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The Summer I Turned Pretty Season 2 Episode 7, “Love Affair,” is a penultimate episode with a lot of heart and an endearing spirit. Everything in this season so far feels like it’s led to this moment. While the resolutions may not be entirely satisfactory, they read as very true to life. While the finale may be yet to come, this episode feels like the pinnacle of this story in many ways. This episode truly feels like the closing of a chapter and the beginning of a new one.
Immediately, putting the relationship between Belly (Lola Tung) and Laurel (Jackie Chung) in the spotlight is the right choice. Theirs is a heartbreakingly authentic portrait of a relationship between a mother and her teenage daughter. The fact that they are both having difficulty coping with their grief and loss adds a layer of depth to this already complex relationship. Watching each of them navigate their relationship with this added complication of grief reads as incredibly true to life. Clearly, there’s still a lot of love here.
If there’s been any complaint about this season so far, it’s that more time hasn’t been spent on Laurel as a character. Like the premiere season, she has mostly remained in the background while her daughter lives out her coming-of-age story. However, this episode re-centres her and proves that she has always been an indispensable part of this story. This is a chance to really get to know Laurel on a deeper level and delve deeper into how she’s been impacted by the loss of her best friend.
The Summer I Turned Pretty Season 2 Episode 7, “Love Affair,” also demonstrates that Julie has always been an antihero worth cheering for. While it’s a shame that she changes her mind so quickly, it’s clear that there’s a compelling story behind this character. While it’s too bad that it’s so close to the end of the season, at least this character has been given a chance to shine, if only for a moment. She brings a maturity to this situation, and some much-needed guidance to Belly in particular. This is important, as the fact that she’s able to look outside of herself and her own pain paves a new path forward where she can process everything she’s been through.
The fact that the episode ends with Conrad discovering Belly and Jeremiah is a jarring way to remind the characters and the audience of what the stakes have always been in this story. This is a heartbreakingly effective way to illustrate just how invested each of these characters is in finding their one true love. It’s in moments like these where it’s clear that the love they each have for each other runs deep.
As The Summer I Turned Pretty begins the end of its sophomore season, there is still a lot to love about these characters and stories. Belly’s choice is less of a choice and more of an illustration of how far she has come in getting to know herself better. There is still clearly much to come for each of these characters. This critical turning point is important for all of them.
The Summer I Turned Pretty streams Fridays on Prime Video.