Love Is Blind: After The Altar is a three-part follow-up to the first season of Love Is Blind, reuniting some of the fans’ favorite — and most hated — contestants under the guise of a 2nd wedding anniversary party for the two couples that actually got married at the end of season 1. Yes, Lauren and Cameron are still together, as are Barnett and Amber. But married bliss is kinda boring, isn’t it? That’s why everyone else is invited., silly!
Opening Shot: We see downtown Atlanta, and then Lauren Speed says, “We all want to find love, and we’ve done some crazy things to get it.” We then launch into a quick montage of scenes from Love Is Blind‘s first season.
The Gist: But we start with Giannina Gibelli, who started dating Damian Powers again shortly after he turned her down flat at the altar, followed by one of the show’s more memorable meltdowns. Two years after that disaster, the two of them seem to be in a good place, but her mother asks Gigi yet again when Damian is going to ask her to marry him; right now, the two of them don’t even live together.
Then we slide into the happy side of the series, with Speed and her husband Cameron Hamilton having both of their families over for dinner. The two were the most popular couple of Season 1 and have made themselves a social media staple since. They’re planning the joint party with the other successful couple, Matt Barnett and Amber Pike.
We see Barnett and Amber ATVing to a romantic spot and being their general goofy/adventurous selves. But Amber makes sure to mention that Jessica Batten, who tried to steal Barnett away from her multiple times, will be there. “One of the life skills I have mastered is acting like someone doesn’t exist,” she says to a surprised Barnett.
Diamond Jack, who so famously fought with Carlton Morton when Carlton told her after their engagement that he was bisexual, goes to a car wash/lounge where her show buddy Ebony works to meet the buddy of a Ebony’s squeeze. Carlton, on the other hand, is still bitter over how he feels he was done dirty by the show and the other cast members, and gets angry at Lauren, one of his few remaining allies, over drinks as she tries to see both sides of how things with Diamond went down.
The first time we see Jessica — who claims to be “the most hated reality star” — she’s meeting Diamond, Gigi and Lauren “LC” Chamblin — who also got rejected by Barnett — for drinks. The subject of Mark Cuevas, whom Jessica rejected at the altar, came up; he now has a child with someone who he may or may not have been seeing while he was seeing LC, after the show was completed.
Finally, as Damian pumps iron with Cameron and Barnett, Barnett talks about wanting to move out of the apartment he and Amber share with a roomie so they can start a family, and they try to nail down Damian about what’s going on with him and Gigi. But later we see Damian rolling up in his Porsche to meet Francessa, and his lunch with her is certainly more than just friendly.
What Shows Will It Remind You Of? Take the couples dynamics from Love Is Blind Season 1’s most interesting cast members and combine them with the fake party dynamics we see at the end of a typical Real Housewives season, and you have After The Altar.
Our Take: What After The Altar is trying to do is give fans a bit of a taste of Love Is Blind as the producers get Season 2 done under some trying conditions (remember that the bulk of Season 1 was filmed in 2018, way before COVID). Yes, it serves as an update to fans, and is more dynamic than the reunion show we got at the end of season 1.
But it also feels completely manufactured by the producers, from the “anniversary party” to the fact that the people who were in conflict with each other during the season will be put in the same room to see how the sparks fly. Yes, this is reality TV, but we have watched more than enough of it to know when the producers’ gears are grinding away in the background to try to create conflict where there was none.
If Carlton is already cursing out Lauren, of all people, what is he going to be like when he sees Diamond again? Will Jessica get the feels for Barnett again, and will Amber ignore her or get in her face? Will LC and Jessica confront Mark on his player ways? And will LC show some personality?
The Damian/Gigi saga could be a series all by itself, and we’re wondering if this Francesca thing is also being ginned up for the cameras a bit. She’s an outsider to the cast, and for some reason or another she’s going to be at the party to drive a wedge between Damian and Gigi. Did the producers see this bit of douchenozzlery on Damian’s part and run with it? Or is Damian just that dense that he thinks inviting this woman to the party is a good idea?
One of the problems with a show like this, that is supposed to be an update of a popular reality series, is that you can find everyone on social media and know exactly who’s still together, who’s not, and who they might be dating now. Certainly, a show centered on the Hamiltons and Barnetts wouldn’t be all that interesting, but it also seems like the Hamiltons and Barnetts are the people who are least looking forward to this party that’s in their honor. It’s because they know what’s what: It’s a party to generate on-camera sparks and nothing more.
Sex and Skin: None, really.
Parting Shot: Damian and Francesca toast to “seeing where life takes us,” and you start to wonder why Gigi has lost two years of her life trying to reel in Damian, whom she calls “my person.”
Sleeper Star: Seeing the warmth that the Speed and Hamilton families have for each other, especially after the doubts Lauren’s dad had about Cameron during Season 1, almost made us verklempt.
Most Pilot-y Line: Those stupid stainless steel wine glasses from Season 1 make their appearance during Barnett and Amber’s picnic. We thought we’d never see them again.
Our Call: STREAM IT. As silly and contrived as Love Is Blind: After The Altar is, it’s still a good way to catch up with the cast, even if the fights that they’re inevitably going to have are pure reality cheese.
Joel Keller (@joelkeller) writes about food, entertainment, parenting and tech, but he doesn’t kid himself: he’s a TV junkie. His writing has appeared in the New York Times, Slate, Salon, RollingStone.com, VanityFair.com, Fast Company and elsewhere.