Eight more days and we may be released from this prison of our own design. Love Island 2022 is drawing to a close, and longtime viewers will know that the final weeks tend to operate on two distinct and completely opposing levels. The first I can only describe as psychological horror, as most original islanders – having been quarantined with the same small group of people for almost two months – start to develop intense allegiances like survivors of a plane crash in a remote location (Luca, Dami, Andrew-ish). The second is a sort of good-humoured mundanity akin to the last few weeks of Year 11, when your exams are over but you still have to keep going to school for some reason, as the producers struggle to fill the time between now and the final knowing that everyone is in a stable couple and/or reluctant to rock the boat within spitting distance of £50,000.
As a result, the last few days have been all over the shop. Firstly, the fallout from last week’s Mad Moves movie night was so troubling to watch that Women's Aid confirmed they're now in talks with Love Island producers about “controlling behaviour” in the villa. Then, four last-minute bombshells entered the picture, three of whom have now already left. Meanwhile, the curse of the yellow beanbag prompted Nathalia to start a beef with one of the most beloved islanders in history. Thanks to an unfortunately timed text we will sadly never know the identity of the best person Adam Collard has seen live in concert, but here's what we do know with regards to power…
THE ITALIAN SNACK AND MOTHER-SU
And on the 48th episode (fucking hell), Davide created a tiramisu as a way of asking Ekin-Su to be exclusive, and it was good. Driven by banter, pheromones and the will of the people, The Italian Snack and Mother-Su have made it to the last stretch with all the makings of a Love Island king and queen: a seemingly genuine connection, a history of misdeeds and miscommunications that needed to be overcome before sealing the deal and the bonus (previously unseen on Love Island) quality of Mediterranean charm – something innately coveted by British people.
At this point, the emotional wellbeing of at least two thirds of the nation relies on Ekinde being crowned victorious next Monday. I genuinely fear for the structural integrity of the ITV2 offices and the final straw of confidence in public voting as a concept if they do not win.
Scores of professional MMA fighters made their way to the O2 Arena from all over the world this weekend for UFC London, however, real heads know the true title fight went down in the Love Island villa. After Nathalia came for Ekin-Su with no shortage of heat, like the Next Top Model equivalent to Peggy Mitchell and Pat Butcher slapping each other between screeches of “you bitch!”, “you cow!”, it was decided the pair would end their 30-minute-long feud the old fashioned way: by making protein pancakes for an Italian man who runs a shisha business.
There was a ceremonial presentation of spatulas. Dami and Adam walked Ekin-Su through into the kitchen like a featherweight boxer. Gemma fed her water like Mickey Goldmill in a training session with Rocky. Good news, you would think, for the owner of Sam Smiths and indeed anyone who doesn’t believe phones are compatible with the art of socialising, because this is exactly the sort of nonsense that only happens when you’re bored out of your fucking mind. Real hoop and stick hours.
DEJI, THE MAN
Though he was sadly eliminated on Sunday night, the people will never forget the way Deji carried this season’s third act on his massive, relaxed back. His facial reactions provided levity during the otherwise horrendous movie night, he brought long overdue male dangly earring representation and he played the snog, marry, pie challenge more unforgettably than Millie Court played that electric keyboard in 2021.
DEJI, THE NAME INDIYAH REPEATEDLY CALLED DAMI BY ACCIDENT
TASHA AND ANDREW’S REDEMPTION ARC
For once there has been an elimination that did not end with Tasha in tears, wrestling with her self-esteem, because she and Andrew were in the bottom three. The public rallied behind the couple this week after Luca and Dami appeared to be bullying Tasha relentlessly for reasons that still aren’t entirely coherent to me – something about not prioritising Andrew, even though she does? Not being trustworthy, even though she’s been honest? Acting counter to her words in Casa Amor even though that’s exactly what Dami and Andrew did, but much worse? I don’t know! Sound off in the DMs if you’re a demented man who understands and can explain this to me.
Anyway, it was nice to see some support for Tasha this week. Andrew seemed more upset that The Lads said horrible things about her behind his back, rather than being upset that they said them period, so no strong thoughts on his position in the villa to be honest, but ultimately they’ve only been in the bottom due to being background entertainment anyway. They’re clearly fond of each other and they deserved a win.
NICK CAVE ENTERS THE DISCOURSE
If you listed all the people most likely to weigh in on Love Island 2022, Nick Cave would appear somewhere near the very bottom. However, this week someone submitted a question about Love Island to Red Hand Files – an ongoing project where Cave offers public and considered replies to anonymous letters – which prompted Cave to come out in support of Luca (sort of), whose parents have been very kind to him in the past. His reasons were characteristically thoughtful and moving, but unfortunately the whole unlikely situation has mostly made me consider the prospect of Gemma Owen meeting Nick Cave and, by extension, Michael Owen meeting Nick Cave.
Imagine: the poet laureate of post-punk who is responsible for some of the most moving excavations of life, love and death in music history, going head to head with a football legend whose list of total films watched (13) reads like the movie collection in Bin Laden's cave. Contained within this conversation would be an absence of rules and logic not even Samuel Beckett could have hoped to achieve.
We'll get to his behaviour momentarily, but credit where credit's due the man is packing where it counts. Perhaps not to the extent that he's being maligned by the jealous public for having "too phat" of an arse, as he so claimed, but nevertheless.
COLLECTIVE MEMORY LOSS
It was barely five days ago that the fellowship between Luca and Dami became so twisted that Luca’s family felt compelled to issue a public apology on his behalf, but after a few crap notes app apologies – in which Luca told Gemma not to be “a silly billy” and Dami rambled some guff before Indiyah had to ask him to actually utter the word “sorry” – it seems it’s all water under the bridge. We can only assume interference from the producers when this happens, but it always feels strange when the tone switches suddenly without explanation.
Of course, we only see one of every 24 hours that unfolds on the ground, so interpersonal relationships often develop at a rate that feels “off” – and nowhere is this more jarring than when an eviction is called mid-barney. Dami found his head on the block for the first time this week, for example, and so much time had passed since movie night he legitimately said “I must have done something bad?” To which Andrew, inexplicably, responded “We'll never know!” Yes, good job it isn't being televised to a public audience of millions or anything.
When he wasn’t lamenting about how he simply cannot help but have his balls fondled by women he has no interest in due to his addiction to “the banter” – which, if he is not engaging with at all times, will result in sudden death, like a shark that needs to keep swimming – Billy had shocker after shocker this week. He kissed Gemma again during a challenge after she quite literally pied him, which was pest behaviour as well as disrespectful to Danica, who he swerved despite “doing bits” with her the night before. Moreover, though, I have never in my life wanted to crawl through the TV like Samira, ready to cause pain, than when Danica was explaining how he hurt her feelings and he responded by saying “stop swearing because it’s rude”, like a 70-year-old woman running classes at Sunday School.
Approximately five minutes later he was evicted, which was satisfying, but the goodbyes were all “aww Billy what a laugh”, “awww Billy what a bubbly lad”, “ah man can’t believe it”. I understand that, to an extent, we are not experiencing the same island, and that the show’s “be nice” policy prohibits criticism of thorny behaviour to a certain extent lest the contestant be opened up to horrendous online abuse. However, it felt like a proper sliding doors moment watching everyone pour one out for a dude who was due to be set on fire by every woman in the villa moments prior, while he cackled off into the night like a maniac out of Beano.
As far as segue episodes go, this was a tragic way of filling the time between the recoupling and the elimination. It was giving “director who knows they have to get from point A to B in the plot but they really can’t be arsed to think of something good, so they just show a character walking down the street for ages”. High content value in the above image, however.