It’s all come down to this, my friends. An episode MTV has chosen to call the “Summer Finale” of Floribama Shore – a term that seems more than a bit optimistic considering the fact that my tan has long since faded – is upon us, and we all know full well that there’s no way this group would ever enter a mini hiatus without experiencing and inflicting a heap of carnage first.
Based on what has transpired this season, some very important questions should already be swimming through our minds. Will Gus and Nilsa ever move beyond drunken hookups and become the perfect couple that currently only exists inside of Nilsa’s very “extra” mind? Will Kortni ever stop pissing in streets – and just how many tampons has this girl removed curbside since the onset of puberty? Can Jeremiah’s burgeoning attraction to Kortni be based on literally anything besides his always-at-the-ready savior complex? How long will it take for Candace to realize that a man grabbing a woman by the throat because he’s “upset” is not something normal men do? And since last week’s episode ended with Aimee pummeling Gus’ body with her fists, I suppose we now need to throw questions about their relationship into the ring, too. Oh, and we should also expect a Logan appearance before the hour is up because showing up randomly and inconveniently is what stalkers do. What I guess I’m saying is that this Summer Finale will have to tackle a ton of shit to be in any way satisfying.
I’m also saying men like Logan belong in jail.
But before any of the above questions can be answered and before Panama City Beach’s version of Bloody Mary can appear in the scruffy flesh like the most unpleasant fever dream ever recorded in the annals of the human subconscious, we must first head back to a hotel room in New Orleans where Aimee chooses to retaliate to a mention of her weight by punching Gus. I discussed during my last recap how supremely fucked up it is that some men who needlessly shove numerals into their names react to feeling disrespected by wrapping their hands around a woman’s throat. As I am an equal opportunity caller-outer of those who engage in stupidity and abuse, allow me to say right now how very pathetic and primitive it is of Aimee – who, for the most part, I tend to sort of like – to not yet have developed the ability to walk away from a hurt feeling. The ease with which all of these people throw down out of pure instinct is staggeringly sad and it is an unfortunate reflection of our times. Also unfortunate is how Aimee responds to Gus’ threat to press charges for the violence she inflicted. “Press charges, because that’s what weak bitches do,” Aimee says – and, um, no. Just no. Just fucking no. It’s actually strong people who know they do not have to accept abuse being leveled their way who press charges, and I find it horrifying that a former victim of abuse still doesn’t comprehend this.
Since she’s still furious that she wasn’t given ample time to bathe and nap before dinner and was then basically called fat, Aimee threatens to leave the hotel. During this particular tirade, Nilsa is wrapped in a towel, Gus hasn’t even gotten up from his chair, I have no idea where Kirk is, Jeremiah is still lifting weights, Kortni is trying to calm Aimee down, Codi cannot fathom how a fight about a dinner reservation escalated to this, and I would tell you what Candace is doing, but I am far too busy thanking whichever goddess at MTV decided this would be the last episode of this show for a few months because right now both my patience and my capacity for empathy feels depleted. What does it mean when I say I have no more empathy? Well, I suppose it means that I can no longer summon up anything besides a series of sweeping eye rolls that occur so quickly I feel myself almost lapsing into a coma. How else is a normal human meant to react to Aimee refusing to see that she’s overreacting as a towel-clad Nilsa follows her because that’s apparently what best friends do? You know what my best friend would do in this exact situation? She’d tell me to take a few deep breaths and then she’d recommend that I stand in a corner until a burst of self-awareness hit me like a tidal wave because there’s very little in this world (you know, outside of what’s happening in Congress) that should cause me to react with such unrestrained emotion.
I think the thing that’s wrong with so many of the people on this show is that it takes them far too long to come to the obvious realization that they overreacted to something insignificant. Perhaps it’s misguided pride standing in their way or maybe it’s just unabashed stupidity, but not one of them is a child anymore and it’s high time to fucking evolve already. And you know what? Aimee will not reach that next stage of the evolution process if half her roommates rush after her and implore her to please please stay. Her behavior right now is atrocious. Let her leave! Let her suffer the consequence that comes from punching your roommate. Let her sit by herself and maybe she’ll grow up. But no. Kortni and Candace head downstairs and Nilsa – now wearing a robe – joins them and they have some drinks and beg Aimee not to run away. Meanwhile, back in the room, Gus wants to know why Kortni didn’t punch Aimee since Aimee punched Gus. “Nobody had Gus’ back,” Gus whines, which means Gus just referred to himself in the third person and now I believe deep in my soul that this group of people could very well be utterly hopeless.
What’s that? Maybe I should shove Candace back into the not-totally-hopeless area of my mind? I’m willing to undertake that kind of mental reorganization because Candace flat out tells Aimee, “You know you shouldn’t have hit him.” Hooray! Hooray for normalcy! Aimee’s response is that she knows she shouldn’t have hit Gus, but when she gets mad, she sees red. Okay, but how about you train yourself to stop reacting in ways that culminate in tearful apologies, a mind filled with colors, bouts of violence, and roommates sitting in hotel bars wearing terrycloth bathrobes? How about you learn to control your emotions for once? Can it just fucking be time yet? Oh, it can’t be? There’s still bullshit pride to protect? Okey fucking dokey, then.
The girls pledge to stay in and order room service while the guys head out to dinner. Over a dinner that they bizarrely remain standing to eat, Aimee explains that she’s not just mad at Gus for what he did earlier, but she’s also pissed about how he’s been treating Nilsa. Nilsa – who is currently wearing more foundation than any homosapien ever has outside of a Sephora convention – nods along, but isn’t she the one who told Gus over and over that he didn’t have to have real feelings for her? Wasn’t she the one touting just plain physical fun? If you are setting the rules, you and your BFF can’t get mad when the other person follows those exact rules. And yes, these logic-centered thoughts are exhausting me. Anyhoo, after again declaring that she is done with Gus forevermore, Aimee and the girls head out to Bourbon Street, a place where one apparently must wear something stupid on one’s head or the other drunk revelers will judge you all too harshly. The guys are heading out to Bourbon Street also and I just thought I’d mention that Jeremiah is still wearing the pink romper with the palm trees. After about ten minutes of guzzling drinks in the street, the girls enter a bar where the guys just happen to be and the funniest thing is how shocked everyone appears that they managed to run into one another while hanging out in the same city and on the same street. In any case, Aimee has suddenly decided to learn that there’s something that exists in life called “the high road” and she decides to just ignore the boys, but very soon she is acting all silly with Codi and Gus takes one look at what’s transpiring in front of him and he decides Codi is playing both sides of the fence yet again. Legitimate question: can’t any of these people fully fight their own battles? Why must everyone choose a side? The person Gus is weirdly most hurt by is Kortni. He wishes Kortni had his back instead of Aimee’s so he takes her outside and she lets him just rant and rave about how disrespected he feels and how he’s done with Aimee and with the house in general and he sits against a brick wall looking like the most generic James Dean ever produced while inside Aimee reiterates to Codi that it was Gus’ comment about her weight that incited the punch and he tells her there was no weight comment ever said. Okay, there was a weight comment. Aimee heard it, Kortni heard it, everyone blessed with hearing heard it, and when Aimee questions Kortni about what was said, Kortni decides she’s had enough and she walks away. I’d fucking walk away from this nonsensical bullshit also so I almost applaud Kortni for finally doing the right thing, but it seems nobody on this show is ever allowed to walk away from a fight, and if someone should try, a search committee will form in a nanosecond. The search committee this time is Candace and she runs after Kortni while barefoot. What I think is so messed up about all these people is their total inability to communicate. They get consumed by a sudden rage and become incapable of explaining their mindset. It’s just fight and flee and flee and fight over and over again and I seriously hope at least half of their parents are currently hanging their heads in shame.
Kortni finally agrees to go back to the bar with Candace and the girls drink more, ride the mechanical bull, twerk terribly on dance floors, and mull over the exact percentage of how wrong it was for Aimee to lunge at Gus with her fists because she was mad. Meanwhile, the guys have picked up some girls and I can only wonder about the alcohol count racing through the bloodstream of the unfortunate person who kissed Jeremiah while he wore a pink romper and signed a release that allowed MTV to broadcast that moment to the world.
In the morning, Gus wakes up feeling sad that his relationship with Aimee has devolved so significantly and Aimee wakes up feeling calmer because, much like a virus, her rage only remains enflamed for a finite number of hours. All she feels now is shame, but it will take her the entire way home to figure out how she should apologize for her behavior. Before that apology can occur, the roommates have to clean up pots filled with moldy food they left on the kitchen table for no good reason whatsoever and Candace needs to call Gator – also for no good reason whatsoever. But wait! Candace does have a good reason for calling this fucking asshole and it’s to discuss what her friend told her mother about the way Gator assaulted Candace! To nobody’s surprise, Candace is nervous bringing the incident up and also to nobody’s surprise, Gator first grunts in response and then blathers out – and I fucking quote – “She’s lyin’. If I was gonna hit ya, I would’ve hit ya.” Fuck. This. Fucking. Guy. And fuck anyone who puts this man on television again because his existence alone is repulsive.
As for my response to Aimee, my heart has changed from being blackened and shut off and it’s now pink and fluffy and it breaks for her. She feels humiliated by her actions against Gus but she truly has no idea how to formulate an apology. She finds Gus in the kitchen and manages to apologize fully for her actions. “I don’t expect you to forgive me,” Aimee says. “But I want you to know I am so sorry and I’m so embarrassed on the way that I acted.” Listen, a far as apologies go, Aimee made a good one. Though the event never should have transpired in the first place, Gus forgives her and they end what was once a battle with a hug.
The girls go out for some drinks later and Nilsa asks Candace about the possibility of a future with a man who has a proclivity for violence. Candace admits she was put off by the way Gator brushed off the discussion of his assault, but she also wonders what other man will ever want to marry her besides Gator? Candace? Please listen to me this second. A ton of men who would never even dream of harming you will want to marry you, and if they don’t, it is better to be alone until the very last millisecond of fucking time than it would be to spend your life with a man who laughs at you and at your mother and grips his hands across your throat when he gets upset. I am very pleased to say Candace’s female roommates agree with me.
Sure, it would be lovely if the Summer Finale of this series ended with Candace summoning the strength to leave Gator, but MTV doesn’t play that way. So let’s head straight to the bar where Logan and his festering wrath are waiting to make the claim that his probably-still unemployed ass now has big things going on (anyone else just assume these “big things” are meth deals?) and he needs Kortni to know that she is now on a deadline. She only has three days – three! – to beg for him to return to her now that he has signed an imaginary record deal and by the way, he is totally normal and not coked up in the slightest so he will now prove it by offering Kirk a job that doesn’t exist and then he will scream into Jeremiah’s face that he is nothing but a tourist in his city and he owns this very bar because one of the most enjoyable effects of what I’m guessing is cocaine addiction are delusions of grandeur. And after Kortni walks outside and throws a drink on him for behaving like a psychopath and for antagonizing her closest friends, Logan responds by attempting to slam his fists into her friends’ faces.
I’m guessing this little incident is perhaps the impetus of the restraining order that was eventually filed against Logan. I’m also guessing Logan’s steadfast refusal to abide by the terms of that order will be covered next season on a show that continually illustrates why no woman should ever again just shrug and simply hope things will get better with a man who is depleted of dignity and is powered instead by a penchant for abuse.
Nell Kalter teaches Film and Media at a school in New York. She is the author of the books THAT YEAR and STUDENT, both available on amazon.com in paperback and for your Kindle. Her Twitter is @nell_kalter