Shouldn't A Social Worker Be Better At Having Awkward Conversations Than Married At First Sight's Sonia Is?

And more not-quite-burning questions sparked by 'To Have And To Hold'!

Shouldn't a social worker be better at having awkward conversations than Sonia is?

"As soon as we get into a serious conversation, she closes down or walks away," says Nick of Sonia, as we recap their spat from the last episode when he told her he wasn't in love with her and she got offended. First of all, I wish I thought Nick could appreciate the irony in the fact that he is accusing her of shutting down instead of engaging, since he's been spending every second onscreen looking as if he's trying not to either cry or stroke out. But second: he's kind of right? And it's weird.

Leaving aside the issue of whether Sonia got excessively insulted by Nick's giving her a news update on how he feels about her -- I don't think he was trying to say he thought she was in love with him so much as warning her not to let her expectations of him get too high -- it is weird that her response in the moment was to walk away. I can give her the benefit of the doubt by speculating that she thought she was about to cry and didn't want to do it on camera. But: Sonia is a social worker. Presumably she's been professionally trained to remain dispassionate in emotional situations and to help people express themselves effectively. I can imagine that she wouldn't necessarily want to bring her work home with her, but if we have learned by now that Nick is terrified of frank emotion -- and of Sonia herself, generally -- she should appreciate that the only way they're going to get anywhere as a couple is if she either does most of the emotional work or, at least, forces him to engage with her. See also: at the wedding, when she tattled on Nick to his mom for not saying she was pretty; later in this episode, when she makes Rachel tell Nick she wants to have sex. If what we're seeing is an accurate representation of how good Sonia is at her job, I'm concerned for her clients.

Could they have dragged out the Heather/Derek cliffhanger longer?

My god, so first, we don't pick back up where we left off at the end of the last episode; we're not even with the same couple at the same time of day. We have to watch Tom and Lily and then Sonia and Nick pantsing around before we finally reconvene with Heather and Derek. THEN, instead of any new footage, we just get a replay of the end of the last episode that leads us into ANOTHER CLIFFHANGER (though just the commercial break, this time). I spent that entire three-minute break irritated that the show was dragging out Heather's inevitable acceptance of Derek and of the experts' judgment...BUT THEN HOLY SHIT SHE ACTUALLY DUMPED HIS ASS OH MY GODDDDDDDDD. I never for a second thought there was a chance Heather wouldn't say she was going to stay married to Derek, for all the minor fame-whoring reasons that made her do the show in the first place. So I guess I do have to give producers credit for the way they drew out the reveal, because it actually did manage to surprise me. Heather really doesn't like a pothead!

How did Heather even get matched with Derek in the first place?

What we heard on the show is that Heather indicated in her questionnaire that she was okay with a partner who smoked "occasionally." Was the questionnaire unclear about the substance a potential partner might smoke, so that she was saying she didn't mind a social smoker who bums a cigarette at a party a couple of times a year? Did the questionnaire specify that it was seeking her views on pot use, and she rounded up how accepting she is rather than look like a square? Did Derek answer that he's an occasional smoker, without specifying his preferred substance? Did Derek say he only smokes weed on occasion, and then go on his honeymoon and celebrate his new marriage by with a daily wake and bake? Infuriatingly, we will NEVER KNOW where the disconnect was, and how this weed-abstainer was matched with this degenerate stoner -- and, more to the point, whose fault it is that this is where, and with whom, Heather and Derek ended up.

Can Pastor Roberson please get over himself?

"This is not dating at first sight. These couples made a commitment. That means doing the work." Sir, you are a consultant on a show where complete strangers make a mockery of the institution of marriage -- and not, like, in passing while they're doing some other embarrassing thing: turning LEGALLY BINDING MARRIAGE into just another Fear Factor-esque extreme feat of daring is literally all this show is about. So kindly tone down your rhetoric regarding how very serious Heather and Derek's commitment to one another was supposed to be.

Will Heather and Derek now get LEGALLY DIVORCED?

Pastor Roberson claims they will, because they entered into a LEGALLY BINDING MARRIAGE. But I've doubted since Season 1 how legal these marriages could possibly actually be. If, as we hear this week, the cameras will continue following Heather and Derek as they try to put together the pieces of the lives they shattered by hanging out with each other for a couple of weeks, does that mean we'll also follow them through whatever legal matters are involved in the dissolution of their marriage? Will they be able to weasel out of it with a mere annulment since they never consummated the marriage? And is the reason everyone on the show keeps phrasing the sex question that way because it means the couples who do have made their fakey marriages slightly more real from a legal standpoint? Even if everything seems like it does line up with what would happen in a legal divorce, can we trust that any lawyers who'd agree to be on camera are probably questionable anyway -- you know, kind of like the "experts"?

How much should we read into Nick's pronoun use?

When Rachel comes over to Nick and Sonia's to pry into the details of their sexless sex life, she pulls Nick aside for a one-on-one conversation and basically gets him to admit that he has been in relationships in the past in which the physical aspect progressed more quickly: "In the past, it's been-- I don't want to say superficial, but it's been someone that I chose upfront, and it, you know, so it was just, it was easier for me to be affectionate to them because I chose them upfront and I had a, you know, I obviously had an attraction to them right away, and we're here, like I'm trying-- I have an attraction, but it's-- It's not quite as strong as, like, if I were to pick them upfront myself, but I'm still trying to give it a chance to develop."

Okay. I'm with him for the first part: Nick's saying he's not attracted to Sonia. He wants to get there, and she's maybe grown more attractive to him as he's gotten to know her better, but either physically or personality-wise, she's not someone he would have been drawn to outside the context of the show. Got it.

Where Nick forces me to wonder about the nature of the past relationships he's referring to is when he sticks with the word "them." One could make the argument that when he says "them" at first, he's using the third person plural to describe the several people he's "chosen" "upfront." But then he also uses it about Sonia, an individual -- "It's not quite as strong as, like, if I were to pick them upfront myself" -- almost reflexively, one might say, like someone who's used to being cagey about the sex of the people he dates. Maybe, right?

I mean, yes, later Nick says that the physical attributes he's most attracted to are Sonia's "butt or boobs," but that's how he describes those parts to her. In an interview, he switches to "breasts" -- you know, like all straight guys do. (?)

Can this show just maybe not talk about sex at all?

Here's a selection of the cringier lines I noted:

  • "It's a Mr. and Mrs. game."
  • "There might be things that feel uncomfortable. Do them anyway!"
  • "I'm very happy with me and Tom's sex life. We have a very ACTIVE ONE."
  • everything that came out of the tantric masseuse's mouth

Not to mention having to watch Tom lick stuff off Lily. I can sign on for this sort of stuff when it's two (or more) extremely attractive professional actors going at it. A luxury yacht whatever and a real estate agent haven't been taught how to make sexy stuff look sexy on camera; don't make me watch it.

"Maybe I was dumb. Maybe I shouldn't have signed up to marry a stranger."


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