Love Island 2022 got off to a tame start: polite introductions, an avoidance of stepping on other people’s toes, one slight wrench when Gemma swapped Liam for Davide (and now Liam has left the villa) but other than that so far, so well mannered.
Then on the fourth day, came Ekin-Su. A hurricane of honesty and putting-yourself-first attitude, she left the boys falling over themselves for her attention before instantly ostracising herself and her fellow bombshell Afia by declaring: ‘I’m sorry, I’m not here to make seasonal girlfriends, I’m here to find the love of my life.’
Needless to say, this was the whirlwind we’d been waiting for. ‘Ekin-Su is doing what a bombshell is meant to do. She has the girls rattled,’ wrote one user on Twitter. ‘Tbf the girls aren’t serious,’ added another. ‘While they were sitting on the bean bags doing nish, Ekin Su was out making moves.’
Indeed, she has. After her first date with Liam, she guiltlessly left him out of her top three and instead set her sights on Davide and Luca. This woman didn’t sleep through the night—carefully watching Gemma and Paige to see how into their men they really were under the covers.
When the sun had risen, Ekin-Su shamelessly blew kisses at Luca, mocking each couple’s evident lack of passion before rushing to make every man a protein pancake and sidle over to Davide in the gym. Next, she turned the fire pit into her own personal speed dating session, getting to know everyone she could before the day was done: ‘Am I your type,’ she asked Andrew, before adding: ‘You look like my ex.’
Was it subtle? No. Was it effective to sort potential soulmates from romantic rejects? Absolutely.
Until now, the other couples have been moving at such sloth speed that Amber wasn’t even sure if Dami had a sense of humour. Davide was struggling to find even three words to describe Gemma after three long days of knowing her: ‘You know what you want’ he the 19-year-old, before repeating the same compliment to Ekin-Su hours later.
But the best thing about Ekin-Su’s rampant attitude is that it appears to be catching. Suddenly the contestants have been galvanised into revealing exactly what they want. The gloves are off, the competition is on—thank you ES. Without her, we may have never known that Gemma and Luca - who were finally brave enough to sneak off to the terrace for a chat in the new steamy climate - actually have chemistry.
In previous seasons, islanders have been vilified for chopping and changing their choices. Toby Aromolaran was dubbed a chaotic king when he went from Kaz Kamwi, to Chloe Burrows, to Abigail Rawlings, to Mary Bedford then back to Chloe—who he’s now been dating for over a year. But aren’t we forgetting what little time these people have known each other? You have to try on a few pairs of shoes before you know the right ones fit.
In real life, people slyly date around. A Hinge date here, a friend of a friend there, an unexpected stranger at a party, before they settle on their best match. ‘When you know you know’ is a romantic idea but it’s not one that effectively works in practise. As Indiyah said in her VT: ‘You’re single until you’re not.’
Often, the drama in the Love Island villa is hinged on a breakdown of loyalty between allies. But in a house full of singletons who are encouraged to kiss, meddle and scheme their way to happy ever after there will always be inevitable betrayal. Unless we want another year of friendship island, it’s Ekin-Su’s way or the highway.