Turning and turning in the widening gyre, the falcon cannot hear the falconer. That falcon can’t hear shit because everyone is yelling. Ciara is yelling at Lindsay; Lindsay is yelling at Paige; Paige is yelling at Austen; Austen isn’t yelling at anyone, but everyone is yelling at him, including Luke, who is also still yelling at Hannah from last season because, honestly, she deserves it. This is the moment Summer House descends into absolute chaos, and I am not only here for it, but I have also bought the extended VIP bundle, which includes a T-shirt, a half-dozen of Mya’s cookies, and a meet and greet with one castmate of my choice. Actually, can I turn all that in to ban MacKenzie from my TV forever?
Before we get into the cauldron of beer tears that is the second half of Lindsay’s birthday party, we need to discuss one thing: what you can — or cannot — get away with just because it’s your birthday. Lindsay says she can sleep with Austen if she wants because that is her prerogative and it is her birthday. She also says she doesn’t have to talk to Ciara because it’s her birthday. Danielle says Ciara should not be coming for Lindsay because it is, you guessed it, her birthday.
As someone who loves his birthday like teenage boys love free porn, yes, I think one gets a general dispensation once a year. This should cover minor inconveniences and anyone trying to steal attention. What it does not cover are major crimes and misdemeanors. You can’t say, “But officer, I can drive drunk. It’s my birthday.” Even if Jack the Ripper murdered a prostitute on his special day, it doesn’t mean that one doesn’t count toward his overall numbers. I bring this up only because, yes, Lindsay was wrong to think she could just screw Austen with Ciara in the house and expect to face no repercussions because it’s her birthday.
I don’t want to pit Ciara and Lindsay against each other, though, because there seems to be enough of that going on in the house, and Austen is really the one who started it. Looking amazing in her strappy white bikini, Ciara tries to talk to Austen multiple times and keeps getting rebuffed. She finally corners him in the kitchen and asks how he feels about her after last week, when he said, “I want to lick you back to front.” Austen responds by saying, “How do you feel that I kissed Lindsay on the mouth?”
He doesn’t want to have this conversation, and he doesn’t want to have to confront his feelings for Lindsay or Ciara. What is his plan? To send them after each other as if he’s the last pair of Manolo Blahniks at the Barneys Warehouse Sale (RIP — I am old). This way, he is out of the fray, and he can just let the two of them activate each other for the rest of the night.
Let us make no mistake: Austen is such the villain here that he should be standing over the train tracks twirling his mustache around his fingers. He tells Ciara that he cares about her very much and that they tick all the boxes as a couple. Then he tells Lindsay he’s not that into her and is trying not to talk to her. He most likely does not care about either of them and just likes the attention because if he actually wanted one of them, he would make a declaration. He’s trying to have his cake and eat Ciara too. (In this analogy, I guess Lindsay is a cake.)
His plan works perfectly. Ciara goes outside and tries to talk to Lindsay, who refuses and runs away from her, hiding in what Ciara would call a shed and what Kyle would call a [garbled drunken speech], but it’s probably where the producers live and Lindsay knows that at least the cameras can’t follow her in there. Ciara calls Lindsay a “sucker-ass bitch,” which gets Danielle all riled up, and now the fight is spreading like the fraying of a rope, slowly breaking and twisting until the whole house snaps.
While Danielle and Ciara get into it, everyone acknowledges this is Austen’s fault. Amanda says it. Danielle says it. Paige says it, but the girls keep fighting. I have to give major props to Luke Gulbranson, a refugee from Fuckboy Island, for actually bringing this right to Austen’s face. He tells Austen what everyone, including Austen, knows: Ciara is really into him. “When Ciara is all about you, even if you kiss Lindsay as friends, it still hurts her feelings, and that creates a problem, and everyone around you can see it,” he says. Thank you! It’s one thing for the ladies to stand up to a guy, but it’s another thing for another guy to tell him his behavior is uncool, uncouth, unconscionable, and uncut. (Probably not, but “uncut” fit in the series.)
This is when the rest of the house just gets completely frazzled. Is that the word? Maybe I mean fraggled, like the rock. Paige is angry that Austen slammed a door in her face, saying, “You’re a loser, and everyone knows it. Don’t ever shut a door in my face. Let’s do cake.” When Austen tries to talk to Paige about how he keeps dismissing her, that doesn’t go well, either, and because of that, she and Lindsay start having words. There’s a mêlée in the kitchen, which is just so much shrieking, like rival gangs of crows trying to have a Pitch Perfect–style a cappella battle, but the only song they’re signing is “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)”.
It’s hard to tell what this fight is even about other than drunkenness. Paige says she was defending Lindsay all day but then takes it back, and Lindsay says Paige is calling her a liar, and then Amanda and Mya try to hug her and she shrugs them off like her arms are nuclear bombs. I can’t follow it anymore, but I know that, despite it being her birthday, Lindsay is somehow wrong.
However, the biggest question I am left with is, Why the hell did they never acknowledge that Alex is at the party? As I discussed in the last Housewives Institute Bulletin, there are social-media pictures of Alex at the party with everyone else. However, in the last episode, someone said Alex was out of town that weekend. If you look in the background as the party continues, you can see Alex’s back. Why are they hiding Alex in plain sight? I know he’s boring, but #JusticeForAlex.
Eventually, the screaming subsides and everyone eats pizza and goes to bed. For Ciara and Paige, whose power supplies are apparently charged by eating on a duvet, they do both at the same time. Carl turns in with MacKenzie, and I hope she disappears into the night. Kyle goes to bed with Amanda, muttering something about sleeping with men. Finally, in the wee hours of the morning, Luke returns home with some jamoke to arm wrestle on the kitchen table, and Lindsay comes in the front door with her legs wrapped around a man named Luciano and her labia acting like a suction cup to his chest. They go upstairs to moan and tickle under her bedspread while the night-vision camera titters into its hand in glee and embarrassment, wondering just what sort of minefield Austen will walk into in the morning.