Episode 3 of The Summer I Turned Pretty starts with Belly’s birthday. It’s the one day where all the boys have to include her in everything they do – and remains her favourite day because of that. Alas, it’s now onto Belly’s sweet sixteen. Everyone is pleased for her… although Conrad is noticeably nonchalant to the whole affair.
Jeremiah gets her a good-luck charm while Steven gets her a Princeton sweater. When the attention turns to Conrad, he puts his present away and pretends that he didn’t get anything for her. Awkwardly, Conrad shuffles out the room, wishing her happy birthday and claiming he needs to go.
Belly is obviously disappointed, but Jeremiah does help cheer her up a little, offering to let her drive as they head down to meet Taylor, who shows up for the birthday celebrations.
Taylor’s present happens to be a bikini, which Taylor believes is just what’s needed to turn Conrad’s head.
When they head back to the pool, Jeremiah gets talking to Steven, who’s concerned about Shayla. With her excitedly chirping about fashion and the debutante ball, he’s feeling a bit insecure.
Still, a game of chicken helps to ease up the tension… which returns tenfold when Conrad and Nicole show up. Taylor ends up smacking Nicole in the face with a ball too.
Although Conrad helps her out… he does pull away when she tries to kiss him upstairs. He’s late to meet Cleveland for his book signing, something he agreed to earlier in the episode. Outside the store, Susannah teases Laurel over how good Cleveland is looking.
That night the group join together for the birthday celebrations. Cam is there and Belly is embraced in front of everyone. Things soon escalate though, as the attention is deflected onto Steven instead.
This little scene is really nicely done, especially everyone’s reaction to Cam kissing Belly. The dialogue here feels very realistic for a dinner table like this, especially with Laurel’s quip about “as long as it’s just a kiss.”
As the night draws on, Taylor and Belly both show up at Nicole’s party. All the girls are really nice to Belly but obviously her old friend is jealous. In fact, Taylor clings to Steven instead and takes him upstairs.
Although Belly is close to asking Cam to the ball, a glance across to Conrad is enough for her to have second thoughts. When everything turns into a big karaoke session – singing Grease no less – Belly does the smart thing and takes a leave of absence. Only, she ends up upstairs, where she finds Taylor and Steven kissing.
When Belly shows up, a big argument between the two ensues. Taylor calls Belly out for being selfish and how she’s a different person – not to mention how Taylor has had a crush on Steven forever.
Belly skips out, heads downstairs and says her goodbyes to Cam. The thing is, just prior to this Jeremiah mentioned the Deb Ball to him and as Belly hasn’t actually asked him yet (and doesn’t here either) he’s disappointed.
This is something that’s made even worse the next day when Belly heads up to Conrad’s room. Searching through his drawer, she finds his gift to her. It’s the Infinity sign on a necklace, which is a throwback to the past (and a flashback we witnessed at the start of the episode) where Conrad made a promise to her, squirting this symbol in syrup on her pancakes.
Still, with Taylor leaving Belly does make an effort to show up and say goodbye to her. Laurel reminds Belly that best friends come along once in a lifetime but boys come and go, which is what entices her to show up in the first place. Belly also promises not to tell anyone about what happened to Shayla, as the episode comes to a close.
The Episode Review
I’m not sure if the books are written the same way but the dialogue is actually really solid in this show. Sure, there’s the usual clichés like the “walking in on a kiss” and the misunderstandings, but some of that can be forgiven for the way these characters are written.
The dinner table scene is one such example, managing to exude the right balance of awkwardness, hilarity and drama from all the different people. The teasing and the silence that follows Cam kissing Belly are two such examples but for such a small scene, it exemplifies why The Summer I Turned Pretty works as well as it does.
Of course, this wont be for everyone but this is a super enjoyable romantic drama and the news of an early renewal is fantastic! Roll on the next episode.