During the season two reunion of “Love Is Blind,” Vanessa and Nick Lachey announced they would also host an upcoming Netflix series called “The Ultimatum: Marry or Move On" from the same creators.
At first glance, the concept seems like a combination of “Love Is Blind” and “Temptation Island." Six set of couples must decide, in a span of two months, if they want to get engaged or break up — while also watching their significant other date someone else.
To make their decision, contestants embark on a weeks-long process — one much more complicated than simply getting a rose on "The Bachelor." In fact, based on the first batch of episodes, "The Ultimatum" might be Netflix’s most intense reality series yet, featuring original couples and new couples in "trial marriages." Do the math, and that’s a lot of relationships to keep track of.
It's worth getting to know the rules of "The Ultimatum" now, because there are more episodes coming: Netflix confirmed that “The Ultimatum: Marry or Move On” will return for a second, all-queer season, part of Netflix's extensive slate of dating shows coming out this year.
So, in case you want to know what you’re getting into before checking it out, here’s a breakdown of the relationship experiment the couples endure in “The Ultimatum: Marry or Move On.”
1. Meet the couples
The first episode of "The Ultimatum" introduces the audience to the six Austin-based couples willing to put their relationships on the line. The original couples are Madlyn and Colby, April and Jake, Rae and Zay, Shanique and Randall, Lauren and Nate and Alexis and Hunter.
All six got to "The Ultimatum" for the same reason: One person is ready for marriage, and the other is not. And so, an ultimatum has been issued: Either they're getting married or breaking up.
As hosts Vanessa and Nick Lachey explain, “The Ultimatum: Marry or Move On” will help the couples decide if they want to take the next step in their relationship.
Contestants also have the option to leave single or continue exploring their connection with another cast member.
2. Get to know each other
After scoping out the other cast members, the original couples split up and start mingling.
The twist? These mini dates happen in a group setting, which means the contestants can directly see their partner forming other connections ... and sharing private details about their original relationship.
"When you're in that little bubble, you get out of touch with reality. You're just like, 'Yes, this is my day-to-day life,'" cast member Lauren Pounds told TODAY. "Now I go on dates with multiple men, and here's my significant other flirting with other girls."
3. Select a new partner for a 'trial marriage'
After spending a week getting to know cast members, the contestants much select another person to live with for three weeks.
The selection ceremony takes place at a long dinner table. Each cast member makes their choice in front of the whole cast — including their partners.
After a contestant tells the Lacheys who they want to live with in a trial marriage, the selected person says if they return the sentiment. If both see the potential for a budding romance, then a new couple is formed.
But if the feelings are one-sided, it's less smooth: The contestant must awkwardly sit at the table and hope they are chosen by someone else.
4. Live with a new partner for 3 weeks
Similar to “Love Is Blind,” all the newly formed couples move into the same apartment building together. Then, the new couples see what daily life together might be like, a process that includes meeting each other's family and friends.
Unlike the Netflix show "Too Hot to Handle," which restricts intimacy for a cash prize, nothing is off limits — as couples, they can be as intimate as they want.
Some couples went in with agreed terms, like Lauren and Nate. "I went in there saying, Hey, if if you hook up with another girl, we're done. You're absolutely not doing that. That's unforgivable.' But flirting is fine — and so we both did that," Lauren said.
Ostensibly, the point of this part in the process is for the contestants to see if they are a) ready for marriage and b) if they are actually compatible with their OG partner. There's also the potential to form a relationship even better than the one they came in with.
For extra drama, the show's men and women meet up to share updates about how the experiment is going. That means each cast member hears how their exes are doing, too. Yes, it gets uncomfortable.
5. Reunite with original partner for 3 weeks
At the end of the three-week trial marriage, the cast members reconvene at the notorious dinner table and reveal what they learned. Then, they each reunite with their original partner.
The couples all handle the reunion differently. Some contestants disclose intimate details about their trial marriage. Others focus on working toward their own marriage. Family and friends reappear to weigh in on the situation.
6. Make the final decision
The final two episodes of "The Ultimatum" will be released on April 13. In the finale, titled “Ultimatum Day,” the couples must decide if they want to stay together or break up.
Then, during episode 10's reunion, the couples discuss the entire season, and reveal if their relationship status has changed since the cameras stopped rolling.
Stay tuned to find out who got together — and who stayed together.