9.6

Looking Review: “Looking Glass”

(Episode 1.08)

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<i>Looking</i> Review: &#8220;Looking Glass&#8221;

The final episode of Looking’s inaugural season ends not with a bang but with a quiet fade to black, preceded by Patrick, lit up by the glow of his laptop, watching an episode of Golden Girls. But the series’ first run also ends with many unanswered questions and potential pitfalls for its main characters to trip into during a promised second season, just like any good comedy/drama should.

The 24 hours depicted in the episode were eventful ones for all three of the main men of the show. Only one, though, has a positive evening. Dom finally gets a chance to show off his peri-peri chicken at his pop-up restaurant, and by all accounts, it’s a raging success. As great as it is, he’s thrown for a loop when Lynn arrives with a friend in tow. A surge of visible jealousy takes Dom over and by the end, he is planting a passionate kiss on Lynn.

What remains unclear is what Dom’s intentions were with that lip lock. Moments before, he was talking about trying to do something more “permanent,” in reference to the restaurant. Even though Lynn insists that it would be the end of the working relationship, there’s the question of whether Dom’s feelings are romantic or if he is desperate to keep Lynn and his money around for his dreams of a restaurant.

For Patrick and Agustin, things are more uncertain than ever, especially for the latter gent. After spending the night at the apartment, Agustin does his best to try and reason with Frank. What he gets instead is a huge slap in the face: “Let’s be honest. You were never going to be an artist. And if you do follow through on something, it’s going to be mediocre at best.” Ouch. It’s enough of a blow to somewhat justify his decision to wash a couple of pills down with a swig of kombucha and spend the rest of the day in a drug-induced haze.

Poor Patrick, on the other hand, is just in a muddle. He, too, tries to patch things up with his boyfriend, but is rebuffed in Richie’s direct and plainspoken manner: “I just need you to give me some space … I’ll call you when I’m ready.” Patrick takes that as a breakup, spending the day in his own haze of sadness and confusion. Things get even more complicated when Kevin calls him back to the office under the pretense of needing help.

Fueled again by alcohol, Kevin owns up to being completely enamored of Patrick, and before you know it, the two are fucking on the floor of the office. But to the question of, “So now what?” Kevin responds, “I don’t know, Patrick.” More ambiguity to send him into the night with a pained expression on his face.

It only gets more confusing when Patrick finds Richie waiting for him outside his apartment. The two have a deeply emotional conversation about their affection for each other, with Richie saying, “I am this close to falling in love with you, but I’m not going to do that to myself if you’re not ready. And I don’t think you’re ready.” To this, Patrick has one of his most genuine outbursts of emotion, crying into his hands.

It was the perfect place to leave off the last episode of season one, a genuine turning point in the evolution of this character and his relationship. And it served as further proof of what an amazing job the creators and writers of this show have done these past eight weeks. The story arcs for each character were pieced out with obvious care, while also offering up an unblinking look into the everyday world of a community that is still sadly underrepresented in the TV marketplace. With little exposition and even less spelling out of motivations, they managed to still get at least this viewer completely wrapped up in this circle of friends and loved ones. I, for one, can’t wait for season two.

Robert Ham is a Portland-based freelance writer and regular contributor to Paste. You can follow him on Twitter.

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