We – Todd & Kara – use Letterboxd (TJSNK = the initials of each member’s name in our family) to keep track of the movies watched and provide short reviews with ratings. Star ratings are assigned based how entertaining the movies are: with anything 3-star and above being RECOMMENDED.
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ – Love it, Must See ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️½ – Amazing ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ – Great ⭐️⭐️⭐️½ – Good ⭐️⭐️⭐️ – Entertaining ——– anything rated below is NOT recommended ——- ⭐️⭐️½ – OK ⭐️⭐️ – Mediocre ⭐️½ – Bad ⭐️ – Terrible ½ – Unwatchable
Weekly Schedule – average 3 posts per day Monday – Sunday – Streaming reviews, news and movie & TV discussion Wednesday – All wide opening films in theaters are profiled (examples) Thursday – Sunday – Opening films are watched, rated and reviewed (text reviews posted to Letterboxd, and video reviews to YouTube channel) Friday – FIRST LOOK Fridays profile movies coming to theaters (details) Sunday – no later than Sunday night, NOW PLAYING REVIEWS (examples)
Todd Russell is the author of all reviews and watches all movies. Some movies are reviewed with another TJSNK family member.
These are our (mostly his) opinion only and don’t expect everybody else on the internet to agree (or disagree), but love to discuss more about movies and TV.
Todd started this blog to explore from a fan’s perspective the theater-watching experience, movies, movie lists and other features that Letterboxd doesn’t (yet?) make available (why can’t we blog through there?). Also to explore the Regal Unlimited Plan (member since August 2019), streaming video channels and TV without cable. Subscribe below to get notified when new posts are made.
Love Is Blind is the type of reality TV series that reminds me of shows that used to be on Fox around the time the show 24 was on. Got caught up in some of them, but ultimately burned out and bailed.
This one asks a very intriguing question: Is love blind?
A Netflix Original that runs for 10 episodes and 1 reunion episode. Instead of being dropped as a binge it all at once, Netflix wisely chose to release it in parts to build anticipation. The first five episodes were released on February 13, 2020 and quite the Valentine’s Day treat, the second group of episodes (#6-9) were released February 20, 2020 and the finale episode on February 27, 2020. The follow-up after the original recording “Reunion” episode was released on March 5, 2020.
After Giadreams mentioned it, I was curious what the TV show was about. It might be surprising that I missed a show with so much media coverage, but I can’t follow every new movie and TV show. There are simply too many and the reality TV genre is one that is a giant rabbit hole and usually a personal blind spot, no pun intended.
So, I looked Love Is Blind up on Netflix, realized it was a reality TV show involving a curious premise: singles dating in private pods, voices only, without seeing the other’s physical appearance and if there was a match then proposing marriage. If the woman accepts the proposal, then the couple will finally get to see each other and spend time together, then actually marry each other a few weeks later.
For those following this blog, this is not the type of TV show we normally cover here. The truth is, both Kara and I have enjoyed some reality TV shows involving singles and dating. I knew Kara might at least find this fun to watch, so I made sure to queue it up for her so we could watch together.
It’s pretty much impossible to review this type of show episode by episode without spoilers, so not even going to try. If you haven’t yet seen Love is Blind, let me start with a brief non-spoiler overall review:
The 10 episode experiment asking: “Is Love Blind?” is worth watching because it, with some exceptions, doesn’t feel scripted or acted out by the participants like many similar themed reality shows. There are definitely some pacing issues, most notably in the middle episodes (some of which don’t even need to be watched), but the the final episode involving the weddings is pure, riveting drama. Even the “Reunion” episode is somewhat unusual and unique, which I always appreciate watching and gravitate towards. Seeing all the primary cast return? You just don’t see that with most (any?) reality TV shows.
Now, if interested, watch the first season of Love Is Blind and come back here. After reading the detailed episode recap and critique below, we can discuss the show. There are a ton of spoilers that follow — pretty much everything will be spoiled — so if you want to see this show at all, if you want to be surprised at all, then you will definitely want to stop reading right here.
Last chance to bail if you haven’t yet seen Love is Blind.
… you’ve been warned, there are a bunch of SPOILERS ahead …
Episode 1 – “Is Love Blind?” Air date: February 13, 2020 Run time: 57 minutes
We are introduced to a group of 30 singles, 15 men and 15 women being told about the experiment: they will spend a week dating each other figuring out who they mesh with with the catch that they will not be able to see or touch the other.
We’re also shown the futuristic pod that each of the contestants will date each other inside.
These tiny rooms of comfort facing each other with only a weird light morphing inside a psychedelic mostly-blue glass.
And so begins the rounds of dating sessions. The Q & A between the contestants is edited to mostly filter out the banal and highlight the interesting, but it’s not overly reality TV fare. There are some idiotic questions like the guy who says to his date, “I can tell that you’re African American.” And the woman who says, “I hate, hate, hearing people breathe.”
We get to see early couple potentials: Cameron, a scientist, and white getting a good vibe with Lauren, a black woman and by the end of the episode — a mere 5 days since the experiment began — the first marriage proposal!
Also, the perceived player of the group, Barnett, age 27 who is favoring three different women: Jessica, Amber and LC. Which one is he going to choose?
I was thinking that hey, they didn’t really choose a diverse age group with the oldest at mid 30s and youngest mid 20s. They also didn’t choose anybody overweight and unattractive. So, out of the gate the experiment not to have physical appearance matter is fixed to matter. Presumably, the producers didn’t want to deal with the physical reveal being an issue.
A lot is thrown at viewers in the first episode, but it does what it sets out to do: set a stage of an interesting premise, show us a wide cast of characters with some rapid filtering in place and makes us want to see which of these people will propose to the other so that they can see them.
After the first episode, I was engaged by the pacing which didn’t me feel overwhelmed by the number of contestants and that there seemed to be a goal to narrow down the field quickly to the singles who had chosen who they planned to make a proposal.
In retrospect, after watching all the episodes, I did wish there was more time exploring the original pod interviews, but it’s a catch-22. If they had spent too much time dwelling on this first week, I might have lost interest. Good production choice.
Episode 2 – “Will You Marry Me?” Air date: February 13, 2020 Runtime: 59 minutes
Starts with Day 6 of the experiment in the pods and the meeting between Cameron and Lauren, the very first engagement accepted. Once the woman accepts the marriage proposal, they then get to see each other.
Drama in this episode with Mark and Jessica.
It stems over her decision to pursue Barnett instead of him, after Barnett essentially tells Jessica that she needs to make up her mind because he had heard she had feelings for somebody else (Mark) in the group.
Another successful engagement between Carlton and Diamond. Carlton says he has a “secret” that he’s holding onto about being bisexual, but he chooses not to disclose this to Diamond in the pod. This will come up as a major deal in a later episode, but I missed this piece on the first view.
Barnett seems a bit of a player in this episode looking for the pity party because he can’t choose between three different girls while nobody else is spotlighted as having a connection with more than one (some don’t even have one!). He seems a bit shifty here and playing with emotions.
Jessica ends up getting hurt when she goes for Barnett and he’s changed his mind and is being indecisive. Jessica goes off and leaves the pod, then goes on a wine drinking and bashing Barnett party with the other girls.
Then Jessica returns to Mark and apologizes, hoping he’ll take her back. This is a pivotal moment between these two.
Another couple is spotlighted with Kenny and Kelly. He proposes and she accepts.
Next up is Damian and Giannia (she goes by Gi). No proposal in the pod quite yet, but we’re getting the sense that these two are nearing that point.
Kenny & Kelly meet each other.
Back to Damian & Gi, more strengthening their relationship in the pod. Then Barnett trying to choose between LC and Amber. Then it’s Day 9 in the experiment and Damian is ready for a bit of a cheesy proposal to Gi, but there’s a twist — she’s pretty strong-willed and wants to tell him something.
So, to recap, three successful proposals and acceptances by the end of the second episode: Cameron & Lauren, Carlton & Diamond and Kenny & Kelly.
A lot is happening and it’s kind of hard to keep up with it, but the pacing is trying to rush us through so we can identify who the couples are that are going to make it out of the 9 day pod experiment. We end this episode at Day 9.
This is a better episode than the first episode, starting to reel in the viewers into the couples being created out of the experiment.
Episode 3 – “First Night Together” Air date: February 13, 2020 Runtime: 53 minutes
Starts out with the cliffhanger answer: Gigi just wanted to propose to Damian instead. They both accept and say they love each other. Couple #4 are in.
Next Mark decides to propose to Jessica. She drags out the response, prompting Mark to say, “Hello?” Then she replies, “Yes!” Couple #5.
And then there was Barnett … and whoever he proposes to. Is it LC or Amber? He cries because he has to make a tough decision between the two women. He tells LC it’s not her and she leaves him, pissed off and hurt. That’s two that Barnett has spurned.
Barnett proposes to Amber. That’s it, six couples propose and accepted.
Now, the next phase of the experiment begins. All six couples are flown to Cancun, Mexico so they can spend their first night together alone. Well, except for cameras that catch their every move up until the late, late evening when presumably the really naughty sex happens.
Or doesn’t happen in the case of at least two of the six couples: Kenny & Kelly (she wants to wait to enjoy that together) and Mark & Jessica (she isn’t quite ready for that much physical intimacy). Diamond & Carlton also do not hit it off, mostly due to his bisexual secret he wants to tell Diamond, but can’t get up the nerve or whatever to tell her yet.
Lauren & Cameron, Amber & Barnett and Cameron & Gi all are shown with great passion and the inference is that they have sex on their first night together.
Back to Carlton and Diamond sitting by the pool, and he struggles and finally tells her his sexuality secret.
She is noticeably disturbed why he didn’t tell her this in the pods. Why did he wait until after he proposed and she accepted?
This episode might also have been titled, “Who Does/Doesn’t Have Sex?” It doesn’t end on a cliffhanger, rather the build-up to Carlton telling Diamond and the whole who’s having sex storyline.
This was the least compelling episode for me so far. Still it is recommended, but seemed to slow down from the pacing of the first two episodes in the pod, where it was sped up speed dating rounds. Now, we’re hanging around in Mexico with a bunch of attractive people. This was like a bunch of other reality TV shows.
Episode 4 – “Couples Retreat” Air date: February 13, 2020 Runtime: 48 minutes
It is the day after the first night and now we’re spending more time with the couples. The big reveal in this episode is that the couples find out they are not alone together on the island (besides the camera and production crew, of course), they are on the island also with the other couples.
The other part we learn is they still don’t have any of their cell phones or other personal devices (no tablets or computers, presumably), so they can be focused entirely on developing the physical relationship with each other to compliment the relationship developed in the pods.
The major dramatic tension in this episode is a fight that erupts between Carlton and Diamond by the pool the day after he told her the news. An intense verbal meltdown erupts and makes it clear that the engagement is very off.
After some interviews individually where they both vent about how they made the wrong decision about each other, we’re shown them packing up and exiting the island.
Next, the remaining five couples all meet each other and some swap the details of how their first nights went. It’s a party on the beach with the drinks flowing freely (a lot of drinking is shown in this show). The ones who have sex talk up how great it was and there is a definite awkwardness for those who didn’t (Kelly and Jessica on the girl’s side and Kenny and Mark on the boy’s side).
Jessica sees Barnett for the first time on the island and she appears to be having second thoughts. It’s clear that she still harbors feelings for him, and yet he’s with Amber. She takes a few minutes to hang out and chill with Barnett off to the side. Mark is seen jealous from a distance.
All in all, pretty good episode. About as entertaining as the first episode, the fight between Carlton & Diamond and Jessica’s lingering feelings for Barnett are keeping it interesting.
Episode 5 – “Last Night In Paradise” Air date: February 13, 2020 Runtime: 51 minutes
Starts immediately after the beach scene with Mark and Jessica in their room and he’s obviously horny, but she’s still not wanting to have sex. There is a discussion that goes a bit wrong when Mark said he doesn’t want Jessica to give him a “command.” For a moment it seems possible that she might shut everything down, but he quickly apologizes and says he didn’t mean it as it came out. Sorry Mark, it’s another cold shower night.
The next day, 25 days until the weddings, and each couple is having a day adventure together. Amber and Barnett are out on a boat, Lauren & Cameron take a helicopter ride, Mark & Jessica take a horse ride with a picnic in the woods.
Gi and Damian have their first fight while out on a boat ride. Kelly & Kenny are having a nice meal together, talking about logistics of living together.
Jessica becomes the focal point again, talking privately with Kelly — someone who she has known for over 10 years (learned this after the show was over, that they’ve known each other). Jessica can’t figure out why she doesn’t have a physical connection, if she can “get there” with Mark. Meanwhile, Kelly has a similar issue with Kenny, although it seems more like she’s just waiting to have sex with Kenny on their wedding night vs. Jessica deciding she needs to take off the ring because she’s growing apart from Mark.
Mark is confused why Jessica is trying to find something wrong between them, when they have had a “perfect” night. He’s fighting and fighting and doesn’t understand why his “person” doesn’t feel the same about him.
Jessica meets Barnett at the pool again and they have a conversation with Amber not realizing that Jessica still has feelings for Barnett. Jessica admits in a side interview that she is attracted to Barnett. She’s horny for him. This feels shady, behind Mark and Amber’s backs, although these conversations are out in the open. Meanwhile, Amber and Mark are friends and they are talking as well. Amber is trying to comfort Mark on Jessica not having physical feelings for him.
Will say this, without Jessica’s indecision and a somewhat minor argument between Gi and Damian, this episode would be boring. A bunch of beautiful people in a beautiful place mostly happy. My least favorite episode so far. Just OK. You could probably skip watching this one and not be that disconnected with the rest of the season. Anything important that happens here, pretty much happens again in other episodes. I wish they would have given the pod dating another episode and cut this episode back in length.
Episode 6 – “Moving In Together” Air date: February 20, 2020 Runtime: 57 minutes
Farewell brunch in Mexico, then the five couples return home and visit each other’s houses. This was the most boring episode of the series. I get that it’s a realistic situation, but was looking more forward to the next episode: meeting the parents.
Jessica takes time out to grill Mark about various hypothetical scenarios where they have a child and there is a 10 year old gap in their age. She has said before the age didn’t matter and yet returns to their age gap (she’s 34, he’s 24) and it sure seems like a huge recurring issue to her.
Perhaps the high dramatic point is Barnett’s birthday party where the couples meet and celebrate and some (Jessica!) drink too much. And then she talks to Barnett again and sort of hints around that she likes him and wants him to make sure he made the right decision with Amber. There is a brief cutaway interview with Amber where she seems to be noticing and attributing Jessica’s behavior to her drinking too much, but that if she crosses the line again she’s going to “break her face.”
Lots of drinking. And they are playing beer pong!
Gi melts down and has a loud argument in front of the others with Damian. I’m not sure all the booze being consumed was such a good idea for some of these people. Mental note for future season couples: keep the booze in check!
If Jessica wasn’t in this episode and there wasn’t a Gi / Damian dust-up, it would be like 1 star boring. Jessica’s sketchy, drunken antics are worth at least an additional star.
Episode 7 – “Meet The Parents” Air date: February 20, 2020 Runtime: 49 minutes
19 days until the weddings. Jessica apologizes to Mark for her overdrinking at the birthday party and disrespecting him. Points for him hanging in. Getting the sense that these two could be the next couple to implode.
Gi tells Damian she’s “lost her butterflies” and isn’t sure if she still loves him. They then makeup, sort of. Roller coaster couple. Another relationship that seems questionable, if they don’t get back the passion.
Barnett meets Amber’s parents and gets a side conversation with his big brother concerned. Barnett’s brother doesn’t think he realizes how “big” it is getting married. A protective big brother.
Cameron meets Lauren’s mother, but the real tension and build-up is what will Lauren’s black father think of her white fiance.
“Have you ever been in a room full of black people?” Her father asks in a teaser clip shown at the end of episode one.
This is the cliffhanger when Cameron appears about to be grilled by Lauren’s dad, Bill. She describes him as being “very vocal about the black community” and he expects her to support the black family structure. She has never introduced any of her boyfriends — and all have been black to date — to her father. Lauren cares deeply for her father’s support.
Cliffhanger is we don’t know how this interview will go down. The whole Bill vs. Cameron showdown is worth every bit of three stars. The rest of the episode is ho-hum, but my goodness the last couple minutes are edge of the seat entertaining. I’m liking Bill already!
Episode 8 – “Countdown To I Dos” Air date: February 20, 2020 Runtime: 54 minutes
Begins with the conclusion of the interview between Lauren’s dad, Bill and Cameron. Bill is the type of interesting character that every reality show needs. He makes this episode well worth watching. There is a certain mystique and warm-hearted charm to the proverbial father figure protecting his daughter. Bill is portrayed as more old-fashioned, but he clearly is not racist and more open to what his daughter wants to do than it seems like he would be.
What comes out of the interview is that Bill just wants to stay in his daughter’s life and will judge Cameron solely on how he treats his daughter. Bill is going to take a wait and see approach to their relationship. The viewer can’t help but like Bill — and Cameron even more — for passing the interview.
The rest of this episode mostly focuses on the men getting fitted for their wedding tuxedos and women fitted for their beautiful white dresses. The reality of getting married is settling in on the couples.
Jessica sits down — again — with Barnett alone. Oddly enough — or maybe calculated — but she’s not wearing her engagement ring. Never before in any reality TV show has there been a woman getting married who has so much drama with whether or not she’s going to be wearing her engagement ring? Thank you, Jessica, for making compelling TV by being such an unpredictable character. Where I would normally say in a reality show this is just clever editing, I think Jessica deserves more credit than that.
Gi and Damian have another fight, this time in the gym. Pretty animated. It seems fairly well telegraphed that these two are headed for a breakdown because they keep having these loud arguments where Gi says things she probably wishes immediately after she hadn’t said. Perhaps more so than Jessica and Mark, but the viewer is compelled to keep watching, wondering if they will work it out and say “I do” on wedding day, but the future seems unlikely for these two.
Next, Amber tells Barnett that she’s gone over budget with her wedding dress alterations. He drinks (man, everybody is drinking a lot in this show) and listens. It’s almost like he’s calculating if or how he’s going to be able to pay for it.
Aren’t the people on the show being paid? I assumed the show would be paying for the weddings, at least, but this scene made me wonder how much the producers paid for the weddings? Maybe they just paid for travel and lodging expenses, the wedding chapel, but not the dresses or tuxedos or some of the other fine details? This is never really explained.
Amber’s mention of a budget made me think they gave each couple a pool of money and if they went over that money, it was on him/her/them to shell out for the wedding. That would make sense, make them have some skin in the game, so they don’t just fake it so they can gain some sort of faux celebrity (an annoying aspect of reality TV shows, frankly — these aren’t supposed to be actors, they’re supposed to be non-actors).
(this YouTube video claims at the end that there was a budget and the couples had to pay for at least part of the cost of their weddings, but that is totally refuted by Lauren in this interview, “the weddings were covered”)
Kenny and Kelly in bed kissing each other — but they still aren’t having sex. Kenny wondering why. Kelly explains she doesn’t want to throw “sex in the mix” because she’s had issues in the past having orgasms. She doesn’t have that physical attraction to him.
Another episode that has a very soap opera feel to it. If you don’t like soap operas, you won’t care much for this episode. I’m not much of a soap opera fan, so large parts of this episode made me feel like, “hurry up, get to the wedding and let’s see if these people say ‘I do’ (or not) at the altar.”
7 days until the wedding.
Episode 9 – “Bachelor & Bachelorette” Air date: February 20, 2020 Runtime: 55 minutes
Opens up with Jessica telling her friends about Mark and once again bringing up their age gap. Her friends don’t seem to care about that once again proving that the age gap is in Jessica’s mind.
Damian takes Gi on a helicopter ride together so they can reflect on their relationship. A butterflies are back discussion occurs, suggesting they are back on track for the wedding.
It’s the morning of the bachelor and bachelorette party. Lauren and Cameron talk about their excitement or lack thereof of the upcoming parties. Cameron is concerned about whether or not Lauren will say “I do” at the wedding. Lauren will not commit what she’s going to do.
The girls load into the party bus and a male stripper shows up and grinds it with Jessica. The drinks start flowing hot and heavy.
The boys are at some art gallery with gambling, food and no strippers. Mark gives a toast speech, and the drinking commences.
Cut back to the girls partying. The bus pulls up at a dance club and Amber is wasted already. The party is just getting started!
Kelly’s girlfriends are at the party and they ask her if she’s “done the deed” of which she admits she hasn’t got that kind of attraction. She does admit to doing some kinds of deeds, however.
Cut back to Kenny at the men’s party and he’s admitting that Kelly and him have done everything but have sex. He seems somewhat disappointed to be admitting this when Mark says that Jessica and him are having sex. She told her friends the same thing. Kind of interesting because Jessica held out like Kelly has been doing with Kenny and then somewhere Jessica changed her mind and Mark and her consummated the relationship.
Back to a drag queen at the girl’s party teasing Jessica about her wanting more to drink when she’s already trashed.
This is the episode where Jessica becomes labeled as “Messica” because she gets heavily drunk and kisses a hammered Amber.
In spite of their history — are they friends or two women competing for the same guy? — we once again are left thinking there was too much alcohol involved, but this moment is one of the most humorous “I can’t believe we did this” drinking moments that most assuredly Jessica regretted the morning after.
The episode ends with a cliffhanger as Gi and Damen are at the altar. Gi says, “I do” and the camera freezes on Damian’s answer.
This is the best episode in the series so far. It’s time to get to final episode, those weddings we’ve been waiting over 8 hours worth of dating and engagements to get to. Which of these five couples will actually get married?
Episode 10 – “The Weddings” Air date: February 27, 2020 Runtime: 1 hour, 24 minutes
At this point in the series, I’m pretty confident that two of the couples aren’t going to make it: Jessica and Mark and Kelly and Kenny, because Kelly seems physically cold and Jessica just never really seems genuine for Mark’s affection. I’m not feeling as certain about the other three couples. Time to find out if this intuition was correct.
Gi says yes, she wants to get married. Now, it’s up to Damian. Viewers are reminded how many fights they had – more than any of the other couples — and there is doubt, but do we expect Damian to do what he does next?
Damian says he cannot marry Gi, because she’s too up and down. Perhaps the best reaction shot comes from Gi’s mother Milady who levels an icy stare at Damian. Men have been turned to stone for less.
Then there is a shocking run scene where Gi takes off telling everybody to leave her alone. She falls down outside, gets up and keeps running.
Her mother runs after her, hugs her and consoles her. Then she comes back and talks to Damian. He tries to explain to her that he loves her, but she wasn’t ready to get married. They need more time. She tells him he messed up and rips off part of her dress and says, “You can take your bow back.” This is reference to when he gave her a bow during the engagement.
Wow. Powerful stuff. You could see that these two weren’t ready, but I didn’t expect this explosive a wedding scene. Is love blind? For these two it seems to be no. Is it over between them? Damian said he doesn’t want it to be.
It’s time for couple #2, Amber & Barnett heading to the altar. Barnett isn’t taking Amber’s calls the morning of the wedding. He has cold feet and has clammed up. Uh oh. Amber is relying on the magic of wedding days to get them across the finish line.
Amber’s mother walks her down the aisle after a brief, testy exchange involving if Amber had to fight enough for the relationship. She is adamant that she did fight for it.
At the altar, Amber is asked first if she will marry Barnett. As confident as Gi, Amber, the tough ex-tank mechanic says, “I do.” All eyes turn to Barnett, perhaps only next to Jessica as the most indecisive of all the people on the show, there is yet another pregnant pause.
The pause makes viewers wonder if Barnett will do the same thing Damian did …
Barnett answers, “I do. 100 percent I do.” Ding! The first successful match.
Onto couple #3, Kenny and Kelly. After Barnett and Amber, I started to have some doubts in my intuition that maybe these two also would say yes. I thought maybe the morning of the wedding they’d both say, “we’re not going through with this” but the show went on.
Kelly has a final, serious discussion with her big sister. She’s weighing both scenarios out. Her sister listens and offers some sage advice, “Sometimes in life you get an opportunity and if you don’t jump on it, you miss the boat.”
At the altar, all eyes on Kelly. She doesn’t waste much time, saying no. Shutting down the process.
Kelly has been somewhat cold throughout the courting — other than her constant kissing Kenny and saying he was a great kisser — and yet expressing concerns about a physical attraction she doesn’t have for Kenny. This tell overpowered her final decision, which made me wonder why she came along this far. Why did go all in if after seeing Kenny in person, she didn’t have a strong physical attraction? We can understand Kenny’s motivation, because he was clearly in love and all in, but Kelly never got there. This decision wasn’t that surprising.
Kenny in a final interview is visibly angry with the decision. He doesn’t want to answer any questions nor does he even want to be on camera. “Turn off the camera,” he orders but, of course they don’t. This feels like a time that maybe they should have.
Nice guy, he deserves better. She doesn’t come out as clean, but could have if she hadn’t come across — and maybe in fairness to her, it’s all how it was edited — that she was just stringing this along for other reasons. Then again, maybe they both knew they weren’t going through with the marriage and just wanted to stay in for the experience. I’m sure both their families could have done without the drama.
Love is Blind, the show is 1 for 3, batting .333 for success thus far.
Onto couple #4: Jessica & Mark. Here we are, finally, at what to me should probably have been the climactic couple to showcase, but maybe the producers realized the result here was more predictable than the final couple, the interracial couple Lauren and Cameron. There was more build-up and screen time for Jessica and Mark than any other couple, also.
They switch up who gets asked the question and it’s the guy, Mark, who gets asked first. This was an interesting switch, because if they had gone to Jessica first it would have been less dramatic than seeing if Mark could finally stand up and say, “No, I don’t want to marry a woman who doesn’t seem truly in love with me.” But will Mark take that action?
As Jessica walks the aisle alone to the altar they share a brief kiss — out of procedure — but it seems to suggest that, whatever happens next, they both have at least become good friends through their month courting.
Mark is asked if he will marry Jessica. He replies, “I do.”
Turn to Jessica, who smiles and holds Mark’s hand. She answers …
While viewers had to know this was coming, there did seem a slight glimmer of hope that it wouldn’t go down this way, that Jessica might change her indecision and realize Mark stood by her. Jessica says in a follow-up interview that she was too much of a realist to commit, “I guess I’ll apologize to whomever I need to, but I’m not going to apologize to myself because I’m not sorry.” Ouch.
The Love Is Blind batting average just dropped to .250.
The fifth and final couple, it’s Cameron and Lauren time. There is a lot to believe in a successful match here with seemingly the only obstacle is how will other people treat them? This is 2020 and an interracial couple shouldn’t be any kind of big deal, it still is for some people (not us). Also, Cameron dated another black woman for a long time, so he should have been able to convince Lauren and her family that it didn’t matter what anybody else thought of them.
Lauren, however, has kept her final decision mysterious by openly saying she wasn’t sure if she could continue. The past clips show where she tells him, “you already know that you’re the first white guy I’ve dated.” I cringed a bit at the scene thinking, please don’t let this be the reason — skin color — why this couple doesn’t get together.
Bill visits his daughter before she walks to the altar with him and he’s drawn to tears seeing how beautiful she looks. He just wants to be reassured that he can come and see her once they’re married. Bill is the kind of father in law that every man should want.
Again, the decision comes to Cameron first. He tells Lauren she looks amazing. They hold hands and share some sweet, sentimental words to each other, and then athe pastor asks Cameron if he will marry Lauren?
Cameron says, “I do.”
Turn to Lauren, it’s her turn. The anticipation builds, but the looks on their faces portend the answer.
Each couple reflects on the initial question: is love blind? Carlton and Diamond failed in Mexico, Jessica couldn’t get past the pod emotional experience with Mark, but took it all the way to the altar to say no. Damian wasn’t able to get past the instability with Gi and felt he had to say no at the altar. Amber and Barnett had no regrets and both said yes.
To end with a batting average of .400 (2/5) proves the experiment was successful. You could make a case how they might be able to improve this in season two (yes, Netflix has announced there will be two more seasons at least of Love Is Blind).
This is the one absolutely must-watch episode of season one. It seems like a movie within the TV series itself. Do you need to watch the other 9 episodes? Guess we’ll cover that in the overall season summary below, but some parts of them, yes are necessary, but this episode really wraps up the storylines for the five couples. It’s like getting not one, but five different climaxes. There should be for 9+ hours of build-up. This all makes for a pretty fun, entertaining story to watch.
Episode 11 – “Reunion” Air date: March 5, 2020 Runtime: 51 minutes
The original Love is Blind first season was taped in October 2018, so the reunion show checks in with what happened after the show aired in January 2020. All of the couples, both the ones that got married and the ones who didn’t are present, including Carlton and Diamond. This immediately surprised.
Another twist: Gi stayed with Damian! They continued to date after the experiment!
Still single: Mark, Carlton, Diamond, Kelly, Kenny and Jessica. Technically, so are Gi and Damian, but they are still a couple.
Still married: Amber and Barnett and Lauren and Cameron.
One of the best moments in the reunion is Amber going off on Jessica for the behind her back activities with Barnett.
It was good to see her speak out against that and explain what Jessica could have done to make that OK.
Jessica apologizes to Amber and Barnett and wishes them both the best. The host asked Amber if she accepted Jessica’s apology and the best she could offer was, “I accept the intent of the apology. I’m not there.” Good for you, Amber. Jessica admitting she shouldn’t have behaved as she did was good to see.
Carlton and Diamond dish on wishing they could have had their exchange to do over back at the pool. Carlton cries and says he wishes he could have been on the couch happily married. He wishes he would have told her his sexuality sooner, so it didn’t become an issue in Mexico. He was afraid if he told her sooner she would have judged him. He also stated that he didn’t ever mean to suggest that Diamond had any problem with bisexual people. They have communicated since the show was taped and he apologized to her.
Then Carlton gets down on one knee and gives Diamond back the ring, not as a marriage or engagement proposal but for a promise of friendship. To let her know he was there for her.
(yes, Carlton went swimming and recovered the ring!)
Next up to explain what happened are Gi and Damian. Gi says looking back she respects Damian’s decision. She apologizes and cries that she feels like she disrespected him during the show. He hugs her.
Kenny and Kelly up next. Kenny seems a little disappointed that their families had to get involved if the answer would ultimately be no for both of them. Kelly admits she friend zones guys she should have married (it sounds like Kenny could have been one of them). It’s interesting comparing what is said or at least inferred here compared to what is said in this video:
We’re viewers being played by Kenny & Kelly throughout the show? Kenny sure seemed mad in the wedding episode, but maybe their “plan” didn’t go as intended, or they got caught up in the moment of wedding day. Whatever the case, the interview above leaves a bit of a stain on how genuine — or not — these two were throughout the show.
Amber and Barnett explain that their relationship over the last year has been going well. They’ve had some challenges but they’ve grown from them. They had to learn how to hang out and party together, and not be jealous of each other. They butted heads a bit, but figured out how to get past it. They seem like a (fairly) happy couple as of this reunion show.
Jessica up next, explaining why Mark and her didn’t work out. She admits that “it’s tough, because watching it back, it was obvious that she was working through things. I didn’t like the person I saw. I was really uncomfortable and I was drinking too much.”
Mark is queried why Jessica and he didn’t work out. He is still diplomatic. “We were were just two people trying to work it out. You only get 10 days.” He still respects her. They have an interesting, polite exchange about how they both feel about each other.
Lauren and Cameron are last up to catch up what happened over the last year. It’s gone well. They got a fur baby (a puppy). They seem like the happiest people from the show, with Barnett and Amber right behind. Surprisingly, Gi and Damian also seem pretty close, but they are heavily into dating mode and living apart.
A Papa Speed (Bill) update. Cameron says he loves Lauren’s dad. He loves her so much and they have that in common. Lauren said she was really nervous and scary but Cameron was cool (“I’ll win him over”). She is happy that things turned out great.
I wish more reality shows did this reunion at the end so we can get an update where everybody is at. This is great stuff. These shows don’t need to be heavily edited and can probably be shot on a minimal budget, but they act as a fitting epilogue. I’ve always been a fan of a great epilogue.
Season 1 Overall Summary
When there is so much footage, editing the stories of six different couples is a daunting challenge and overall that’s the main criticism I have for the first season. I wanted more from the pods, more about what initially interested the couples and, instead, we were supposed to get that once the couples were together. The pod experience fascinated me, and I could have used another episode on that. Perhaps even more flashbacks of the pod discussions interspersed with the footage after they met?
Jessica AKA “Messica” may have played the villain role, but without her romantic, indecisive, unpredictable adventures and the love triangle with Barnett, the middle episodes in particular were less interesting to follow. The couples were most entertaining when faced with a challenge or obstacles like when we got to meet Lauren’s dad. There weren’t enough of those conflicts to keep the middle episodes flowing.
Once we got past the middle section episode (E4-8), which hopefully will be more engaging in season two, the last three episodes ranged from great to amazing (E9, E10, E11). Episode 10 wrapped everything really well and the reunion episode (E11) as stated earlier is something every reality show should do.
For a reality series, this seemed almost completely unscripted and the ending was more fair and real than most any other show I’ve ever seen in this genre. That’s a high compliment. The tradeoff for that realism is probably some boring edited material. Seeing two people in a happy time and happy place isn’t the most interesting material.
With tighter editing, perhaps a couple less episodes, more pod interviews this could habe been a 4- star or better series. Still very much recommended, but if you get bored in the middle just skip ahead to the last three episodes, you can pick up most everything important that’s happening there. I’ll probably rewatch those three episodes when season two comes around to get me excited and in the mood for the experiment again.
Overall Season 1 Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️½
Season 2 and Beyond Wish List
My wish list for season two includes more diversity in the casting. While it was great to see several black people, all these people were young and good looking (34 is still pretty young for the oldest person).
Maybe the casting going forward will create a gay or lesbian couple, some plus-sized singles, an older couple, perhaps even a disabled couple? Not trying to exploit any type or group, but having only/primarily young good-looking people isn’t as realistic as seeing more average, regular people and how they would deal with this experiment.
Also, more pod time. I feel like we barely scratched the surface of these speed dating sessions. They could have done an entire show on just pod interviews, maybe going all American Idol and let fans vote on which couples to cover. There were actually two more couples that made it through the pods, but they were sent packing because the producers didn’t plan for that many couples to cover.
(Ultimately the other two couples didn’t work out either)
What did you think of Love is Blind?
Who were your favorites, if any? Did you want any of the couples to get together that didn’t make it? Let’s discuss all things Love is Blind Season 1 below.
Studios are going to find it difficult to resist dollars waving in front of them, especially with fixed costs to pay in the current climate and an eager audience of movie watchers waiting for streaming.
Wise marketing not giving release dates immediately so they get the benefit of a secondary promotional news cycle when the release date is announced.
Some will see this as yet another sign to the end to movie theaters as we know them — don’t buy into that BS (see: One Big Reason Why Movie Theaters Will Be OK Compared To Streaming) — this is rightfully a way of making (some) money now and taking care of moviegers at home vs. waiting months and hopping in on a crowded wide release schedule. Theaters will be new movies to screen. It doesn’t have to be one or the other, plenty of new movie watching is available for both.
Iger teases that there might be more movies doing the same thing.
“In terms of movies going ahead after Artemis, there may be a few more that we end up putting directly onto Disney+, but for the most part a lot of the big tentpole Disney films, we’ll simply wait for slots. In some cases, we’ve announced new ones already, but later on in the calendar,” Iger said in an interview with the publication.
Something else I haven’t mentioned as much is we don’t need weekends with 5 or more new movies to watch. The wide release films are going to jam up later this year and it makes more sense to compete against a couple of other wide release films vs. four or more.
Personally, I’m open to as many new movies as studios want to release in theaters.
Statistically, I’m an exception and aberration as a moviegoer. The average moviegoer sees like 3-4 movies a year, I usually see 3-4 per week (when theaters are open).
Studios should want to find the right wide release slot that isn’t crowded. I’d think when there are only 1-2 other wide releases would be ideal and those weeks will be more rare the longer the theaters remain closed. I don’t think even active movie theater fans like me want to see 5+ wide releases every week in the Fall and Winter when theaters reopen. It will lead to people missing out on good movies because there are too many new ones to see and for either budget, time or both, average and even slightly above average moviegoers will miss watching them in theaters.
This doesn’t help the experience when movies bomb at the box office. Sure, some movies bomb and go on to enjoy cult success in aftermarkets and streaming. There have been some great movies that were poorly timed as theatrical releases.
Some of that poor timing could be happening right now.
At this very unique moment in time movies have a golden opportunity to reach movie-hungry audiences at home, ready and willing to watch new movies. So give us more. They don’t have to be the big budget tentpoles, but there are plenty of other movies that should be released every week.
Netflix, Amazon, heck even Quibi is releasing new content during these times. I think Bob Iger — and some at Universal — understand that studios can’t put all their eggs in the theatrical basket. That studios don’t have to choose one over the other — they can do both!
Trolls World Tour skipped the theaters and is going straight to VOD this Friday, April 10. Support it, if you have any interest in the film. The first Trolls was a lot of fun and this one looks like it’s expanding that fun to other musical genres. We’re going to be so there.
Studios just waiting around for whatever future exists with every movie they have doesn’t make good business sense. The floodgates could be about to open.
For those ordered to stay home, and the dwindling numbers of us who keep going to work in “essential/critical” jobs, we’re looking for something to divert our attention.
News, sadly, is a double-edged sword and I try to measure how much real life news video I can watch (stomach), because it’s often depressing, and brings on powerful emotions. This is a horrible, sad time in the world right now and human beings need to rise up and love each other. I have to temper how much I watch that’s keeping it real.
This post shares two very different realities: the first is a gut punch video that isn’t Hollywood. It’s one of the saddest videos I’ve ever seen and yet there is a heartening message that I feel compelled to share.
It’s difficult to watch this CNN video with Erin Burnett speaking to the widow of a 42 year old man who recently died from the coronavirus.
On a much, much lighter reality note, I got turned on by a reader to the Netflix original series Love Is Blind. I’m working through a detailed episode by episode review, but in the meantime there is some good news for fans of the first season: two more seasons have been ordered, proving I guess that love is blind.
“It’s been incredible to see Netflix members everywhere respond to the raw, authentic stories of real people and real stakes,” said Brandon Riegg, Netflix’s vice president of nonfiction series and comedy specials. “We pride ourselves on creating a favorite show for any taste, and we’re thrilled fans embraced all of these series with such enthusiasm and shared passion. We look forward to sparking more joy for our members.”
I don’t want to preempt my detailed review too much except to say that it surprised me. Am not a huge fan of the reality TV genre, but this show was a bit unusual and different — in a good way. More to come, but who else here reading has seen Love Is Blind? If you have, let me tease with one word name for the first season:
I’m not one to dismiss wild ideas, but either Jordan Peele is even more genius than so far he appears to be for this, or badly off base. Definitely I don’t want to bet against Peele’s talent, but this rumored idea — and it’s just that, a rumor — seems pretty out there.
Not only would having an A-list star like Smith in the lead create more interest and visibility for the project, but the horror genre would mark unproven ground for the actor. Too often it seems as though Will Smith coasts by on his natural charisma without really sinking his teeth into a character and a collaboration with Jordan Peele would no doubt mark an exciting change of pace.
Am not totally against the concept because sometimes the wildest mismatches work creatively (hello, remember Uncut Gems ⭐️⭐️⭐️½ with Adam Sandler in a frenetic thriller?), also I’m reminded that Will Smith was great in Ali ⭐️⭐️⭐️½ , so maybe he’ll be really good in a horror movie.
Here’s my piece of advice should this project come to fruition: keep the budget low. Considering Will Smith will command probably double digit millions to star in the film, that might make this more challenging, but producers should remember that star power does not always guarantee a hit movie — cough, Gemini Man⭐️⭐️, cough.
What do you think of Will Smith in a horror movie? Right genre for him? Have to wait and see? Curious?
Yes, paid for this on VOD and paid the extra $3 to own it for $9.99 vs. renting it for $6.99. A gamble, after seeing, that should have gone with the first option.
“It’s very strange, very surreal and weirdly creepy,” said Finnegan by phone from Dublin. “I don’t know if it’s something we should capitalize on, but people have been messaging me saying that they loved it and the experience was more intense with what’s going on outside.”
Am glad to hear they aren’t trying to capitalize on the pandemic with the isolation sci-fi fantasy/horror tale. Social isolation aside, this isn’t a virus story.
Before continuing on with more details, we’re headed to spoiler territory. If you haven’t seen the movie yet and want to, might be best to leave the rest of this post until after seeing it.
… you’ve been warned, SPOILERS ahead …
The type of movie I should have loved … but here’s why I didn’t
This has the makings of a great anthology movie or TV show story, but I didn’t find enough meat on the bones for a full length movie. It started out promising and then got weirder and weirder. The addition of the child who grows up abnormally fast didn’t save it. The obnoxious scream from the child like a teapot going off (“tea is ready!”) worked only the first time and served to be grating and annoying every time thereafter.
The final scenes where escape seemed possible beneath the city has been done before — and better. I did like the digging part, but again, that as a form of madness when “hearing things” has also been done before.
Both Imogen Poots and Jesse Eisenberg skillfully carry out the acting, working with material that was largely left for them to carry with their facial expressions, actions and limited dialogue. Kudos there.
The cinematography and effects were done good, too. I especially like when the street is bent up so that travel directly beneath street level is possible. Also liked the Yonder house development design. Reminded me of the scale of a train set. For a little while I thought that might be the payoff, it’s all just one gigantic train set and they never really could leave the town, because there was no exit. Alas, no such cool, twist ending like that.
Maybe if it had been an anthology show episode, there could have been a twist ending rather than leaving it intentionally vague. I actually like some endings that don’t spell everything out, but this wasn’t one of them.
Reviews by Others
How did others feel about Vivarium?
Halloween Year Round / Dave Pierdomenico: “…a movie that definitely has something to say, but it’s up to audience to determine what that is. And honestly that’s a lot more interesting than the if the film had simply spelled it out for us.”
harveycritic / Big Apple Reviews (Grade: B+): “This is a low-key sci-fi adventure with almost bloodless smidgens of horror which, with the crackerjack acting especially of Imogene Poots with Jesse Eisenberg in almost a supporting role is entertaining and enlightening.”
Honestly On The Sly: “…is very much about revealing a neat, little web that two unsuspecting flies have been caught in, and as a metaphor for buying in to consumerist culture, it feels, as Friend put it, like “dated critique.””
Horror Reviews by The Collective: “So if you like everything explained at the end of a movie, then never go near Vivarium. If, however, you like watching a completely character driven film, an excuse just to see two actors perform their asses off and play characters who, stripped of all outside influence, just have to put up with each other through everything, then this is where to go”
IsBushey / Log’s Line: “To say that it’s aptly titled is a dramatic understatement; to call it one of the year’s best thus far is deserving. This movie sticks to your bones, penetrates your mind by going in one ear without exiting the other, and best of all, gives you enough answers to keep asking questions whilst filling in the blanks and the occasional cracks.”
John Jr’s Blog: “I was impressed by this movie and what they were able to accomplish on a low-budget, it was filmed well, directed well, acted well, had an interesting concept”
Kevin Lyons / The EOFFTV : “Engage with its weirdness (and there’s so much more than has been talked about here, including a brief stray into body horror territory) and Vivarium is a beguiling head-scratcher full of interesting and well-developed ideas.”
Mikkelsen’s Musings (8/10): “…stages its two protagonists as sincerely human characters trapped in a relentlessly dystopian setting, and the end result is an intriguing, deeply original and genuinely mystifying science fiction thriller that keeps a firm grip around its dystopian theme and storyline from start to finish.”
MOVIEMARKUS: “…for those who enjoy a sci-fi/horror which asks you to suspend belief, sit back and watch a quick little social experiment, this may be your jam.”
No More Workhorse: “…well made and with strong performances by the lead actors. It also has a title which is remarkably apt. It is a film strangely suited for our time”
PJ / Patrick Jr: “…shows us how life can flash before our eyes. Although we’re not trapped in an utopic neighborhood. We are metaphorically bound by our perception of life. We shouldn’t spend our life trying to understand why, but rather understanding our purpose”
Short Film Reviews: “Maybe not the best film during the quarantine days but if, like me, you are a fan of one-location allegorical thrillers, don’t have any high hopes and give it a shot.”
Stephen Murray: “When you’re playing with so many styles, genres and influences you’re bound to make art that transcends its makers’ given intentions – and Vivarium is certainly that.”
storgy: “what Vivarium does well is place the viewer inside the claustrophobic setting with the main characters. In an age where sequels, prequels, reboots and reimaging’s are reigning supreme, it’s a blast in the face of originality, albeit a dark and depressing one, but original, nonetheless.”
World Film Geek (Rating: A): “The only annoying thing about the film is Jennings’ use of screaming on numerous occasions, making both the couple and this reviewer irritated as he sounds like a teapot on the stove that is ready when the steam blows.”
Zobo with a Shotgun (4/5): “Director Lorcan Finnegan has truly made a horrible film that could devastate audiences and leave you feeling empty, hopeless and without any need of following the formalities of what life expects of you.”
Mirza Baig / Welcome To The Movie Ark: “…has talented actors likeJesse Eisenberg and Imogen Poots bringing in their A-game, but the point of the film after a while just runs thin, and when the finale kicks in, you are just left feeling unbalanced and unsatisfied.”
Not Left Handed Either Film Guide: “I admired Vivarium for its artistry (heavy shades of Magritte) and was never bored during its ninety seven minute running time but I don’t think I’d recommend it.”
popcult: “The problem with this film is that none of the juicy, intriguing ideas presented is explored or even allowed the time to breathe.”
Rinzy Reviews Films (2.5/5): “The major problem I had with this movie is how all its build-up lead to nothing and how we don’t even get crucial answers to certain important questions”
Linked above and wondering what would be the cool thing to do next? Commenting once in awhile is always good (I like reader and other blogger interaction). If you have the trackback/pingback come to your site then just approve it because after people read your review then they can come here and follow links and read someone else’s review. What comes around goes around and sharing is the ultimate “thank you!” on the internet.
Did I miss your review? Use the comments to tell me about your movie-related/review blog and I’ll follow. I like following movie-related blogs and pull quoting from my reading list as well as other new blogs shared, liked and discovered.
On Netflix streaming as of this posting, and good luck getting through it, unscathed. That’s not a recommendation. Despite loving the original VIDEOGAME and being just so-so on the original movie, I found this reboot completely uninspired and unnecessary.
But it gets worse.
From the dumbest idea for a reboot rumor department, comes another possible Doom reboot. Yes, we need another ID Software Doom movie — a reboot, nonetheless — about as bad as a 12-gauge shot to the face.
How can there be another reboot talk a year later?!?!
Personally, we’re a little skeptical about another Doom adaptation – after all, the games have often prided themselves on prioritizing gameplay over story – but we hope Universal will find a balance that’ll appeal to general moviegoers and longtime fans alike. And if they do indeed manage to snag Cena to star, that’d certainly be a big step in the right direction.
With John Cena in the lead? Sure, why not. Do we need another Sarge? The Rock has been there and done that. Guess it’s Cena’s turn. Vin Diesel turned down starring in the original one.
I get that studios (some/most/all?) are desperate with their IP, but the world doesn’t need another Doom movie. Especially another reboot. The first Doom picture was a bust and lost money and I don’t know the finances on Annihilation, but guessing that’s not been a huge moneymaker. Who thinks another reboot will do something the other two movies haven’t done?
When stupid project ideas are floated my go-to response is: can’t we just pick any other bestselling book and make a movie from that instead of another cash grip reboot? Moviegoers are smarter than this. Seriously, we are.
Now, before anybody jumps on me for bashing a movie I haven’t seen (it’s not even a movie yet, though, it’s a rumor of another reboot). We don’t need to see this, that’s the point. This project should be dead on arrival. Whomever is thinking about it at Universal needs to get the memo that Doom is not a viable movie reboot property any time soon.
In some weird, surreal way it’s like we’re inside the game, geared up, and from out behind a maze comes a reboot sequel, tentacles, teeth, ready to rip moviegoers to shreds.