If the season-three premiere was all about the romantic resolutions of Love, Victor’s various love triangles — Victor picking Benji over Rahim, Felix and Lucy pursuing new partners over each other, Armando picking his wife over his PFLAG fling — this episode is about how love triangles, by definition, cannot have neat resolutions. There’s always an ex or a heartbroken third party or that nagging, underlying conflict that created the love triangle in the first place.
Winter break is over now, which means it’s officially time for Victor to come face to face with Rahim — and time for Felix and Lake to confront each other. It’s hard to say who does the best job handling the situation. Rahim, understandably upset that Victor ghosted him all break, gives him a terse “Hey” and leaves it at that. Felix nervously tells Lake that he’s seeing someone new, it’s actually Pilar, isn’t that funny? Lake’s response is that it’s wonderful and geographically convenient. Pilar’s response is, “Yeah, I only date guys in my building. It was either Felix or the ghost of the guy that died in 304.” On second thought, if anyone handled this situation well, it was her.
Then, it’s time for Lake to break the news that she’s with Lucy. Felix tries to disguise his shock by reiterating, again and again, how great this is. Even Andrew’s cringing. Mia tries to dissolve the tension by inviting the whole gang to a party at her house — Harold’s out of town, trying to figure out a way for his family to stay in Creekwood for another year, and Mia has a newfound desire to live in the moment.
We’ve seen Mia’s house before, so it’s no surprise her party is massive, deluxe, and super crowded. Lake and Felix are determined to pretend everything’s okay, Victor’s determined to make things right with Rahim, and Rahim’s determined to avoid Victor at all costs. Andrew, meanwhile, just wants to make sure the party is capital-P Perfect and his girlfriend is having the Best Night of Her Life. It’s sometimes hard to believe this is the same guy who was Victor’s pseudo-bully in season one.
That said, don’t go thinking that Andrew’s a put-together, wise-beyond-his-years wife guy in a teenage boy’s body — he’s still 17 and still susceptible to peer pressure. He and Victor decide to take drugs from a basketball teammate just to loosen up a bit and have some fun. If there’s one thing I love about Love, Victor, it’s that this show values sweet, sincere relationships and moments between characters over out-of-control drama. It would be easy for Andrew, in his current state, to unintentionally wreak some havoc, but he pretty much just bonds with Victor and has a heart-to-heart with Mia about how much he loves her. “I know high school romances are usually just whatever,” he says. “Everyone thinks they have an expiration date, but I feel like you and I are different.”
The drugs have a slightly different effect on Victor. He decides to wingman Rahim and a cute guy from a nearby private school, which goes about as well as one might expect. (Read: The guy is actually straight.) At least the whole disaster gives Victor and Rahim a chance to talk through the events of the past few weeks, and to be honest, they both make very salient points. Victor thinks it’s unfair that Rahim kissed him, and then blamed him for feeling confused about that — and ultimately deciding to stay with his boyfriend. Rahim clarifies that he can accept Victor’s relationship with Benji, but it hurts that he completely swept Rahim’s feelings under the rug and assumed they could just pretend it never happened.
In a way, Lake and Felix are in the exact same situation. Their new girlfriends pick up on the fact that these two can’t be in the same room without any awkwardness, forcing them to go to Mia’s room and talk through their breakup. It’s extremely nice! I never felt like Victor and Mia got adequate closure — in fact, it’s pretty easy to watch this show and forget that they ever had a semi-serious relationship in season one — and I wondered if Lake and Felix would just easily, quietly move on, too. But they acknowledge the importance of their relationship and how confusing and difficult it is to see each other with new partners. The Lake-Felix-Lucy-Pilar love square is officially over.
Victor, on the other hand, doesn’t feel like he’s adequately resolved things with Rahim, so he does what’s starting to become his classic move: He shows up at Rahim’s house to express how he feels. After Victor genuinely apologizes for blowing him off, Rahim is happy to move on with their friendship. “I just needed you to acknowledge that what we’ve been through was real,” he says. Then, they can move on to other important topics, like boys. (Including that straight guy who was chatting up Rahim at Mia’s party.)
There’s one couple we haven’t gotten to yet: Isabel and Armando. No, Armando doesn’t have to resolve things with that woman he was seeing for a second (whose name I cannot even remember at this point). But one of the biggest obstacles Victor’s parents faced in season two was Isabel’s struggle to come to terms with his sexuality, and now that she’s repaired her relationships with her husband and her son, it’s time for her to go to a local PFLAG meeting.
If Isabel’s journey, up to this point, was about accepting Victor for who he is, she now has to deal with the ramifications — and the guilt — of taking so long and hurting him in the process. She’s astounded when one fellow mom cries that it took her a long, heartbreaking 30 seconds to tell her gay son she loved him. “She is an unusually good parent,” Armando whispers. “Most of them are bad, like us.”
The whole thing culminates in Isabel snapping and revealing that she didn’t accept her gay son — like, for a pretty long time — and it almost destroyed her family. “We had an unbreakable bond, and I broke it,” she spits out. Back at home, Armando reminds her that Victor’s forgiven her. She knows that, but she also hasn’t forgiven herself. I think this woman needs more than PFLAG; she needs therapy.
With everything going on, am I the only one who almost forgot about Benji? In any case, he’s back from rehab, and he pulls a Victor (a.k.a. shows up at his boyfriend’s doorstep unannounced without so much as a text message). The good news: Rehab was great for Benji, and he’s in a decent place. The bad news: He has to avoid “triggers,” and apparently, Victor is a big one. It’s unclear who decided this (his doctors? His parents?), but he’s adamant that, after everything, they have to break up.
With each passing episode, it’s looking more and more likely that Victor won’t end the season with a boyfriend after all. And even though Love, Victor is also about the importance of Victor’s relationships with his friends and family, I do want this sweet, romantic prince to find love. Where’s Simon when you need him? His help could go a long way right now.
• Remember when I asked about the last time Benji made Victor laugh? In a flashback, the show graciously reminds us: It was when they were blowing paper straws at each other during their work shifts. It sucks that Victor now has to man the coffee shop alone, but maybe the citizens of Creekwood will finally get their lattes.
• When it comes to Andrew, Victor says what we’re all thinking: “I’m so glad that Mia found you and that you’re nice now.” The compliment literally makes Andrew tear up.
• Harold gets back to town with the less-than-ideal update that he must move to Palo Alto. But now that he and Mia have the kind of relationship where they can really talk about these things, she tells him, in earnest, that she doesn’t want to leave — she has a family in Creekwood, and she deserves to finish up her high school tenure with Andrew, Lake, and the rest of her support system. Harold says he’ll talk to Lake’s mom about hosting his daughter for the rest of the year. He’s no Armando, but I’m really coming around to Mia’s dad.