Things To Think About:
- Can Carl and Lindsay survive each other?
- Will Armand and Luke come to blows over Hannah?
- Does Jules know that she’s on a TV show?
- Will Paige spill ketchup on her white bathing suit again?
- Are Kyle and Amanda actually going to get married?
We open on Kyle and Amanda. Feisty sparks sizzle between the engaged pair, the tension carrying over from our last episode. The house prepares for the big 4th of July party, but Kyle wanders into the kitchen in search of an ice cold, anger-quenching Loverboy. With one sip, he recovers himself and eloquently voices his frustrations to Lindsay. That Loverboy stuff is quite a tonic for the nerves. A soothing potion, I say, in these troubled times.
Kyle is struggling with how to communicate to Amanda that their sex life needs work. Now I, like Kyle, can’t tell you the right time to talk about your lacking sex life. But I can tell you, beyond a shadow of doubt, some of the wrong times: when explaining to a judge why you were photographing a tetherball match at a local school recess Tuesday afternoon. Save yourself the trouble.
But let’s all be honest with ourselves, for one goddamn minute. The only thing we really care about today is the meeting between Armand and Luke. Hooooooly shit. Holy fucking shit. Imagine if you were dating a professional boxer, right? Somebody with a criminal history, maybe he’s helped a couple people “go blind” before? And then you meet another professional boxer who is also a murderer. And that second guy has the hots for you too! And you think… why am I attracting these people? Is it my fault? Who cares, they like meeeeee. So you invite them both to your party so they can meet each other and fight with knives concealed in their belt buckles (Luke probably made his—he makes jewelry). Whoever wins… gets you.
That’s what Hannah did with Luke and Armand. Girl, you bad.
Luke and Hannah head to the liquor store, just the two of them. Running a sly little errand just hours before Armand will arrive. Luke is running a last-minute push for his campaign. Like a presidential candidate flying to Rhode Island before voting day for one last rally. In a rare moment of self-awareness, Luke tells us “I don’t think Armand is a threat. But maybe he should be threatened by me, because I’m the asshole flirting with his girlfriend.” So many threats! I threatened someone once, by lying. This guy in Italy was making fun of my pants and I told him I was a legally required to disclose that I have a black belt in brazilian jiu-jitsu, if we were going to fight. I said those words.
At the house, Kyle, Amanda, Carl, Lindsay, Jules, and Paige take a jell-o shot to ring the bell. Kyle is wearing his signature mullet wig and he doesn’t look that different, honestly. The group takes their jell-o shots, and I’ve always struggled with the decorum of this. Do you use your finger to scoop the thing into your mouth? Or use your tongue to sorta dislodge it and reel it into your throat? That can look gross, like a dog trying to eat a glob of peanut butter at the bottom of a jar.
But then, Armand. There he is. Wearing a white t-shirt like Aaron Carter in his prime. And now he’s in the house. And it’s only a matter of time before Luke gets home. Two bulls in a china shop—not a shop that sells Chinese trinkets; a shop that sells tea sets. For whatever reason, we cut to Lindsay, who offers her opinion on Armand: “I don’t really see what Hannah sees in him.” Yikes, Lindsay. Harsh much? What crawled up your butt and hatched into a demon? Give the guy a damn chance. She adds, “But if he is making her happy, I am in full support.” Oh. Ok. I guess it’s not that bad. My mistake, I wrote too soon.
As the party takes flight, I keep pausing the show to see if I recognize any of the random guests (lady in the red bikini, hi!) Lindsay asks Armand what his status is with Hannah, aggressively. But he’s cool as the cucumber slices he wears as bedtime goggles: “I dunno, not putting a title on it.” Sweet Armand. Must be nice. I can’t go a week with a chick without asking her what are we? Big status guy over here. Armand also hangs his sunglasses off his necklace again to avoid bacon-necking his t-shirt. A savvy move from a savvy fellow. Meanwhile, Paige and Amanda offer some high praise of Armand. They like him; they think he’s good for Hannah. If only they could convince Lindsay. Finally, after what seems like hours, Hannah and Luke return to the party with the booze and Hannah kisses Armand on the lips. Mm-mm-mmmmmmm.
Jules is struggling, big time. No surprise there. She can’t really talk to anyone so she dances awkwardly. I would feel bad for her but I don’t, at all. Only Jules would be able to have so little fun surrounded by so much fun.
Kyle loves to give speeches. He addresses the party from the balcony, thanking everyone for coming, with Carl at his side. When someone yells “make out,” incredibly, they oblige. It’s one of the more progressive moments I’ve seen on television: two straight, white males unabashedly locking lips to show their solidarity with the LGBTQ+ alliance. Fun times for all.
All, that is, except Luke. He had his mother send him his traditional 4th of July costume—a pirate beggar getup that mutes the chiseled contours of his face and pecs, taking him from a 10 to a 9. In this, he approaches Armand and shakes his hand, and I had to look away. Dastardly! Shaking the hand of the man whose woman you covet? Shiver me timbers that’s cold. As Hannah goes inside to fetch a jell-o shot for Luke, he gets some alone time with his opponent. Of Hannah, Luke tells Armand, “I care dearly about her. You’ll take good care of her,” as if to challenge him. But he also ramps up the midwestern accent for this sentence, so he sounds like an aunt. It’s a strange combination of protectiveness and aggression, but thankfully, Armand is unflappable. Luke tells us “this is my competition? Sorry, but there’s no fucking way.” Ugh. I hate it when men can’t get along.
Paige calls Perry in private. Everyone is coupling up in the house, she says, except for Jules. But when it comes to Jules, Paige rolls her eyes and says, “come on.” Truer words have never been spoken, Paige. Here’s to you, truth-sayer.
But here comes a fun moment: Paige and Hannah go to Paige’s bedroom but stop at the door, for heavy moaning is coming from inside. I figured it would be Jules, blasting away with Paige’s electric toothbrush or something. Nope, it’s two strangers. The camera coyly shows one foot up in the air, as if to suggest that cunnilingus is underway. Paige and Hannah bust in and tell the two facesitters to vacate, gross. How gauche!
Armand leaves, sadly, but says he’s coming back (hooray!) Luke pines to Lindsay and Carl about his unrequited love for Hannah. He jokingly asks Carl and Lindsay if they’re going to get married. Carl quickly says no, which pisses Lindsay off, and here we go again! These two are perpetually hovering one tectonic plate slide away from an earthquake. Lindsay wants them to stay in and snuggle or play backgammon, but Carl wants to hit the town and sow his seed. As they argue, he finds a random bottle of fireball and takes a swig. God help these two if the world ever runs out of fireball. As Amanda and Paige devour empty calories in the adjacent room, the fight escalates. Lindsay brushes Carl and he tells her “don’t ever touch me, enjoy your night.” She explains that she needs consistency, to which Carl says “we’re not boyfriend and girlfriend,” and then he leaves the house. Lindsay dissolves in a puddle of her own tears, Danielle tries to comfort her, and we have come a long way from that stunning rooftop date last week.
Out at a nightclub, Kyle is coming into his own. This is the first time we’ve seen him really cut loose this season, and it’s comforting to see. The dude is a blast. He loves his nipples. Even Jules finally appears to be having a good time. As they return from their night out, Hannah and Armand (yay!) find sanctuary in a bathroom. Hannah does that move where she turns on the shower to disguise the noises she’s about to make. I’ve only seen girls do this to defecate, but I suppose it works for sex too. Moaning ensues. Armand is back!
Kyle, shitfaced, sees that Amanda is sharing their bed with Paige. Undeterred, he passes out in the arm chair at the foot of the bed. Adorable. Big day for Kyle. No news on Carl as the lights go out on the longest day we’ve seen so far this season.
The next morning, as the band sits down for breakfast, nobody talks. But, as Carl observes, it’s kind of nice. Then Paige mentions she may take the next weekend off so as to spend more time with old man Perry, and Hannah wonders how she can poop without Paige around. This baffled me. Do girls hold hands to dump? Do they hand a wooden spoon to each other to place between the teeth for leverage? I prefer the company of a crisp New Yorker over a fellow human for movements. To each her own.
Carl and Lindsay find a quiet bench and start in. We think he may try to break up with her, but then he asks her for a kiss. The camera flashes back to past breakup attempts from Carl. In similar fashion, he gets to the 10-yard-line only to butt fumble with these kiss requests. This is why you have to break up over text. Heartless, but effective.
And that’s the end of the weekend! The gang packs up and heads back to the city. A quick montage of cuts devotes one day of the week to each cast member. On Monday, Carl makes one phone call on behalf of Loverboy. On Tuesday, Paige takes an instagram video of her outfit. On Wednesday, Jules takes a call from her mom. On Thursday, Luke fashions jewelry like the stuff his father made in prison *record scratch* exsqueeze me? Are we just gonna blow past that? Hello yes I’d like more information on this prison-jewelry market please. Was Mr. Gulbranson making gifts in exchange for protection? I’ve heard that the faster you ingratiate yourself to a gang, the easier one’s time will be in the clink. Little did I know that rings and baubles could buy you that safety.
Hannah arrives at Luke’s prison shop. She offered to help him create a marketing video for his social media, to promote his jewelry, which looks like fishing equipment (not that there’s anything wrong with that). Luke struggles with the beats of his clip, but in the end, sex sells: he takes off his shirt and I buy two bracelets and four rings. Turns out, it’s quite hard to type with lug nuts around your fingers. They are now resting comfortably in the bag of spare Ikea parts. By the way, he held the clip for months and finally posted it last night on instagram. Beware: if you watch this, you may purchase jewelry.
Kyle and Amanda sit down to dinner at a restaurant during a downpour. The weather is the perfect backdrop for their slippery footing. Kyle opens with some observations about their issues, but then the glasses are filled with rosé and he tries to clink glasses with her. Amanda then says “I don’t know why we’re cheersing right now.” Now, I don’t mean to be a language nazi, but I need to address this: “Cheersing” is not a fucking word. When you want to clink glasses with people, you are “toasting.” You don’t propose a “cheers.” You don’t “cheers” somebody. “Cheers” is what you SAY when the glasses touch. It’s an expression, an exclamation of joy. It is not a fucking verb, no matter how hard you people try. Fuck. I don’t mean to single out Amanda because clearly she’s going through a rough patch. But Christ almighty. Figure it out.
As the episode draws to a close, Amanda tells Kyle that maybe “I’m not who you thought I would be.” Perhaps Kyle is trying too hard to change Amanda. Conversely, perhaps Amanda is doing too little to meet Kyle in the middle? Relationships are a two-way street, and sometimes, the person you thought you were dating isn’t who you thought they were. One time I was catfished by a Louisiana shrimp man, aka “Claudia,” who sourced his photos from an Estonian page on the dark web. He was so much less attractive than I thought she was. But even we communicated better than these two.
Lots to ponder as we wait for next week… woohooo!!!!!!