For most of the first season of Looking, and the early part of this one, we’ve seen Patrick as the lovelorn romantic, and the deer-in-headlights kid trying to negotiate the streets of San Francisco. For the story thus far, that has worked perfectly, but with this week’s episode, we are starting to see the young gent mature and come out of his protective shell. And the transition is not going to be an easy one.
He and Kevin have finally hit the crossroads that everyone but them seemed to know was coming. Justify it all they might, they were still sneaking around behind another man’s back and adding further issues to a relationship that is likely full of them. Sometimes, though, it takes a huge kick in the ass for us to wake up to that reality.
For Patrick, it was a dose of truth from Richie, as well as seeing Kevin and his partner at the farmer’s market together. This also led to one of Jonathan Groff’s best pieces of acting in the show to date. The confusion and ache he exhibited when letting Kevin know that it was time to either confront the situation at hand or go back to being “flirty friends” was so palpable. Even more so when he realizes that Kevin isn’t going to leave his partner. Groff is really blossoming in this show.
This week also proved to offer Dom a chance to finally exercise some maturity. He’s always been an interesting character in the dynamic of this show: the gay man turning 40 and learning that his days of one night stands and steam room quickies aren’t as fulfilling as they used to be. And so he poured all of his expectations and emotion into trying to cultivate something with Lynn, a man who, as he explained in one of the episode’s best scenes, “only has so much to give” after losing his partner of 20 years.
It’s a shame that because of this, it might be the last time Scott Bakula is on the show, but it is also means we got to see Dom tenderly put his heart on the line in a big way. He took a chance and it, sadly, didn’t pay off as he hoped. Gay or straight, if you can’t relate to that on some level, you’re one of the luckiest people in the world. For the rest of us, it was tough medicine to swallow, but helped endear us to these dynamic characters even more.
Robert Ham is a Portland-based freelance writer and regular contributor to Paste. You can follow him on Twitter.