With just one more episode to go (but don’t fret—if you haven’t heard, the show has been picked up for a second season) Looking‘s penultimate episode “Looking For A Plus One,” ramps up the residual drama that started in “Looking In The Mirror,” as Patrick, Dom and Agustin’s personal or professional relationships all hit the rocks to varying degrees.
Last week ended with Patrick inviting Richie to his sister Megan’s wedding; an otherwise sweet gesture and show of commitment, it was really a knee-jerk reaction to a disastrous first meeting with his friends—well, Agustin in particular, who dickishly told him he was “slumming it,” with his new beau. At the time, I wondered aloud how Patrick, who fretted, or as Richie would say, “tweaked” his way through the previous ordeal, could handle introducing his new boyfriend to his entire family. And at a wedding no less? You know aunts, uncles, grandparents and first cousins are gonna be all up and through that piece.
Unfortunately, Patty couldn’t even make it to the church before letting his nerves about the whole thing consume him. He starts off with the anxious “totally” Tourettes, before graduating to snapping at Richie about tying his bow tie. Richie whips out a joint and suggests he smoke it to calm down, which only earns him other WASP-y tongue lashing. He bails, and Patrick rides stag to the ceremony, lying to his mother Danna that Richie had food poisoning. They keep walking to the church steps, and wouldn’t you know, Kevin’s there! Turns out his boyfriend John knows Gus, the groom, and well, here they are. Kevin asks where Richie is, and Patrick admits he messed up (though he’s still messing up by letting a man whom he knows is attracted to him and is unhappy in his relationship know all is not well in his own coupling), giving Kevin the green light to admit how glad he is Patrick is there. Later, Megan unwittingly stirs his feelings further by having John and Kevin “get married” and kiss in front of him.
One of the episode’s best moments comes when Patrick talks to Danna at the reception. All season Patrick has built up his mother as a big bad, a woman so judgmental he measures all potential suitors to her impossibly high standards. At least, that’s what Patrick believes—and by extension, has led us the audience to believe.
Danna’s in a no-win situation; Patrick thinks she’ll disapprove of any man he brings around, so he presents them in such a manner that the only option for her is to express disapproval. Patrick describes Richie to her as a broke barber working in a shitty shop with no ambitions beyond cutting hair and playing the bass, then balks when she drolly quips “Well he sounds like a catch.” He goes on to say she’d probably prefer him to be with a guy like Kevin or John (she agrees, because, why not?) then digs himself deeper by blaming her for Richie not showing up. Earlier, Kevin said he regresses to a teenager whenever he’s around his family. He was joking, but the same thing applies to Patrick; in Danna’s presence, he sulks, tests her, and is concerned only with his problems.
Things only get more complicated when a drunken Kevin kisses him in the bathroom. Patrick backs him off and Kevin leaves, but that’s likely not the last we’ll see of him.
“You not gonna want one of these, do ya?” Patrick’s dad asks him, and from the look on his face, he doesn’t seem to know the answer.
Agustin continued his downward spiral this week, showing Dom and Patrick pictures of C.J. and Frank having sex, then sniping at them for “not getting it” when they don’t know how to react to them. Last week Agustin acknowledged he was being an asshole to Richie, but being a self-aware asshole only your engagement in assholery even worse, because it’s intentional. Agustin definitely wasn’t at his best in his breakup fight with Frank. Their big blowup was a longtime coming; both men have been in denial about Agustin’s ambivalence about, if not outright rejection of, their domestic life, with Frank trying to support his art despite his unspoken misgivings about what it entailed.
All it took was Agustin pulling out of an art show Frank pulled strings to get him into to set things off, and the former didn’t disappoint, throwing Frank’s on-camera sex with C.J.–the sex he pushed him into having with the sex worker he hired and lied about paying—back in his face. Thankfully, Frank finally grew a back bone and told him off for being the ungrateful, deceitful douche he is, and ordering him to move out.
“That’s all we’ve become,” Frank tells him, referring to sex with C.J. and Agustin filming it across the room, acting as no more than a detached observer. “You over there. Me, just trying to change it.” Agustin is deeply unhappy, and not honestly voicing that unhappiness led to he and Frank’s undoing. If he’s going to turn things around, he needs to figure out what he wants out of life and stop lashing out at everyone. In other words: Agustin boo, get your shit together.
Meanwhile, Dom looks to be on the verge of getting his shit together . He’s scrambling to get things ready for his one-night pop-up dinner for potential investors, with a little help from Doris and Hugo. One person whose help he keeps rejecting is Lynn’s, who offers perfectly reasonable ideas such as painting the walls, setting up décor like flowers and having Dom hold court as the host instead of working back in the kitchen. Dom, annoyed, shoots down all his suggestion, leading to a minor tiff.
“I don’t need you taking care of me and watching over me like some teenager,” Dom whines. As with Patrick and Danna, there are parental dynamics at work, and in Dom and Lynn’s case, romantic and mentor-student dynamics. Dom’s still attracted to Lynn, and is probably still stinging a bit from his gentle rejection last week; for Dom, help in the past seems to have come with strings, usually sexual, attached, and Lynn’s commitment to keeping things professional appears to be getting under his skin. As they wrap up the prep work, Doris subtly pushes him to take Lynn’s partnership for what it is.
“Some people really just want to help,” she tells him. Dom, Patrick and Agustin being able to discern who truly wants to help them, and more importantly, accepting said help, is key to each of them moving forward in their lives.
—Danna pulling a out a pot-laced marshmallow krispie treat was nice touch, providing a funny, poignant end to a tense scene, while also illuminating how Patrick’s self-absorption is blocking him from having a better relationship with her.
—Kevin complains about John constantly, but from what we’ve been shown, he doesn’t look like that bad of a guy; it would’ve been nice to see if he was as mean a drunk as Kevin implied, so we could have visible, concrete proof of his bad qualities. Then again, may Kevin is just someone who can’t stand being in a relationship with a man who’s too nice, a.k.a. Marnie.
—Doris worked as a hostess at Marie Callender’s in high school. But she got fired.
—Johnathan Groff in a tux: *Swoons*
—Raul Castillo clean shaved: *Swoons* though if I had to choose, I prefer him bearded up.