I’m starting to think that this entire season of Southern Charm should’ve been set in Jamaica. There’s something about these very white people being trapped at a resort in the sweltering heat, guzzling complimentary cocktails every five minutes and burning to crisp, that’s really awakened everyone’s senses.
Olivia’s pissed at Austen again for his part in her rift with Taylor. (Thank God!) And Taylor’s mad at Olivia for not getting over her makeout session with Austen. Shep continues to send Taylor mixed signals—last week, he was mocking his ex-girlfriend for being an uncultured poor. Now, he’s trying to offer her support amid her feud with Olivia in a way that’s clearly manipulative. Then there’s Austen, who’s fully given up the facade of a changed man who’s attended therapy on television twice. We’re officially back!
The cast is especially on edge after someone told Page Six about Austen and Taylor’s secret makeout—which was reported in the tabloid as “hook up,” leading to even more questions about what really went down. Now everyone is amped-up all over again by this drama—except for Craig, of course, who can divert attention from the fact that his girlfriend is missing from this trip. Thankfully, Shep brings up Craig and Paige’s phony dynamic by the end of this episode.
On day 2 of their vacation, the group, minus Whitney, go on an excursion where they climb up a waterfall. On the way there, Madison tells Craig, Taylor, and Austen about her plans to have a second baby and start having a discussion about how human and chicken eggs are fertilized. Taylor also seems to have just Googled what a menstrual cycle is. She earnestly asks Madison, “Do you know that, every month, you lose thousands of eggs??”
In the other van, JT is telling Shep, Rod, Venita and Olivia about his nightcap with Taylor. We see footage of the two spitting shots of alcohol into one another’s mouths, with JT flirting way too hard. They also get into the Page Six article that came out that morning. Olivia’s confused about the timeline of Austen and Taylor’s makeout, since Taylor told her it happened right after last season’s reunion in New York. But the report says it happened recently. Could the article be referring to Taylor and Austen’s sleepover that JT outed earlier this season, which everyone seems to have forgotten about? Would anyone be surprised at this point if he tattled to the press?
Anyway, both groups arrive at their separate waterfalls where they ride a zipline and do backflips into the water. (What is it about men that they must show off their gymnastic skills whenever they enter a body of water?) Craig is also acting like he’s getting the real island-life experience by eating grilled fish at a cove and not at a tourist stop that white people visit all the time.
Afterward, Craig, Austen, Madison, and Taylor all sit down to discuss the article. Madison suggests that Taylor and Austen talk to Olivia together and assure her that they didn’t have sex—which is what they should’ve done from the beginning, if they really wanted to get away with this lie! Craig also offers some surprisingly sound advice, which probably came from Paige. He tells Taylor that, if she wants to salvage her friendship with Olivia at this point, she can’t still be friends with Austen. Throughout this whole debacle, Taylor has prioritized her relationship with Austen. And I do think Olivia needs a major sign of loyalty to move forward. Also, literally no one needs to have Austen as a friend.
After the excursion, they all go back to the resort to get ready for dinner at a restaurant called Ms. T’s. When they arrive at the establishment, the cast goes inside while Olivia stays back in the van to FaceTime Leva, whose only function on this show is to give her dumb, white co-stars advice it seems. She tells Olivia that it’s obvious Taylor and Austen have touched PP’s at this point. She also suggests he talk to JT, who’s apparently picked up Taylor from Austen’s house several times. (Watching Olivia’s jaw drop further and further throughout this convo is hilarious.)
Olivia finally goes inside and asks to switch seats with Rod, so she can get some intel from JT. JT tells her that Austen and Taylor have had multiple sleepovers. And we see unseen footage of Taylor telling him that it’s a regular thing and that she even slept over Austen’s house while he was dating Olivia. (Yikes.)
On the other side of the table, Taylor tells Shep how annoyed she is that this scandal keeps escalating. And Shep is being suspiciously comforting and obviously manipulative. He tells her that everyone at the table “has her back,” which is not true—but especially in his case. In a previous scene, he said that she was “dangerous,” and he’s spent this entire season painting her as this hysterical, sad woman to the rest of the guys. Shep clearly knows how gullible and vulnerable Taylor is and is having a fun time messing with her.
Then Craig decides to make these side conversations a group conversation. He tells Olivia very loudly that Taylor feels bad about her actions while Austen doesn’t. This leads to Olivia going in on Austen like she did at the pheasant dinner. And JT jumps in. (I’ve noticed he has to stand up everytime he wants to get a point across, probably because he’s short.) Rather predictably, Austen tries to make himself the victim of this whole fiasco.
On the other end of the table, Taylor starts crying and says she’s “physically and emotionally” worn out from this discussion. Shep stands up and tries to get everyone to go back to the hotel. But Craig, wearing his producer hat, wants him to sit back down so they can continue arguing.
This is when Shep brings up the other elephant in the room, which is that Paige is missing from this vacation that was solely planned for her to get to know the group. “You get off scot-free because your girlfriend lives in New York,” he tells Craig, “and your relationship isn’t under a microscope.” Shep continues to mock Craig and Paige’s long-distance relationship, implying that it’s not legitimate.
Craig stands up to leave—which is ironic after he scolded Shep for wanting to leave—and says that he gets off “scot-free” because he doesn’t cheat on his girlfriend. This is a valid point. Shep’s relationships wouldn’t be as scrutinized if he was a borderline decent guy. But the fact that Craig doesn’t have to show his relationship, outside of the obviously practiced scenes he has with Paige whenever she visits, is arguably frustrating.
Then, Shep brings up the cheating rumors that Taylor brought up in the season premiere. Just like that confrontation, Craig is already out the door before he can respond. As much as I want to believe that there’s some validity to these accusations, I’m having a difficult time envisioning Paige, the laziest woman in the world, having a side piece on top of a long-distance boyfriend. I also haven’t seen any rumors about Paige cheating on Deuxmoi or Reddit, which is where all Summer House news breaks. However, I’m open to being wrong for the sake of another Bravo cheating scandal. Shep better have some receipts next week!