Love Island Recap: This Is Just a Friendship Talk

Love Island U.K.

Week 4 (Episodes 23-29)
Season 8 Episode 4
Editor’s Rating 4 stars

Love Island U.K.

Week 4 (Episodes 23-29)
Season 8 Episode 4
Editor’s Rating 4 stars
Photo: ITV 2

This recap does not cover Episode 30 — Unseen Bits. 

Hello, again, Islanders!

I promised myself I wouldn’t start this recap with Ekin-Su again, but my God, if that woman is not putting in the work to make this an entertaining season. Last week Davide was screaming in her face; this week, she’s making him pancakes. As for our other Islanders, I hereby take back every nice thing I’ve ever said about Jacques (I knew he was trouble); Luca could not find his own lane with a GPS, mission control, and a self-driving Tesla; Tasha and Andrew really are fine, honestly, lay off; Damniyah deserves the world; and Danica, Danica, Danica.

Everyone from the editors to Luca, to Jay, to the British voting public seems to believe that Tasha isn’t very into Andrew and they are not a strong couple, and it’s making Tasha upset. She wakes up the day after the last recoupling feeling bummed — not because Charlie picked Ekin-Su or because she doesn’t like Andrew — but because Luca and Dami have been pulling faces and hinting to Andrew that he should start looking elsewhere. They apologize when she brings it up to them and she feels like no one in the Villa really has her back, but I’m not sure they understand what’s going on. For sure Luca doesn’t. What’s going on is this is Love Island, so Andrew has been telling Tasha she can get to know anyone she likes and is trying not to pressure her or demand exclusivity too early. Essentially what he’s doing is giving her enough space and respect to make up her mind. And it works!

Tasha tells Andrew in bed one night that maybe part of her problem is that she feels like things might be too good to be true. In the outside world, this is the point where she’d find an excuse to ruin it out of fear. Eventually, after giving Charlie the once and for-all break-up speech as he twirls that empty champagne flute, Tasha tells Andrew she’s ready to “tunnel vision” on him. He grins gleefully, they make out, and all is right in the world until the public votes them among the least compatible. This is how relationships are supposed to work!

If you want to see how relationships are not supposed to work, might I direct everyone’s attention to Jacques and Luca, Love Island’s gruesome twosome of masculine fragility? After telling Paige to go ahead and get to know Jay (causing her quite a bit of anxiety, by the way), Jacques is suddenly upset that Paige is getting to know Jay. Or, not even really getting to know Jay, more just playing along to be polite because that is how women behave when men they’re not that interested in start hitting on them. Jacques pulls Paige out of bed in the middle of the night to tell her that, for some reason, seeing her in bed with Jay has suddenly made him angry. He’s never felt like this in his life, he says. He just “can’t show emotion,” he tells her. Paige tells him he has nothing to worry about. In exchange for his incredible bravery in opening up just enough to admit to Paige that he really likes her, Jacques seems to expect — what, exactly? He’s already positioning himself within view whenever Jay and Paige happen to speak and clobbering her with hugs whenever Jay walks past.

Here is when Jacques proves himself an unambiguous asshole. Instead of following Jacques directly to the pool as soon as he declares it is “pool time,” Paige finishes eating and responds cheerfully to Jay in the kitchen, which Jacques takes as a stunning betrayal. He is huffing and puffing to Antigoni and petulantly putting his sneakers back on when Paige appears. “Yeah, I’ve got my shoes on because I was supposed to get in the pool with someone, but,” he barks with a sarcastic “tsk” of disappointment. Paige is hurt and confused as Jacques storms off and tells Dami and Indiyah he shouldn’t have been so vulnerable. Even his eventual apology for this childish little fit is a red flag. Because his heart is involved now, he explains, little things like this will set him off, and she should just respect that. No. No, no, no, no, no. No. She says of course and breaks up with Jay for good that night because Jacques might start punching walls if she doesn’t.

This brings me to the dumbest game of Love Island telephone I think I’ve ever seen. Here’s the scene: Ekin-Su, Gemma, Indiyah, Dami, and Charlie are lounging on the circular couch. Dami asks Charlie if he has any special skills, and Charlie says, “Being boring.” Word. Ekin-Su volunteers that she can “read minds” and challenges Dami to read hers and Gemma’s. I took the time to transcribe this word-for-word, so we’re all on the same page. “You’re happy with Luca right now,” Dami tells Gem. “I feel like it would take a lot for your head to turn, but there is a small chance that it probably could if something, something came in that was 100 percent you and had the chat of Luca. I feel like that is when the confusion would come in because, you know, we’re not here to play games. I feel like you’re still open in a sense, probably more open than Luca.”

Gemma says he’s “not far wrong,” and Dami asks everyone to keep this little conversation to themselves. Ekin-Su immediately jumps up to report to Paige and Jacques, but with a twist. In Ekin’s telling, Dami said, “‘Obviously you like Luca, but I think Luca’s more interested in you, and if a guy walked into this villa that was your type, you have a slight chance that your head would turn,’ and she agreed.” By the time this conversation gets back to Luca, it’s Jacques who is telling the story, and he says, “Ekin’s come over, and don’t take me word for word, she said, ‘Dami said to Gem, I reckon if a lad comes in, your head still could be turned.’ And Gem’s gone, ‘Oh yeah, it would be.’” What! As Gemma rightfully points out, he’s missing all kinds of context here.

If Luca were a reasonable person, he’d let this go, but Luca is not a reasonable person. First, though, Gemma and Dami have to call out Ekin for what Gemma terms “dickhead behavior.” Ekin tells her to “chill,” as if Ekin doesn’t already know that this will cause Luca to lose his mind. Luca’s snit lasts until the following day, when he asks Jacques about what it was like to date Gemma. Jacques immediately starts slagging her off because he’s Jacques.

Moving on!

This week is the heart-rate challenge, where the Islanders are strapped to heart-rate monitors while the others dress up in role-play costumes and try to get the others excited with their sexy dances. Whose heart rate was raised the most by whom is intended to cause conflict, but the only real thing to come of this challenge was confirmation that Davide and Ekin-Su are not over. Everyone in the Villa has watched their little slow-burn antagonistic flirtation since that big to-do last week and come to the same conclusion. Davide insists there’s nothing there anymore. Ekin-Su hems and haws. “This is just a friendship talk,” she says. “Nothing changed my opinion about you,” he says. We all know where this is leading.

They end up on one of the two one-on-one dates this week, which turns out to be one of the most squee-worthy dates I’ve seen in all my years of watching this stupid show. They’re sent to stomp grapes for wine, which is both flirty and playful, and the outing ends with drinks and a cheese board and wistful hopes for the future. Davide may say he’s not giving Ekin-Su another chance, but the boys are right — he can’t stop smiling when he’s around her — and you know what, it’s adorable.

Dami and Indiyah (or #DamnIyah, if you like) get the week’s other one-on-one date. In terms of location (dinner on the driveway), this date is by far the weaker of the two. However, it also features Dami looking directly into Indiyah’s eyes and saying, “You’re beautiful.” I’m crying. I’m weeping. I’m weak. These two make me believe in love.

You know who definitely cannot tell when someone is or isn’t into them? It’s Danica. Sweet, brave, confused Danica. This woman has an eye for exactly the guy least likely to reciprocate and go all in on him. After failing with Luca, Danica’s next target is Andrew, who kindly tells her he’s just focused on Tasha. “Really? Aren’t you shutting that door a bit early?” Danica muses to the beach hut camera. Honey. Now, upon hearing that at the next recoupling the girls have the power, Danica has two options before her: Charlie or Jay.

No one seems to want poor Charlie, and neither does Danica. She, therefore, approaches Jay, who tells her he’s more into Antigoni and she’s too young for him. So, at the recoupling, who does she pick? Jay, of course. He doesn’t know what more he could have done to make it clear that he did not want Danica to pick him. In fairness to Jay, which you know gives me pain, I don’t know what more he could have done either.

The Islanders are granted one full day of peace before being summoned to the fire pit because the public has been voting. Okay, the British public, explain yourselves. You were supposed to vote for the couples you think are most compatible, and you put Tasha and Andrew at the bottom? Again? What more does Tasha have to do to convince you people? Anyway, Tasha and Andrew, Antigoni and Charlie, and Danica and Jay are the bottom three couples. Now is when the Islanders have to vote amongst themselves who to dump. The girls pick Charlie, obviously. The boys pick Antigoni because boys apparently can’t be trusted to make the right decision even once.

The next day, Davide and Ekin-Su are among the most loved-up and cuddly couples there, Indiyah and Tasha and Gemma all agree they can’t see anyone coming in to turn their heads, and Paige is telling Jacques how much she trusts him. This means it’s the moment we’ve all been waiting for: Casa Amor. The girls are shuttled off to the neighboring Villa after being told they’re going on a girls’ night out, leaving the boys staring blankly at one another on the beanbags with no idea what to do.

“They’re coming back,” says Luca. Time will tell, sweet boy.

Other Bits and Observations

• Is it just me, or is Ian Stirling making more dick jokes than usual this season?

• Gemma calls Charlie’s hair “shocking.”

• I absolutely did not need to see Luca sucking Gemma’s toes.

• It has to be actually horrific to sleep in that room as half the people try to quietly have sex under the covers.

• Paige, on Charlie’s sexy dance: “You know when you want to just die for someone?”

• I must know this show’s music budget. I must.

• Who do you think will be the first to stray?

Current Couples
• Gemma and Luca
• Dami and Indiyah
• Jacques and Paige
• Davide and Ekin-Su
• Andrew and Tasha

• Jay
• Danica

Last Week’s Dumpings
• Charlie
• Antigoni

Love Island Recap: This Is Just a Friendship Talk