It’s nice to see the Summer House crew back to doing what it does best: playing stupid games and fighting. This episode gave us the delight that we’re used to but also Lindsay being fascinatingly defensive, Carl getting passive-aggressively sarcastic, and Danielle using a tone that can only be described as sand stuck in your genitals.
Let’s start with the fun stuff, shall we? I am finally pleased with the addition of Chris, who received a Giving Us Nothing award last week along with about half of the cast. But this episode, he gives us hot Marine drill sergeant forcing everyone to play games in which they chuck eggs at one another. Too bad Amanda doesn’t tell him that all those eggs are hard-boiled, and Carl gets hit in the leg with a grenade rather than a softly exploding potential chicken embryo. (This game is illegal in 12 states because life begins when the ovum is released before conception.) Chris also drags the dudes out of bed on Sunday morning to take them to the gym. He even managed to get one good dad joke in. When he tells Ciara about his day-of games, she says that she’s not interested and they can start and finish without her. “I usually do,” he says, not needing to throw in the pumping-fist universal signal for engaging in gentleman’s time.
Chris tries to get something started with Sam, but Kory is the one who is closing that deal. I don’t care, but I have to stan for these two. I ship them so much that I put them in ten different UPS boxes and sent them out to all my friends. There is something so comforting in their basicness. I just love that a conventionally pretty woman and a conventionally hot man are doing their boring best to continue the human race while also paying a lot of attention to their fitness. It’s so bland it’s like a warm hug on a rainy day, and I want to curl up with this perfectly bland partnership like it’s a water bottle. But did they have to take their first time to some Airbnb in Montauk? Couldn’t they just bone on-camera like everyone else on the show?
Now that we’ve gotten all the fun out of the way, shall we take a stroll down Drama Gulch? Shall we just sit in the next room, like Amanda and Paige, listening at the door to the fighting? Shall we get a can of olives and eat them right out of their own brine with a spoon while everyone fights in the yard again? Yes, we shall, because that is what we’re here for.
The first discussion between Carl and Danielle is actually quite constructive. Although Danielle yelling (Danyelling?) into a pillow that Carl was ring-shopping is a little much, they came to a sort of agreement: Danielle tells Carl that she has no problem with his relationship, no problem with him, and doesn’t think he did anything wrong. She also tells him that Lindsay has changed a bit and wants things to be different. He says he wants them to get along and suggests they both need to work on it to become friends again. Carl is calm, levelheaded, and absolutely correct about everything. They hug, and everyone’s happy until …
Lindsay comes home drunk, and I put on so much padding it was like I was about to go play paintball. I knew this wouldn’t end well for anyone. Carl tells Lindsay that he and Danielle talked and that Danielle said her relationship with Lindsay has changed but that she’s not mad at Carl. “But she is, though,” Lindsay says. Lindsay has already concocted a narrative about what is happening here: She thinks Danielle hates her and Carl together, that they blame her for everything that’s happening, and that any criticism of her relationship means that people aren’t supporting her.
Carl tells her that Danielle wants her to poke and prod a bit more to find out what is happening with her. “So I have to poke and prod more like it’s a game to figure it out?” Lindsay still seems to think Carl is implying that Danielle doesn’t have to tell Lindsay why she’s mad and that Lindsay has to figure it out. I think, in this moment, she is misinterpreting where the conversation is going.
Lindsay lands on the excuse she uses for the rest of the argument: that once Carl found out that Danielle didn’t have a problem with him, he didn’t care how she came off. That’s not how the conversation played out at all, but as soon as Carl brings it up, Lindsay decides she is mad about it, no matter how many times Carl tells her that what they talked about was actually good. “She still has an issue with me, and you don’t care she has an issue with me,” she tells Carl. She’s wrong. Carl does care about Lindsay, but he can’t work out the issue between them; only Lindsay and Danielle can.
Lindsay doesn’t like that idea and instead tells Carl exactly what she wants. “I want you to say, ‘You’ve been a fucking piece of shit to my girlfriend. Go apologize now!’” But that’s not realistic. This is Lindsay’s issue to figure out. But once again, Lindsay wants blind support and needs people to have her back no matter what happens, and if they don’t, they’re abandoning her.
Lindsay tells him, “I’m glad you feel better, but I still feel worse because everything is always on me. And you clearly did not help that.” Yeah, it should be on her — it’s her relationship with Danielle. After that last line, Carl finally gets sarcastic and says he’s a horrible, fucked-up person. Lindsay says, “You love a fucking pity party.” Lindsay can’t read the room, and she can’t even read a Carl. She can’t read anything at this point. But we have seen this fight with Lindsay many times. This is the same one she had with her ex Everett (congrats on the wedding) in which she said she would sleep in another guy’s bed. This is the same as when she asked Stravy (ugh) how many sandwiches he made for her. This is how Lindsay rolls, and it will always be part of her. While the fight is the same, Carl reacts quite differently. He doesn’t get angry like Everett; he doesn’t get dismissive like Stravy. He remains calm and patient and tries to talk Lindsay down until he can’t anymore. It’s impressive to watch. I don’t think she’s right to do any of this, but Carl seems to have what it takes to navigate this, even if it will never be enough for an endless maw of needs like Lindsay’s.
As for Lindsay and Danielle, they are once again people that seem to be missing each other. Danielle, Kyle, and Carl chat in the backyard before the big bonfire. (Luke is not needed because, Ciara informs us, “I can do anything a man can do, only better — and on my period.”) When Lindsay approaches, they tell her they’re talking about her, which goes back to the same misunderstanding between Danielle and Lindsay. Danielle says she doesn’t like how Lindsay has been treating her since she got with Carl. Lindsay takes that as her having a problem with her relationship. No, she’s fine with her dating Carl as long as Lindsay pays a little more attention to her.
But as they go back and forth again, like an oscillating sprinkler that never shuts off, the message isn’t getting through to either of them. They’re talking to each other, not like friends trying to make up — the way they did at Kyle’s 40th birthday — but like someone trying to win an argument. Talking about it is supposed to drag these two back together, but the way they’re doing it is only dragging them apart further.
After Danielle storms off because Lindsay insinuates she can only check in on Danielle when they’re in the city together, Lindsay tells Kyle that two days ago Danielle said it was weird that they were dating. No, that’s not what she said. She said she feels weird about it because things are different. Kyle explains very well that there were three of them, and now two of them are dating. The three-legged stool is gone, and Danielle can’t figure out where her place is. Lindsay seems to understand this about as well as Ciara understands the expiration date on a bottle of OJ. No one, please, try to sit on that stool while drinking OJ. Or do, actually. I’d love to see you fall on your face and ruin a good outfit with orange juice.
It’s another go-round on the road to ruin for Danielle and Lindsay, whose problems seem as though they would be fixed easily, but something is getting in the way. (Is it the show? There were some alarm bells with me when Chris asked Kory if he’d be sticking around, and he said, “We’ll see.” Is this just a showmance?) The episode ends in a great way, though. After the fight and bonfire, everyone was up in Ciara and Paige’s room having an impromptu bedroom dance party. Lindsay and Carl were making out on their bed and decided to join the rest of the group. They partied, they pumped their fists, they jumped on the bed — everyone, all together, had a great time listening to some awful song that Bravo couldn’t afford the rights to. They were together, they were pals, they were having a summer, and as juicy as the fights can be, this is like the real siren call of the cicadas, whispering back to us from the summer, drawing us in once again.