‘The Summer I Turned Pretty’ Recap, Season Two, Episode 8

On behalf of our captain and season MVP, Taylor, I would like to offer my heartfelt congratulations to all members of Team Jellyfish. We did it! Belly officially chose Jeremiah — importantly, after Conrad’s midnight confession that he still wants her and before he churlishly took it back in the morning. So suck on that, Con-heads. Excuse me, that was petty. With luck, this episode will help Conrad grow up a bit, and I’m sure there’s an Elizabeth Holmes or a Sandra Day O’Connor (look it up) out there for him somewhere at Stanford.

But as far as season finales go, this one was, frankly, a bit of a dud. Almost the entire hour was devoted to solidifying the Jelly relationship, which, after their epic kiss at the end of episode seven, I’m not sure we needed. We certainly didn’t need that last-minute, highly contrived Steven and Taylor fight or any more heart-wrenching Susannah flashbacks. But the show decided that we did, so we’re doing it.

We pick up where we left off, with Conrad finding Belly and Jeremiah sucking face on the hood of his car. Being the way that he is, Conrad says something bitchy about interrupting and storms off in a huff, leaving Belly and Jeremiah with his car and his keys. When Belly tries to go after him (at Jere’s urging), he accuses her of only kissing Jeremiah to get his attention. “Are you serious?” Belly asks. I would also like to know if Conrad is serious right now. And also, where does he get off? And also, how dare he?

Conrad inherited every single one of his dick dad’s dick genes, which we know for sure because he spends the entire episode proving it to us. The plan was for Conrad to drive back with Belly and Jeremiah — there is only one car, and it belongs to Conrad — but after basically telling Belly to fuck off and that he hates her, Conrad has disappeared again, leaving Jelly sitting around for hours wondering if he’s going to come back at all. He does, eventually, but only for the pleasure of taunting them both mercilessly for the entire drive.

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“I was gonna get you a Stanford [sweatshirt] because I, you know … But Finch is fun.”

“So that was your first kiss? Oh, no … how many times was it last summer, guys?”

“Last year, I remember it was seven [people you hooked up with], and that’s not including Belly.”

“Belly, which one of us is a better kisser, me or him?”

My God, he’s such an insufferable little shit.

Anyway, it’s pouring rain, and there’s a traffic jam and Belly’s getting hangry, so they decide to stop for snacks. Actually, I’m pretty sure Belly is just regular angry, and if she has to spend any more time in standstill traffic with Conrad hissing mean little comments in her ear, she’s going to be forced to do violence, which would be fun but unproductive. By now, the storm has become a flood warning and the highways are closing, so they need to stop at a motel. There is but one room with only one bed.

Don’t worry; there is no sex. This isn’t Game of Thrones. Belly gets the bed because she is the girl and if the patriarchy didn’t give us little treats every now and again, we would have launched a violent uprising centuries ago. Conrad is sleeping on the floor to the left, Jeremiah is sleeping on the floor to the right, and Belly is lying awake on the bed in the middle of them both, contemplating her choices. Laurel has counseled Belly that there are seasons of love (seasons of loooooove) and that it’s okay to have fallen out of love with Conrad. Jeremiah has told Belly that if she still wants him (Jeremiah) after Conrad admits he (Conrad) still wants her (Belly), then he (Jeremiah) is all hers. Flashback Susannah tells Belly that Con still loves her and that she knows all three of them will find their way back to each other somehow. And then, at some point in the middle of the night, when Jeremiah is asleep, Conrad finally does tell Belly that he lied when he said he didn’t want her anymore. Of course he still does. It’s quite a pickle!

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Note that Conrad can only tell Belly this when it’s dark and he doesn’t have to look at her face. Note also that Con wouldn’t have said this to Belly at all if Jeremiah had not begged him to. Jeremiah only wants Belly to be happy and to be with the guy she really wants. And if that’s Conrad, then Jere will drop it forever because he loves her that much.

Now, look, all of this is very sweet and everything, but have we not been having this exact same conversation all season long? Belly has told us in voice-over that she and Conrad are over. She has told Conrad they’re over to his face. She’s told Jeremiah several times that she wants to be with him. Of course, Belly is still hurt by how Conrad treated her when they were together, but she really doesn’t seem that confused. So, in the morning, Belly reaffirms her reaffirmation that she affirmatively chooses Jeremiah, and they kiss passionately once again, sans surly interruption this time. Conrad tells Belly that he takes back his take-back from last night, prompting the biggest of eye rolls from me. At least he decides to take the bus back by himself so Jeremiah and Belly can drive to volleyball camp without him, which is nice.

Elsewhere in this episode, Laurel makes a friend. Taylor and Steven get into a dumb fight over whether to be Team Jeremiah or Team Conrad, which ends when Steven confesses his “deep like” for Taylor. Belly essentially forces her volleyball coach to let her back on the team by showing up to camp uninvited. And Conrad returns to Cousins alone, where nobody, not even Aunt Julia, is there to help him unpack all of their stuff.

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Did we learn anything new in this episode? Not really, no. Did we resolve anything that hadn’t yet been resolved? Only if you count volleyball camp. Did we advance the plot in any major way? Also no. Did I sob? What do you think?

• Belly and dying Susannah spooning and crying.

• Susannah being there for Laurel when she gave birth to Belly.

• Jeremiah, sniffling, “If you’re what she needs, then I won’t get in the way again. I just won’t.” Listen, this little baby is acting his face off, and I love him.

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