Looking, Season 2, Episode 4 “Looking Down the Road”
Sunday, February 8, 2015, 10:00 PM (EST), HBO
3 bears, 3 wise men, 3 blind mice, Three Women, ménage-à-trois. The number three has a strong resonance, not only as a harmonious unity, but as a threat to romantic relationships. This week’s episode of Looking, “Looking Down the Road,” focused on the way these trifectas and triangles can ruin a seemingly perfect coupling.
The episode, like most episodes of the season, is composed of three stories that intersect and inform one another (I will attempt to tease them out, but not according to the chronology of the episode). Patrick’s main arc is complicated by the concentric triangulation of his love life: his relationship to Kevin (who is dating Jon) and his attempts at friendship with Richie (who is dating the “hot ginger” Brady). The romantic relationship with Kevin hits a snag as Patrick – after seeing Kevin at the farmer’s market with Jon – tries to either end things completely or to get Kevin to admit his infidelity to Jon. Meanwhile, Patrick spends a platonic afternoon with Richie, trying to forge a friendship that isn’t informed by their messy breakup. The romantic triangles collide at Esta Noche, where Patrick meets Brady and discovers that Kevin couldn’t follow through on his confession to Jon. Patrick immediately ends things with Kevin.
Dom’s plot focuses on his inability to navigate his various travails (professional and romantic). Doris tries to get him to start a Kickstarter for his “chicken window,” but Dom is focused more on his convoluted romantic entanglements with Lynn. Dom and Lynn spend a steamy night with “hot Matthew from rugby,” only to find that Jacuzzi fog left an unsettling residue on their relationship. Dom eventually confronts Lynn about their problems, namely that Lynn is treating their relationship more as a business transaction than a romantic endeavor. The truth finally comes out: Lynn sees Dom more as a temporary fix that can never replace his lingering feelings for Brian (an ex-boyfriend whom Lynn dated for 20 years). Heartbroken, Dom ends things and plunges himself full force into the only triangle that matters: that between him, Doris, and his “chicken window.”
Finally there is Agustin, who is the most “stable” of the group (the quotations are meant to imply that this is relative to his friends, not so much that he is a stable person in general). He is the intermediate between these stories and settings. Yet Agustin is approaching his surroundings from an observational standpoint, only finding an entry point in life through a job opening at Eddie’s LGBTQ youth shelter.
The ending of these three stories is one of the most poetic I have seen of the series, thus far. Patrick, dejected by Kevin’s inability to settle or to confess, walks home from the club while an unnamed/unknown couple trails behind him. Though a small moment, the image stayed with me and I kept watching it to try to figure out what was happening. Patrick and the couple do not interact, but their close proximity to one another speaks volumes. It is a visual marker of Patrick’s unhappiness. He cannot have this coupling with either of the men that he loved. The “happily ever after” is always just a concept that trails behind him.
Looking is a series that never tries to sugarcoat happiness. Though it may stumble a few times or miss the mark, it captures a stark, yet refreshing reality for queer audiences. Through its three central characters and three central story lines, “Looking Down the Road” captures a palpable ennui that plagues our need to share our love with more than one person.
Bracket]. The triangulation of this week’s episode is a harsh reality that shows the difficulty of maintaining relationships when monogamous coupling isn’t enough.