The second season of Netflix’s dating reality show Ultimatum: Marry or Move On concluded this week. It ended interestingly, but there were not many surprises. Ultimatum: Marry or Move On had couples talking about their partner’s commitment issues. One of the partners issues an ultimatum to the other on the show in the hope of setting things straight about their future. Netflix has plenty of dating shows in its kitty that set up the premise for relationship dilemmas in different ways. There is an audience for such shows, which allows the streaming giant to churn out this type of content on a regular basis.
The whole concept behind Ultimatum: Marry or Move On revolves around one partner asking the other if they are willing to take the big step forward after years of dating. It will help them reevaluate both the people in a relationship about their priorities and how they take their lives forward from here on. To add spice to this mix, the couples will hypothetically break up with each other and date other contestants to understand their compatibility. We think this is not the right way to solve any relationship crisis that is at a stalemate. Adding another person to this equation will confuse the partner further. Also, we believe issuing an ultimatum is not the way to make things work. Since this is the premise of the entire reality show, it will be interesting to watch how every single person in this show reacts to such a situation.
We are introduced to the couples of this season. Lisa and Brian have been together for a while. Lisa is the one who calls the shots in the relationship. She seems to have issued an ultimatum before, when they were just casually dating. It worked because Brian and she have been in a committed relationship ever since. But they have again hit a roadblock, and this time Lisa wants an answer. The ultimatum also allowed Brian to rethink his priorities because of Lisa’s dominating behavior. As they start dating other contestants in the show, the situation gets volatile and awkward very quickly. They eventually had to leave the show because Lisa got pregnant. It is awkward to watch a couple having a meltdown such as this one. Brian had to know Lisa would behave this way. We think they made the right decision to exit the show and deal with their matter privately.
Kat and Alex have been together for a while, but a lack of communication between them is causing tension. Kat feels Alex needs to step up his game. She issues an ultimatum to understand his concerns about not popping the big question. Meanwhile, Ryann and James are high school sweethearts, but their relationship has reached a point where they do not live with each other. James also comes from a place where he is not sure about making a full commitment. Ryann gives him an ultimatum that will allow both to explore relationships outside of each other. Ryann seems to be someone who has clarity on what she wants, and James is the opposite of her.
Antonio and Roxanne are an entrepreneur couple who have hit a roadblock because Roxanne is looking for someone as ambitious as she is, while Antonio feels she is not noticing the amount of time he is willing to contribute to the relationship to make it work. Roxanne seems like a career-driven person who has no confidence in Antonio to make their lives financially stable. Her indecisiveness made Antonio issue her an ultimatum so that he could get a clear answer on her roadmap. On the other hand, Riah and Trey are seemingly a perfect couple, but Trey is looking to get married. Riah, on the other hand, is confused about her take on marriage. She also must consider her career options because Trey seems to be talking about starting a family. Riah is like every other woman who will have to worry about her financial stability, which will be affected once she has a child. Trey seems like the conservative kind who has grown up with a stable family and wants to replicate that with Riah.
The trial marriage period
All of them are expected to break up with their partners for the show. Plenty of emotions come out. The friction is very evident between the couples, but they are all emotionally connected. Having to briefly separate to date other people in front of each other will be a difficult sight. All of them start dating one another. This seems like a bizarre idea because more options will generate confusion, which will make it easy for them to drift away from their actual partner. But as per the showrunners and for the sake of TRP, taking this step is the only way to receive absolute answers.
With Brian and Lisa out of the picture, there are eight people remaining. All the men go out with the women. They choose a partner for something called a trial marriage. The showmakers do not make clear the ground rules regarding what is allowed when two people date and enter a trial marriage period. Alex chooses Roxanne, Kat chooses Antonio, Ryann chooses Trey, and James chooses Riah.
This trial marriage period involves speaking their hearts out about their goals in life and their preferences. The makers spend a lot of time with the contestants getting to know each other, but it gets monotonous after a point. How long can we witness men and women speak for hours about relationship goals? Relationships are a subjective matter. The makers of the show do not understand this. We feel the rules should have been clearer instead of having surface-level discussions. It didn’t seem like any of them were deeply connected.
Who gets engaged by the end of this season?
As the trial marriage period begins, the designated couple is supposed to live with each other and work on the attraction which they felt initially. This will allow the contestants to be themselves and help each other daily. They are also expected to take their conversation to a deeper level. This is what makes the show repetitive. It did not feel as if any of the contestants were remotely interested in each other except for one couple.
Ryann and Trey seem to hit it off. Just like Trey, she is seeking a long-term commitment. We could sense that the two of them had deeper feelings for each other. This was something their respective partners noticed too. Riah and James end up having a bad time because the former starts acting jealous of Trey. His jealousy made him cut off Riah, and he stopped responding to her after a point. It was obvious from his demeanor that he was deeply affected by Ryann’s chemistry with Trey. We feel these overwhelming sentiments are bound to emerge. Watching such a drama unfold is nothing short of cringeworthy.
Kat and Antonio could barely find a middle ground to converse on because it felt as if Antonio was still clinging to his original partner, Roxanne. Alex and Roxanne could speak about their entrepreneurial ambitions, but besides that, they did not find a connection. The nonexistence of any kind of chemistry is jarring at this point. A dating reality show is supposed to generate a spark between two people. At some point in the show, an argument erupts between Antonio and Alex regarding Roxxane’s judgment of her actual partner. The entire setup came across as scripted because we could not feel any emotion. This was probably done to split Alex and Roxanne. All the couples under the trial marriage met with each other’s parents as well, which seemed unnecessary at this point. We feel this subplot was added only to prolong the show.
As the trial marriage period comes to an end, all of couples are paired back with their original partners. The most affected were Riah and James because Ryann and Trey were close to falling for each other. We feel this was done to make Riah and James feel guilty for not agreeing to marry their partner at first, which again sets the wrong precedent. Riah opens up about the pain of watching him fall for another girl. James also confesses to wanting to give long-term commitment a try. Unlike Riah, this show opened a floodgate of emotions for James because he spoke about his childhood traumas. He does not intend to carry that baggage into his relationship with Ryann. This also puts Ryann on the back foot because James has never revealed any of this in the last seven years.
It all comes down to the final meeting between the couple. The partner who has been given an ultimatum will have to respond. We feel this was a tad bit dramatic because an entire episode was spent letting the audience know about the decisions made. All the respective partners agree to marry because they claim they want to face life’s problems together rather than seeking new partners. It was surprising to watch Roxanne agreeing to marry Antonio. The trajectory of their relationship made us assume the opposite.
The second season of Ultimatum: Marry or Move On ends with a reunion episode. The couples were asked to join the show a year later to discuss the status of their relationship. Brian and Lisa join the episode. They are proud parents of a baby boy, and the two of them are still working towards a long-term commitment. Roxanne and Antonio seem to have hit another roadblock because they have not decided on a wedding date, and she seems to have stopped wearing the ring. The couple has their reasons for justifying this act. We feel the two of them should break up before anyone gets hurt. The last three couples seem to be in the right place and have decided to get married. They needed this show to get back to each other. The hosts claim it is the first time all the couples got engaged on the show, unlike in the previous season. The entire season was lukewarm because the direction was erratic, and all the contestants felt bored after a point. Ultimatum: Marry or Move On could have been four episodes shorter because the makers spent too much time trying to create drama, but there was none. A futile show on dating and relationships.