The ‘Love Is Blind’ Dead Plant Cam Is Absolutely Brutal This Season

Photo Illustration by Luis G. Rendon/The Daily Beast
Photo Illustration by Luis G. Rendon/The Daily Beast

Throughout human history, the language of plants has been the language of both love and horniness. The Victorians had floriography, and in How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, Kate Hudson had a love fern. In the erotic poem “The Song of Songs,” Solomon wrote, “I am the rose of Sharon and the lily of the valleys. As the lily among thorns, so is my love among the daughters.” And on Love Is Blind Season 4, close-ups of languishing houseplants have become an unmistakable symbol for relationship decay.

Netflix’s most addictive dating show has always loved an awkward home tour, and its camera has always coveted a dirty pile of laundry. These moments, when each person combs through the other’s living space, are among the most telling in a show that’s all about what makes two people click—both in the short- and long-term.

The home tours, fresh off of the show’s honeymoon-like vacation phase, offer viewers a peek into how well the pairs might mesh once hosts Nick and Vanessa Lachey release them back into the wild. The flies around Cole’s ghastly, uncleaned toilet from last season will forever be burned into my memory, but this season appears to have discovered a slightly more… poetic visual device. As Kate Hudson’s Andie Anderson taught us, nothing spells “trouble” in a relationship quite like a dead fern.

Love Is Blind Season 4, Episodes 6 through 8 debuted Friday on Netflix, and it’s during Episode 7 when the chaos begins. Two contestants, in particular, seem to have inspired the show’s camera crew with their withering weeds, and in both cases, it feels a bit like foreshadowing.

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First, there’s Kwame Appiah, whose Portland apartment comes replete with amenities like dirty laundry on the floor and detritus of daily life scattered across most surfaces. (Someone has got to remind these contestants that however they leave the apartment is how it will remain when the judgmental cameras show up!) Our establishing shot during the tour? A desiccated plant, whose gray leaves seem to be reaching for the discarded Tasty’s wrapper on the tabletop below as they slump over the edge of a bland white pot. Fascinating…

Maybe the pitiful plant was actually green and pristine when Kwame left; on the other hand, could no one stop by to water it?! Kwame’s partner, Chelsea Griffin, takes the state of his apartment—and the plant—in stride. That said, in spite of the cheerful tour (and the discovery that they both buy the same lube), some tension does arise between Kwame and Chelsea while they discuss his plans to relocate from Portland to Seattle, where she lives. Kwame’s face turns tight at the prospect, and while Chelsea says all the right things about building a peaceful new home together, he does not seem to be completely soothed.

One shot of a dead plant could easily be dismissed. But producers return to the same plant as an establishing shot again, not even 20 minutes later—but only after a quick stop at Paul Peden’s place, where marketing manager Micah Lussier seems to want to sell off absolutely everything. Among the first things we see? A slumped-over plant, whose leaves appear to be crisping up and browning away near the soil. In fairness, this one appears to be a species of plant that tends to slouch. Still, those leaves are not looking good. We observe the shot just as Micah calls out, “Oh my goodness!”—a clever bit of editing that should earn someone at least a hearty high-five.

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“I think that there’s a very good chance that I’m going to be Paul’s fiancee and stylist at the same time,” Micah (coincidentally, Kwame’s ex) tells the camera. “... I would get rid of all the different color woods. A new desk, a different couch, like a different TV, maybe mount something… Get some art, a different bed frame. Change, like, literally everything, probably.” From a design perspective, she’s right on basically all counts and she should say it. From a relationship perspective, it’s one of many challenges ahead.

Then, it’s back to Kwame’s, where the exact same plant we observed last time returns for an encore. (Guest acting Emmy when?) This time, Kwame and Chelsea are staring down another relationship hurdle: Kwame hasn’t been able to speak with his mother since he and his fellow contestants entered the pods.

“I’m not sure if she knows and just isn’t picking up,” Kwame tells Chelsea. “... I feel pretty confident about things. It’s like ‘Yeah, sure, she’ll be fine. But at the same time, will she?’”

Cue what appears to be either a staged re-enactment of a very awkward phone call, in which Kwame ultimately discovers that his mother is angry with his decision to look for love through this show. The plant knew what was coming all along.

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Things have not improved much by the end of this week’s episodes, either. Kwame and Chelsea find themselves debating the ideal time to have kids at a self-service dog grooming salon, which eventually prompts Chelsea to ask Kwame if he wants to settle down. “I’ve always been willing to do this for us,” he says. At the same time, he says, “If we’re being honest here, the compromise coming from this side is pretty darn big.” Later on, he says that he just wanted Chelsea to ”consider how I’m feeling in this moment.” Her response? “Considered.” Eek!

Micah and Paul’s meeting with her friends lands them in an equally confusing place. Micah’s best friend, Shelby, emphatically does not like him, and once she’s made that clear a few times (seemingly unprompted), he lets her know that he doesn’t care. “Don’t be like that,” Micah says—to which he replies, “I mean, I don’t.” The two change the subject soon after that, but the vibe at the bar that night is officially dead. By the end of the night, Shelby pronounces, “I am 100 percent not with it.”

“You’re meant to have the best wedding of your life,” Shelby tearfully tells Micah, holding her friend’s face in her hands. “You’re meant to have all this, and this isn’t it.”

(Not sure if there is an appropriate way to say this, but everyone seems to be very tipsy in this scene except for Paul.)

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As uncertain as things seem now, the questions (and the stakes) will only get bigger in the episodes ahead. Our preview for next week’s episodes, which include all but the finale, shows Micah challenging Paul to answer first at the altar. “I’m definitely guilty of thinking more with my head than my heart,” we hear Paul say. Chelsea, meanwhile, asks Kwame before their wedding whether he’s willing to say “yes” to a marriage without his mother’s approval. Only time will tell if either of these couples make it down the aisle, but if they don’t, we’ll know the plants were trying to tell us something all along.

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