This season hurts.
Sometimes it hurts in a good way and other times terribly, and The Summer I Turned Pretty Season 2 Episode 6 had a shit ton of both.
Belly and the gang begrudgingly made peace with losing the house and opted to have a farewell party. But we all know teen parties never go according to plan.
Some of the fun highlights got quickly overshadowed by the Fisher Brothers still struggling with their grief over Susannah, the loss of the house, and their feelings for Belly.
And respectfully, Steven and Taylor continued to carry this season on their backs.
The season is almost over, and it feels like it was marinated in so much angst that it hasn’t really gone anywhere.
I’m still eagerly awaiting when we’ll get some more tidbits in the final two installments. But that’s the thing, most of the season is complete, and it’s been relatively aimless for the most part.
Belly: I thought that we loved each other.
Conrad: we did.
Belly: I guess not enough.
It still doesn’t feel like they’ve invested enough in the beach house saga to justify making it the primary plot, and despite how endearing the characters are, the love triangle aspect has become a redundant chore.
Fortunately, despite the meandering second season, we can sigh in relief that The Summer I Turned Pretty is renewed. Knowing that we have another season in store for us makes this slow sophomore season easier to swallow because we don’t have to fear that the series will end abruptly on this note.
With it only being six weeks since Susannah’s death, everything is colored by this loss, and as a result, every single character moment, good, bad, and ugly, is so obviously compounded by grief.
And maybe that’s why the love triangle has become burdensome to sit through this season when there are much bigger, more pertinent things calling for our attention.
And that’s not to say there haven’t been great moments with the love triangle, or at least with Belly and each of the boys. It’s hard not to get locked into the moment when she shares some of those intimate scenes with either of them.
It can feel like everything else dissipates, and the only thing happening is Belly and her Fisher brother of the moment.
But as the season progresses, all one really wants is for all three parties to seek some therapy maybe or sit in their grief and work through that rather than attempting to distract or consume themselves with their love life issues.
Presently, it’s tearing them all apart and putting a strain on them during a time when they need each other more than ever.
Belly: I’ve been trying to figure out how to say it, how to apologize for that day, Susannah’s funeral.
Conrad: Belly, you don’t have to apologize.
And all the fissure lines keep cracking; one has to wonder how this can pan out with everyone making it out of this ordeal okay. It’s well past time for Belly to make her choice; let the chips fall where they may, so we can move on.
Prioritizing the love triangle and the tensions arising over other things is starting to work to the series and the character’s detriment.
After something devastating and traumatic, it was the perfect time to expand on Conrad and Jeremiah as individuals, as there is so much to unpack for them.
And the dynamic between the brothers is at its worst yet. Outside of some brief flashbacks, we didn’t get to spend too much time with Susannah and the boys as a unit.
We didn’t get to see how Susannah prepared her boys for her impending death or if she did. Now, we have the fallout of her death, and it’s at the heart of some of the issues between Conrad and Jeremiah, but when the brothers make things about Belly, it almost cheapens the bigger things they need to work out and address.
Susannah’s death hangs heavy over everything and everyone, but ironically, not enough to get pushed to the forefront more — it’s the storyline that deserved to take precedence and have time to breathe a bit more, but in many ways, it hasn’t.
And the summer house fiasco isn’t particularly making up for that.
It’s unfortunate that the series landed Kyra Sedgwick, and we’re nearly done with the season, and she remains this one-dimensional antagonist and plot device.
The teens have been going around in circles with her about this house, and it’s gotten redundant and hasn’t painted anyone in the best light.
Everything is wrong. I promised Susannah that I wouldn’t lose the magic, but it’s gone.
But it especially makes Julia look like a bitter, wounded, grudge-holding, immature woman incapable of healthy coping mechanisms and not projecting her decade’s worth of insecurities and baggage onto literal children.
Why is Conrad still going toe-to-toe with an adult who seems callous and apparently determined to make her nephews feel as shitty as she did growing up?
Conrad and Jeremiah’s father is a jackass for not stepping up in any capacity, helping his sons in any meaningful way, and actively hurting them like this.
No one involving Laurel in all this is just an egregious error and poor writing. Laurel could be the mature adult who could better fight this battle for the teenagers.
Julia’s determination to sell this house to somehow spite Susannah, or her father makes her appear juvenile. We got a glimpse into her mindset during a flashback, and while it was meant to make her sympathetic, it was more irksome than anything else.
Julia is a grown woman who was roughly 40 years old at the time, whining to Susannah about how she felt ostracized from the new family their father formed with Susannah and her mother.
She was still projecting all of this stuff from when she was a child or teen onto Susannah during the holidays when there was zero indication that Susannah was anything but warm and inviting.
Susannah was a bit dismissive of Julia’s feelings, and she was naive and didn’t want to believe that her mother said such an awful thing about Julia, but frankly, it had no bearing on where the two sisters were in their lives at that moment, so Julia falling out with Susannah for a decade from that moment forward is utter madness.
I know you genuinely believe that you’re going to get closure by selling this house, but you’re not. You never will.
And worse yet, Julia depriving her own kid of the opportunity to spend time with their aunt and cousins, grow up with them, maybe not have whatever history Julia was clinging to repeat itself just makes her seem self-consumed and childish.
Julia has basically taken her anger at her father out on two generations who had nothing to do with it, and she’s still insisting that Skye should feel the same way.
She knows nothing about Conrad and Jeremiah, but she’s projecting their grandfather’s sins on them and implying that they’ll somehow treat Skye the same way.
If that’s the extent of Shitmas, how underwhelming!
This whole debacle can prompt the brothers to work on their relationship and not allow petty resentments and shitty communication to keep them from having a healthy relationship with each other.
It was evident that things would unravel for them again when Conrad requested that Belly accompany him to the store. From that point forward, the boys were on some tit-for-tat competitive thing for Belly’s affections that was destined to lead to a blow-up.
But that blow-up between the boys by the pool was ugly and painful. And you can’t help but feel for both brothers in the moment.
Because they’re both coming from totally understandable positions, they need to understand one another and show each other grace.
Jeremiah’s words to Conrad were definitely harsh. But that scene is where it’s frustrating that they’d rather hide behind the love triangle with Belly ahead of digging beyond the surface level with their other issues.
What Jeremiah had to say about Belly was irrelevant because the real hurt and tension are in how difficult it has been for him to feel as if he’s been abandoned in his grief.
He went months without speaking with Belly as his best friend because of how heartbroken he was, and he spent every day taking care of Susannah and running the household as she slowly died in front of him while Conrad was away at college. Their father was doing goodness knows what.
When you consider that initially, Conrad wanted to “protect” Jeremiah by leaving him in the dark about his suspicions of Susannah’s cancer returning; it would be tough on Jeremiah that he still ended up being one with her day in and out.
It’s an incredibly hard, emotionally taxing, traumatizing, and devastating position that Jeremiah was in, and it forced him to have to grow up faster than he should’ve had to, taking care of Susannah mostly on his own.
And for him, the one person who would’ve understood what he was going through, Conrad, was away at college or with Belly.
It didn’t matter that Conrad was shutting down and isolating himself from Belly, as is his nature. All Jeremiah can think about is that he felt alone during one of the worst times of his life, and he’s been hurting ever since.
And essentially, everyone either keeps expecting or taking for granted that he’s “okay.” He had the burden of putting on a brave face and never felt he could fall apart or even avoid things. In many ways, Jeremiah had to face the grim reality head-on.
Jeremiah: What if it all fades? All our memories of her?
Conrad: It won’t.
And so much of his anger at Conrad and the world is all that grief, fear, and hurt coming to the surface.
Jeremiah’s feelings regarding all of that are valid because life dealt them a crappy hand, and he ended up getting thrust into a position he was unprepared for too early and by himself.
The shift in how he sees Conrad is fascinating but also perfectly realistic as the dynamic between the brothers matures. It looks ugly right now, but it’s also realistic as they both become adults and start feeling more like equals.
Jeremiah just so happens to come to grips with his brother as a flawed human no better off than he is during the worst moment of their lives.
And it’s sadly not that surprising that he can take out his anger on the one person he knows will still love him when it’s all said and done.
But his words were a reality check for Conrad, too. And it’s interesting to see Conrad relinquish control, as Steven told him before.
Conrad never asked anyone to place him on this pedestal, and he’s been stuck with the burden of trying to live up to everyone’s expectations and falling short of them because they’re not sustainable.
He’s not a perfect guy; he’ll never be one, and that’s okay. But the adjustment process of other characters coming to grips with that has been a journey.
On his end, part of the reason he probably pushed so hard and went out of his way to fight this battle against Julia to save the house alone was because he felt he had something to prove and felt guilty.
He didn’t come home as much when Susannah was sick, and he’s aware he left a lot of things up to Jeremiah. He rectified this by going silent and traveling to Cousins to save the beach house.
As hard as it is on Jeremiah that he was the one who stayed and watched their mother dwindle away daily, it was a different kind of difficulty for Conrad that losing Susannah was something he couldn’t fix.
He doesn’t do well when he has to face things that he can’t figure out how to make right and fix. Conrad may not have been home with Susannah daily, but he wasn’t doing well either.
He was spiraling in his own way. Jeremiah’s hurt and truth managed to pierce Conrad’s insecurity and hurt, and surely, Jeremiah’s words, especially calling him a coward, wasn’t something Conrad hadn’t already beaten himself up about and pondered himself.
Ultimately, they’re genuinely two hurt teenagers who have been left to cope and fend for themselves, and it’s heartbreaking.
The season should’ve kept delving into that kind of tension more. And Briney and Casalegno play off one another nicely. There is so much that those boys need to work through that the love triangle component drags things down.
It’s also too drawn out. They’ve done a better job this season of elevating Jeremiah and representing him as a legitimate contender.
You don’t need to hurt yourself to get my attention.
Jeremiah [to Belly]
However, it still has a level of imbalance and inevitability. No matter what happens, it keeps feeling like Belly will always choose Conrad.
The hour attempted to give us many Belly and Jeremiah moments. Their simmering tension in the pool and their very own Taylor Swift song were endearing.
When he caught her, everything about Jeremiah’s line to Belly should’ve been corny, but the baby boy’s delivery was exceptional. His voice dropped a few octaves, the huskiness sold the hell out of it, and it was understandable why Belly was so flustered.
Hell, I was too.
And their near kiss at the party was also great. Belly even admitted that kissing Jeremiah was hot, as in steamy, and there’s something in knowing that they can bring the heat. They’ve done well in capturing that this season.
But it also felt like they undercut the potential romance of it all with sexual attraction and chemistry only. We know that there is so much more to their bond than just physical chemistry and attraction, so leaning heavily into just that during this installment felt like a finger on the scale.
They spent all their time giving them these moments, but then we’d get Conrad’s fond smiles and heart eyes at every conceivable turn.
He followed he around like a puppy dog, and their moments were meaningful and charged because of their specific history. It’s their quieter moments that draw you in more.
Conrad: I’m not leaving you, Belly.
Belly: But you already did. Why didn’t you tell me you went to Jeremiah about us? Why? Why?
Conrad: I don’t know!
Belly: If I had known. If I had known that you did that you cared that much about me and about us if I had known that I would’ve fought for you I would’ve fought for us. At the prom, at the funeral, I would’ve been there for you through everything.
Unfortunately, their scene on the beach was more melodramatic than anything else, Briney and Tung‘s solid performances aside.
It felt too contrived that Conrad asking for Jeremiah’s blessing was news to Belly. And not only was this some big revelation, but through that admission, she finally realized how much Conrad genuinely loved her.
Somehow, finding this out made her feel like she should’ve fought harder for them, but truthfully, it never felt like Belly wasn’t fighting for them.
Unfortunately, they were embarking on their romance at a rough time because of Susannah. There was only so much Belly could do if Conrad pushed her away, and it was unhealthy for her to feel that it was her job to break down all of his walls, drag him into meeting her halfway, and things of that nature.
Just like it’s not Conrad’s job to fix everything in life beyond his control, it’s not Belly’s responsibility to fix him, either.
However, one of the best things to come from that conversation was that Conrad was open and honest with her about his panic attacks.
It’s such a significant step for him to take, promising for the ‘shippers too, that he confided in her something vulnerable.
It was a total angst fest, but the best moment was how it led to Belly doing precisely what she needed to do and should’ve done ages ago, reaching out to Laurel.
Mommy, I need you. I’m at the summer house. Susannah’s house, except it’s not hers anymore, and everything is going wrong, and the boys may never speak to each other again; just come please, okay? Just come and fix it.
In all this time, with her making amends and getting into messy situations with the boys, her relationship with her mother has been left hanging.
Moms can make everything better, and my heart ached for Belly as she cried into the phone for her mom. No matter how old a person gets, that feeling never really disappears.
I’m most excited about what happens next with that. I loved every second of Belly’s vibes, rollerskating through the house in “retro” clothes that looked amazing on her and embodying Susannah’s spirit. But seeing her drunkenly crying to her mother’s voicemail broke me.
They are dragging on the love triangle too much, but they’re delivering love in other areas.
Skye and Cameron’s romance feels forced and unnecessary. It still doesn’t make sense why Cam is still around, but he’s a likable enough character, and I want nothing but good things for him.
And Skye needed something else to do. Their conversation with Belly and Taylor was amusing, and it’s great that they got their first kiss.
But it’s a pair-the-spares type of thing that doesn’t fit with the flow.
Steven and Taylor, on the other hand, are the saving graces of this season in every way imaginable.
Steven: You win.
Taylor: I win what?
Steven: This, whatever we’re doing. First person to admit they caught feelings loses, right? So I lose, you win. I like you, even when you were just my little sister’s annoying best friend. Like, you were always just this person who was around, and now you’re someone I miss when they’re not around. And I don’t know how it happened or when it happened. But now you’re my favorite person. Come on, say something, please.
While the love triangle probably consumes most viewers, the most compelling, properly handled, and endearing love story right now is between Steven and Taylor.
Give them a spin-off!
The Party in the U.S.A. dance routine was easily the highlight of the hour.
Steven is surprisingly emotionally mature for a guy his age, something we got a glimpse of with his incredible advice and support of Conrad in a display that was the antithesis of toxic masculinity.
He was still quintessentially teen boy enough to damn near pummel Milo in the middle of the party, but his love confession to Taylor was positively swoon-worthy.
And their kiss was perfect.
Over to you, Summer I Turned Pretty Fanatics. Should they wrap up the love triangle? Are you thrilled about Steven and Taylor? Did Jeremiah cross a line, attacking Conrad? Sound off below.
The Summer I Turned Pretty streams all-new episodes Fridays on Prime Video.
Jasmine Blu is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. She is an insomniac who spends late nights and early mornings binge-watching way too many shows and binge-drinking way too much tea. Her eclectic taste makes her an unpredictable viewer with an appreciation for complex characters, diverse representation, dynamic duos, compelling stories, and guilty pleasures. You’ll definitely find her obsessively live-tweeting, waxing poetic, and chatting up fellow Fanatics and readers. Follow her on Twitter.