By the time we take notice, it’s already too late: free ‘very berry’ croissants at Pret, climate change, the looming threat of unshackled overdraft fees. Well, you can now add Love Island’s latest loveless season to that list. For we were warned. We were warned long ago that Mike, once the dreamy man that, rightly, chose Leanne as his One Short Love, wasn’t what he seemed.
Weeks ago, the islanders crowded around the firepit. They were playing truth or dare. It was Year 8 all over again. People were shrieking. The Smirnoff Ice did floweth. And, when asked to kiss the biggest game player on the island, Shaughna planted hers on the cheek of Mike.
It was an unexpected choice. And it was the right one. Following a week of absolute skulduggery and achingly transparent manoeuvring, Mike has revealed himself to be one of the greatest despots this fair island has ever seen, and one as smooth as a sandpaper makeup wipe. The man jumped from Leanne, to Sophie, to Jess, despite refusing the latter (one can assume he did so to cement his place as one half of a Very Popular Couple with Leanne). But worst of all? He’s winning.
Mike’s strategy has been on display for the world to see, and the islanders are buying it. He told the camera “I’ll make it magical, make it special,” right before locking Jess into a snog straight from the PornHub amateurs section. He’s managed to dodge fire after momentarily trying to court Sophie, a woman still pretending to be sad over the departure of her fair-weather stalker in Connor. This took a mere nine hours following his former partner’s departure (in which he was the man to send her packing).
All very complex, yes. Though it was South London’s most glamorous democratic services officer that made perfect sense of the debacle. The Eye of Shaughna is omniscient. It stands, and observes, creaking under the weight of a double set of false lashes. Blink once for danger. Blink twice for a snake in the grass. And blink it did. But, like a modern-day Cassandra, we never once believed that her prophecies knew truth. Nor do her fellow islanders, who saved Mike by popular vote at yesterday’s dumping. Twitter was in uproar. How could they do such a thing? What had Good Wallace done to deserve second place to the frothiest
Yet Shaughna the Wise has known all along. On the eve of Casa Amor (which will no doubt make for delightfully feral viewing once more) the 25-year-old spoke the truth: “I don’t trust Mike,” she uttered to her confidante. “I don’t like the way he moves”.
Though perhaps Mike’s house of cards isn’t so solid. As a man with the innate ability to make skin crawl with every other sentence, it seems his contemporaries are developing a lactose intolerance: Callum was all of us when he cringed so hard his knuckles almost snapped completely, Mike sidling up to Jess like a PPC telesales agent on a direct line to a 92-year-old spinster. Shaughna shook her head in disbelief. Jess, who despite advocating for the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons (you should really watch Aftersun by the way, it has some real insight), fell like Bikini Atoll to Mike’s strategy. How was she buying this? How could she do this to Matalan’s Bieber Luke M? How had Mike even pulled all of this insanery off?
The mind boggles. But, like the Eye of Shaughna, the audience sees all. The internet is not kind to Mike. And, in the grand tradition of Love Island’s leading villains, he won’t be making the finalist’s podium. But for now, it makes for very good television - that’s something we can all take notice of.
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