Love, Victor - Boys' Trip - Reviews: We Are Family By Ali (July 2, 2020, 9:30 pm)
Identity, self-acceptance, and forgiveness are the real winners in this episode. Self-respect also joined the party but with varying degrees of success.
Victor uses parental guilt and cluelessness to his advantage. He creates an entire weekend basketball camp because he needs to see Simon. With one 22-hour bus ride and very little advance notice, Victor is off to see life beyond high school and family. Guess what though? Simon isn’t in NY. He’s in NJ, so he sends Bram to meet Victor.
Back in Creekwood, Mia is pissed that Victor has bailed on her for the weekend. How many times does your boyfriend of a few months have to piss you off before you think about dumping him? Instead of dumping Victor, Mia starts snarky flirting with Andrew after he compliments the teacher. Can we call it flirting? Or is it just attention-seeking behavior? Or both? Her comment about him making a move on anyone is just odd since he’s spent seven episodes only making a move on her.
Andrew and Mia aren’t the only in class texters. Lake texts Felix about meeting up later for some sexy times, but accidentally sends it to Mia. This will come back to bite Lake. Felix gets in on the action, and they all get Saturday detention because students only think they’re sneaky. Does this mean we’ll be treated to a The Breakfast Club homage? There is always an homage to The Breakfast Club.
Lake and Felix are making out in what appears to be a very well lit, not at all concealed hallway at school. This is covert? Maybe because it’s Saturday they feel emboldened? Lake is still embarrassed by Felix. Come on Felix. You’re better than this. You deserve better than this. I need you to love yourself. When they part, Lake goes to sit with Mia who spots a hickey. Mia is on the case. She uses the hickey and Lake talking to Andrew as proof that the two are secretly hooking up.
Victor meets Bram and Simon’s roommates - Justin (Tommy Dorfman), Ivy (Friday Chamberlain), and Kim (River Gallo). They are too much for Victor and the few baby steps he took out of the closet are erased, so he lies and claims to be Bram and Simon’s pre-frosh. Wait? NYU? Bram goes to Columbia. Well, book Bram goes to Columbia. The roommates invite Victor to Messy Boots, but the words drag show seem to terrify him. In fact, Victor is now in a perpetual state of discomfort and fear. I don’t think his face has relaxed since he stepped into the apartment. Bram pulls Victor aside and asks him about the lie. Victor explains that he just isn’t feeling comfortable with a bunch of people he doesn’t know, and it’s all a bit too “gay” for him. It’s time to “butch” it up, so Bram takes him to play basketball. On the basketball court, for the first time since he arrived, Victor visibly relaxes. So Bram let’s him know he just played in a gay league. And he zeroes in on Victor’s insecurity, that being gay means one thing and looks one way. Victor has fallen into the trap of the single story, but Bram assures him “that there’s no one way to be gay.” So true. There’s no one way to be anything.
Back in Creekwood, Isabel in an effort to win over Pilar takes her for a cartilage piercing. It’s such a small thing, but I was so happy to see them sitting in an actual piercing shop instead of a swivel chair in the middle of a mall. Tip: getting pierced with a needle instead of a piercing gun is less traumatic for your body, usually results in an easier heal, and is less likely to introduce bacteria because needles are sterile whereas guns are just disinfected. This concludes my public service announcement. Pilar was sneaky and added a tongue piercing. I’m sure Isabel and Armando are going to freak out, but it could have been worse and much lower.
Mia is angry cleaning graffiti off the walls at school while watching Lake and Andrew talk and joke like normal people. She tells Felix that Lake and Andrew are hooking up, which sparks a fire in him, so the cleaning couples swap. Mia isn’t suspicious of Felix’s behavior? She probably doesn’t notice because she’s dealing with her own jealousy. When Felix confronts Lake about Mia’s claim, she tells him that jealousy is hot. Jealousy is only hot in fiction, Lake.
Here we go! Felix takes itty bitty baby steps to stand up for himself in hopes that Lake will agree to make their “relationship” public. Is what they’re doing considered a relationship? Lake tells Felix that she’s embarrassed by him and wants to keep things on the DL. I need this Felix and Lake thing to end.
When Victor sees Justin’s clothes and makeup, he asks why so many gay people like dressing up in drag. Justin learns him a little lesson. He shows Victor a picture of him with his parents. He’s wearing a conservative suit, and he looks absolutely dejected. In a powerful moment for the characters and the audience, Justin alludes to suicidal ideation. Suicide attempts for LGBTQIA+ youth are significantly higher than that of their heterosexual counterparts, fives times as high for some groups within the community. Justin assures Victor that he was playing a character when he was denying who he was while living with his parents and practicing a religion that hates him. That inauthentic Justin was him in drag. The clothes and makeup he wears now are just Justin being Justin. Victor finally feels safe enough to open himself up to the group and admits he’s afraid of how his parents will react. Group hug. That was cleansing.
At the Salazars, Armando is in the middle of an I told you so with Isabel. Isabel explains how much it hurts that Pilar is still angry with her about the affair. She just wants her daughter back. She pushes at Armando because Pilar isn’t angry with him because she doesn’t know what he did. I’d almost forgotten about his dirty little secret. I’m starting to think it isn’t actually dirty. It’s been too secret for too long. The impact of the reveal is going to fizzle. Armando goes to talk to Pilar about her anger towards Isabel. He wants her to forgive her mom. Pilar wants to know if he’s forgiven Isabel. He lies to his daughter. The eyes tell the story. It works though because Pilar cuddles up to her mother. This happyish home is on the verge of an explosion.
Lone Stone is the horrible and false nickname Andrew gave Felix years ago after some unfortunate accident. Felix decides it's the root of all his troubles with Lake and stands up for himself. Andrew claims it’s just him being the funny guy, but Felix unleashes telling him, “Nobody’s laughing because you’re funny. They’re laughing because they don’t want to be the next victim of a dumb cliched jock straight out of an ‘80s movie.” You can see in Andrew’s face that he just realized he’s a bully. Really, Andrew? How did you miss that you’re a bully? I don’t love that Felix only related Andrew’s torment to dating and girls instead of his overall mental well-being and self-respect, but 16.
Let’s check in on Messy Boots. It’s a play on Kinky Boots, right? Everything is going swimmingly. A boy flirts with Victor who makes it awkward. Bram and the roommates tell Victor he’s going to break a lot of hearts because he’s a cutie. Then Ivy let’s it slip that they know about Benji. Has she had too much to drink? Maybe, but it’s really just an injection of drama. Turns out Simon has been sharing Victor’s secrets. Victor flips. I get that, but did Victor just try to get righteous about lying? Should we count the times, Victor? You’ve lied three times just in this episode. I get it though. No one wants their business shared with strangers. It shatters Victor’s safe space, so he walks out of the club.
Felix really got to Andrew, so he asks Mia if he’s a bad guy. She thinks deep down he’s good but surface level he’s a jerk. I agree. For most of the episodes, I thought Andrew was a jerk to his core, but the more history I get the less one-note he becomes. I’m not sure his redemption arc is going to be enough for most of the viewing audience. Andrew course corrects by putting some pro-Felix graffiti on the walls. When Felix sees that he has two big balls, he raises a triumphant fist as he exits. Another little homage to The Breakfast Club.
Simon with the perfect timing. He looks rather cold. Victor thinks Simon has been laughing about him with his friends. Simon tells him that he’s not a gay guru and he didn’t want to misstep or give Victor terrible advice. Simon says he never had a girlfriend, but Bram did. What are they doing? That doesn’t track with the books or the movie. Book Simon had multiple girlfriends. Movie Simon had at least one. Why! What’s the purpose of these cosmetic changes? Pick a Simon universe and stay true to at least that one. Anyway, each of Simon’s friends has something to offer. Something that would help Victor. Girlfriend. Religious parents. Simon explains that the best things about the LGBTQIA+ community is having a community of people who can all share their experiences. Simon gives Victor his jacket. It’s like the passing of the torch except we all want to take a torch to the jacket because it’s not cute. Time for dancing and a tiny bit of flirting. In the midst of all this, Mia calls Victor. It goes straight to voicemail because he’s having the best night of his life.
There’s a reckoning coming. And maybe more Benji kisses.
What did you think of the episode? Will Victor come out to friends and family now?