Looking, Season 2, Episode 5: “Looking for Truth”
Directed by Andrew Haigh
Written by Tanya Saracho
Airs Sundays at 10 PM on HBO
Patrick really does seem to have ended it with Kevin. This is the one rational decision he has made since Looking began and could be interpreted as evidence that he has matured, able to see himself in a toxic relationship and get himself out of it. They encounter each other at the office and Patrick holds his ground, rejecting Kevin unequivocally. Kevin still wants to have it both ways, sleeping with Patrick but living with John, ostensibly to not hurt John’s feelings. But watching that scene with John, the first real introduction to a character viewers have heard a lot about and seen in the distance but never spent any time with, makes it clear that Kevin is being cruel to his boyfriend by not ending it. Here he is, visiting Kevin for the first time at his office, and Kevin can barely look at him, let alone convincingly fake affection. John either has to be unobservant bordering on autistic, or in total denial about the barely concealed loathing his boyfriend has for him. If Patrick had been privy to that scene he would have ran away from Kevin even more quickly, making sure he never ends up like John, clinging to a relationship both parties know is dead.
Those two short scenes featuring Kevin were the best moments of “Looking for Truth,” partially because Russell Tovey does smarmy so well, and partially because they allow Patrick to be smart and decisive for once. Too often on Looking, Patrick reacts to the other characters and doesn’t seem to drive any action himself. While this beta male personality is not uncommon in the world, it’s hard to center a television show around someone who doesn’t ever really do anything. So although Patrick insists that by Kevin staying with John he is the one that ended their relationship, Patrick holds all the power. On first look this seems to show Patrick’s growth in confidence and sense of self, and makes him a much less problematic protagonist, but then the rest of the episode happens, with Patrick making puppy dog eyes at Richie and being as inert as ever.
Perhaps the only reason Patrick can be so decisive with Kevin is that his heart is already back with Richie, someone who’s shown little interest in reigniting their relationship. So he stalks him online, and agrees to help him move an ice cream truck that Richie and his cousin plan to sell to some gullible shrimp meatball entrepreneurs. Honestly, a red flag should go up any time someone has so few friends he has to solicit Facebook for favors. But Patrick somehow still thinks it’s charming and mysterious that Richie has never introduced him to anyone and doesn’t seem to have his own social circle. So he meets him over in San Leandro, where Richie grew up, to basically test the waters and see if there is any hope of a romantic reconciliation. And unfortunately for Patrick’s dignity, Richie does seem to leave an opening. It would be a real shame if the rest of Looking season 2 plays as a drawn out will-they-or-won’t-they situation. Just when Patrick seems to be growing as a person, he goes back to the guy that turned him into an annoying, insecure spazz. And though Richie can be very charming, he’s shown himself to be judgmental, unforgiving, and emotionally closed off. And he’s still seeing the redheaded Brady, so he’s presently not much more available than Kevin is.
Though Dom was totally absent from this episode, Agustin and Eddie aren’t completely forgotten. Although the turn of events is completely predictable, it is still satisfying to see them finally hook up. So far, Eddie has made Agustin want to change in a way the other people in his life don’t. Maybe Patrick and Dom see Agustin as a hopeless, jobless fuck up, someone who’s fun to party with but not to rely on. And to be fair, Agustin has acted the part, being equal parts flaky and prickly to his closest friends. But he’s nice around Eddie, and though Eddie is rightly a little hesitant to start something with him, he can at least see some potential. The complications that arise from a HIV+ person dating someone who’s negative are many, and Eddie seems to realize that more than Agustin. He seems to take his own and Agustin’s health seriously, but it takes two people to be safe and diligent, and Agustin tends to be careless about a lot of things. Hopefully Agustin won’t mess up their relationship or his own body, but this being Looking and Agustin being Agustin, they both might be in jeopardy.
In that masturbation scene we finally learn that Patrick is a lefty and likes bodybuilder porn. Yay?
Eddie’s meth/sex dungeon/sling/courtesy bottom HIV story is hilarious, if only because it turns out to be fake.
Richie has “a slight tendency to be a little stubborn.” That’s the worst you can say about him, Patrick? C’mon.
Every time someone tries to prove he’s not a homophobe by invoking the phrase “live and let live,” a gay person should be allowed to punch him in the face.
The writer of this episode, Tanya Saracho, also played Ceci (not Cece), Richie’s cousin.
And speaking of Ceces, please give it up for Cece Peniston, the “Finally” singer who has a permanent float in every gay pride parade in the country.