Fire Island Recap: The Guest of Honor

Photo: Netflix
Fire Island

Fire Island

Mercury Is in Retrograde Season 1 Episode 6
Editor's Rating 4 stars

Guess who opens the episode in yet another dance studio? Khasan! This time he’s auditioning dancers to perform with Betty Who at some circuit party happening in the Pines. Meanwhile, Jorge complains to his brother via Skype that his boyfriend, Fabio, isn’t coming to visit. At this point it’s safe to say that Jorge deserves better. Sorry about it, Fabio, but enough is enough. It’s not like he’s asking you to join him in Akron, Ohio — he’s inviting you to a lovely beach house on Fire Island. Sure, it’s full of certifiably insane people, but they’re hot and there seems to be infinite rosé. What the hell are you doing?!

Strolling down the boardwalk, Patrick tells a group of friends we’ve never met (a.k.a. extras) that his ex-boyfriend is joining them for the weekend. Wait one second, you might be thinking if you’ve read the previous recaps. Does this mean the writer is stepping inside the recap itself and visiting his ex-boyfriend as some sort of meta performance art? No, Patrick’s other ex-boyfriend, Chris, is coming. Besides his appearances in low-fi gay movies and high-fi shirtless selfies, all I know about Chris is that he started dating Patrick shortly after we broke up. Do you know what’s more fun than watching your ex-boyfriend on a reality show? Watching HIS ex-boyfriend on a reality show. More on this to come.

The boys arrive and are brimming with excitement over their final weekend. They’re planning to go “balls to the wall,” by which I assume they mean hard core. But honestly, with some of the things I’ve seen go down on Fire Island, it very well could be slang for a new sex craze or Carly Rae Jepsen single, or worse: both.

We soon learn that Patrick’s ex and Cheyenne have past drama. It turns out that Chris put the moves on Cheyenne’s (at the time) boyfriend in a hot tub at a party in L.A. Cheyenne apparently witnessed the whole thing from a balcony and doesn’t that make you wish there was a gay Melrose Place?

Patrick announces that he’ll be performing in a “showcase” at the Pavilion later that day, singing one of his original country songs. The old “using your reality show to debut an original song” routine … smooth move, Patrick. The boys have cocktails at the house and discuss the intensity of the weekend ahead owing to the fact that 15 people will be sleeping in the six-person house. (This shouldn’t be legal.) Cheyenne is annoyed over the addition of Chris and points out that Patrick’s choice to invite him was a clear and vindictive move. It’s hard not to disagree.

Patrick and Justin have the flip side of the conversation, discussing Patrick’s excitement over Chris coming to town. Justin asks about Chris, and Patrick describes his ex as “great. Super hot. Great in bed.”

Jorge and Khasan lay in bed drinking rosé (a.k.a. nailing life) and reminisce about the past few weeks. Jorge tells us his goal for the summer was to convince Khasan to move from L.A. to live with him in New York. Again, these people are allegedly not sleeping together. Jorge makes a toast that all they need is each other, a bottle of tequila, and some mistresses. So basically group sex? If so: you and me both, babe.

At the “showcase,” we see a modern dance solo, a magic act, a group of ballroom dancers, then Patrick sings his song. It’s a country ballad about knowing when it’s time to let go of someone you love. It’s clear he puts his heart and soul into it and he does a nice job.

After he finishes, Patrick has a meltdown backstage. The song brought up a lot of emotion that he didn’t expect. He tells Justin that he wrote this song after he and Chris broke up. Through tears, he tells us that Chris was the first person he fell in love with and the person who taught him what love was. He discusses getting a dog together with the intention of building their own little “family,” the dog in question being the one we purchased and raised together a year before he met Chris. It is a bizarre thing to watch if you’re his previous ex-boyfriend being paid to do this and there’s a word limit on these recaps, but let’s just say I have some notes.

Anyway, like any good episode of reality TV, this one is built around an impending dinner party where things are bound to go awry. Ladies and gentlemen, it does NOT disappoint. Chris arrives and the drama strolls right in with him. Cheyenne’s coldness all but frosts over the camera lens as Patrick shows Chris around the house. Patrick’s shirt has gone from tank top to baby’s bib and Chris has the most perfect teeth I’ve ever seen.

Chris and Patrick have a private talk outside. Patrick explains that Cheyenne is hard to get through to, and Chris tells him, with Scientologist-level charisma and commitment, “Those are the people that you can learn the most from.” Chris goes on to tell Patrick that he learned SO much from dating him and this, somehow, all ends up with Chris crying and apologizing to Patrick for hurting him. If this is Chris’s audition for season two, honey, you’re hired.

Back inside the house, Kashan gives an agitated Cheyenne a glass of wine to calm down. He drinks it before discovering there’s a piece of onion accidentally in the glass. After drinking the onion wine, he proceeds to tongue-kiss his boyfriend Kyle, who just arrived with freshly yellow hair.

At the dinner table, Patrick immediately brings up Cheyenne and Chris’s history with the eagerness of Anne Hathaway at pretty much every public function circa 2009 to 2015. The pot doesn’t even have time to be stirred before it’s boiling over with Cheyenne and Patrick arguing over why Patrick even brought this up at dinner (because this is a reality show and you’re all drunk, by the way). Patrick claims he just wants to clear the air and Cheyenne insists this was a deliberate ploy to cause drama. I’m with Cheyenne on this one, but also impressed by Patrick’s dramaturgy so it’s hard to pick a side.

The whole thing escalates to Chris saying, without a trace of irony, “There’s a lesson here for all of us and it’s don’t judge a book by its cover.” Then he bursts into tears, exclaiming, “The thing is I’m, like, sensitive.” He storms out of the room and ends up against a wall, openly sobbing. Imagine being at a house full of strangers for like two hours and finding yourself sobbing and whimpering to your ex-boyfriend by a pool in the stillness of night? It takes me seven hours and three Mark Wests, AT LEAST. All of this is to say that season two should be built solely around Chris. If that happens, a new Kim Richards will be born.

Inside, Cheyenne responds to the whole ordeal by asking, “Who the fuck cares?” The answer, of course, is the grown man who just arrived and is now sobbing by the pool. Somehow or other, Jorge becomes enraged that Cheyenne didn’t just drop it despite being attacked in the first place. Jorge really hates it when a dinner gets ruined. (Me too, babe.)

With the drama at an all-time high, the episode ends with Patrick, now more furious with Cheyenne than ever, saying to the camera, “Oh, you want to make my guest uncomfortable this weekend, Cheyenne?” He huffs and puffs here, like a Disney villain delighting in his evil handiwork, “Well, let’s see how comfortable your guest is going to be.” He follows this with a suggestion that Cheyenne has been cheating on his boyfriend all summer and it’s clear that shit will hit next episode’s fan. And so concludes one of my favorite episodes of Fire Island so far. It essentially played out like a Edward Albee play performed by people in brightly colored Speedos with mic packs hanging off them, a.k.a. the way God intended.

Fire Island Recap: The Guest of Honor