Vacation is over on Tough Love Miami, and now comes the hard part of boot camp: The ladies must decide what their future holds and who will receive their promise ring. And this week, everyone’s on the hot seat…
First up on the hot seat is Michelle. Over the course of the season, we learned that Michelle’s love for bad boys was her biggest hindrance. After meeting her Pacino-doppelganger of an ex-boyfriend, George, it was clear that she clearly was hung up on men who are totally wrong for her. Fortunately for Michelle, along came Sam.
Michelle tells Steve on the hot seat, “I thought that I liked bad boys and I don’t.” Michelle nervously offers her promise ring to Sam, telling him that he has shown her the qualities that she values and wants in a man.
“That means a lot,” Sam tells her. “Unfortunately” (dun dun dunnnn!) “I was brought on kind of late, so our time together was limited…When I’m not with you, I find myself wishing I was.” He accepts her ring and they ecstatically, adorably commit to one another as much as one can in a scenario like this. I was nervous after that “unfortunately” ruse, but this guy is seriously the sweetest Ken doll ever.
Chasity tells Steve during her time on the hot seat that “I came here thinking I was a go-go dancer at the Pleasure Pit…it took coming here for me to realize I’m more than a dancer.” She vows honestly to give up go-go dancing, which she’s said all season long but after all this time, it feels like maybe now we can truly believe it.
She’s definitely changing, and that’s what she tells Al when it comes time for her to decide whether she wants to give him her promise ring or keep it. “It symbolized change to me because I’ve changed a lot, so I’m going to keep it for me so I can keep changing,” she says, but luckily Al still wants to see her even though she doesn’t fork over her jewelry.
“When Leilani came to boot camp, she was about as deep as a kiddie pool,” Steve says. Before she met George, her only concerns were looks and money, and she says “No one was ever going to give me a kick in the butt like Steve did. I learned a whole lot of lessons…that I really needed to learn.” When George arrives, she gives him her ring, promising “I will make time, I will make effort, and I will make the journey to come and see you.” George accepts the ring and seems happy, and maybe I’m just projecting off of last week’s episode where George seems non-commital, but I get a vibe from him that he’s a little meh about the whole thing.
At the beginning of this night, Steve promised the women a surprise, and she arrived in the form of Claudia. “Claudia is happier than I’ve ever seen her,” Steve says, and it’s true, she looks amazing and happy. Unfortunately, that’s all we see of Claudia this evening. (Fortunately, we WILL see her at the reunion next week.)
When it’s Jane‘s turn for the hot seat, she starts off by reading a letter to her fellow bootcampers. In it, she writes: “Before coming into this experience, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I was in for the biggest wakeup call in my twenty eight years of life. I have learned through this process that I have a lot of issues that I had to work on. The main one is telling the truth.” Jane has resolved her issues with her roomies, but the real issue is her relationships. Steve brings out Alan and Jane tells him “I’ve given this promise ring to myself but I promise to work on us.” Alan tells her she’s a completely different person after bootcamp and that she’s the only one for him. “I’ve never had a case like you before,” Steve tells Jane. “I’ve never had anyone come here genuinely not looking for help, and there’s no one who needed it more.”
Brigette, who was Miss Desperate at the beginning of boot camp, has changed by leaps and bounds. She says she’s thought about what to do with her promise ring “way too much.” She who was so close to Anthony on their first date, she who had to be separated from him like a horny teen, is now totally confused about whether she wants to be in a relationship with him. “It’s the moment of truth, and suddenly my decision is clear,” Brigette says as soon as she lays eyes on Anthony. She promises Anthony she won’t give up on their relationship and she gives him her ring, but not without emphasizing that she is still a work in progress.
Avonte, who spent nine years as a mistress admits she had no idea she was as guarded and confrontational as she was when she began Tough Love. Avonte addresses one of her first date attempts with Donald, the guy with dreadlocks, and actually says now that she “didn’t know that girl” who put Donald down and scorned him for his hairstyle.
Donald actually shows up to the ceremony so that Avonte can thank him for making her realize she needed to work on herself. “You were my turning point in this whole process,” she tells him and they hug it out.
I think we all needed this moment, it’s so nice to see Avonte own up to her behavior and it’s generous of Donald to forgive her. When it comes time for Avonte to decide whether to give her ring to Eric, who she’s only known for two weeks but who she says “is everything I’ve been screaming about…What took you so long, Steve?” And Steve is like, “Um, what took YOU so long, Avonte?”
He explains that Avonte needed to be ready to meet a man like Eric, lest she scare him away (like she did Donald). Out comes Eric, and Avonte looks like she’s having heart palpitations while he makes his way up to he platform. Avonte tells him he’s an amazing guy and he is her perfect match and she gives him her ring in spite of the short time they’ve been together. “I need a strong woman by my side, and I think you could be that strong woman,” Eric tells her. Is this like, the most heartwarming episode ever?
“Frank just makes me feel confident. He makes me feel very beautiful,” Christine says of her beau when she’s in the hot seat. (Who arrived in a tux! Black tie Frank, not holding back on this holiest of hot seat nights!) She tells him she wasn’t going to give him her promise ring because she thinks that at some point, they might exchange real rings. She does, however, dedicate her ring to her daughter. Frank promises her “Laughs, fun, and tons of passionate kisses,” which seems like everything Christine wants.
Finally, mama bear JoAnn Ward returns to the show to shed a few more tears and tell the girls how special they are and the scene culminates in a group hug. “The girls from TL3, we’re a family,” Michelle says. “We might be a dysfunctional family, but we’re a family and we’ll always be a family.” One by one, they leave the stage and it’s clear that some amazing relationships have formed over ten weeks between these women. Whether or not their relationships with the men they’ve been matched with will be as durable is another story…one we’ll find out about next week at the first ever Tough Love reunion!