This recap does not cover Episode 62 — Unseen Bits.
Well, Islanders, we did it. We made it to the end of the summer, and we have a new King and Queen of the Love Island villa. It has been a true honor to observe these sexy singles for the past two months with all of you. Now, let’s crack on.
It is the final week of Love Island U.K. 2022, and as our core couples have (more or less) settled into their own (more or less) healthy grooves, much of the interpersonal drama that usually propels this show has ebbed into a steady drumbeat of emotional speeches and teary toasts. Now that they no longer use the lie-detector test, producers have had to devise more creative ways to emotionally terrorize these Islanders and fill air time. The result is a week of nonsense challenges, including a talent show, sports day, and one last porn-shoot cosplay for the road.
Luckily, there is always Luca, who has a 3-year-old’s ability to generate indignant fury out of thin air. An incomplete list of things Luca worked himself up over this week includes: Ekin-Su remarking that he and Gemma were “basically” exclusive; Paige correctly pointing out that he’s punching above his weight with Gemma; the girls getting an hour to themselves during the fake-baby day; the other Islanders voting him and Gemma at the bottom for compatibility; Gemma acting sexy during an act-sexy challenge; Gemma calling him out for getting worked up over said challenge. You’d think he’d be more entertaining for such a drama machine.
We did, of course, get the traditional and always entertaining fake-baby and family-day episodes, as well as five extravagant final dates, only one of which caused me to feel anything other than extreme boredom.
First, though, we have to end the charade that the 11th-hour bombshells had not already fulfilled their purpose by getting a man for Danica after their first 24 hours. After choosing Jamie at the last recoupling, Danica apologizes to Reece with an anxious sincerity that does not feel completely earned, but as this is the first time she’s gotten the opportunity to actively reject someone on this show, I’m happy to let her savor it. We spend a day pretending to care about Nathalia and Reece before the public votes them, plus Lacey and Deji (poor Deji!) off the Island.
Danica at least gets to enjoy a few final challenges and the possibility of a real romance with her footballer partner before being the next to go. She dominates the talent show with her expert dance moves. She consults Gemma (daughter of a famous footballer) for her expert insight on the general nature of footballers. She cheerily amps herself up for the #MileHighClub challenge by pointing to her various orifices as “entrances.” And then, she and Jamie (it is Jamie, right?) are voted at the bottom by the public and are hereby dumped. After she leaves, the girls reflect on Danica’s good fortune in finding “the man of her dreams.” Ekin-Su observes, “Never settle for anything less, ladies.”
Much as I loved Danica, her love story is not one we were all that invested in. It is time to turn our attention to the final chapters of our Fab Five’s Love Island journeys. After Danica’s departure, the final couples are forced to choose which two of the other pairings they find least convincing.
Despite being the freshest couple of the bunch, only Tasha and Andrew and Davide and Ekin-Su vote for Adam and Paige as the least compatible. Do we believe that, through sheer goodness, Paige has successfully tamed Adam Collard from Fuckboy of the Highest Order to legitimate boyfriend material? Who knows. What is clear is that Adam’s character has benefited enormously from comparison to the other boys still in the villa. With the benefit of experience, Adam has exhibited pitch-perfect Love Island behavior. Like an elder statesman, he knows the right things to say and moves to make, such as happily agreeing to make the girls brunch at Paige’s request — and compelling the other boys to help. Nothing about Paige’s behavior disturbs him. He gasses her up at every opportunity and agrees to name their plastic child “Sage.” As Luca’s petty rants wash over him and Paige frets about the distance between their homes on the outside, Adam remains sanguine.
“You know that person you just feel safe with?” Paige asks the beach-hut cam. For her, this is Adam. It’s natural for anyone who watched Adam’s season-four mad moves to be alarmed on her behalf here. But, considering her villa-specific experiences, this makes perfect sense to me.
As they have made it to the final week, Paige and Adam are rewarded with one of the season’s final five dates. These are the extravagant outings that production spends actual money on and are specifically calculated to tug heartstrings. It probably says something terrible about me that the more earnest the date conversations, the more my eyes tend to glaze over. Paige and Adam get a lovely lunch on the sundeck of a yacht, where they spend several minutes telling one another how real their feelings are as the boat motors alongside the stunning Spanish coastline.
My interest in these two extremely hot but boringly at ease people perked up again on family day. Paige is visited by her parents, while Adam gets to see his dad and one thickly accented friend whose name I forget and, frankly, can’t be bothered to look up. Paige greets her mum and already weeping dad in her typical style: “You guys look so lush!” While Mr. Paige claims that he hasn’t watched the show at all, Mrs. Paige goes full mom. Practically the first words out of her mouth are “I’m not buying it.” According to her, Paige was more “herself” when she was with Jacques. And Paige, who I would literally die for, points out that yeah, she may have been more bubbly with Jacques but he behaved in ways that were not okay. But by the time she’s met Adam, who is speaking in a lot of “we” sentences — “When we leave the villa,” “We’re excited to take youse out” — it appears that Paige’s mum has softened to him.
I find it interesting that when all of the Islanders, as couples, have to choose the two other pairs who are least compatible, Adam and Paige only get two votes compared to Davide and Ekin-Su’s four and Gemma and Luca’s three. Alas, the faith of their fellow Islanders is not enough to save Paige and Adam from being dumped by the public.
After all that drama, only one couple votes for Tasha and Andrew for least compatible — and this is obviously Luca and Gemma because Luca can’t let this one go. I, however, am with Ekin-Su, whose eyes nearly bulge out of her head when their names are called in front of the fire pit. From the beginning of the week to the final episode, Tasha and Andrew go from planning on moving in together (they’ll both be in London, so it just makes sense), to planning the wedding (Tasha wants a black dress and massive floral arrangements), to Tasha growing weepy with thoughts of their future children (Gemma: “Fuckin’ hell”). Andrew may have been sucking Coco’s tits like 30 minutes ago, but these two have decided to make it work. In fairness, after Indiyah reveals that she’d like four children someday, Tasha notes, “My vagina could not hack it.” Relatable.
Less relatable, for their special date, Tasha and Andrew get lunch on the beach surrounded by an enormous arrangement of red roses in the shape of a heart. According to whoever composes the text hashtags, this is #KardashianVibes. I wish this date were not so boring, I really do, because their conversation is very sweet. Andrew brings up how glad he was when Tasha told him about her “superpower,” which is how she describes her cochlear implant. She, quite reasonably, bursts into tears at this. “I got you,” he tells her. She says he makes her not afraid of love, and he reassures her she never has to be afraid with him. When Andrew says he can see himself marrying her in the future, she has sped up the timeline from three years — which is what she said like two days ago — to one year from now.
On family day, Tasha and Andrew’s parents both give the other one minimal amounts of shit. Tasha’s dad makes a single Coco crack, a restraint I find admirable, and says he thinks Andrew will make a fantastic prince for his princess. Andrew’s mother, who is obviously on Tasha’s wavelength, asks him, “Are you gonna ask her to marry you?” Moms!
You know who has a great mom? Indiyah. Which I will get to in a second, but I need a smooth transition.
Anyway, Indiyah and Dami are the only couple that doesn’t get a single least-compatible vote from their fellow Islanders. Perhaps this is due to them finally crossing the “I love you,” line — adorably, in the kitchen — or maybe it was just that nobody has anything against them. Either way, I can’t fault the chemistry judgment.
They do not get as much love from the British public (which I’m just gonna go ahead and blame on racism). For their super-secret special date, Dami and Indiyah are accompanied by salsa dancers (which I am also going to go ahead and blame on racism). Their date text hashtag reads #VivaLaFiesta and Luca asks, “I thought that was a car.” My brother in Christ. Indiyah worries, “But I can’t dance!”
Too bad! As she and Dami walk down the cobblestone street hand-in-hand, they are suddenly interrupted by the terrifying sound of a drumbeat! Before either can regain composure, they have been fully accosted by a flamenco flash mob. They do their best hip wiggles, aided by kind, slow-motion editing, and eventually are led to a charming and empty courtyard with a brunch set up for them. They say the food is “amazing,” but the B-roll footage tells me they are eating mozzarella balls and mild salsa. They’re British, so I guess this qualifies as amazing. They do get sangria which has to be better than whatever prosecco is in the label-less bottles they’re always drinking. The real highlight of the date, of course, is not the surprise drum line or grocery-store produce. It is Dami’s way with words. Even though their story has been “crazy,” Dami says, he wouldn’t change any of it because “it’s our story.” He goes on, “I love our story. And I love you.” Like, I hate myself for saying it because I’d like to believe that I know better, but I’d totally forgive him too. He then haltingly asks her to be his official girlfriend and all is well in Damniyah.
And then comes parents’ day. I always hope that when the families visit they’ll call out their wayward loved ones for their garbage behavior and, usually, I’m disappointed. Not this time. Dami’s sister Femi got COVID, so she can’t show up to the villa in person, but she and his cousin Alicia video in. Femi and Alicia tell Dami they’re proud of him, but they do not let him off the hook. I love them. He asks if they saw Casa Amor, and Femi immediately glowers and asks, no-nonsense-like, “Why?” He mumbles something about the Love Island experience, and she says, “You didn’t have to do that,” and “But [Indiyah] was respectful.” This is what a loving family does.
Indiyah’s mother and sister are even better, who already do not love the idea of Dami being family. Right off, Indiyah’s mom tells her that Dami is not fully redeemed in her eyes yet. This is obviously something he can sense because he greets her with an excessively and hilariously formal, “Good afternoon.” Mum and sister then start hammering him about Casa Amor in turns.
“Explain the three-way kiss, is that a thing for you?”
“She wasn’t moving wild the way you was.”
“It came across as very thirsty.”
“And you was very angry when she came back with Deji like you didn’t come back with someone. And then had the cheek to recouple up with her.”
Indiyah’s mom then accidentally calls Dami “Deji,” and this is the best family day interaction I’ve ever seen.
Surprisingly, for me, at least, Luca’s mom and dad are also willing to call their son out to his face. Luca’s mother says, “There’s been times when I wanted to come in and give you a good telling off.” Luca’s father says, “When you’ve overreacted.” Luca asks when and Luca’s mom just says, “Luca.”
Luca offers to his parents that perhaps he’d gone too far with the whole Tasha stuff, but I’m going to talk about my guy’s mic-throwing moment. During the last ever try-to-give-as-many-guys-as-possible-a-boner challenge, where the girls are supposed to dress up as sexy stewardesses, Gemma licks Adam’s chest and Andrew’s ear. This is not unusual behavior in a sexy-dance challenge because this show is often super-gross, and also, Gemma was just copying Paige, who had just licked Luca’s chest. But of course Luca gets peeved, pushes her aside, and remains in a mood until he realizes he’s coming across as an ass. For whatever reason, Gemma isn’t willing to let Luca’s “protectiveness” go unacknowledged this time. By the way, what the Islanders call “protective” is actually “possessive, jealous, and toxic,” but nobody will say this out loud because we all know who the real drama queen is.
But I digress. Gemma goes around complaining that he’s got “a face like a dog’s arse” until Luca gets pissed and tosses his mic-pack in a huff worthy of a Real Housewife. Eventually, Luca asks Gemma if she still wants to be with him and she says “obviously,” but, to use Luca’s own words, I’m still not buying it.
In addition to Luca’s temper tantrums, I also tallied the times that showed Gemma treating him less like a boyfriend and more like a guy she’s paid to do her homework who now won’t leave her alone in AP bio. One morning he says he wants to kiss her, and she responds, “God loves a trier.” One night she’s getting ready while Luca gazes at her still unblushed cheek, and she says, “I need to get on with my makeup, please, and it’s really disturbing you watching me.” On their special date, they are served dinner in some sort of shallow pool and serenaded by a string quartet, for which they have lukewarm appreciation. Gemma calls Luca’s prosecco pour “amateur.” When he asks what her favorite Love Island memory has been she says, “You want me to say meeting you.” He tells her to be honest, and she says the day out with the girls was really nice. Come on. She hates him.
But it’s time to talk about Ekin-Su and Davide, who have ramped up their relationship into overdrive. It starts with a shirtless Davide making Ekin tiramisu that’s served on a cheese board on which he has written in chocolate Sii mio, which means “Be mine” in Italian. Essentially, he is asking to make it official, and neither he nor Ekin-Su appears to care much about whether you call that girlfriend-and-boyfriend or not.
While everyone else got lovely, if perfectly standard, reality-dating-show dates, Ekin and Davide are sent to a Colosseum-type setup and serenaded by Alfie Boe, a famous opera and musical-theater singer. It is legitimately gorgeous. I cried — I’m not ashamed to admit it. Davide and Ekin-Su also cried. Their mothers cried. Everybody is crying. Davide says things like “Hopefully it will last forever” and “I always thought you were the most beautiful girl, in the villa and on the outside.” Ekin-Su says, “As long as you’re with me, there’s no place I’d rather be.” They eat their carbonara and choke back tears, and, finally, Davide says it’s time to tell her he really does love her. She sobs. More opera singing. Davide sobs. This is way too much culture and way too much genuine emotion for Love freaking Island. I don’t know if it’s that Davide and Ekin have gotten the best dates or it’s just their palpable chemistry, but these two make me feel things.
Both Ekin-Su and Davide’s mothers agree, by the way. On parents’ day, they both say that after watching this date, there was no longer any doubt of their love for each other. In Italian, Davide’s teary-eyed mother tells teary-eyed Davide, “You can tell by the way she looks at you she is head over heels in love.” And Davide says, “I think we are both head over heels in love.” Ekin-Su’s mother tells her she can tell how in love she is. Davide has to translate the family meeting because his mom speaks zero English, which makes it slightly awkward but somehow more authentic for that reason? I don’t know. My sense of objectivity is completely gone.
Whatever. The day of the final has arrived. Aside from announcing the winner, the only real thing of interest in the finale episode is each Islander’s not-not wedding-vow declarations of love. Some highlights:
- Gemma: “We’re so lucky that our journey in here has been plain sailing.” She is lying.
- Luca: “From the moment I got you up on that terrace, I knew it was you.” He loves her “tantrums” and the way she calls him a “knobhead.” I mean, the gall of this man to talk about Gemma’s tantrums.
- Indiyah with “Unchained Melody” of all songs in the world as the backing track: “You make me feel like the only girl in the world.”
- Dami, crying: “If I had to do this 1,000 times over, I would still choose you. Always.” This man is a poet, and that makes him dangerous. Indiyah, you have been warned.
- Ekin-Su: “You have shown me what happiness is,” and “You’re my soul mate. I want you in my present and my future,” and “Ti amo, Davide.”
- Davide: “If there’s something I know, it’s that when two souls are destined to be together with each other, then they cannot escape each other. For this reason, I was sure deep inside me that it was not the end.” (Previously, he’d told the boys that he’d say “I love you” in English but to say “Ti amo” was akin to proposing.) “Ti amo, Ekin.”
- Tasha, while Andrew is preemptively crying, mouths, “It’s just me and you.”
- Also Tasha: “I hoped to meet my love, especially my first,” and “The fact that I fall asleep and you take out my cochlear implant for me — that’s how I know you’re the one.”
- Andrew, on things he loves about Tasha: “Your beautiful eyes when we look at each other from the other side of the garden, when you scrunch your nose, and my favorite thing — and something we will do forever — our secret hand squeeze to let each other know we always have each other’s back.”
In fourth place, Laura Whitmore can reveal, are Tasha and Andrew! In third place are Indiyah and Dami (racism)! In second place … Gemma and Luca! Which makes Ekin-Su and Davide this year’s winners! They make out, Ekin starts crying, and Davide hugs her. Enjoy your £50,000, you two kids. Until next summer, Islanders.