A self-absorbed Belly finds herself in a love triangle at her eventful sweet sixteen party. The constant obsession with appearances continues to bore in another stilted episode.
This recap of Amazon’s The Summer I Turned Pretty season 1, episode 3, “Summer Nights,” contains spoilers.
It’s Belly’s (Isabel Conklin) sweet sixteen and the teenagers celebrate her birthday in style. Expect plenty of drama and heartache with the third episode, “Summer Nights”. This instalment continues to obsess over body image and the teen’s desperate need to hook up, which is fast becoming rather two dimensional and shallow. The show also throws in a rather leftfield subplot and twist for Susannah.
The Summer I Turned Pretty season 1, episode 3 recap
The episode opens with a flashback, as narrator Belly explains how she’s spent every one of her birthdays at the summer house. Belly says how every birthday she has pancakes, opens presents and that the boys have to include her in all activities. It’s quite a naïve remark that helps to establish her immaturity, but don’t we all just love to be pampered on our birthday? The scene ends with Conrad drawing an infinity sign on her pancakes in syrup, which has great significance later in the episode.
Belly comes downstairs in the present and is met by the gang, all wishing her a happy birthday. She skips the pancakes, but is eager to open all her presents. There’s some sweet and meaningful gifts for Belly, including a book of poems from Mum and a pearl necklace from Susannah. Conrad, who is still bitter towards the teen after their argument, says he forgot to get Belly a present. This stings her a little, although our protagonist tries to brush it aside. Conrad leaves to go and teach Cleveland how to make sailing knots.
Jeremiah takes Belly on her first driving lesson, on their way to pick up best friend Taylor. Taylor comments on how good Belly looks and then flirts with Jeremiah. Taylor’s present is of course appearance orientated, a revealing bikini for Belly to wear. She loves it and can’t wait to show it off at the pool. The teens play games back at the swimming pool, promoting the perfect summer. Conrad has to quickly abandon girlfriend Nicole at the pool party though and rushes to Cleveland’s interview. He is late and misses his big opportunity. Although there is chance for Laurel to comment on how good-looking Cleveland is. There might be more love in the air.
At Belly’s birthday bash, the boys try to embarrass her in front of Cam and probe the new boyfriend about his vegetarianism. Belly decides to attend Nicole’s party after some thoughtful consideration, which happens to be all set up for the birthday girl. Jeremiah sings a Grease classic at karaoke to Belly, giving the episode its title. Belly rudely ditches the serenade, looking for her friend Taylor instead. Predictably, she finds Taylor making out with Steven upstairs. Belly is furious and the teens argue. She’s angry that Taylor caused Steven to cheat on Shayla and Taylor accuses Belly of being self-absorbed. Taylor just can’t understand this new and improved Belly and misses her old friend.
Interestingly, Belly still hasn’t invited Cam to the debutante ball yet, with the filmmakers insinuating that she may still have feelings for bad boy Conrad. This infatuation with Conrad continues, even though he is dating Nicole and Belly is with Cam. The next day, she goes into Conrad’s room to retrieve his car keys and discovers her present in his drawer. It’s an adorable necklace, with the infinity symbol at the center of it. This confuses Belly further, who rants to Jeremiah in the car. Taylor and Belly’s goodbye is awkward, but she promises that there is no relationship brewing with Steven. Steven begs Belly not to tell anyone about the kiss and realizes that his insecurities with Shayla led to the betrayal.
In what is supposed to be a shock finale, Laurel and Susannah sit on the beach talking candidly. Susannah says that she won’t be having chemotherapy anymore and wants one last perfect summer before she tells the family that she has cancer. This comes literally out of nowhere, feeling rather manipulative and forced, although the filmmakers were probably aiming for something a little different. Hopefully this serious subject matter is handled appropriately.
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