Kyle, Carl, Lindsay and the gang are back in the Hamptons — and this time there's a global pandemic AND a margarita machine!

By Jodi Walker
February 04, 2021 at 11:00 PM EST

And so go the wise words of Bravo's favorite himbo, Kyle (alternatively, Bravo's favorite "little blonde leprechaun"), one of only three original cast members left standing as we head into season 5 of Vanderpump Rules' WASP-ier cousin to the east: Summer House.

Never for one moment did I believe that, even amid a global pandemic, Kyle wouldn't still find a way to party in the Hamptons with a wig on his head, a dazed look on his face, and a margarita machine nozzle permanently attached to his hand. But even though Kyle and his tiny shorts have successfully made it to Amagansett with an actual U-Haul full of Lover Boy spritzers, that doesn't mean everything will be business as usual on Summer House this season. As the premiere's intro tells us in a dramatic rollout of the signature Summer House font: "TEN FRIENDS… SIX WEEKS…ONE QUARANTEAM." That means that nine Summer House veterans and one fresh face are entering this Hamptons mansion, and once they lock the doors, no one goes out, and no one comes in for six weeks.

It's the thunder dome of binge drinking. Except for Carl, another original cast member who says in the premiere that he's been mostly sober for the last five months. Carl has long been quite an ass on this series, but the earnestness with which he opens up about the reliance he's had on alcohol as a coping mechanism for the last few years makes me feel happy for him, and proud of him, and nervous for him, and…

Well, it makes me feel just like I would for an actual friend. Because now, more than ever, I must live vicariously through this Summer House: TEN FRIENDS ENTER, ONE WOMAN WATCHES FROM HER COUCH.

I've been watching Summer House since the very beginning, and in that time, I've gone from someone who used to go to summer houses herself, to someone who quarantines alone during a global pandemic, wondering if her house plants are talking about her when she leaves the room. That's how desperate for gossip I am — and the moment these people floated onto my screen carrying an ergonomic desk chair in one hand, and a magnum of Whispering Angel in the other, I felt like Bravo had swaddled me in a warm, gossip-filled blanket.

I miss seeing my loved ones, sure, and it's tough being stuck inside all the time, but I think the thing I miss the most these days is the thrill of something — anything! — new. And now I get to watch the interpersonal dynamics of a bunch of feuding couples and horny singles with years and years of history between them, all trapped under one roof with limitless alcohol and nowhere to escape?

Oh yeah, baby, that's the good stuff! I get to feel like a sleazy Sherlock Holmes trying to figure out what the hell is happening between Luke and Hannah that could possibly require her to rely so heavily on the word "basically." And the game is afoot, y'all.

The aforementioned good stuff starts in earnest when the third and final O.G. cast member — my personal favorite, Lindsay Hubbard, a.k.a., Hub House, a.k.a, "You Won't Like Me When I'm Activated" — gives Hannah an obviously cold shoulder upon her arrival at the Summer House. Amanda, Paige, and Hannah immediately huddle around the kitchen island to talk about it, while Danielle and Lindsay slip outside to not talk about it.

Cliques firmly slotting into place already — delicious.

That night at dinner, Hannah decides to confront Lindsay about her mistreatment in front of everyone at the dinner table. It's a bold move, considering Lindsay's history of being confronted at dinner tables, but it turns out that Hannah is upset about more than just the cold greeting. It seems that Lindsay hosted a New Year's Eve party about eight months prior to reconvening in the Summer House, and she invited everyone except Hannah, including Hannah's ex-boyfriend Luke (well, not really a boyfriend… also, not really an ex), whom Hannah heard Lindsay was trying to get to hook up with Danielle.

My question is: if it was bad for Lindsay to invite Luke to the party without Hannah, then why wasn't it bad for Luke to go to the party without Hannah when he was, as Hannah claims, "basically my boyfriend."

Now, I don't know if the editors are doing Hannah especially dirty in the way she's bringing up Luke and saying that they "basically dated for seven months" at every single turn, but it is T-O-U-G-H to watch. Especially once the group calls Luke to see where he is, and it's revealed that he'll be arriving with a "friend" in tow after one more round of COVID testing. A friend whom he repeatedly refers to as "they" even though some of them already know that a woman named Sierra is supposed to be joining them, and her preferred pronouns are not "they/them."

In my opinion, Luke trying to avoid saying that he's bringing a woman with him in front of Hannah, knowing full well that Hannah will find out in exactly one day that he's bringing a woman with him… probably tells you everything you need to know about Luke.

The next day is Friday, so everyone actually has to sit down and do their jobs in sales and tech and P.R. And then others have to put clothes on hanging racks and talk to psychics for their jobs as "fashion contributor" (Paige) and "podcaster" (Hannah), who Kyle mentions have very flexible schedules. Oh, Kyle. You can actually see a little piece of his soul die as he cries out, "I have to work my ass off Monday through Friday in the party house of my dreams!" while staring longingly at a bottle of tequila.

But come Friday evening, it's go-time!

Of course, "go-time" looks a little different when you can't load into a cab to go drink $16 vodka sodas in Montauk like usual. No, the only thing I'm worried about this season is it might eventually become a little depressing to watch these people talk about what takeout they're going to order, and what game they're going to play on the road to getting drunk and fighting each Friday and Saturday night… because that just hits a little too close to home, if you know what I'm saying. But as long as they maintain enough personal drama to keep me happy in my work, I can listen to any number of sushi orders.

And it seems like Hannah will be working overtime this season, as she confronts Lindsay again, this time saying they should talk in private because things always escalate in front of the group — as though she's not the one who demanded to know why she wasn't invited to a New Year's Eve party at the dinner table the night before, at which point, things escalated.

Although I'm not totally sure why they escalated. Hannah wanted to know why Lindsay didn't invite her to the party, and Lindsay told her: "Because you were talking s--- about me on a podcast!" (Cue clip of Hannah talking s--- about Lindsay on a podcast.) Hannah also wants to know why she heard that Lindsay was trying to get Danielle to hook up with Luke, which Lindsay denies ever trying to do, and no one else seems to have any knowledge of Lindsay trying to do.

So… to me… it seems like Lindsay has explained herself. But now Hannah is pulling her aside, saying she has to be accountable for her actions. Hannah says Lindsay was rude to her all winter, to which Lindsay once again responds: Because you were TALKING S--- ABOUT ME ON A PODCAST. But the root of it all is that Hannah thinks Lindsay interfered with her "relationship" with Luke, which from everything I can gather is a kind of flirty friendship that neither Luke nor Hannah are very honest with one another about. Hannah clearly likes Luke but wants to seem chill. Luke clearly has some interest in Hannah but wants to keep his options open. And Lindsay…

Hosted a New Year's Eve party where Luke made out with Danielle — and then apparently told Danielle that he still had feelings for his ex, who I think is Hannah, but the timeline is extremely murky? Hannah repeatedly says she and Luke "basically dated for seven months," which I think constitutes summer to winter of 2020. And then there's some mention of a breakup in December ahead of the NYE party that Luke attended without her, but there's also repeated mention that they've talked every day of quarantine, and as far as Hannah is concerned, they've never really ended things.

But hovering above all of this, is the fact that they've, uh, never had sex, despite being openly sexual people in prior seasons.

So, when Lindsay informs Hannah that she's clearly got some unresolved pain surrounding the Luke situation that she's projecting onto Lindsay instead of admitting that things aren't going the way she'd like them to — I felt that. And to be fair to Hannah, she mostly takes that truth bomb on the chin. Lindsay really is like a big sister to Hannah, in that she won't listen to her about the stupid stuff, but she's maybe the only person Hannah will listen to about the big stuff. Or as Kyle says: "Let's be honest, Hannah loves pissing off Lindsay — but Lindsay also loves getting pissed off."

Of course, all that tough talk goes out the window the moment Luke enters the house with the most gorgeous woman anyone has ever seen, made almost entirely of legs, and who also happens to be a Critical Care travel nurse who's been battling COVID on the front lines in New York City this summer. This woman deserves to be in this giant house by herself, drinking Fireball by herself, and not having to deal with any of the hell that will surely be unleashed on her in the very near future.

Instead, she enters the fray with Luke — a man I always think looks like an entirely different human from scene-to-scene, but especially now that he has a wiry, apocalypse survivalist chin beard. Nevertheless, everyone welcomes Luke and his "friend" Sierra with open arms…

Especially Hannah. And this is where I stop cringing at Hannah's desperation to be connected to Luke, and finally start feeling legitimately bad for her. Watching Hannah fall all over herself trying to seem totally comfortable with this very uncomfortable situation Luke has put her in is just a lil heartbreaking. Plus, you can practically feel her conflict over wanting to be nice to Sierra, who has done nothing to deserve any meanness, while also desperately wishing that Sierra would disappear off the face of the earth, or at the very least, take the Jitney back to Brooklyn.

"Luke and I never defined what we are, but we've also never ended anything," Hannah says in her testimonial. "I thought we were still into each other, so what the f--- is going on?" An excellent question, Hannah! I can't wait to find out, and I very much hope it involves you and Sierra teaming up to figure out why Luke is texting you both little winky-face emojis before bed, as the camera pans over to his closet to reveal just the perfect imagery for this quarantine season of Summer House: a giant box of "Vitality immunity boost" vitamins, sitting next to an even giant-er box of Trojan condoms. Be safe out there, you crazy kids, and we'll be right here, safely watching you from home.

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