Last night's first-season finale of HBO's Looking brought us a heaping pile of peri-peri chicken, a nice helping of inappropriate office sex, some teary moments, and some quick and dirty plot developments to tide us over until Season Two.
First off, both Augustin and Patrick get dramatic, reality-check talking-tos from their respective boyfriends, with Augustin's being the most satisfying if you, like me, have been completely annoyed by him all season. As he's trying to patch things up with boyfriend Frank in their Oakland apartment, where he has yet to pack up his stuff (and where they're so goddamn hipster they have a rack of cassettes), he tells Frank to say whatever he wants to say to him. And Frank does. He calls Augustin's dumb photo series with CJ the hooker, "The musings of a bored rich kid." And he lets him have it about his art career overall, saying, "You're never going to be an artist, and if you ever manage to follow through with anything it will be mediocre at best. Leave the key under the mat." Cut to Augustin taking some pills (speed? molly? oddly, they never say) and going into a tailspin.
Patrick meanwhile goes and stalks Richie at the barbershop where he works, which Richie does not like, telling Patrick he needs some space and doesn't want to talk yet. Then Patrick goes back to work and Kevin apologizes for the drunken kiss at the wedding, which Patrick tries to brush off as nothing.
The gang then converges at Dom's chicken pop-up where once again it's all about Doris. Dom is nervous about no one showing up, and nervous because he hasn't heard from Scott Bakula, but then Scott Bakula shows up with a guy on his arm who appears to be a boyfriend, and Dom is sad. There's ultimately a tense moment where Scott/Lynn tells Dom that he thinks this should be the end of their business relationship, but after Doris tells him (dramatically), "Dom's worth it," Scott/Lynn and Dom end up making out, right there next to the peri-peri chicken, and we now see that Dom will indeed be having his first adult relationship in Season Two.
Sadly, we do not get a good idea of how good/bad the chicken is. Patrick and Augustin talk with their mouths full for a while about Richie, and how Patrick would just like to "lick his armpits all day long," and then Patrick tells him about the Kevin kiss and when Kevin keeps texting and calling from the office Augustin forces him to answer, and Patrick takes off to go into work at whatever hour this is. Say 10 p.m.
He arrives, finds out it was all just a pretense to get him alone, Kevin hands him a beer and tells him, "Do you know how much effort it takes to be around you every day?" And even though Patrick pretends he wants to leave, he lets Kevin kiss him this time and it looks really hot and then bam. Cut to them having sex on the floor. With Patrick on the bottom. Which he said to Richie before he didn't like but now he seems to like it. A lot. But when Patrick asks, "So now what?" Kevin seems kind of cold as he's putting his clothes back on and just says, "I don't know, Patrick."
Follow that with Patrick going home and finding Richie waiting for him on his stoop. Richie says he's "this close" to falling in love, but he's pulling back because he doesn't think Patrick is ready. And fresh from hot sex with his boss, Patrick realizes he's probably right. And there are tears. (We know that actor Raul Castillo who plays Richie, though, was upped to season-regular status for Season 2, which means he's not gone for good.)
Then the season closes out with Patrick back in the old apartment with Augustin, in bed watching The Golden Girls on a laptop. We can hear an exchange between Blanche and Dorothy that ends with Dorothy saying, "I have compassionate friends around me." The Golden Girls theme then plays over the closing credits, which: oy.
Looking back on this freshman season of Looking, I can forgive almost everything story-wise except a) letting Ann Magnuson disappear too soon, b) making us wait until Episode 7 to meet Julia Duffy as Patrick's mom, c) not doing any justice whatsoever to Folsom Street Fair, and d) letting Augustin whine so much. Also, Augustin's beard could really use a trim. The show is nothing if not sweet and earnest, and it's hard to hate on it for that even though those are not two adjectives that I typically associate with the S.F. gay scene. And on some level, it has all felt a bit like an outsider's perspective on San Francisco life and Patrick's seeming naivete about everything doesn't really jibe with being here eight years.
But here's hoping that Season Two will be a little less cautious, and slow.