Reel Thoughts: ‘Love is Blind’ season three indicates love is, in fact, not blind


Illustration by Nicole Markus

Raven Ross and SK Alagbada didn’t end up together this season, despite the show suggesting they would.

Nicole Markus, Social Media Editor

Warning: This article contains spoilers.

Despite my enjoyment of the first two seasons of reality show “Love Is Blind,” I could barely bear to watch Season 3, and it’s not even over yet.

“Love Is Blind” features a group of singles, and as you may suspect, they are ready to mingle. And by mingle, I mean marry. The filming process takes a little more than a month, and participants get engaged without ever seeing each other.

That’s right. Participants don’t see their future spouses before they get down on one knee. Instead, their first interactions take place in closed pods, where they date each other through a wall for about a week before deciding who they’re ready to commit to for a lifetime. The show is marketed as a modern-day experiment that breaks away from the societal norms that put pressure on physical compatibility, instead focusing on deep emotional connections.

After getting engaged, the pairs are whisked away to a romantic, but turbulent, getaway before facing the trials and tribulations of normal life. Family, friends and even other participants get in the way of the “emotional connection” the couples built in the pods. After a month, the engaged couples must decide whether to get married in dramatic fashion: declaring whether they do or don’t at the altar in front of their loved ones.

In Season 3, as is typical for the Netflix series, you have to suspend disbelief to watch the experimental reality show. As someone who has never had the chance to meet and get to know someone through a wall, I can’t say whether these couples actually fall in love as they claim to over the course of a week, though it seems unlikely. What I can say, however, is that the couples in this season seem to be deeply mismatched.

Take Cole Barnett and Zanab Jaffrey, for example. The couple bonded over their shared faith and desire for traveling adventures. However, after exiting the pods, it becomes increasingly clear Barnett and Jaffrey are unsuited for each other. 

On the getaway and then in the “real world,” Jaffrey struggles with Barnett’s immaturity. Barnett struggles to physically connect with Jaffrey and, when asked by Jaffrey, even rates her physical attractiveness lower than Colleen Reed, another castmate and former romantic interest of Barnett’s. Though we’ve yet to see their big moment at the altar, I can only hope they wise up and realize they’re not meant to be — for both of their sakes.

Reed and Matt Bolton form another dysfunctional pair. I actually rooted for the couple at first, but that was until I realized how deeply manipulative and quick to anger Bolton was toward Reed. The relationship seems volatile, unhealthy and borderline toxic. It’s hard to watch in good conscience.

Another instance of manipulation is between Nancy Rodriguez and Bartise Bowden. Rodriguez, to me, did no wrong in the relationship except for continuing to stay with Bowden. On the other hand, Bowden insulted Rodriguez every chance he got, pushing her away despite his claims that he loved her. My jaw dropped as I watched Bowden insult Rodriguez’s looks, and I cringed as I listened to him explain how physically attracted he was to fellow contestant Raven Ross. Though Rodriguez said “I do” at their wedding, I hope the Episode 10 cliffhanger ends with an “I don’t” from Bowden, as I don’t think it’s fair to Rodriguez to go through with a marriage the other person isn’t invested in.

Speaking of Ross and her former fiance SK Alagbada, I had tears in my eyes watching their wedding. After all the times Alagbada assured and affirmed Ross, including in intimate vows at the wedding, he still said “I don’t” and left her at the altar. This came off as manipulative and altogether unlike the Alagbada I had come to know and like over the course of the show.

The biggest problem with this season of “Love Is Blind” is that I’m not rooting for the remaining couples. The focus on physicality and the manipulation the women face at the hands of this season’s crop of men just made me uncomfortable and sad. Though it would be nice to argue that love is, in fact, blind, I don’t think that point of view can be adopted after watching these “relationships” crumble.

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Twitter: @nicolejmarkus

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