The last week of Love Island has made me feel like I'm on a particularly bad hangover. I was so upset all I had the energy to do was dejectedly eat Super Noodles and text the group chat that I was dying. I worried that I'd never be able to pass a pink bodycon dress without pressing it to my cheek and thinking of Amber's plight, in the same way I once felt so existentially unwell after a night out that I cried tears of gratitude when I got to the garlic bread aisle in the shop.
The worst hangovers feel like they'll last forever. In the same way, the Love Island Hellmouth Week just raged on and on, with little relief between poor Amy sobbing her entire life out of her mouth and Michael continuing to badmouth Amber to anyone who'd listen, like a bitchy mum in the PTA who’s taken a dislike to a supply teacher. Now, however, the cloud seems to be lifting and we seem to be nearing Villa Neutral once more. Islanders are settling into their new couplings or singledom, there's been a new delivery of bikinis and Anton's bum has, mercifully, been shaved.
Here's how things look now we're in peacetime again:
Being accused of immaturity by the guy you like AS WELL AS the girl he's left you for AND being dumped in front of all of your friends isn't something I've experienced before, though it is the sort of thing I assume would send me on what they call: A Mad One. But Amber has handled the situation better than 28-year-old Michael. She's accepted his apology, said Joanna is "nice" and supported Amy, who is going through something similar. She may not know it yet, but she is completely in control of how this situation plays out. She's also got a million Insta followers now, so tbh who cares what happens with Michael.
Love Island is not built for someone like Ovie. Despite being full of the UK's most traditionally hot human bodies, the currency of this show is insecurity. The narrative arcs of Love Island hatch from the emotional destruction that, for most of us, is the main byproduct of rejection (whether, as viewers, we're bad people for being entertained by that is a different, and worse, question).
Ovie offers something different. Upon being ditched by Anna, Ovie made it look not only good, but enviable. He wore his hat about it; he ate a delicious ice lolly in a co-ordinating shirt/shorts combo about it. He is confidence incarnate, completely aware of his own prowess while, crucially, also being really nice (see: his brotherly instinct around Amber all week).
Ovie would order you a drink without asking what you wanted, and not only would you not mind, it would be the exact drink you wanted at that moment. He is the James Bond of the villa, if James Bond was in touch with his emotions and didn't kill people for a living. I'm not that into heteronormativity, but I honestly hope he steals Michael's girl, Joanna, and provides her a beautiful life, over the course of which she wants for nothing.
TOMMY AND MOLLY-MAE
The only two people who came out of Hellmouth Week unscathed, and therefore undoubtedly the nailed-on winners. It's taken longer than usual for the champs to reveal themselves, but now they have, through really nothing other than a sheer process of elimination, it's fairly clear that the prince and princess of the villa – him massive and devoted, her blonde, thin and full of Would Physically Scratch Anyone Who Goes Near Him energy – will walk away with £50,000 to spend on protein powder and those little long-sleeved dresses.
Never have I seen someone with so much power so confidently make the wrong choice. I am in awe of how someone can look at Ovie (real-life giant Oscar trophy) and Jordan (who reminds me of the guy I dated when I was 18, who was obsessed with LMFAO's "Party Rock Anthem" and broke up with me by leaving me on read for four years) and end up choosing Jordan. For reasons I will never quite understand, Anna is quite spectacularly fumbling the bag, but she also backs her decision and seems to have got what she wanted, so ranks middlingly.
Curtis, Curtis, Curtis – a schoolboy in both demeanour and levels of error, this guy has had the most "real" trajectory of maybe any contestant on Love Island ever. From positioning himself as a sentient inspirational quote coaster, to cosplaying as your secondary school boyfriend who dumped you after a pretty girl at Freshers week asked him what course he was on, Curtis has – not fallen from grace, as such, but swallowed a cold, hard dose of reality.
While there is no doubt that many of the couples formed in the villa barely even like each other, let alone "love" one another, most at least pretend to, and put on a tactical facade in a bid to win. Curtis, however, seems to be physically incapable of telling even the smallest fib, even if it's for the benefit of others. As a result he's also had no choice but to absorb every verbal lashing, every ounce of responsibility, bottling up any rebuttals he might have until his eyes became physically smaller and more swollen with every "chat". Only once did he allow a sliver of steam to escape, when Amy accused him of not wanting to cuddle in the morning and he snapped back: "I like to get up early and make sure everyone has a coffee."
We're yet to see the results of all this repression, but my guess is he'll either move on with grace and dignity, or grow bitter about his Nice Guy image being trashed and join various MRA forums "on the outside".
MARVIN AND GEORGE
You know in Arrested Development when George Michael gets a girlfriend and everyone is like "HER???" That’s these two. This is unfortunately only further underlined by the fact they were not only chucked on national TV, but chucked on national TV as a duo. The kindest thing now would be to just get them out quietly, under cover of night, to an awaiting 80k Insta follower-count and some spon-con deals for slogan baseball caps.
STATEMENTS, NOT QUESTIONS; LISTS
Pausing a conversation with someone who's dishing dirt on your ex so you can write down a list of their sins to ensure nothing is left out when you give them a legendary dressing-down is good praxis. Next time you find yourself the wronged party with a series of points to get across, but are also the sort of person who's likely to get thrown off course by someone else's comments or energy, try reworking your emotions into a Ted Talk. Very dramatic, very self-preservative.
Babe, I'm so sorry.
THE VERY CONCEPT OF 'COUPLES'
I've been saying for weeks that I wish there was a way that I could just vote for Maura to win by herself, and honestly, the last week – which has seen couples disappearing faster than nuggets off my plate – has done very little to sway me from the opinion that ITV should just pull the rug out from under everyone and crown one glorious ruler at the very end. Michael and Amber are over; Anna dumped Ovie. Love is dead anyway.
It's very hard to get through life without being a dickhead sometimes, because everyone has different needs and it's inevitable that they're going to overlap. However, when this happens you can either apologise, be kind and move on. Or you can shout "childish!" and "pathetic!" over and over again, like a wind-up toy with a Scouse accent, until people can’t remember what you did, what they did, who did what and when.