90 Day Fiance: Before The 90 Days continues to introduce its new cast on Season 5, Episode 2.
First up, we have Gino and Jasmine.
Part horny, part awkward, part controlling, we finally see them meet in person for the first time.
Alina and Caleb are both nervous to see each other and see how they mesh in person.
Kimberly is nervous to leave her elderly mother, but receives her blessing -- but Usman's entourage has more concerns on their end.
Memphis prepares for her trip to Tunisia, but her foster sister very directly shares some concerns with her.
This episode finally introduced Mike, a 34-year-old from Thiells, New York.
He has not dated for 20 years, but he is prepared to commit himself to Ximena, a Colombian mother of two.
Gino Palazzolo and Jasmine Pineda
With Habanera from Carmen playing for some reason (Italian opera ... in Panama?), we get our first official introduction to Jasmine, whom we previously "met" through Gino's phone. Now, the english literature teacher gets a chance to introduce herself.
Jasmine knows that she is a lot
She is an intense and passionate woman who has clearly been burned in the past and is looking for something new. She has never dated an American before but clearly likes Gino.
Jasmine is also a mother
She has two young sons. One lives with his father. The other lives with her normally, but due to undisclosed special needs, he struggled with staying indoors during the pandemic, so she and her mother decided that he would stay with her -- outside of the city. This has been a difficult time for her, and we can only imagine how tough it was to choose the best option for her baby boy.
Jasmine makes some points
She doesn't go into a lot of specifics, but she has clearly been through the wringer when it comes to men disappointing and cheating on her. Gino seems different, and she's hoping that her instincts are right about him.
Even she hasn't seen him without his hat
Gino is clearly extremely self-conscious about what the top of his head looks like, and uses a baseball cap in order to hide it. Everyone is entitled to their insecurities, but dating and going on television may mean that Gino has to bare it all -- including the top of his head. We hope that this can be an affirming journey for him.
Jasmine is really excited to meet Gino
While she does laugh over how little fashion sense he has (none), she is hoping that he will reciprocate her desire.
Jasmine's friend Grisel helps her prepare
Because Jasmine is living with a roommate, Gino has rented a suite for them to stay in, and Grisel helps Jasmine get it ready. Grisel also has real doubts and concerns and is worried that her friend is being misled -- given her friend's history, she knows that Jasmine sometimes ends up with terrible dudes.
There has already been some dishonesty
When Gino and Jasmine were first talking, he told her that he was 44. He is nearly 52, which means that he knocked 8 years off of his age -- exactly half of his age gap with Jasmine. Though he clearly came clean, that's not an auspicious start.
Jasmine at least knows that Gino isn't cheating on her
How? Because she demands that he video chat with her every time that he leaves his house, so that she can keep her eye on him at all times. She wants to be "the center" of his attention, so he shouldn't be too friendly with others. Her friend worries that this is "psycho" behavior.
Jasmine is afraid to trust
She admits that her experiences have taught her a harsh lesson -- no matter how beautiful, loving, and sexual someone is to their partner, it won't stop them from cheating.
They meet at last!
Gino and Jasmine excitedly embrace at the airport, and it could have been way more awkward than it ended up being.
It was still a little awkward
Not for them, but for us, because the music stopped and the editors let the raw audio of Jasmine and Gino making out haunt our ears for a bit.
"I'm going to break you tonight" is a VERY horny thing to say. Despite their shared fondness for "baby talk," it's not clear if Gino is as horny or kinky as Jasmine, but we guess that they're both going to find out.
With her friend's help, Jasmine had set out a rose petal message -- their initials, and a heart. Very sweet, and Gino was clearly touched.
Time for gifts?
Gino gives Jasmine an electric toothbrush, an almost agonizingly practical gift, and a pregnancy test. As, like, presents. They're not wrapped, but it's not clear if that makes it better or worse. Gino needs some friends to help him make these decisions so that he doesn't sabotage his own happiness.
Your hat, sir
Gino confesses that he is still not ready to remove his hat, either in front of Jasmine or in front of the cameras. To her credit, Jasmine is very understanding of this.
But then ...
Jasmine demands the password to Gino's phone, which is set to his face (not to stereotype but this is a feature used by older phone users more than younger ones). She clearly wants to snoop in his phone's history to see what conversations he is having. Some couples do this -- and it's definitely weird, but if all parties are truly okay with it, it's not necessarily toxic. Gino is clearly hoping that Jasmine will grow to trust him.
Caleb Greenwood and Alina Kasha
Caleb, who is a STRONG contender for "best hair" on the franchise, stops by to visit his parents. He doesn't normally discuss his dating life, because he was raised in an extremely conservative "dating-is-a-precursor-to-marriage" Christian household, but since he's leaving the country, he wants to bring them up to speed. It sounds like they have mellowed and understand that their son is a grown man, but they do have some concerns.
What about their future?
They wonder about things like whether Caleb and Alina can have kids and whether those kids would share Alina's disability (diastrophic dysplesia is a recessive trait, so only if Caleb also has that in his genetics), but Caleb explains that this visit is just about him and Alina knowing for sure if they are compatible in person. Caleb wants to find out if the spark that exists online is still there for them in person.
He's not the only one with concerns
As he helps Alina pack for their trip to meet Caleb in Turkey, Elijah admits that he doesn't really know who Caleb is as a person despite having spoken to him before.
Alina explains that Caleb is not very expressive
Perhaps due to his upbringing or perhaps as part of an inherent disposition, Caleb does not really express his emotions very much. This COULD lead to communication issues down the road, but not necessarily.
Elijah is rooting for Alina
And of course he is also traveling with her to Turkey. Part of this is because she is disabled and may want help with certain tasks. The other reason is just so that she'll have a friend for emotional support.
Packing for a long trip is a team effort
These two also make a "bottoming" joke, which really gives you insight into how good and relatable (for some) their friendship is. A lot of 90 Day Fiance targets specific demographics and it's good to see the show step outside of the box from time to time.
Caleb gets a ride to the airport with his brother
Josh wonders if things will work out "when it comes to physical compatibility," but hopes for the best. Caleb does acknowledge, to the cameras, that he doesn't know what sexual expectations to have -- he's very much thinking out loud, but he's thinking of Alina's height and some logistical concerns.
Meanwhile, Alina is also thinking of how things will be with him
In her case, even before sex, she's thinking of his "big strong arms" and his "broad shoulders" and his "gorgeous hair."
Alina and Elijah arrive in Istanbul
There, they are met by Alina's friend from college, Maria, who drives them to their hotel.
By the way, Alina and Caleb are sharing a room
Her friend is a little shocked that Alina will share a bed with Caleb the same night that they meet, but that's not uncommon for long-distance relationships. Not obligatory, but not uncommon.
The hotel does not have an elevator, so Alina has to endure a difficult hike up the stairs. On the one hand, Caleb should have checked for this specifically. At the same time, though, it's understandable for an American to not realize that a hotel might be inaccessible. In the United States, a hotel must have a working elevator that stops at every floor if it has more than two floors -- as this one does. But a hotel in Istanbul obviously does not have to be ADA compliant.
The hotel bed is kind of ugly
The toilet is also a little high, but could be managed with a chair or stool. Mostly, Alina is just excited -- as she and Elijah note, hopefully she'll be too busy with Caleb to dwell on the headboard.
Before he goes to meet Alina, he has his Darcey moment, wanting to bathe up and make sure that he smells nice when he meets her. It's cute that he's so nervous to meet her.
Alina is nervous as well
She's waiting in her wheelchair to meet him for the first time. Thirteen years is a long time to know someone without seeing each other in person, and ... it's a cliffhanger, so we'll have to wait until Episode 3.
Kimberly Menzies and Usman Umar
Kimberly is admitting to her mother that she feels guilty leaving her home alone while she flies to Nigeria to meet Usman. Her mother is elderly and in her care.
Sally gives her blessing to take the trip, asking her tearful daughter to not ruin her own trip with feelings of guilt. Sally hopes that things go well for Kimberly, but if they don't, she'll still be glad that Kimberly knows the truth and can hopefully move on.
And she's off!
Kimberly is so visibly excited as she heads out to see Usman, whom she is not officially dating (according to him) but sometimes refers to as if they were dating.
Usman is in the studio
He is recording his music, which ... is just constantly playing during his and Kimberly's segments. The nicest thing that I can say is that it's music.
Usman knows that people have questions
He is once again dating an older white American woman, but Usman says that he and Lisa Hamme divorced because they were not happy together. That is an understatement. The thing is that Lisa used racist and homophobic slurs and did not come across as particularly sympathetic even before the franchise fired her. So far, Kimberly seems much more sympathetic and a little emotionally vulnerable.