'Temptation Island' recap: Casey Starchak and Gavin Rocker fear it's "too late" to win girlfriends back, David Benavidez takes romance with Toneata Morgan to next level
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 11/29/2019
Temptation Island featured Casey Starchak and Gavin Rocker's worst fears being realized as they watched their girlfriends appear to move on with other men and David Benavidez kissing and getting into bed with Toneata Morgan during Thursday night's Season 2 broadcast of the USA Network revival.
Temptation Island follows four dating couples at a pivotal time in their relationships in which they must 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. However, everyone was taking a great risk.
Ashley Goldson, a 30-year-old store manager from Boston, MA, and Rick Fleur, 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, a 25-year-old in online sales, lived in Deland, FL, and had been dating for a year-and-a-half prior to the show.
Kate Griffith, a 34-year-old sales consultant, and David, a 28-year-old software sales representative, lived in Hoboken, NJ, and had been dating for three years prior to the show.
And Esonica Veira, a 30-year-old former Miss Virgin Islands, and Gavin, a 26-year-old in private security, lived in Decatur, GA, and had been dating for a little over one year prior to going on the show.
The Temptation Island broadcast began with Casey crying and totally distraught over the thought of losing his beloved girlfriend to another man.
Casey was hoping things he had said in the video would strike Ashley H. and help her remember what they had. Casey was trying to process things at his own pace, but he was feeling a little lost.
Casey explained to the other men in committed relationships how roles had completely reversed in that Ashley H. couldn't go a day without him when they were back home but now he's walking around without a clue as she's enjoying time away from him.
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Because Ashley H. didn't say "I miss you" or "I love you" in the video, Casey feared she had moved on and was happier without him. Casey admitted he definitely regretted bringing Ashley H. to Temptation Island.
Rick also explained a part of him was "missing" without Ashley G., and David was feeling extremely guilty about hurting Kate and making huge mistakes on the island.
As the guys were struggling and facing a lot of emotions and concerns, the women were upset as well.
Ashley G. still felt connected to Rick, but Kate said even if David had grown as a person throughout this experience, his behavior was so bad that it didn't even matter. Kate basically thought there was no excuse for David's actions, like having a threesome, and she wasn't sure she could forgive him.
"Someone who loves you doesn't do what he just did," Kate acknowledged.
Esonica wondered whether Gavin had become the man for her old self and she was too mature for him now, and Ashley H. contemplated the same thing.
Ashley H. shared with the other ladies in committed relationships how Casey cried throughout his whole video about how he wanted to be with her forever, but she called him out on "bullsh-t."
Ashley H. said if Casey truly loved her, he never would have told a woman he'd be fine if Ashley H. left him and would just go back to hooking up with random women. Ashley H. called that her "breaking point."
"If you actually loved me, you wouldn't have said that. And then why are you trying to propose to me through a frickin iPad?" Ashley H. questioned.
Meanwhile, Casey told the single women that he wanted to be with Ashley H. and waking up every day without the girl of his dreams next to him was "a nightmare." The single ladies were upset and frustrated because they felt like they didn't matter to Casey.
Casey tried to explain that it was a matter of missing his girlfriend, not being miserable around the single women.
"I do not have anything with any of these girls. It just is what it is. I would throw up from having sex with any girl here. I wouldn't feel it and it would feel wrong to me, because I don't want it. It would disgust me," Casey told the cameras.
Although Casey thought Rachel Hamel and Payton Burgess were both awesome girls, he said there was nothing between them romantically. Payton didn't think Casey cared about anyone's feelings but his own and if he wanted to be in a fairy tale, he should've stayed home with his girlfriend.
Gavin then revealed her was learning to be more open-minded and less sarcastic with Esonica. He realized he had been a little insensitive at times and needed to give his girlfriend more assurance.
Ashley H. shared with Ben Knobloch how upset Casey seemed in his video, but she promised the single she didn't regret anything about her time on the island. Although Ashley H. seemed smitten with Ben, he wasn't sure whether she'd go back to Casey in the end since it would be the easy thing to do.
All of the people in committed relationships then went on dates with singles.
Gavin enjoyed more time with Mia Metcalf, Rick went out with Medinah Ali, Casey chose to show Rachel a good time, and David asked Toneata out again.
Toneata thought it was strange David had yet to kiss her considering he had made out with other people in the house, but David admitted he was trying to figure out his feelings and where he stood with Kate.
David felt that once he kissed Toneata, whom he cared for on an emotional level, they'd be "a thing" and his relationship with Kate would definitely be "done."
David told the cameras Kate was the most important thing in the world to him, so he had a lot to figure out. But at the same time, David was trying to embrace being single and the process as a whole.
David acknowledged it wouldn't really make sense to suppress his feelings for Toneata since learning about himself was the whole reason for coming to the island.
Medinah was tired of bringing stress into Rick's life, so their dynamic was changing for the better. Rick, however, was tired of going back and forth between Ashley G. and Medinah in his mind and heart. Rick still wasn't over Ashley G.
As for the ladies, Kate went out on a date with Dominique Price, Ashley H. spent time with Ben, and Esonica asked Kareem Thomas out again. Ashley G.'s date was not shown.
Kate wasn't sure whether she could trust her own judgment with Dominique. She wasn't sure whether what they had was just physical and there was more to their connection than that.
At the end of their date, David told Toneata he felt very strongly for her, and Toneata reciprocated his feelings. The couple then shared their first kiss.
"I'm so happy that I did not pass up the opportunity to come to Temptation Island," David said in a confessional.
"I met the girl I've been hoping to meet all of my life. And for the first time, I was able to see the true power of an emotional connection. I couldn't be more thankful to have met someone like Toneata, and I'm just so happy right now."
Toneata promised David their first kiss definitely wouldn't be their last.
Meanwhile, Esonica was bonding more with Kareem, and she was constantly comparing him to Gavin. Esonica tried to understand the truth about how each man made her feel individually.
Ashley H. assured Ben that she really cared about him, and Ben told her in turn that he wanted to leave the show with her as his girlfriend. Ben felt vulnerable, but he was totally okay with that if it meant potentially winning Ashley H. over.
Ashley H. felt "amazing" with Ben, and she said she had the best date ever with him.
Ben apparently gave Ashley H. butterflies, and she noted that time with him was "magical" and "romantic." They connected on a deeper level as they kissed and watched fireworks together.
As Ashley H. kissed Ben on a boat in the water, Casey watched them alone at the guys' villa. It hurt him to think Ashley H. was enjoying the moment with someone else.
"My relationship could be gone because of me," Casey vented to the cameras.
After a fun day out, Kate came home to flowers and a love letter from Dominique. Ashley H. told Kate that Dominique was in love with her, and so Kate realized she should probably be more open to the idea of romance with him.
Kate's level of trust in men, however, had been screwed up because of David, so she was pushing back on her feelings for Dominique.
Esonica then asked Kareem for a massage. Esonica was opening up to him more and more, and a part of her really wanted to kiss him.
That night, the guys had a toga party with the single ladies, but Casey still appeared miserable. Gavin, however, was trying to picture what a relationship with Mia might look like.
Gavin came to Temptation Island to better himself and his relationship with Esonica, but he was well aware Esonica might have moved on. Gavin therefore let Mia in, but she could tell he was uncertain about the future of his love life.
Mia needed Gavin to let go of Esonica and invest in their romance in order for her to let all of her walls down.
After partying for a while and engaging in some serious PDA, Toneata and David went to bed together. Toneata believed her connection with David was better than what he could have with Kate.
"It feels so good. Oh my God," Toneata could be heard saying.
It appeared the couple had sex, and David told the guys the next day he was "all in" to his relationship with Toneata.
Casey assumed going into Temptation Island Ashley H. would be sad and cry every day, but he didn't internalize how powerful it would be to have single guys -- very similar to her boyfriend -- listening and comforting her every step of the way.
"Of course there's a guy she's going to relate to, and she found a way to be happy," Casey explained Colleen Powers at the villa. "Put a rat in a box, it's going to find a way to chew its way out."
Colleen told the cameras Casey had qualities Ashley H. should be alarmed about. Casey was desperate to get Ashley H. back and show her what he was missing. As a result, he thought about proposing marriage to her at the final bonfire.
Casey said he needed to break down without fully breaking down. Casey said if he had 24 hours with Ashley H., he wouldn't need to try and he'd be able to make her see his love for her.
"I can be the guy she's always wanted me to be," Casey noted.
Heading into the final bonfire, Esonica was looking for confirmation her relationship with Gavin wasn't as strong as she had been led to believe.
Esonica then watched Gavin tell Mia that he was genuinely interested in her and had "entertained the idea" of what a relationship with her would be like. Esonica felt bad watching the clip back, but she wasn't going to let it destroy her.
Esonica said it's better to know sooner rather than later if Gavin's not wholeheartedly invested in her.
Ashley H. saw Casey telling Colleen he needed to come up with the perfect sales pitch to get Ashley H. back. He hoped his girlfriend would give him another chance, but the idea of cultivating a sales pitch would result in Ashley H. questioning his sincerity.
Ashley H. said Casey was "trying to make light of the situation," adding, "He's trying to manipulate me to go home with him."
"He's just saying things," Ashley H. acknowledged.
"He's got a strategy," Temptation Island host Mark Walberg agreed. "He mentioned it was a sales pitch -- not the most romantic way to approach this."
Ashley H. no longer felt connected with Casey, whom she said had changed as a person.
Kate viewed a glimpse of David expressing his feelings to Toneata, kissing her and then appearing to have sex in bed with her later on.
Kate bashed David for not having the willpower to do what he said he was going to do. David had apparently convinced Kate they'd leave the show together strong as a couple.
Kate said the single men at her villa told her constantly how amazing she is, and she just wanted that from David.
"Every time they tell me that, it hurts. But I can't make him feel a certain way for me. If he feels that way for someone else, then I'll just move on," Kate announced.
Kate said she wanted happiness, and then Mark advised her to "take it."
And finally, Ashley G. watched Rick tell Medinah that she didn't seem to appreciate him or his growth throughout the journey on Temptation Island.
"I wouldn't be doing it if it wasn't for you," Rick told Medinah. "It just kind of falls on deaf ears... when I'm trying over here."
Rick then told the cameras, "Medinah feels entitled to my body, my feelings, my affection -- all of that. But I have a girlfriend and I'm entitled to her, and she's the only one who can feel that way."
Ashley G. said it felt good to hear those words but Rick still wanted to feel appreciated by Medinah. Ashley G. thought his relationship with Medinah had grown deep.
Mark, however, saw something different in Rick's response to Medinah. Mark said Medinah wanted more from Rick, but the so-called player wasn't allowing her to have it.
"Well then I like it then," Ashley G. joked.
Ashley G. said the strong woman she had become needed to call the shots, not the insecure little girl who had been hurt multiple times in the past. She was glad to hear Rick still called her his "girlfriend," but she wasn't sure whether he believed their relationship was worth saving.
The men then gathered for their own bonfire.
Casey was prepared to see the worst possible scenario play out at the bonfire, which would be the same exact situation he had already seen before.
"Walking into bonfire. I know what I'm going to see, and that's more of Ashley and Ben. He may be awesome, but he's not me. I know that I can turn this around. I know her and I are going to be together at the end of this," Casey told the cameras.
Rick viewed a clip of Ashley G. having a good time with a single man but saying she wanted the rest of her journey to be about building friendships, not romantic connections.
"Surprise, surprise," Rick said.
"I just seen somebody else. It kind of let me know her connection with [Kalaan "KB" Brown] wasn't as strong as I thought. It kind of fizzled out. It may have just been a physical thing and kind of retribution for how I may have acted in the past. I totally wasn't expecting that -- at all."
David watched Ashley H. tell Kate that Dom was "in love" with her and Kate say, "I should be more open. But it's just awkward with everyone watching us."
"Everyone's watching because it's so beautiful, the way he looks at you. He loves you," Ashley H. said.
David had a tough time reading that clip. He could tell Kate was "all over the place" when it came to her emotions.
Mark questioned whether David ever truly loved Kate, and David insisted he's just not good at expressing himself.
"I know sometimes you don't understand, but I love that girl more than anybody else, and I will still love her no matter how f-cked this whole thing plays out," David told Mark.
Mark told David's actions "were almost always opposite" of his words. David didn't know what to say because he clearly had mixed emotions about leaving Kate and moving on with Toneata.
Afterward, Gavin watched Esonica get into bed with Kareem, who said, "You might actually love me already. I don't know."
Gavin admitted the clip hurt and watching that footage was what he had feared the most. Gavin said he intentionally never allowed a woman to come into his bedroom, so he thought Esonica seemed "pretty sure" about Kareem.
"I guess maybe I'm too late. Maybe it's too late for me," Gavin said.
But Mark told Gavin not to give up if Esonica is really the woman for him.
And finally, Casey saw a glimpse of Ashley H. making out with Ben again.
Casey immediately teared up and dropped his head into his arms. Casey believed Ashley H. cared about Ben and that's why she had gotten physical with him.
Casey admitted his "worst fear" had come true, and Mark acknowledged it was possible Ashley H. was falling in love with someone new.
Casey cried because he thought he had an awesome relationship with Ashley H., saying "it was definitely love." Casey thought the only thing missing from their romance was something from his end.
Casey was scared to lose Ashley H. and planned to show her his emotions and feelings. He just hoped it wasn't too late.
Ashley H. couldn't make a definite decision about whether or not to break up with Casey, but she said Casey wasn't prepared for how strong she had become.
Esonica admitted at the end of the broadcast letting Kareem into her bed was a huge rule she had set for herself with Gavin and broken.