After a failed date with Brendan Morais and no subsequent connections, Demi Burnett was ready to take matters into her own hands on the Aug. 30 episode of Bachelor in Paradise. She set her sights on Kenny Braasch, who was already coupled up with Mari Pepin. Needless to say, Mari was not happy when Demi tried to steal Kenny for herself, and it led to some major drama erupting on the beach.
When this week’s episode started, it was actually Mari who was considering being with someone else on the beach. Chasen Nick arrived with a date card, and pulled Mari aside to talk to her before deciding who he wanted to ask. He asked where she stood with Kenny and if she was open to going on a date with anyone else. “I do think we’re not necessarily on the same page about whether or not to explore other things,” Mari admitted. “Kenny has told me that he’s very much not interested in anyone else. But I also don’t want to block myself from something else because at the end of this, I’m here to find my person”
In a confessional, she added, “Kenny and I have kind of said we wouldn’t go on dates with other people, but I don’t want to close myself off and potentially miss out on somethign that is meant for me. Chasen is very cute and I’d be open. If he asked me, I would go.” Luckily, Kenny had nothing to worry about, because Chasen wound up asking Deandra Kanu on the date instead.
However, seeing Chasen come to the beach had Mari second-guessing where she stood with Chris. “Kenny and I, our physical chemistry is there, but I’ve been thinking a lot and I don’t want to have regrets,” she explained. “I feel like part of figuring that out is being open to dates. If someone was to show interest and ask me on a date, I’d like to say yes and not feel like I’m doing something wrong.”
Mari decided to pull Kenny aside and tell him how she was feeling. “We have something realy good and I really like it and I’m happy,” she assured him. “I want to keep nurturing this and growing this. This is my focus. But it’s just like, at the end of this, if we’re together, I want to be 100 percent sure. I don’t want to have any regrets at the end. So if I am asked on a date, I don’t want to immediately be like, no, not happening.”
Kenny understood where Mari was coming from, but made it clear that he also wanted the freedom to be open, as well. By the end of the conversation, Mari wondered whether she made a big mistake. “I think things might be a little awkward [now],” she said. “He told me, ‘If you’re going to do that, then maybe I should go explore other relationships.’ So now I’m like…did I just f*** things up?!”
Mari turned to BIP alum, Demi, for advice, but that decision wound up turning on her. Although Demi offered her positive input to Mari’s face, she also jumped at the opportunity to spend time with Kenny now that she knew he was considering other options on the beach. “Sorry, I’m going for your man!” Demi warned in a confessional. “It’s my opportunity. It’s what I’m here for. Kenny is so sexy. He likes to be naked, I like to be naked, so I wanna have some fun with that.”
Demi and Kenny had a super flirty conversation, which ended in them making out. Meanwhile, Mari was watching from the distance. She wound up breaking down in tears over what she saw. “I don’t know what to do. I don’t know what to think,” she said. “Demi and I have been cool. She was giving me advice and then she turns around and does this and I’m right there watching. He said he’s all in on me until I told him I would be open to going on dates. Here I am thinking maybe he’ll plan something cute and do something for me and show me he really wants to be with me, but this is the exact opposite.”
That night, Demi surprised Kenny with a belated birthday cake, and surprise celebration. Naturally, Mari wasn’t pleased. “Who does she think she is?!” Mari wondered. “It’s kind of comical that she’s trying so hard. Demi is not what Kenny is looking or. Maturity-wise, she’s definitely not what he wants.” However, Kenny was feeling Demi, and as they were making out, Mari took it upon herself to throw the birthday cake in the fire.
“Demi’s pushing buttons and getting away with it,” Mari ranted. “I’m over it. I’m mad as hell about it now and I kind of feel like there’s no going back. There’s no fixing it. One person can only take so much. This side of me doesn’t come out often. I don’t like for it to come out. She thinks I’m just going to sit aside and continue to let her do this, she’s got another thing coming.”
Eventually, Mari pulled Demi aside to discuss the situation with her — and it did not go well. She told Demi she felt “betrayed” by her, and Demi insisted that it wasn’t fair for Mari to want to date other people but not expect Kenny to. Mari took some low blows, and the ladies wound up storming off, screaming at each other. “I don’t know if Mari needs a lesson of how Paradise works, or how we’re all supposed to be dating each other and figuring out who we like most, but I think she needs a lesson in hypocrisy,” Demi said. “She wants to have her cake and eat it, too.”
Mari and Kenny then had a tense conversation, where they could not get on the same page about what Mari wanted. “I just wanted to be able to say yes to a date if someone came down with a date card and asked me. That was it,” she explained. Kenny didn’t understand what the point was in Mari continuing to pursue a relationship with him if she wanted to date other people, and she continued to insist that he was misunderstanding her intentions. Meanwhile, he didn’t get why he also couldn’t see other people.
By the end of the conversation, Kenny ended things with Mari. “I know what it’s like to have good things and not commit to them,” he explained. “Then they go away and they’re gone and you regret it. It’s sad to me because maybe she did feel the way I felt but it became too toxic and it just needs to go away. I just think the healthy thing to do is just be done. So now there is nothing there.” At the end of the night, Kenny went into the boom boom room with Demi and they hooked up.
Seeing Kenny with Demi made Mari realize that she did want to be with him. She knew she needed to have some one-on-one time at the cocktail party ahead of the next rose ceremony. However, before she had the chance, Kenny announced to the entire group that he and Mari were over. Mari was caught off guard and called him out for it. We’ll have to wait and see how this one plays out during tomorrow’s Aug. 31 episode!