'Temptation Island' recap: Corey and Erin reveal final decision to split or stay together, Erica slams Kendal and stands up for herself
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 04/21/2021
Temptation Island's USA revival featured Erin Smith and Corey Sobczyk deciding whether to stay together or split up and Erica Washington slamming Kendal Kirkland and putting him in his place during Part 1 of the Final Bonfire that aired Tuesday night.
At the Final Bonfire, Corey, a 25-year-old concierge manager from San Diego, CA, and Erin, a 24-year-old behavioral therapist from San Diego, CA, were given the choice to leave Temptation Island together as a couple, go their separate ways, or depart the island with one of the singles they had met at their respective villas.
Heading to the Final Bonfire, Corey, with a newfound sense of confidence, said his "dream" was to leave the island with Erin, as their original plan was to grow as individuals and come out of the process stronger in the end.
Corey worried, however, the couple might determine they're just not that compatible with each other.
Temptation Island host Mark L. Walberg allowed Corey to speak first and asked Erin only to listen without interjecting.
Corey explained over the past year-and-a-half, he felt like he had to walk on eggshells with Erin and felt "unloved and underappreciated" at times.
When Erin picked Griffin Libhart, a 25-year-old business owner and retired pro soccer player from Baltimore, MD, for her first date of the season, Corey admitted he had "a breakdown" and was scared that she was going to fall in love and leave the island with him.
"That just kind of reinforced my lack of confidence, but afterwards, I picked myself up. I started breaking through my emotional barriers. I began a journey of self-discovery, and I learned to be more compassionate with myself and I learned to love myself," Corey shared.
Corey confirmed he had made a connection with Amanda Spain-Butts, a 24-year-old operations coordinator from Austin, TX, on the island and she had filled his cup and valued and appreciated him. Corey said he was more sure of himself now and aware of what he brings to the table.
Corey said they needed to stop taking cheap shots at each other and he was ready to be the boyfriend she needed, as long as she'd meet him halfway and realize they're on the same team and be open to changing for the better.
In turn, Erin noted Corey had clearly gained confidence but she had been carrying the weight in their relationship and making the hard decisions.
"But I was able to look in the mirror and realize that though I was blaming you for so many things, there were things I needed to work on. I need to stop comparing you to my past relationships in a sense, '[Corey] is going to hurt me because they hurt me,'" Erin shared.
Erin confessed she had so much pain and hurt in her that she was "taking out" on Corey.
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Erin admitted she hadn't been vulnerable with Corey and he didn't know much about her or her past.
"Before coming here, I did treat you badly and I did take [my pain] out on you. I thought I was perfect and I put so much pressure on you, which was not fair. I didn't think I could do any wrong," Erin said.
Erin went on to reveal her past relationships were "toxic" and fights became "physical" at times. Erin told Corey that she left those relationships with trauma and she also held in grief over her best friend passing.
Erin said she never expressed those burdens to Corey and instead took them out on her, and Corey asked his girlfriend to let him share the weight and stop pushing him away.
Erin, however, also asked Corey to share more things about himself with her so that she could feel protected, safe and more free to open up and be vulnerable as well.
Erin asked Corey about his 24-hour date with Amanda, and Corey confirmed Amanda had expressed feelings for him.
"But I respectfully told her that only one woman on this island has my heart, and that is you," Corey told Erin.
Erin also shared with Corey that she had been faithful to him but had developed a connection with Juwan Haynes, a 25-year-old entrepreneur from Los Angeles, CA, who had pointed out to Erin that she can be intimidating.
Corey tried to insist he didn't find Erin intimidating, but Mark pointed out it did seem Corey felt bullied or intimidated by Erin before going on the show. With that being said, Erin told Corey to put her in her place sometimes and stand up to her.
"I've definitely been walked over, you're right. And I'm not going to stand for that anymore, because when that happens, I feel little," Corey said.
"And I'm sick of feeling little. I want to feel big. As much as I'm scared of losing you, you should be scared of losing me."
Corey and Erin both decided to leave the island together and remain a couple. They both kissed and said "I miss you" and "I love you," and Erin said she was prepared to continue working on herself and her relationship once they returned home.
The Final Bonfire also commenced for Erica, a 24-year-old personal assistant from Los Angeles, CA, and Kendal, a 26-year-old business owner from Los Angeles, CA.
Erica felt both confident and nervous going to the bonfire meeting because she acknowledged Kendal is very good with his words and she didn't want to fall into "the same trap" again.
Erica realized she had so much ahead of her, and she clearly didn't want Kendal holding her back from the progress she had made in learning to love and value herself.
While Kendal had told the cameras earlier in the day he hoped Erica would forgive him because he had some regrets about his behavior on the island, he explained on his way to Final Bonfire, "My goal is not to come into this bonfire and just be apologizing."
Kendal continued, "We came into this whole experience with no rules, and also, at the end of the day, I did have a great connection with [Alexcys Homan]. So I'm going to need to see a lot out of Erica in order to really feel like we can make our relationship work at this point."
Before having a conversation and being able to ask each other questions, Mark allowed Kendal the chance to freely speak first without interruption.
Kendal explained he had a hard time opening up emotionally to Erica and had "a blockade around [his] heart," almost like an armor that no one could penetrate. Kendal said because of having his walls up, he was never able to fully give himself to Erica.
Kendal pointed out he had made a connection on the island with Alexcys, a 23-year-old personal assistant from Van Nuys, CA, and he found himself able and willing to open up to her.
Kendal said Alexcys dug deep during their conversations and he discovered he's not perfect and he didn't want to make any more excuses. Kendal said he wanted to focus on being free, unafraid and able to express his emotions better.
Erica was then able to speak her mind, and she said Temptation Island was supposed to be an opportunity for her to regain her confidence, prove she could resist the ultimate temptation, and strive to be the woman that Kendal wanted her to be.
"But very quickly, I found out that I was here for different reasons. You've made me feel unworthy, you've made me feel like I wasn't worthy of having unconditional love or having somebody treat me the way that I deserve to be treated," Erica shared.
"You've made me feel insecure, and I lost myself for so long. I didn't trust myself, and I'm learning that I do have a gut instinct that I can trust and I am capable of making the right decisions and I do deserve someone who will love me unconditionally."
Erica added, "The Erica that walked into this journey is not the same Erica right now. I really hope that everything you did over there was worth it."
Erica then expressed skepticism that Kendal had really worked on himself emotionally.
"How do you feel like sleeping with not only one person but two people helped you open up emotionally?" Erica asked.
"It wasn't like you waited and then you made a connection and then it's like, 'Okay, let me be physical with you.' It was more, like, I'm about to get in the house and sleep with the first thing I see walking across the hallway."
Erica asked Kendal to help her understand why he would do that to her because she had spent so many late nights crying.
Kendal owned up to "poor decision-making" and admitted he had hooked up with women too early.
"You disrespected not only yourself but me and the relationship that we have," Erica said.
"I did," Kendal conceded. "I did. I'm almost lost for words at this point because you're right."
Kendal said his behavior wasn't indicative of how he usually operates or wants to operate in a serious relationship.
"I think for me, I lost a part of myself in the house early on and I did get engaged in things that I shouldn't have," Kendal said.
"There are so many days I stayed up and couldn't go to sleep because I was wondering how you were feeling. I was wondering how I could even look you in the eye and explain this."
Kendal asked Erica if she had resisted temptation, and Erica revealed she had kissed her date on their final date but that was it.
"Interesting," Kendal replied.
"You can't really sit here and ask me that question," Erica snapped.
"I can ask whatever question I want," Kendal argued.
Erica said she had kissed her date because that's something she wanted and it made her happy.
"I mean, you were sleeping with the whole world," Erica said, adding that Kendal had also talked about having a future and kids with Alexcys.
The episode concluded on a cliffhanger, with Erica about to reveal whether she wanted to leave Temptation Island alone, as a couple with Kendal, or with one of the singles.
Erica had made a connection on the island with Jesse Stephanos, a 25-year-old business owner from Palm Beach Gardens, FL.