This week on Married at First Sight, with 9 days until Decision Day, the couples travel to Hilton Head, South Carolina, for a retreat. Anytime the couples get together and compare their relationships, it illuminates and amplifies problems. Do you think the bracelet is going to make an appearance? It’s almost a third member of Jacob Harder and Haley Harris’ marriage at this point.
Well, that didn’t take long. Haley Harris hands Jacob an overnighted package with the bracelet. These two are making the five-hour drive separately. WHAT. Vincent Morales and Briana Miles are heading out. Virginia Coombs and Erik Lake are pre-gaming in the car, trying to figure out if they can go without fighting and drama. These two are so up and down. Erik announces that if there is any fighting, it’s not going to be on him. He says, “I just won’t allow it on my end.” He goes on to say, “You’re the one who would get annoyed with me.” Then he proceeds to start a fight, chastising Virginia for getting on him about things in front of the camera. That went well.
Jacob gets there first and makes himself some eggs — 8 eggs. Haley arrives and is immediately irritated. She was planning to cook dinner for the group and he didn’t communicate. Except that he did. Are Haley and Jacob sharing a room? Clara Berghaus and Ryan Oubre aren’t arriving that evening. Clara had to work.
Around the dinner table, Virginia asks the question, “What does everyone think they learned through this process?” That’s a loaded question for night number one when Haley and Jacob couldn’t even drive together or sit next to each other at the table. Briana says she has learned patience and understanding. Vincent has learned to dig deep and to get better as a person. Jacob is awkward in answering the question. Haley rolls her eyes. Haley and Jacob continue snipping and making everyone uncomfortable, except that Erik is laughing. Erik’s probably relieved that he’s not the one in the hot seat. Haley is making a long list of what she learned, but Jake’s not buying it. Jake says this has been “one long bad first date.” Haley says that 95% of the experiment has been challenging, and Jacob says 97%.
Virginia says that she’s learned that she can love someone without liking them all the time. Erik says that he had to be so patient “with this one.” Oh boy. Erik says it’s hard for him to accept that he’s not her number one person yet. Since dinner was so fun, now they try a game designed by the experts to see how much they know about each other.
They choose team names and Erik and Virginia are The Lake Show. Vincent and Briana are Los Tigueres. And Jacob and Haley are Team Harambe. Is that a weird 80s reference? Jacob and Haley know a surprising amount about each other. They win. After the game, they go to separate bedrooms, so they really lose.
Before they fall asleep, Briana asks Vincent about horseback riding. He doesn’t want to go. She shouldn’t have picked that activity without asking him. Ryan and Clara left early in the morning the next day to drive to Hilton Head. Ryan is happy that Chris Williams isn’t there, so Vacation 2.0 might be better than the first vacation with all the couples.
Clara jumps right in during breakfast preparation to talk to the girls about how their marriage is going well and they are taking it slowly. Clara did this with the experts, too. She talked about “they” not “he.” Clara doesn’t want it to go slow.
Haley and Jacob go on an adventurous date crabbing on a boat. They seem to enjoy it, but it’s still awkward. Virginia and Erik are (tipsy) driving a golf cart. They already seem to be slurring their words a bit. Erik immediately starts lecturing her that Decision Day isn’t the end. “It’s a turning point.” Erik thinks it’s an important day. Virginia asks, “Do you think it’s an important day or do you think it’s another day?” They try to have a tough conversation about Decision Day. Erik says that he feels like if things get tough, Virginia will just run. She looks like she wants to run during this talk. Erik doesn’t want to keep up their current state of fight-make up-fight-make up.
Ryan and Clara decide to go paddle boarding in the ocean. The big question, will he take off his shirt? They seem to enjoy the shared experience. Then they have a picnic. Clara says off camera that she wants to hear, before Decision Day, “I am in love with you.” Clara tries to have that awkward conversation, but it’s not going well.
Vincent and Briana are going to ride horses on the beach, but Vincent is afraid of the horse. He does not want to ride, but the trainer convinces him to try it for a minute. He is very nervous, but he did it. Briana and Vincent have a seaside picnic. Rather than thank him for going and doing what she wanted, Briana insists on pressing him about doing future adventures that make him uncomfortable. Vincent just asks Briana to prepare him ahead of time.
Each couple has an exercise designed by the experts. First up, Haley and Jacob are tasked with speaking highly of each other and writing it down. Haley says some nice things to Jacob and vice versa. These two should have spent that five-hour car ride together saying nice things to each other. Clara and Ryan are writing love letters to each other as part of their exercise from the experts. Ryan’s letter ends with “Love, Ryan” and Clara is in tears. Clara ends with, “I can’t wait to say yes on decision day.”
The women hang out and immediately Haley started right in complaining about Jacob. Jacob told her on their crabbing date that she was being smug and nasty to him the night before. Virginia tells Haley that she was being “a little mean” to Jake. The other women chime in that both of them were taking jabs and bickering. Virginia is frustrated about her conversation with Erik. Briana shares about horseback riding. Clara shares about writing a love letter to Ryan.
Vincent takes over cooking the crabs for dinner as everyone tries to figure out how to get the crabs in the pan. Clara toasts to all that they have learned. Ryan asks the group, “Have y’all started talking post Decision Day?” And then the room is silent. It sounds like Briana is moving in with Vincent at his place, although he is assuming that, not asking. Ryan is talking about how he and Clara are making decisions about how to decorate his house. Virginia announces that she’s not moving into Erik’s condo immediately. Erik and Virginia bicker about who is supposed to do what steps in order for them to get a place together. Virginia gives him four months, until the end of her lease, to rent his condo and find them a place together. She’s giving him an ultimatum now. Erik says in his solo interview, “I’m not one to give ultimatums.” Did he just hear himself? He’s been giving her ultimatums almost daily.
Two hours later, the argument continues on about Virginia’s cats. Erik is allergic to cats and Virginia is not going to keep her cats out of the bedroom. Wasn’t this a question on the matching questionnaire? Allergies are a big deal. And so are crazy cat owners. Virginia is willing to let Erik suffer. That says a lot.
With 7 days until Decision Day, the couples head back to Atlanta. Jake left early in the morning and it looks like he didn’t tell Haley he was leaving. Erik and Virginia sweep their argument under the rug. Ryan and Clara reflect that they had a good trip.
Next time, with a few days remaining, many of the couples seem to be unsure of how they will answer on Decision Day.
Married at First Sight airs Wednesdays, 8/7c, on Lifetime.
Kelli Bergheimer is an opinionated redhead, reality tv junkie, and freelance writer for All About the Tea.