Yawynne Yem farewells Love Island UK, the show that turned our heads in lockdown and never gave us the ick.
The following review contains spoilers for the finale, don’t get mugged off if you haven’t watched it yet.
I always complain that I can never cry because of my antidepressants. But over the past eight weeks, I’ve found an unlikely kryptonite in Love Island UK. I genuinely believe that the emotional twists and turns of the villa have been the ultimate equaliser and escape. It felt like nobody could resist talking about the show, from trendy Yu Mei bag-toting Kingsland florists to the Devonport rugby lads in my university classes.
Especially in this past week of nationwide lockdown, Love Island has given us a much-needed daily holiday from the news. The emergence of the delta variant has been the ultimate bombshell in our villa of a country. I mean, just seven days and she’s already turned all our heads. But in Love Island’s bikini-clad world of snogging and mugging, the only real reminder of Covid-19’s existence on the show was the socially distanced family episode.
With season seven coming to an end tonight, I am, naturally, devastated. I feel like an Islander who’s been kicked off too early to score a fast-fashion brand deal. No longer will I sit refreshing #loveisland on Twitter with the same rate as I do the Ministry of Health’s locations of interest page. No longer will I let out a big whooping “reaaaaaaaallllllllyyyy?” at random intervals.
I’ll admit the Love island finale was far from perfect. If you’ll allow me to mirror the dramatic and overwritten declarations of love from the series: Dear Love Island, you don’t have to follow crystal-charging TikTok to believe in fate, but it is certainly fate that has allowed you to ease me into lockdown. Yet, despite all our love, how could you mug me off with that ending?
In a completely cookie-cutter move, the British public handed the £50,000 prize over to Welsh bricklayer Liam Reardon and Millie Court, a fashion buyer’s administrator from Essex. In the words of runner-up Chloe Burrows, no whey! Milliam, who I’m sure are probably nice people, yet perfectly fitting the boring mould of a stock-standard influencer couple.
Sure, they had a giant hurdle with Casa Amor, but so did every single other couple in the final. Are we forgetting Teddy walking in with Faye’s teddy alone? I quite literally sobbed into my flatmate’s bamboo sheets. This has been a season where villain arcs and sympathies changed faster than MIQ spots filling up. Was it too much to ask for the finale to mirror this chaos?
Given the effort poured into group chats around the world, the ending just didn’t feel satisfying enough. I, for one, have to bid farewell to not one but two chats dedicated to debriefing the Islanders’ antics and the mic drop moments from the season. Remember the deathly silence from the girls after Liberty revealed that Jake finally said “I love you”? Anyone who’s ever been in a toxic relationship will know that silence all too well. It was the kind of foreshadowing that you couldn’t script.
In the grand scheme of things, it’s the moments like those that make up for the disappointing ending. My heart is still racing over Toby’s dizzying indecisiveness and quick two-week evolution into one of the season’s most loveable characters. And let us pay a moment to Mary’s mermaid outfit in the heart rate challenge. This season has also been the most diverse in Love Island history, with Kaz and Tyler (Kyler <3) being the first black couple in the final.
They say that if you truly love someone, you have to let them go. So farewell Love Island and hello to the journey ahead, one centred on regaining the braincells I’ve lost from all those terrible pop covers I’ve had to endure the past few weeks. The time has come for a recoupling with the reality of our lockdown, one that will have to continue without the welcome distraction of Love Island UK, and me asking my boyfriend “would your head turn for me?” in a thick British accent.
Although it is all over, I will be taking one thing from the villa with me. It will likely be a while before we can all experience quality oat milk iced lattes from our favourite cafes again, so this lockdown is the perfect time to master the art of the truly terrible iced coffee, preferably served in a plastic palm-tree-print cup. Cheers to you, Love Island.