There is a reason that there are no docusoaps that feature majority-male casts. Just look how the giant mêlée between Carl, Kyle, and Luke played out on this week’s episode. It was basically like, “Bro, I’m sorry.” “No, bro. I’m sorry.” “Let’s squash it?” “Let’s squash it.” And then a one-armed bro hug with a firm bro tap and they bro-walked into the bro sunset and we never bro spoke of it ever bro-gain. Amanda says in a confessional, “Imagine if we attacked each other like that when we got into fights?” No, I can’t imagine that. But imagine if you got over things as quickly? Instead of a giant conflagration that lasts 30 seconds, they just simmer and scream about the same issues for months on end. I’m not saying one is better than the other. Honestly, we wouldn’t have a great reality show without them both. Men are from Mars, and women are from wherever Instagram psychics come from.
After Carl lunges after Luke in his underwear and Luke escapes into the dark Hamptons night, the fight is pretty much over. Kyle goes upstairs to drunkenly eat cold spaghetti off of someone’s plate without wearing a shirt while slurring, “I forgot what carbs tasted like,” and that explains how he keeps a physique like his while drinking more than a Mormon at a Las Vegas convention. Lindsay tells Danielle that the only reason she was able to keep Kyle off of Luke is because of her ROTC training, and then we see pics of Lindsay in her fatigues doing an obstacle course, and the show is just going to totally elide over the information that Lindsay has ROTC training and not treat it like the major revelation that it is.
The next morning, everyone is full of regret. Paige and Hannah are so hung-over that they stay cooped up in their messy bed until Ciara has to come downstairs and say, “Um, guys. We’re about to eat dinner. Do you maybe want to get up?” You know your shit is busted if Ciara, whose bed is classified as a Superfund site, tells you that you’re messy. Meanwhile, Lindsay and Danielle are upstairs cleaning the nuts off the kitchen floor (somehow not a euphemism) while whispering how they are saints and somehow managing to keep their resentment of their sloppier roommates at bay.
Carl does not roll like that. He wakes up and immediately shaves off his ridiculous Amish beard and cleans his room because he is a good boy and does whatever his mother tells him. He is also mortified by his behavior from the night before when he started drinking again and it really hammered home that he should not be engaged in partying while he is still deeply in mourning over his brother’s death. I wonder if he should be in the house and on reality television at all, but if Carl thinks this will make him happy, I am here to benefit from his continued presence.
Later in the day, Luke eventually returns and Kyle goes out to chat with him at the end of the driveway so that no one can spy on them as they chat. On the way to their rendezvous, Kyle stops to pee in the bushes, gets his dick caught in the zipper of his shorts, and then tells Luke about his junk injury as a way of greeting. I love every single second of this. It was sweet when Kyle reproposed to Amanda on the two-year anniversary of their engagement and I am going to replay his speech to her and pretend like he’s talking to me and say, “I do,” and then we will go tuxedo shopping together and I will wear something tasteful and black and Kyle’s will be tie-dyed in Loverboy colors and the Pointer Sisters will play at our reception and we’ll go off on our honeymoon to a Greek island that doesn’t allow shirts to ever be worn and we will spend it happily ever after.
I had to invent all of that because there is not much to say about Luke and Kyle making up, other than that they both apologize for getting heated and say they won’t let things get physical again. Luke enters the house and has a similar conversation with Carl, who adds that he and his brother used to fight like he and Luke did and now he would give anything to have his brother back to even fight with him again, and I reached for a Kleenex to wipe away the tears but I am married to Kyle now, so when I reached out I grabbed his dick, which he was standing there in the living room wagging at me for no particular reason and I am so glad of our union.
Luke, on his apology tour, sits down and apologizes to everyone at the table for how he reacted the night before. He says that because of growing up with his parents, who fight all the time, call each other names, and throw things at each other, that he has anger inside of him and, though he fights it, sometimes it comes out. The whole time he’s talking, delivering a truly moving speech, he’s on the verge of tears. “I don’t have the answers when I have seven people talking to me and I hit the boiling point,” he says. “I hurt people, I scared people. I don’t want to hurt people. I don’t want to scare people. One of my battles is that is in me, and I try hard not to be that person. I fucked up.” He then singles out Hannah and Ciara for making them uncomfortable and tells them he will respect them going forward. It was a really great scene and once again I reached out for a tissue, and I grabbed one but only because my husband Kyle had tucked it into his waistband and then when I grabbed it, he shoved his bulge at me and said, “Made you touch it.” This is the life I chose.
Since we have the fight all sorted, the other big drama is that Lindsay missed her period and she had sex with Stephen right before he left the house and, by extension, the show. Since they’re under quarantine, she has a pregnancy test Postmates-ed over to the house so that she and Danielle can huddle in the basement and wonder about a future where Lindsay has a baby with Stravy even though she wouldn’t necessarily get back together with him after that happened. The test comes back negative and Danielle, as the voice of all of us, says, “Thank God!”
But Stephen has been a constant presence, since he keeps sending Lindsay flowers several times a week. When the whole crew went to an outdoor dinner at a restaurant and Kyle showed up with a bouquet, I thought that Stephen had somehow sent them to the restaurant. He keeps sending her flowers and talking about wanting to make up with her, but why, Stephen, why? What tiny, miniscule, microscopic, and small-of-stature reason would you have for wanting to get back together with a woman who told you that nothing you do for her will never be enough? I don’t know how it got twisted around, but from where I stand, Lindsay was the one in the wrong, making demands on Stephen that he couldn’t possibly deliver. They are not a good match for each other but still, he persists.
As the crew is at the Southampton Social Club, Stravy arrives with his duffel bag and all of his stuff like he’s ready to move back in. Girl, don’t you think that’s a little presumptuous? Isn’t that like putting the condom on before the date? He quickly gets to work in the backyard, spelling out I [Heart] U in LED candles and then standing in the middle of the heart below one of the house’s inconceivable number of balconies with a bouquet of flowers and a boom box. This is his Say Anything moment and for someone like Lindsay who is looking for a great romantic gesture, is there one bigger than this?
The problem is that romantic gestures will only get you so far if the pair of you are fundamentally incompatible. Stephen and Lindsay are looking for completely opposite things in a relationship and even a load of flowers so big that it would clog the Suez Canal won’t make up for that. Just like before, what happens when the flowers stop? What happens when (as it appears next week) they just go back to normal and have to settle into a house full of other people and not kill each other. But none of that matters when Lindsay goes out onto that balcony, her manicured hands held up to her gasping mouth. She just wants to see the love, the flowers, the music. She wants to see the twinkling of the lights and the trilling of the strange birds that are awake at night on the East End. She wants to see this man, the one who will affirm his love over and over, the one who is there when the clock runs out and he decides to stay. Her imagination is soaring, sailing toward the future that they share, but her eyes, her eyes are looking down at him.