Love Island

We Won’t Cry For You, Claudia

The Islander seems more consumed by insecurity than chemistry with Casey, argues Jason Okundaye.

by Jason Okundaye
Winter ‘Love Island’ 2023: Jason Okundaye On Claudia & "Nice Guy Casey"

Love Island this week has been on a mission to try and make me care about things that I simply do not. I’m not going to spare too many words on Olivia, whose constant desperation to get Kai to apologise (for what?), or even just notice her, has perhaps been one of the most grating scenes in the history of this entire show. To put it plainly – the dragged out, middling level of drama we’ve witnessed over Week 6 comes back to what I expressed in last week’s column: that a lacklustre Casa Amor where islanders continue to make the “safest” choice means that there’s not enough of the tension, chaotic Casa babes, and single islanders kicking about to fulfill the drama which the series stakes Casa Amor on. Instead, what we’ve been left with this week is scenes of grovelling and moping, girls taking their trifling men back, only to kick off again for an episode after a new detail emerges, then to just go back again. And as such, almost every episode this week has felt the same, as we’ve gone round in circles over the same couples and the same issues. Yawn.

Of course the great exception to this has been the Tanya-Shaq-Martin love triangle. But it wasn’t especially comfortable viewing. Having suddenly realised that she has little attraction to Martin and made a mistake turning her head from Shaq, Tanya decided to seize the moment at Jax Jones’s performance to declare her love for Shaq and apologise to him in front of the entire villa. I’m no fan of grand, public romantic declarations but it seems pretty safe as far as begging for your past love goes, sure. But why on earth did she need to mention Martin so many times in the speech? I don’t have that much sympathy for Martin and I sometimes wonder if he’s even watched this show before – if you break up a couple who have already declared love then you probably should just be grateful to be there. But Tanya’s speech was the ultimate humiliation, less a love letter to Shaq and more a notice of termination to Martin. On top of that, deciding to only reveal leaving bed for a late night kiss with Shaq during this speech was pure insanity. She kept on claiming she couldn’t find the right moment to tell Martin about it as if they hadn’t had a number of conversations throughout the day where the topic could have brought up before shouting it in front of everyone. Sigh.

But Tanya’s speech was the ultimate humiliation, less a love letter to Shaq and more a notice of termination to Martin.

Martin got his lick back eventually though, on movie night. Whilst Casa Amor now feels unexciting, movie night has taken over as the greatest innovation of recent Love Island seasons. Scene stealing moments of Martin laughing and eating popcorn whilst the full extent of Tanya’s Casa antics were made known on screen launched a thousand twitter memes. But aside from that hilarity, the fallout was again uncomfortable to watch. Tanya basically manipulated Shaq, telling him not to believe what his eyes were seeing, and then attempted to pretend she was equally incensed by a conversation he’d had with Zara (yes, Zara who was dumped nearly a month ago) in the mother of all reaches. In the end, Shaq leaving the villa and breaking down in tears in Tom’s arms makes you wonder how worth it the relationship is for either of them, and question why someone would choose to endure so much heartache and deceit for the sake of “love”. But in the end, he took her back anyway, it doesn’t look like things will be spoken of again. So really, what can you do?


I’m collapsing Tom and Samie, and Will and Jessie together because it’s effectively the same story. Girl is mad at Casa betrayal. Takes man back. Movie night reveals some details which were left out. Girl is mad. Takes man back. It’s not mentioned again. What is there to say? With Samie it feels like she’s well aware that her taking back Tom because she “likes him so much” is out of character for her brassy North London interior, but you can only conclude that she’s accepted what goes on Love Island and will likely run a mile on the outside. Sure. But with Jessie the entire viewing this week has just been exhausting. Granted, at the end of last week’s episodes, Will curating a moment to say “I love you” with the help of the other islanders likely backed Jessie into the corner to forgive him speedily. But it was clear by the beginning of this week that she wasn’t truly over it, feeling that if Will was really into her then he wouldn’t have strayed at all at Casa, no matter how quickly he realised his mistake. This is all completely fair. But then you just need to leave him, babe. Ultimately if you decide that you have forgiven someone you need to be ready to forgive, forget and not constantly hang betrayal over their head. It takes a certain type of character to forgive after a romantic betrayal, I certainly know I am not that kind of character, I hate any kind of embarrassment too much, and Jessie is clearly the same, so she should just cut her losses and cut ties with Will. Again, like with Samie, I’m not convinced that this continuation is because they’ve both caught feelings so hard and are so in love, it feels like they’re aware that in a closed off villa they have nowhere else to go. But what happened to people simply doing an emotional speech, packing up, and deciding to go home? In the history of this show, it’s been one of the most honourable (and honest) ways to exit. Here’s to you, Season 5’s Amy Hart.

But what happened to people simply doing an emotional speech, packing up, and deciding to go home?

And finally we get on to what Love Island’s been forcing feeding us as the main drama of the week: Nice Guy Casey, and his long (well, short!) suffering coupling with Claudia. Claudia seems more consumed by insecurity than chemistry with Casey. I still maintain that he clearly had more connection with Cynthia in Casa Amor but I don’t even think that was about Cynthia. Casey has more chemistry with Tom than Claudia. In short, Casey and Claudia are just not a match. It might not be nice to say, but Claudia was a consolation prize for Casey after he had been scorned by Lana, and it felt nice for him to be validated by her presence and confirmed to him that the producers would present him with meaningful connections of his own in the villa, rather than him just being a discardable loser in the Lana-Ron love story (which I’ll say nothing of because, again, yawn).


But now with the entry of bombshell Rosie, who Nice Guy Casey quite obviously fancies more than he fancies Claudia, rather than him simply throwing his hands up and being honest with Claudia that the attraction and chemistry just isn’t there he’s decided to drag out the situation as much as possible. The quiet part of “nice guys finish last” is that said nice guys will do anything it takes to finish first – no matter who becomes a casualty along the way. So long as they manage to get the girl they want, with their nice guy reputation intact, to them they’re a winner. But at the same time I can’t place all of the blame on Nice Guy Casey, and I find myself just wanting Claudia to get a grip. The war widow act over a man she’s known for around two weeks, with much of their time being separated at Casa, feels unjustified, and it seems to be less about Casey and more about a need to be someone, anyone’s “everything,” and to be validated by him. But the fact is, with or without Rosie’s arrival, this was always a coupling of convenience, not one destined for any happy ending, so whilst Claudia can cry for herself, no one else is going to cry for her.