Did Uche, Aaliyah and Lydia break ‘Love is Blind’?

Oh, “Love is Blind.” This addictive, larger-than-life reality dating series has become a Netflix staple, each season introducing viewers to lonely hopefuls looking to prove if love is “truly blind.” As of season 5, singles have attempted this experiment countless times, and while some couples found success (Lauren and Cameron, we’re looking at you), it seems the latest installment at large has fulfilled a prophecy long written for reality TV shows: “Love is Blind” has peaked.

The latest season has taken our timelines by storm, with constant posts and reactions to what’s taking place in the Houston-set installment. While the series has certainly had plenty of drama for us to sink our teeth into in the past, this season, and its truly jaw-dropping twist, has almost completely changed the game, shifting the focus from the potential couples and love stories, to one twisted, layered and shocking love triangle between Uche, Lydia and Aaliyah.

(Left to right) Aaliyah Cosby and Uche Okoroha in episode 507 of “Love is Blind.” (Photo courtesy of Netflix © 2023)

As we reported last week, the first batch of episodes ended on a major cliffhanger when Aaliyah decided to leave the experiment altogether. The 29-year-old travel nurse called it quits after Uche, the man she was dating and hoping to marry throughout her pod experience, revealed he had dated fellow contestant and her “best friend” in the experiment, Lydia.

While our heads are still spinning from the information and Lydia’s subsequent bizarre behavior toward Aaliyah (telling her everything about Uche from what car he drives, to the toys his dog likes), the second batch of episodes kicks off with a fourth-wall-breaking conversation between Aaliyah and Uche. 

The producers set up the phone conversation between the estranged couple, in which Aaliyah (on the phone) reveals to Uche (in his confessional) that a heated exchange of words between Lydia and Aaliyah prompted her to leave the pods altogether. While Aaliyah is apologetic and expresses immediate regret for leaving the experiment, Uche is not having it. 

“If you love somebody, you talk to them,” Uche pressed in the tense phone conversation. Aaliyah, while remorseful, still expressed her distrust in both Lydia and Uche, questioning their motives and whether or not they knew they were joining the experiment together.

“How do you know that when she was at your place earlier this year she didn’t see an email and apply to be on this damn show,” she asked. What followed was an explosive break-up conversation, with Uche squashing all hope of them being together. That is until their one-on-one sit-down in episode 7.

Although Aaliyah approaches the conversation with hope for a possible relationship with Uche, it is clear from their exchange (their first ever time in-person), that there is just too much distrust between them, specifically tied to the Lydia situation. Aaliyah even drops a bombshell revelation, that she has information confirming that Lydia knew beforehand that her ex would also appear on the reality series.

Lydia, meanwhile, is engaged to contestant Milton, a sweet, 24-year-old petroleum engineer who clearly is falling for her, and fast. Insistent that she has moved on from Uche, the clear red flags don’t seem to register for Milton, as they, along with couple Izzy and Stacy, are seemingly the only pairs potentially headed toward the altar.

The second set of episodes ends with a fiery argument between Uche and Lydia. At a cast barbecue, Uche confronts the 32-year-old geologist regarding her motives in joining the show, going so far as to call her a stalker. Lydia storms out in a frenzy, calling Uche a narcissist and calling out for Milton, who for some reason, seems completely unphased by Lydia and Uche’s history. 

Uche Okoroha and Lydia Velez Gonzalez in episode 507 of “Love is Blind.” (Photo by courtesy of Netflix © 2023)

Don’t get us wrong: this is delicious reality TV. Wild, nail-biting confrontations coupled with truly shocking twists is what we come here for. But how can the show, as it has operated before this, move forward? It’s clear, from a production standpoint, we aren’t here for the experiment anymore.

By the end of the second group of episodes, we’re only following Uche and Aaliyah, Lydia and Milton, and Stacy and Izzy. Only one other couple even made it to the vacation episodes, while the rest of the contestants we meet (Johnie and Chris) literally pop up at random once the pods are done. 

Then there are the dozens of contestants we don’t even meet during this season, just familiar faces operating as glorified extras in scenes. Did these contestants find love or anything close to it? Did they date in the pods at all? Do they speak?! The world will never know.

While production has insisted that they did not know about the twist, this triangle feels like the rules of the game have been broken.

This kind of plot twist is reality TV gold. But by shifting the spotlight to the love triangle and (barely) two other couples, the entire focus on “the experiment” and “finding love” is non-existent. Less “The Bachelor,” a show that, despite plenty of scandal, is committed to “true love,” more “Vanderpump Rules,” young people dating, cheating, and being just downright awful to each other.

Both styles of show can exist, and God willing, will continue. But this clear shift in the show’s DNA has us questioning what “Love is Blind” will look like in the future, and if it will ever, truly, be about finding love again.

Episodes 8 and 9 of “Love is Blind” drop Friday, Oct. 6, with the finale hitting Netflix on Friday, Oct. 13.

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