With only two episodes left in the season after this, “Love Fest” packs a lot into a single episode, from love tringle drama, to some sweet romantic moments, to a raging party. So let’s jump right in.
The House Is Sold
Picking up right where the last episode left off, Conrad kicks off episode six with an accusation that Aunt Julia must be really enjoying this. His harsh words break through the shock paralyzing the teens, as Aunt Julia snarks back that she’ll “be glad it’s finally over.” Obviously Julia is completely over the whole mess with the house, but as it turns out, Belly’s plan from episode four worked. Skye is now on their side. In fact, they flat out refuse to join their mother when Julia leaves the house to go sign the deal leading to a heated discussion, pointing out that they understand that their grandparents may have been bad and maybe Julia has family trauma tied to the house, but selling it will never give her the closure she wants. Skye claims that Julia’s only goal in selling the house is to confirm that she doesn’t belong there. However, just because Julia doesn’t want the memories that come with the house is no excuse for the way she has cut Skye off from the cousins they’re now finally getting to know.
While Julia has largely been the villain of the season so far, and this conversation doesn’t help her case, the episode’s single flashback does help explain why Julia is the way she is. Taking place the Christmas after her and Susannah’s dad died, we see the sisters on Christmas eve prepping gifts and stockings. Julia, rightfully so, makes some comments about how Susannah has married their dad, as Adam doesn’t lift a finger to help with any of this. Then Susannah turns it around and tries to talk to Julia about the beach house. Julia explains what it was like for her there and how much she disliked it because she never felt she belonged. She even overheard a parent commenting on how she brought the whole mood of the trip down. Unfortunately, Susannah dismisses her concerns in a way that feels like she’s dismissing Julia herself.
After that it comes as little surprise that Julia refuses to even consider backing out of the sale deal. However, Skye stands their ground and tells their mom that this isn’t right and even though they love her, they can’t go with her to sign the deal. As Julia drives away, Skye heads back to the rest of the teens in the house and apologizes for their mom. Luckily Jeremiah is playing the optimist looking at the situation as the dark before the dawn and makes sure Skye knows it’s not their fault.
Throwing a Goodbye Party
After that touching moment, Belly declares that they can’t let that be their last memory in the house — they need a better goodbye! Then she remembers that the first time Susannah brought Laurel to the house was after Susannah’s dad died and they needed cheering up so they threw a party. That’s what they should do for their goodbye. Most everyone seems excited by the prospect, and even Conrad admits that a goodbye party is exactly what Susannah would have wanted.
The teens split up to get things ready. Steven works on the playlist, Cam and Skye head off to collect stuff from Cam’s house, Taylor works on the invites, and Conrad, Belly, and Jeremiah head out on a supply run. Of course the first stop on said supply run is the liquor store where Conrad confidently offers to buy the alcohol with his fake ID. Unfortunately for him, his ID is less than convincing. It’s pretty obvious he’s not from Guam. So Jeremiah volunteers to go in and chat with his cashier friend. (As this conversation is happening in the car, if fans pay attention to the store’s door they might just spot a special cameo from author/screenwriter Jenny Han.) To the surprise of no one, Jeremiah fails as well. So in goes Belly to simply ask. No lies, no fake ID, just the truth. It works. They leave the store with plenty of booze plus slushies for Belly and Jeremiah since those are Belly’s specialty; however, she didn’t get one for Conrad as he has always claimed they are too sugary, a fact he reaffirms after stealing a sip of Belly’s before snarking that he thought cocoa was her specialty. The trio then heads to the party store where they abuse Conrad’s emergency Amex card to each fill a cart of fun.
Later that night the party is in full swing, with fun lights, lots of drinks, and friends from all over Cousins including some of the Deb girls Belly befriended the previous year. As Belly roller-skates through the largely retro themed party, Conrad snags her for a photo op before she trips over her skates and right into Jeremiah’s arms. He smoothly turns the accident to his advantage whispering in Belly’s ear, “You don’t have to hurt yourself to get my attention.” After Belly recovers from the moment, she head off to pick up a tray of shots so the group of teens can toast to their last night in the house but not their last night together. Later, after the group has split up once more, Belly tries to get Jeremiah to help her gather people for a group picture but just ends up flirting with him for a bit before a fight breaks out and distracts them.
Skye Finds a Place
Throughout the last few episodes we’ve seen Skye grow a lot, and they really seem to be finding a place in this group. In this episode we see them spending most of their time hanging out with the ever wonderful Cam Cameron. From discussing his love of whales, to diving into why he didn’t take the job on the boat even though he really wanted too, the pair really connects throughout the episode. In fact, things are going so well that Skye asks Taylor about kissing, as they have never been kissed, which is totally okay, and Taylor as well as Belly are happy to share some advice, including don’t overthink it, moisturize, and, as Susannah always said, this place is where dreams come true so don’t stress.
Ultimately, they end up sticking with Cam at the goodbye party, acting as the stone cold bouncer at his DJ booth pointing all incoming requests to the handwritten, “F*ck Your Request” sign. At least until Taylor’s boyfriend Milo shows up unexpectedly and they decide they better go find her. They don’t succeed in that task, but their conversation does turn to romance as the duo flirts and reminisces. Skye even convinces Cam to be bold and go on the boat like he actually wants to. Since they’re being bold, Skye takes their chance to be bold as well asking if they can kiss him leading to a slightly awkward but truly sweet first kiss.
Taylor and Steven, Finally?
While it’s been clear since the start of this season that Steven does not like Milo, and certainly does not think he’s right for Taylor, this episode takes it to a whole new level. From interrupting Taylor and Milo’s video call with trivial questions to ultimately hanging up on him, Steven makes his feels on their relationship very clear. Yet, even after that, Taylor doesn’t seem upset with him as they work together on their project for the party, Steven commenting that she’s already invited the two biggest gossips in town and Taylor joking about his music choices for the playlist, in particular his choice to include “Party in the U.S.A,” which she knows he chose for her since she and Belly had driven him crazy when it came out by forcing him to watch their made up dance routine to the song. Unfortunately, this moment is interrupted by Skye.
However, the song makes a comeback during the party as Steven clears the dance floor so that he and Taylor can reenact the girls’ old dance routine. It’s the perfect fun and sweet moment for the pair: cheesy as hell and flirty to boot. Steven wraps up the dance by telling Taylor she’s won. Whatever game they’ve been playing, she’s won. He seriously likes her. He doesn’t know when she became more than his little sister’s best friend, but she’s suddenly now someone he always wants to be around and his favorite person. Then Milo shows up.
It turns out about as well as you might expect. Steven tells him to leave, Milo refuses and they fight. Surrounded by the other party goers, with fight music playing in the background and Conrad cheering Steven on from the side — at least at first — Taylor has no success breaking the pair up. Finally the boys are pulled apart and Milo proves that he doesn’t know or care about Taylor at all and she walks away. Then as Armani White’s “Billie Eilish” starts playing, Steven proves to the crowd, including Milo, that he knows Taylor better before following her out.
When he eventually finds her, Steven apologizes to Taylor for fighting with Milo. Taylor just feels bad about the scene Milo caused, and jokes that Steven’s going to take back everything he said. The thought had never even crossed his mind, but he makes it clear that it’s her choice how this goes forward. So as “Snow On The Beach (feat. Lana Del Rey)” by Taylor Swift plays, Taylor makes her choice and, finally, kisses him.
Conrad and Jeremiah
As usual for this season, things are tense between the Fisher brothers. Steven even makes a point of checking in with Conrad at the beginning of the episode because he know that Conrad has two default settings: flying high and rock bottom, and he’s concerned, which he has every right to be. Both boys have had a tough year, between Susannah’s death, everything going on with Belly, and now the house selling. It’s been a lot. For Jeremiah it comes to a bit of a head when he heads out to the garage to look through the few things still left for party supplies and finds an album of the annual “kids” photos Susannah took every summer. He confides in Conrad that he hated taking these photos, but now he’s worried that those memories are just going to fade away. Conrad is quick to reassure him, even teasing him about the painting Susannah did of Jeremiah the year before.
However, this peace between the two was not meant to last, as they butt heads again towards the end of the party when Skye lets them know that they got their mom to add a clause to the house’s sale contract that guarantees them the ability to rent the house for one week every summer. Jeremiah is thrilled to have the option to return to the house again, but Conrad is quick to squash that hope declaring that they are not going to pay another family to stay in this house. As usual, when Conrad starts making executive decisions, Jeremiah doesn’t take it well, calling him out for giving up with things get hard just like he did with Belly even throwing Conrad’s decision to ask for Jeremiah’s blessing of their relationship in his face. Plus, Jeremiah points out that he was the one there with Susannah at the end, not Conrad. At this point Jeremiah certainly doesn’t look up to his big brother anymore, and the conversation ends as Jeremiah declares that he’s not even sure he wants to know Conrad anymore.
Between a Rock and a Hard Place (or Two Brothers)
Finally we come to Belly’s part of the episode, and it’s an emotional rollercoaster from moment one as she tells Taylor that she was asked not to go to volleyball camp. Taylor is not happy about this, and threatens to quit the team herself because she was only there for Belly. From there Belly falls into reminiscing about the house with Jeremiah, where he reveals that the house is the safe space he returns to in his dreams and she confesses that sometimes she thinks this is all happening because she didn’t love this place enough. Luckily, Belly is not one to let a sad mood linger while in Cousins, so naturally she opts to push Jeremiah into the pool. The pair have fun messing around in the water, before sharing a almost kiss to Taylor Swift’s “Delicate (Taylor’s Version)”
Later during their shopping expedition, it’s Conrad’s turn to share a moment with Belly as they address the elephant in the room: the funeral. Belly apologizes, letting him know she’s ashamed of her actions and, no matter what he says, they were in no way fine. Conrad then explains that what she saw was Aubrey helping him through a panic attack, but he wishes it had been her. At this point Jeremiah pops up and interrupts the moment with a clearly jealous comment. When Belly tells Taylor about this later, Taylor reminds her how badly Conrad hurt her and asks Belly to be careful.
That’s not exactly what Belly does. Over the course of the party she finds herself drunk, and after the revelation that Conrad asked for Jeremiah’s blessing for their relationship, she heads down to the beach by herself. Conrad follows and, as Belly is drunk and he’s concerned, carries her away from the water, at which point Belly falls apart crying at him for not telling her he talked to Jeremiah because that would have changed everything. She would have fought harder for them. Conrad thought she knew, and even as she throws accusations his way and asks if they ever loved each other, you can see the love he has for her.
As Belly heads back inside, she finds herself in the middle of the party quite literally stuck between Jeremiah and Conrad who are both watching her from opposite ends of the room. Even drunk, she knows that somehow everything has gone wrong and so she heads upstairs to her old room and calls the one person who might be able to fix it: her mom. Sobbing into the phone, Belly leaves Laurel a heartbreaking voicemail telling her how much she needs her mom and how she’s worried Conrad and Jeremiah might never speak again after tonight. Then, just before the screen cuts to black, Belly begs her to come to Cousins and fix it all.