It’s Episode 2 of Summer House, and if you thought six weeks in quarantine would put our beloved Good Vibe Tribe into the proverbial pressure cooker, you were right. Because drama is already starting to boil. We’ve got a love triangle in full swing. A couple bickering over traditional gender roles. Gossip flying through the house at warp speed. And maybe even one or two happily ever afters in the making. Because apparently it’s possible to find — and maintain — love, even in a global pandemic. Who knew?
Two things I noticed from a production standpoint this week. First, it seems we’re in for a lot of Zoom calls and FaceTime this season. Which is apropos considering the isolation we’re all living through these days. But still, it felt noticeable. The other change, and maybe this is just me, is that production seems to be relying more on mounted cameras throughout the house than usual. It could just be an editing choice, because it wasn’t something I noticed last week during the premiere. But it’s also possible that, because of the pandemic, production has fewer camera crews in the house than in seasons past.
Speaking of Zoom calls, Carl Radke kicks off the episode by having a virtual chat with his mom Sharon. Longtime fans of the show have seen Sharon numerous times over the years. And she’s a gem. In fact, the only thing I love more than Carl’s quarantine beard is his relationship with his mom. They truly adore each other and she definitely brings the best out of our little Carlito. And after several years of struggling through a devastating divorce, guess what? Sharon’s found love! She’s getting married!
Now in a normal season, this would serve as the episode’s B-plot. Likely with Carl traveling to the wedding and filming everything from his iPhone. Instead, all the housemates dress in their wedding best and watch the ceremony together via Zoom. Carl couldn’t be happier for his mom. Though I can’t imagine how hard it must’ve been not to be there to walk her down the aisle. But, as with all things COVID, Carl deemed the risk too great. Obviously, the choice between his job — filming Summer House — and being at his mom’s wedding was likely also a factor. But either way it’s not an easy decision, and I’m glad Carl was able to incorporate his mom’s wedding into the show while supporting her from afar.
Before the virtual nuptials though, Paige DeSorbo does some expert reconnaissance on Ciara Miller. Specifically, she wants the tea on the newbie’s past with Luke Gulbranson. Turns out, the lumberjack Prince Charming pulled the same moves on Ciara as he did on Hannah Berner last season. Ciara even went to Minnesota and met his family the summer before he joined the house. Clearly, the “Minnesota nice” act is all part of Luke’s playbook. And that’s not all. Not only have Luke and Ciara hooked up in the past, he was also talking to her all last summer. Oh, and she’s still into him and willing to see where things go this summer. This isn’t good. As Paige says in her confessional, Hannah’s gonna die.
At a post-wedding luncheon of Pittsburgh sandwiches, Lindsay Hubbard pulls Luke and his mountain man beard aside. She, too, wants the real story between him and the new girl. He readily admits he’s always been interested in Ciara. And now that he’s finally over the ex he was almost engaged to, he’s “100 percent open to a relationship.” What does that mean for his relationship with Hannah? He doesn’t say. But it seems Luke wants to keep his options open with both of the girls. Because that’s going to end well…
In other relationship news, Kyle Cooke and Amanda Batula have decided to postpone their wedding. It was supposed to take place last September, but because of the pandemic, the OG couple of the house could hardly “send it” on their big day. So they’d rather wait. Which is a rather responsible and unprecedented move compared to some other Bravolebrities. (Ahem, looking at you, Cynthia Bailey and Kelly Dodd!) Also Paige is already forgetting to check in with her boyfriend, Perry Rahbar. Oops. Via confessional, the fashionista admits she’s relieved to be away from his constant smothering, which sounds like a major red flag. (And considering they’re now broken up, it appears it was one.) But it doesn’t bode well considering it’s only day three.
That night, the roommates throw a roller skating party in the backyard. And you know it’s not a party in the Summer House until Kyle dons his first wig of the season. It’s also the perfect time for Lindsay to pick a fight with Stephen Traversie over his demanding work schedule. And complain to Danielle Olivera about his constant requests for his girlfriend to make him drinks and sandwiches. Watch out, Stravy. If you keep this up, Hurricane Hubbard is bound to get activated. Because if there’s one thing Lindsay is not about, it’s traditional gender roles. You can make your own sandwich, thank you very much.
Hannah also decides it’s the perfect time to sit Luke down for a totally chill chat about his relationship with Ciara. Luke continuously describes the newbie as “someone from [his] past,” and also hesitantly admits he never mentioned her to Hannah because he didn’t want her to assume the worst. More like he prefers to keep the girls he’s juggling separate and compartmentalized, but OK. Whatever you say, Minnesota. He also cops to wanting to see where things go with Ciara. And calls Hannah a “great friend.” Which is a huge slap in the face. But mostly I’m just distracted by how wildly attractive Luke looks as a shirtless lumberjack hippie from the ’70s. Not sorry about it. But also, sorry Hannah.
The next day is Kyle‘s 38th birthday. And rather than the out-of-control parties he’s thrown for the last four summers, Amanda‘s transformed the house into the Send It Grill. Paige is the hostess. Luke and Ciara are the servers. Carl‘s the sommelier. Danielle‘s the general manager. Lindsay gets relegated to busser. Stravy and Hannah will be the chefs for the evening. It feels like something out of Top Chef‘s Restaurant Wars. Just without, you know, a working oven.
But before the big surprise, Hannah goes straight to the source to compare notes with Ciara. And what she finds out is exactly what she didn’t want to hear. Ciara claims she’d heard plenty about Hannah before joining the house. Luke was always downplaying their relationship. Painting the picture that Hannah was always more invested than he was. He even told Ciara that the reason he never had sex with Hannah was because he knew she’d get “too attached” to him.
Hannah has a completely different story to tell. According to her, she and Luke were absolutely dating last summer. Therefore it’s especially shocking for Hannah to find out that he was also calling and FaceTiming Ciara every day. There’s even flashback footage from last season of Luke flirting with her via FaceTime from the house. Meanwhile, he and Hannah were hanging out in the city every day. Talking constantly. Having dinners at his apartment. It was a “full-0n relationship,” just without the sex. But now Ciara’s head is spinning and she doesn’t know who to believe.
Amanda‘s birthday dinner for Kyle goes off without a hitch. Paige out-hostesses anyone who’s ever worked a day at SUR. Hannah and Stravy don’t ruin the food. Everyone sings Kyle “Happy Birthday.” It’s all very adorable. That is, until Hannah pulls Ciara and a freshly clean-shaven Luke aside to confront this simmering love triangle of drama head on. Hannah asks point blank how many girls Luke had in rotation last summer. His answer? “Not really that many.” Wow. Well, Luke, two of them are now sitting in front of you.
But when the girls confront him for saying the exact same things to both of them, Luke goes for the jugular. With a smirk on his face, he flat-out tells Hannah they never dated and were never a couple. Which, yes, that’s technically true. But that’s also conveniently rewriting history for anyone who watched even two seconds of last season. Not to mention fully gaslighting poor Hannah. With her feelings completely diminished and invalidated, she ends the episode in tears, accusing Luke of bringing Ciara into the house just to rub her in her face. Ciara just wants out of this confrontation, and poor Hannah now just wants Luke to leave her alone. Too bad they’ll all be stuck in the house together for six more weeks…
TELL US – IS LUKE GASLIGHTING HANNAH? OR IS HANNAH MISINTERPRETING THEIR RELATIONSHIP? ARE YOU SURPRISED LUKE WAS ALSO TALKING TO CIARA LAST SUMMER WHILE FILMING SUMMER HOUSE? HOW’S SWEET WAS CARL’S MOM’S WEDDING?
[Photo Credit: Bravo]