Reality TV reunion specials are notoriously messy affairs where contestants throw F-bombs, start fights, and make cruel digs. Do people make apologies or accept accountability for past transgressions? You won't see that here. But the Love Is Blind reunion wasn't like that. It was a satisfying—albeit dull—resolution to a series that became an instant sensation for its utterly bonkers premise.
For those who've been living on Mars for the last month, Netflix's Love Is Blind was a "three-week event" that captivated the internet, bringing conventionally attractive people together to date and get engaged without ever seeing each other, and then get married—all in 38 days! Contestants' warp speed road to the altar was marked with shady attempts to break couples up, the inconsistent use of sexy baby voice, and a wine-chugging dog—and that was just Jessica! The whole "experiment" set out to prove whether or not love could blossom beyond looks (even though everyone on the show was good looking).
The reunion was poised to be an all-out war, considering Jessica's multiple attempts to snake her way between Barnett and Amber (who are still married), Carlton and Diamond's explosive, Beyoncé-laden break-up, and millions of viewers taking to social media to share their opinions on which couples are totally wrong for each other. Anyone who's ever seen a Real Housewives or Vanderpump Rules reunion knows how these things go; they're not pretty, but they are wildly entertaining. I came ready to see some throats get clawed out. But when the Love Is Blind came together to look back on their time in the experiment, they came prepared to accept their mistakes, ask for forgiveness, and provide closure for themselves and their fellow contestants. The maturity of it all was shocking.
We got updates on the couples: Giannina and Damian are back together, but dating; Kenny is now in a happy relationship with another woman; Lauren and Cameron are blissfully in love and joyously married. Amber and Barnett are still married, but Amber came ready to deliver some harsh truth to Jessica after seeing her nemesis "throw herself" at her then-fiancé.
"Bitch, you're sheisty," she looked back cuttingly to tell Jessica. "You're so fake…I think you're a very disingenuine [sic] person. And I hope seeing this, you do grow from it because that is not what the world needs, is women going behind people's back like that. You were engaged to another man that you were leading on. [Barnett] was engaged. He made his choice." The sting of her words was palpable, and though it seemed like this would kick up some tried-and-true reunion show squabbling, that wasn't the case.
Jessica hung her head somberly and listened. Instead of calling Amber, for instance, a broke-ass bitch or a trash-mouth hag, or rationalizing her poor actions by saying Barnett led her on (which he kind of did), she accepted her wrongdoing. "Obviously, I was rejected by Barnett," she said. "I didn't take that very well. Seeing that play out is brutal, you know?" She then apologized to both Amber and Barnett for disrespecting their relationship.
Reality TV icon and Real Housewife Nene "I said what I said" Leakes would never do that. It was clear that Amber didn't expect that mea culpa, and Barnett (in his hideous black and silver tie-dye sports jacket) sat wincing while host Nick Lachey commended Jessica for coming clean. Jessica also later deeply apologized to her former fiancé, Mark, for mistreating him and being a drunk mess. She looked at the ground during a playback of their fraught relationship, and said, "I don't like the person that I saw. I was really uncomfortable and I was drinking too much."
Carlton and Diamond, too, were able to squash their differences. Carlton expressed regret that Diamond was painted as a homophobe when she is not, and said there's "no excuse" for him disrespecting her. Diamond, too, accepted that she could have handled the situation better when Carlton told her he was bisexual. It ended with Carlton getting down on one knee and presenting her with the engagement ring he had thrown into a pool, and asking for forgiveness and friendship. Corny, but sweet.
Perhaps it's because the contestants aren't 22-year-old wannabe influencers, or maybe it's because they've had more time to process their time on Love Is Blind (the show wrapped in November 2018), but the Love Is Blind reunion was actually a lovely, resolute end to the show. You could even call it a little boring. And that's the best happy ending viewers could hope for.
Alex Zaragoza is a senior staff writer at VICE. Follow her on Twiiter.