Throughout the first five episodes, six couples get engaged and are whisked off to a resort in Mexico. As their relationships become more “real,” some of them wistfully remember the pods, the power they hold and the comfort they provide. (“Pods,” in this sense, are the emotional equivalent of a blanket fort.) Five pairs endured the trip before reentering the real world, also known as Atlanta, which is where episode 6 picks up. It’s through the interactions beyond the pods that their initial connection is tested, although tropical vacations and fully furnished, rent-free apartments aren’t much of a gauntlet. (Really what these people need is to go to Ikea. Your love may be blind, but can it survive the assembly of a five-drawer KULLEN dresser?)
Now with only the final reveal of who actually made it — the 10th episode drops Feb. 27 — left, it’s time to rate these couples on how likely they are to make it to their wedding days and exchange vows. We’ve developed a rubric with 1 being “shocking they made it this far,” to 10 being “could be one of the interviewed couples featured throughout ‘When Harry Met Sally.’” We also have awarded unique superlatives.
Although we do have advance access to watch the final episode, rest assured that we have resisted the temptation. We wouldn’t want our analysis to be tainted. Just like on the show, the integrity of the process must be protected.
Giannina and Damian
We’ve got to hand it to our girl, G. She’s well-suited for this format, able to describe her emotions in all sorts of ways. Damian comes across as sincere in his love for Giannina, and she sees him as having a big heart.
But his family isn’t keen on meeting her and/or being on a reality TV show. More troubling, these two don’t know how to talk about the pet peeves of life without blowing up into combative arguments. It makes you wonder whether they’ll ever figure out how to handle the more difficult challenges of a relationship.
If you’ve watched all the way until the end of the ninth episode, then you know what happens here. They do make it to the altar where Giannina says “I do,” but the look on Damian’s face at that moment doesn’t bode well for them leaving that altar married.
Likelihood of getting married: 3
Best dressed: Giannina. She prepared well for this moment of fame.
Lauren and Cameron
If you have to pick one couple to root for, hello, this is it. Cameron is a sensitive firefighter-turned-AI-scientist. Lauren is a “content creator,” which is as vague as Cameron’s CV is specific.
They both seem genuinely surprised by how intense their emotional connection became through their conversations. Lauren comes across as a grounded woman raised by people who love her deeply. It also sounds like men haven’t treated her that great in the past: She mentions how she’s never been with someone so into her before. So yeah, it’s time for her to have some happiness from a man who will be there for her.
Cameron has a tender heart, a calm energy and a confidence that isn’t flashy. Of all the men, he seems the most self-assured about where he is in life and what he wants. He’s also super into Lauren and does quite well in a difficult conversation with her frank father.
We do have concerns. Cameron is touchy-feely, and Lauren has moments where her face gives off a “hello, I would like a little space” vibe. We want to know more about Cameron’s dating history, which doesn’t get mentioned much until the end. And where is his family?
Likelihood of getting married: 8. (This rating is aspirational because we have to believe someone will make it.)
Most likely to pick “Lose Yourself” at karaoke night: Cameron. The one honest-to-God jaw-dropping moment in this show came when Cameron a cappella rapped for Lauren’s mom (doubtful this was off the dome. Nonetheless). We have a thousand questions, chief among them being the decibel level of Lauren’s scream when she first discovered he was in a college rap group, and whether archival performance footage is available.
Kelly and Kenny
We’re not sure what’s happening here. At first, Kelly and Kenny seemed most likely to make it. Theirs wasn’t an exciting or dramatic match. They are both about the same age and say “babe” a lot, so yeah, why don’t they just marry each other?
Throughout several episodes, Kelly couldn’t stop talking about how hot she found Kenny. The producers showed us several minutes — maybe it was 20 seconds, but really it felt like several minutes — of them in bathing suits and making out while washing sand off each other in Mexico. After their families met, it seemed like they would for sure get hitched.
Kelly does say she wants to take the physical aspect of their connection slowly, which, sure, okay. After all, he is a stranger. She hasn’t even had time to run a background check, let alone the requisite court-case history search. (More people should do this.)
But as their wedding day approaches, Kenny is frustrated that they’re the only couple who hasn’t had sex yet. Then Kelly reveals that she’s not all that physically attracted to Kenny; we believe the words “like a brother” were thrown around. Kelly! How did you let things get this far with your brother!
Likelihood of getting married: 4
Most school spirit: Kelly. You see it, right?
Barnett and Amber
Barnett. We’re not sure how much we should trust a man who goes by his last name. On top of it, he started off confused but made his choice: Amber, the woman whom he declares scares him, which is how all good marriages start, right?
Amber definitely has had her struggles and seems capable of facing a challenge. She is committed to marrying Barnett, but he seems less sure. They have physical chemistry and fun, but that’s not everything. Cue the overdue conversation on this show about one of the top reasons marriages fail — money. Amber has a terrible credit score (again, background checks, people!) and Barnett seems nervous at the prospect of being the sole breadwinner.
But Barnett appreciates that Amber isn’t trying to change him, and the most touching moment between them is his acknowledgment that she loves the things about him that he’s always been ashamed of. Maybe this crazy thing will actually work. At the very least, if they don’t get married, they should keep dating.
Likelihood of getting married: 6
Biggest truck: Barnett. Some of us went to high schools that had this superlative, which is hilarious because it’s the only award that could be given based on an objective measurement, but we still voted on it. Anyway, Barnett has “biggest truck” energy.
Jessica and Mark
We’re all for flipping the older guy-younger gal construct. Every single straight woman in her 30s should consider Priyanka Chopra’-ing somebody.
This is not one of those cases.
Mark, we know you are too young for this scenario by the way you insist you are, in fact, not too young. You sound like a 24-year-old at the bar claiming that you’re a “total grandpa” for wanting to go home before midnight. Some of us already are in bed by midnight. Some of us didn’t even leave the house! (It’s Friday; aren’t you exhausted?)
But Mark actually isn’t the problem here. We believe he would commit and follow through — if he had a willing partner. Jessica is happy to talk to this man behind a partition, but that’s about it.
Their connection is based on a shared love of the Chicago Cubs and her ability to make Italian beef. (What exactly is Italian beef? According to our research, it is a Philly cheesesteak without the cheese.) There’s got to be more to marriage than that. As Washington Post critic Hank Stuever points out, there’s some gaslighting going on here as Jessica wishes she had Barnett. (Sorry, you’re not fooling us.)
Will these two make it to the altar? The better question is: Should they? No, and no.
Likelihood of getting married: 0
Widest vocal range: Jessica.