The Sandwich Between Us
During their big blowout while hissing on a summer lawn, Hannah says to Luke, “I don’t know if you play dumb or if you are dumb,” and it is the most accurate thing that has ever been said about Luke. Our favorite Minnesotan is a lot of things: handsome, charming, a devotee of shockingly tight briefs, a mediocre woodworker. But there is one thing he is not, and that is smart. Luke is about as stupid as an eject button on a helicopter or a screen door on a submarine.
At the beginning of the episode, Luke is still dealing with the fallout of his first blowup with Hannah as she charges off downstairs and he takes Ciara on the front stoop for a mosquito-laden chat. (Seriously, all of those Amazon boxes and not one citronella candle?) While Luke confesses his feelings for Ciara, she’s leery, telling him that he both minimized what he and Hannah had and that he was sending her mixed signals, both of which are true. Ciara says she’s not shutting the door on anything with Luke yet, but she feels bad for Hannah, because she’s been played by guys before and knows what it feels like.
Hannah is crying in her room with her support team of Amanda and Paige and says him saying that they’re friends is a way for him to erase everything that he’s done to her. I think the term gaslighting is overused, but what he’s doing is destructively recontextualizing their relationship. If he says that they were friends, then all of the flirting and leading her on and telling her that they have a connection unlike any other isn’t his fault at all; it’s her fault for misunderstanding it. “He called me his little sister,” Hannah tells Paige. “He ejaculated in my mouth twice. You don’t do that with your sister.”
For a day or so, Hannah is avoiding Luke, and it seems like, after the fight, no one wants to talk to him. He thinks she’s being spiteful and overly dramatic and says, “Thank God I didn’t sleep with Hannah.” Dude, you came in her mouth. That might be even more intimate than putting the P in the V. If you did everything but intercourse, that seems to be a semantic distinction rather than an emotional or a physical one.
At group dinner, which a newly sober, strangely responsible, and remarkably sunburned Carl arranged for the second night in a row, Luke asks Hannah if they can go have a chat away from everyone else. He is wearing a fedora. If there are two pieces of advice I can give you, they are to never eat egg salad on the bus and never have a serious conversation while wearing a fedora. Luke’s argument is that he told Hannah that it was better that they just be friends and that she agreed with him. He accuses her of just telling people what they want to hear — so when he talks to her, she’s like, “Yeah, we’re just friends; it’s cool,” and then when she talks to Amanda and Paige, she’s like, “IDK WTF LID.” (LID stands for Luke Is Doing.)
Hannah claims that they never had this conversation. She claims he said that he didn’t want to put a label on their relationship and called her every day and talked about their special bond and led her to think that there was some kind of relationship that wasn’t there. Kyle J. Cooke (the J stands for Judicious) breaks it down for us with the classic “He’s just not that into you.” That seems to be the case. Luke likes Ciara more than he likes Hannah, and he can’t figure out how to extricate himself from the first relationship so that he can insert himself in [finish this disgusting joke yourself].
Hannah tells Luke that things are over, but she can never look at him the same way again. Luke shoots back, “I can’t look at you the same way again either.” Luke, my man. Take the win. Just nod and say you’re sorry and let Hannah go off on you and just go back to normal. Then you can pursue Ciara and have everything you want as well as a bag of chips that Carl bought for lunch. All you have to do is eat this shit sandwich. Don’t worry, we’ve seen the fridge. We know there is plenty of Loverboy to wash that thing down.
But he can’t take it. He starts yelling after Hannah as she walks away. Even if he was right (which I don’t think he is), now he’s yelling at Hannah, and she’s walking away crying. The yelling man is going to lose to a crying woman in every situation. Now Ciara is off in Hannah’s bedroom comforting her, and he is outside getting relationship advice from Carl, Kyle, and Steven, the polyp on Dr. Ruth’s heinie. His screaming is making Ciara question if she wants to have any sort of relationship with Luke, so he went from having everything he wanted to getting nothing he wanted with one backyard screech.
While I am a bit on Hannah’s side in this argument, I do think that she has been misreading Luke’s signs all along. It’s hard to know for sure, since so many of their conversations happened off-camera, but it seems like Luke was being vaguely flirty and playful, and she was reading all of this deep subtext into it. Luke is too dumb for subtext. That’s like trying to find ocean currents in a melted blue-raspberry Slurpee that someone dropped in a 7-Eleven parking lot. She says, “He can tell that I’m getting away from him, and that’s driving him insane.” Nope, that’s not it. That’s not it at all. He just would rather bone Ciara and keep playing tennis with you. Yup, sometimes it is as simple as “He’s just not that into you.” Someone should trademark that. It’s really smart.
Enough about these two, because there are other people in the house. There is Danielle, who seems to be working harder than just about everyone else, so hard that she falls asleep in the hot tub in the middle of the afternoon. Meanwhile, there is Paige, who is still trying to convince everyone that she has an actual job, and that job seems to be a boyfriend who lives in Canada whom she met last summer at camp. He lives on that farm upstate where your parents took the dog. There’s Carl, sober and doing shirtless push-ups out back, because he is one show cancellation away from OnlyFans stardom. Naturally, there is Ciara, whom I like more and more each week. Unlike everyone else, she’s not trying to work, because she was a nurse during a pandemic for several months, and she deserves a break. But can she at least pick up her room? Someone is going to step on that flat iron and burn their toes off!
Finally, there is Steven and Lindsay, the world’s foremost pioneer in a new form of renewable energy called explosive grievance. When Steven goes downstairs to “work” after the initial Hannah-Luke fight at 11 p.m., Lindsay gets upset and goes downstairs to confront him in his closet-office, where he is sitting on a box because someone has taken his chair, and it is the saddest thing I have ever seen. When she tries to talk to him, he keeps typing on his computer. “Are you going to listen, or are you going to keep typing?,” she shouts across the room.
“Lower your voice,” he says to her. Excuse me? Lower your what now? Lower your voice? To Lindsay? Someone shout WorldStar and get out their camera, because there is about to be some carnage in this here lower-ground-floor vacation-home-rental suite. This man told Lindsay to lower her voice? This guy is even stupider than Luke. How do you tell drunk Lindsay to lower her voice and expect to make it to next Tuesday? You don’t. You just don’t.
They continue to shout, and Steven says, “You can’t have an adult conversation.” Yeah, dude. This is Lindsay. She talks in baby noises and mushroom clouds — she does not talk in sentences. “You haven’t done one thing for me since we’ve been in this house,” she shouts. “How many sandwiches have you made me?” This is a reference to earlier in the day, when he asked for a sandwich and she left in a huff.
The fight is so bad that Lindsay spends the night sleeping in Danielle’s room. The next day, after working hours, Steven picks it up again while everyone is eating. (You can’t spell mêlée without meal, AMIRITE?) During this chat, Steven says multiple times that he “came here to support you.” I think this is as much of a relationship issue as a show issue. Steven may have been reluctant to fully participate but did it for Lindsay, and now he’s uncomfortable being a part of it. That’s why he’s going to “work” at 11 — so he doesn’t have to be around the insanity of it all. He also accuses Lindsay of “escalating” their conversation to where it became something dramatic. Dude, do you know who you are dating? Lindsay is like an elevator with no down button that just goes higher and higher into the atmosphere until everyone loses consciousness because of the thin air.
Lindsay says she’s upset because Steven isn’t spending enough quality time with her. “Have you tried to have quality time with me in the middle of your workday this week?” she asks. Um, no, he has not, because he’s working. I know we live in unprecedented times, but how much quality time can you have in the middle of the day? He’s on back-to-back Zooms. There’s no Lindsay time. This is perhaps the most unrealistic request that Lindsay has ever made, and she has her Ph.D. in Unreasonable Studies from Picking a Fight State University.
He finally agrees to carve out more time for her during the week, which is enough for him to fingerblast her in bed in the middle of the night, because we all know this is her favorite sexual activity. But during the fight, everyone in the house is skeptical of this relationship. Danielle, Lindsay’s bestie, thinks she’s only holding on to this relationship because she’s getting older and doesn’t want to start over again. Ciara says, “They just need to stop yelling.” This reminds me of the sampler that Lindsay has framed on her bedroom wall: “If there’s no yelling, then what is even the point?”