You had me at drag wrestling. Or, rather, you piqued my interest back up with the outrageous drag wrestling that takes over the latter half of this episode. Because I have to tell you: I was struggling with this one. Mostly because this episode felt like it was doing a lot of housekeeping to tee us up for future plotlines, with some things (like Shar’s band) coming out of nowhere and others (like Noah and Julian’s budding relationship) being kept on the back burner until later.
This is not to say there isn’t much to enjoy here; it just felt like “Date With the Night” was a transitional episode, the kind in which the cogs of the show’s plot were a tad more apparent than they should ever be. And, yes, I am still hung up, for example, on Noah’s graciousness in lending his gorgeous (and gorgeously minimalist decorated) place to host nightlife events on any given day. I know he protested last time when it came to Marvin’s sex party, but for someone whose character traits are supposed to align him as the older, responsible (and employed, though not for long) one of the group, he’s surprisingly chill when it comes to Ghost Fag — especially when, this time around, the makeshift queer space plays host to … drag wrestling! (I know we see “hot workers” transforming the space, but also … this might be the moment when the suspension of disbelief around how Brodie manages to revamp Ghost Fag for any and every new event he decides to throw was stretched a bit too thin.)
To be fair, setting drag wrestling as a backdrop for a confrontation between Brodie and Mingus has a lovely poetic-justice ring to it, does it not? And so, yes, it is ridiculous that Brodie can install a wrestling ring for what feels like a one-night thing. And it is absurd that the drag entertainment would also include some audience participation with some grade A Hulk-but with-pink-nails boxing (?) gloves. But the payoff is good, especially once it forces Brodie to face what he has long been ignoring: That newly turned 18-year-old is smitten. No, not just smitten — they feel connected to Brodie in a way that the wayward, devil-may-care med-school dropout could never understand. This might be why this episode also failed to woo me: Here was another reminder that we’re supposed to understand where Brodie’s charm lies, and it’s becoming harder and harder to do, especially when everyone in his life calls him out for his poor behavior and his obliviousness to anyone other than himself. It’s an untenable situation and an unsustainable character arc, so here’s hoping we finally see some progress in the next few episodes.
But back to Mingus. The moment they say “Maybe the worst night of my life wasn’t the worst night of my life,” when explaining to Brodie why they’re so taken with them, is heartbreaking because while Brodie has been drowning himself in the work that is Ghost Fag, Mingus has been thrashing about, trying to make sense of what happened that night. Here is where I need to give kudos to Fin Argus, who has beautifully sketched Mingus’s character, carefully tracking their vulnerability and the brash resilience under which they hide. It’s not easy to show just how broken you may feel while trying to come off as a badass in the way you dress, but with Argus, you’re always getting a blend of the two, a reminder that fashionable self-expression is both armor and an escape; their outfits are a projection of who they want to be.
And so the episode ends with Brodie yet again getting more crystal-clear signs that maybe he should curb his behavior (“I’m a fucking mess,” he tells Ruthie), but you start to wonder if he’ll take the hint this time around.
Meanwhile, on the other side of town (or is it?), Julian and Noah have a lovely date. (This is how you know the writers like you: Julian has now had two enviable dates with two drop-dead-gorgeous guys!) But the bonding moment between the two, in which Julian shares his aspirations of becoming a flight attendant, comes to a halt with a Noah confession that, I’ll admit, came out of nowhere … or did it? I now keep replaying the past few episodes in my head and trying to gather whether enough was planted for us to feel like his drug usage is a bombshell revelation we’re supposed to have seen coming. Then again, maybe all the griping I’ve been making about Noah’s moping and one-note, if inconsistent, behavior is the way to explain it? In any case, of course, Julian is understanding and will continue to see Noah, though my wish is we don’t get any more “Quick! Hide in the closet!” moments.
Fun as F - - -
• “She’s startin’” is now a vintage meme the youths don’t recognize. And, yes, I did take that as a personal attack.
• I almost wish we had met Mingus’s dad, mostly because I’m curious to see who they’ll cast in the role. Then again, the show booked Ed Begley Jr. as Brodie’s dad and he’s gotten a total of one blink-and-you’ll-miss-him appearance, so maybe it’s best we don’t waste another dad cameo like that.
• Is Shar the most centered and mature person in this entire show? Don’t answer that; it’s rhetorical. So it was very nice to see the writers give them a reprieve from the rightful badgering they’ve been called to do and let loose while playing the drums.
• “Meet my twins, Goldman and Sachs — they’re too big to fail!” is a great drag-wrestling line about a breastplate, I have to admit.
• If someone can actually answer why Mingus and his friends had to have their talk at the locker room, please let me know, because I am still trying to wrap my head around how and why that happened.
• We haven’t added more songs to our QAF 2022 Pride playlist, so here you go: Darkometro’s “Never Been” and Boyish’s “Games.”