Be Kind. This has been the mantra of Love Island’s latest season from the get-go. Inches have been dedicated to the therapists on hand, the aftercare provided and the gentler, kinder Love Island that audiences will relate to. The message was clear: the world has changed, and it’s about time the show changed with it.
This magical shift away from harm has seen challenges such as the kiss competition from earlier seasons and headline reveals scrapped, as well as a dramatic de-escalation of on-screen sex from the villa and the hideaway. None of these changes are bad per se, but the actions of the last 48 hours places doubt on the supposedly kind intentions of the Love Island team.
After Wednesday’s nuclear postcard reveal, heads were rolling in its aftermath. For Kaz, this meant partaking in a Midsommar-esque ritual of sobbing while being held by a gaggle of women. The joy of Kaz and Tyler was seeing his tongue hang from his mouth whenever they were together, their sexual chemistry, real, unadulterated and quite frankly a pleasure to watch. Yet with Tyler playing away from home, Matthew – our Irish stallion – could step into the frame, sitting two metres away from Kaz by the firepit, falling over himself to declare how much he adored her personality. Whether this is a case of poor decision making in the editing suite or not, it felt like the chemistry between Matt and Kaz was simply not there.
But things were about to get stickier.
Convinced that Teddy has been disloyal, Faye turned defensive as her insecurity got the better of her; shouldering the burn with barely a tear and instead running straight to new boy Sam in retaliation. In the case of Liam, it was less about his walls coming down and more about something coming up. We watched in collective horror as his head was turned, and he jumped into bed with Lillie to “compare” his kisses with Millie by locking lips with the Casa Amor girl.
With Laura Whitmore back from furlough (I kid Laura; we love you), it was time for hard decisions to be made.
As Toby walked into the villa arm-in-arm with Mary, it was no surprise to see that Abi had made a mistake trusting a man who had now romantically coupled up with a new girl four times in as many weeks. At this point, it is clear that Toby is a man who survives purely on vibes alone, his totally smooth brain simply unable to handle the sheer number of babes that are thrown his way. But the real bombshells were just around the corner. Arriving hand-in-hand with Clarisse, Kaz found the fuel her righteous anger needed to set the villa alight. It was also the big reveal as to whether Liam would stay coupled up with his Millie Moo. Entering smug and single, Liam then had his facade of respectability smashed by Lillie, who pulled no punches in telling Millie exactly what her hunk had been getting up to in Casa Amor.
Yet the real shocker, the real punch in the gut, was Teddy and Faye. Coupling up with Sam, Faye was assured of her position as Wronged Woman, unable to comprehend the tiny, remote possibility that the postcard had creatively altered the truth. Hands over eyes we watched as Faye bristled in electric anticipation, her target set in her sights. But all wasn't as it seemed. A pained smile etched across his face, Teddy walked into the villa on his own, clutching the stuffed toy that Faye had offered as a meaningful reminder of his girl back home.
As Faye scrambled to find a reason for her rage, the sharp arrows she’d prepared now blunted against Teddy’s loyalty, the real cruelty of Love Island was revealed.
Why do we watch Love Island? Yes, we watch it for the drama, the fights and the betrayals, but really, we’re watching for love. Perhaps I’m naïve, but the beauty of Love Island is the potential for genuine, melt-at-the-knees true love. We’ve had it before with Molly-Mae and Tommy, Love Island now pumping out its very own babies, with five (!) tiny people having entered the world thanks to the show. Instead, the producers knowingly sabotaged a couple that was growing from strength to strength, preying on Faye’s insecurities from damaging past relationships to whip-up a betrayal fantasy most of us would have a hard time disputing.
As Faye attempted to reconcile the reasons for her recoupling, the drama of their potential break-up felt sour to the taste. After such an emphasis on treating the islanders with the dignity and respect they deserve, all along the betrayal had been at the ugly core of the villa itself. There’s a first for everything, and as I isolate at home, a letter to Ofcom sounds very appealing.
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