'Temptation Island' recap: Erica falls for Jesse, Kristen explains real reason for pushing Julian away, Sophia makes a move, Thomas feels rage and betrayed by Chelsea
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 03/24/2021
Temptation Island featured Erica Washington "falling for" Jesse Stephanos, Kristen Ramos revealing the real reason why she had rejected a Julian Allen engagement, Sophia Perez making a move on Thomas Gipson, Chelsea Orcutt giving into her feelings for Blake Eyres, and a rageful Thomas feeling betrayed by Chelsea during the USA revival's Season 3 episode on Tuesday night.
Temptation Island follows four dating couples at a pivotal time in their relationship in which they must decide whether to stay committed to each other for the rest of their lives, go their separate ways as singles, or leave the island with a new partner.
The four couples are New Jersey-based couple Kristen, a 26-year-old physical therapist and Julian, a 26-year-old personal trainer; West Hollywood-based couple Chelsea, a 29-year-old marketing coordinator, and Thomas, a 37-year-old investment trader; Los Angeles-based couple Erica, a 24-year-old personal assistant, and Kendal Kirkland, a 26-year-old business owner; and San Diego-based couple Erin Smith, a 24-year-old behavioral therapist and Corey Sobczyk, a 25-year-old concierge manager.
Kristen and Julian were together for a whopping 11 years prior to Temptation Island, Chelsea and Thomas had dated for over a year before applying, Erica and Kendal dated for two years prior to the show, and Erin and Corey had been involved for one-and-a-half years.
The Temptation Island broadcast began with Kristen crying at the bonfire meeting about having lost her beloved brother to an overdose. Kristen revealed she had found her brother and felt responsible, and this occurred after Julian had cheated on her.
"He was there for me when I needed him," Kristen noted in tears.
Kristen said she felt relieved to finally get that weight off her chest so the show could understand her actions better and why she had been so vague about her troubled past.
It then became time for the men to meet Temptation Island host Mark L. Walberg at the bonfire meeting.
"I've developed a crush and feelings for Sophia, but I am holding back from being physical because there's a line Chelsea and I agreed upon," Thomas told the cameras. "And I don't want to cross that line, and I wouldn't want her to cross that line."
Thomas was referring to Sophia, a 22-year-old makeup artist from Miami, FL.
Thomas watched back a clip of Chelsea revealing she had a crush on Blake, a 34-year-old dentist from St. Louis, MO, and looked forward to spending more quality time with him.
The clip reassured Thomas that what he was feeling for Sophia was normal and that it was "okay" to make a connection with a woman other than Chelsea. Thomas said he was growing and putting himself through this process "in a proper way."
Julian observed Kristen saying that she feared Julian was going to "pass this test" of Temptation Island and she still wouldn't trust him and things wouldn't change. When asked flat out if she trusted Julian, Kristen responded, "No."
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Kristen expressed how she had "no idea" why she was sticking around in her relationship as a result.
Julian said he had cheated on Kristen because he didn't value what he had and he was being "an ignorant, arrogant assh-le."
Julian admitted he was "missing something" at the time he had been unfaithful but he wasn't missing that something anymore. Julian seemed to regret his mistakes and want Kristen to forgive and trust him moving forward.
Erin was shown bonding with Shaquille Urie, a 24-year-old personal trainer from Denver, CO, who confessed that he "adored" her and was waiting around for her. Erin said she was closer to Shaquille than anyone else at their villa.
Corey had a smile on his face after watching the clip and said everything was "okay." Corey believed he was growing and didn't need to stress as much.
When asked whether some women at the villa might be fantasizing about him, Corey humbly replied, "I think so. There might be people out there... It definitely feels good. It's filling up my tank and filling up my self-worth and self-love."
Kendal watched footage of Erica crying to Kristen about how she felt "humiliated" and didn't really know what real love looks like. Kristen appeared tired, and Kendal admitted it was "difficult to watch."
Kendal said coming into this experience, he and Erica had set no rules for each other -- but Erica probably had hidden rules that she didn't want to reveal or communicate to him.
Kendal could tell Erica had seen something that was "highly disturbing" to her and she was hurting. Kendal said if Erica had behaved the same way on the island, he would feel hurt and "betrayed in a sense."
Kendal told the cameras he didn't like seeing Erica hurting but he had to face the music and not compromise his time on the island. Kendal hoped to leave the show with the "best love interest" for him.
Julian advised Kendal not to risk losing Erica if she's the love of his life because he was clearly appreciating what he had with Kristen.
Once the guys returned to their villa, Alexcys Homan, a 23-year-old personal assistant from Van Nuys, CA, gushed how she was really connecting with Kendal and never expected to feel this way for someone on the island.
Erica decided she wanted to open herself up more to the guys in the house, especially after watching Kendal have a threesome, and Jesse, a 25-year-old business owner from Palm Beach Gardens, FL, said in a confessional he wanted to take care of and support Erica.
Chelsea then lamented about how she didn't want to cheat herself out of this experience because she was so worried about what Thomas was doing. Blake hugged Chelsea as she cried and hoped to prove that she deserved "a better guy than the Toms out there."
Chelsea figured Thomas was acting out because he had watched a clip of her being flirtatious.
The next day, the girlfriends and boyfriends embarked on dates with single.
Erin went paddleboarding with Griffin Libhart, a 25-year-old business owner and retired pro soccer player from Baltimore, MD, and Erin cried about how people let her down or she loses them once she gets close to a person and she hadn't been truly happy in a while.
Erin said she had the tendency to push people away and she didn't want to lose Corey as her boyfriend. Erin didn't want to continue being closed off and mad at the world, and Griffin hoped to connect with Erin on a deeper level as long as she'd be willing to be vulnerable with him.
As Corey continued to connect with Amanda Spain-Butts, a 24-year-old operations coordinator from Austin, TX, Thomas kept flirting with Sophia, who said she'd like to continue their relationship after the show.
"She's going to be a part of my life, I hope, for the rest of it," Thomas gushed of Sophia in a confessional.
Thomas and Sophia then rubbed mud on each other, and Thomas admitted he was turned on by her body and touching her soft skin. At one point, Thomas wrote his name on her butt, rubbed it and smacked it.
Sophia thought this was a turning point in her relationship with Thomas because they were able to connect on a deeper level and just take in the moment together.
Meanwhile, Blake and Chelsea talked about how their parents would approve of their relationship, and Chelsea noted she wasn't going to run away from her feelings anymore. Chelsea really liked Blake and felt butterflies and nerves around him.
"I feel like Blake, it's not 'if' but 'when' something is going to happen," Chelsea shared.
Julian revealed that because his goal was to end up with Kristen and marry her, the single ladies at his villa had backed off romantically. Julian, however, befriended Maya Morsi, a 32-year-old web developer from San Jose, CA, who tried to get to know him better.
Maya explained that it wouldn't be fair for Julian to be in a relationship in which he feels the need to walk on eggshells all the time, but Julian shared how he and Kristen had been through so much -- including family tragedy -- together.
Kristen enjoyed a date with Juwan Haynes, a 25-year-old entrepreneur from Los Angeles, CA.
Kristen finally revealed that she didn't want to move forward with Julian in life with an engagement or marriage -- not because of his cheating past -- but because she was afraid to lose someone she loves suddenly again.
"I'm so afraid of giving [Julian] all of my love and then him just disappearing out of my life," Kristen shared, adding that she was "struggling behind closed doors" just like her brother had been and such a pattern of behavior doesn't end well.
Juwan opened up about how he had lost a friend to addiction as well, and he said it was refreshing to talk to someone who had been through a similar loss and painful time.
As for Erica, Jesse advised Erica not to go back to Kendal and "fall into that trap." Jesse suggested he could visit her hometown and fly her out to his and show her around.
"Jesse is definitely the type of guy that I should be with. He's just such a genuine and patient and well-rounded man. I think there's a very good chance that I am falling for Jesse," Erica gushed in a confessional.
Kendal was then shown asking Alexcys what she pictured their lives would be like after the show if they opted to stay together. Alexcys said she could envision them working out as a couple in Los Angeles together and eventually having children.
Kendal said he'd like to have four or five children, and Kendal joked that she'd like 10 kids.
"I want to make sure that we're on the same page. I don't like wasting my time," Kendal told Alexcys.
Alexcys, however, asked Kendal if he was willing to go back to Erica at the end of the process, and Kendal said he wasn't entirely ready to give up on that situation -- although he wasn't sure how things were going to transpire in his next few weeks on the island.
Alexcys worried about Kendal feeling "conflicted" and said, "If he does end up choosing [Erica], I will be heartbroken because I can see myself falling in love with Kendal."
Kendal and Alexcys then shared a romantic kiss at sunset while sitting on a car.
Later on at the girls' villa, Chelsea expressed to her friends during a jungle party how her connection with Blake was beginning to scare her because she didn't think about Thomas at all when she was in the doctor's presence.
Erica -- who was on a path to loving herself and self-discovery -- acknowledged maybe that was "a sign" for Chelsea, and Chelsea's discussion made Erin want to open up a little more to the single guys.
At the guys' villa, they partied at a masquerade ball and Nickole Ciszak, a 22-year-old marketing manager from Oak Ridge, NJ, pulled Kendal and Alexcys aside for a chat.
Nickole joked she'd be willing to be the couple's "toy" but Kendal admitted he was developing a connection with both women and things were "pretty steamy" between them.
Over at the guys' villa, Sophia was waiting for Thomas to kiss her, and so she grabbed his face and began clobbering him with little kisses all over his face.
Chelsea then cuddled in Blake's arms in the pool, and she noted as they embraced, "You feel so good." Chelsea said being with Blake made her feel really happy, and she told him that they should remain close when they leave Temptation Island.
Chelsea and Blake didn't kiss, but Chelsea noted to Erin the next day she never really kissed her own boyfriend although they were affectionate with each other. Chelsea wasn't sure whether she would accept a kiss from Blake, but she wasn't about to give up on their connection.
And Erica talked to Erin about how the point of having "no rules" with Kendal was so he could show his true character and she could see that. Erica said Kendal always managed to pull her back in but she didn't want to let that happen this time.
Kendal then got his hair braided by one of the single ladies, and Kendal bragged about how Erica knew what he brings to the table.
"I know it sounds hypocritical, but I don't think Erica can emotionally balance everything I can. I know who I am, I know what I expect, and I know what I want -- and Erica still has a lot of questions to really establish who she is as a woman," Kendal told the cameras.
Meanwhile, Julian cried about how he had promised Kristen's brother before he died to take care of Kristen. Julian felt like he had lost a brother as well, and so he and Kristen had been through a lot together.
It then became time for another bonfire, and Erica announced that she was trying to focus on herself and not repeatedly ask why Kendal was doing the things he was doing.
Erica watched back Kendal and Alexcys' conversation about staying together and starting a family, and Erica was relieved she didn't have to watch her boyfriend have sex again.
"I really wish I could just warn [Alexcys] and just remind her what she's getting herself into, because for two-and-a-half years, he has been putting on this facade and showing me a fake version of himself up until this point," Erica explained.
"It's like, you haven't even known him for a month yet, and if you really think that's what you're going to get, it's not the truth... At the end of the day, he doesn't deserve me."
Kristen saw footage of Julian revealing to the men how it was "discouraging" that Kristen rejected the idea of getting engaged to him because he was constantly trying to change for her in order to make her happy.
Julian said it was hard for him to be happy when he was putting so much time and energy into something and it "still wasn't good enough" for Kristen.
Kristen admitted Julian's words rang true and she was trying to avoid "any possible bad outcome" by shutting herself down.
"It took me opening up about my brother to realize I am just so afraid of being heartbroken again -- so I'm just staying in this heartbreak and then I'm hurting him," Kristen shared.
Erin observed Corey having an intimate conversation with Amanda, who complimented his "pretty eyes."
Erin said she felt annoyed but didn't want to assume anything or else she could self-destruct and be angry at Corey and other people around her.
Erin admitted she needed to work on her trust issues, which started when she had lost her best friend and an ex-boyfriend "destroyed" her, took advantage of her, and "put his hands on" her before.
Erin was apparently holding onto some shame from that past relationship and sabotaging her beautiful romance with Corey.
And finally, Chelsea watched Thomas touch Sophia's booty and flirt with her. Chelsea said she felt "nothing" when watching that video and she didn't want her man to touch other women like that.
"I don't think I'll get over it. I don't think I'm okay with it. I can't change myself and how I feel about that and how I want to be respected in my relationship, and he can't change his flirtiness. And I think that's okay and I can accept that now," Chelsea explained.
Chelsea accused Thomas of not taking the experience seriously or caring about how his behavior might make her feel. Chelsea said Blake would "never act that way because he respects women."
On the men's way to the bonfire, Kendal revealed he'd like to salvage his relationship with Erica and things were very complex in his life.
Corey saw a clip of Erin crying about how she had made Corey feel bad about himself, and Corey said it was tough to hear Erin taking the full blame for his lack of confidence. Corey took some of the fault for that and wished he could take some of Erin's pain away from her.
Corey acknowledged he's a great guy who's funny, goofy, witty, good looking and a good catch overall.
Julian watched a clip of Kristen opening up about her brother's death, and Julian said it was hard to watch Kristen cry but they had been through "some real sh-t" together.
Kendal observed Jesse telling Erica that she deserved better, before Erica promised to be more vulnerable with him going forward. Kendal said Erica was realizing who she is as a woman and becoming a leader.
Kendal told Mark that Erica and Jesse visiting each other would probably never happen and he believed Erica would "definitlely" forgive him for his actions on Temptation Island and take him back.
And finally, Thomas watched Chelsea and Blake snuggling with one another in the pool. Thomas realized he and Chelsea might lose each other, which hurt him and made him feel sad.
Thomas was having a similar experience on Temptation Island, but he said, "I really didn't think she'd be falling for someone."
Thomas said Chelsea probably didn't feel valued enough by him but he felt accepted by Sophia for his personality type and how he behaves. Thomas said Sophia seemed to love him for who he is and so he was at a crossroads.
Mark told the men that they'd be able to send their girlfriends 30-second video messages the next day. The guys could also choose not to send anything at all.
"Seeing this clip is hurtful. It looks like she's falling for someone," Thomas cried in a confessional.
"I am nowhere in her heart or mind and I feel angry and betrayed. It's really hard for me to watch because I didn't think I had to worry about her being unfaithful. I was wrong to put that much trust into my partner."
Thomas told the guys after the bonfire that he felt rage and his heart was hurting. About The Author:Elizabeth Kwiatkowski
Elizabeth Kwiatkowski is Associate Editor of Reality TV World and has been covering the reality TV genre for more than a decade.