‘The Summer I Turned Pretty’ Recap: Season 2, Episode 1 “Love Lost”


The wait is finally over! The second season of Prime Video’s adaptation of Jenny Han’s The Summer I Turned Pretty is officially here, and there’s a lot going on from the start. So let’s dive right in to everything that happened in “Love Lost.”

Susannah Was Dead

Season 2 is set to be an emotional rollercoaster from the outset as Susannah’s death sets the tone for the whole first episode. Fans of the books knew this was coming, but many were still holding out hope that we might get to keep her just a bit longer following her decision to try treatment at the end of season 1. However, despite the hopes of fans and characters alike, the cancer won. Susannah’s death feels like the end of the magic of summer to Belly, as despite promising to never leave her, Susannah is nowhere to be found. That’s not quite true though. Susannah is still leaving her mark on the Conklin family. From a surprise graduation gift for Steven, complete with handwritten note from Susannah, to Laurel’s new book all about Susannah, she is still a big part of their lives.

Grief is hard though, and everyone deals with it in their own way. Laurel wrote a book to avoid talking about, Steven pushed on through school to be everything Susannah knew he could be, and Belly, well, Belly fell apart.

The Love Triangle Is Broken

Some things are just to good to be true. At the end of last summer, and last season, Belly finally had her moment with Conrad, and it seemed like they were getting the happy ever after. Real life doesn’t work that way though. Belly was in a troublesome spot: Jeremiah thought she was with him, and Conrad thought he finally had her. She does the right thing, though, and tells the boys about everything. Conrad reacts very sedately to hearing that she had kissed Jeremiah, accepting it, asking the questions that needed to be asked, and making declarations of his feelings. Jeremiah on the other hand reacted exactly the opposite, proving that Conrad was wrong when he said “Jere never takes anything too seriously.” In an understandable fit of emotion, Jeremiah makes some cruel comments about Belly and her intentions towards him before telling her that she can’t call him her best friend anymore and warning her that Conrad will break her heart.

As if that wasn’t enough, the triangle falls apart even more as Belly realizes that perhaps Jeremiah is right to some degree. Maybe she is the problem here. So Belly does what she thinks will be best for the boys as they deal with their mom’s cancer: she hits pause on whatever is happening between her and Conrad. She simply cares too much about them to be the wedge between the brothers at this time. Conrad is unhappy, but agrees, although not before turning the moment even more bittersweet by giving Belly the infinity necklace she didn’t get for her birthday and promising her that “no matter what happens, we’ll still be infinite.” Unfortunately, this doesn’t smooth things over between Belly and Jeremiah, as he refuses to speak to her when she reaches out after summer.

Erika Doss/Prime Video

Memories of Better Days

With the love triangle in pieces and Susannah gone, Belly finds that sometimes it’s easier to escape to dreams than to live with the memories, but the memories are hard to ignore. Flashback after flashback helps bring viewers up to date on what happened in the months since last summer, especially what happened with Conrad. Despite their decision to put things on pause, Conrad can’t seem to keep away from Belly and begins calling her in September just to hear her voice. This soon turns into a safe space for each of them where they can share secrets that they’ve never shared before. Conrad admits to knowing that his dad had cheated, and that he spent most of last summer feeling like he was carrying the weight of the world on his shoulders trying to keep all the secrets. Meanwhile, Belly admits that she doesn’t think her mom would have cared if her dad had cheated. Their marriage had no romance to begin with. However, Belly makes it clear that she could never have that. She wants a relationship that makes her feel electric. A sentiment that Conrad echoes back to her.

Eventually, though, phone calls just don’t seem like enough. Just before Halloween, Conrad randomly shows up at the Conklin’s door. In a vaguely awkward encounter, Belly asks Conrad what he is doing there and Conrad pours out his heart, explaining that Jeremiah seems to be doing well. He’s even dating other people, but that won’t work for Conrad. He lets her know that he could never get over her because she makes him happy, and it feels like torture to stand in front of her and not be able to kiss her. Belly quickly puts him out of his misery.

Erika Doss/Prime Video

Steven Graduates

School is ending, and it’s time for Steven to graduate so he can head off to Princeton in the fall. With excitement abounding, the delivery of Susannah’s gift seems to put a bit of a damper on the day. However, it turns out that’s not totally the case as Steven makes a resounding Valedictorian speech reminding everyone that “break-ups don’t always lead to breakthroughs” and, in a near exact quote from Susannah’s note, “the world may be happening to you, but you are also happening to the world.” Riding the high from his speech, Steven gets ready to celebrate with his friends at his graduation party that night — a party that Taylor had convinced Belly to attend so that they can both watch Taylor’s boyfriend play his first gig.

Steven is less than enthused that Taylor’s boyfriend is playing at the party, and as the night goes on it becomes pretty clear that he’s jealous, which is interesting given the mess that came of his and Taylor’s kiss last summer. However, Steven is now single and if he wants to take off his shirt and try to crowd surf to grab Taylor’s attention, that’s his prerogative. However, blaming Belly for everything that goes wrong that night isn’t. When Belly, the night’s designated driver, decides to leave early, Steven makes his thoughts known. He publicly blames Belly for ruining the party by being a buzzkill and ensuring that Conrad and Jeremiah weren’t there because she made things messy when she decided that Jeremiah wasn’t enough for her and she had to have Conrad too. Belly responds by apologizing for being madly in love before leaving Steven to bum a ride home from someone. Ultimately, that someone is Taylor’s boyfriend, and during the car ride Taylor reminds him that Belly wasn’t the only one who ruined the party — he did his part too.

Belly’s World Is Collapsing

Throughout the episode, it is clear that Belly feels the world is collapsing around her. From Steven blaming her for how things are with Conrad and Jeremiah, to her grades slipping and even losing her volleyball captaincy, things are clearly not going Belly’s way. So in an effort to change this, Belly takes Taylor’s advice and makes an attempt to move on from Conrad. During Steven’s party she approaches a guy she knows from school who seems like he may be interested, but each interaction is more awkward than the next. Ultimately, she misreads all the signals and, as it turns out, all he was interested in was getting into her friend Marcie’s good books. With that, Belly goes to leave the party leading to her argument with Steven and her exit in tears. Once Belly is in the car we get the first of what is sure to be many perfect music choices this season, as Olivia Rodrigo’s Drivers License plays while she drives home in tears, because she knows that she hasn’t just lost Susannah — she’s lost the boys too.

Upon arriving home, Belly is left to face another conversation she doesn’t want to have, as her mom found out about her grades slipping and her losing the volleyball captaincy. As one might expect with emotions running high, the conversation quickly devolves. Belly points out that she is grieving Susannah and maybe it’s expected that things fall apart a bit, while Laurel points out that Susannah’s death isn’t an excuse. This quickly turns into a blame game as Belly reminds her mom that she wasn’t there. She understands that taking care of Susannah was important, but there were things happening at home too. Why should Belly care about volleyball when her mom never even made it to a single game? The discussion finally ends when Belly tells Laurel, “you gave up before I did.” Ultimately though, this ends up being the kick in the pants Laurel needs to agree to promote her book about Susannah.

Erika Doss/Prime Video

The Plot Thickens

After the party and her argument with Laurel, Belly heads to bed. Finding she can’t sleep, she takes a trip down memory lane with pictures on her phone before deciding to go for broke and calling Jeremiah — with the full expectation that he will not pick up. He does though, and that’s not really good news. Conrad is gone. He isn’t answering Jeremiah’s calls or texts, and his college roommate says he claimed, “Everything is fucked” and then left. So Jeremiah is setting off to find him, and hoping that maybe this is her change to make sure she doesn’t actually loose them all, Belly says she’s coming with.

New episodes of The Summer I Turned Pretty drop every Friday on Prime Video, and make sure to stop back for recaps of every episode here at Nerds and Beyond.

LeeAnn is children's librarian who joined Nerds and Beyond in 2020 as a way to stretch her writing skills and connect with others who have the same pop culture passions as she does. She loves music, reading (obviously), and any TV show that can grab and hold her attention. Currently some of her favorite things to nerd out over include Supernatural, Prodigal Son, Louden Swain and Percy Jackson (books, theater, or upcoming show - lets leave the movies out of it).

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