Victor’s going through it — locked in his bedroom, rewatching Emily in Paris–style going through it. He’s heartbroken about the way things ended with Benji, and even though everyone from his mom to Rahim wants him to try to move on and have fun, he’s not having it.
Isabel, who’s now entered her final form as a hypersupportive parent, is especially eager for Victor to find someone new. In fact, she’s hoping he can meet the perfect guy at the family’s new LGBTQ-friendly church. This might sound a little optimistic, but luckily for her, an eligible prospect seems to fall into her lap — as she’s chatting with Armando after a service, another pair of overly involved parents overhear them and offer up that they, too, have a gay teenage son. Gay-friendly churches in suburban Georgia: They’re even better than Tinder.
Victor doesn’t love this plan, not just because of the Benji of it all but because he has some understandable reservations about a guy his mom has never met or seen before. When Nick (Nico Greetham) and his parents show up, though, all those doubts seem to subside. Church guy is cute! At least cute enough that Victor’s down to fake a pie emergency and take a quick night drive with Nick while their parents are bonding over religion and PFLAG meetings (probably).
If there’s one thing Victor has in common with his guru, Simon, it’s that he’s an incurable romantic. This kid loves nothing more than making a spontaneous appearance at someone’s front doorstep. When it comes to Benji, he practically fell in love at first sight — and even if we’re supposed to believe he was only into Benji all along, we know that he was at least affected by Rahim’s emotional confession, their wedding slow dance, and their karaoke duet. In other words, Victor as we know him — especially in his fragile, heartbroken state — is not the kind of guy who necessarily wants to have a random hookup in a stranger’s car. But hey, this is the new post-Benji Victor, and he decides to listen to everyone’s advice and try to move on. A steamy car ride with Nick might be exactly what he needs.
Before you feel too bad that Pilar got stuck at home with two sets of meddlesome parents, I should add that she dips out early. By the way, how does she get away with this kind of thing? Her dad is staunchly against her dating anyone, but he has the briefest of reactions when she abruptly ditches a family dinner to go “hang out with friends.” In any case, she links up with Felix. They’re going on a double date with Felix’s mom, Dawn (Betsy Brandt), and her new boyfriend! This is a huge step for Felix and Pilar as a couple and a huge step for Dawn, who hasn’t dated anyone since she was hospitalized last season.
Dawn is in a great place, but Felix worries she’s still not stable enough to enter a relationship — and that her new guy, Stewart, doesn’t know the depth of her mental health struggles. The second Dawn leaves the table, Felix starts quizzing him. Stewart seems nice enough, but he does say the sentence, “Who hasn’t had a smidge of depression here and there?” so maybe some of Felix’s anxieties are warranted.
Felix isn’t the only character who spends this episode trying to handle the nuances of someone he loves growing close with someone else. On paper, Mia and Lake’s yearslong best friendship should be stronger than ever. Not only are they officially roommates, but they’re both in happy, solid relationships. With Lake’s overbearing mom headed out of town, they decide to have a good old-fashioned girls’ night, but that somehow turns into a girls’ night featuring Lucy. Which then turns into, in Lake’s words, “a different kind of girls’ night.” Translation: Mia’s getting kicked out.
As Mia and Andrew attempt to watch a movie together, the truth comes out. Mia doesn’t feel upset that Lake wants alone time with her girlfriend, but Lucy’s coming between them in a way that Felix never did. “When she was dating Felix, she needed a girlfriend to talk to. But with Lucy, her girlfriend is her girlfriend,” Mia laments.
Her relationship with Lucy is decidedly different from her last one, but I don’t know that it’s fair to pin that entirely on Lucy’s gender — Lake’s grown up a lot since her first relationship with Felix, and she’s clearly gotten better at communicating and facing some of her sex-related anxieties. It might hurt Mia to know that Lake and Lucy are actively and privately talking through their first time together, but after her “first-time” arc in season two, it’s great to see Lake feeling a little more confident in herself and in her relationship to discuss her questions and feelings about sex with her partner.
But that doesn’t mean Lake doesn’t need her best friend. As soon as Lucy’s clothes start coming off, she spirals and runs into the living room, where she calls Mia in a panic. What if she doesn’t know how to have sex with Lucy? What if it’s bad? Mia gives her some solid advice: “You’re a woman and you know what you like. Just start with that and check in with her.”
The episode ends with a trio of heartfelt conversations. First, there’s Mia’s morning-after chat with Lake and Lucy — although we don’t see how the rest of their night went, we can infer they had a good time, made even sweeter by the pastries Mia delivers to Lake’s bed the next morning. Second, there’s Felix’s talk with his mom. After Pilar points out that his embarrassing, over-the-top behavior eerily mirrored her dad’s, he decides to loosen up. (There’s no wake-up call like hearing the words “You’re acting like my dad” from your girlfriend of approximately one month.)
The most important conversation happens between Victor and Isabel. Their close turned fraught turned close again relationship has always been at the heart of Love, Victor, and even though she’s now officially a “gay ally” (“It’s just called ally,” Armando reminds her), she’s still figuring out the best way to support her son and make up for the time she spent subtly urging him back into the closet. “When you came out to us, I just stared at you,” Isabel says. “I didn’t hug you. I didn’t tell you that I would love you no matter what. I just made your life hell for months. I just feel like I have so much to make up for.”
Victor’s response is that her job isn’t that complicated — she doesn’t have to prove anything or introduce him to new guys but just be his mom. And in this specific instance, what he needs from his mom is some support as he vents about his first real experience with heartbreak.
He doesn’t fill her in on everything that happened with Nick, but maybe their hookup wasn’t just a one-night stand (well, one-evening stand). In the episode’s final seconds, Victor scrolls through Nick’s Instagram while roaming the halls of Creekwood High … and he doesn’t even notice when Benji walks past him. Isabel might not be a perfect parent, but maybe she’s actually a perfect matchmaker? Before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s just wait and see if Nick replies to Victor’s DM.
• As a high-school student struggling with his sobriety, Benji has a lot on his plate — but unfortunately, now that he and Victor are broken up, his story line feels detached from everyone else’s. In this episode, CreekSecrets exposes his stay at a rehab facility, and for some reason, he blames Rahim. Rahim, who is too beautiful and perfect and charismatic for almost anyone on this show, successfully tracks down the rat and genuinely apologizes to Benji for kissing Victor.
• Oh, and did I mention that Rahim is already taking AP calculus as a sophomore? Because he is. And now, he’s Benji’s school-mandated tutor.
• Going back to CreekSecrets, though, who is designing this blog’s graphics? The Photoshopped image of “Bender Benji” skiing with a massive bottle in hand is, quite frankly, haunting.