunned muffin. "You are hot."
"Thanks, Jim," croaks Valerie, deeply moved.
Then, much to Mandy's miffed amazement, the six remaining boys pick Shannon as their favorite!
"This is so uncomfortable," she mumbles as Tom, "Ivy League graduate" and object of their unanimous affection, struggles to spit out his choice.
Temptation Island, we have learned, breaks hearts and confounds expectations. When the time comes for the girls to vote one of the boys off the island, they choose Sean, the massage therapist, who just a few short weeks ago looked to have everything going for him.
"Started fast, faded in stretch," we note in our handicapping books.
"What's up with that?" Sean says when given the bad news.
"He was really arrogant," sniffs Valerie.
"I don't know why Valerie's here," Sean tells us. "The energy she has is just zero."
He heads for the dock. "I wanted to go anyway," Sean says.
For a consolation prize, Fox lets him drive the boat away from the island.
Meanwhile, back on the boys' side, the female fantasy singles are rating our heroes. Billy emerges as the clear favorite, and the glistening Kaya comes in second.
Malevolent Andy gets one noncommittal nod from his love, Megan: molder of young minds, aspiring VJ, hot for Kaya.
"I'm getting killed," Andy squawks, violently shaking his leg. "Luckily, I can count on my one stronghold, Pinky. There she comes!"
"Pinky" is the boys' name for Carla, the musician from Seattle. And just like that, Pinky struts over and chooses Billy.
Andy's ego trickles down one leg and forms an embarrassing puddle on the ground.
The boys then oust Patti, Miss Georgia.
"To be voted off," Patti says, "is unlike anything ever. It's, um, so real."
Later, Andy confronts Pinky and explains the rules to her again. She was supposed to choose her favorite guy -- not the guy she wants.
"Oooh," Pinky replies, "you're totally right. I should have picked you."
An exasperated Andy sighs for the camera. Women.
"He's still not my favorite," Pinky tells a cameraman later. "I just don't know what to do about it."
Next: More picking and explaining!
Walberg collects the boys -- again -- to draw straws for the final fantasy date who-gets-to-go-first challenge. The music plinks relentlessly, subtly underscoring the tension between Kaya and Andy. Andy gets first choice.
"And blocks are off," Walberg reminds him.
"I'm going to utilize that," says Andy, who could utilize a beating.
He chooses Elizabeth, the real-estate agent.
"She's hot as hell and she has this amazing, beautiful reef ass," he says.
We think. We don't know what a reef ass is.
"She's right out of the inside corner of every surfing magazine you've ever looked at."
Does he mean like a coral reef? Wouldn't it cut you?
Billy chooses Vanessa, and wonders if he will become more affectionate with her over time. Kaya takes his time, then chooses Megan. Andy leans back, rolls his eyes and puffs out his cheeks in consternation.
"I think Andy fell in love with Megan," Kaya says.
Next: Some filler, then the same thing all over again.
Mandy picks Matt and Valerie picks Evan so that Shannon might have Tom. You know, Tom, the 27-year-old "Ivy League graduate." As Valerie, who is "here to be honest," says, there's "something there" between Shannon and Tom.
From what we can tell, they're big on hugging.
Date footage follows: shots of trees, Andy talking about ass, Mandy having fun, Valerie scowling. Pretty much the usual.
Shannon, it seems, is starting to emerge from her five-year coma. At this point, she's not sure who has "more good points" -- Tom or her boyfriend, underemployed, abusive creep Andy.
Vanessa and Billy are having fun, too. Vanessa grabs a big island butterfly and lets it flap its wings against her formidable cleavage.
Vanessa thinks Billy is "a true love."
"She said that she would be more than willing to do whatever I wanted to do," Billy says. "And I was like, 'Well, should I?' I don't really know if I should. Maybe I should."
"I don't really want to be here anymore," Valerie says after her date with Evan. "I just can't fake it. I want to be doing these things with Kaya."
Meanwhile, Kaya is sharing some special, intimate underwater moments with Megan.
We feel horrible. If Valerie wants to call later, just to talk, we're totally here. We officially feel sorriest for Valerie. We really feel just horrible.
Luckily, Fox switches to Andy and Elizabeth's date, so the comedy starts before we start to cry.
"Andy told me that when word gets back to his girlfriend about how much fun he's having here that Shannon was going to be very upset with him," says the hair-flipping, hair-fluffing, hair-raising 22-year-old real-estate agent.
"I'd be more than happy to come live here in Belize with him," Elizabeth says, "and we could hang out here forever and this dream would never have to end.
"He said that he might have to relocate and start a new kayaking business here in Belize."
That's right. He might have to relocate. Because Shannon will be so upset that he'll have to relocate. To Belize.
Cut to Andy, who says he's going to be asking someone else out on his last date.
Our laughter dies down when a sadder-than-usual Valerie says she hopes that as Kaya interacts with the other women, there is "something coming out of [Kaya] that is showing that he is committed to [me]."
The only thing coming out of Kaya, of course, is his tongue, and it's headed down Megan's throat.
Kaya says he wanted to explore what would happen when a "woman got into [his] head." But first, he is exploring what happens when he gets into hers. With his tongue.
Call us, Valerie. We mean it. Collect.
When Kaya and Megan return to the resort, Andy, who has a major thing for Megan, is mad. He requires an explanation.
Megan weeps as Andy chucks coconuts onto the sand.
This is intercut with scenes of a future Megan, a weeping Megan, a Megan who says she tried really hard to be honest.
Andy gets in Kaya's face when he gets back to the boys cabana. "I look like a jackass ...," he says, with a burst of insight.
He makes up for this by getting quickly back into his hateful character: "... and Megan looks like a whore."
Later, hosty-host Walberg returns to inform the girlfriends and boyfriends that tonight is their last night "to party as a group." They'll be reducing their stables to three singles per side for the upcoming dream date. All are stunned. Apparently, they didn't have the rules explained to them 25 times.
Kaya casually mentions that if he doesn't pick Alison (the doctor/Playboy bunny from his first date) she might be upset with him. A new villain has emerged!
Yes, Kaya, the spit not yet dry on his chin, is planning to cheat on the girl he's cheating on his girlfriend with.
Megan was just a gateway drug.
Andy is "torn" over what happened between Kaya and Megan, and he hopes Shannon will be very happy. At this point, of the boys, only Billy is even mentioning his girlfriend. He likes Vanessa a lot, but he would feel "horrible" if he wound up "hooking up" and Mandy didn't.
Mandy's only source of stress at the moment is picking the guy she wants to have her final date with. "It's just focusing on that one guy who we like," she says.
But the "whole process is killing" Billy. "Even if she is hooking up with one guy, I don't know if she'd be able to handle me doing it."
Forget Mandy. We wouldn't be able to handle him doing it.
"You know," Kaya tells Billy the next day, "I'm gonna know what works for me with women better. I know for a fact now. Before, I didn't know."
But Billy's taking it the hardest. At one point, as he and Kaya walk down a dark beach, followed, as usual, by the "Temptation Island" camera crew, he snaps.
"Turn the lights off," he orders the cameraman. "I'm serious. This does not concern the show. It concerns my life!"
Whoa! Tension Island!
How does it end? Well, it's funny. Boys always stick together, don't they?
The single girls line up. The boys get ready to select their final dates.
"Every decision has been taxing on me," Kaya says. Then he picks Alison. Megan looks down and swallows.
"Alison has everything I look for in a woman," he says. "I even thought about her during the other two dates."
Then Andy, who's really in it for the hate, smiles and walks past Megan. He gives his love bouquet to Elizabeth.
Megan looks down again.
"Megan touched me on an emotional level," Andy says later. "But Elizabeth touched me on a physical level. And that was a real factor in why I chose Elizabeth."
Billy, of course, chooses Vanessa. Billy is the kind of guy who is faithful to the girl that he is thinking about possibly cheating on his girlfriend with if it's OK with everybody.
The show ends on a sad note. Megan knew the three boys far too well, she says. She knew everything about them. She knew too much about them.
But she could only "honestly go with Kaya," she says, as she starts to cry. "That would be like the only way to go."
And it would be kind of sad, if she weren't crying over a model in a really ugly shirt.
-- Carina Chocano