Tensions were at an all-time high between Belly, Conrad, and Jeremiah on The Summer I Turned Pretty Season 2 Episode 8, especially as a storm blew into town and forced them to spend a night in a one-bed motel right after Conrad witnessed Belly and Jeremiah making out.
The situation wasn’t ideal for anyone, with Belly finding herself smack-dab in the middle of both brothers and slightly conflicted about her feelings. She had two great guys with differing qualities willing to do anything for her. And it was clear that they both cared a great deal about her—but one always felt like the right choice for the moment, while the other always felt like the right choice down the line.
I can’t explain it, but it goes back to what Laurel said to Belly on the phone when her daughter asked for love advice: love has different seasons depending on where you’re at in life. She wanted Belly to have “lots of lovers” before she settles down, and while that’s slightly disturbing to hear from your mom, Laurel’s also right. Belly has been in a conflicted state of being for so long, always trying to choose the right Fisher boy when the world has so many fish in the sea.
But if it must boil down to Conrad and Jeremiah, there is a Mr. Right and a Mr. Right Now.
I do think that Conrad is her person; her soulmate, as Steven pointed out. He’s the one that challenges Belly and the one that she has a deep bond and connection with that scratches way below the surface. But he’s also so complicated that it’s just not something Belly needs right now after one of the toughest years of her life. She doesn’t want someone who is going to put up walls, hold back, or make her doubt herself. And one of Conrad’s biggest faults is that he has a tendency to keep making decisions for the people around him rather than letting them decide for themselves. Case and point—he told Belly he still wanted her and then didn’t let her talk through any of her feelings, simply pulling away because the alternative proved to be too painful.
And those reasons are exactly why Jeremiah is the right choice for her right now. He’s simple, easygoing and fun to be around. He wants Belly to be happy—and will do anything to make it happen and protect her from getting hurt. He’s giving her 100%, and in a relationship, especially that early on in your life, that’s what you want. You want to feel like the center of their world. Belly and Jeremiah have an undeniable connection and love for each other, but it’s not a love that’s going to withstand the test of time like Belly and Conrad’s. It’s merely a crush that they are finally giving the light of day, and when you’re in the honeymoon stage, naturally, it feels invincible and like pure bliss up until it fizzles out.
I’m not discounting Conrad despite Belly’s decision to pursue something with Jeremiah. While Con might prove to be more difficult and frustrating, he’s also crazy about Belly in a way that doesn’t even compare to what Jeremiah feels for her, and his love for her was evidenced in the small gestures that typically go unnoticed—like knowing she prefers Sour Patch Kids to Swedish Fish or that she gets car sick when she reads in a moving vehicle. And Jere is supposed to be the one that knows Belly better than anyone! Plus, when he chose to walk away and allow Belly and Jeremiah to be together rather than standing in the way of their happiness the way Jere did the first time when she and Conrad got together, he did it for her, but he never gave up on the belief that she’d come back to him one day, a fact made clear when he unpacks her room—and the bear— at the Cousins beach house room.
Belly interpreted Conrad’s change of heart the day after he professed his love for her as the “typical” thing he does—gives and then takes away—but there was actually so much more to his behavior that she simply didn’t want to acknowledge. It was easier to let herself believe that Conrad was just being Conrad than to understand why he was acting the way he was because it allowed her to place him in the rearview. Conrad pulled back after telling Belly that he still wanted her because he realized that he’d lost her; he understood how much he hurt her before, and he knew that by standing in the way of her romance with Jere, he’d just be inflicting more pain. Much like Jere, all he wanted was for Belly to be happy, and it was clear that it wasn’t going to be with him. It was one of those “if you love something set it free” moments with the hope that they’d find their way back to each other in the end.
As for Jeremiah, he also displayed plenty of growth when he suggested that Belly and Conrad needed to have an honest heart-to-heart before he could pursue a relationship with her. Jeremiah knows his brother all too well, so when Conrad came into the car acting like an arrogant asshole and making snide comments, he knew that it was coming from a place of hurt because he still loved Belly. He knew that they needed to have an honest conversation about their feelings—which they didn’t because communication isn’t their strong suit—before any decisions could be made. Too much was at stake and too many feelings were involved.
Despite wanting to be with Belly with every fiber of his being, Jere also promised to back down if she chose Conrad, thus keeping his relationship with his brother intact.
And honestly, both Belly and Jeremiah deserved Conrad’s wrath—everything he said was on the money, even if it skewed mean.
It may have gotten messy at times, but you have to hand it to all of them for handling the situation in such a mature way in the end because it’s absolutely not an easy thing to watch the love of your life slip away with your brother. They put their friendship and brotherhood above all, and even as Conrad walked away heartbroken, he asked if they’d all reconnect on the Fourth because they all knew that one of the things that Susannah always wanted was for them to stay in each other’s lives, no matter what.
But man, the pain on Conrad’s face—that cut deep. That boy gave it his all, delivering a performance so realistic that I felt my heart start to ache right alongside him. If he’s broken, I’m broken. He wears pain well though, so his sulking only made him that much hotter. Christopher Briney, you may not have snagged the girl, but you have my heart, and all the flowers for bringing Conrad’s complexities to life in such a nuanced way. It was even more painful to see how happy he was after passing his final and gearing up to tell Belly how he felt, only to see his entire demeanor change and his future catch fire right before his eyes—a perfect day turned into one of the worst in mere seconds.
As for Belly and Jeremiah, they’re cute, flirty, and happy, and it’s a good space for her to be in as she feels rejuvenized and inspired. She even convinced Coach Shaw to let her back on the team at volleyball camp, so it definitely seems like Belly is making the right moves to ensure her own happiness first and foremost right now. It’s also proof that she is open to a future that’s slightly different than she imagined as a young girl when all she saw was Conrad. Though, if I’m being quite frank, she needs to look past the Fisher boys to get some true perspective on dating and relationships before settling down.
Anytime there’s a scene with Susannah, it guts me, but it was also sweet to see one of her final moments with Belly and to truly realize how much she meant to her—it’s exactly why Belly means so much to the boys. It almost feels like by being with Belly, they can stay connected to their mom.
My co-worker also brought up a point that was truly gutting. With Conrad back and working on the beach house, it feels like he’s stuck in the past, while Jeremiah and Belly are moving forward into the future. It definitely speaks to all of their grieving process, however, and I hope by working through his issues alone, Conrad comes out stronger.
Then there’s Taylor and Steven who are too cute for words. They struggled to bring their relationship into the real world briefly because Cousins Beach truly is such a bubble world where you just get caught up in the moment until reality sets in and things look and feel slightly different. Thankfully, Taylor owned up to pushing Steven away because she was scared that he’d break her heart when he went off to college because she cared about him so much and no longer had the upper hand in the relationship (and her fears are fair), while Steven simply wanted to continue being the kind of guy that made Taylor happy.
When it comes to relationships, Taylor and Steven may have the least toxic one of them all. Also, it was fun to see them bicker about their favorite ships as it mimicked exactly what the audience felt when professing their love for either Team Conrad or Team Jeremiah.
There was some great dialogue throughout the episode that kept tensions running at an all-time high, along with plenty of good moments to appease both ships, though, at the end of the day, all you can really ask is that Belly follows her heart (and sticks with her decision) and it led her to Jeremiah this time… and for now.
What did you think of the episode/season? Share your thoughts.