(Spoilers) Recap of The Ultimatum: Queer Love, Eps. 5&6
It’s time to return to The Ultimatum: Queer Love for a recap of episodes five and six.
Episode five begins where episode four ends, with everyone rehashing their group night. Yoly tells Xander about the Lexi/Vanessa confrontation and insinuates something happened between Vanessa and Rae but doesn’t give details – at first. Yoly says Xander should hear it from Vanessa but eventually reveals that Vanessa and Rae were physical with one another. The news seems to sting, but I’m trying to understand why since she and Yoly haven’t been shy about their intimacy with one another. Yoly and Xander continue episode five falling for each other hard, eventually affirming their feelings in an exchange of “I love you.”
However fast their love seems, it makes sense; they find in each other what they longed for in their other relationships. Yoly came into the experience wanting to trust that Mal could be a partner to have a family with. We also learn later that Yoly craved more romance and intimacy in her relationship with Mal – all of which Xander provides. Xander wants stability, peace and certainty for a long-term commitment from Vanessa – things Yoly willingly gives without hesitation. They fall in love with what they didn’t receive (or maybe didn’t perceive) from their other partners.
This brings me back to an important lesson we all need to take from The Ultimatum: Queer Love: don’t let someone else give your partner what they want from you! We’ll later see both Mal and Vanessa wanting to prove they can show up for Yoly and Xander, respectively, but is it too late?
When Aussie comes home to Mildred after the group night out, there’s initial happiness to be home, but it quickly turns sour. Mildred wants to talk about her and Aussie’s inability to communicate, and Aussie, well, doesn’t. We start to see the root of Aussie’s central challenge – communicating during conflict. Mildred expresses frustration with Aussie’s inability to listen to her feelings and open up. They have another argument that ends with Aussie leaving the apartment that evening and returning to pack the next day to leave the trial marriage altogether. When Mildred finds Aussie’s things gone from the apartment several days before their trial marriage is supposed to be over, she initially acts unemotional. We eventually see Mildred break down from feeling abandoned. What Aussie and Mildred couldn’t find in each other – effective communication – they also struggle to create in their original relationships, which we’ll see play out when the couples get back together.
Speaking of Aussie and Mildred’s original partners, we see more of Tiff and Sam’s dynamic as they have a cute moment of driving and laughing. Tiff and Sam have maintained a platonic relationship throughout their trial marriage and have focused on helping each other grow in their communication skills. They haven’t, however, shown any affection or intimacy – no hugs, cuddles, hand-holding, or anything. If we go back in time to episode one, we remember that Tiff and Mildred had a lot of sexual chemistry – a lot. Tiff has intense feelings for Mildred, and I suspect they either don’t want to betray Mildred by sharing affection or simply don’t feel romantic feelings for Sam. Either way, Tiff’s friend Natasha challenges the two to try and show some level of affection just to see if there’s anything there. Sam tells Natasha she wouldn’t shy away from some affection from Tiff, but the experiment flails on their last night as they awkwardly almost spoon. In contrast to Yoly and Xander, Tiff and Sam used this experience to grow for their other partners, not find romance in each other.
I can’t help but wonder if Tiff and Sam might be sneaky candidates to walk away as a couple or get together later. Even though they don’t show romantic affection for each other now, they’ve given each other what they haven’t received from their partners – growth in communication. If communication is the central challenge between Aussie and Sam and Tiff and Mildred, could Tiff and Sam somehow decide to make a go of it themselves? Just putting it out there, in case I’m right, and I can say you heard it here first!
Elsewhere, we learn a little more about what makes Vanessa tick when she and Rae meet up with a special guest – Papa Vanessa. While talking about marriage, Vanessa’s dad shares the sentiment that “99 % right is 100 % wrong,” meaning one has to be 100 % sure about marrying someone for it to be the right decision. Papa Vanessa also advises Vanessa and Rae that “Time is so precious, be selfish; you better be” when discussing the issue of choosing to marry someone. This brings so much into focus about Vanessa’s feelings on marriage and approach to the entire experience. She’s centered herself in just about every scene we see her in and approaches the trial marriage as fun with little consequences for the future.
As we move into episode six, a shift occurs with little explanation. When all of the couples return to “changeover” into the original couples, Vanessa expresses that she is ready for marriage. I just have one question: Huh?! Once again, it seems we’re missing vital pieces of information. We went from Vanessa’s dad telling her to be selfish and, if she wasn’t 100 percent certain that she wanted to marry Xander, don’t, to her declaring her newfound clarity about marriage and wanting to say I do to Xander. Where did that come from?
Xander seems equally surprised to hear Vanessa’s new feelings as Xander continues to have a love fest with Yoly. To reiterate, during this “changeover” scene, the couples prepare to return to their original partners, and Yoly and Xander can’t stop talking about how close they’ve grown to one another. The last time the group sat at that table waxing poetic about their trial partners, I felt bad for Yoly, who had to hear how confident Mal was about choosing Lexi for their three weeks. Now, my heart goes out to Mal, who is literally listening to her girlfriend Yoly say that Xander provided all of the things in three weeks that Mal didn’t in three years. Knife – heart – twist!
When Mal asks Yoly if she’s excited to come back into their partnership, Yoly doesn’t say yes. Mal gives a lot of space for Yoly to feel her feelings for Xander, even going so far as saying Yoly can be in love with Xander and Xander may still not be Yoly’s person. Mal makes it clear that she wants Yoly and intends to propose. Here’s my favorite thing Mal says: “I hear that you love this person. I knew you lifetimes before this sh*t. I’m telling you I still want my family with you… You’re it for me, and I’m telling you that.”
Um, yeah, that was hot!
Seriously, Mal, where was this energy before?! I love Mal stepping up to declare once and for all that she chooses Yoly. But, I really wish this was the mood she was giving a month prior, then none of us would be in this mess!
On the other side of the Yoly-Xander street is Vanessa, who has decided, inexplicably, she’s ready to fight for a future with Xander. Xander is confused about what to do now that she’s back in partnership with Vanessa. However, Xander’s not keeping the same energy for Yoly that Yoly is keeping for her. Yoly straight up tells Mal that she’s in love with Xander. When Vanessa asks if Xander loves Yoly, the response is “I don’t know,” despite the multiple “I love you’s” Xander and Yoly shared. While I empathize with Xander, she’s giving Vanessa false hope by not being completely raw and honest with how hard she’s fallen for Yoly. And maybe that’s the problem – as hard as she fell, it wasn’t enough to shake Vanessa.
With Yoly-Mal-Xander-Vanessa, it’s hard to imagine there are three other couples. But there are!
In episode six, Lexi continues to torture Rae about being intimate with Vanessa during their trial marriage. In the last recap, you may recall me taking Rae’s side on this because I thought Lexi was being unreasonable. Even Lexi admitted the two of them didn’t have any agreements to not be physical with their trial persons. However, in this episode, we learn that Rae voluntarily promised not to get physical with Vanessa. I now understand why Lexi feels hurt and why Rae feels so bad about going against that promise. Still, I’m on team, #itstimetoletthisgo. I can’t watch Lexi bring it up again, and I can’t watch Rae beat herself up mercilessly about it anymore. They all had the opportunity to be intimate and affectionate with others in some form or fashion, and even though their relationship wasn’t physical, Lexi did form an emotional bond with her trial wife, Mal. To some people could feel traitorous. This isn’t a typical situation, so I vote they give each other a pass and concentrate on whether they can be together.
Remember when I talked earlier about communication being the central issue for Aussie and Sam and Tiff and Mildred. We start to see that come out even more as these couples come back together. As Aussie and Sam try to talk about what they learned from their trial marriages, one mention of Mildred makes Aussie shut down and no longer want to talk to Sam. Aussie actively walks away from Sam – something we also saw with Mildred. Meanwhile, Tiff and Mildred meet with best friend Natasha, and we see their communication issues on display. Things with this foursome are about to get super intense, so I’ll come back with more during my recap of episodes seven and eight.
Write again soon!