After The Altar Season 2 Review


Mallory remains single and guarded and kind of sad; her ex-fiancé Sal brings his annoyingly energetic new girlfriend Jessi to the show to, I don’t know, further punish the woman he said no to. Married couple Nick and Danielle smile, laugh, and banter about their costume parties and misfortune-plagued travels (a concussion, a capsized canoe, a power outage); they seem solid, although, you know, from their subsequent divorce announcement it looks like this was their act for the public, and a lot of hard stuff was happening off camera. (Shake, who made clear he prefers thin white women but matched with Deepti and spent most of Season 2 discussing his concerns about his fiancé with everyone except her, does not return for this special.)

I was drawn to Love Is Blind initially because I am an almost-middle-aged woman who in my heart values uncool things like love and commitment. I also still crave, in this racist, sexist society that can’t seem to stop valuing women based on their appearances, a glimpse of an alternative.

The first season of Love Is Blind was pretty self-serious about the concept that our ability to detect true, lasting love would be enhanced when we’re not just indulging our primitive and highly problematic impulse to chase people who we find hot. “Everyone wants to be loved for who they are, not for their looks, their race, their background, or their income,” host Vanessa Lachey said in Episode 1. “Psychologists believe that emotional connection is the key to long-term marital success, not physical attraction,” Nick Lachey continued.

Season 1 brought us interracial couple Lauren and Cameron, an incredibly sweet pairing, and Amber and Barnett, if it’s frat house romance instead that appeals to you. As far as we know, these couples remain together, and they kept me interested enough to watch another season of Love Is Blind.

Season 2 gave me none of that. Shake, unable to get past the fact that Deepti is Indian (like him), didn’t seem to remotely understand the point of the experiment. The two couples who moved forward with marriage didn’t transcend any obvious hurdles that would have kept them apart had they met in a more conventional way. One year later, After the Altar shows that the emotional connections these people made in the pods — the very premise of the show — didn’t spare their relationships from any of the mundane and destructive problems the rest of us face.

It’s hard not to conclude from a series that has only produced two lasting marriages so far that, yes, strangers can have chemistry without seeing each other, but love is difficult to find, and marriages are even harder to sustain. Perhaps most crushingly, After the Altar reminds us that even once you find love, it may not be enough. Breakups aren’t bad, of course — we’ve all left relationships for the better — but the problem with a lot of dating isn’t that we know what people look like. The problem is that we are all imperfect creatures with a limited capacity to deal with our own problems and those of our partners.

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