At the top of the Aug. 26 episode of Bachelor in Paradise, Chris Harrison teased a monumental rule change in a sneak peek at the rose ceremony ahead. With so many twists this season — uh, Demi's non-Bachelor Nation girlfriend joining the cast, anyone? — there was plenty of theorizing to be done about what the rule change on Bachelor in Paradise is. Viewers already know that Kristian is going to get to stay in Paradise, but what does that mean for the rose count? Is Demi technically still "in play" if she formally broke up with Derek? Or are she and Kristian going to join Wells as armchair relationship therapists/bystanders to the drama? There are a lot of moving pieces to consider.
In the end, Chris Harrison revealed that "Paradise is all about finding love, no matter what that looks like." Of course, this meant that Demi was granted the first rose to hand out. It was the men's pick this week, and with two extra women joining the beach — Tahzjuan from Colton Underwood's season and Haley from Ben Higgins' infamous twin set — the numbers were seriously askew. Giving Demi rose powers during a men's week allows her to keep giving Kristian her roses for the foreseeable future. It's the first time in the show's history that the rose ceremony format has changed — and TBH, it's about time.
Kristian broached an important conversation with Demi at the top of the cocktail party, saying that her "wounds" from learning about Derek were still fresh. She was feeling so sensitive, in fact, that she even took issue with Demi playfully flirting with John Paul Jones. (Demi quickly reassured Kristian that JPJ was not a threat with the ever-brutal "he's like my brother" explanation.) Kristian reiterated that she was there purely for Demi and only to explore a relationship with her. She made clear that she didn't need to be there if Demi was still planning on dating around.
Of course, Demi eventually gave her special occasion rose to Kristian, which she happily accepted. (And I honestly don't know whether I'm furious or relieved that production didn't set out some novelty rainbow-dyed flower for them.)
Said Kristian in a cutaway interview, proving yet again that she's too reasonable for this world:
Going into my first rose ceremony, I feel, actually, pretty comfortable. I'm not nervous going into this. I'm excited. This is all very new to me and I'm just trying to take everything in moment by moment. Seeing Demi's vulnerability and commitment — it's definitely something that ha actually brought us closer together.
Derek admittedly spent a good portion of this episode being sad on the beach, but he did eventually get back on the horse, so to speak, and shoot his shot with Tayshia. Even though I will desperately ship her and JPJ to the bitter end, she accepted Derek's rose — and his advances! But from the looks it, JPJ is ready to fight.
Bachelor in Paradise airs Monday and Tuesday nights at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.