Ok, hear me out. I know we’re only two episodes in but I’m ready for Winter House to become a yearly thing. I’m all in on the chaos. The mess. The love triangles. The winter activities. The beanies. The constant Bravolebrity crossover potential. I’m here for all of it. There’s an unhinged magic to throwing all these Bravolebs in a house for 16 days during the off-season and I already want more. Book the cabin for Season 2 and let’s get this renewed!
Episode two picks up right where the premiere left off. Namely with the couples of Paige DeSorbo and Andrea Denver and Austen Kroll and Ciara Miller making out in the hot tub. Separately, but together. And just like that, Paige suggests they rejoin the group and the girls make a run for it, leaving the guys behind the hot tub feeling all sorts of good about themselves. Paige thinks she’s in love, but knowing that she’s now in the Bravoleb coupling of my dreams with Craig Conover, it’s safe to say she might just be blinded by Andrea’s Italian accent. Oh, and his abs. Also the abs.
The next morning, the girls fill an eager Julia McGuire in on the action while the boys congratulate themselves in Austen‘s room. All while some of the newbies indulge in a casual breakfast soup and Kyle Cooke holds a conference call for Loverboy at the dining room table. The vibes are good and nothing could be going better, honestly. Except, wait. Not everyone’s here yet. Ciara and Paige realize Lindsay Hubbard is finally due to arrive at the house that morning. And they’re both more than a little trepidatious about how her presence will change the dynamic. Because as the season-by-season montage from the past five years of Summer House shows, wherever HubbHouse goes, a hurricane of drama tends to follow.
Naturally, Lindsay can’t resist making an entrance, walking into the house with a bang and a crate of Fireball. And who’s the first person she’s dying to see? Austen. And basically only Austen, to be frank. Apparently these two have been Bravoleb BFFs off-camera for quite some time, and they throw themselves into each other’s arms like Lindsay just came back from war. It’s a little much, honestly. She’s not nearly as excited to see any of her normal housemates. Or any of the new faces she doesn’t even know. Or even Craig. Just Austen. In fact, come to think of it, Lindsey’s reaction is kind of reminiscent of how specifically thrilled she was to see Luke Gulbranson in the Hamptons last season…
After a Fireball toast, Lindsay almost immediately pulls Austen out onto the deck to get the lowdown on everything she’s missed. He confesses he made out with Ciara, and the grin on Hurricane Hubbard’s face all but vanishes. She’s clearly less than happy to hear about this development. And even less glad to hear that Austen would very much like to keep making out with Ciara. She’s the opposite of activated, if you will. Later, as the crew preps for a night of snow tubing, Lindsay spills all the tea to her new roomie Julia about her relationship with Austen. Apparently, no one actually the truth about their secret history, including that he claimed he was going to date her in 2021 in a drunken New Year’s Eve FaceTime. And Lindsay is ready to put it all out on the table for the cameras. (And possibly for a storyline?)
The gang heads to Sir Henry’s Tubing Hill for an evening of night tubing. And suddenly I’m having deja vu of this week’s episode of The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City. Snow tubing on Bravo twice in the same week? The synergy! The main difference is that the Winter House roomies are sliding down a giant hill in the dark. It’s so hard to tell who’s who that production provides handy labeled arrows on screen. After a few runs, everyone retreats to the mountainside bar, where Luke casually flirts with Gabrielle Kniery while Julia presses Jason Cameron across the room about whether or not he likes Gabby too. (Also, points to the editors for capturing the tiny glances already happening between Paige and Craig. Foreshadowing!)
At this point, Kyle takes it upon himself to get to the bottom of whatever’s happening between Lindsay and Austen. Have they kissed? Yes. But are there feelings happening? What’s really going on here? It actually takes very little coaxing for the pair to reveal their big secret. Yes, they’ve slept together. But it was like three years ago, OK? It happened during one of Austen’s many (many) breakups with Madison LeCroy, and they’ve kept it a complete secret. Not even Craig knew! Austen claims he sees he’s getting himself into a tricky love triangle here, but then throws it out the window and asks Lindsay if she’s ever imagined a future between them. Obviously, her answer is yes, yes, a thousand times, yes. There’s an outrageously, uncomfortably long hug, complete with running commentary from Ciara and Amanda Batula. It’s definitely getting weird.
Back at the house, the afterparty gets started, but Austen quickly finds himself in an awkward predicament when Lindsay bursts into his room…and Ciara‘s already there. Oops. Hurricane HubbHouse then gets positively sloshed and somehow coaxes Austen into her room, where poor Amanda is subjected to their very physical demonstrations of affection for each other. (At the same time, a confused Ciara pulls Craig aside for some guidance. He warns her that Lindsay’s had her eyes on Austen for years. So much so that she probably would’ve ended any of her past relationships to be with him.) Once Amanda bows out, Austen repeatedly asks Lindsay how she feels. And she drunkenly confesses that she’s in love with him. In fact, she says it not once, not twice, but three times.
Austen claims this admission of love triggers all his Madison-related trauma to come bubbling to the surface. But, like, dude…you’re the one that asked the question. What did you expect her to say? Instead, he retreats to his room…to cuddle with Ciara. And after some late-night drinking games and a mini-tantrum from Kyle, the crew calls it a night.
The following morning, Austen is still reeling from Lindsay‘s confession. But Craig claims he knew it all along! (Listen, Craig may be, as his fellow Charmer says, an “idiot savant,” but he’s actually truly very rarely wrong about these things…) Now, Austen’s worried this situation will push Ciara firmly out of the love triangle that’s forming. And for her part, Ciara admits to Paige that she can already feel herself pulling away — she’s not about to compete with Lindsay’s unresolved feelings. From her perspective, her old summer roommate showed up and stomped all over girl code and her vacay love connection.
The house splits up for the day, with Kyle, Craig, Austen, Jason, Julia, and Lindsay doing something called fat tire bike riding. In the snow. Everyone else opts to stay home and get an impromptu (and very unofficial) combination skiing-and-Italian lesson from Andrea. Naturally, Luke decides to use the afternoon to build an igloo with his bare hands. Much to Gabby‘s obvious delight, by the way. On a break from biking, though, Jason admits to the group that he is crushing on Gabby after all. As their mutual friend, Julia encourages him to carve out some one on one time with Gabby to make sure he’s not friendzoned. Looks there may be more than one love triangle heating up the house already…
Later, the biking group arrives at a restaurant for lunch. And Austen decides it’s the perfect time to sit down with Lindsay for a heart-to-heart. Lindsay claims she’s totally fine, but he’s shaken up from the night before. She’s in love with him? This is something he claims he didn’t know. And then Austen hits his bestie with the cold, hard words every girl wants to hear: he loves her like a sister. Ouch. We’ll have to wait until next week to find out how well Lindsay takes that rejection…
TELL US – IS LINDSAY REALLY IN LOVE WITH AUSTEN? IS SHE BREAKING GIRL CODE WITH CIARA? WAS AUSTEN LEADING HER ON? WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THE SECOND LOVE TRIANGLE BREWING BETWEEN LUKE, GABBY, AND JASON?
[Photo Credit: Bravo]