'Temptation Island' finale recap: Rick Fleur and Ashley Goldson leave together, Kate Griffith bashes David Benavidez
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 12/13/2019
Temptation Island featured Rick Fleur forgiving Ashley Goldson for cheating on him and the couple leaving the island together as well as Kate Griffith slamming David Benavidez and putting him in his place at the final bonfire during Part 1 of the finale Thursday night on USA Network.
Temptation Island followed four dating couples at a pivotal time in their relationships in which they had to decide whether to stay committed to each other for the rest of their lives or go their separate ways.
The couples -- who were at a crossroads in their relationships -- traveled together to a tropical paradise, where they were given the opportunity to live the "single life" in attempt to determine whether or not being single was exactly what they wanted.
The stakes were high and hearts were on the line, but each exclusive couple seemed pretty confident their bonds would outlast and conquer any temptation at the beginning of the season. However, that changed for a lot of the cast members.
Ashley G., a 30-year-old store manager from Boston, MA, and Rick, a 32-year-old model from Mattapan, MA, had been dating for four years on and off prior to the show.
Ashley Howland, a 25-year-old dental assistant, and Casey Starchak, a 25-year-old in online sales, lived in Deland, FL, together and had been dating for a year-and-a-half prior to the show.
Kate, a 34-year-old sales consultant, and David Benavidez, a 28-year-old software sales representative, lived in Hoboken, NJ, together and had been dating for three years prior to the show.
And Esonica Veira, a 30-year-old former Miss Virgin Islands, and Gavin Rocker, a 26-year-old in private security, lived in Decatur, GA, together and had been dating for a little over one year prior to going on the show.
The Temptation Island broadcast began with everyone returning from their overnight dates, and Ashley H. said the night had "solidified" her feelings for Ben Knobloch and it felt like a "fairy tale."
Temptation Island host Mark Walberg then informed the single men they must leave the girls' villa.
Mark explained the ladies in committed relationships may not see their men of interest until after the final bonfire -- or ever again -- depending on each couple's ultimate decision of whether to stay in a serious relationship or not.
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Kate found it very difficult to say goodbye to Dominique Price, but he promised to see her soon as if he already knew what her final decision was going to be. Kate appreciated everything Dominique had done for her, including building up her confidence, so she cried upon leaving him.
And Esonica struggled to leave Kareem Thomas since they had also bonded so tightly. Kareem told Esonica to make her decision based on the new woman she had become, not the girl who came on the show as a somewhat insecure girlfriend.
Ashley H. assured Ben that she wasn't going to let Casey talk her into getting back together because she apparently expected "a sales pitch" from him based on footage she had previously seen of Casey interacting with the singles.
Ashley H. was nervous because she figured Casey would tell her what she wanted to hear without it being genuine. Ashley H. cried when Ben left because she had learned so much from him in such a short period of time.
As for Ashley G., she parted ways with Jose Rodriguez, but there didn't seem to be much of an emotional connection.
Meanwhile, Casey shared with his co-stars and single ladies he had purchased an engagement ring for Ashley H. He said the marriage proposal would either be an epic success or failure, so everyone wished him the best.
Mark was then shown telling the single ladies to gather their things and leave the guys' villa. Rick wasn't sure whether he was going to end up with Ashley G., but he admitted he had become a much better person and he'd always have a friend in Medinah Ali.
Rick thanked Medinah for being herself and helping him grow, and she said she had no regrets and would miss him.
Gavin and Payton Burgess hugged goodbye, but it quickly became apparent Gavin hoped to reconcile with Esonica and win her back.
Casey then told Rachel Hamel he was terrified to go back to being single after falling in love with Ashley H. Casey said he was going to present himself to Ashley H. as a brand new man whom she had never spoken to before with a different tone and intention in his voice.
And David promised Toneata Morgan he'd be leaving the show with her because he had fallen for her.
David told the cameras he needed to tell Kate exactly where he stood in order to move forward in a relationship with Toneata.
Rick and Medinah said they'd keep in touch, as did Gavin and Payton. Toneata and David then kissed, and Toneata told the cameras David was being 100 percent honest with him and she could tell his true feelings belonged to her.
"I messed up by picking KB. The turning point for me on the island was the day KB and I had the worst blow up. When KB left the island, it allowed me to focus in more on me and Rick... I really hope he forgives me and I really hope we leave here together."
David then told Gavin he wanted to hear from Kate first at the final bonfire because her response might alter his approach to their conversation. David was hoping Kate would learn to trust him more by going on the show, and she was hoping he'd learn how to be more emotional and expressive.
But David admitted he did become more in touch with his emotions -- for Toneata, not Kate.
"I've gotten physical with multiple girls in the house. I did things that I regret," David said in a confessional.
"Unfortunately, those f-ckups really allowed me to see what it is that I truly want in a relationship, and that drove me to continue furthering my connections with girls in the house, especially Toneata. Our relationship has moved a lot quicker than either one of us thought it would."
He added that for the first time in his life, he was able to see the power of a true emotional connection.
Kate said David was her best friend before the show and she really wanted their romance to work, but his actions didn't prove anything to her. Kate said despite David's betrayal, she continued to conduct herself with class and grace, which eventually opened up her heart to Dominique.
"Because of Dom, I was able to embrace this journey and learn a lot about myself," Kate told the cameras.
"Tonight at the bonfire, I fear David is going to make me feel a certain way and all the strength I've built up... could easily be taken away from me. I'm just scared the moment I see him, I'm kind of just going to crumble."
Rick and Ashley G. were the first couple to attend the final bonfire meeting, and Ashley G. wasn't sure Rick could forgive her the way she had forgiven him for past unfaithfulness.
When Rick and Ashley G. reunited, Ashley G. was already in tears, and they gave each other a hug. Ashley G. flashed Rick a sheepish smile and said she missed him, and he admitted he had missed her in return.
Rick was afforded the opportunity to speak first, and he told his girlfriend he had been tempted by Medinah, whom he had formed a great connection with. Rick said he and Medinah did not have sex but they had cuddled and kissed, which were also intimate moments.
Rick, however, told Ashley G. that he just had a friendship with Medinah and he never handled conflict with Ashley G. well and wanted to improve that part of his life and their relationship.
"I can be a trustworthy guy... I've always had you in the back of my mind even though I was disappointed with a lot of things. Even though I was disappointed, I didn't lose sight of why I came here... At times I was selfish and I didn't put you as my No. 1. I learned I need to make you my No. 1," Rick shared.
Ashley said in reply that she came to Temptation Island for growth in their relationship but early on in the process, he had exposed her insecurities by announcing to the group he had no intention to handcuff her.
Ashley G. explained because she thought Rick was not committed to her and didn't care about their relationship, she acted out and felt "provoked." Ashley G. admitted she had stopped caring at that point and did something "stupid" by breaking the rules she had set for herself.
"I do hold myself accountable for all of my actions and I know that you're disappointed from that. I know it might be embarrassing to you and I know there's nothing I can really say to apologize for that," Ashley explained.
"I spent so much time crying here and trying to tell myself that I was a victim in our relationship and I was hurt, but I realize I allowed myself to be that way and I wasn't using my voice and speaking up."
After weighing pros and cons, Ashley G. came to the conclusion Rick was a great guy who treated her well most of the time. But Ashley G. acknowledged she had discovered her self-worth and truly didn't know what was next for them.
Mark then asked Ashley G. to reveal first whether she'd like to leave the island together, separately, or with one of the singles. Ashley G. tried to pass off the question to Rick, but he wanted to hear from her.
Rick seemed upset that Ashley G. was unsure about what she wanted, but he insisted he had never stopped caring about her.
Rick then asked Ashley G. if she had sex with KB, and she nodded her head "yes." Rick explained he also felt it was the "ultimate disrespect" when Ashley G. had told KB that she was "moving onto bigger and better things" with him "literally and figuratively."
Rick felt Ashley G. had moved backward while he moved forward in growth.
Mark asked Rick whether he could forgive Ashley G. since she had forgiven his cheating in the past.
Rick said he didn't want to hold anything over Ashley G.'s head and therefore simply asked his girlfriend if she still loved him. After Ashley G. said, "Yes," Rick replied, "I do forgive you."
"At this point, I'm willing to -- I want to leave the island with you," Rick said.
Ashley G. appeared thrilled and asked Rick to kiss her.
The couple was happy they came to Temptation Island overall, and Ashley G. clung to her man tightly. Rick thought they had what it takes to stay together since they had survived Temptation Island.
It then became time for David and Kate's final bonfire meeting. He was scared that upon reuniting with Kate face-to-face, he wouldn't be able to say all the things he had planned to say.
Kate actually wasn't as nervous or emotional heading to the reunion as she thought she'd be. Kate was feeling strong and comfortable in her own skin, and she knew she was about to meet a man who was different from the boyfriend with whom she had signed up for the show.
Kate told Mark before seeing David that she was "a brand new girl who's truly ready to take on the world."
When David and Kate saw each other, it was a little awkward, and Kate spoke first.
Kate thanked David for bringing her to Temptation Island because she had truly found herself on the island. Kate said she knew exactly what she wanted and she discovered her worth.
"I know what I deserve, and you've helped me to see what I don't deserve," Kate said.
"You said when we came to this island, 'I want to show you that you can trust me,' and you showed me the exact opposite... Every word that you said to me before coming here just was complete and utter bullsh-t."
Kate said she deserved a man whose actions actually follow his words and promises, and as she talked, David broke down into tears. She said David wasn't committed to their relationship.
"I think you selfishly and cowardly brought me here for your own needs instead of just saying to me, 'This isn't working for me in my life,'" Kate argued.
"You don't understand the pain I had to go through as I watched you with multiple people. I'm the type of girl who should never, ever, ever have to see that -- and every man I lived with in the house made it very clear... [I'm] not the type of girl who should be brought here."
But Kate said she finally felt light, tall, strong, pretty and confident as a result of being away from David.
David then apologized to Kate for bringing her to Temptation Island, but he insisted it was never his intention to embarrass or break up with her. David said he wanted their relationship to grow and hoped to become the man she needed him to be, and vice versa.
David insisted he had grown, cried, and felt emotion through self-reflection. David said he truly regretted some of his "emotionless" actions on the island and hurting Kate.