'Looking' recap: 'Looking for Gordon Freeman'
Patrick lets his feelings loose after a drunken, disastrous Halloween party.
Remember how I said that all of Patrick’s uncharacteristic, sexually adventurous, suitor-swapping behavior was going to catch up with him? It just did, and on Halloween, of all nights. The one holiday that forces you to become someone else is the one event Patrick chose to reveal almost everything to, well, almost everyone.
The boys—Patrick, Agustin, and Dom, reunited for the first time in what feels like ages—are shopping for their Halloween costumes for the party Patrick is throwing at his (and technically Agustin’s) house. Agustin wants to go as the Golden Ghouls, naturally, but Patrick has grown weary of spending “another Halloween dressed as an old dead woman from an ’80s TV show.” This year he’s dressing up as Gordon Freeman, a seminal character from the video game Half-Life; Patrick says Gordon is an incredibly important video game icon, yet he actually just looks like a mailman from the future.
The only person who might appreciate this costume, of course, is Kevin, who is in something of a funk when Patrick encounters him alone at the office during a supply steal/run for cups and plates. It’s a far cry from the last time they were alone together at work—instead of mashing each other’s monsters, this time Kevin is aloof, telling Patrick that he’s likely hitting “Decline” on Patrick’s party Evite and oh, by the way, I’m moving to Seattle to make things better for myself and John. Patrick handles the news with seeming grace—at the very least, he doesn’t Alex Mack himself into a puddle on the floor yet—and he wishes Kevin a happy Halloween. For now.
Agustin visits the shelter to convince Eddie to spend the night after the party; Eddie is reticent but open-minded, dependent on how good Agustin’s costume is (spoiler alert: It’s awful). If we’re building to an inevitable “I can’t be with you because I’m HIV positive and you’re not” climax between pushy Agustin and warm-but-don’t-test-me Eddie, we’re slowly cracking at it with every moment Agustin tries to take things further with his budding romance.
Dom’s newest 21st-century endeavor is Twitter (@ChickenDom40! First follower: me, obviously), which he’s using to help kick-start his Kickstarter. Doris, of course, is absolutely the wrong woman to ask for help, since she “just found out last week my phone has a calendar on it.” She can’t help with Twitter, and she also drops the bomb that she won’t be able to do a couple’s costume with Dom this year (a longstanding Dom-Doris tradition). Things are heating up between Doris and Malik, and a couple’s costume is basically the next biggest step they can take before moving in together. Dom is momentarily sad, which is not a fun look for Dom, but he’ll find happiness in his costume: He-Man. And damn, is he He-Man.
IT’S TIME FOR THE PARTY!
When things begin, the party is crowded but not quite raging. (“What is this playlist?” asks Agustin, “NOW Music 5?”) Nobody is recognizing Patrick’s obscure video game costume, and what’s worse: nobody is using his karaoke sign-up sheet to avoid party conflict. Even though Dom has arrived with a keg and Doris and Malik are demonstrating on-point costume game as Sonny and Cher, Patrick is a tightly wound party host, desperate to sacrifice his own fun to make sure others are having it. He grabs a red solo cup and begins what will be a long string of alcoholic beverages adventuring through his circulatory system like the Magic School Bus.
Eddie—as Bilbo Baggins—arrives with a friendly Legolas in tow, who he tries to set Patrick up with, but the timing is off because Patty abandons the conversation to go talk to Richie. And of course, Richie’s brought his new boyfriend Brady, who immediately recognizes Patrick’s Gordon Freeman costume. (Is Richie dating a type?) Richie announces that Brady’s SF Weekly article went viral, and Patrick pretends to be happy for him… and grabs another strong drink. “He’s not as fun as me,” Patrick tells Richie, who jokingly replies, “He’s way more fun than you.” But before Patrick can inquire whether that’s a joke, Brady returns with shots! And of course, Patrick takes two.
A few minutes later, a conversation has arisen between everyone Patrick cares about at this party—Dom, Doris, Agustin, Eddie, Richie, and Brady—and the topic at hand is PrEP, an HIV-preventative drug treatment that’s become a very contentious point of debate for gay men in recent years. (It’s a surprise that Looking has so quickly chosen to enter the Truvada debate, yet it’s also exceedingly true to reality as the topic is resoundingly relevant.) The debate becomes moderately heated when Patrick contests Brady’s opinion—and viral article about said opinion—leading to an incredibly awkward concentration of tension between Richie’s former and current lovers. Eddie diffuses it, but Patrick’s sad puppy eyes get even sadder and puppier. And he gets drunker.
[Quick Dom & Agustin check-in: Agustin’s still trying to convince Eddie to stay; Dom is bonding with Malik, who reveals that he’s fallen hard for Doris. Back to Patrick.]
Now certifiably hammered, Patrick plants himself in a corner of the room and surveys his Halloween bash. There’s Richie, locking lips with Brady. There’s Agustin, hanging onto Eddie. Everywhere he goes, there’s a happy couple, and so Patrick parlays his drunk loneliness into one bad move: He goes up to the Legolas, who he unceremoniously shunned earlier when Richie arrived, and he immediately starts kissing him. Legolas rebuffs: “What am I, your sloppy party leftovers? Happy Halloween, dick. Your playlist is garbage.” (Woah, man! You can knock the party, but don’t insult the playlist!)
And if the timing couldn’t be worse, here comes Kevin, who not only didn’t RSVP, but he brought his boyfriend John with him. John, who still doesn’t know about Patrick, is now in his apartment, and he’s slobbering all over Kevin without any awareness that Patrick’s head is about to explode.
And it does.
Patrick, in full drunken mode, marches up to the front of the party and turns off the music, grabs the karaoke microphone, and stands up to deliver what must be the worst party speech since Bridesmaids. “Why is nobody singing karaoke?” he awkwardly asks, and nobody responds, so Patrick begins talking about everyone.
First, he launches into Dom—and yes, he’s got love in his heart, but he’s drunkenly sounding more condescending than compassionate. He begs the party to donate money to Dom’s restaurant—“Actually, it’s a chicken window. I don’t know what that is. But he doesn’t have any money.” Dom is mortified, and a hat becomes a church collection plate, which makes Dom feel more like a He-Boy than a He-Man.
Next, Patrick tearfully praises Agustin, congratulating him for turning his life around… after Agustin was found drugged out on the street and rescued by Richie. Oh gosh. Nice announcement, Patrick.
When he gets to Richie, Patrick raises a glass, and he introduces Brady as Richie’s soulmate and “the gay Doctor Ruth, so if anybody needs their Truvada prescription filled, that ginger over there in the crowd is the one.”
Finally, he toasts to his boss Kevin “and John, his longtime boyfriend. Isn’t it great when two gay guys can just work it out like that? So I just wanted to say, Kevin, these last few weeks, when we were alone together…” and someone grabs the microphone, FINALLY, before Patrick can do any more damage to all the people in his world who are or were close to him before his karaoke breakdown.
Patrick may have dressed as Gordon Freeman, but he ended up going as a train wreck.
In the aftermath, Agustin—God love him—is consoling Patrick outside. (Real talk: Agustin’s ability to forgive and forget is something that makes him a fiercely real, redeemed character from the annoyance we met in season 1.) Kevin arrives and sarcastically commends Patrick’s speech, asking for some alone time, which Agustin reluctantly allows.
In the brief moment Patrick and Kevin are alone, Patrick confesses that he doesn’t want Kevin to go to Seattle. But before Kevin can reply, John has found them, and the three are face to face with their cards barely underneath the table. For a minute, I wonder if Patrick is going to blurt out a question to Kevin, or if Kevin is going to blurt out a declaration wherein he chooses one boy over the other for good. But instead, Kevin decides he wants to leave the party—and in a sense, then, he did choose. He just didn’t choose Patrick. “Good luck in Seattle,” Patrick says as Kevin leaves. “I hope everything works out the way you want.” And as Kevin and John walk away, John asks, “What does that mean?” thus suggesting another fight between the obviously unhappy couple.
Poor Patrick. With the party a massive failure (in his eyes, at least) and his heart now officially broken, he crawls into Dom’s arms as the celebration dwindles to a few remaining guests: Doris and Malik, so happy it’s disgusting; Agustin and Eddie, who hasn’t left the party after all; and Richie, who locks eyes with Patrick and gives him a reassuring smile before turning around to dance with Brady.
Finally, Patrick has realized that his behavior all season has caught up with him and shoved him face-first into the mud. The questions remain: Are he and Kevin done for good? And are he and Richie friends for good? How will Patrick move on without a quasi-serious suitor in his life? (I’m sure he’ll find a way, and its name is Grindr.)
As for the rest of our San Francisco ensemble, Dom seems to be moving on fine without Lynn, diving into his chicken window with all the passion he once allocated toward that dying relationship. Agustin’s romance with Eddie is believably heating up, but as we can tell from Eddie’s hesitation, their relationship-defining moment could go in a myriad of unhappy directions, while at the same time, Doris and Malik are slowly building toward an inevitably happy resolution. Those lucky bastards.
What’d you think of Patrick’s drunken disco? Sound off in the comments!