Some may turn their nose up at the relevance of marriage in 2022, but love is blind proudly uses the institution as its North Star. All roads and all episodes lead to this tense 75-minute conclusion, where the audience discovers whether practical strangers can commit to a life together after getting engaged sight unseen. It’s an intense choice, but an essential part of what makes this experiment so extraordinary.
In the final episode, five couples are poised to make a big decision at the altar. After watching these hopeful lovebirds grow closer and learn more about each other’s quirks and insecurities, the finale could have easily resulted in 10 “I dos” or none at all. Though many of the emotional connections seem genuine, clashing personality types, differing world outlooks and yes, unbalanced levels of mutual attraction mean that there’s no guarantee to how these weddings will play out.
Spoilers for the finale of Love is Blind season two are below.
It’s true that reality TV can manipulate just how “real” the footage that the audience ends up seeing is – but the fact that love is blind hinges on a legal, and in many cases, spiritual and religious commitment is helpful for bringing this wacky concept back down to earth. Through their tears, wobbling lips and shaky voices, it’s clear that the cast takes this process seriously. There are real feelings involved, and real egos to bruise when things don’t go as expected.
“I just married the woman of my dreams,” says a grinning Jarrette, after his pastor father successfully delivered the ceremony for him and his new wife Iyanna. “I’m on top of the world right now.” Though they had a bump in their road to wedded bliss (otherwise known as Jarrette liking fellow contestant Mallory first), it’s heartwarming to see their shared delight at the prospect of starting a new life together.
Yet, the most satisfying moments of the episode come with the people who say no. With an audience of their family, friends and millions of Netflix subscribers around the world, the pressure to say “yes” for the sake of making sure things run smoothly must be immense. But not everyone does. Take Deepti and Shake: in the dating “pods”, where they spoke for days before meeting in person, they created a deep bond over their many similarities. One of them related to their being of Indian heritage and having primarily dated white, blonde people before this experiment. In many ways, they had the most to gain from the show; Despite both going against their “types”, could they build a connection for life?
“In the past, I have run away from my culture and Indian women, but right now I’m just embracing who I am,” Shake admits at their wedding, which is filled with traditional dress and practices. But while Shake feeling pride in his heritage of him is a positive touch, he seems to see Deepti as a mere plot point in his self-development journey of her, rather than someone cherished in her own right. Throughout the season, Shake has expressed his fears of not feeling attracted to his fiancée de ella, despite deeply appreciating her personality de ella. At some points, he even referred to her de ella feeling de ella “like an aunt” to him – not exactly the romantic response anyone would hope for.
Luckily, Deepti doesn’t have to watch this footage back, knowing that her husband married her out of a sense of duty over desire. Sensing Shake’s ambivalence, she declines her hand in marriage: “I deserve somebody who knows for sure. So, I’m choosing myself, and I’m gonna say no.” It’s a powerful moment, especially when Deepti’s mum runs to give her daughter her full support for making a heartbreaking, but necessary choice.
Elsewhere, the crumbling of Natalie and Shayne’s relationship at the point of “I do” also feels like a much-needed exhale. Despite their protests that they’re each other’s “best friend”, their courtship has seemed volatile and mismatched from the beginning. A fight on the night before the ceremony doesn’t help. After Shayne declares that she’s the “worst thing that ever happened to him”, Natalie realizes that their problems are too big to overlook for the sake of a wedding. “When I was standing at the altar with Shayne, looking at him, I felt on edge and scared,” she admits to the camera. “I truly, truly loved him, but I think love can only go so far.” It’s a relief. But the fact that without the fight, they probably would have married (and possibly divorced by the time of broadcast) is slightly worrying. Perhaps people shouldn’t be so encouraged to make a life-altering choice with someone they barely know after six weeks of constant emotional turmoil?
Though this season lacked some of the magic that made its first run a hit, love is blind season two was a charming adventure, all the same. At a time when many will be looking to enjoy something both easy and indulgent, the conclusion to love is blind‘s second run is ideal. But for all the programme’s posturing of marriage as the ultimate love goal, its true success comes in showing that choosing yourself can make for the happiest ending of all.
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.