Looking – Episode 3 – Review

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Who wouldn’t want their staff appreciation party to be on an actual battleship? Can you imagine?! Well, you won’t have to as we get a quick look at the antics and excitement that can be had in the latest episode of Looking. All aboard!

In case you missed it a few episodes ago, Patrick is a video game level designer, and having completed the game that his team was working on, celebrations ensued. Despite the fact that in the first five minutes of episode three my ears have heard the words ‘British people are awful’, this was another exciting installment with great guest stars and more (thank goodness) of cynical, snarky Doris.

For now, at least, Patrick is leaving Richie and the most awkward date ever in the past. It seems that Patrick, dear and sweet as he is, is a well intentioned fool who manages to say exactly the wrong thing, with too much effort, whenever he’s around someone he thinks he might fancy. Oh, poor boy, I feel your pain.

Russell Tovey (Being Human) is Looking‘s first guest star, and as Tovey himself describes him, he’s ‘forbidden fruit’. Patrick decides after a couple of cocktails; served by a rather handsome sailor-waiter, that this mildly obnoxious British guy will be the next victim of his ‘‘flirting’’. Clearly showing that alcohol impairs good decision-making, Patrick mounts an on-board missile opposite Tovey’s character Kevin.

Under the guise of asking whether he prefers to play as the female or the male characters he tries to ascertain Kevin’s sexuality. Kevin sees completely through this and puts him out of his misery, piling on his slight sense of superiority by saying they wouldn’t be hooking up anyway as he has a boyfriend. Cue internal screaming, cursing and the panicky realization that Kevin could be Patrick’s next boss; he’s joining the SF branch the next day. Patrick will spend the rest of the episode acting desperate to please while simultaneously annoyed that he’s made something of a fool out of himself.

(Do gay/bi men prefer to play as the female characters? I do, but mainly because they tend to be more agile, have better powers and can do more than hit really hard. Your thoughts?)

Patrick is still feeling adrift in life and thinks that a relationship is the only way to move forward. But this is the turning point. Thanks to mild mockery and the challenge to look at how he really feels about work, and life, from Kevin; by way of his internet browsing history, Patrick takes some time for himself and challenges the ‘wrong impression’ of himself that people keep getting. By deleting his Ok Cupid account and working on something to show Kevin that he really is passionate about his work, he finds out that he already knows he’s good but they both needed to see his determination pulling through over his complacency. Despite his awkwardness, Patrick manages to have a moment of clarity and profits from it.

Which leads us to the continuing non-adventures of the most selfish person to ever grace TV; I can’t even think of anyone who has annoyed me as much as he. Agustín has so much angst that it’s crippling him. I felt sorry for Frank this entire episode. Frank is someone who just wants to be in a relationship with the man he loves, but can’t even ask him about his art without getting his head bitten off in the rudest way possible. Agustín doesn’t call himself an artist but having a big, know-it-all mouth when it comes to giving his opinion loses him his job as an artist’s assistant. I think it’s safe to assume that the artist he worked for was probably quite encouraging to begin with but became more and more irate the more miserable Agustín became.

Looking back, the only time Agustín has been happy was when he ended up having a threesome, leading me to assume that he must be the sort of person who’d have the same wants as Patrick but when he gets them, he’s always thinking of what else he could be doing, or who else. Luckily for Patrick and Dom, they aren’t so engrained in each other’s lives that he’d bring them down, but for Frank, there is going to be a quick build and then some serious ramifications.

After leaving his job in a huff, Agustín tends to his wounded ego with a slice of cake in a coffee shop. He gets talking to the bearded man next to him who comfortably reveals that he’s a prostitute; and he’s got the embossed cards to prove it. What is with this show and business cards? Agustín gets it into his head that this might be a good idea. Hooray, sure to be the nail in the coffin of his relationship with Frank. His sheer self-serving bullishness is winning him no friends but might end up losing him some.

Back on the happier side of life, Dom and his renewed joy are going to finally open the restaurant of his dreams. The key will be peri peri chicken (Nando’s?) but he’s having trouble finding the chef he needs, or rather, she’s afraid of losing her job when he doesn’t yet have the money to do it. It’ll take some time but he’s not letting it bring him down. All his joy is a shock to Doris who feels unnerved at his unabated happiness and then finds herself ruined by a particularly speedy dancercise class. She’s just… so…perfect.

Enter guest star number two, Scott Bakula as Lynn (I didn’t even know that was his name and wouldn’t if it weren’t for Wikipedia). He’s an older gentleman whom Dom meets in the steam room. He tries to strike up a conversation but quickly remembers that only in the better days gone by did people actually talk in saunas, ‘we still had sex, but it was friendlier’. It’s interesting to see his acceptance rather than resentment about the changing world. He’s nostalgic but tolerant. He’s also a recurring character, so despite Dom scampering off with the very keen guy who appears to be rubbing himself against the glass door, we clearly haven’t seen the last of this charming potential love interest.

Looking‘s three main characters’ stories are largely left untangled from one another, putting the emphasis on the varied lives of these gay men. The only common link between them is the fact that they’re all gay. How this develops, largely in the love lives of these men, should be intriguing and most likely surprising. The pace of the episodes is perfect, leading into new situations without making them seem far fetched. They go just far enough to keep you interested and to move each character’s story into the next stage.

P.S. From now on chicken is to be known as ‘the Queen of meats’.