This episode, For Better or for Worse, starts out with the worse. Derek is doing the Face Time walk of shame with his BFF. Instead of bragging about chemistry, adventure and romance on his honeymoon, he’s confessing fighting, silent treatment and rejection.
Expert Rachel is optimistic and hopeful, Derek doesn’t want to quit… but Heather is still struggling. At first she gets a sympathetic ear from her friend Amber, but then Amber quickly gives her some tough love. “You cannot walk away from him.” And “do you think there’s anything you could have done differently?” Heather seems to take this to heart, as she actually says that the best thing that could happen would be “staying married to this man,” which is a total 180 from the place she was in the last day at the honeymoon.
The other couples are basically on an episode of “The Marriage Ref”, (a fun show that only lasted a couple seasons, where couples had a team of celebrities determine which one of them was right and wrong in a disagreement.) Dr. Pepper is making house calls to serve as the “Ref.” (Great to see Dr. Pepper, she’s the best!)
First up are Nick and Sonia who are disagreeing about several things. First on the stand is their lack of physical intimacy. Nick argues that the physical side will, and should, come organically. Nick also defines intimacy as being close enough to read each other’s mind. Does he realize that to know someone that well, you actually have to talk to them first? Like, you can’t just skip the talking and jump to mind reading. Anyway, I digress. Sonia would like more physical intimacy, and for Nick to use touch to express his care. (Instead of cleaning the kitchen… which she might not want to complain about, because she’ll probably appreciate that in the future, am I right?)
In this case, the winner is Sonia. Dr. Pepper is gentle on Nick, giving them some homework to help them get used to being a little more affectionate with each other. I LOVE how they both took notes in their meeting with Dr. Pepper. Because that’s the kind of nerdy thing I would do, I write everything down.
Sonia was also the winner of the great dog debate. Well, actually it was kind of a tie, because the dogs are still living there, but at least Nick was quick to concede that the dogs would no longer sleep with them. Though really should never have been a deliberation. Sonia made it clear that the bed was where she drew the line on sharing a home with dogs.
Tom and Lilly are cooking and cleaning and acting like an old married couple… until a conversation about procreation reminds everyone that two weeks into the relationship is too soon for this conversation. And in this episode of “The Marriage Ref”, I vote for a tie. Lilly is right that this is an important conversation to have, but Tom is also right in wanting to go through some of the natural steps of relationship building. Dr. Pepper decides more in favor of Tom because, as Lilly says “I get it, women tend to get crazier than the man in a relationship.” (Please call Sonia and remind her of this!) Dr. Pepper did not let Tom completely off the hook though and give him the wise advice to “avoid getting into defense positions where fear is motivator.” (Love you, Dr. Pepper!)
Eventually Tom puts Lilly’s mind at ease, not with words but with his actions, which is even better. Even after telling us that toddlers are a-holes (truth), he throws himself into babysitting Lilly’s niece. Clearly Tom is just a big kid himself, who seems to be totally in his element playing air hockey and crafting bubble blowers and fart noise makers. And eating so much he gets a food baby. (just can’t drop the baby talk!) Lilly gives more details on how awesome Tom did at babysitting in her blog for People. Wonder what Tom thought when he saw that while he was outside babysitting, Lilly and her sister were having such a fun time visualizing Tom living in a hotdog bus.
The we get to see Jim and Marie (yay!), who are so cute, flirting like crazy in the kitchen and saying sweet things like “Just being with your mother is so wonderful, she makes you feel warm and fuzzy.” Sonia is super positive, not only about having a mother in law, but getting cooking lessons from her and learning more about Nick.
Poor Nick is getting heaps of advice on how he needs to open up more and communicate better… but really seems at a loss as to what that looks like on a practical level. He genuinely seems to think he’s trying really hard.
Finally, this episode comes fully circle bringing us back to the Derek Heather decision day drama. And the worst cliffhanger ever. For anyone new to the show, this scene happens each season for all three couples. The premise of the show is that couples commit to staying married for six weeks. At the end of the six weeks, they sit down with one of the experts, who does a little recap of their experience, then asks each of them individually if they want to stay married or get a divorce. In three season, there have been nine couples. Two are still together. One couple mutually decided to stay together at decision day, but divorced within a few months after. There was one couple in Season 3 that had a pretty rocky six weeks. They had mostly patched things up by the end, leading the wife to decide to stay married, but the husband asked for a divorce. (ouch). So, that leaves five couples, the majority, who have mutually decided to divorce.
So, anyway, those are the possible outcomes for Derek and Heather next week. As the voiceover has said, this is the first time the show has given an opportunity to a couple to jump straight to decisions day so soon. What’s unknown is whether, should they choose to finish the experiment, will they have to go through decision day again at the end? Is the cliffhanger a sign that they are divorcing sooner rather than later? (Like to keep them as part of the story line as long as possible.)
Heather dropped a few hints in this episode that she might be willing give it another shot, but then in her interview for “Unfiltered”, she didn’t even utter Derek’s name, instead talking about marriage in vague futuristic terms. It was pretty clear that they didn’t stick it out for six weeks, so staying together until then seems futile.
Yes, we can argue all of the reasons why she could try harder and give it another chance. And those reasons may be positive and valid. But the reality is, her intuition is loudly yelling at her to get out, and a woman’s intuition is usually going to win over logic. Can’t judge her for that. If she decides not to continue, it doesn’t make her cold and heartless or bad at relationships. It just means that this relationship didn’t work out for her. Hopefully the next one will. What do you think, do they stay together for two weeks? Six?