One week into Love Island 2022 and the rest of the contestants – and the audience at home – are sick of Gemma. Are the producers doing it on purpose? Maybe they didn’t think the public would have such a strong backlash to the 19-year-old, but making her the centre of every episode isn’t doing her, or the show, any favours. Neither does bringing in her ex to spice things up. It’s not Gemma’s fault, but you can’t blame Paige for looking a bit miffed.
Sunday’s episode follows on from Liam’s departure, underscored by a plinky-plonky piano version of rave fave “Everybody’s Free”. Post-recoupling, the consensus is suspiciously positive. Apart from when it comes to Davide, of course, who’s busy Not Being Annoyed about losing Gemma. He and Ekin-Su seem fairly well matched, in that they both think very highly of themselves and will flirt with anything with a pulse. “One of the things about me, I like to be above average,” he tells the actor. “Me too,” she replies.
The two remaining girls, Paige and Afia, are left in the lurch. Luckily, the next morning they’re off on breakfast dates with new boy Jacques, a rugby lad-lad-lad from Cumbria. He strategically faces away from the balcony, yet even from behind Gemma says he looks like her ex. Finally the penny drops, and she scuttles away to apply mascara. You have to feel for Paige, returning from her date with a grin on her face only to realise that, once again, she’s on Gemma Island.
After a sparkless date with Afia, Jacques gets settled into the villa. And by settled, I obviously mean that he flirts with the girls and negs the boys. Gemma says that she still finds Jacques hot and Paige evokes the Victoria Justice/Ariana Grande “I think we ALL sing” meme as she shoots back: “I think we all look at him and think he’s fit”.
With the male islanders, Jacques ribs Luca by telling him: “You sell f***ing fish, how good is that?” It’s a meta early reminder that bombshells join the villa with outside knowledge. You can understand why Gemma seems so stressed, given that nobody here knows who her dad is, but Jacques could be about to rumble her. Also, she dated him 18 months ago – nobody should be judged by the barometer of their secondary school sweethearts. Luca, for all his insistence that he likes Jacques, is fully fed up with him and Gemma’s flirting by the end of the episode.
Things wrap up with an obligatory game of “Never Have I Ever” and the usual secrets about mile-high clubs, threesomes and foot fetishes (please, no more) spill out. Davide and Ekin-Su use the game to aggressively flirt and one-up each other, but Paige’s subtle sips in the corner don’t go unnoticed. The paramedic may just be the dark horse of Love Island 2022 – here’s hoping a deserving man comes in and makes a beeline for her soon.
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