The writers of this week's episode of HBO's Looking, the sixth in this ten-episode season, did a good job building some tension around a totally disastrous Halloween party that Patrick and Augustin decide to throw even if most of the dialogue was a little meh. But I need to point out that, much like they did with the Folsom Street Fair episode last season, they managed to take one of San Francisco's typically raucous high holidays as a backdrop and make it completely un-fun.
Things open with the core trio, Patrick, Dom, and Augustin, costume shopping in a Halloween store in the Mission. Patrick makes a crack about how Augustin and Eddie might be ready for a couples costume by now, and we learn that Dom and Doris are "San Francisco most annoying Halloween couple" with their costume duos cut to Dom whipping out He-Man and She-Ra costumes for Doris, who says, "Oh shit," and says she drunkenly agreed to do a couples costume with new boyfriend Malik.
We then see Patrick at the office, stealing a bunch of leftover Halloween candy, and running into Kevin who's in his office playing a video game even though it's the weekend. Patrick asks if he got the e-vite to his party, saying, "I didn't want you to think that I was throwing a party and purposely didn't invite you" essentially admitting it was just a polite gesture. And Kevin says, "Seeing as this might be our only Halloween in San Francisco, I think John and I might want to see the sights." He then admits that they're contemplating a move back to Seattle, after just a few months, basically because it's too hard to be in the same city as Patrick now. And Patrick, despite being all defiant and angry when we last saw him, looks legitimately sad about this.
Eddie remains very non-committal with Augustin, trying to make sure he doesn't think they're boyfriends and pushing back when Augustin says he wants him to sleep over that night. "I'm not a cuddler," Eddie says.
But the bulk of the episode puts us at the party itself, with Patrick obsessed with a stupid karaoke machine he bought that no one wants to use, trying to be "one of the fun gays," and getting quickly very drunk. And the episode's title is "Looking For Gordon Freeman," which a reference to this video game character only nerds have heard of, Dr. Gordon Freeman from the Half-Life game series.
One of the only people at the party who recognizes the Gordon Freeman thing is Richie's new boyfriend Brady, who comes dressed as Max from Where the Wild Things Are. And all it takes is Patrick seeing Richie and Brady kiss before doing a tequila shot to send him down the road of binge drinking, just to deal. Half-drunk, he then starts talking shit to Brady in the backyard about the fact that he's on PrEP, a.k.a. Truvada, a.k.a. the topic of many debates within the gay community over the last year. Brady and Doris (who's a nurse) are firmly on the side that Truvada is for gay men what the birth control pill was for women in the 70's, freeing them up to have sex without fear. But Patrick, naturally, is a little more prudish about it, and finding out that Brady has just written an article about being on PrEP he stops just short of saying that makes him a whore.
Eddie arrives with a friend who's dressed as an elf from Lord of the Rings, who he tries to set Patrick up with, but Patrick basically blows him off. We see Patrick down a few more drinks and freak out about the karaoke machine, and how no one's signed up to sing. Then, wouldn't you know, Kevin shows up, drunk, with John, also drunk. Patrick is all, "What the fuck are you doing here?" and "It's my party and I'll say what I want to say," and then, with both of his exes in his house with their boyfriends, we brace for a full-scale meltdown.
Patrick runs and grabs the karaoke microphone, stands on a chair, and starts toast- and speech-making almost reminiscent of Shoshana's tell-it-like-it-is meltdown from the last season of Girls, only less funny, more forced, and more tragic.
One by one he calls out his friends, telling everyone about Dom's chicken window and tackily passing around a hat to give him dollars, then calling out Augustin for being such a mess and being way behind on rent something we haven't heard about before. He points to Richie and Brady, condescendingly calling them "soul mates," and then comes Kevin. He points to "my boss" down the hall with his boyfriend, and just as he's about to spill something about "that time we were at the office..." Dom and Augustin wrestle the mic out of his hands. Although, if I were John, I would immediately know something was up.
Patrick and Kevin then have more of a conversation out on the front stoop while John is still inside in which Patrick, a little calmer now, admits that he doesn't want Kevin to move because of how "sad" that will make him. Then John comes out, obviously sensing that he just walked into something serious, and Kevin says, "We need to go." Does this encounter not obviously lead to John wondering what the hell is going on and Kevin finally admitting the affair? Probably. But this whole thing is kind of tortured at this point, right? How many times do we need to see Kevin waffle, or Patrick get exasperated? We get it, they're really into each other. Let's hurry up and get to the part where Kevin breaks up with his boyfriend and then Patrick realizes they're totally wrong for each other. Or, better yet, let's hurry up and get to the part where Patrick meets someone way, way hotter, who's single, and forgets about this whole mess.