Love is Blind: After the Altar started streaming yesterday on Netflix and gave us exactly what we needed. I am not even interested in any new cast members or seasons – these people are too good for TV.
The three episodes had us celebrating two married couples, untangling the single lives of the others, some even intertwined with other cast members who didn’t show up (perpetually 24-year-old Mark Cuevas has finally found a camera he doesn’t like – and he’s a liar… allegedly; more on him later!).
And people are self-aware! They have settled comfortably into the characters and celebrities we have made them through our obsession with the show and did not come to disappoint, unless their name is Damian Powers.
Lauren and Cameron are adorable, no big surprises there if you already watch their awesome YouTube channel, Hanging With The Hamiltons, and follow their journey on Instagram. This is working for them, they are happy, and even their arguments are cute and hilarious, like the age old cultural war over whether chicken should be washed (YES), which Lauren took to Insta in a post promoting the special. They are so in love, and we love to see it!
And I have to give credit to Amber and Barnett for their self-awareness; they know they are the more cringy couple and they don’t care! They are focused on each other, and growing their relationship and family when the time is right, or when Barnett is ready. Lauren and Cameron talk about wanting kids too, but most of the kid talk in the special was weird, like a truly terrifying gym scene where Damian talks to Cameron and Barnett about “hammering out” children and asks one of his many worthless questions: “How many more times can you date someone for two years of your life?” Technically, every two years Damian! You suck!
Look, this is a man who acknowledges the emotional turmoil in his relationship with Giannina, yet seems to be only interested in fueling it. While they are not married like the other two couples, they are in a relationship, and we watched this man go on two dates! He woke up one day and thought “this is what I want to show the audience”. The man is chaos.
For context, last summer, he was spotted in LA holding hands with Francesca Farago from Netflix’s Too Hot to Handle, and explained it away as two friends having dinner together, who share the same attorney. The story didn’t stick, no one wanted more, but Damian decided to start dating Francesca in front of the camera for this special. The whole time, Giannina maintained hope in the relationship, while being honest with her mother and the other cast members about the hardships. Her relationship with Damian did not look easy, but she seemed determined to work on it. Diamond points out that she could have any man she wants and should be dating a soccer player, and I agree! Giannina is such a passionate person, and it’s clear that Damian’s gaslighting personality can’t deal with being held accountable so he makes it seem like she’s always yelling.
Before his first date with Francesca, he introduces her with more of his empty questions: “Is she beautiful? Yes. Is she a beautiful woman? Absolutely.” Before going on to talk about how calm she is, juxtaposed with the stormy and chaotic image he keeps conjuring of Giannina. It’s infuriating. The date is strange, they are flirting and talking about his doomed relationship, and cosmetic surgery. He then invites her to the anniversary party, where Giannina confronts them both. He finds a way to blame Gigi for his behavior, and she’s not having it. They seem to be over.
Now that Damian has solidified himself as the most hated on the show, you would think, especially after a year, that Jessica and Mark would be humanized. Impossible. Mark didn’t even need to show up, and Jessica still ends up watching Amber and Barnett from a shadowy camera angle, chugging wine. We see no growth from Jessica, despite that showing growth seems to be her singular intention. She outright lies about how much of a saboteur she was in Barnett and Amber’s relationship initially, and bizarrely buys them a gift, which Barnett does not accept, leaving her in tears. Even the mention of her wonderful foot doctor boyfriend in LA can’t fix this. It’s clear that Amber is not interested in building any type of relationship with Jessica, and the only person who doesn’t get it is Jessica. She even manages to make herself a victim in Mark’s story.
Which is a big reveal: Mark is an alleged liar and f-ckboy. To me, he seemed more delusional than manipulative in the first season, but people have entirely too many receipts on this man for us to believe he’s not some kind of philanderer. The problem, besides him not being there, is the fact he just had a baby in his new relationship, making it make sense he ran away from this special. But how do we know this?
LC, or as I like to refer to her, the female Rory, is prominent in this special. And her biggest update includes dating Mark after filming, being ghosted by him, and discovering his new relationship on Reddit…but does anything good come out of personal information on Reddit? That’s the red flag for me.
Diamond is passionate and knowledgeable about this, and goes lengths to defend LC, much to Amber’s chagrin. They disagree on the boundaries and seriousness of LC and Mark’s relationship, and the Atlanta streets have more stories about Mark. It’s weird to see Jessica unpack all this, but on brand for her to make herself the victim. Apparently, the fact that Mark has not come forward to confess cheating on her when they were engaged (she couldn’t find him one day, and disbelieves his story about talking to a woman for six hours) has preserved her as one of the most hated people on reality TV. I get it, but wouldn’t knowing more about Mark just make us hate them both?
Regardless, the only way people are dealing with this is giving Mark the business in his Instagram comments, which is awkward cause his feed is full of pictures of his new baby.
Carlton is upset about how biphobia and stereotypes around gender roles and sexuality play out in the Black community and directly villainized and defined his story, and I totally agree! But when he brings this up with Lauren, it devolves into an argument, and he storms off. I don’t like how he’s being characterized as angry, because his feelings are valid, and he talked about the cast not having his back. Hopefully, he will continue to be an advocate and tell his story, outside of Netflix. Editing has not been kind to Carlton.
I absolutely refuse to talk about Kenny and Kelly. I’ve moved on.
If you haven’t checked out this three-episode special, there’s no time like the present. There are plenty more messy and memorable moments and unsurprisingly, it’s already trending on Netflix’s Top Ten.
My only question is, where the f-ck is OBVIOUSLY Nick Lachey?!