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The Summer I Turned Pretty Season 2 Episode 8, “Love Triangle,” is a finale packed with love and light that sets up a bright future for this entire family. In many ways, while a significant part of this story is coming to an end, this finale is the opportunity for a new beginning. As with the rest of this season, the series allows each character to exist in their imperfections and gives them opportunities to be better. Each of these characters is at a crossroads and must choose where to go from here.
In the wake of Conrad (Christopher Briney) discovering Belly (Lola Tung) and Jeremiah (Gavin Casalegno) together, there are obviously some pretty big emotions that need to be processed. He’s allowed to be a complete jerk to Belly and his brother. However, the fact that this behaviour is never excused is a credit to the story overall. Watching him process his emotions in real-time, as messy as it might be, makes this character all the more relatable.
Belly is once again the standout here, as she experiences the emotions of those around her on such a deep level. Rather than reacting to anything, she takes it all in, as so many teenagers do. This is a heartbreaking dynamic, and it’s frankly difficult to watch her never be given a break. Thankfully, this episode also showcases that Belly’s sense of self continues to develop, which strengthens her against emotional barrages such as the ones here. While there’s a discussion to be had about transparency (or lack thereof), it’s important to remember that she’s a teenager and has a deluge of emotions of her own.
The Summer I Turned Pretty Season 2 Episode 8, “Love Triangle,” also makes clear that the story of the Cousins’ house is not done just yet. The question must be asked, was this too easy of a resolution to such an emotionally deep story point? As previously mentioned this season, Julia, as a character, clearly could have carried a story all of her own against the backdrop of this summer romance. However, for the moment, it seems that balance is restored. There are more shenanigans to be had in this beach house.
This episode also arguably takes a step back when looking at Taylor (Rain Spencer) and Steven (Sean Kaufman). The story here asks again whether or not these two are ultimately meant to be together. Frankly, in the course of the episode, it’s even more unclear that they are meant to be together even for a short time. There’s something more than a little bit forced about this relationship. This makes it difficult to invest in them as the secondary romance to cheer for in this series.
Finally, as with the rest of this season, this episode is a poignant tribute to Susannah (Rachel Blanchard) and everything she has meant to this family. It’s clear how well-loved she continues to be. Watching Belly, Conrad, Jeremiah, Steven, and Laurel live their lives carrying Susannah’s love with them is nothing less than heartwarming.
The Summer I Turned Pretty has succeeded in so many ways in its sophomore season. Like the rest of the season, this finale is a meditation on grief and loss and the power of moving forward with courage. These characters are set on new paths that may resemble nothing as they imagined. Ultimately, these are stories worth revisiting if for no other reason than to get a dose of sweet summer love.
The Summer I Turned Pretty Season 2 is available to stream on Prime Video.