This recap does not cover Episode 38 — Unseen Bits.
All right, islanders, let’s get into it.
It’s Casa Amor week, and I can no longer root for any of these couples in good conscience. I can only root for individual Islanders now, and that’s right, none of them are boys. I’m not saying I hate all men; I’m just saying that I tried not to be a raging misandrist, and that’s how I missed the Andrew and Dami red flags. Not all men but definitely all men in this Villa. I award Luca no points for sleeping on the couch and Jacques can cry me a river. In any case, this season is going hard.
Unlike Dami, Jacques, and Andrew, I can own up to my mistakes. I was mistaken when I called Andrew and Tasha a strong, mature couple, and I was mistaken in thinking that Dami and Indiyah were meant to be. That’s my bad. Going into Casa Amor, it looked like there were five relatively solid couples and just two single Islanders, Danica and Jay. Post Casa Amor, we have six new Islanders, two relatively solid couples, and a whole lot of bullshit.
The first thing the boys do after learning the girls have been deposited at Casa Amor is lose their minds and leap into the pool — this is how Islanders express excitement. The second thing they do is pack their partners’ suitcases with a lot of showy, over-the-top affection that honestly becomes offensive compared to their behavior 12 hours later. Dami’s sniffing Indiyah’s clothes. Andrew sprays a sweater with his cologne. Jacques is scrolling through selfies of him and Paige on his phone. They all include their rings in the suitcases, presumably to remind the girls of their deep connections back at the M.V. (Main Villa).
However, as you may have guessed, the girls are not the ones who need reminding of their connections! On night one, at least, all of the girls (minus Danica, who is perusing the selection on offer with sheer glee) are very reserved. Deji has his eye on Indiyah. Billy, known “lads’ lad” according to Gemma (with whom he has mutual friends), has his eye on everyone. Danica is “buzzed, blessed, never stressed” the following day and has already zeroed in on Josh. Billy makes Paige a breakfast of dry toast and then flirts with Tasha on the couch. I don’t trust anyone who smiles that much, and neither should Tasha.
At M.V., the boys are excited for “Christmas morning.” They bound downstairs to find six newbies in bikinis and spike heels waiting for them in the kitchen. The girls — who have a vested interest in breaking couples up, mind you — tell Andrew that he’s being a doormat, and Andrew immediately breaks. He makes a beeline for Coco, sticks his tongue in her mouth, and for the next three days, only stops licking her tonsils long enough to complain about Tasha or, as we will discover later in dramatic fashion, start licking her nipples.
It’s funny to hear what men say to themselves to justify making out with other people. Andrew has decided Tasha is already basically cheating on him, so fuck it. Dami says that if he were on the outside, he’d still be dating other people, so what’s the problem (to be fair, Indiyah says this also, but she does not kiss anybody). Davide says Ekin-Su had her “test” with Jay, so now it’s his turn. This seems like sound logic to Jacques, who says Paige also had her “test” with Jay, and so now, how can he know if what he has with Paige is real if he doesn’t kiss as many girls in Casa Amor as possible? Luca is the only one who decides he’s completely closed off, though this doesn’t stop him from egging the other lads on, as Dami will later point out. Right now, by comparison, Jay is looking pretty good. As the only real single boy on the Island, he can happily chat up Chyna guilt-free. Of course, he then tells her they’re just friends the day after choosing her at the Great Re-coupling because he is, at heart, a snake.
So now, the boys are eagerly legitimizing one another’s cognitive dissonance, and some of it is truly wild. They decide kissing is one thing, but cuddling is a bridge too far, somehow. “I’m feeling like this because I’m thinking about Paige’s feelings. I’m not thinking about mine,” says Jacques. “I’m so scared of hurting that girl that I’m holding myself back.” That’s right, hon. Don’t let basic human empathy get in the way of a good lads’ holiday. But Dami is delighted to welcome another brother in douchebaggery. “You’re either fully open, or you’re not,” he keeps saying, which is a collection of words.
Cut to Paige turning Billy down and remarking to Gemma, “If you said name one red flag about Jacques or one thing you’d wanna change about him, I’d be forcing something.” Oh, angel, I could name a few. Luckily I don’t have to because Casa boy Samuel is dispensing some real talk. Paige asks for his thoughts on Jacques, and Sam says the single most accurate thing that has ever been uttered on this show. He tells her that not only does it look like Paige is more into Jacques than he’s into her, but that Jacques is aware of it, which gives him power in ways she may not have realized. “When you have feelings for someone, sometimes your common sense goes. I’ve had that happen … I’ve had crazy feelings for this person to the point where I let them disrespect me. And that’s happened between you two,” he says. “He’s disrespected you in ways that he shouldn’t have done. Now, if you put a girl in there that is confident, is very flirtatious, is as good-looking as you, his head could potentially turn. And that’s because he’s that type of guy.”
And it’s as if Paige has suddenly been zapped out of a trance. Momentarily, she is completely clear-eyed about what’s going on in her relationship. Gemma tells her, “If he is that easily led, if you go away for a few days and he’s not fucking strong enough in his own mind to keep his dick in his pants, then he can fuck off anyway.” You said it, sister suffragette.
Now Tasha and Indiyah are feeling squicky about flirting with other boys in Casa Amor, even though Tasha says she feels like more herself with Billy and Indiyah — well, I think Indiyah just likes Deji’s London accent. Danica counsels them to explore their connections here. Maybe, she suggests, they could bring new boys back just to compare up close. Dun, dun, dun …
Back at M.V., Andrew is in tears, and Jacques and Dami have decided to go all in. “You know when you jump in the deep end, but then it’s deeper than you think it is,” says Dami. That’s basically where they are. Dami’s making out with Summer, and Jacques is making out with Cheyanne. But like, it’s in the spirit of discovery. For science. The one relationship that I think Casa Amor has legitimately strengthened is the bond between Jacques and Dami, who have both been “kissing under covers,” thereby crossing their own arbitrarily drawn lines — but at least they’re doing it together, like bros.
Finally, it is time for Stick or Twist. The Islanders must decide whether to recouple with a new person or stick with their original partner, and they don’t know what their other half will choose. Going into this, I was fully prepared for Dami and Andrew to recouple and Indiyah and Tasha to come back single. I have to admit I actually gasped when I was wrong.
Laura Whitmore makes her slo-mo entrance and lays out the deal to the Islanders before her. The boys will make their choice, then see if their girl enters with a new partner or alone.
Jay picks Chyna, and Danica returns with Josh. Davide picks Ekin-Su, who returns alone, and they giggle at each other. Luca and Gemma, yeah yeah yeah. Dami chooses Summer and somehow can’t stop himself from quipping, “Summer isn’t over.” Then, in a surprise to us both, Indiyah returns with Deji. “It is what it is,” she says. “Til it isn’t,” Dami says. Oy. So then Andrew picks Coco with a big speech about how all the new girls said Tasha was talking behind his back and how he’s a mug. And when Tasha returns with Billy, my guy has the nerve to start muttering. “Good luck to you, mate. She tells more lies than Pinnochio,” he tells Billy, which is rude and not as clever as he thinks. Finally, Jacques, feeling like a very good boy, picks Paige, who comes back alone.
Just to really crank up that pressure, Laura keeps the rejected Casa boys and girls for a moment and asks Cheyanne if she expected to be chosen. Cheyanne says she did. “Tell us why,” presses Laura. “Who was it that you had a connection with?” Cheyanne says Jacques and the Islanders all gasp while Paige’s mouth twists. “Tell us what happened,” Laura commands. Cheyanne says, “Said he can’t trust himself. Shared a bed. And kissed.” Jacques, who is an idiot, defends himself thusly: “I wanted to test myself and see if it could be better. And it wasn’t. So, all the best.” Everyone winces, but no one more so than Luca.
So now we have 18 Islanders, which is too many Islanders. Laura departs, and then everyone storms off. On the couch, Andrew can’t seem to decide whether to rail at Tasha or beg her to come back, so does a little bit of both, never once admitting just how many bases he and Coco rounded in a single evening. Tasha mostly seems confused.
Even worse is Jacques’s explanation to Paige. He does admit that he and Cheyanne “had a little cuddle and kiss” in bed, to which she answers, with glorious disdain, “Cute.” You can’t wriggle out so easily this time, hon. Paige wants to know if he’ll need any more “tests” in the future and if Jacques thinks she deserves this. He says, “Listen, at the end of the day, we’re both single. And I think you forget that sometimes.” This man!
If you can believe it, things only devolve further the following day. Paige says, “I’m done, honeybun,” and I hope and pray that she means it. Jacques is legitimately sobbing, telling Dami that Paige deserves better than him anyway. When he finally apologizes a full day later, she tells him she doesn’t think he’s ready for relationship things. Stay strong, baby girl.
Dami learns Indiyah never kissed Deji and feels guilty (maybe). Ekin-Su and Davide work out because that is their main hobby. Billy tries coming onto Gemma, who verbally swats him away, “Pipe down, remember your place.” He just grins like a maniac and asks if she’s jealous that he’s with Tasha. Pure chaos. Luca’s spidey sense (crippling self-doubt) starts to tingle.
Elsewhere in this emotional hellscape of a dream house, Tasha and Andrew are hugging it out. Coco, realizing she’s been used, can’t stop crying. And it is in this state that she eventually discloses the tit-sucking incident. The nip-slip, if you will. So now, Andrew has to ‘fess up to Tasha himself.
“She’s basically gone and told the guys that I sucked her tit or whatever,” he mumbles.
“Like, licked her tit or whatever.”
Tasha’s like, why didn’t you tell me this before? “Something, something, I forgot about it til now.”
In the words of Gemma, “You don’t remember someone’s nipple in your face?”
We leave with Andrew, Tasha, Coco, Jacques, and Paige all weeping behind their sunglasses and into their ever-empty champagne flutes while Davide and Ekin-Su have somehow emerged as the strongest couple in the Villa (just as long as nobody spills the beans about that one night with George). All I know is with this many Islanders, there’s bound to be a culling soon.
Other Bits and Observations
• How are there enough beds for everyone right now? Especially with so many breakups? I’m legitimately asking.
• I don’t think we needed that extended bit about Jacques’ boner, did we?
• Calling it now, Josh and Danica are not long for this Villa.
• Billy tells the girls his job is picking up penguins at the zoo, which I guess is a joke?
• Jay on Chyna day one, “For me, Chyna really stands out to the other girls.” Lies.
• We did do the raunchy race, another annual tradition designed to make islanders feel insecure and make out with each other.
• Casa Amor wins the race, so they get a “party,” which means literally nothing on this show.
• Jack, son of famous singer Ronan Keating, who wrote “When You Say Nothing at All,” was briefly on this show, and he and Gemma bonded over being the children of rich and famous people. Just a reminder that these are not normal people we’re watching.
• If I absolutely had to say one positive thing about these boys, I at least like that they’re willing to cry in front of each other and offer supportive, manly hugs.
• Chyna describing her very full day, “I got up and … mingled,” is going on my vision board.
• Ekin-Su and Davide
• Luca and Gemma
• Dami and Summer
• Indiyah and Deji
• Andrew and Coco
• Tasha and Billy
• Jacques and Paige
• Danica and Josh
• Jay and Chyna