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Looking at ‘Looking’: A Character By Character Rundown Of The First Season (And Where We Hope They Head Next)

Looking at 'Looking': A Character By Character Rundown Of The First Season (And Where We Hope They Head Next)

The article below contains spoilers for the entire first season of looking, including its season finale — “Looking Glass” — which aired March 9th.

“Looking” came to an all-too-quick season’s end last night (but hey, at least it wasn’t series’ end), with its eighth half hour — “Looking Glass” — bringing each of its protagonists to a moment of forced self-evaluation, for better or worse (hence the episode’s title). 

Only Dom left us on a hopeful note as he finally realized he wants more from Lynn than a business relationship (thanks to the consistent nudging of Doris), while both Patrick and Agustín saw their varying degrees of self-destructive behavior come back around as their now ex-boyfriends (at least for now) Richie and Frank called them out on what neither of them seemed quite capable of seeing themselves all season. It was certainly the series’ most emotional episodes (Doris’ “he’s worth it” speech to Lynn!), and one of its sexiest (jesus christ, Russell Tovey), bringing story arcs full circle as it opened up new ones for the second season. But instead of giving the episode our traditional play-by-play, let’s look back at both it and the entire season with regard to each “Looking” character, offering our hopes for next time around in the process:

Patrick (Jonathan Groff)
Where We Meet Him: Getting a reluctant hand job in a park (which he abandons when he gets a phone call he fears might be his mother “stopping him from being one of those gays who hooks up in a park” — it wasn’t), going on an OKCupid date with a horrible oncologist, and then finally, meeting a boy on a bus that would end up becoming his boyfriend by season’s end.
Where We Leave Him: Patrick develops into an fascinatingly imperfect antihero as the episodes continue along, one driven by his desire to project himself as a good person, and fight against the flaws he feels he’s largely been handed by his WASPy mother. This plays considerably into his romance with boy on the bus Richie, a Mexican hairdresser that is as far from what he believes his mother would want for him as possible.  But what does Patrick really like about Richie? It’s a question Agustín rightfully asks him in the season finale, and one that he basically answers by saying that it’s because Richie is really nice and sincere. Which might make Patrick feel good about himself, but sure isn’t enough to stop him from letting his boss Kevin — who he has been flirting with all season — go where Richie (and potentially no man) had gone before: Inside him. After resisting Richie’s advances to fuck him and then acknowledging he probably has some bottom shame, Patrick let that all go out the window with the hot, rich British boss that is exactly the kind of man his mother would approve of (she confirmed this in last week’s episode). 
Where We Hope He Goes: While by no means a role model, Patrick did develop into a layered and interesting and contemporary character like few others on television, and we look forward to the “Looking” writers (and Groff) fleshing that out even further next season. But whatever happens with his probably-won’t-end-well Richie/Kevin love triangle (our heart says Richie, but our…), his main concern should probably be to stop blaming others for his weaknesses and start working on both his internalized homophobia and the classist and racist tendencies that his relationship with Richie made clear. We also wouldn’t complain if he wore more leather vests.

Agustín (Frankie J. Álvarez)
Where We Meet Him: Moving out of the apartment he shared with Patrick since after college and in with his long-term boyfriend Frank — a decision that sparks a downward spiral for their relationship and any “Looking” viewer’s capacity to not want to jump into their television and slap Agustín in the face.
Where We Leave Him: Finally getting what’s coming to him. After spending the entire season acting liked a self-entitled, spoiled disaster and treating everyone around him like shit, Frank rightfully throws him out via the intensely cruel monologue we’ve all been wanting to scream at Agustín all season. Which sends him alone and defeated — not to mention high on MDMA — to Dom’s pop up restaurant opening, where he actually comes the closest he has all season to resembling someone we’d want to hang out with as he gives Patrick the honest advice he needs to hear (in much less condescending form than usual — can Agustín just be high all the time next season?). 
Where We Hope He Goes: Agustín far from fully redeemed himself in the season finale, and his arc in season two has got to be the toughest for the “Looking” writers to pull off. He’s largely been the characters viewers hate to hate, but the fact that his entire world has finally been pulled out from underneath him opens a window for Agustín to take a serious look at himself and move in direction that’s a lot more appealing for his fellow “Looking” characters — — and for us as viewers. What that direction is, I really have no idea. Just as long as its not opening a Piri Piri restaurant. 

Dom (Murray Bartlett)
Where We Meet Him: Freaking out to his roommate and BFF Doris about whether or not to call his former boyfriend, who he has discovered has gone from the drug addict who borrowed (and never repaid) thousands of dollars from him to a successful real estate agent with money to apparently spare. Doris warns him not to, but Dom calls him anyway (and as Doris suspected, it doesn’t end well).
Where We Leave Him: After his attempt at getting his money back from his loser ex-boyfriend fails, we learn that Dom — motivated rather desperately by the fact that he’s about to turn 40 — wants the money so he can fulfill a lifelong dream of… opening a Piri Piri chicken restaurant (which somehow remains a consistently endearing dream all season). This becomes a lot more possible when he meets Lynn, an older man with business expertise who decides to take Dom under his wing. But as things start looking up chicken-wise, the nature of Lynn and Dom’s relationship ends up proving confusing for both of them. Things almost seems doomed until Doris swoops into give both men individual pushes that lead to a substantially adorable kiss at episode’s end.
Where We Hope He Goes: We wish nothing but the best for our favorite moustached 40 year old. With Patrick and Agustín sure to start off season two in troubled waters, having at least one character who is on a roll would be nice. And the season finale definitely set that possibilty up nicely, with both his chicken dreams and relationship with Lynn looking more likely than ever. We approve of all of the above, though we’d also like to see some serious gratitude to Doris for holding your hand through the entire season (oh, and in addition to some hot sex between him and Lynn, can we also please get the flashback episode where him and Patrick meet via what we’ve now learned was a hook up?).

Doris (Lauren Weedman)
Where We Meet Her: We’re introduced to Doris when she calls out Dom for suggesting he should contact his emotionally abusive ex-boyfriend, and it was love at first sight. “We’ve come a long way for a couple of Modesto rednecks, all right,” she spits at him. “You don’t need to be taking career advice from a psychotic narcissist.” 
Where We Leave Her: Being the best fucking friend ever. After spending most of the season spitting out great one-liners (“It’s pinyata time bitches!”) and subtly motivating Dom to do what’s best for him, Doris pushed herself into overdrive by making damn sure her best friend didn’t lose the opportunity to nab Lynn. First by making Dom jealous of the man Lynn brought to his pop up restaurant opening (the resulting “I’d let him sit on my face” line is perhaps Doris’ best) and then by going up to Lynn and basically telling him not to fuck this up, Doris was one sassy cupid in the season finale.
Where We Hope She Goes: Promoted to series regular for season two, the only female (and heterosexual, for that matter) character on “Looking” deserves her own story arc next time around, and it could involve pretty much anything and we’d gladly watch.
Richie (Raúl Castillo)
Where We Meet Him: On a bus, hitting on Patrick while on his way to work the door at his friend’s bar. Richie invites Patrick to join him (and somehow sincerely pulls off the pickup line “we have a special tonight for pretty blue eyes”), and while Patrick initially declines, this indeed starts a very bumpy road to them becoming boyfriends.
Where We Leave Him: Tearfully admitting to Patrick that he’s both “this close” to falling in love with him, and aware that Patrick’s not ready for it (though not aware Patrick just got fucked by his boss). It appears to be the end of a relationship that was no easy ride for Richie, who time and time again was forced to push back due to Patrick’s various (often race and class motivated) fuck ups, only get pulled back in by his awkward but undeniable charm (and — we’d suspect — those pretty blue eyes). 
Where We Hope He Goes: Or maybe it’s not the end? Castillo has been bumped up to series regular for season two, suggesting maybe Richie gives Patrick yet another go. We honestly hope that’s not the case. They are clearly not a good match, and for Richie’s sake we hope “Looking” gives him his own storyline and a non-Patrick love interest.

Kevin (Russell Tovey)
Where We Meet Him: Through a tipsy Patrick at a massive party for video gamers held on, of course, a naval ship.  Patrick clumsily flirts with him before realizing Kevin both has a boyfriend, and is about to become Patrick’s new boss. 
Where We Leave Him: Oh, how the tables turned. After drunkenly kissing Patrick in the bathroom at his sister’s wedding at the end of last week’s episode, Kevin takes it a considerable step further by manipulating Patrick to come to the office after hours for non-existent work reasons only to quickly seduce him via an incredibly sexy rant about his problematic crush on him. 
Where We Hope He Goes: Even though both Kevin and Patrick’s behavior has been morally ambiguous at best all season, we can’t help but be curious where things could go with them. We doubt Kevin will be quick to breakup with his own boyfriend (or his money), but watching Patrick navigate being the other man would be pretty interesting. Not to mention their dynamic is certainly the sexiest of all the “Looking” matchups, and we’re all for a sequel to their tryst on the office couch.

Frank (O.T. Fagbenle)
Where We Meet Him: Making the horrible decision to let Agustín move into his Oakland apartment.
Where We Leave Him: Telling Agustín to get the fuck out of that Oakland apartment after finding out he paid a sex worker to fuck Frank for the sake of Agustín’s “art.” It’s a long time coming given all the shit he’s put up with all season, and to be honest we never quite understood what Frank saw in Agustín to begin with. Though we also didn’t see the pre-domestication part of their relationship which had to have been better than we witnessed this season.
Where We Hope He Goes: Nothing against Frank (or the adorable O.T. Fagbenle), but we kind hope we never see him again. It’s certainly in Frank’s best interest to keep Agustín as far away from his possible, so unless “Looking” gives him his own storyline (and since he was not promoted to series regular, we doubt it), let this be the end of Frank.
Lynn (Scott Bakula)
Where We Meet Him: In a bathhouse sauna via Dom, who Lynn initially thinks is flirting with him before realizing Dom just wants his business advice. Lynn cautiously allows their relationship to persist in that regard, and he gives Dom the money for the pop up Piri Piri restaurant we see open in the season finale.
Where We Leave Him: Much more self-assured than, say, Richie or Frank, Lynn never quite allows Dom to walk all over him. But after a confrontation in last week’s episode, he seems to decide for himself that having Dom in his life is not the best idea.  Until, of course, that aforementioned talking to from Doris, which sways him in the other direction.
Where We Hope He Goes: We heart Lynn even more than we heart Dom, and though Bakula was not tapped as a series regular for next season, we sure hope he — and Lynn — are at least back in recurring form and “Looking” explores the potential of his non-business related relationship with Dom.

Check out our recaps of every “Looking” episode, along with interviews with cast members here. And follow us on Twitter and Facebook if you feel so obliged.


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Comments

Papi

ugh…. Patrick and Richie better hook up. I've already booked my ticket for the wedding. Kevin will easily tire of Patrick. (but ouch he is sooo cute)

I think the point is Love is not ever ever exactly where it 'should' be, rather it is more coming to terms with it when it finds you. 2x for Richie

Hugo

We all love Doris, but isn't it problematic when the one universally liked character by gay people is a straight woman? Says something about the whole endeavor as well as the audience.

So you're #TeamKevin, Knegt? Doubting it works out that way. Richie is too much of a good influence not to win out.

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