At long last, The Ultimatum: Queer Love comes to an end after wreaking havoc on all our gay lives for three short but dizzying weeks. Episode nine includes everyone’s final decisions: Will they marry the person they came here with? Will they breakup? Will they leave with someone new? WILL ANY OF THEM GO TO THERAPY? Catch up on the drama with my mega recaps of episodes 1-4 and episodes 5-8. I’m writing this recap in real-time as I watch, so you’re getting my pure initial reactions. Spoilers abound, obviously.
Before I actually watch the final episodes, I’m going to jot down what I want to happen: I want everyone to break up. And just for the sake of reality television mess/drama, I want Yoly and Xander to leave together. Like I don’t actually want this, because I don’t want anyone to hurt Mal ever, but it is reality TV gold if two complete strangers do end up convinced they’re each other’s soulmates. Okay, on with the (troubling) show!
“The Ultimatum: Queer Lovewp_postsRecap: Episode 9
We start where episode eight leaves off, with Mal pouring their heart out to Yoly and asking her to marry them.
Yoly & Mal
Yoly says yes! I suppose I should have seen this coming, because I think if Yoly were going to say no, it would be at the end of the episode not the beginning. Something as dramatic as a proposal rejection gets saved for the end! It’s definitely a yes…with some strings though. Yoly tells Mal she feels as if Mal had to be backed up against a wall to get to this point. Mal explains she’s all in now. Yoly brings up her feelings for Xander, and Mal says she won’t disrespect Yoly’s relationship with Xander and never has. She knows Yoly loves two people, and she’s willing to work toward figuring that out with Yoly. On a show full of delulu chaos demons with questionable emotional intelligence, MAL MIGHT BE THE ONLY PERSON HERE WHO IS SECURE, COMMUNICATIVE, AND GROWN. I think it’s good they’re talking about Xander here. I once again think Yoly maybe wants a poly relationship structure? It’s odd that no one is saying that.
Mildred & Tiff
As a reminder: This could breaks up and gets back together every other week. Let’s just…hold that information in our hearts as we move into this. They both get ready for decision day, Mildred as the ultimatum giver and Tiff as the receiver. They’ll need to propose or Mildred will walk. Okay, I definitely thought everyone was going to have to go to the same gazebo for these conversations, like a designated Ultimatum Gazebo, but apparently not! Tiff takes Mildred to a seaside cliff they apparently brought Mildred to in the beginning of their relationship.
“I feel like being on this experience has allowed me to put my soul and my feelings on the line,” Tiff monologues. As a reminder, one of those things they put their soul on the line for was their dog, at the expense of their trial wife’s comfort.
Mildred says she wants someone who loves her unconditionally and she feels like that might not be Tiff but that she wants it to be. Honestly they’re both saying a lot of word salad, and it’s difficult for me to follow! Tiff gives what sounds like a carefully memorized soliloquy that could have used a tight edit IMO. They do propose, and Mildred says yes, and I am shouting NOOOOOOOO at my television!!!!!!!!!!!
Aussie & Sam
Here’s the thing with these two: I think they could make sense for each other at some point, but I think Aussie needs a tremendous amount of therapy and both need to work intensely on communication, trust, and understanding. Aussie does seem to be on a complex gender journey, and whew, reality television is NOT a great arena for that! Sam admits her ultimatum has layers: She doesn’t just want Aussie to propose; she wants Aussie to propose and commit to growing with Sam and working on the relationship. Aussie confesses leading up to the decision that Aussie has a fear of commitment but also a lot of insecurity around not being good enough to marry Sam. Again, I do think these two could possibly be married one day, but I don’t think they’re there yet!!!!!!!!
They meet in a nature preserve type area for their decision moment, and they both look great! Aussie talks about two species of penguins in the Antarctic who choose their life partners by presenting them with a cool rock. Aussie then gives a heart-shaped labradorite gemstone to Sam, and Sam seems hesitant to accept it, perhaps thinking that’s all she’s getting, but nope! Aussie also proposes with a ring, and Sam says yes. Listen, I gotta respect the rock move, because my fiancé put my engagement ring inside of a cool rock.
Okay wait, is every ultimatum receiver going to propose and every ultimatum giver just going to say yes?????? Where are the twists? Or is THIS the twist?! That everyone is just going to leave engaged to their original partners after all that!
Xander & Vanessa
Okay, maybe? Something different? Will happen here? Vanessa points out that she came into this thinking she was going to be the one having to make a decision but that now it feels like it’s Xander who has the decision to make, since they’re the one who fell in love with someone new. Vanessa says it feels like Xander has taken back the ultimatum.
Vanessa and Xander meet on a bench in the middle of tropical forrest, and wow, why does every dramatic Vanessa scene take place on a bench!
Okay, finally, we have a different outcome. Xander says they feel like they can’t offer Vanessa what she deserves right now. “This is absolutely not how I thought this experience would end,” Vanessa says. I think she indeed thought she’d be the one in control over this decision and would likely get exactly what she wants. “Thank you for our four years together,” Vanessa says. “They changed me.”
They break up, and even though it’s what I very much think should have happened, their conversation is actually more emotionally affecting than any of the proposals have been! I’ve been basically chanting “break up!” at them this whole time, and now that it’s finally happening, I might be getting a little weepy. What is happening!
Xander says they still have to talk to Yoly today, and I don’t think that’s going to go the way she’s hoping for! Yoly is engaged to someone else! Which brings us to our bonus pairing…
Yoly & Xander
Yoly and Xander meet up on a deck, and it’s indeed awkward at first. Yoly doesn’t appear to be wearing Mal’s ring. Yoly asks Xander where she’s at with Vanessa, and Xander tells her they broke up and that some of that has to do with their feelings for her. I do think maybe…Yoly should have gone first here and led with Mal’s proposal and her acceptance of it?!
Xander says she feels confident that they could have a life together, and Yoly loves to hear this, but Yoly girl you’re literally engaged to someone else! She finally tells Xander that Mal proposed and that she said yes. She also admits she purposefully took the ring off before meeting with Xander because she didn’t want it to impact what Xander said and felt? Xander asks her if she feels confident in her choice, and Yoly admits she doesn’t know what to do. She says she feels it for Xander in her heart and feels it for Mal in her head.
“It sucks to lose you,” Xander says. They exchange I love yous, and then Yoly asks Xander to walk off with her, presumably trying to get away from cameras, but of course the cameras follow. They hold each other, and it’s very dramatic! The lighting is also very good! Yoly says that if love were enough then she would choose Xander, but there’s a different kind of loyalty she’s being drawn to with Mal.
I do think Yoly desperately wants either Xander or Mal to “fight” for her, almost for someone to make this choice for her or try to pressure her into something, but that’s not who Xander or Mal are! They genuinely want Yoly to make her own choices and to do what she wants. Yoly has ended up in a love triangle with two people who love her but who do not want to pressure her.
A producer asks Xander, heartbroken over Yoly’s choice, if she thinks Yoly made a mistake in choosing Mal, and Xander says no. “I think you guys got enough,” Xander says to production.
Rae & Lexi
I can’t believe we have to switch gears to these two after all that with Xander/Yoly, but here we are! It seems weird to end with these two because the stakes don’t feel as high as the Mal/Yoly/Xander/Vanessa situations. It either means something unexpected is about to happen or something straightforward so that the episode is book ended by simple proposals. But that’s so boring!
Lexi and Rae meet in a greenhouse, and I’m begging for Lexi to take her purse off her shoulder for this very serious conversation! Even though I do think these two should break up, I will admit that Rae’s proposal was one of the better ones. She gets down on one knee, and Lexi says yes and then proposes back. I wish I could root for these two! Oh well!
“The Ultimatum: Queer Lovewp_postsRecap: Episode 10
It’s time for the reunion!!! As a Bravo Dyke, I love a reality television reunion, but I also don’t think reunions that don’t have investigative journalist Andy Cohen asking the important questions are very interesting. JoAnna Garcia Swisher is…no Andy Cohen. I’ll try to keep an open mind though. I’m just going to recap some of the highlights!
One thing I was wondering about heading into this reunion was if the couples who got engaged had to wait to have their weddings, since the series filmed in 2021 and they haven’t been allowed to post anything that counts as “spoilers” on their social media. This reunion was apparently filmed this January, so some time has passed. Sorry to keep bringing Bravo into this, but one of the things that doesn’t work about these Netflix reunions that are filmed so long before the show airs is that outsider viewer discourse doesn’t come into play. The whole point of the reunion is a breaking of the fourth wall and a chance for cast members to react to the ways they’ve been perceived — at least in my opinion! But apparently the point of this reunion is just to see who’s still together — and also rehash what Miss JoAnna Garcia Swisher calls FINGERGATE, a tedious process I will not replicate in this recap lol.
Lexi and Rae are still engaged but have not married yet. They seem chill.
Xander and Vanessa are still broken up, and it’s pretty much a no contact break up! They really did make the best decisions in a lot of ways. Vanessa also says she’ll never look back and regret that she dated Xander. It does sound like both of them have done a lot of personal growth.
MAL AND YOLY ARE BROKEN UP. Mal, specifically, says they’re “happily broken up.” Things are tense! FINALLY SOME REAL DRAMA.
Yoly says two weeks after being back from filming The Ultimatum that things were over between them, and Mal heavily suggests Yoly is lying about this timeline. Mal also says that what she ended up seeing on the show is different than what she and Yoly talked about. They also say Yoly’s dishonesty was on display on the show and that they feel degraded by a lot of Yoly’s behavior, especially at that party where she and Xander kept sneaking around together. “I look like an ass on television,” Mal says. Yoly says she looks like an “ad for polyamory” on the show, which did make me laugh, especially since it’s somehow the first time anyone has even used the word on the show.
Mal says seeing Yoly and Xander be lovey-dovey isn’t actually the hard thing, because people being in love is beautiful. Vanessa interjects to say that they did try to be together after filming, and some of this is news to Mal, who knew they were in contact with each other after filming but did not know they were planning a trip to Hawai’i together or that they saw each other at Coachella. Xander and Yoly claim nothing happened at Coachella other than just listening to music together. I’m not sure if I believe them!
MILDRED AND TIFF ARE ALSO BROKEN UP. And they are also full no-contact. Mildred says they moved in together after the engagement but then things ended. Mildred also says that Tiff basically used their dog to manipulate her into speaking to them again, texting her and her sister on Christmas Eve that Shylo was not going to make it through an emergency surgery. Tiff says the problems they had in the relationship after the show were all the same problems on display during the show. Mildred says Tiff wasn’t financially responsible and that she was expected to pay two thirds of the rent since she had a son in the home, but Tiff claims that they never told Mildred she had to do that. Mildred also says she was arrested after Tiff called the cops when Mildred threw a dog gate at them. THIS ALL DESCENDS INTO CHAOS, with Mildred saying something about Tiff bringing girls home to play “sex board games” (??) when they were still living together (and Tiff pointing out they were broken up and that they do not know what sex board games are). Wheewwwwwww I am glad these two are broken up. This all sounds very bad on a lot of levels!
Tiff walks off crying. Aussie says that while Aussie isn’t taking any sides here but that Tiff using the word gaslighting brought back memories of Aussie’s trial marriage with Mildred. Sam says she feels like Tiff was just put on blast and only one person got to share their side. Sam follows Tiff out and gives them a hug. Sam tells them they don’t have to prove anything to Mildred. Sam continues to be the emotional support femme 😭
Tiff straight up leaves, and I do think that might be for the best. There wasn’t anything productive coming out of this for anyone.
Aussie and Sam are still engaged and, similar to Lexi and Rae, haven’t actually gotten married yet due to the constraints of the show. But it sounds like they’re both in a better place! I do want them to have their happy ending! Let’s end on that nice note! But feel free to meet me in the comments to talk about all the mess. WAIT JK, RIGHT BEFORE THE CREDITS START ROLLING, A SCREEN OF TEXT ANNOUNCES THAT RAE AND LEXI BROKE UP SHORTLY AFTER THE REUNION FILMED AND CALLED OFF THE WEDDING.
So in the end, my prediction/hope that most everyone would break up actually did come true. Only Aussie and Sam are together it seems!
I genuinely cannot tell if I loved or hated this show, and I’m curious how others feel. It’s…an interesting study, that’s for sure!! I do have lingering issues with Netflix’s refusal to acknowledge or incorporate people’s pronouns into this show! You can find everyone’s pronouns here. If the show comes back, I hope it’s with a queer host next time.