[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for Married at First Sight, Season 12, Episode 15, “Retreat Ready.”]
The remaining couples of Married at First Sight‘s 12th season are nearing the finish line as Decision Day looms on the horizon. But as they prepare for their next stage in marriage, they’re taking part in the traditional couples retreat.
Heading off to Hilton Head, South Carolina, these Atlantans are in for some major relationship breakthroughs. Whether they’re for the best or not remains to be seen. Below, we break down all of the retreat drama.
As the participating couples begin their journeys from Georgia to South Carolina, Haley and Jacob opt for driving separately, a decision he believed was best due to their continued tension. Meanwhile, Erik and Virginia and Vincent and Briana depart as couples in shared vehicles. Erik and Virginia’s ride is filled with passive-aggressive comments as the duo continues in their on-and-off pattern.
Jacob is the first to arrive and he doesn’t waste any time in serving himself some eggs, claiming to forget Haley was cooking dinner that night for the group. Her annoyance is clear upon arrival and he doesn’t assist her in the kitchen when she begins prepping the meal. The awkwardness continues through dinner with Erik, Virginia, Vincent, and Briana who can’t help but feel the separation between Haley and Jacob, especially when he calls their marriage a never-ending bad first date. After dinner, the couples play a game called “MAFS-ology” which tests their knowledge about each other. The tension begins to dissipate, especially when Haley and Jacob come out of the game victorious.
Beginning Day 2
Clara and Ryan join the couples the next morning — it’s unclear why they didn’t travel to Hilton Head the same day as everyone else, but nonetheless, it was a good start to the day as they arrived just in time for breakfast. The good mood turns for Clara though when Virginia pulls her aside to complain that she and Erik had a fight the night before, something viewers didn’t see on camera.
In the kitchen, the conversation continues as Clara asks the girls if they feel like they’re losing themselves in marriage, noting it’s a question she’s been asked. Virginia says she’s beginning to realize just how opposite her and Erik are.
While it’s fun to be together, the couples also enjoy some separate activities with each other alone. Haley and Jacob opt for crabbing in a more civil outing than the previous night’s dinner. Meanwhile, Virginia and Erik enjoy a beach picnic but bring up some heavy topics when she reveals how strongly she wants to fight for their marriage.
Ryan and Clara go paddle boarding and she has more success balance-wise as they maneuver through the waters. Vincent is scared during his excursion with Briana which includes horseback riding on the beach. At first he refuses to do it, but eventually, he’s convinced and they share a pleasant afternoon.
The experts advise some of the couples to write letters to each other complimenting qualities they admire in one another, and first up are Haley and Jacob. Taking a turn from their earlier tiffs, Haley and Jacob both admire how loyal they are to their families and admit they can see why they were matched in the first place. Clara and Ryan’s letters reveal how strongly they feel for one another, particularly how much Ryan cares, and it’s clear that Clara feels reassured by his words despite his inability to say “I love you” yet.
When the women convene following the exercises, Haley mentions that Jacob claimed her tone was negative during their outing, and it caused some more tension despite their letter breakthrough. As for Clara, she says she needs to feel the love from Ryan before she can say yes on Decision Day, but feels like they’re heading in the right direction.
On the final night, the couples share loads of laughter while cooking the crabs Haley and Jacob caught on their excursion. Chatting over their meal, Briana and Vincent share some valid concerns about their next move post-Decision Day. She’s worried about space and leaving her apartment. Meanwhile, Erik and Virginia reveal they’ll be living separately because his apartment doesn’t allow animals and Virginia refuses to leave her fur babies behind. It appears they’ve reached a stalemate, unsure of how they’ll remedy the situation, and the conversation continues when they go to bed as Virginia won’t budge on keeping her pets nearby despite Erik reminding her that he’s allergic to her cats.
Jacob makes an early exit, leaving the retreat house before anyone else is awake, leaving Haley searching for him and the others scratching their heads over his odd departure. The other pairs reflect on their experience, which seemed to be pretty successful overall, and it definitely feels that way in comparison to past couples retreats in recent seasons. Will the relative peace last or is it the calm before a Decision Day storm? Stay tuned.
Married at First Sight, Season 12, Wednesdays, 8/7c, Lifetime