Over the last two weeks, people around the world turned into detectives trying to confirm if two cast members on a reality show were still together. They combed through dozens of social media posts to find tiny clues—like the reflection of one half of the couple through the other person’s sunglasses or a staircase that eagle-eyed fans recognized from the episode in which the couples showed each other their homes. Finally, two weeks after Love Is Blind premiered on Netflix, we got the answer.
Warning: spoilers ahead.
Yes, Lauren Speed and Cameron Hamilton got married on the Love Is Blind finale, which the streaming service released on Thursday. From the beginning, the two were the fan favorites on the reality TV series in which single people—all attractive and in their 20s and 30s—got engaged to someone they had only spoken to though a thin, opaque wall in “pods” over the course of 10 days. The short engagements lasted for only a few weeks before the couples were forced to get married on a rushed timeline. If this premise seems chaotic and wild, it is. That is part of its appeal.
Love Is Blind combines elements from several other successful dating reality shows, like The Bachelor and 90 Day Fiancé. But the Bachelor, even in 2020, is woefully outdated. Love Is Blind instead feels like you’re watching a feed from a near-future dystopian world. As others have pointed out, it’s reminiscent of Yorgos Lanthimos’ 2015 film The Lobster, where single people who don’t find a mate are turned into an animal of their choosing.
No one on Love Is Blind was turned into an animal, luckily, but the way in which cast members who didn’t find love early on literally disappeared did set an ominous tone. As it turns out, Netflix simply didn’t have the resources to tell the stories of several couples. Eight couples ultimately ended up engaged, but they only showed audiences six of them. One of those couples parted dramatically—the woman, Diamond, quoted Beyoncé to her ex-fiancé, Carlton, as she walked away—during a trip to Mexico. That left five couples, who are all featured in the 10th and final episode. And out of those five, only two couples left the show married.
Unlike The Bachelor, which usually centers its drama around the remaining two people that the titular bachelor or bachelorette must pick, Love Is Blind gave audiences several couples to root for, or mock. There was Jessica, who was painted as the wine-loving villain—even offering her wine glass to her golden retriever in one of the most memorable/deranged scenes of the series. Predictably, she said no to her sweet yet naive fiancé, Mark, whom she had reservations about since the beginning. Barnett, who flirted with three different women in the pods before settling on Amber, was depicted as a grown-up yet indecisive frat boy. Giannina, who initiated dramatic fights with her fiancé, Damian, and at one point criticized their sexual chemistry, endured the most painful conclusion of all the couples in the finale as Damian rejected her at the altar. She is seen running down the road outside the venue, her wedding dress now spotted with dirt. (Update: apparently, the couple got back together after the wedding.)
The Love Is Blind finale is full of moments of second-hand embarrassment. All of the couples who parted stated their intentions at the altar. Yes, three couples broke up at the altar. The cynic in me can’t help but think that this was a deliberate direction by the producers to add drama; go through with the wedding, or break up at the altar. Yet in a recent interview with the Daily Beast, Giannina says that Damian told her that he was going to decide whether or not to marry her at the altar. (See? It definitely feels like a dystopian movie.)
The other two rejections were not surprising. Jessica rejected Mark, whom she made clear was her second choice after Barnett. And Kelly rejected Kenny, who was very much in love with her. But Kelly’s reservations about her feelings were documented in earlier episodes. Kenny handled the refusal calmly, but when a cameraman tried to interview him afterward, he repeatedly looked at the camera and said, “please stop recording.”
Jessica, a 34-year-old regional manager, appeared hesitant about the experiment from the start, which makes you wonder how she ended up on the show at all. When Barnett changed his mind about her, she quickly decided to focus back on Mark, a 24-year-old fitness instructor who was open, honest, and noticeably more mature than her despite the age difference. She kept him at a distance after they saw each other in the flesh, but he kept trying to make it work. In her post-wedding interview, she says, “I’m too much of a realist to take this big of a chance. I’m not going to do it.” Why would a realist sign up for a dating show in which the goal is to marry someone within a month?
One of the most interesting aspects of the show is that it was filmed in late 2018, and the couples were clearly told not to post any photos together on social media. As many fans noticed, all the couples also unfollowed each other on social media to add more mystery (on Thursday, at least one of the remaining couples went back to following each other). Yet Netflix—and the Love Is Blind hosts, Nick and Vanessa Lachey—couldn’t have predicted the overnight fandom of this show. After the initial episodes aired, fans quickly scoped out Lauren and Cameron’s Instagram pages, which are both heavily promoting the show. How they became the most popular couple is easy to see; there was almost no drama with either of them, and they clearly love each other. They are, for a reality TV couple, shockingly real. The other couple who said “yes” to marriage, Barnett and Amber, were fun to follow for entertainment but did not gain the huge fanbase that Lauren and Cameron have amassed in a short period of time.
Love Is Blind has the power to potentially change reality TV, and especially reality TV that is released on a streaming service. With new episodes released every Thursday for three weeks, Love Is Blind was strategically designed to get people addicted to the show and crave more. Paired with the high stakes of agreeing to marry someone you’ve never seen, it was an unbeatable combination and far more binge-able than last year’s Dating Around, in which the only goal was to find someone worthy of a second date. Although fans likely guessed the outcome of some of the couples on Love Is Blind, it was still thrilling to watch our heroes—Lauren and Cameron—say their vows. More than a year later, it appears that the couple is still together. Netflix just set a high bar for our expectations in reality show romances.