The Sex Lives of College Girls Season-Finale Recap: Roommate Switch

The Sex Lives of College Girls

The Rooming Lottery
Season 2 Episode 10
Editor’s Rating 4 stars

The Sex Lives of College Girls

The Rooming Lottery
Season 2 Episode 10
Editor’s Rating 4 stars
Photo: HBO Max

You may have heard of the Turkey Drop, the phenomenon that happens when college freshmen come home for Thanksgiving and dump their high-school partners. But what do you call it when three college freshmen on an HBO Max TV show all dump their second serious partner of the school year in the same episode? Leighton, Kimberly, and Whitney are all off to fresh romantic starts after the season-two finale of The Sex Lives of College Girls, and Bela’s looking for a fresh start altogether. The HBO Max series has been renewed for season three (if that even means anything anymore), which is great because it means we will get some resolution to the many dangling threads this season finale leaves.

Okay, so technically only two breakups happen in this episode, and one of them takes place off-screen. Whitney and Andrew ended things in front of us, but we didn’t see Leighton call it quits with Tatum and we only learned that it happened in the last five minutes of the episode. That’s fine, because it was pretty clear that Leighton was done with Tatum in the previous episode. The third dumping happened, unceremoniously, in the previous episode, too. We don’t even see Jackson or get any acknowledgement of Kimberly dumping the climate refugee in this episode. She’s moved on and he’s MIA.

All of these breakups are almost secondary to the “real” potential breakup looming throughout the finale — a good, tense, running thread with real stakes. Are all of the girls going to live together sophomore year? At the start of the episode, Leighton accepts a room at the Kappa house and Bela’s getting an apartment with some girls from The Foxy while Kimberly and Whitney plan to keep rooming together in their dormitory. But the balance tipped a few times and by the end of the episode, everyone had a different plan.

Let’s start with Whitney, who, as I already mentioned, finally dumps Andrew the biochem bro. She never saw herself as his girlfriend and she does not like him, but he sees himself as her boyfriend. It’s not a problem she can ignore any longer, and breaks things off before their next class, causing him to tear up during a presentation. Other than that, it’s a nice, clean break — though since Whitney declared a biochemistry and biophysics major, this is probably not the last we’re going to see of Andrew. Maybe he’ll learn some manners over summer break and they can get back together without the negging. Stranger things have happened. She’s single and ready to mingle — but then her story line takes a turn and Andrew has nothing to do with it.

Betrayal, thy name is Kimberly, who confronts her newfound feelings for Canaan. When Cannan changes in front of Kimberly, she’s physically attracted to him. Then she finds out that he lied about asking someone to the gala in the previous episode before asking her. Then she calls him out on this at a party — and then kisses him. Sure, she doesn’t know that Whitney is watching them when she does this, but woah! This is so impulsive coming from a girl who started off the season making pros and cons lists. Whitney, who saw the whole thing, gives Kimberly the opportunity to own up to it at breakfast. When K lies by omission, Whitney goes to Kappa and asks for a room.

How did Whitney get a room at a sorority house so easily, you ask? She takes the one offered to Leighton, who quits Greek life once and for all after realizing that she has changed, as have her values. She’d rather be a part of the Women’s Center. All it took was an awkward conversation with some transphobic Kappa alumnae and the light encouragement to avoid politics in favor of donations to tip Leighton over. This isn’t the place for her anymore. Leighton even convinces her mother to donate the money she was going to give the sorority to the Center. Oh, and Leighton and Alicia are back together. Alicia’s “Thank you” kiss turned into a “Yes, we’re doing this” kiss. Yay!

Bela is riding high on the magazine article on The Foxy that’s kinda sorta more of a profile. She looks good and would-be writers are coming to her for advice as a result of the article. But when other writers at The Foxy confront her, asking if she knew the story was going to be so Bela-centric, she plays innocent. Then, feeling invincible, Bela gives the writer who wanted her help some especially harsh feedback. She basically tells this girl to quit comedy and go into advertising after one read of her work. All of a sudden, Bela is getting “canceled” online by the girl she rejected in a Twitter thread. When the other women at The Foxy confront her about the way she treated the writer, Bela counters by saying that the guys at The Catullan were just as harsh and if she had to go through that so should everyone. But that’s not how mentorship has to work, and the other girls at The Foxy agree that they’re committed to creating a better environment. It’s not just about breaking a glass ceiling, it’s about dismantling systems. They also talked to the reporter of the magazine feature and they know that Bela lied about how much she knew about the true nature of the magazine feature. As a result of all this, they kick Bela out of their comedy group and housing situation.

This is a common plot line in Mindy Kaling’s work. Bela’s downfall specifically calls to mind an episode of The Mindy Project titled “Mindy Lahiri Is a Misogynist.” In that episode, Kaling’s character is accused of not wanting to hire another woman, clashes with one when her office does so anyway, and then realizes that her animosity is just a product of the patriarchy like everyone else. This is at least the third time, in my recollection, that Kaling has referenced criticism — sometimes, but not always warranted — that she herself has received for being anti-feminist. (The other example I’m thinking of, for true heads, is the film Late Night in which Emma Thompson’s character is criticized for having a male writer’s room, just as Kaling once was in real life.) This is a new spin on the theme. If you create space for women but make that space as toxic as the boy’s club you’re trying to break out of, you’re still perpetuating the bad stuff.

Bela, however, does not have a breakthrough about internalized misogyny or the patriarchy, at least not yet. Having now lost The Catullan, The Foxy, and her boyfriend (not to mention her embarrassingly low grade-point average) she applies to transfer schools. Amrit Kaur played the hell out of this season’s final scene. I have been shaking my head and wagging my judgmental little finger at her all season, and even I was devastated by this reveal.

What’s going to happen? Are Kimberly and Leighton going to be roomies? Because that kind of sounds like the best possible pairing out of the four girls. They have a really lovely, healthy friendship! Is Whitney going to become Kappa’s social chair? Will Bela really transfer? We’ll find out next year, barring any David Zaslav reversals.


• Kimberly getting pulled into the riptide of Kappa girls was so funny. If I have done anything to enhance your viewing experience of this series, I hope it’s pointing out the many visual gags.

• “Clearly you’re the only person who lives up to your own comedy standards, so go be funny alone” was a brutal thing to say to Bela, but what if she does it anyway? She’s got the chops to be a stand-up! Go little Mrs. Maisel!

• Whitney went from having one personality (soccer) to having three personalities (soccer, biochemistry, Kappa). She is absolutely going to burn out in season three. Thoughts and prayers.

• This show does not always accurately reflect the collegiate system, but Bela’s 1.8 GPA might, uhhh, mean she isn’t able to transfer. Actually, Kimberly’s financial-aid advisor said as much earlier in the season. That wouldn’t be the most dramatic reveal in season three, that Bela’s stuck there until her grades improve, but it would be realistic.

• Kimberly pretending that she and Whitney hadn’t talked about housing when Bela asks for no reason is the realest this show has ever been. Sometimes you don’t need a reason to casually lie to someone. Sometimes it just slips out!

The Sex Lives of College Girls Finale Recap: Roommate Switch