Leaving behind the nostalgia-tinted lens of last week’s Doris special, Looking returns its focus to the ever-shifting dynamic of Patrick’s complex heart. “Looking For Glory” does a damn fine job of showcasing the parallels between the main trio and their respective relationships, and in particular, Patty’s revitalized desire for a normal romantic commitment. Lest we forget that at the beginning of the previous episode, he was footloose and fancy-free, without the messiness of having his heart strings tugged (amongst other things) by Kevin or Richie. As an exercise in narrative diversity, it strengthened Patrick’s likability and began steering him on a path towards pursuing something other than a man. It was a pleasure to witness the breakaway, but of course, no vacation lasts forever and 28 minutes later he arrived back at his apartment to find Kevin awaiting him.
The brilliance of their reunion means that another breakfast scene between the couple kicks off the episode – and these snatches of drowsy morning intimacy are a blast. Despite having just split with his long-term boyfriend John, Russell Tovey’s Kevin delivers his brand of sarcastic Britwit that continues to permeate the duo’s early morn bedtime banter. Similarly, Jonathan Groff’s fantastic take on eager-to-please Patty truly imparts a sense that this pair might actually make it. Finally.
Choosing to don Kevin’s infamous bulldog sweater, however, immediately sparks catty remarks from Agustin, who, as usual says what we’re all thinking. His honest perspective points out the strikingly obvious; surely people will realize they’re dating if Patrick shows up to work in his boss’s jumper. Which they do. In fact, that one item of clothing forces a stream of queries to emerge about the couple’s union. Taking their half-completed ‘gay top trumps’ game to Gaymer X – a gay, gaming convention – a nearby vendor harangues Patrick, goading him into a verbal spat after he comments on their visual similarities.
That old stereotype about couples starting to look the same speaks volumes about how fast the pair are moving in their newly rekindled courtship. The breakneck speed of their progression is halted momentarily though by the arrival of Patrick’s ex Richie and his journalist boyfriend, Brody. Instantly, Patrick begins to act standoffish toward Kevin, proving he’s STILL uncomfortable around his former flame. A shadow of doubt perhaps? It’s not out of the realm of possibility considering the manner with which he leaps into everything.
For Agustin and Eddie, their leap into the unknown comes with its own set of issues. The matter of Eddie’s HIV diagnosis continues to flummox Agustin, who has – as Dom puts it – “an AIDS meltdown” after a sexual encounter leaves him with a cum-gunked eye. It’s another hurdle thrown into the path of their potentially happy future, that’s frustrating as they’re so utterly perfect for one another. The issue of living in a community wherein the matter of contracting something AIDS-related is a real concern is spelled out with consideration and tact. One the one hand, Agustin is terrified of becoming infected, and on the other, Eddie is terrified of one more failed relationship. The significance of their worries makes Patrick’s dilemmas appear to pale somewhat in comparison. And yet, as the show has a novel way of showing us: it’s all relative. While Agustin and Eddie, and Patrick and Kevin iron out their current problems, Dom is still struggling to shepherd his ‘chicken window’ dream into reality.
A slick follow on from the Dom-and-Doris-centric last episode, the wannabe restauranteur faces further struggles with his best friend. He requires her unwavering commitment to his business venture, which she cannot deliver due to her fledgling relationship with Malik. Sure, he calls on Agustin to help, but it’s not the same as his life-long bestie at his side. Seeing the closeness between the two last week, it’s almost heartbreaking to watch Dom call up Doris, hoping she can swing by. In that regard, he’s displaying similar behavior to Patrick, who cannot be without a man. Dom’s fling with Lynn didn’t pan out so he returns to Doris, a figure unable to provide him the long-term stability he desperately needs.
With two of our three lads in relationship limbo, the episode closes out with Patrick and Kevin, post-Gaymer X. Cozying up in their hotel suite for the evening, another nail in the coffin of Patty’s autonomy comes as he accidentally blurts out “I love you.” Would Kevin reciprocate his sentiment? Of course! In a very short space of time, Patrick has gone from lusting after his boss, to shagging said boss, to committing to him and finally falling in love with him. Has this last step been a bit rushed? Yes. Does it mean it won’t work out? Who knows? If Looking has taught us anything, it’s that Patrick manages to always keep us on our toes.