Strangely enough, any reservations I had about Carl and Lindsay’s relationship were assuaged as soon as they returned to the house after dipping out for the past two days. Carl tells us that feeling like he did something wrong during his engagement “broke him” and needed some space. But, Carl, that’s how life works. Sometimes you’ll be in hard situations that you can’t just leave in the middle of. Cue Lindsay saying, “You can’t just fucking run away when the going gets tough. That’s just not how life works. You can have a day and I’ll support that, but then we’re going back.” This, right here, is why Lindsay is a reality television legend and the best thing for Carl. She knows what their job is, that running away solves nothing, and she is here to make sure they leave their mark on this summer like the regrettable “Bearded Clam” tattoo I got in Ocean City, Maryland, as a youth.
Now that the season is over, I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I am officially #TeamLindsay in her break up with Danielle. This final episode solidified that. We knew a conversation was imminent, but Danielle picked a weird moment to have it. She did it while she and Lindsay stood there with Jaeretz, Chris’s superhot friend who needs to be in the cast next summer, and some rando who looks like my friend Kate Casey (check out her podcast). They don’t want to be a part of this drama? No one does!
That’s a lie. Everyone does. The best part of Lindsay and Danielle’s fight was how the rest of the house crowded around for it. It starts with Amanda and Craig descending the stairs and perching on the bench by the front door to eavesdrop. Then when Mya and Ciara, in full Na’vi makeup like she’s Anne Hathaway in We Crashed, try to come in and Amanda and Craig are miming, “NO, NO, NO, NO, NO!!!” with as many throat-slashing hands as they could muster. Then all of the girls run around to the front door to sneak in and listen to what is happening. Literally, this is all of us, huddled in front of our televisions with a much better view than just about anyone.
Danielle starts the conversation by saying she wants to celebrate Lindsay and Carl, and Lindsay says, “The time for that was last Saturday.” Danielle is still pissed that no one told her about the engagement. Should she have gotten a heads-up? Maybe. She definitely shouldn’t have made the whole party about her. To me, that is an unforgivable sin, and when Lindsay says everything Danielle did this summer didn’t indicate that she cared, I think she’s blowing it out of proportion. She could just cite how Danielle behaved at the engagement party, and that is sufficient evidence to cut her out of her life forever.
And that’s just what Lindsay has done. You can tell from the very start of the conversation she is finished. This is not something she’s willing to fight for. She is not talking about activation or sandwiches. She’s here to give Danielle the sort of cunty closure you used to be able to give people by hanging up on them when you used to be able to slam a phone cradle down. Now you just poke some buttons on a screen. Not the same. Unlike all of their other conversations, Lindsay’s not trying to figure Danielle out, she’s not trying to defend herself, she is just letting Danielle vent so she can eventually walk away and be done with it forever.
Because of that, it was an interesting fight where Lindsay could say, “I just stayed cool and calm,” and make it look like Danielle was the crazy one who raised her voice. That’s only because Lindsay was so passive-aggressive in her overness that it was like Danielle was trying to land a punch on a stick of half-melted butter.
Even though I’m Team Lindsay, I do not think she is a good friend. I’m on her side because Danielle badmouthing her and Carl at their engagement party is an unforgivable offense for a friend, no matter how good. And yes, I agree with Danielle that she was there through all the breakups; she was always there for Lindsay, and she deserves some deference, but she lost that right with how she behaved just a few episodes back.
That said, Lindsay is not a giving friend. She wants you around on her terms for when she likes you. That’s fine if you know that. I think the problem here is that Danielle didn’t realize their friendship was as transactional as it was, and I think she finally learned that this summer. With Lindsay, you are for her or against her, and Danielle is now against her. Also, with Lindsay, there is a flip she can switch to shut off any relationship, and Danielle got her to flip that switch. She’s a selfish person and a very selfish friend. (The only person this doesn’t apply to is Carl, and that’s why Larl will always go strong.)
That is what Paige, Amanda, and the rest of the Bed Sore Sisters are talking about when they say they knew this about Lindsay for years. Oh, and what about them waiting for Danielle to round the corner after her fight and yelling, “SURPRISE!” like it’s some party. Instead, Danielle collapses to the ground in the middle of a costumed group hug. They all tell her they were waiting there to support her. Really? Are you sure you weren’t there to get that steaming hot tea right out of the kettle? You sure?
On the other hand, Danielle is just learning it, and, yes, she is mourning the loss of a friendship. I bet she also feels a little foolish for backing Lindsay so hard all these years just to be dumped at the best moment of her life. I get that. I do. And that must be hard for her, but these two just need to leave this friendship behind and let us all heal.
Speaking of being left behind, I feel like I need to call for Mya’s firing even though I love her and she brought it in the last few episodes. The last episode, she got a weird DM about her boyfriend Oliver, asking if they were exclusive. In this episode, she keeps trying to talk to him and about him off-camera or when the mics aren’t on. She pulls him aside and tells him to stop “mingling” with girls at the party. When she’s with her real friends, she says she wants to talk about it, but “there’s a camera on us.” Then she takes him upstairs to ask how could he dare cheat on her while in the bathroom and trying to cover their mics so the show can’t hear.
This is some Robyn Dixon–level bullshit. I get it, it’s embarrassing, and she doesn’t want to blow up his spot like the dunes of Normandy, but that is not what you signed up for. When you decide to be on one of these here reality-television programs, you decide to have all this shit become public. You have to talk about your cheating boyfriend and your breakup. You do. That’s the Faustian bargain you sign. Yes, it was their last weekend, but it was a major storyline for her. Why let Oliver be there if she didn’t want it to come up? Why not text him and tell him to stay away?
What’s even worse is that this is a rookie mistake. We’re going to find out. The cameras are all over the house; the mics are stronger than you think. They’re going to piece together this story and it’s going to make Mya look worse because it seems like she’s trying to hide something from us and being inauthentic, which is like blood in the water for reality fans. I’m not saying she has to freak out and throw everyone in the pool like she’s Chris on too many Red Bulls. But she at least has to acknowledge that a relationship she started on the show should also be ended on the show.
As for all of the other storylines, they tied themselves up nicely. Kory and Sam, dressed as matching cave people, still like each other and are going to continue to date. Great. Gabby is still macking on Matt, the dude she had a blind date with. Great. Paige and Craig decided to move in together though they will split their time between Charleston and New York. Not great. Seriously, Craig. Move away from that dumb store and that dumb town. Kyle is so hot for Amanda’s ass that he asks for permission to muff dive and is denied. Great, because now my offers for Kyle to dive in my muff might be met with more interest.
The episode ends as it does every year, with the whole cast lined up on the side of the pool (Mya with her boobs in her hands) and jumping into the water without a thought or a sober cell in their entire bodies. But not Danielle. Fake Kate Casey and two other friends tucked her into her California king that she shares with three other people, and they shut the lights off. Danielle laid there, the room slowly keening like a boat in calm waters, as she went over everything. The fights with Lindsay, the talks with Carl, the engagement, the fights after, what she said that afternoon. She played it all out on a loop. She played it again and again, trying to find an edit where it all worked out okay. She tried to find an alternate reality where she and Larl were still the three amigos, where they still meant everything to each other, where they were still in each other’s lives. But she couldn’t find it. There is only one reality, and it’s this one, and sometimes it bites.