I wrote last week that this series of Love Island wasn’t hitting because I didn’t feel invested in the couples, and then Casa Amor came around to chuck bowling balls directly at the only two I was vaguely arsed about.
It’s been a rocky week for both Faye and Teddy and Millie and Liam, with just one of the two seemingly surviving the onslaught (and even then, only just), as we watched with our T-shirts pulled up around our ears, as if Love Island was The Ring 2 at a Year 7 sleepover.
It’s been quite a seven days, so I’m just going to get on with it. Here’s where the power lies as we move into a post-Casa Amor world.
Millie / Image courtesy of ITV
Casa Amor always has its casualties, and this year the biggest was previous faves-to-win, Millie and Liam. It’s tough to watch a girl being mugged off in real time, before being forced to drink warm orange juice with the person who snogged the boy she likes, but Millie handled it with such elegance that I half expect her to be offered a role on season five of The Crown once she’s out of the villa.
I hate to admit it, but if a man who looked and sounded like Liam was giving me big brown hangdog eyes in a corduroy shirt, I would find it very difficult to resist (toxic of me), so good for Millie for having clear boundaries, and for doing so while resembling the sort of Instagram post used to successfully sell stuff to people.
Top marks this week: while she may be vulnerable on the show, she’s now surely the fan favourite (at the time of writing she has 544,000 Instagram followers, which is only 1,000 less than Liberty, who had been storming ahead of everyone else on that metric).
THE ANCIENT RESPONSIBILITY OF BEING A GIRLS’ GIRL
Girls' girlism in action / Image courtesy of ITV
When your girlie is hurting, there is nothing else for it other than to go full girls’ girl mode.
Liberty kindly but firmly telling Liam that she will tolerate him, but ultimately is There For Millie; Kaz laughing and responding with only the words “baby… baby” as Liam asked her to stick up for him; Faye giving Liam the finger from behind aviators; Chloe exclaiming “NÖ WAAAAAAY-UH” and “FUckING HELL” interchangeably every time one of Liam’s transgressions was revealed. This, ultimately, is why I watch this show.
THE COLOUR ORANGE
Liberty, a vision in orange / Image courtesy of ITV
Orange you glad Millie wore this two piece? / Screenshot via ITV Hub
What a week she has had :’)
Toby and Mary / Image courtesy of ITV
In a stunning reversal of fortunes, brought on by some of the most truly wild behaviour ever seen on this show, Toby has revealed himself to be not the evil mastermind some corners of the viewership had assumed him to be, but actually: one of the best Love Island contestants ever.
Recoupling with Casa Amor’s Mary after causing a full week of amateur dramatics when he chose new girl Abi over his more established partner Chloe, Toby shows loyalty to nobody and nothing, other than what he feels like in the moment – which also changes seven times per moment. It’s difficult to keep track of, but often jaw-dropping to behold, and also managed to offer light relief during a post-Casa Amor recoupling episode that played out like the Love Island version of Avengers: Infinity War, with couples dropping like flies as Toby solemnly self-reflected in the Beach Hut (“I’m a bad person... I can’t keep DOING this shit…”), before once again pinging around the various girls he’s interested in like a vibey little pinball.
At the beginning of the series, Toby came off as an immature guy who wasn’t really sure what he wanted, but over the weeks the layers have been peeled off to show that, actually, he’s merely at the whims of his mistress, Lady Chaos, and will unintentionally do whatever he can to cause maximum carnage. If Sunday night’s preview was anything to go on (spoiler alert: he wants Chloe back), we are about to get a Toby main character episode to top all others, so sit back, relax and see if you can get an emergency prescription of beta blockers.
Lillie / Image courtesy of ITV
Didn’t make it to the main villa, but did bag 59,900 on Instagram and cemented her place in history as the only girl from Casa Amor to make such an impact as to get her Newsnight interview-style moment without being brought onto the main show, so not a bad job really.
The Postcard / Image courtesy of ITV
In my opinion, this lot overplayed their hand this week, in that it’s one thing to accurately show the girls what the boys they like are up to – in order to give them a kick up the arse and provoke them into being good TV again – but QUITE ANOTHER to misrepresent Teddy’s honour and shake Faye’s confidence so much that she put her brown lipstick back on in order to bag a new man.
I hope the person who masterminded this saw the footage of Teddy putting Faye’s plushie on the floor and felt very upset with themselves!
Liam / Image courtesy of ITV
I find it difficult to condemn Liam in the very harshest of terms, because: in real life, if you were 21 years old and had been casually dating someone for three weeks, and then you snogged someone else before deciding that no, actually, you liked the person you were already seeing more, most people would agree that this is somewhere on the spectrum between “fine” and “not ideal, but definitely the sort of thing that happens sometimes”. Unfortunately, what Liam has failed to realise is that this is not real life, it is Love Island. And these are two very, very different things.
For my money, the main issues with Liam’s actions are: a) he seems to have forgotten that the carnage he hath wrought has unfolded on national television, and that therefore anything Millie is feeling is probably going to be underscored by an enormous sense of embarrassment, which is an objectively not nice thing to inflict on someone; and b) Love Island dating is not really like regular dating, because you do actually, erm, live with the person you’re seeing, so things and feelings probably move a bit quicker than they usually might.
All important context that Liam has apparently failed to consider, and which probably means he has fucked up irreversibly. This is a shame, because Millie is class, and I will miss the pair uttering sweet innuendos to one another under the cover of darkness. Hopefully he’ll learn his lesson for his inevitable turn on Ex on the Beach.
Abigail / Image courtesy of ITV
Clearly quite a shit moment for her here, but I will say that, unfortunately, waiting for Toby to come back from Casa Amor single was always going to be like going to Nando’s and getting lemon and herb: pointless and underwhelming.
‘LADS’ HOLIDAY’, THE CONCEPT THEREOF
Toby, Liam and Jake / Image courtesy of ITV
Why is it always the boys who get to go to Casa Amor? Why do the women have to pack the men’s suitcases and leave little territory-marking items in there as though they are cats pissing angrily on their patches (that said, I will say Liberty simply putting her literal bra into Jake’s suitcase is as masterful a move as they come)? Why did only the main villa get a sordid little Moonpig postcard?
The answer to all of this and more is, of course, deeply socialised misogyny and the equally ingrained heterosexual expectation that men will “play the field” while women miserably wait for them at home, awaiting texts that never come and watching Insta stories of their boyfriends doing shots and wearing shirts fastened at the belly button.
Love Island is a reflection of the society we live in in a lot of ways, but none more so than the gender norms that are apparently taken as read by the programme: girls will stay loyal at home while boys go off on a “lads’ holiday” – otherwise known as: down the road for four days – if not to do some snogging and “leg tickling”, then to encourage their mates to do so (we have not forgotten about you, Jake). And it does not have to be this way: why not a girls’ holiday? Why not fishbowls and vomit in hair extensions and shagging the TUI holiday rep in a club toilet?
Obviously this is probably too much to ask for a show so aggressively rigid in its view of men and women that it culminates in a bizarre mashup of the world’s two most heterosexual rituals (marriage and prom). But I just don’t know if I can take another year of watching women mope while, a few houses down, men say things like “I’m gonna get in trouble for this” while they lick their lips at bar managers from Tring. Just not that fun!