Last episode was pretty sparse, but this time, we’ve got a bit of everything. Birth! Loss! Rahim’s long-awaited and highly deserved meet-cute! Mostly, everyone in Victor’s world is struggling with change, but our sweet, sad hero is dealing with something a little different: the sudden, steadfast belief that he’s a toxic person who brings nothing but pain and chaos into people’s lives. Listen, this might sound like a sweeping, unfounded cry for help, but to be fair, it’s basically what Benji’s dad told him, verbatim, last episode.
Victor’s determined to prove he isn’t an agent of chaos. The perfect opportunity seems to fall in his lap when he starts a group project with Felix and high-strung Harvard hopeful Liam (Joshua Colley). Just as Felix is really getting fed up with Liam’s antics, Victor hears a familiar sound from his phone — Gay Dating and Chat App’s signature notification ping. “I could be his Simon,” Victor tells Felix, which once again begs the question: Where did Simon go? I feel like Victor could use some emotional support these days.
The last time Victor tried to be “someone’s Simon,” Rahim developed feelings for him. Evidently, Victor did not learn from that experience. He tries to tell Liam that he knows he’s on the app and he’s around if he needs any support, but somehow, the wires get crossed and Liam makes a move. The painful encounter ends with Liam yelling that Victor should’ve left him alone, then sprinting away before he can respond.
As a last-ditch effort, Victor joins Isabel for a nighttime trip to church. He tells his mom that he feels like a clueless wrecking ball, and Isabel acknowledges that every teenager is a bit of a clueless wrecking ball, really. But the most interesting part of this scene happens after his heart-to-heart with his mom. Remember hypercasual lazy texter Nick? He’s at church too. He snags a second alone with Victor and apologizes for not giving their relationship a real shot.
But Nick’s confession isn’t as shocking as another apology we get in this episode. Armando, who has slowly proven to be one of the show’s most self-aware characters, is trying to interrogate why he’s so protective over Pilar. After doing some soul-searching, he tells his daughter that Isabel was her age when she accidentally got pregnant — and then had a miscarriage four months in. The emotional ups and downs of navigating pregnancy and grief were a lot for them to handle as a 16-year-old couple, and he’s terrified of Pilar dealing with a similar ordeal. He doesn’t want to stand in the way of her happiness, though. “If you really love Felix, you should be together,” Armando says. “Consider your relationship unforbidden.”
We also get some dramatic dispatches from the Meriwether home. Mia’s stepmom, Veronica (Sophia Bush), is in labor, and even though she’s devastated to be several time zones away, Andrew bribes a nurse at the hospital into letting them FaceTime in for the birth. I have a few questions about the logistics and legality of this, but there are more pressing matters at hand. Lake’s already in freak-out mode about the SAT and then Lucy lets it slip that she’s not only skipping college but graduating early and moving to Portland. They have a tense, heartbreaking conversation that has no real resolution.
Meanwhile, in the next room over, Mia’s crying while watching a live birth. Like I said: A lot going on in this episode.
And we haven’t even gotten to Rahim yet. For the past few episodes, he’s vented to Benji, Victor, and Pilar about playing straight for his uncle from Tehran, but he hasn’t had much of a story line yet behind quips and asides. Finally, we get a real look into what he’s been going through for weeks now: When Rahim’s mom and uncle run into him and Pilar, he’s forced to pretend they’re a couple. He’s also forced to pretend he loves sports, Billie Eilish is a hockey player, and he doesn’t care when a cute, hapless waiter spills on his designer sweater. It’s been a rough evening for Rahim, but things start to look up when Pilar points out that the waiter was hitting on him.
At the tail end of “Agent of Chaos,” everyone is figuring out how to stand up and go for what they want. There’s Nick, who shows up to the Salazars’ place and invites Victor out for dinner; then there’s Victor, who says yes. The rest of Rahim’s night is amazing — not only does he get the cute waiter’s number, but he tells his mom that her acceptance when he came out meant everything and affirmed that it’s possible to be gay, Iranian, and Muslim. Getting shoved back into the closet, though, took that away. She hugs him and promises that it will never happen again. (And she thinks the clumsy waiter is cute too.)
For Mia and Pilar, what they want is a little complicated. For two seasons, all Mia’s wanted was to stay in Creekwood, but her whole life, she’s wanted a family. Watching her dad and Veronica welcome a new baby on the other side of the country brings up a whole host of feelings, but luckily, she’s got an abnormally good Supportive YA Boyfriend who suggests they take off for a few days and spend the weekend in Palo Alto.
Pilar wants Felix. And at long last, their relationship has no obstacles — they know how to communicate, they know how they feel, and they even have Armando’s blessing — but something still feels wrong. Pilar doesn’t want to be with someone who prioritizes her parents over her own emotions and needs, and even though Felix insists that’s not what he meant to do, it’s not good enough. It’ll take way more than a few cute apology memes to fix this one.
• Andrew offhandedly mentions that his SAT scores don’t matter as much as his basketball performance, and I think this is the first time all season he’s referenced or done anything unrelated to his relationship with and unconditional support for Mia. Don’t get me wrong, I love the bully-to-simp evolution, but how’s his basketball career going? How’s his family? Anything?
• I’m charmed by Cute Waiter! When Rahim tells him he’s on a date with his fake girlfriend, he asks if she’s available for hire next time he has to spend a holiday with his grandmother.
• I love Felix and Pilar as individuals, and their friends-to-lovers, “You Belong With Me”–style season-two arc was cute enough that I was excited to watch their relationship play out. But at this point, they’ve kind of turned into another Benji: We’ve seen way more angst than sweet, silly, supportive moments, and it’s hard for me to root for a high-school couple with this much drama. What happened to staying up all night watching Wheel of Fortune? Every relationship has its own challenges, but I loved that Pilar and Felix. Let’s see if they can win me back in the last few episodes.