This piece was written during the 2023 WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes. Without the labor of the writers and actors currently on strike, this episode of The Summer I Turned Pretty being covered here wouldn’t exist.
This recap of The Summer I Turned Pretty Season 2 Episode 6 “Love Fest” contains spoilers.
As the second season of The Summer I Turned Pretty nears its final stretch, Episode 6, “Love Fest,” heightens the stakes and the tension. Picking up mere minutes after Aunt Julia revealed to Conrad, Jeremiah, Belly, Steven, Taylor, Skye, and Cam Cameron that the Cousins house had officially sold, the episode immediately hits the ground running. Feeling defeated and out of options for both saving the house as well as distracting themselves from inevitable reality, the Cousins crew decides to throw one last rager in the empty house before saying goodbye forever. What ensues is a retro-themed, black-light, strobe-flashing night that changes everything.
The Skye’s the limit
For a new character added exclusively for the show, Skye originally came across as a mysterious add-on to the Fisher family who didn’t quite belong anywhere. This episode, though, they finally come into their own with several big, character-defining moments, beginning with confronting their mom, Aunt Julia. After spending the last two episodes competing with their cousins and new friends on Cousins boardwalk and spending the night on the golf course of Cousins Country Club, Skye has a newfound perspective on family and what it means to belong.
Skye had quietly been standing by as Aunt Julia singlehandedly destroyed the hopes and dreams of Conrad and Jeremiah, but selling the house within the first 12 hours of it being on the market and hardly giving the boys a chance to say a proper goodbye to their beloved vacation spot crossed a line. As Skye begs their mother to back out of the deal, the rift between Julia and Susannah becomes clear. Just as Conrad and Jeremiah are obsessed with holding onto the past in order to keep memories alive, Julia is just as concerned with holding onto the past, though she does so more in terms of holding a grudge against feeling that Susannah’s mother (Julia’s stepmother) didn’t like her intruding on the ‘perfect’ family.
Triangles of madness
Just as this episode reveals more about Julia and Susannah’s sticky sisterhood, so, too, do we delve deeper into some of the running conflicts and fractured relationships between Conrad, Jeremiah, Belly, Steven, and Taylor. After several episodes of will-they/won’t-they, Steven and Taylor have easily emerged as one of my favorite potential pairings in the show with several swoonworthy moments. Even without romance, their friendship is fun and easy, a nice alternative to the brief snippets we get of Taylor’s relationship with her amateur-rocker boyfriend Milo (Will Spencer). But when Milo shows up, Taylor is placed directly in the middle of a love triangle that she doesn’t even want.
Of course, Steven isn’t the only Conklin to have romance troubles. Belly’s still struggling with her feelings for Conrad as well as her flirty friendship with Jeremiah. Jeremiah seizes the day this episode, perhaps recognizing the dwindling timeline of his time in Cousins and therefore his time with Belly, and becomes more vocal and overt about his attraction to her. However, Conrad also turns a corner by opening up to Belly and drifting back towards the silly, tender man that Belly loved.
The biggest drama in this love triangle, though, doesn’t actually involve Belly, but rather comes between the Fisher brothers. Throughout the whole season, there have been signs of tension not just over Conrad getting Belly instead of Jeremiah, but also over which brother is in charge now that they’re left to their own devices.
While Conrad tries to step up and take over the decision-making when it comes to the future of the Cousins house—for instance, turning down an offer from Skye of renting the house for a week every summer—Jeremiah finally breaks, telling Conrad that he is not the mature one. Repeating some of his thoughts from the last episode about the pressure he felt while being the only one to care for his mother during her last few days, Jeremiah breaks open every bit of conflict between him and his brother, causing a rift that certainly runs through Belly, yet runs deeper than any romance.
Is love enough?
All of this, then, leaves Belly stuck in the middle of so much conflict that she has worked hard to avoid. Belly confesses to Jeremiah at the beginning of the episode that she’s worried about losing the house; she’s loved the house so much for her whole life, but did she love it enough? Later, she expresses the same sentiment to Conrad, though referring to their love for each other. Belly always loves everything with her heart and soul—sometimes to the point where her feelings become controlling over something that wasn’t even hers to begin with—but is love enough to hold together the past, cherish the present, and plan for a just-as-magical future?
Or is love bound to fade, just like the old photo album that Jeremiah found in the garage of the Cousins house, marking each summer the Cousins crew has spent together. Belly has spent the whole season doing all she can to hold everything together, but even she isn’t a superhero. As the house party turns from an exciting rager to a disorienting nightmare, Belly worries that she might have lost not just the house, but also the Fisher brothers, and the magic of Cousins.
'The Summer I Turned Pretty' 2x06 - 9/10