90 Day Fiance‘s best spinoff, The Other Way, continues its third season.
On Season 3, Episode 2, Ariela’s ex-husband met her fiance for the first time.
Biniyam struggled to understand why they divorced … which led to a very interesting conversation.
Viewers get to hear from Alina for the first time before she and Steven meet up in Turkey.
In addition to introducing herself, Alina has some worries … and Steven has some secrets that he hasn’t told her.
Fan-favorite couple Kenneth and Armando returned.
Now, they need to plan the wedding, but they need to worry about family issues, possible bigotry, and their own different ideas.
Speaking of different ideas, Evelin and Corey are finally planning their wedding … but aren’t seeing eye-to-eye.
Jenny and Sumit managed to calm down after last week’s explosive confrontation.
Sumit thinks that he’s found a loophole, since he has decided that marrying the woman he loves is off-limits for now.
Ellie breaks the news to some friends that her “vacation” to Columbia will actually be a move.
They are stunned … and Ellie makes an alarming revelation about Victor’s history.
Ariela Weinberg and Biniyam Shibre
Leandro has finished his mandatory quarantine period in a hotel and is coming to stay with Ariela and Biniyam. He’s Ari’s good friend. He is also her ex-husband. Biniyam’s insecurities are on full display, while he questions why Ariela has dressed up.
He claims that he’s not jealous
His jealousy is apparent from the start of the episode, and only seems to grow when Ariela — as she has done before — does not wear her wedding band to the nail salon where she gets her nails fixed before going to meet Leandro.
Biniyam thinks that she’s ashamed of the ring
He also reveals that its value is less than one dollar. Now, ETB does not equal the value of USD, and we all understand that Biniyam does not make a lot of money (even before he became unemployed during the pandemic). But an average Ethiopian monthly salary equals about $200 USD. $1 or less on an engagement ring is an interesting choice, especially for a man whose future in-laws are financially supporting the family.
But Ariela didn’t leave the ring on purpose
His emotions spiraling, Biniyam leaves the salon and goes home to look for the ring and return with it … and found that Ariela had just left it in the bathroom from when she took a shower, like countless people do every single day.
Ariela runs forward to hug Leandro, just like any normal person does when seeing a good friend.
Biniyam doesn’t like it
Speaking to the camera, he seems to mock his fiancee … whether this was producer goading or he really is this childish about this is unclear.
Leandro has a totally different mindset
He is optimistic that he and Biniyam can bond and form a lasting friendship.
They bring him home
Leandro holds baby Avi, while Biniyam — hopefully because of producers prompting him with questions — starts expressing concerns that Leandro is considering what it would be like to be Avi’s stepfather. Notably, Biniyam’s insecurities themselves are understandable given his history with his ex. The only thing in question is Biniyam’s behavior based upon those feelings and worries.
Leandro comes bearing gifts
He presents Ariela and Biniyam with a number of things, including some nice-looking speakers. These aren’t just regular gifts — Ariela has looked for some items but not been able to find what she’s looking for in Ethiopia. One of the products is bras, since having a baby has changed Ariela’s bra size and she’s been unable to find a suitable replacement.
Biniyam is immediately weird about it
Leandro picks up on it immediately and assures him that his girlfriend selected the bras, not him. It’s not clear why that matters, but the important thing is a reminder that Leandro isn’t here trying to win back his ex. Literally he has a girlfriend. And as for the bra gift, you’d have to be extremely immature to be upset about such a simple, practical gift.
Biniyam is, unfortunately, not very mature about it
It’s not lingerie; it’s a pair of generic black bras selected by Leandro’s girlfriend because Ariela needs some new pairs. But to Biniyam, this is totally unacceptable because they are engaged. One wonders how he expects his fiancee to get new bras. Should she just wait until her mom comes to visit again?
Biniyam asks why they aren’t still together
It’s a fair question, since the two are good friends and make conversation easily.
“We never actually broke up”
Ariela explains that their relationship just sort of atrophied while she was traveling even though she and Leandro didn’t intend for it to. She married him at 19, eventually realized that she wanted to find herself and travel but intended to go back to him one day and live with him in Indiana. Ariela even confesses that she felt like she was using him as a fallback of sorts, for which she feels guilty because it’s not fair to treat someone like a safety school. In other words … if she hadn’t met Biniyam, and maybe only if she hadn’t gotten pregnant, she and Leandro might still be together.
Steven Johnston and Alina
Steven heads into his former place of business (where he was a salesman for pest control … despite his very endearing explanation that he is opposed to killing insects) to pick up his final paycheck before the move. His manager admits to the camera that he hopes that Steven doesn’t come to regret leaving so much behind as he goes to Turkey to be with Alina. He’s not being shady — that’s a standard question that producers ask anyone and everyone.
We finally get to hear from Alina!
The first episode was all Steven, so this time, the focus is on Alina. She’s only 20, which … is very relevant. It’s not that Steven is so much older than she is, it’s just an extremely young age for marriage.
She is studying Chinese language and Asian politics
She has a passion for body art, and we see her do some modeling with body paint that she skillfully applied herself. Neat!
She gushes about Steven
She has only actually spent about two weeks with him, ever, but of course their online relationship extends much further and is how they fell for each other.
She lives with her mother and grandmother
Alina’s mother has concerns that they have not gotten to spend that much time around Steven. Before the pandemic, the plan was for him to come to Russia, where they could get to know him before the two marry. With them meeting up in Turkey, they won’t get to do that. There’s a lot of uncertainty and maternal concern.
Also, Steven is Mormon
Many people have ideas, both accurate and inaccurate, about the Mormon church and its members. In the United States, associations can range from a reputation for politeness and mild-mannered members to concerns about homophobic policies, harassment of ex-Mormons, and very understandable criticisms of the church’s missionary practices. Apparently, in Russia, and specifically on the websites frequented by Alina’s mother, there is the idea that Mormons harvest people’s organs and engage in human trafficking. Honestly, it sounds like an off-brand QAnon thing.
Alina explains the confusion
Mormonism isn’t well-known in Russia, which is fine. That said … Alina is totally mischaracterizing the religious breakdown of her country, though that may be due to editing or simply her personal disinterest in the topic.
For the record …
Any survey is going to have ample margin for error, and surveys on religious demographics can often be complicated because there are so many different labels and categories that overlap. While this breakdown is much less varied than it would be in the United States, for example, there’s a fair amount of plurality in Russian culture.
Alina attended some virtual Mormon services
That experience, done to get to understand Steven a little better, set a lot of her fears to rest … but did not do the same for her mother. Alina also plans to read from the Book of Mormon with Steven.
Alina’s grandmother is spitting facts
It’s not just that Alina has only known Steven for a relatively short time and only spent two weeks around him in person. She’s also 20 years old. That is so, SO young to be getting married.
But it’s Alina’s decision to make
She wants her family to have the confidence in her to trust her confidence in Steven.
Alina tries on outfits before her trip
Her friends, Nastia and Julia, are there and ready to ask the real questions. This question might sound odd … until you learn more about Alina.
On the one hand, this denial seems like it’s surely total BS. She’s moving to a whole other country to be with Steven. You’d think that she’s lying, possibly to save face for him in his culture and religion (we’ve seen it before, on this specific spinoff — remember Brittany and Yazan last season?). But it turns out that it’s an awkward question for a different reason.
Alina has never actually had sex
Unlike Steven, who wants to wait because he is a devout Mormon, Alina didn’t plan it this way. She just hasn’t had sex yet, she explains. Now that she’s going to be with Steven, she explains, she’s going to wait until they marry.
Time for a VERY fair question
Alina tries to insist that their sexual compatibility isn’t that important compared to other things, but … that isn’t necessarily the case. You can love someone without being sexually compatible, just as you can have incredible sex with someone with whom you can’t otherwise get along. If Alina and Steven are seriously talking about being married for many years (the Mormon church does have an annulment process and regards divorce as a “necessary evil” despite their belief that marriage is eternal), it could be useful to know. That said, it is ultimately their choice to make.
But … what the what?!
Steven at one point asked Alina (presumably much earlier in their relationship) how she would feel about him dating other girls. She told him no, but it was weird, and has given her doubts about his fidelity.
Nastia and Julia have an idea
What if Alina hired an actress to flirt with him and see if he takes the bait? As delightful of an idea as this is (from a reality TV standpoint), it would be disastrously underhanded (from a relationship standpoint), and Alina is immediately and wisely uncomfortable with being “sneaky” like that. Good.
But there’s something that Alina does not know
Steven has had sex before, even though it’s against the rules of his church. And he has not told Alina … but knows that he will have to, eventually.
Kenneth Niedermeier and Armando Rubio
This fan-favorite couple (and precious Hannah) are back! Sitting outside on the grass, where it’s easier to film during the pandemic, Armando quizzes Kenneth’s Spanish skills with flash cards. These are all words that I, an extremely white person living on the East Coast, learned when I was five, but everybody has to start somewhere. As a bonus, the quiz gives them a chance to help Hannah learn a little more English.
It’s time for wedding planning
Armando is a crafts-oriented guy, as we have seen in the past, and he and his daughter are working on a vision board for the wedding. It’s so adorable.
Armando has BIG plans for their wedding
He is thinking a minimum of 100 guests … and that’s just from his side, not counting Kenneth’s family.
While some American weddings do have three digits of guests, many guest lists are kept down to several dozen. Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, weddings tend to be even smaller if they even have guests.
Armando’s biggest worry is who will actually come
He confesses to Kenneth (okay, real talk, Kenneth knew but only asked for the camera’s benefit) that his mother still has not told his dad that he’s engaged. That’s … very awkward and sad.