On this week’s episode of TSITP, “Love Fool,” Jeremiah’s in control—and he’s narrating! In a brief departure from Belly’s POV, the younger Fisher brother gets the chance to share his innermost thoughts about his unrequited love for Belly and his grief for his mother, Susannah.
But first, he’s recovering from the shock of finding their beloved beach house completely empty. “It’s like she was never here at all,” he says of his mom as he wanders through the bare rooms.
While he and his friends were having fun at the boardwalk earlier that day, his Aunt Julia had movers clean out the house and put the Fishers’ belongings in storage (carefully, she claims) to expedite the sale. Conrad and Jeremiah’s father gave his blessing, but that doesn’t make it any easier for the boys to digest, and it doesn’t make Julia look any less like a villain.
With nowhere to stay tonight, Jeremiah steps up with a plan: They’ll sleep at the country club. Sweet Cam Cameron lets the group in using his mom’s ID. (She’s the manager at the club restaurant, so they can’t make a mess!)
Inside, the kids split up to look for a place to sleep, cushions and blankets, and snacks. As Belly goes off with Conrad, as usual, Jeremiah gets in his feelings. Remember in season 2, episode 1 when Conrad told Belly that Jeremiah had moved on from his heartbreak over their relationship? A flashback reveals how that awkward conversation went down. Conrad was home visiting from college while Jer was taking care of their mom, collecting receipts for her insurance claims. Jeremiah essentially gave Conrad his permission to officially date Belly, though he didn’t seem too enthusiastic about it. But when Conrad said it “physically hurt” him not to be able to tell Belly he loved her, Jeremiah chose not to stand in the way.
Jeremiah is used to coming second to his brother, so he’s surprised when, back in present day, Belly changes course and joins him in the club screening room instead. They make shadow puppets, reminisce about Susannah, and share a LaCroix with Twizzlers as straws. Jer even admits that he missed Belly during his many movie nights with his mom.
Elsewhere in the country club, Steven and Taylor (who is still dating Milo) are engaging in friendly-meets-flirtatious banter. When they reach the debutant ballroom (bringing us back to the memories of last season), Steven makes a move. He puts Frank Ocean’s “Moon River” cover on speaker, throws on a suit jacket, and invites Taylor to slow dance. Their romantic moment is interrupted when Conrad and Jeremiah walk in looking for them.
In another flashback, Jeremiah remembers last Thanksgiving. Conrad and Belly sat across the table from him, holding hands and being couple-y while he secretly seethed with jealousy. At the end of the night, he told Conrad he didn’t want to be around if the two of them were going to be together.
In the present, Conrad is more focused on money than romance. He overhears Cam and his cousin Skye talking about a rich kid they know, Liam Meyer, who had a judge grant him access to his trust fund so he could buy a Maserati. Conrad gets an idea. He reaches out to Liam to connect him with his trust fund lawyer so he can finally buy the beach house back for good.
The group is getting cozy watching The Apartment in the screening room, except for Cam Cameron, who’s on edge when he sees Taylor trying to carve an apple bong. (She and Steven found some “rich people weed” in the pocket of a leather jacket in the lost and found.) So, they take things outside to the golf course.
The girls catch up during the walk: Belly says she caught a “vibe” between Taylor and her brother, but Taylor says she’s still hurt from how Steven broke her heart last year. Meanwhile, Belly says she loved Conrad longer and truer than anyone in her life and probably won’t again. (Girl, you’re only like 16!) Even though some feelings might be brewing for Jeremiah, he reminds Belly of how much she hurt him, and she’s hesitant to start anything with him again.
On the green, the group strikes up a classic game of Truth or Dare. But it’s more earnest than exciting thanks to Cam Cameron, who asks Conrad, “Where do you see yourself in 10 years?” (Conrad, of course, sees himself here at Cousins Beach.) Thank God for Skye, who tries to spice things up by daring Belly to kiss Jeremiah.
Cue another flashback, this time to the beginning of last summer when Jeremiah saw grown-up Belly for the first time and became smitten. Of course he wants to kiss her, but he dismisses Skye’s challenge. “Aren’t we too old for that?” Alas, he sends the group back into emotional Truth or Dare territory.
Taylor asks Cam about his biggest regret and, on a somber note, he says it’s not spending enough time with his sister before she died. His revelation turns into a bonding moment between him and the Fisher boys. He tells them that the pain will always be there, but eventually it starts to feel like a scar rather than a scab. He’s able to give Conrad and Jeremiah some hope amid their overwhelming grief.
That night, Belly can’t sleep. (Her coach also texts her to hold off from rejoining the volleyball team for now.) She invites Jeremiah to finish the movie inside, but he pushes her away. Noticing something’s wrong, she asks him why he didn’t want to kiss her during Truth or Dare. He blurts out, “Because if I kiss you, I don’t know that I could ever stop.”
Another flashback follows: Jeremiah watched Belly’s prom photo shoot with his mother on FaceTime (while serving her smoothies!). He envied Conrad for being Belly’s date, and it angered him to see his brother forget her corsage and take her for granted, essentially fumbling the bag. Ever the observant mother, Susannah sees that her youngest still has feelings for Belly and worse, he’s keeping it all inside because he thinks everyone expects him to be okay. Susannah apologizes for also ignoring Jeremiah; she was so happy for Conrad and Belly, she didn’t realize he was hurting. While she comforts Jeremiah, she makes him promise that he’ll never let anything come between himself and his brother. She leaves him with her inspirational graduation quote from Amelia Earhart: “Adventure is worthwhile in itself.”
Funny enough, Belly had mentioned this quote when she and Jer were exploring the country club earlier tonight. She reveals she read it on the back of his graduation cap—it turns out she had watched his commencement ceremony through her mom’s phone. Jeremiah is touched. Belly and his mother were the only people who ever really saw him for who he is. He knows that Belly has chosen his brother over him in the past, but this time, he wonders if “for the rest of the story it could be me.”
The next morning, Conrad tells Jeremiah that he emailed lawyers who can help them access their trust fund. (How a couple of teens can afford attorneys is anyone’s guess.) But once they get home, it’s too late: Aunt Julia has already accepted an offer. The house is sold.
Erica Gonzales is the Senior Culture Editor at ELLE.com, where she oversees coverage on TV, movies, music, books, and more. She was previously an editor at HarpersBAZAAR.com. There is a 75 percent chance she’s listening to Lorde right now.