Love, Victor - Battle of the Bands - Review By Ali (June 22, 2020, 9:00 pm)
Episode 3 was a roller coaster because it mixed moments of sweetness with moments of heartache and heartbreak, but we also discovered Andrew might have depth.
Victor begins the episode writing to Simon about sexuality being a spectrum. What an empowering moment. We have a Latine character, a person of color, declaring sexuality is a spectrum. We’ve come so far in this world and even with the miles we have left to go, this feels like a win. Although, just a few breaths later, he compares Mia to an Impossible Burger, which I have some issues with if I’m being honest. Judging by Simon’s hesitation in the voiceover, he shares my thoughts, but we’ve both got some years on Victor, so he’ll grow and learn why we don’t compare people to food. I will never ignore moments that set us back instead of move us forward, but maybe the writers meant it as a teachable moment.
Victor embraces exploration and asks Mia to Battle of the Bands, which takes place at the local coffee shop. We all know somehow and in some way Benji is going to derail Victor’s plans. Maybe with a smile or by tightly packing the coffee grounds in a whisper thin t-shirt. Who knows. Victor also tells Mia she has a good face. He isn’t wrong. Victor has embraced the journey, but as a viewer, you know that fear and denial are playing a part in his choices. Both feelings are justified, this world doesn’t make it easy. He’s figuring it all out, his way. And in the words of Ms. Frizzle that means he’s going to “take chances, make mistakes, get messy.”
Victor and Mia always seem to fit until Benji looks his way. At work, Victor and Benji dance to “Call Me Maybe”. It involves rump shaking. Did Benji just say “Ferris wheel boo?” Interesting. He’s really invested in Victor’s relationship with Mia. We get a little casual jealousy, and this is the first sign that Victor’s feelings might be poorly hidden but they aren’t totally unrequited. This not flirting flirting is sort of charming, but it also sends Victor spiraling and he decides he can’t take Mia to Battle of the Bands once he finds out Benji is going to be there. Oh, honey.
Elsewhere, Lake and Andrew meet in detention. He apparently pantsed the coach, which I’m pretty sure in the world of real people is worth far more than in-school detention. Lake manages to spill that Mia is going on a date with Victor. What are friends for? Andrew is in his feelings and suggests a double date. Lake in the throes of teenage bad judgement misses all of the warning signs and agrees. It’s easy to ignore warning signs when you’re 16.
In another elsewhere, Isabel has gotten dolled up and is feeling herself. She’s wearing my preferred power color, pink. People seriously underestimate its power. Turns out she’s looking good because Pilar is making her a Facebook page. This way she can stay in touch with all the friends and family still in Texas. Here we have a small moment that is going to have big repercussions. That’s the only reason to give something so minor such attention. Armando notices and appreciates Isabel. He suggests a date night. Armando and Isabel are clearly treading water, so this date night might be a good thing for them. It could be a chance to reconnect, but it’s more likely a chance for the audience to gain more insight into the drama that’s fueling the tension in their marriage.
While Battle of the Bands rages on, Victor, in an effort to avoid Benji, takes Mia to an art show. He got the idea from her earlier sculpture work, but it’s a misfire because most of the art is made from repurposed trash. Not so much of a misfire that we don’t get a kiss. And like Victor and Mia, it’s sweet. Wholesome even. However, the time has come to advance the plot, so off to Battle of the Bands they go. Side note: Wardrobe worked it out, and Mia’s outfit is cute! She’s cute, let her wear cute clothes.
Meanwhile, at Battle of the Bands, Andrew has shown his true colors, again, revealing to Lake his ulterior motive in asking her to the show. Turns out it was all about Mia. Gasp. And it’s complicated. Double gasp. Even though Lake initially laughs at his bad jokes when she learns the truth, she drinks some self-respect juice and lets him know that as awesome as Mia is, she’s also awesome. So proud. You know who else thinks Lake is awesome? Felix.
Felix is awkward around her, but he’s so endearing. He’s a standout character and has captured my whole heart. He takes the stage, borrowing a page from Daft Punk, as DJ F-Bomb. And he has the crowd, but what begins beautifully ends in disaster. That’s too bad because Lake has a thing for DJs. Why can’t the sidekick have nice things?
As we all knew, Benji’s band, The Sticky Beaks, wins the Battle of the Bands. As the winner, they perform one more song—”Call Me Maybe”. Really Benji? I’m so easy because I find this adorable. Victor is just as easy because he is in his own world, literally. The rest of the crowd fades away while Victor makes heart eyes at a smoldering Benji. Then came the record scratch. Why are Benji's lips touching some tall boy’s lips? Excuse you, Benji. You have a boyfriend? Explain yourself.
Remember date night? Armando and Isabel eat sushi. It’s going well until she mentions the time they went to that ramen place. They have never been to a ramen place. Isabel catches her mistake but not soon enough. Yikes! She clearly had ramen and some other things with a man not named Armando. And now we know the source of the tension. Despite Isabel’s course correction, Armando decides to deliver a killing blow when he says, “You love trying new things.” The absolute shade. I felt that. It isn’t enough that the tension is back and worse than ever between Armando and Isabel because back at home, Pilar is hard at work on her mother’s Facebook page when Roger R sends Isabel a few messages. Why do people conduct their shady business on social media? Not exactly the most secure of places. Pilar is a smart girl and connects the dots along with the audience. She knows what Isabel has done and gives her mom the cold shoulder. Isabel is surely heartbroken by the state of her family, but it’s also clear she broke some hearts. I’ll just say it’s complicated, emotions always are. Actions though, that’s another story.
Simon comes through at the end with more advice for Victor. Advice we now know Victor will ignore because that’s part of messy and mistakes. Victor lets Simon know that he felt butterflies when he kissed Mia. Simon tells Victor, in far nicer terms than I’m about to use, that feeling butterflies when you kiss someone is super cute but also amateur hour. Simon compares it to fighter jets flying over head and huge, crashing waves. Things far bigger than butterflies. Simon speaks the truth.
What Else I Loved: They mentioned Gertrude Barnstone and the art kid in me smiled long and hard. Her quote, “ . . . something that makes a shadow” really gets to the heart of Mia. I hope we’re building to her knowing that it’s okay to take up space. To make a shadow.
What did we think? Did we witness the beginning of Andrew's redemption arc?