At 8 p.m. EST on Sunday, April 16th, viewers tuned in worldwide to see the live finale of “Love
is Blind,” a reality dating show in which singles attempt to date, fall in love, and
get engaged without meeting any of their suitors in the flesh.
After a season full of blind dates and proposals in the "pods," during which cast members made life-changing decisions "sight unseen," the series concluded with four wedding ceremonies. Couples declared "I do" — or "I don't" — in front of friends and family. The result was an emotional conclusion to a now-seasoned social experiment, meant to discover whether love is truly blind.
A year after the show's shooting and a week after the dust of the finale had settled, Netflix invited the Season 4 Cast back to the stage for a reunion. They scheduled and publicized the reunion as a live event — the only time they’ve pulled this stunt, other than for Chris Rock’s special in March.
The result of the broadcast wasn’t just underwhelming — it was nonexistent. Netflix couldn’t get
the show started until an hour after the promised broadcast, and when it was up and running, it
“To everyone who stayed up late, woke up early, gave up their Sunday afternoon… we are
incredibly sorry that the Love is Blind Live Reunion did not turn out as we had planned,” Netflix
said in a tweet at 9:29 pm — almost an hour and a half after the stream was supposed to begin.
“We're filming it now and we'll have it on Netflix as soon as humanly possible.”
On Monday afternoon on April 17th, per Netflix's hastily-tweeted "promise," the episode finally aired on Netflix — and, to put it gently, the reactions were mixed. Keep reading for Issued's breakdown of this much-anticipated event (featuring spoilers galore).
After some quick, canned jokes from reunion co-host Vanessa Lachey about the late broadcast start, the reunion was off. We heard from the three successful couples on the show, who, in a surprising turn of events, are all still together. Indeed, Brett and Tiffany Pennywell Brown, Kwame and Chelsea Griffin Appiah, and Zack and Bliss Poureetezadi Goytowski all boasted happy marriages a year after filming. When Lachey asked Pennywell Brown if her fairytale with her husband had continued off camera, she responded with a resolute "Absolutely."
"One thing that our family has always said and supported us on is ... [to] never stop dating," she said during the episode. "That's one thing that Brett is really good with."
After having received sufficient amounts of gushy platitudes from the still-marrieds, the Lacheys moved onto the contestants who found less success during their time on the show: Marshall Glaze, Micah Lussier, and Paul Peden. Peden, formerly engaged to Lussier, was notably donning a shirt with a heartbreak pattern.
While sitting in a room with multiple of your exes isn't the first item on anyone's wish list, the cast played it cool. Glaze, who dates Pennywell Brown while in the pods, made it clear that there were no hard feelings.
"After Tiffany and I decided to call it quits ... I was just telling Brett that Tiffany's a wonderful woman," Glaze said. "I felt like Tiffany was the right person for Brett, and Brett was the right person for Tiffany.... And look where they are now."
Later in the broadcast, Irina Solomonova, labeled as a "bully" by fans and news outlets alike for her treatment of former-fiancé Goytowski and other cast mates, had her moment in the hot seat. She used it to discuss the role of her mental health in her behavior and to publicly apologize to the Goytowskis.
"Watching that back was really difficult.... I really came into it in a selfish perspective," Solomonova said.
Poureetezadi Goytowski was quick to call Solomonova's bluff. "You can have trouble with ... mental illness, and all of that's totally valid," she said. "But, then, you're turning around and you're doing malicious things and you're acting in really cruel ways. It's hard to reconcile those two things."
Eliciting gasps from the audience, Goytowski later dismissed Solomonova's apology more explicitly than his wife.
"You did a lot of things that hurt a lot of people, including me. And you only see 10% of it on the camera. There was so much stuff that happened that was just unbelievable," he said. "If we're real, you went on this show to get famous."
Solomonova wasn't the only controversial cast mate to make an appearance on the reunion. While they weren't there in person, Glaze's ex-fiancée Jackie Bonds and her boyfriend, Josh Demas, with whom she met and entered a relationship on the show following her split from Glaze, hopped on a video call with Lachey for a pre-recorded interview.
"I would just say that I take accountability for my words and action, and I hope that [Glaze] will do the same," Bonds said. "I can sit here and say that I shouldn't have hurt him. I should have let him speak without being on the defense. We just were not meant to be, and we both deserve to be happy."
Upon seeing the clip, Glaze appeared to be unbothered. "A lot of people want me to be reactionary," he said. "I think that it's just best to just let them have their moment."
Lachey, however, seemed unsatisfied with this response, and tried — and failed — to coax a more dramatic recounting of their last argument from him. This exchange was one of many that rubbed fans the wrong way upon the episode's airing, including badgering couples about when they planned on having children, misremembering Apiah's sister's name, and her mediation of a tense conversation between Lussier and Peden. When Peden apologized and attempted to justify some of his cold final remarks about Lussier in the prior episode, where he left her at the altar, Lachey didn't let him off of the hook.
"Micah, is this explanation settling with you, or are you just as confused as I am?" she asked. Amid gleeful laughter from the live audience, Lachey insisted that she meant no disrespect toward Peden, but the fans didn't buy it. In the wake of the episode's airing, Lachey received more backlash than any of the season's villains. She, along with her co-host and husband, Nick Lachey, face the threat of being fired from the show and replaced with new hosts.
"Vanessa Lachey [was] 'hosting' Love is Blind will interrupting the cast mates to give her own commentary, aggressively taking sides, and interjecting with her own opinions and life stories," reads one tweet from a fan. "Vanessa Lachey obnoxiously and single handedly Ruined [the] Love is Blind Reunion," reads another.
Regardless of your thoughts on the ups and downs of this shocking conclusion, nobody can deny that the Appiahs, who were once a controversial couple, have emerged as a fan favorite. Their concluding remarks were the glue holding this chaotic episode together.
"What you're seeing was ... less than one percent — it's a dab on what our entire relationship has been," Appiah said triumphantly, his wife by his side. "What we got to experience together was what kept us moving forward, and what helped us fall in love."
With the future of this show — and its hosts — in question, Love is Blind fans can expect to wait eagerly for updates from Netflix. In the meantime, we'll keep tabs on our favorite cast mates on Instagram.