Winter House Recap: All Hail The Great Heathen Army!

Well, Good Vibe Tribe…We’ve reached the penultimate episode of Winter House and I’m already preemptively grieving. I’m not ready for it to be over! And guess what? We’re also still in high school. Well, Paige DeSorbo‘s back to school party, that is. You didn’t think we could just move on from all that catty drama so easily, did you? The party’s still in full swing. And there’s even a totally random hookup happening with Lindsay Hubbard and Jason Cameron making out in his room. That’s definitely going to be the talk of the school on Monday morning.

But Paige has much bigger problems to deal with than who’s hooking up with who. She has to get to the bottom of what Andrea Denver has or has not been telling the entire house about their vacation romance. Does he want to be single? Is he leading Paige on? Could he just be a no-good Italian playboy planted by Bravo to break our favorite fashionista’s well-dressed heart? Instead of making assumptions and letting herself spiral into her emotions, Paige decides to defuse the bomb Lindsay dropped in her lap by going straight to the source.

winter house recap season 1 episode 5 andrea denver paige desorbo

Paige pulls Andrea aside privately to confront him about the gossip spreading throughout the house. And…somehow the Italian Stallion manages to talk his way out of trouble. He turns on the charm to give Paige the old “just getting to know each other” excuse, all while reminding her that it would be crazy if he was, like, ready to propose after two weeks in a house in Vermont. Which entirely misses the point because no one was saying anything about jumping ahead to marriage. But whether or not Paige is simply hearing what she wants to hear, she claims to be on the same page (get it?) and that’s that. For now, at least…

The next day is a Saturday ski day. And this time, no one gets the excuse to stay home. Especially not Amanda Batula, who’s facing a full day of keeping up with Kyle Cooke and her super skier soon-to-be in-laws. (Seriously, though, the skiing pedigree runs deep in Kyle’s family tree. His grandma was quite literally part of the U.S. ski team for the 1940 Winter Olympics before they were cancelled by World War II.) So as soon as Luke Gulbranson finishes tapping a few trees for maple syrup, it’s time to the slopes.

winter house recap season 1 episode 5 paige desorbo ciara miller skiing

And after doing her future family proud, Amanda retires to the bonfire by the lodge to get the most recent updates on her friends’ relationships. Somehow, Ciara Miller is falling deeper and deeper into serious like with Austen Kroll. Meanwhile, Paige is determined not to sleep with Andrea. It’s sort of a safety net for her pride. She’s never been about giving it all up to a guy — just ask a certain pantry in the Hamptons from a few summers ago. But especially now, just in case she happens to never see her Italian dream man again once they get back to real life in New York City.

After exhausting everything from the bunny hill to the black diamond, the gang heads back to the house for the night. And Lindsay promptly jumps right into the shower with Jason. Which, like, I get it. He’s a total winner and look at those abs. But is this sudden relationship ringing true for anyone? It still feels like it’s a bit of a rebound for both of them after being rejected by their first choices in Austen and Gabrielle Kniery. Anyway, Julia McGuire also arrives home to a surprise delivery of flowers from her off-camera, 42-year-old boyfriend. And seeing the romantic gesture, Craig Conover admits that this time away from his girlfriend is starting to make him realize that he’s not really missing her as much as he should. The night ends with Ciara sleeping in Austen’s bed with the camera covered up. So make of that what you will…

winter house recap season 1 episode 5 craig conover viking tug of war

The next day it’s Luke‘s turn to plan the group’s activity. So of course that means we’re all headed outside to do something outdoorsy. But the Minnesota mountain man has actually planned quite a fun day with the first annual (fingers crossed!) Winter House Nordic Games. The housemates split into two teams: the Great Heathen Army led by Luke and The Skull Crushers headed by Jason. Dressed in their best, most impressive Viking regalia, they then compete in contests you’d never see Kyle‘s grandma do in the Winter Olympics, like a log toss and snowy tug-of-war. Ultimately, the Great Heathen Army takes the trophy in both events. But truthfully all I can think about is how the tug-of-war was the first tease we ever got to see of this glorious show after last season’s Summer House finale.

Everyone’s in a rowdy, jovial mood as they head back to the house to all jump in the hot tub together. The only person not having any fun is Austen, who gets blindsided by a text that Madison LeCroy, his manipulative and toxic ex-girlfriend, is in the hospital back in Charleston. Austen unblocks her number, and is promptly bombarded with a barrage of texts that immediately play with his head. Not knowing what to do, he confides in Craig and Andrea, who advise him not to tell Ciara what’s going on. Or at the very least not to be honest with her about the depths and darkness of the Madison situation. That’s totally not going to backfire and blow up in his face, right? It doesn’t help that Ciara tries knocking on the door and is barked at to “go away.”

winter house recap season 1 episode 5 austen kroll

By the time everyone sits down for the fabulous Viking-themed dinner that Jason has prepared, emotions are running high. Austen‘s on edge because of Madison. Ciara‘s left in the dark not knowing what to think. And when Paige asks what he was talking about so secretly with the guys, Andrea lies through his perfect Italian teeth. Because he respects bro code or something. Of course, the dinner table conversation can’t help but turn to the various inter-house couplings. And when Andrea gets put on the spot by Julia about his intentions with Paige once they leave the house, Austen jumps in to jump down her throat. It’s an over-the-top, unnecessarily aggressive reaction that leaves everyone stunned. Where is this hostility coming from?

Storming away from the table, Austen starts to crack. On the verge of tears, he breaks through the awkwardness with Lindsay to say he wishes he could talk to her about what’s going on. Presumably because she understands the whole, never-ending backstory of the Madison saga. But instead, he chooses (wisely?) to open up to Ciara. Pulling her into his room, Austen brings up the fact that they’ve never talked about exes in the, what, week and a half that they’ve been a thing. Which is slightly funny when you stop and consider that Ciara’s ex was literally forcing everyone to throw logs over their heads just a few hours ago. Without invoking Madison‘s name, he tells Ciara that he’s haunted by his ex. Ciara’s only response is to ask whether they’re still in communication and…the episode ends on an abrupt cliffhanger. Next week, the finale!

TELL US – WHY DOES MADISON RUIN EVERYTHING? WILL AUSTEN BE HONEST WITH CIARA? OR SHOULD HE FOLLOW CRAIG AND ANDREA’S ADVICE? DO YOU THINK PAIGE AND ANDREA ARE REALLY ON THE SAME PAGE?

[Photo Credit: Bravo]