Conrad (Christopher Briney), Belly (Lola Tung), and Jeremiah (Gavin Casalegno) in a motel room, the night before Belly makes her decision about what to say to Conrad
"Conrad (Christopher Briney), Belly (Lola Tung), and Jeremiah (Gavin Casalegno) in a motel room, the night before Belly makes her decision about what to say to Conrad," The Summer I Turned Pretty, "Love Triangle," directed by Megan Griffiths, 2023, (Prime Video)

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General Information

This section Includes information about the Director, Writer, and Cast.

Release Date (Prime Video) August 18, 2023
Director(s) Megan Griffiths
Writer(s) Sarah Kucserka
Newly Noted Characters and Cast
Sandra Allie McCulloch
Previously Noted Characters and Cast
Steven Sean Kaufman
Taylor Rain Spencer
Conrad Christopher Briney
Laurel Jackie Chung
Belly Lola Tung
Jeremiah Gavin Casalegno
Susannah Rachel Blanchard

Plot Recap

This content contains pertinent spoilers. Also, images and text in this post may contain affiliate links. If a purchase is made from those sites, we may earn money or products from the company.

Don’t Change On Me Now – Steven, Taylor

With Steven and Taylor now a thing, Steven tries to get romantic, but Taylor is a bit weird about that. For one, Steven is doing the stuff Milo did, which is funny since Milo released a whole diss record about Steven. But, the bigger issue for Taylor is not that she got the boy she wanted all this time but that she has liked him for so long, so intensely, that with knowing he is about to go off to college, now she fears what could come next. Which, with her usually being in the power position in relationships and now losing that, makes being with Steven frightening enough to pull a page out of Conrad’s book.

Saying Goodbye To What This Is, But Cherishing The Memories – Conrad, Laurel, Belly, Jeremiah

Conrad really thought it was going to be one of the best days of his life. He did well on his exam and was going to confess to Belly, but then he saw her kissing his brother. He left them alone to collect himself, found Belly’s infinity necklace, and then it seemed, rather than shut down as he usually does, he was going to antagonize his brother and Belly all the way to Laurel’s house.

Naturally, this isn’t appreciated, and Jeremiah calls him out on it. But Jeremiah realizes it isn’t just a conversation with him who Conrad needs to have a conversation. So he pushes Belly to use the time they have, while stuck in a motel room because of a storm, to coerce Conrad into a conversation. For in Jeremiah’s mind, until there is closure, the door for Belly and Conrad to reconcile and leave him behind will remain open. Never mind, as shown by the last year, the rifts that can split everyone are fissures that only grow deeper and longer with every missed or avoided conversation, and for Jeremiah, he hasn’t forgotten his conversation with his mom regarding the relationship she wanted Jeremiah to keep with Conrad, as not to repeat the mistakes of her and Julia.

It takes some time, and Belly does need to call Laurel about what to do, but she has that hard discussion, makes her decision, and while Conrad tries to continue the cycle, Belly breaks it and makes it clear friendship is as far as they can go.

I Dreamed A Dream, But Reality Is Better – Conrad, Jeremiah, Steven, Taylor, Belly, Sussanah, Laurel, Sandra

Belly (Lola Tung) and Susannah (Rachel Blanchard) sharing a moment before Susannah died
“Belly (Lola Tung) and Susannah (Rachel Blanchard) sharing a moment before Susannah died,” The Summer I Turned Pretty, “Love Triangle,” directed by Megan Griffiths, 2023, (Prime Video)

For both Laurel and Belly, Susannah may have left the flesh, but she is always there. In Belly’s dreams, she remembers the last time she saw Susannah, not too long after Conrad broke up with her at prom, and it was scary. She saw her at her worst, within weeks of her dying, and she had skipped previous times Laurel wanted her to come. Yet, the moment was needed. Belly was the daughter Sussanah didn’t get to have, and Laurel even honored her best friend by making Belly’s middle name “Sussanah.”

But Susannah’s final moments with Belly aren’t about that. It is about forgiving Conrad, being there for him despite what he has said and done, with no mention of Jeremiah, who walks in on the two cuddling. Which is a shame, really, since this episode, if not the series, has shown how much Jeremiah performs and often is what other people need, and even in her dying days, Susannah doesn’t push the one person who could brighten her son’s day to look out for him or both of her kids.

That aside, Laurel too thinks about Sussanah as Cleveland pushes her to join a writers club where a woman named Sandra spots her and, in place of Cleveland, makes an effort to not only make Laurel feel welcomed but invested in. She read Laurel’s book, pushes her to share, and could eventually become Laurel’s first adult friend since Susannah’s passing.

Which leaves us with how the season ends. After Taylor’s confession about fearing the power dynamics of her relationship with Steven not being in her favor, he helps her push through that and reminds her their dynamic is different in the best way. Case in point, while Jeremiah feels the need to join Belly as she convinces her coach to let her back on the team, Steven leaves Taylor at volleyball camp and just reminds her to call him later. Neither way is wrong, but both work out for the couples we see.

Belly (Lola Tung) and Jeremiah (Gavin Casalegno) before kissing
“Belly (Lola Tung) and Jeremiah (Gavin Casalegno) before kissing,” The Summer I Turned Pretty, “Love Triangle,” directed by Megan Griffiths, 2023, (Prime Video)

Thus ending “The Summer I Turned Pretty” season 2 with Belly in a relationship with Jeremiah and working her way back on the volleyball team; Steven and Taylor dating; Laurel making new friends; and Conrad focusing on getting the house in Cousins ready for July 4th, when everyone will reconvene there as they have done for years.

Predictions

Becoming The Beck For Other People

With making new friends means a whole new chapter for Laurel, and I also predict with Steven gone and Belly trying to get her situation right for college, Laurel is going to be challenged with becoming an empty nester. Thus pushing her to take care of herself instead of worrying about her children or Sussanah’s, and with that, her relationship with Cleveland will grow as much as with Sandra.

In my mind, this will cause her to not just rediscover herself but also bring Beck with her in the sense of trying to be to others what Beck, aka Sussanah, was to her. Now, to what extent? That’s hard to say since Laurel has largely operated as someone’s mother, with a glimpse of her being something more. But I can fully imagine the third season making it so Laurel might focus on the summer she felt the warmth of the spotlight with no title or Susannah to hide behind.

Belly Dealing With Conrad Moving On

Ending things with Conrad is one thing, but watching him be with another woman, fall in love, heck, maybe even find someone in Stanford that he eventually becomes engaged to? That is a whole different thing, and I think that will be challenging for Belly. Her first love finding his forever person and knowing that some of the qualities she likes or loves about Conrad came from lessons learned from being with Belly.

New Character Description(s)

Sandra

Sandra (Allie McCulloch) pushing Laurel to participate in the writer's group
“Sandra (Allie McCulloch) pushing Laurel to participate in the writer’s group,” The Summer I Turned Pretty, “Love Triangle,” directed by Megan Griffiths, 2023, (Prime Video)

Sandra is a writer, and friend of Cleveland, tasked with integrating Laurel into a writing circle who can not only hold her accountable, and give her a push to write but also help her see herself beyond the perception she has of herself.

Collected Quote(s)

[…] You should ask yourself, is what you’re feeling remembering what you had together, or looking forward to what you could have.
— Laurel

Review

Notable Performances or Moments

Belly and Sussanah’s Final Scene

What I needed all season long was finally delivered – a scene featuring Susannah that allowed you to feel something – that really pushed the effect of watching someone you love dearly dying. For a lot of what we saw thus far, it just felt like it was missing something. Maybe because it wasn’t built up to, which even Belly’s scene with her wasn’t, but considering this show is about Belly, with strong supporting cast members, this was different.

Though I also have to give credit to Laurel’s scene reading from her book, and her revealing Belly’s middle name is Sussanah and how Susannah rode from Boston to Laurel when Laurel’s then-husband Adam was away. Hearing how she dropped everything for Laurel and called Belly “Our Special Girl” was the best setup for a Susannah scene the entire season and still gets me teary-eyed.

Highlights

Laurel Making Friends

As noted above, it is time for Laurel’s next chapter. As much as Belly has been hooked and allowed her life to revolve around Conrad and Jeremiah, I’d submit Laurel did the same with Susannah. While their relationship was platonic, there was a deep love there which seemingly didn’t leave much room for others beyond the children.

I’d even add, Laurel’s withdrawal from her kids was because their love wasn’t as all-consuming and beneficial as Susannah’s. Which isn’t to say Laurel doesn’t love her kids, but I think they were more so a product of being married and expectations, while Susannah was an active choice that Laurel enjoyed.

So, with that in mind, and her kids growing up, Laurel having Cleveland and Sandra, and now having to explore creating new relationships to make her life feel fulfilling is going to be some of the most interesting developments in seasons to come.

Taylor and Steven

Taylor (Rain Spencer) and Steven (Sean Kaufman) after pushing through Taylor's insecurities
“Taylor (Rain Spencer) and Steven (Sean Kaufman) after pushing through Taylor’s insecurities,” The Summer I Turned Pretty, “Love Triangle,” directed by Megan Griffiths, 2023, (Prime Video)

What I love about Taylor and Steven is, in this season, they communicate more. As Belly struggles with Jeremiah and Conrad, Steven opens up and sometimes has to push Taylor to do the same, but once the conversation flows, the miscommunication or issues are put to an end. Add in that they acknowledge power dynamics in their relationship and have no desire to be some perfect lovey-dovey couple? It gives you a sense they are less of a young adult romance rife with drama and are supposed to lean more towards the real or relatable.

On The Fence

Cleveland Being Absent

A part of me is glad for Cleveland’s absence since it meant Laurel not jumping from one relationship to another. Yet, at the same time, I want so much for Laurel that her making a new friend, and having something official with Cleveland, just felt like the ideal happy ending. But, I’m reminded that part of the best ending for Laurel is her opening up to the idea of people again and not relying on being a mother, or Susannah’s best friend, as her sole source of purpose.

Episode Directory

Previous Episode – Season 2/ Episode 7 “Love Affair” Check Out The Character Guide Find More Episodes From The Series

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The Summer I Turned Pretty: Season 2/ Episode 8 “Love Triangle” - Overview

Summary

Alongside giving Susannah the exit she deserves, the final episode of season 2 delivers what could easily act like a series finale, but thankfully isn’t. In fact, it pushes you to want to read a SparkNotes version of the third book as it is anyone’s guess when that may come out.

Overall
83%
83%
  • Belly and Sussanah’s Final Scene - 89%
    89%
  • Laurel Making Friends - 83%
    83%
  • Taylor and Steven - 82%
    82%
  • Cleveland Being Absent - 77.5%
    78%
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User Review
0% (0 votes)

Highlight(s)

  • Taylor and Steven
  • Laurel Making Friends
  • Belly and Sussanah’s Final Scene

Disputable

  • Cleveland Being Absent

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