I liked Love Island‘s Eden for the first half of the season.
Sure, he’s a meathead who legitimately has his own surname tattooed down his bicep (… why?), but by all accounts, he was also sweet and sensitive and loyal.
But then he started getting a bit too aggro. A bit gross. A bit mean.
From what he’s shown us on Love Island, you’re either with Eden, or against him.
And if you’re not on Team Eden – that is, if you dare question his behaviour, or actions, or partner – you’re singled out and picked on. For sensitive souls like Teddy, that might mean crying in the change room by yourself because being around Eden brings back memories of high school, and you can’t stand to be ostracised from the pack again.
It’s taken five weeks, but Eden’s true personality has slowly become evident.
There was Eden yelling at Tayla when she dared to be upset over him sending home her friend.
Eden belittling Jaxon for ‘pretending to be upset’ (AKA absolutely no reason at all), before vindictively destroying Jaxon’s relationship with his then-partner, Shelby.
Eden jumping down Kory’s throat for joking around with his girlfriend in a way Eden ‘didn’t appreciate’.
And, finally, Eden deciding to inform Millie’s new partner Mark that she slept with a rugby footballer before coming into the villa. As if that information about a woman’s sexual history is Eden’s right to share.
It’s not what Eden necessarily says, it’s how his behaviour has made so many people in that villa feel; like they are irrational, emotional and, at the heart of it all, simply insignificant.
The taste many viewers have in their mouths after every episode can’t be explained in quotes or 30-second grabs, but in the energy Eden injects into the show, which is built upon intimidating those he deems weak, and bolstering those who protect him.
We can’t know who Eden is outside the villa, but inside it? He’s a bit of a bully.
And it means thousands of Australians are seriously hoping that behaviour isn’t rewarded with $50,000.