How do you react when the guy you think you’re in love with tells you he loves you like a sister? That’s precisely the predicament Lindsay Hubbard finds herself in at the top of this week’s Winter House after her confession of love to Austen Kroll. And there’s no way out of it that isn’t completely awkward. But the worst way of handling it is probably to double down. And surprise, surprise, that’s exactly what Hurricane HubbHouse does. She just can’t help herself.
Lindsay once again brings up that Austen apparently said one of his New Year’s resolutions for 2021 was to date her. Austen counters that he spends every New Year’s at a marathon four-day Phish show at Madison Square Garden. Therefore, anything he said can be blamed on his mind being…otherwise occupied by the kinds of substances required to get through a four-day Phish show. Lindsay tells herself via confessional that what’s really going on is that Austen wants to keep her on the back-burner. You know, as a back-up option while he tests the waters with Ciara Miller. But Lindsay is a front-burner kind of girl, OK? Whatever makes you feel better, HubbHouse.
Back at the house, Lindsay goes catatonic, laying on the floor as vents to Julia McGuire about her storyline getting shut down by Austen‘s rejection. At the same time, Austen’s filling Ciara in on the conversation, calling his supposed BFF “crazy” and insisting he has no romantic interest in her whatsoever. Never mind that they’ve already slept together off-camera. That doesn’t count. Not now that Ciara’s on his radar and ready for a vacation romance. Though Ciara jokingly surmises that maybe Austen’s the problem in this scenario… And honestly, is she wrong?
However, there are other couples to worry about, too. Kyle Cooke continues to work too much, leaving Amanda Batula waking up in a bad mood every day. This was not the way she thought this winter vacation was supposed to go. Poor Craig Conover‘s starting to feel lonely with all his friends starting to pair off. And the brewing love triangle between Luke Gulbranson, Gabrielle Kniery and Jason Cameron remains very much up in the air. Well, that is until Gabby confesses to Julia that she’s not interested in Jason at all. So when Julia offers to talk to Luke for her, she jumps at the chance to get a little reconnaissance on her crush.
For the day’s activity, Jason‘s organized a cold beer bash. Which apparently involves lots of layers and all kinds of drinking activities. There are kegs. There’s beer pong. There are even those plastic hats with funnels attached that people wear to sporting events. And once the booze starts flowing, so does the action. The spirit of Magic Mike takes over several of the guys, who take off their shirts and start putting on a show for the girls. Despite having a boyfriend back home, Julia appears more than a little into Luke‘s Thunder from Down Under imitation — much to Gabby‘s chagrin. She’s even further taken aback minutes later to see Julia dancing with a shirtless Luke and getting a little too close for comfort. This was not what she meant by “talk to Luke for me.”
Meanwhile, Amanda‘s starting to feel ignored by Kyle. When he’s not working, he only wants to flip into frat boy party mode. In the middle of all the drunken debauchery, she slips away to vent to her mom on the phone. In the privacy of the bathroom, which we all know is the only place in the Winter House where cameras can’t follow you. Of course, it’s right at that moment that Kyle decides to pay attention to his fianceé. And when he realizes she’s missing, he has a complete drunken meltdown. Blame it on the alcohol, but he tearfully confesses to Lindsay that he worries he’s not doing a good enough job in his relationship with Amanda. So the moment turns out to be the very drunk wake-up call our favorite Hamptons party boy needed.
As the party winds down, Gabby‘s getting more and more irritated over Julia dancing with Luke. So she decides to pull Paige DeSorbo into a closet to vent. (Lots of venting in this week’s episode, if you can’t tell.) Gabby confides in Paige that this is something of a pattern in her long friendship with Julia. In fact, she claims she and her ex-boyfriend actually broke up because of her pal. So no wonder she’s triggered. Partway through the conversation, Ciara stumbles into the closet. And then proceeds to immediately spill the tea to Julia that Gabby is angry with her. Oops.
The next morning, the mood in the house is weirdly tense. Mostly because Gabby won’t even look Julia‘s way during breakfast. But the group decides to shake off their collective hangovers with a day on the slopes. It’s the first time everyone has been out skiing together. And while most of the girls stick to the bunny hill, Julia and the guys head to the highest mountain peak in all of Vermont. Up on the mountain, they all press Andrea Denver on his feelings about Paige. And he admits he likes flirting with the resident fashionista. But he doesn’t want to rush things. After all, he likes being a single Italian stallion, and he’s not looking for any sort of relationship.
Down at the lodge, Julia decides to cut through the icy silence and confront Gabby. But the conversation certainly doesn’t go well. Despite Gabby’s explanations that her feelings are hurt, Julia simply doesn’t understand what she did wrong and claims she was just waiting for the right moment to approach Luke. Via confessional, Gabby throws out that Julia’s the kind of friend who can never be wrong and who never understands anyone else’s point of view. I’m sorry, how good of friends are these girls, again? The entire confrontation only blows the situation up into an even bigger deal. And there’s no resolution because Gabby storms away before anything can really be accomplished.
Eventually, the roommates head home and immediately hit their second wind. So while Gabby and Lindsay pout in their respective room, Austen, Ciara, Andrea, and Paige head to the hot tub for a redux of their couples’ makeout from the premiere. Meanwhile, Luke admits in his confessional that he’s finding himself more and more attracted to Julia as he gets to know her. Despite the fact that she has a boyfriend. And with no mention of Gabby at all…So that could get messy.
Cut to the next morning, and I’m already stressing because there are only 10 days left of this vacation. It’s going by too quickly! Give me 20 more episodes of this chaos, please and thank you. Kyle pitches the idea to Austen of taking Amanda and Ciara out on a romantic double date. Naturally, both ladies are thrilled with the idea, and the foursome head into Stowe for an afternoon of wine tasting. Austen’s nervous because he hasn’t been on a date with anyone not named Madison LeCroy in three years; Ciara’s nervous because she’s starting to really catch feelings for the Charmer. But the sparks immediately start to fly as they banter with Kymanda over age differences and Peter Pan syndrome. Ultimately the first date is a smashing success. A 12 out of 10, even.
Back at the house, Paige is feeling left out of all the inter-house romance. Earth to Andrea: she’d like to go on a date, too. However, Gabby lets slip that she’s only ever seen the Italian model sleep his way around New York City, which gives Paige a reason to pause all the romantic scenarios she’s playing out in her head. In fact, right at that very moment, Andrea’s proudly showing Luke that he’s fielding texts from two other girls he’s also pursuing. Uh oh. So by the time Andrea talks Paige into being his workout buddy (i.e. sitting on his shoulders as he does squats), she’s not too sure she’s in the mood to be bench pressed….
TELL US – DOES GABBY HAVE A REASON TO BE ANGRY WITH JULIA? WAS AUSTEN AND CIARA’S DOUBLE DATE WITH KYLE AND AMANDA CUTE OR CRINGEWORTHY? IS PAIGE MISSING RED FLAGS FROM ANDREA? AND WHY DOES NO ONE LOVE JASON?
[Photo Credit: Bravo]