Love Island 2021 review: Four couples are about to see their lives changed forever

Covid-19 finally reared its head in an emotional ‘Meet the Parents’ penultimate episode

Elise Bell
Monday 23 August 2021 10:32
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Faye apologises to Teddy’s brothers over Love Island outburst

Wow, it’s really here. The last Sunday Love Island. The last time we will all settle down on the sofa, ready to let the cacophonous screams of hot people receiving a text wash over us as we ignore the pre-working week jitters. The last time we’ll see our final four couples together before the public vote is revealed, each of them an equal winner, but only for a little while longer. It will also be the last time we see them all like this, happy, together, unbruised by the sudden realisation of being perceived by the outside. What kind of world awaits them in the great beyond?

For Chloe and Toby, I hope that the great beyond offers better provisions than their sordid excuse of a budget-blowing date. Whereas Liam and Millie were given traditional folk dancers dressed in cocktail dresses and waving scarves of fine black silk, Chloe and Toby were treated to a picnic bench and a few balloons. Though I can understand the thought process behind the idea (they act like children), Chloe and Toby’s date looked like a middle-class toddler’s birthday party on Hampstead heath. All Rixo dresses, linen bell tents and Oliver Bonas bunting.

Despite the poor optics, their date added to the magic that has been manifesting between our terrible twosome since their dramatic comeback from Casa Amor. Mere weeks ago, Chloe and Toby were seen as persona-non-grata. Chloe’s early era vocal fry combined with Toby’s immaturity almost destroyed the couple entirely, their relationship consistently placing them in the bottom during the early weeks of the season. However, their narrative arc has converted even the harshest of critics with their soft brand of chaos quickly transforming into something more meaningful and enjoyable to watch.

Equally enjoyable was the return of Love Island’s Meet the Parents segment, with all four of our couples reunited with their families, flown in from Heathrow straight to the villa.

After the pain and deep suffering of the past year and a half, Love Island has almost become a physical embodiment of escape, a distraction from the Covid hell we are still living through. The pandemic has barely been mentioned on the show. The daily testing, social distancing and rigorous hygiene control that you can expect from a reality TV show has been neatly hidden away from view. However, it was when meeting the parents that Covid-19 reared its head. The islanders wept as their parents entered the villa with the caveat of remaining two metres apart at all times. It was heartbreaking to watch the joy erupt across the faces of the people closest to them, only for them to be unable to hold one another. How was it that for so long, this was normal? How is it that there are still people who have not yet been able to hug their parents, see their loved ones, or share the jubilation of physical contact? The strange sadness of what we have been through and continue to go through is staggering.

Reality TV is often dismissed as mind-numbing trash. At worst, it’s condemned as fake and manipulative. While those accusations are at times true (I lost a lot of brain cells to Honey Boo Boo), it was hard not to watch yesterday’s episode without emotion.

As a nonpartisan reviewer of Love Island, I refuse to publicly state who I voted for (I voted for Kyler). Yet regardless of who wins tomorrow, the finale of Love Island will be met with a strange and bittersweet sense of relief. Suddenly, our final four are ready to take a leap into the unknown. Kaz and Tyler, Chloe and Toby, Millie and Liam, and Faye and Teddy are about to see their lives change forever. With a public vote all that’s holding them back from a minimum five-year career on the ITV2 circuit, I only hope that Monday gives our islanders the send-off they deserve.

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