Well this week’s episode of Summer House was certainly a roller coaster of emotions, wasn’t it? We witnessed the breakdown of a friendship. The breakdown of a romantic relationship. An underwhelming birthday disaster. Even a very real, heartrending tragedy. And it all happened in the span of a single day. Activated, if you will, on an annual Summer House national holiday — Lindsay Hubbard‘s birthday.
The episode opens, however, with the news of the unexpected and tragic passing of Carl Radke‘s older brother, Curtis. Over the years, Carl and his brother had had a complicated relationship due to the latter’s struggles with addiction. Most recently, Carl had opened up on the show about wanting to rebuild a new foundation with his brother, who was five years older than him. And now that chance isn’t possible. It’s not an exaggeration to tell you I was in tears through half of this episode.
Obviously, Carl is reeling from this news. As someone with a sibling struggling with an addiction, it’s the last call in the world you ever want to receive. And the saddest part is that Curtis had been clean and sober for a year. All it took was a single relapse to send him reeling down a path he couldn’t come back from and upend the lives of his family and loved ones. The rest of the house is in shock with, and for, Carl as well. The mood takes on a somber mood of mourning and no one knows quite what to say. But the point is, they all try.
The outpouring of genuine love and support for Carl from the housemates felt so raw and real. This group may fight and bicker about taking out the trash and when to “send it,” but at the end of the day, they do really love and care for each other. First, Carl shares the news with Lindsay, and later opens up to her and Danielle Olivera — the other third of the house’s Tres Amigos. Danielle in particular has special insight into Carl’s relationship with his brother, considering the now-roommates dated about five years ago. (For newer fans who didn’t start from the beginning, Danielle joined the house in Season 2 as Carl’s ex.)
Hannah Berner is openly weeping as she wraps Carl in a hug. Luke Gulbranson is there for a private conversation and hug out on the balcony. Even Ciara Miller, who barely knows Carl, is there to support him with kind words and advice based on her career as a nurse. It’s emotional and touching. Eventually, Carl takes a long walk, leaving him alone and off camera to start processing his grief. Understandably, he has no mental space or capacity for any of the petty drama happening in the house this week. Eventually, he decides to leave for Pittsburgh to be with his family.
But that doesn’t mean the drama isn’t happening. To distract themselves from the tragedy, Luke and Hannah hit the tennis court to recharge their newly-re-platonic friendship. And also to rehash the drama from the day before between Hannah, Kyle Cooke and Amanda Batula. Luke pulls the classic “Well I would’ve stepped in and defended you, but then it would’ve escalated into a physical fight” line. And frankly, the look of unbridled glee that comes across Hannah’s face knowing Luke would fight Kyle for her is…deeply unsettling.
At the same time, Paige DeSorbo pops in to check on the show’s resident couple. Amanda still doesn’t know what to think about her fight with Hannah. After all, she’s spent the last two summers sticking up for her friend — often to the detriment of her relationship with Kyle. But now, at the first chance she can get, Hannah’s still quick to throw low blows at Amanda’s relationship. Not to mention throw Amanda under the bus in the process. Paige feels caught in the middle between her two friends, but if she’s being really honest, she’s not Team Switzerland here. She’s Team Kyle and Amanda. Just don’t tell Hannah, K?
Hannah spends most of the day giving Amanda the cold shoulder. But eventually, the latter can’t handle the tension and tries to smooth things over with a simple conversation. Spoiler alert: it does not go well. Even with Paige attempting to mediate, Hannah feels like she did absolutely nothing wrong. She calls her friendship with Amanda “toxic” and claims to be over it. Rather than fix the problems or take any accountability, she’s ready to call it. Listening to the screaming match from upstairs, it takes all the self-control Kyle can muster to not rush down and back up his girlfriend. But Amanda’s really holding her own here, even if Hannah earns the episode’s best one-liner with, “You threw a cup at me, bitch!” All signs point to this friendship being pretty much over.
Ever the opportunist, Luke meanwhile uses Lindsay‘s birthday as a chance to get back into Ciara‘s good graces. He gets flowers delivered to the house for HubbHouse’s big day. And also a separate bouquet to present to Ciara as a romantic gesture-slash-olive branch. Pulling the nurse out onto the front porch, Luke turns on the charm. He says all the right things about why he invited Ciara to join the house. He wants to be with her and see where this goes. But Ciara holds his feet to the fire over how he screaming at Hannah (multiple times) over the last few episodes. And gently but firmly shuts Luke down by insisting she just wants to be friends. Oof. Luke isn’t used to being rejected and honestly, we love to see it.
Finally, the episode culminates in Lindsay‘s birthday. If you know Lindsay at all from watching this show for the last four years, you know her expectations are sky-high when it comes to her birthday. The week of which also happens to fall on her one-year anniversary. So the pressure is on for Stephen Traversie to deliver. And it turns out, even while they’ve been fighting over sandwiches, he’s been planning a romantic quarantine surprise. Since they can’t exactly go anywhere, he’s having dinner delivered from the restaurant where he asked Lindsay to be his girlfriend last season. There’s an adorable poolside table set up in the backyard for a romantic birthday date. He even has a giant painting of her from their Italian vacation wrapped up and hidden in Danielle‘s room.
It’s all quaint and cute…and not at all what Lindsay wanted. Immediately, the look on her face shows she’s less than impressed. And honestly, this was a lose-lose situation for Stravy to begin with. Stuck in quarantine, what would’ve been good enough for Lindsay? Nothing. The answer is nothing. So, instead of being grateful and enjoying the night, she decides to pick a fight. Again. In all honesty, she’s doing nothing short of trying to humiliate Stephen on camera. She reams him out for not going above and beyond her unreachable expectations and now, they’re fighting on her birthday. Soon enough, Lindsay and her insanely sheer dress storm away from the table to complain to Danielle. And suddenly, it’s the last straw for Stravy.
While Lindsay‘s busy venting in Danielle‘s room, Stephen decides he’s had enough. He’s leaving the house and not coming back. He quickly rounds up his belongings, says his goodbyes to a few of the other roommates, and heads for the driveway. As Stephen pulls away from the house, the one person he didn’t bother saying goodbye to Lindsay. Yikes. Something tells me this birthday betrayal is going to activate Hurricane Hubbard on a whole new level. Watch out Stravy. Good thing you’ve left the blast radius behind…
TELL US – HOW HEARTBREAKING IS THIS WEEK FOR CARL? IS THERE HOPE FOR AMANDA AND HANNAH’S FRIENDSHIP? WERE LINDSAY’S EXPECTATIONS TOO HIGH FOR HER BIRTHDAY? WAS STRAVY RIGHT FOR LEAVING THE HOUSE?
[Photo Credit: Bravo]