Spoiler alert! This story discusses portions of the entire second season of The Ultimatum: Marry or Move On, so be sure you’ve seen the series through the reunion before reading on. Don't say I didn't warn ya.
I love a good reality dating show, and in my opinion, Netflix is really leading the pack when it comes to the genre. One need only look at the Love Is Blind Season 4 finale fiasco to see just how many people have gotten invested in these love stories, and when you add in other shows like Too Hot to Handle, The Ultimatum and the faith-restoring Perfect Match, there are just too many Netflix reality shows to binge-watch. The latest, The Ultimatum: Marry or Move On, just wrapped up its second season, and while I truly enjoyed watching the couples engage in the “spouse-swapping” experiment, I had some issues with the show overall.
Nick and Vanessa Lachey are the hosts of The Ultimatum, and in their sparse appearances on the show, they lay out the rules very clearly: The couples go on the show because one person has issued the other an ultimatum to either get engaged or end the relationship. The couples “break up,” and choose someone else to be their “trial spouse” for three weeks before swapping back to their original partner for another three weeks. Then a choice must be made: get engaged, get together with your trial partner or leave the show single. Now that we’ve got the basics covered, let’s look at Season 2 of The Ultimatum: Marry or Move On.
Lisa’s Pregnancy Was A Wild Start To The Season, But The Drama Took A Dive After That
When I started my Ultimatum Season 2 binge, I expected to spend the first few episodes coming up with ways to remember which couples came together and who had issued the ultimatums. While that was partly true, I did not expect to be sucked in so quickly by the drama — particularly what was happening between Lisa Horne and Brian Okoye. Lisa flew all the way off the handle after Brian did little more than acknowledge the existence of Riah Nyree.
I mean, nobody ever said it was a good idea to down multiple shots from the signature Netflix metallic glasses and then watch your partner flirt with other people. Cut to what appeared to be the next day, where it was revealed that Lisa was PREGNANT?! Excuse me?! My jaw was on the floor, and that, ladies and gentlemen, is how you get viewers to click that “Next Episode” button.
In the finale the new mom of a seven-week-old baby boy again provided the most drama, when she got to come face-to-face with the cast after previously unaired footage showed Roxanne Kaiser and the others casting doubt on her pregnancy. Don’t get me wrong, I had major issues with the toxic behavior Lisa exhibited in her short time on the show, but her pregnancy twist was something the rest of the season couldn’t live up to, and part of the reason for that was ...
The New Couples Didn’t Take Their ‘Trial Marriages’ Very Seriously
It seemed like the Season 2 cast was willing to play ball with the wacky concept of The Ultimatum up until it was time to move in with their trial spouses. Everybody picked a new partner who actually seemed like a good match for them, and there was so much potential for sparks to fly. Instead of sparks we got a big wet blanket for the trial marriage episodes, which was not what I expected after watching the spinoff The Ultimatum: Queer Love, where many took full advantage of their trial marriages, if you know what I mean.
On this season, however, James Morris refused to even hug his trial wife Riah, thus robbing her of the experience to learn something about what she wanted and needed in a partner. He took some crap for that, but really none of the other couples were much better. Antonio Mattei set up an air mattress in the living room, rather than share a bed with Kat Shelton, and Roxanne and Alex Chapman talked almost exclusively about work, only dipping into relationship talk when it came to how a marriage could benefit a business.
The central concept of the show was one of the issues CinemaBlend’s Adrienne Jones had in Season 1: With half of the cast ready to marry their partners and the other half not wanting to get married at all, how interested are any of them in jumping into a “marriage” with a stranger?
There Was No Suspense Over What The Couples Would Choose
For that reason, it didn’t feel like the stakes were very high when the original couples did get back together. There was no chance any of them were going to begin a new relationship with their trial spouse. Only Ryann McCracken and Trey Brunson actually seemed to enjoy their experience together, but while Trey did admit to “catching feelings” for Ryann, she never reciprocated. Did anybody really expect her to do anything but run back to the boyfriend she’d had since she was 16?
In the end, they all ended up engaged to the people they came on the show with, and while everybody expressed shock that Roxanne accepted a proposal, she had already established that she and Antonio had broken up and gotten back together several times, so her accepting the proposal didn't seem like a huge leap to me. Suffice it to say, I was disappointed but not surprised, and not to be all pessimistic over here, but the reason for that is:
I Think All Of The Couples Should Have Broken Up
Four engagements and a baby — that’s a historic finale for the Netflix dating show, and I really do wish I could just accept the happiness and join in the celebrations. However, after watching those couples interact through the experiment, it seemed pretty clear, to me at least, that they were all settling for things they didn’t want.
Antonio is never going to be enough for Roxanne. Just look at the picture above, taken at their engagement. Is that the face of a happy bride-to-be? As for the others, I don’t think Alex will ever see Kat as an equal; Riah and Trey want to live in different places, and neither seems willing to compromise (nor should they have to); and James seemed to have no interest in making long-term changes to satisfy what Ryann was asking for. Does nobody here think they can do better?
Despite the issues I had with The Ultimatum: Marry or Move On, I still enjoyed watching the season, and clearly became invested in this group of people and their love stories. Maybe they’ll all make it down the aisle, and if not, maybe we’ll see some of them again — perhaps on a new season of Perfect Match?