If Breaking Bad was about one character’s descent into drug-fueled madness, then the same can be said of Looking, except that instead of a drug kingpin plunging into murder and meth, there’s a heart-on-his-sleeve video-game designer who’s plunging into his first secret sexual adventure.
Wholesome Patrick has never embarked on anything in his life as scandalous as his affair with boss Kevin, and it’s eating him alive. Even the very idea that their secret relationship can be remotely described as “an affair” is making him bite his nails into oblivion, but surely the “affair” label should be apparent to Patrick given that the couple has made a habit out of meeting up at a seedy motel in the middle of the day during their lunch hour. Nothing says “You’re literally having an affair” like a motel bedspread—and it’s that exact bedspread that’s also got Patrick worried about the physical toll the engagement has taken on him. Namely: bed bugs.
Patrick and Kevin meet up for what seems to be the most recent installment of The Cheating Hour. They’re in bed at the motel engaged in intimate postcoital conversation about their early gay crushes and childhood boy band dance routines. Kevin is too embarrassed to show his choreography to a Take That song, but he does show Patrick his favorite game: Top Trumps, a card game with eccentric characters assigned numerical values, like if the cast of Orange Is the New Black were Pokemon. Patrick suggests the brilliant idea of a gay app version of the game that would feature jocks, drag mothers, lusty lads of London, and other fun stereotypes. Kevin is interested in the idea, sure, but that means a longer partnership with Patrick, and he’s already concerned about keeping their current relationship a secret.
Patrick reveals that he already told Agustin and Dom, which certainly doesn’t help Kevin’s anxiousness. It’s a small gay community in San Francisco, Kevin reasons, and it’s bound to come out eventually—thereby ending the great thing they have together. But Patty tries to put him at ease: “Just Dom and Agustin know. It stops there.” And sure, Kevin is now mildly at ease, but foreshadowing suggests that it absolutely will not stop at Dom and Agustin. And in fact, it doesn’t.
Later that night, Patrick is at dinner with Domgustin and he’s already telling them everything about his motel tryst. They head out to a seedy neighborhood to tour Dom’s brand new $80,000 chicken window, where Agustin promptly tells an evangelizing homeless person about the affair. “You can’t do that! Homeless people have Twitter accounts,” Patrick warns. The boys get margaritas and meet up with Doris, who asks point-blank, “So, Patrick, how’s the affair?” before she gets whisked off her feet by a hulking mystery man who once met her at the symphony.
Panicked, Patrick pulls Dom into the bathroom—but not to complain about the fact that more people know about his affair than Showtime’s The Affair. Instead he’s concerned about the little red bumps on his torso, wondering if they’re AIDS. Seasoned and wiser Dom confirms that no, Patrick, not everything is AIDS. Patrick, still unconvinced, decides to circle around a free STD testing truck outside the bar. He doesn’t end up going in, though, and instead goes home and grabs his Google glasses (not Google glass, but glasses he puts on specifically to Google important things). A Google image search of “gross red bumps” (or something like that) prompts Patrick to call both Dom, who doesn’t answer, and some WebMD lady, who insists he get a proper STD check immediately.
Meanwhile, Agustin has gone to a club to find his bear Eddie while Dom has gone over to Lynn’s apartment, which is the kind of classy modern Crate & Barrel apartment you only wish you could find yourself invited to. Lynn’s wearing a suit. He has a Brita Filter. There are actual photos on the fridge instead of Star Wars magnets. This is adult life.
Screening Patrick’s phone call, Dom wonders aloud whether Lynn finds it offensive that Patrick has constant irrational AIDS panics. Lynn declines and quickly changes the subject; Dom notices a photo on the fridge of Lynn and someone named Brian and, upon asking if Lynn misses him, the subject is promptly changed once more, suggesting that Lynn’s former partner Brian succumbed to the disease. (Lynn is, after all, a man of a certain age and thereby a member of an entire generation of gay men who survived an epidemic.) Lynn isn’t keen to discuss Brian or the subject, so instead he turns the conversation to Dom’s cabin hook-up and the state of their open relationship, which appears to be working out just fine for everyone. But yet again we’re left with the nagging feeling that there are layers to Lynn that have yet to be revealed—to both the audience and Dom.
NEXT: Agustin: The biggest mess this side of Sesame Street