It’s July 4th, meaning the fathers roll into Cousins, and John, Laurel’s ex, decides to bring his new girlfriend.
|Aired (Prime Video)||6/17/2022|
|Introduced This Episode|
|Adam||Tom Everett Scott|
This content contains pertinent spoilers.
It’s the Fourth of July, and on top of being Susannah’s favorite holiday, it is the day the dads arrive – which only makes Jeremiah happy. As for everyone else? Conrad was overjoyed when he learned his dad wasn’t supposed to show up, and as for Laurel’s kids? Steven doesn’t really care too strongly about his dad, and Belly is mainly focused on her dad, John, bringing his 27-year-old girlfriend, Victoria.
Though, strangely enough, everyone comes to like Victoria. She read Laurel’s book and seems intelligent, makes some smashing margaritas using pomegranate that everyone loves, and Laurel just finds it hard to hate her. But that’s what complicates things. Yes, she is the one who blew up her marriage, but Victoria, not being some young bimbo, kind of ruins her ability to stand tall.
However, Victoria becomes the least of Laurel’s worries as Belly gets drunk and reveals to Shayla, who comes over with the other debutantes, that Steven cheated on her. But, at the very least, maybe Nicole may find some solace in a drunk Belly saying Conrad talks about her a lot and, despite him avoiding having sex with her, maybe him being hot and cold isn’t a sign he is trying to will himself into liking her?
But, what can she do? Heck, what can anyone do with all the relationship drama going on? Shayla got cheated on, Steven agreed to keep things casual, which was only offered so they both could save face, and he vents to Jeremiah about that decision. So, Jeremiah, knowing a thing or two, pushes Steven to talk to Shayla about being exclusive, and the two reconcile by them defining the terms of their relationship.
Unfortunately for Jeremiah and his dad Adam, they aren’t so lucky in bouncing back. After calling Adam to show up, Laurel learns Adam is on the outs since Susannah learned that, three years ago, he cheated on her with his secretary – while she was going through chemo. And with her planning on dying, she doesn’t want a man like him by her side when her life is over. So between bringing Adam there and Laurel pressuring Susannah to stay because someone has to take care of her and the kids, the two have a blow-up. One which leads Laurel to run into Cleveland while drinking, having a nice chat, and getting some.
This leaves Jeremiah, the only one not paired up at the moment, among the kids. Technically, Belly is free, too, since she doesn’t feel sparks with Cam anymore, but Jeremiah is the only one who doesn’t have anything going on that can go somewhere. Hence when he sees Conrad and Belly get close, even within moments of kissing, he fires off a firework to interrupt the moment. Either out of envy or jealousy.
Things To Note
Question(s) Left Unanswered
- I know everyone is close but what’s up with the lack of boundaries here?
- Does Conrad know his mom was cheated on, but Jeremiah doesn’t?
What Could Happen Next
- Cam realizes Belly is just not that into him and their lifestyles are very different
- We likely don’t see Adam again, but John sticks around so we can know the whole story of the divorce
- Gigi and Nicole continue to poke and prod Belly for answers about Jeremiah and Conrad, despite both boys increasingly showing feelings towards her
- Conrad gets out of character and blows up
- Steven makes a bad impression in front of Shayla’s family or embarrasses her in some other way
- Susannah gets sick to the point of not being able to hide behind a smile
Meeting The Dads and Understanding Their Relationships
When it comes to John and Adam, you could surmise from their absence, or Laurel’s divorce, that these weren’t the most ideal men. With John, you’d think Laurel divorced him because of long-term misery, and with him dating someone 27 after her, maybe him cheating? Perhaps not physically, but emotionally, since Laurel might have withdrawn from him due to the pressure of writing, being in a relationship, having kids, and who knows what else?
Yet, upon meeting John, he seems cool. Heck, even his partner, Victoria, while she gives alcohol to a barely 16-year-old and doesn’t check in with either John or Laurel if she is allowed a glass, she seems educated and more than a fling. Now, we don’t get to see Steven and his dad connect much, but just like Conrad may know more than Jeremiah does about Adam, maybe Steven knows more than Belly?
Which brings us to Adam. Cheating on your wife with your secretary while she is going through chemo? The man should be whipped. But, there is a need to question why? There is always the need to ask why someone, man or woman, would decide to do something like that and why that specific person, in Adam’s case, his secretary? Did Susannah get a stage 3 or 4 diagnosis, and Adam was in a state where he was prepping for the worst and hoping for the best?
Mind you that doesn’t excuse him cheating, even if it was just a kiss, but there is the desire to see layers to this. Right now, you can see a strong push to absolve Susannah and Laurel for the end of their relationships, with the dads being the most likely cause for its demise. Especially when you consider how Conrad and Steven act, while the younger siblings either get possessive, like Belly or seem to think everything is honky dory, like Jeremiah. That is, assuming he isn’t ignoring what is going on.
Laurel Getting Some
Laurel’s story is something of a mystery. Yes, you could say the same for Susannah, but with learning she has cancer and a husband she may soon divorce, you can put the pieces together about how her life has been. Especially when you include her staying with Adam after learning he cheated and Laurel being someone who has seemingly disliked Adam for most of Susannah’s relationship with him.
However, Laurel is someone who we haven’t gotten much backstory on. We know she is judgemental regarding traditionally feminine things, like being a debutante and anything frilly. There is also her having writer’s block and not wanting to be labeled a “Asian writer,” and her voice and work always seen through that lens. But, as for understanding why she divorced John? That’s hard to say.
Laurel tells us that he was steady and consistent but wasn’t the most exciting. So does Laurel like a little chaos every now and then, and that’s why she shook things up with a divorce? With the way John talks, Laurel’s latest book might be labeled as fiction, but it seems based on her life and marriage, so are there stories there that would fill in the blanks?
Hopefully, with Laurel starting something new with Cleveland, she may open up to him and, through him, open up to viewers.
On The Fence
Steven Cheating On Shayla Blowing Over Quickly
In many ways, Shayla forgiving Steven quickly is a godsend because everything about that situation was out of step with what the first two episodes presented. Be it Steven hooking up with Taylor, seemingly ready to have sex with her, to Belly, drunk, confessing that her brother cheated on Shayla. All of it was so messy, to levels which made this seem like it was a show FreeForm or the CW rejected only due to already having their schedules set.
But, Steven noting his insecurities opens the door for a few things, mostly on Shayla’s side. The first being, why did Shayla forgive him so quickly and easily? Yes, it seems her parents are usually away working or trying to get away from their family, but does that mean she is trying to avoid being alone? On top of that, what makes Steven so special?
Like with many relationships in “The Summer I Turned Pretty,” it feels like we get the gist but don’t get to deep dive into the wounds which have allowed relationships to last or provide details on why they ended.
The Cam, Jeremiah, Conrad, and Belly Entanglement
Love triangles can easily be seen as lazy writing. By having multiple characters fawning over the same person, it does allow for a fantasy, but most of the time, those who are chasing what usually is the lead, seem shallow and pale, and increasingly that’s the case for Cam, Jeremiah, and Conrad.
Conrad, who is off and on with Nicole at this point, seems to have reached a point where his character can’t move forward. He wants to talk to someone about what’s going on but quickly and easily finds reasons to stop himself. Cam, who Belly has lost interest in since Conrad occasionally gives her hope, is just there at this point. That and he pushes the whole “I’m not like other boys” thing with him not drinking, being a vegetarian, and while a part of you wants to appreciate one underaged person not drinking to cope or to excess, they don’t give Cam something to keep him interesting.
Then with Jeremiah, he still feels underutilized. He is cute, outgoing, and flirty, and while we have seen he has untapped emotional intelligence multiple times, it is rarely for his benefit. It helps Steven get back with Shayla but doesn’t advance his crush on Belly. He just watches her, seems to interrupt anyone getting too close to her on his watch, and treats her like a doll he doesn’t want anyone else touching.
And to really push things over the edge, it’s hard to say what Belly does or is to make these boys act this way. Is she nice and attractive? Yes. But she is also barely 16 and doesn’t seem to know herself. So while the age gap isn’t big, the maturity level seems quite different.
Case in point, her drinking to the point of blabbering other people’s business and, a few times, it seeming like she was going to slip and fall, beyond when she knocked over Susannah. This makes you wonder, while you can romanticized Conrad and Jeremiah growing up with Belly, and now seeing her different, what does Belly have that has such a hold on these boys? Conrad especially, considering he has Nicole wanting his attention and he notes Belly doesn’t know the affect she has on people. Even after her just drinking and being silly all day.