At the end of Season Two of HBO’s flagship series Girls, one of the big discussion points was Marnie’s supposedly embarrassing rendition of Kanye’s “Stronger” in an attempt to win back her ex. That hardly compares to Patrick’s drunken explosion of emotion in the middle of his Halloween party.
It was a night of embarrassments for the young man, failing in his attempt to become the “fun gay.” No one knew what his costume was all about, he fell flat on his face trying to hold his own in a conversation with Richie’s boyfriend, his flirtation with Eddie’s single friend went nowhere, and Kevin showed up at the party with Jon. The big fumbling, bumbling speech that almost ended up with him exposing his affair with his boss to all the partygoers seemed by that point inevitable, but no less painful to bear witness to.
Tough as it was to watch, the whole incident—and the episode—served as a slate clearing for Patrick. Kevin is likely moving back to Seattle; and in the closing moments, you saw a nice moment of affection from Richie, but one that signaled more friendship than romance. The next four episodes of Looking could be the time when Patrick finally starts to fully mature and move forward in a more positive direction.
I just wish that the writers of the show knew how to balance everyone’s stories better. Dom’s pursuit of his chicken restaurant is fading further and further into the background, and we get only a little touch of the relationship concerns for Doris/Malik and Agustin/Eddie. They can’t seem to decide how to turn this into an ensemble piece. And if they’re unable to do that, they should have let us stick with Patrick for the full half-hour, leaving everyone else to play the support roles.
It feels strange to even write that, but that’s how good Jonathan Groff has become on this show. Even over the course of these six episodes, he’s become Looking’s anchor, rather than its nervous, doe-eyed spokesperson. Both he and his character are coming into their own, and I’d really like to see the show take full advantage of that if it gets renewed for a third season.
Robert Ham is a Portland-based freelance writer and regular contributor to Paste. You can follow him on Twitter.