The Summer I Turned Pretty Finale Recap

Warning: This post contains spoilers for the Season 2 finale of The Summer I Turned Pretty.

After weeks of romantic tension, real estate dramas, and a terrible loss, the second season of The Summer I Turned Pretty has come to an end. Fans have followed Belly Conklin through her ups and downs with Conrad and Jeremiah Fisher, the brothers who both have feelings for her, and their collective struggle to grieve the boys’ mother Susannah after her recent death. They’ve weathered the threat of another loss—their aunt’s desire to sell the family’s beloved beach house—and found their way back together after their relationships suffered under the weight of it all.

Heading into episode 8, which dropped on Prime Video on Aug. 17, one big question from the season remained: Which brother will Belly choose?

Co-showrunner and author of the Summer books Jenny Han helps us break down Belly’s decision on who she wants to be with, the meaning of the final moments of the episode, and what fans of the show can expect in Season 3.

Why Belly chooses Jeremiah at the end of Season 2

The finale episode tracks Belly, Conrad, and Jeremiah as they make their way back home from Brown, where Conrad has just taken his last exam of the year—and subsequently had his heart crushed when he caught Belly and Jeremiah kissing by his car. The road home is awful in more ways than one: Conrad is angsty and lashing out at his brother and Belly, jealously mocking their new relationship, and a storm comes in that shuts down the highway and forces the trio into a motel room with, inevitably, only one bed. Belly crawls beneath the sheets and the boys take floor spots on either side of her—a stuck-in-the-middle image that encapsulates two seasons’ worth of tension.

As the episode draws toward its conclusion, Belly makes her final choice clear in a scene that takes place after the group’s strained motel night. When she wakes up, both brothers are still asleep on the floor. She pulls on her Finch University sweatshirt—a telling sign of her decision, as she leaves behind Conrad’s Brown sweatshirt she was wearing the day before—and goes to the bathroom to brush her teeth, wash her face, and get ready for the big conversations to come. When she emerges, Jeremiah is gone.

Read More: Jenny Han Is Still Growing Up

Belly runs outside, looking for Jeremiah and trying to reach him on the phone. The car isn’t in the lot and she thinks he’s left. But soon Jeremiah is back, a takeout bag in hand—he thought she might be hungry and went to pick up breakfast. There’s a tense moment as Belly shakes off her misunderstanding and Jeremiah braces himself for the news he thinks is coming, that Belly and Conrad are back together. “Before you say anything, just know there won’t be a repeat of last summer,” he tells her, referencing the rift that formed between them when she chose to be with his brother. “I want you to be happy. You and I are good—we’ll always be good.” But Belly steps in to kiss Jeremiah and make clear that he’s the one she wants. Han was thrilled to get her top-choice song for the moment: Beyoncé’s “XO,” which picks up as the kiss intensifies and the heaviness of the season lifts along with Belly and Jeremiah’s mood.

It’s one of Han’s favorite scenes in the episode. “You really get to see Jeremiah’s growth in that moment. He thinks that she’s chosen Conrad when he walks up, and he’s made his peace with that and still wants to be in her life,” Han says. “They really love each other. They really are best friends—and now more.”

Read More: Jenny Han Knows The Summer I Turned Pretty Will Get You in Your Feelings

As for why Belly chooses Jeremiah in the season finale, Han says that, as always, Belly is following her heart. “I think part of what she loves about Jeremiah is his openness and the way he allows her to really see him and love him,” she says. “One of the themes of the season is grief and the different ways that we handle it. Cleveland talks about being down in a hole and needing someone to get down there with you—and the way that Jeremiah is able to do that provides Belly with [a sense of] comfort.”

The meaning behind the final shot

The Summer I Turned Pretty Finale Recap

Despite all the focus on the love triangle in the finale episode, Han made the deliberate choice to end the season with a solo shot of Belly. It’s a triumphant moment for the character: she’s happily exploring her relationship with Jeremiah and has talked her way back onto the volleyball team, promising her skeptical coach that she can be trusted to take her responsibilities seriously this season after letting the team down last year. The final scene is energetic and joyful, with Belly’s narration bringing us into her head as we see her step onto the court and back into herself after a long, terrible period of grief and conflict. “When I used to picture forever, it was always with the same boy. In my dreams my future was set, a sure thing. This isn’t the way I pictured it,” she says. She delivers the last lines of the episode as she jumps up and spikes the ball: “The future is unclear. But it’s still mine.”

For Han, it was important to end on a moment that centered Belly as an individual. The last scene is about her recognizing that she’s made some poor choices but that she is in control and can learn from her experiences. “I really wanted Belly to get to a place where she is the one in the driver’s seat. The mistakes that she makes, the missteps and her stumbles, they’re all her decisions and she’s really owning it. That’s really important, to give her that autonomy and that agency,” Han says. “One of the big themes of the season is about shame and forgiving yourself. Throughout much of the season, she is really struggling with that, and to me it feels exciting to see her come out of it and move forward with purpose.”

What to expect in Season 3

Earlier this month, Amazon Studios announced that The Summer I Turned Pretty has been renewed for a third season. With the ongoing WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes, the timeline for when it will film and be released is unclear. But for those itching to learn what happens next between Belly, Jeremiah, and Conrad, there’s always Han’s book series—the final book in the trilogy is We’ll Always Have Summer. Just don’t assume that the third season of the show will play out in exactly the same way the story unfolds in the novel—Han has introduced plenty of changes in the first two seasons.

“If you knew exactly what was going to happen, it wouldn’t be a very satisfying show-watching experience,” Han says. “Part of the enjoyment of watching TV or movies is that you don’t know. I am always trying to preserve the audience experience—my aim is to surprise and delight and to give the fans the best possible story.”

Related Posts