‘Married at First Sight’: 6 Key Moments From ‘Countdown to Meltdown’ (RECAP)

MAFS Season 12 Haley Briana

[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for Married at First Sight, Season 12, Episode 1, “Countdown to Meltdown.”]

Married at First Sight is back for a whole new round in Lifetime’s “wedding a stranger” hit experiment.

Ten singles from Atlanta take the plunge amid an ongoing pandemic as the experts match them with their future spouses. In this premiere episode, fans get a look at the singles as they reveal their upcoming nuptials to friends and family, meet the other participants, and attend their bachelor and bachelorette parties.

Below, we break down all of the must-know drama.

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The Lifetime series returns with five new Atlanta-based couples.

Breaking the News

MAFS Season 12 Briana

(Credit: Lifetime)

The episode begins per usual as the singles reveal they’ll be wedding a stranger in two weeks time. First up are Briana and Vincent, who share the news with close friends. She’s an engineer looking for a soulmate and he’s a hard worker looking to start a family and begin the next phase of his life. Briana’s friends note that her stubbornness could be problematic, but are ultimately supportive of her decision, and so are Vincent’s friends, who believe he’s ready for marriage.

Next up are Virginia and Erik, who appear to be near opposite; she’s a young woman who likes to have fun with her friends, and he’s a divorced pilot ready to finally settle down. As a child of divorce, Virgina’s feelings towards marriage have been mixed, and her father’s reaction to the news is unenthusiastic. Erik’s mother is equally reserved.

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Paige and Chris are this season’s religious couple. She’s a driven accountant and realtor, he’s a business owner. Sharing the news with their spiritual families and friends, the reaction is supportive. But boy, there are red flags here: Chris is fresh off of an engagement that ended three months prior, and he’s looking for a wife that will be submissive, is attractive, and will have a lot of sex.

Haley and Jacob, who are 10 years apart, are the couple with the biggest age gap (she’s 28, he’s 38). Their friends are supportive, but will the bubbly Haley mesh well with IT programmer Jacob?

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Rounding out the couples are Clara and Ryan, both of whom believe they’re ready to commit to one person forever.Their friends and family seem cool with the experiment, which gives Clara, who is over dating, some relief, and Ryan the hope and optimism that he’ll be able to say “I love you” for the first time to a significant other.

Meeting Each Other

MAFS Season 12

(Credit: Lifetime)

Women and men meet up in separate groups to discuss their feelings about the impending ceremonies. It’s clear that the men don’t necessarily understand Chris and his attitude towards marriage. Erik is judgmental of Chris’s engagement history and when Chris notes his biggest fear is that his wife is ugly, Vincent butts in and says that it’s really about comparability more than anything else.

The women are mostly on the same wavelength, but Paige’s comment about not wanting to kiss at the altar gets some side-eye from the other brides-to-be.

Sexy Things

MAFS Season 12

(Credit: Lifetime)

In a second meeting, the women discuss their impending wedding nights, and Clara unveils bags of lingerie she bought for them to pick out. While they chat over mimosas, Paige makes a comment about expecting her spouse to provide records of his last STD tests. Briana is weirded out by Clara’s lingerie offering, and Virginia muses about how the fact her future husband doesn’t drink is a drawback. As for Chris, he ventures out on his own to meet up with a friend and pastor who offers him guidance. Chris learns that having sex too soon in a relationship can doom it later on.

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Getting Dressed to Impress

MAFS Season 12 Virginia

(Credit: Lifetime)

The singles also go dress and tux shopping. The sparkly shoes Chris picks are definitely a bold choice, but the overall process goes fairly smooth. In a sweet moment, Virginia’s stepmom surprises her during her fitting, bringing the young woman to tears.

Last Night of Freedom

MAFS Season 12 Chris

(Credit: Lifetime)

During the bachelor and bachelorette parties, some true natures shine through. Virginia goes full party animal, drinking so much that she gets sick. Chris shows up late with a sex doll in tow, Vincent chats with one of the strippers, and Paige talks about the importance of fulfilling her duties as a Christian woman, saying she’s not beyond being submissive if it’s with a man who can lead her the right way.

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The Big Day

MAFS Season 12 Clara

(Credit: Lifetime)

Ryan and Clara are first up at the altar and we see a bit of what their wedding day looks like (the other weddings will have to wait until next week). First, Clara gifts Ryan some tequila and a few glasses to celebrate the day, while Ryan gives Clara a beautiful letter he’s written, a mixtape, and a blindfold. The letter brings her to tears, but panic sets in at the prospect of what’s to come. Eventually she calms down a little and puts the blindfold on to walk down the aisle and meet her husband. Ryan is also blindfolded and they remain that way until they can both see each other at the same time. Tune in next week to see how the reveal unfolds, as well as the other weddings.

Married at First Sight, Wednesdays, 8/7c, Lifetime