After episode 3 left Conrad mid-panic attack on the beach, it should come as no surprise that we’re jumping right into what goes down on the beach. After Steven catches up with Conrad on the beach, he checks in on Conrad and in a rather surprising moment, Conrad admits that he’s having a panic attack. Steven immediately turns to go get Jeremiah but is quickly stopped by Conrad, who asks Steven just to talk,. Steven is unsure but chooses to reminisce about the first time the Fisher boys took him out to this beach to surf. He was so nervous, but Conrad never left his side and Steven left feeling as though Conrad was the coolest person in the world — something Conrad claims is no longer true, but Steven still truly believes it.
A bit calmer now, Conrad admits that these attacks are pretty common, more so since Susannah died. He then admits that the call that set him off was from Stanford telling him he’d been accepted. Steven congratulates him for getting into his dream school, but Conrad argues that that it doesn’t make sense to transfer to a school all the way across the country now that he and Jeremiah are in a better place and Jeremiah will be attending Finch — just down the road from him at Brown. Even though Conrad would love to go to Stanford, other things are more important now — a view Steven questions. However, Conrad asks Steven not to tell Jeremiah about any of this, and, being the amazing friend he is, Steven agrees, joking that “Stanford’s not even an Ivy, so fuck ’em right?”
The Open House That Wasn’t
The next day dawns as Belly momentarily mistakes Julia for Susannah in the kitchen. The morning gets off to an even more uncomfortable start as Aunt Julia reminds Belly that the muffins are for the open house, followed by the arrival of Conrad and Jeremiah, who only makes things more uncomfortable. It ultimately ends in a fight between Conrad and Julia where Conrad snidely comments that what’s happening isn’t an “Aunt Julia problem,” Aunt Julia is the problem before storming out of the room. Skye then observes that Conrad has, “grown into quite the asshole,” to which Jeremiah replies a bit under his breath, “you have no idea.”
Despite their argument, Julia follows Conrad upstairs to his room attempting to connect by sharing that that room used to be hers when she was younger. This fails as Conrad reminds her that memories stick with a place, and although Susannah is gone at the beach house, it doesn’t feel like she is. Unfortunately this doesn’t sway Julia, and a thud somewhere else in the house sends Julia running to see what happened. While she’s away, Conrad heads back downstairs to find Belly at the front door attempting to convince the realtor that Julia had cancelled the open house and jumps in to back Belly up, claiming that she has authority because she’s his girlfriend. Unfortunately Aunt Julia arrives before they make any progress and leaves with the realtor to discuss what to do about the sudden AC issue — ultimately cancelling the open house for the day. Although, in regards to the AC, later in the episode Taylor pointedly asks Steven, “Isn’t it a coincidence that the AC broke right after the future engineering student arrived?”
On the Boardwalk
As Aunt Julia is struggling to keep herself together while she deals with the AC issues, and everything else, she begs the kids to leave house for the day. Of course, Conrad doesn’t want to leave the house, but Belly does eventually talk him around to the idea of heading to the Boardwalk. Belly also invites Skye, who cautiously agrees. Belly does make it a point to make sure that Jeremiah is okay with her inviting Skye, explaining her hope that maybe Skye will see how great Cousins is and talk their mom around. Jeremiah turns out to be pretty happy about it as he tells Belly that it’s nice to feel like his family is bigger than just him, Conrad, and their dad, to which Belly reminds him that they’re his family too.
The sentimental mood quickly disappears as the group arrives at the Boardwalk in high spirits to Bleachers’ “Don’t Take the Money.” Although, Taylor is quick to ask how this is any less hot than staying in the un-air conditioned house before claiming that she wants some ice cream a.k.a. “nature’s AC” — an idea that the rest of the group supports. As they walk around with their ice cream, Jeremiah, Conrad, and Steven reminisce on the last time they were here, reminding Belly that she ended up crying and throwing up due to the Tower of Terror ride. Belly doesn’t take kindly to this reminder, especially given that it happened because she lost to Conrad at Shot for Shot. So, naturally. she asks Skye if they’d like to watch Belly beat Conrad, leading the the revival of the “Great Boardwalk Showdown.”
While the showdown makes the rest of the day fun, it’s not all smooth sailing. Throughout the day, Skye chats with their cousins about why they haven’t seen each other in years. They remind the boys that their mom isn’t there to be evil, and Susannah wasn’t a saint. Plus, the last time they saw each other was the Christmas after their grandfather died and they each have very different memories of the occasion. The boys remember how sad their mom was after Julia and Skye left Christmas eve, while Skye remembers their mom crying the whole flight home followed by pizza for Christmas dinner.
The Great Boardwalk Showdown
Reviving an annual tradition that Laurel shut down when Belly and Conrad got too competitive, the teens prepare to take on the Boardwalk’s selection of games. Skye doesn’t think that they really need to stay for this, but Belly convinces them that they are needed for Belly’s team. Skye agrees but with some caveats — they don’t high-five, trash talk, fist pump, or even really smile. Taylor, while happy to compete, is more concerned about he prize being a somewhat childish giant bag of candy, but it’s tradition, so she’s overruled and they head off to the arcade.
The first game of the competition is laser tag, where Skye proves that they’re not actually that good at this stuff. However, with the help of a stellar soundtrack, the game gets dramatic quickly as Conrad stalks Belly and Steven hunts Taylor. This game ends as Jeremiah and Conrad team up to catch Belly and get the winning tag for their team. From there it’s off to the climbing wall for a Steven versus Taylor event, but much to everyone’s surprise, it’s also the location of Cam Cameron’s summer job! After cheerful greetings from the Fishers and Conklins and an introduction to Skye, Cam and Belly chat a bit about his internship that fell through before the competition continues. Despite Taylor’s trash talk, the boys come out ahead again in this event as well, so now it’s off to a rematch between Belly and Conrad over at Shot for Shot.
With Kayy Perry’s “Never Really Over” playing in the background, Belly and Conrad actually go shot for shot throughout much of the basketball game, making eyes at each other throughout it all. Meanwhile, Cam Cameron, who had tagged along with the crew, offers stellar commentary as the rest of the crew cheers their favorite on. In a reversal of last time, Belly wins by a single shot, leading to Skye walking back one of their caveats and attempting to trash talk Conrad in the nerdiest way possible. Conrad is forced to admit that it was a good win as Belly pick her prize — a stuffed giraffe like she claimed to want many years ago. Riding that high, Belly’s team directs the competition over to the dance game. Jeremiah immediately jumps in for the boys in this event with a ton of confidence, while Belly and Taylor have to push Skye into it, telling them that it’s just math with your feet. Naturally, much to the boys’ dismay, they decimate Jeremiah, leading to Skye’s first fist pump.
The final game of the competition is Go Carts, but before starting Belly offers her team a pep talk reminding them that it’s not just about winning, it’s about them as a team. The pep talk that takes on more meaning as the boys beat Belly’s team to the finish line by the skin of their teeth. Conrad is visibly happy for the first time in a long time, a fact that Belly attributes to Conrad’s love of competition, and only becomes more so as he literally gets to be a kid in a candy store. Skye kindly offers to pay for the boys’ candy as they “made a lot mining bitcoin,” which Belly greatly appreciates as she is having a bit of an existential crisis about her volleyball future. Losing the competition did not help her confidence, but Taylor quickly reminds her that the way she lost is exactly what makes her a good leader and volleyball captain — a view Skye is quick to support.
The Boardwalk visit ends with a trip to the Tower of Terror to settle a bet made between Belly and Conrad in which the loser has to ride the ride they both hate. Fortunately for Belly, Jeremiah is the best and offers to ride with her. So with very nervous looks from Belly, and some unsure moments from Jeremiah, the duo boards the ride to Guns’N’Roses “Sweet Child O’ Mine.” Holding hands throughout, Belly and Jeremiah definitely have a special moment before the ride is over. However, Belly also has a sweet moment with Cam a bit later as she thanks him for sticking with them for the day and invites him back to the house for the evening.
Laurel in New York
After spotting someone at the the Boardwalk reading Its Not Summer Without You, Steven shares with Belly that Laurel agreed to attend the book promotion event in New York and she even looked a bit nervous about it. Belly has a hard time believing that, but given how much Laurel seems to stumble through explaining the book to someone at the event, Steven may have been right. However Laurel’s weekend starts looking up when Cleveland stops by her table with coffee — although Laurel jokes that it’d better be wine. As always, Cleveland offers great conversation and support, reminding Laurel that though things may have fizzled between them, she can still talk to him about anything. She takes advantage, sharing her concerns about Belly, to which Cleveland shares that sometimes the best thing you can do is just be there for someone — even if it means climbing down into their hole of grief or depression just to sit with them. Laurel takes the advice with grace before turning the conversation around and asking Cleveland what he’s doing there since he’s not on the author list for the event. He coyly replies, “Would it scare you if I said I was here for you?” to which Laurel responds, “Depends where you take me for dinner,” before making plans to meet later.
Memories of Summers Past
As always, Belly shares key memories throughout the episode. This time they’re all of summers past. The first is of the first time Conrad broke Belly’s heart. The two of them took a trip to the Boardwalk — just the two of them — and while Belly thought it was because Conrad wanted to spend time with her, it turns out he was there to flirt with the girl at the ring toss booth. Belly proved herself to be an amazing friend that day as she introduced Conrad to the girl, although not without a few snarky comments, before pretending she had somewhere else to be so they get time alone. Conrad found Belly later and after she deflected his question about where she was, he offered her the bear (who we find out is named Junior Mint) he won as a prize. She took it, but not before commenting that she’d rather have had the giraffe.
The next memory comes as Belly spots the mermaid photo op at the Boardwalk and gets nostalgic about the time she, Susannah, and Laurel took their photo there. The final flashback centers around Jeremiah as Belly recalls the summer when she was 13 and Jeremiah ended up spending the week before the 4th of July keeping Belly company inside as she battled her cold and then she with him as he battled the cold she gave him.
At the End of the Day
As the day turns into night, the crew makes their way back to the beach house with Conrad and Steven in one car and the rest of the gang piled into Jeremiah’s Jeep. This offers Conrad and Steven a chance to talk about the day. Steven points out that he hasn’t seen Conrad this happy in a long time, and Conrad responds that while it can be hard to be happy like he knows his mom would have wanted, it was nice to feel like a kid again. Steven then teases Conrad about the vibe he was picking up between Conrad and Belly, quickly stating that he doesn’t necessarily want the two to start things up again, but there definitely seemed to be something going on. Conrad takes the observation well, but the moment seems bittersweet. It only becomes more so when they arrive at the house and Belly blows Conrad off when he asks why she picked the giraffe prize instead of another Junior Mint, reminding him that she’s “not 13 anymore.”
The episode closes as Angel Olsen’s “Go Home” plays as the teens discover that while they were out, Aunt Julia had stripped the beach house of all its furnishings — including Susannah’s artwork from the walls.
Be sure to catch each new episode of The Summer I Turned Pretty when they drop Thursdays on Prime Video. Then make sure to stop back for recaps of every episode here at Nerds and Beyond.