There have been numerous gasp-worthy moments in the latest season of "Love Is Blind." But from JP mocking Taylor's makeup and Johnie making a grand entrance with Chris in tow to Stacy's countless euphemisms for a golf stick, there was not a single moment that came close to the shock and horror that came over me when Uche admitted to Aaliyah that he had a romantic history with another contestant on the show and uttered the words: "It's Lydia," aka Aaliyah's closest friend.
To sum up the Uche, Aaliyah, and Lydia drama, it's revealed in episode three that Uche and Lydia had dated before both coming on "Love Is Blind" season five. They reveal their relationship spanned several months, and Lydia says they slept together only a few weeks before coming on the show. Lydia recognises Uche's voice on their first pod date, and after quite a bit of prodding, he remembers hers as well. However, they decide not to continue on with one another, keeping their history secret from the other contestants. Their decision was supposedly made to stick to the "Love Is Blind" experiment, which requires contestants to not know their potential love interest's appearance and, instead, only fall in love emotionally.
When Uche finally reveals all to Aaliyah, she is blindsided, to say the least. She and Lydia had met on the show and grown close, seemingly spending most of their time outside of the pods together, and she's understandably horrified to learn her closest friend is her current partner's ex. She has been confiding in Lydia about Uche, crying on her shoulder and taking her advice, all while Lydia withheld this secret. Making matters worst, Uche makes this revelation after previously chastising and distancing himself from Aaliyah after she got honest and vulnerable about her previous infidelity with an ex. Why be so harsh when you know you're withholding your own major secret?
Uche makes this revelation after previously chastising and distancing himself from Aaliyah after she got honest and vulnerable about her previous infidelity with an ex. Why be so harsh when you know you're withholding your own major secret?
Uche is equally — if not more — responsible for the lies that caused Aaliyah's heartbreak in this situation. But here, we will focus on Lydia's role, and why she perfectly represents the danger of the "nice girl" archetype.
When Lydia and Uche both find themselves on "Love Is Blind," she suggests that they try things from scratch again, asking, "Do you want to start at zero?" and "You don't think it's even worth it to get to know each other more?" suggesting there were still feelings on her side. But Uche decides this wouldn't be fitting for the experiment, and at some point, it's presumed they decide to keep their history private. This is a decision they made, and while I'm not sure I would have done the same, I can see their reasoning for it. They wanted the other contestants to have a blank slate with one another and not be influenced by this prior relationship.
I take issue with Lydia pursuing a friendship with Aaliyah, however. Lydia seems to actively seek out Aaliyah. She is always by her side — the one to wipe her tears and give her words of encouragement. When Uche harshly dismisses Aaliyah for her previous infidelity, she's the one to hold her as she sobs and tells Aaliyah how much she is reminded of herself and her past relationship. Rewatching these scenes, I feel nauseous that Lydia almost dropped in Easter eggs for the viewers. On top of that, production crudely chose a song called "I Got a Secret" to play in the background.
I can't understand how Lydia could, in good conscience, hold Aaliyah's hand throughout her issues with Uche without revealing her history with him. How can you offer all of this advice and encouragement knowing the lie that you're carrying? She must have known that the secret would be revealed at some point. If it wasn't revealed in the pods, it would be later when Aaliyah met Uche's friends or when the show eventually hit Netflix. Why did Lydia pursue a friendship with Aaliyah? They say that you should keep friends close and enemies closer, and it seems that Lydia did exactly that. She became Aaliyah's confidante for all things related to Uche, a position of power I believe she relished.
If I were Lydia, I would've kept my distance from Aaliyah instead of falsely creating a narrative that we're "sisters," as Aaliyah describes them in episode four. Take Stacy, for example. When she realised she and Johnie were both dating Izzy, she decided to stay away from Johnie and not discuss her situation with her. If Lydia had kept away from Aaliyah, I'd find it easier to overcome this deception.
When the truth is revealed, Lydia manages to make herself the victim of the situation and then proceeds to make Aaliyah more and more uncomfortable about it. Lydia is an intelligent woman, so she would ideally have the emotional maturity to recognise that Aaliyah wouldn't want to hear about how Uche's dog and friends all loved her and all the other personal details she knows because they were together previously. She essentially twisted the knife she stuck in Aaliyah's back and then blamed Aaliyah for not enjoying the pain.
Lydia essentially twisted the knife she stuck in Aaliyah's back and then blamed Aaliyah for not enjoying the pain.
A lot of reality television revolves around villains, so we'll find them in almost every season of "Love Is Blind." In season four, Irina and Micah are the villains of the season. This occurred mostly in the pods when the female contestants gathered. They would be seen keeping their distance, eavesdropping on gossip, and occasionally mocking others, and while this behaviour was undoubtedly petty and childish, at least it was done in the open. Irina and Micah didn't fake friendships with other contestants, particularly those pursuing the same partners as they were. Perhaps they didn't like the other contestants or saw them as threats, so they kept their distance and engaged in mean behaviour. All villainous, yes — but at least they were transparent.
Lydia plays on the "nice girl," where she wants nothing more than everyone around her to be happy and claims she's a very honest and open person. But her actions on "Love Is Blind" prove she isn't that type of person at all when it counts. Where is this transparency and loyalty when it comes to the people she chooses to befriend?
There is much to be said about obvious villains, but at least you know where they stand. I've had people who smiled to my face and then said awful things behind my back. I've had a close friend pursue someone I was romantically involved with and then claim I was paranoid for thinking anything nefarious was occurring. I've also had people who clearly stated from the start that I wasn't their type of person, or that we had nothing in common. While the latter felt more difficult and hurtful in the moment, I am grateful for it now. I am relieved they could be transparent about their intentions rather than lulling me into a false sense of security and switching up on me when I'm most vulnerable — a betrayal that is far more hurtful in the end.
It's easy to villainize contestants who make their feelings known and perhaps isolate themselves from other contestants and opt for the easier, smiling figures who become everyone's best friend. But in shows where they're essentially competing with each other, some without their knowledge of this, we should applaud those who keep their cards on the table.
Ultimately, it goes back to the age-old adage about reality TV: contestants aren't there to make friends — they're there to win. If that's the case, so be it. But don't play nice and fake friendships along the way, and then cry over the knife you stabbed in someone else's back.