Like a fart in a mosh pit, it doesn't take a lot to shift the vibe on Love Island. There are too few people in too close quarters for little things not to have a major ripple effect, creating a social environment that's basically an eternal sixth form common room with more ruched bikinis and probably a similar number of boners.
Week three and everyone is already living, laughing, lifting in a different villa to the one we observed a few days ago, with a series of recouplings, doubts and shit-stirring conspiring to reshuffle the house of cards. In the profound words of Jacques: "Women eh? Women… Men as well, though."
With Casa Amor looming on the horizon like the fabled monster in The Automatic's “Monster”, the vibe is about to shift again. In the meantime, here's a breakdown of where the power lies.
A week ago we were still willing this union into existence, but in just five days Dami and Indiyah have gone from first-bumping mates to the most beloved couple on the show. With their collective banter, wisdom and face piercings, they have one of those dynamics that a) reminds you that the world can be good and full of light, and b) cracks open an enormous hole of loneliness in your chest that keeps you up at night.
They also had one of the hottest and most convincing snogs I have ever seen on ITV2, which was especially impressive since it happened during a challenge that involved a group of heterosexuals trying to pop balloons by simulating arse sex. A win / win for tenderness and balloon fetishism.
Mystic Dami entered the scene this week with a party talent so powerful it threw the entire villa off kilter. Basically what happened was he gave a run down of Ekin-Su and Gemma’s internal monologues that ran very close to the bone, which prompted a chain reaction of gossip that sent at least one head (namely Luca’s) flying. He then spent the rest of the day acting as the oracle for everyone’s relationship problems, at which point Mystic Dami was replaced by Dami (PhD Therapeutic Counselling).
I should clarify here that by “mind reading” I mean “having the ability to interpret body language and emotional cues”, and by “problems” I mean “things that could very quickly be solved by talking about it with the other person” – but historically these are rare concepts on Love Island. The psychological make-up of the villa usually skews more towards people who, on “the outside”, deal with difficult or uncomfortable things by smashing 11 pints and leaving someone on read about it (this isn’t a slight on Love Island contestants, it’s simply the default British way).
As a result, many find themselves sitting with their emotions properly for the first time on national television, which is how you get people like Jacques facing down the barrel of vulnerability and going full Mark Corrigan, telling the object of their affections: “I like you, and if you can’t deal with it then you can just fuck off.”
Anyway, I’m sure there’s a thriving side-hustle for Dami in running an intensive training course for men who don’t know how to communicate, if he wants it.
If you look up “sweetheart” in the dictionary, you will see a photo of Paige Thorne. An absolutely classic girlie of the gorgeous variety, she’s exactly the kind of sensitive and forgiving soul you hope to run into in the toilets on a night out when you’re having a mental breakdown about your outfit. In other words: a national treasure.
She also seems like she doesn’t like burdening others with her feelings and is wary of hurting people, which are lovely qualities that have left her quite vulnerable in the villa at times. Jacques was actually being very nice with her when she was crying the other night, but he also lost his head when she spent more than a few minutes eating a brioche instead of going for a swim so fuck knows what could happen. Rest assured if he upsets her, the entire population of SA1 will be on the first EasyJet flight to Mallorca to slap the vest off him, and he will never get a pint on Wind Street as long as he lives.
PEOPLE WHISPERING THEIR DEEPEST FEARS IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT
In one night alone we had Tasha admitting to Andrew that she intentionally blows things up when they feel too good to be true and Jacques trying to talk about his feelings while also confessing that he doesn’t like talking about his feelings. Not sure whether to be impressed or alarmed that we’re not even a month in and people are already having an internal crisis so intense they have to creep out of bed to do a bit of therapy on the stairs, but so far it all feels quite healthy. Not bottling things up a hot, hot trend for Love Island 2022 – right up there with elbow-length gloves and Luca’s fish-flops.
THE WILL THEY WON'T THEY OF DAVIDE AND EKIN-SU
For a while, Davide was busy making Love Island history yet again by ending the lineage of “terminally single man who everyone feels sorry for in a little brother kind of way” and pioneering the “terminally single man who is a massive legend, like the kind of friend of a friend you always ask if he’s coming to the function even if you don’t really know him because if Davide’s there you know it’s going to be a good laugh”.
Anyway, him and Ekin-Su have been taking the piss out of each other since their bust-up last week and there is much talk of “unfinished business”. I look forward to them inevitably doing some really feral “bits” before having an argument so explosive Ekin-Su starts lobbing hand weights and bottles of Soltan sunscreen. Ross and Rachel but make it Turkish soap opera.
With her enormous beachy hair, good-time energy and voice fit for a prime time hosting slot on Radio 1, Antigoni has brought what can only be described as a bit of “va va voom” to the villa. The kind of girl every friendship group needs to drag you out of your hungover slump on holiday and back to the nearest taverna, where you’ll have the time of your life shotting aperitifs, doing “Sex Bomb” on karaoke with the owner and partying with the waiters until 4AM.
JACQUES ALWAYS KNOCKING ABOUT IN A VEST AND PANTS
As someone with a dormant landmine of insecurities but also a delusional sense of confidence, I feel quite drawn to Jacques. The man cannot handle a razor-thin sliver of uncertainty when it comes to his feelings towards someone, and yet day after day can be seen bowling around the villa in some strange and often mismatched vest or t-shirt and pants combo when everyone else is already buffed and waxed in their trunks. A man born for public life, I fear.
No offence to newcomers Danica and Charlie, but seeing the hustle mentality brought so transparently into the arena of love is quite jarring. Each to their own, of course, but personally if I were trying to get to know someone I wouldn’t strategically grill them like I’m on their doorstep trying to sign them up for a recurring donation to the RSPB.
Following in the British tabloid convention of constantly alluding to sex but never actually saying things like “rim job” or “fingering”, Love Island forces a new cursed innuendo every year, like Carry On for people who have a favourite hotel in Dubai. This year everyone is attending “the salon” to receive a "manicure" or "the treatment". On the one hand it’s revolting and horrible. On the other hand, it’s still better than a camera zooming in on a beloved childhood toy while someone whispers “do you like it like that?”
THE “BLUE AND NEW” THEMED PARTY
I don’t know whose decision it was to plan a big night of two cocktails around half a wedding tradition, but the “Blue and New” party was responsible for some of the worst outfits ever to be seen on Love Island. By the end of it I was longing for the 2021 days of Hugo and his 1970s curtains.