Looking Season 1 Ep. 8 Recap: ‘Looking Glass’ By Kevin Clarkston

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After a season of stops and starts both professional and personal (or in the case of Agustin, straight up stagnation) “Looking Glass,” ended Looking‘s first season on a deliberately ambiguous note, offering plenty in the way of dramatics but little in the way of resolution.

Agustin and Frank are still utterly and completely over, as Agustin tries in vain to put things back together, apologizing and saying they need to talk it out, pulling out the “we’ve been together so long” card. It’s easy to side with Frank; as we’ve seen, he has been nothing supportive and more than willing—perhaps too willing—to indulge his now ex-boyfriend’s artistic whims. And he’s spot on when serving Agustin this cup of sugar-free truth: “You don’t know what you’ve been, because you don’t know who  the fuck you are…let’s be honest. You were never gonna be an artist. And if you ever do follow through with something, it’s gonna be mediocre at best.” Ouch.

While the quality of his yet-to-be created art is subjective, Frank is simply pointing out what we’ve witnessed all season; Agustin is an unhappy man unsure of what he wants. However, as right as he is in his assessment, and as entitled to his anger as he is, Frank doesn’t seem to want to ruminate on his part in their break up. Frank chose to invite a man who could barely conceal his ambivalence about living together to share his home. And he didn’t need much prodding to engage in a threesome in the series premiere, or have sex with C.J. Yes, Agustin lied about paying C.J., but at almost every turn, Frank acquiesced to Agustin’s wishes, surrendering whatever personal boundaries he may have had and burying his feelings until he just couldn’t anymore.

The same could apply to Patrick and Richie. After putting him off so he could cool down after last week’s aborted wedding date,  Richie waits for Patrick outside his building so they can talk. He talks about his pride, his sensitivity (and Patrick’s) about his background, and how Patrick moved things much too fast, and he’s partly to blame because of it.

“Pato, I am this close to falling in love with you,” he says while holding back tears. “But I’m not gonna do that to myself if you’re not ready. And I don’t think you’re ready.” Patrick lets a few tears fall, as he  knows Richie is right. The already emotional scene was made all the more brutal since just mere hours before, Patrick had his bottoming cherry popped by Kevin. Throughout “Looking Glass” Kevin attempts to explain just how he feels about Patrick, but keeps getting shot down until—thanks in part by some egging on by a sky high Agustin (not sure what drugs he’s on, so for the sake of funsies, let’s call them Slap Happy Capsules)–Patrick goes to the office to meet Kevin after he calls about a work issue. There Kevin lays it out that “it takes all of my willpower not to lunge and kiss the fucking shit out you.” 

The two do the do, which is admittedly hot (though it’d be even hotter if Richie were the recipient of the sexual awakening he helped set in motion) though is guaranteed to create even problems. Kevin’s got a boyfriend and is Patrick’s boss, and though things look bleak with Richie, it’s unlikely he’ll vanish from Patrick’s life altogether. All Kevin can manage is an “I don’t know,” when asked what’s going to happen next, leaving Patrick with a look on face that reads as both “God that felt good,” and “God, what did I just do?”

 

Dom travels down an foggy road of his own. He leaves messages for Lynn as his pop-up showcase approaches, but hears nothing back, and assumes it’s because of his jerk behavior the previous day. When Lynn does arrive, it’s with a handsome man (or “a slab of hotness” as Doris labels him) who is introduced as a friend but is certainly presented to Dom, and us, as someone who could be more than that. Later, as guests start to leave, Dom pulls Lynn aside to apologize, and suggests they continue to be partner.

Lynn disagrees, but before he can say anymore, Don plants a kiss on him. Lynn kisses back, but it’s hardly a sure sign they’ll be playing house come season two. Scott Bakula plays Lynn with such restraint, it’s hard to tell just what he thinks of Dom. Did he take Doris’ oh-so-sweet-and-genuine advice and realize Dom was boyfriend material? Or was the kiss a prelude to another gentle but firm rejection? And if they begin a romance, what of Dom’s professional ambitions? Lynn has made it clear he doesn’t and will not mix the two.

Even the episode’s ending leaves things up in the air. After the conversation with Richie, Patrick enters his place and finds Agustin asleep in front of laptop playing The Golden Girls. Patrick starts watching and his mood brightens as Blanche goes on about having a sexual dry spell.  “Dorothy how do you go through this for years at a stretch?” To which Bea Arthur/Dorothy drolly quips “I have compassionate friends around me,” before “Thank You For Being A Friend” cues up.

An ironic, strange way to cap the season, as Agustin in particular hasn’t been much of a friend to Patrick, or anyone for that matter. When you think about, Patrick and Agustin congratulating Dom on his pop up is the first time in a while we’ve seen the three of them be so unabashedly supportive of one another—and  Agustin’s loaded, so even that could have an asterisk by it if you wanted to get picky. I guess Dom’s birthday could count, but that quickly became about Agustin, Patrick and Richie’s spat.

“Looking Glass,” plays outs like a work in progress, a fitting end to a show revolving around three men who are just that.

—Other Thoughts:

—O-T Fagbenle’s delivery of Frank’s epic burn/parting shot to Agustin—calm, blunt, assured–is pitch perfect. No screaming, crying or breaking of things; Frank’s through with Agustin and through with their whole situation, and his demeanor reflected that.

—Not to fan the flames of Agustin hate, but was I the only one who thought part of his motivation for getting Patrick to answer Kevin’s call was so it’d blow up things with Richie and he’d have a better shot at moving back in? Granted, it wasn’t like he was wrong about Patrick’s feelings toward Kevin, but still.

–Doris: ”I’m spreadin’ my pollen all over the place.”

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