One of the biggest revelations about this latest episode of Looking was the fact that Patrick has been in San Francisco for eight years. For someone who has been living, working, and (one would guess) dating men in the city, the poor lad still doesn’t seem to have a grasp on how to handle interactions with potential mates. Hell, he’s too nervous about driving up a steep hill with a heavy load of furniture and boxes.
It’s his sweet nervousness that makes his story, so far, the most engaging one of the show. Even after nearly a decade of living on his own in the big city, he still feels like he’s finding his way. Moving a table from one room to another in his apartment after Agustin finally moves out feels like a Herculean act for him. As does his pursuance of Richie, the Latin boy he met on the train in last week’s installment.
The whole date was an exercise in Patrick trying to be the boy he thinks potential mates want to see: trying to steer every interaction and conversation piece back to sex. The awkwardness he exhibited kind of sort of suggesting he and Richie depart to a club’s bathroom to fool around was downright touching. And he lets his friends’ chatter about the potential of Richie having an uncircumcised penis become a fixation. So much so that when he lets out a little “Oh” upon finding out Richie is cut, it unravels their possible hookup.
At least Dom has the wherewithal to use Grindr as his sexual outlet, understanding the expectation is just for physical contact and little more. Dom’s decision though was to, as his housemate put it, “fuck the pain away” after an uncomfortable reconnection with his former boyfriend, Ethan.
His ex almost has a dual purpose: brag about the wonderful life he’s leading and finally make some sort of 12-step program amends for making Dom’s life “a sack of shit.” The talk of trying to rekindle their affair is almost an afterthought, more for Ethan’s peace of mind than trying to actually make it up to his former lover. You’ve got to hand it to Dom for trying to balance the scales in a later scene, where it comes out that he gave Ethan $8,000 to go to rehab for his meth addiction. The string connecting to two is finally severed in that moment though, leaving Dom looking spent and more than a little unsure of where to go from there.
The counterbalance to all of this drama was a reaffirming of the commitment that Patrick, Agustin, and Dom obviously have to one another. Watching the three interact as they move Agustin into his new apartment in Oakland made their friendship feel perfectly lived in and based on some deep history. We do have some backstory to that effect, but it’s unnecessary because the actors and writer Andrew Haigh are so adept at letting us tap into the warmth between the three. And believe you me, it feels really good.