For most of Love, Victor’s final season, the show has been completely detached from its source material. Simon is gone if mentioned once or twice; we haven’t even seen Jack Spier (Josh Duhamel) at a PFLAG meeting. But this show was always going to end the same way Love, Simon did: with a sweeping, romantic get-together at the Ferris wheel. And sorry, Nick, but at this point, there’s no way that grand gesture won’t involve Benji.
Benji does what anyone would do after watching their recent ex kiss someone new — he decides to move 900 miles away. Now, this might sound like an oversimplification of Benji’s situation, but he tells Victor, word for word, that realizing Victor has moved on was the push he needed to move on, too, in a very literal way. He’s leaving for boarding school in Connecticut in a matter of days.
Mia also has to break the news that she’s leaving Creekwood, first to Lake and then to Andrew. The first conversation goes oddly well, especially considering this is the second person who’s leaving Lake for the West Coast in the span of weeks. But her conversation with Andrew is devastating. He immediately understands her choice and starts brainstorming ways to regularly see each other, all of which involve skipping out on school or basketball. “Basketball is your future,” Mia says. He tells her the same thing he told Harold — that she’s his future — and all Mia can stammer is, “You don’t know that.” They break up.
Let’s do a quick rundown of the couples heading into Victor’s awards ceremony, shall we? Mia and Andrew are done, as are Lake and Lucy. Lake and Felix have been leaning on each other for support in navigating their respective breakups, but it’s a little unclear whether their vibe is platonic or not. Victor and Nick are officially boyfriends, and I can only imagine Rahim’s new relationship is headed in the same direction — he’s practically swooning as he tells Pilar that he stopped reading Creek Secrets because “Connor says gossip is bad for the soul.”
Victor’s speech is teen-drama perfection. He thanks his parents, his best friend, and even Mia for supporting him as he struggled with his identity. It’s Benji, though, who gets the longest shout-out. “I fell in love with an amazing guy who is patient and wise and pushed me to be the very best version of myself,” he recalls. (We get a close-up shot of Nick’s reaction to this part of the speech, and naturally, it’s a little tough for him to hear.) The thesis of Victor’s speech is that bravery isn’t about an absence of fear but about confronting it, which makes me think Victor might be a Swiftie.
What the speech really does, though, is prompt everyone in the audience to reflect on their own love lives. I’m actually impressed by the sheer number of happy endings that Love, Victor squeezes into the next 15 minutes. Nick and Victor are over moments after the ceremony, but Nick shares a flirty moment with Liam (remember him?). Mia runs to Andrew’s house and confesses that she’d love to give a long-distance relationship a shot — she was just scared he’d get bored and leave.
Finally, there’s Lake, who attempts to win Lucy back by offering up her mom’s part-time condo. The gesture feels a little like sticking a Band-Aid on a stab wound, but it ultimately doesn’t matter: Lake’s learned that pushing Lucy away won’t make it hurt less when she leaves town, and Lucy’s discovered that Creekwood doesn’t necessarily make her sad anymore, because it’s full of places that remind her of Lake. It’s unclear whether Lucy’s going to stick around, move into Georgina’s pied-à-terre, or go to Portland and try long-distance, but these two are back on.
Victor’s spent three seasons turning to Simon, his parents, and even his love interests for guidance — but now, it’s time for him to take his own advice. Unfortunately, what worked for Mia and Lake does not work on Benji. Victor, single and lovestruck, shows up at Benji’s house and says he hasn’t moved on. “I think your dad is wrong,” Victor says. “I don’t think I’m bad for you.” Have I mentioned that Benji’s dad is standing right there during this entire interaction? And that they’re in the middle of packing up the car? There might be such a thing as too brave. Benji tells Victor he’s too late, and Victor heads to the carnival solo.
A few seasons ago, Love, Victor’s pilot opened with a pessimistic, angsty response to Love, Simon’s picture-perfect ending. “I heard all about you,” season-one Victor wrote to Simon. “How you wound up making a crazy, romantic declaration of love and had your first big kiss on the Ferris wheel in front of the whole school. And I just want to say, Screw you. Screw you for having the world’s most perfect, accepting parents, the world’s most supportive friends. For some of us, it’s not that easy.”
Love, Victor was built to challenge Love, Simon’s somewhat neat two-hour arc: Victor’s love story, after all, was clearly written for teenagers who couldn’t relate to Simon’s specific, privileged experience as a wealthy white teenager with happily married, extremely liberal parents. (Although I will add that Simon’s experience wasn’t easy. I still loathe the violent way he was outed and harassed at school, and I’m so glad that the queer kids of Love, Victor got to come out on their own terms.)
Throughout three seasons, Love, Victor continued to challenge and course-correct itself. More than once, Rahim challenged Victor’s experiences and beliefs as a straight-passing, masculine gay guy. Lake and Lucy, as a couple and as individuals, also presented a different experience. But it was always clear that these characters would get predictable, adorable, Simon-style happy endings, anyway, and that’s what made this show such a delight.
Benji shows up right when Victor’s about to get on the Ferris wheel alone. “Room for one more?” he asks. My own thoughts on Venji aside, this finale would been a letdown if Victor didn’t get a big, romantic, and very gay moment on that same damn Ferris wheel, in front of all the people he loves. Thankfully, he gets it.
Simon would be so proud.
• Felix and Pilar are the one couple whose fate is really left up in the air. He finds her at the carnival, apologizes for not being the boyfriend she deserved, and explains how lonely it felt to get rejected by her parents. Pilar’s family was there for Felix when he was at his lowest, Felix explains, and he went into panic mode when Armando kicked him out. Pilar responds by pulling him into their family photo, a quiet show of forgiveness. I’m okay not knowing what happens next for these two — I’m just glad that Felix is officially back on great terms with all the Salazars.
• What happens to Victor’s parents, you ask? Their plotline in this episode is very haphazard, but the upshot is Armando loses his job and decides to start his own company with Isabel. It’s also worth adding here that Armando loses his job for cursing out his boss, who was apparently homophobic. Personally, I would have loved to see this unfold onscreen, but it’s fine, I guess.
• Not enough Rahim in this finale.