When I wait two hours at a restaurant for dinner, I actually want to eat when I sit down at the table. I don’t want food to be delivered and then, as the fork reaches my mouth, have it be taken away as I’m told that I have to come back until next week. That’s basically what happened with Married at First Sight‘s first episode of season two. After stretching out its two hours and repeatedly delaying its climax by cutting to commercial, it ended with no actual marriages, just a cliffhanger in the middle of one.
Since I was a late arrival to season one last summer, and binge-watched the first few episodes, I couldn’t actually remember what happened then. So I just went back and watched and basically, season one did the exact same thing: a cliffhanger on Jamie’s “I do” to Doug. So I suppose my annoyance is like getting mad at the sun for rising.
The real problem for me was that the show did an exceptional job of creating tension during its final half hour–and, really, during the entire episode. It was interesting tension not just about the prospect of marrying a stranger, but about family members’ response to the experiment.
Wedding day suspense
In significantly upgraded ballroom wedding venues–none of last year’s wrinkled backdrops and cramped seating–the families eyed each other across the aisle. There was nervous energy; some were boisterous and jokey, others silent.
The tension began building much earlier. Sean’s mother, in particular, had some GIF-worthy reactions to the idea of her son marrying a stranger. She was not happy. When she arrived to talk to Dr. Pepper and her son, she might as well have been accompanied by a large choir singing “This is Bullshit.”
At least she showed up, though; Davina’s mother and sister refused to even come to the wedding, though her gay best friend and his mom did. She dealt with this awful rejection from her own family by unconvincingly telling the camera, “my family will certainly come around come they see how happy I am.”
Ryan R. and Jaclyn were the only couple that saw each other in episode one, and their reactions took Married at First Sight from high tension to OMGWTF tension. Ryan’s superficial response to her appearance was positive, but Jacyln was basically Jamie 2.0. “My initial reaction is, like, shit,” she said in an interview recorded later. She also added, “his accent is really going to annoy me” and “the initial physical attraction isn’t really there right now.”
As with Jamie last season saying “I’m sorry,” the two-hour episode ended with Jaclyn appearing ready to bail. I wish we would have at least had her response; either a yes or a no would have created sufficient reason to tune in next week.
But of course, I will be watching, and not just because I want to know what happens. The premiere invested me in each soon-to-be couple by showing a lot of the process by which they were paired, and also just telling a lot about them. I’m on the verge of falling in love with the show again, even if it is just teasing me right now.