Is Samantha Worse Than Joe On 'Bachelor In Paradise'? It's A Tough Call

When she first arrived in Mexico, many die-hard Bachelor fans asked themselves, "Who the heck is Samantha from Bachelor in Paradise ?" And we weren't the only ones — even host Chris Harrison threw some shade her way by telling her that he'd "heard a rumor" she appeared during Chris Soules' season. Ouch. So, when Sam announced that she planned to make a name for herself in Paradise, most of just laughed it off. Well, the joke was on us, because she certainly has done just that, albeit not for the right reasons. But, is Samantha really worse than Joe on Bachelor in Paradise?

Here's a recap of how it all went down: It turns out Sam had been communicating with the 29-year-old horse racing enthusiast for several weeks prior to her arrival, and had told him to do whatever it took in order to avoid elimination until she got there. And, to Joe, "whatever it took" apparently meant manipulating widow and single mom Juelia in order to get her rose so he could promptly ditch her upon Sam's arrival. And, once Sam was there, both of them lied about having had any contact. Oh, did I mention Juelia and Sam were supposedly close friends? So, we arrive at the question: Is Sam or Joe the true Bachelor in Paradise villain?

OK, I dislike these two contestants equally. I really, really can't stand either of them and I cringe every time one of them speaks because the words that come out are so conniving and unkind. Now that I've made my point, I think I need to declare Sam the ultimate villain here. Is it because she was texting with three guys prior to her arrival in Paradise? Absolutely not. This is a reality show and a competition, so I totally get why she wanted a leg up — especially because she didn't last long on The Bachelor. I actually think it was a tactful move, and it didn't violate any of the show's rules. Still, not all ethics go out the window just because you're on reality TV. Double-crossing your supposed close friend crosses the line. The fact that Juelia has had such a tragic few years does make it more dramatic, but I would say the same thing about any person who violates a friend's trust — with a smile on their face, even yet.

Although Sam couldn't have known that Joe latched onto Juelia for his scheme, she went along with things once in Paradise. When Juelia learned that Sam and Joe were into each other, she understandably expected her "friend" to be indignant when she explained how Joe had lied to and mistreated her. Instead, Sam totally blew her off and didn't even ask if Juelia was holding up OK after being ditched by a guy she'd developed strong feelings for. I'm not a hopeless romantic by any stretch of the imagination, but I think we should be able to rely on our friends to support us unconditionally (and vice versa, of course). Sam let Juelia down in that moment. (Not to mention, if Juelia was into Joe first, Sam probably shouldn't have so eagerly asked him out. Girl code?)

What bothers me most is Sam's refusal to even own up to her egregious behavior. Don't get me wrong, I think Joe's apology to Juelia on After Paradise was totally insincere and he was merely telling her and the viewers what we wanted to hear. Joe does not get off scot-free here. He chose to manipulate Juelia, despite her sincere desire to find a husband and father for her daughter. He willfully participated in the deceit and lied about it (for a little while). He was an unendless jerk on the show, and his treatment of the other women was definitely not OK. But, Sam just keeps playing the naïveté card when we know she's blatantly lying:

Well, Sam, maybe if you'd stopped for 15 seconds to listen to Juelia, you would have known about the "drama going on." She has repeatedly posted tweets about her hindsight:

Hindsight would not have been necessary if Sam had shown any respect or regard for Juelia. She also refers to herself as "taking the bait" from Joe when he texted her — and that phrasing implies that she's just a victim who fell under the spell of a charismatic guy. Again, we know that's not the truth.

I think Sam could have tactfully played the reality TV game without leaving a close friend hurt and devastated. If we can't count on our friends, then who can we really count on? At this point, it looks like the only trustworthy ones in Paradise are the raccoons and the crabs.

Images: Rick Rowell/ABC; Giphy