We are back with episode two of Netflix’s adaptation of Alice Oseman‘s graphic novel, Heartstopper. In “Crush,” Elle (Yasmin Finney) struggles with fitting in at her new school while Tao (William Gao) tries to convince Charlie (John Locke) that Nick (Kit Connor) is straight. But, it seems that Nick might be struggling with some questions of his own. It’s time to dive in and see what happens next!
DISCLAIMER: This is a recap and, by definition, contains spoilers. If you haven’t watched Heartstopper yet, I suggest checking it out first! Also, be mindful that this series deals with heavy themes that will be discussed below.
Heartstopper‘s second episode, “Crush,” opens as Nick scrolls through Charlie’s Instagram. He comes across a photo of the school hallway with the caption of how much Charlie hates it there. We finally learn that Charlie’s bullying from the year before stems from his coming out as gay. Nick struggles to figure out what to say to Charlie about the situation with Ben (Sebastian Croft) before finally settling on asking how he is feeling.
Charlie tries to play off that he is okay, but Nick gently reminds him that he is there if he ever needs anyone to talk to. This gives Charlie the courage to be honest with Nick and open up about his relationship with Ben. We get a little flashback of how Ben approached Charlie before being taken back to the present. The less of that worm, the better. Charlie thanks Nick and calls him his “supportive straight friend,” which Nick doesn’t deny. Though we can see from his reaction to Charlie’s heart, Nick might be struggling with some feelings of his own.
At Higgs, Elle settles in for another day of school when her teacher, Miss Greenwood (Isabel Adomakoh-Young), confronts her about not having made any friends. She even offers to assign a student to her. But Elle turns down the offer and promises to make a friend in the next few weeks. It does seem that Elle has her eye on a certain blonde girl, though.
We return to Charlie, rereading his texts from Nick, when Tao and Isaac (Tobie Donovan) glance over his shoulder. Tao is very vocal about Nick’s sexuality and continues to try and warn Charlie not to let his feelings go too far. Not happy with his friends’ lack of advice, Charlie turns to Mr. Ajayi (Fisayo Akinade) for help. His isn’t much better. If Charlie wants to get over his crush, he either needs to put space between himself and his crush or learn to suffer in silence with it.
“Crush” shifts back to Higgs, where Tara (Corinna Brown) approaches Elle after finding her pencil case. She even goes as far as inviting her to sit with them at lunch. Elle thinks that she is only offering because Miss Greenwood asked her to and her denial isn’t very convincing. Later at lunch, Elle decides to join Tara and Darcy (Kizzy Edgell) for lunch. Elle opens up to the girls about how life at Higgs is much better than Truham aside from the whole no friends bit. It seems like that is about to change.
Back at Truham, Nick shows Charlie pictures of his super adorable dog and invites him over to meet her. That Saturday, Charlie is ready to head out when his sister Tori (Jenny Walser) questions where he is going but isn’t much help as he is getting ready. Eventually, Charlie heads over to Nick’s and the two spend the day playing games, arguing about how good Charlie is at things and playing in the snow.
Later that day, Nick’s mom (Olivia Colman) asks about how Nick met Charlie. She thinks that Nick is more himself when he is around Charlie. And moms always know. Well, for the most part, they do.
Nick returns to school Monday morning, intending to text Charlie and ask him to hang out the following weekend. But when his friends (and stupid Ben) notice that he is texting someone, they start to get on his case and Nick deletes the message instead of sending it.
During one of the rugby games, Tao comes to chat with Charlie. They both want to talk about Nick. Charlie goes first and shares that he thinks Nick might have feelings for him. But then Tao crushes his dreams when he tells Charlie that he overheard Nick likes a girl. But not just any girl. He apparently likes Tara Jones. The same Tara who recently made friends with Elle. We hope that this is all one big misunderstanding.
Tao calls an emergency meeting between the friends after school to help deal with the Charlie/Nick situation. They bombard Elle with what has been going on and beg her to talk to Tara. Elle promises that if (and only if) she gets a chance to ask Tara, she will.
At Higgs, Elle joins Tara and Darcy’s group in French class and uses the opportunity to ask Tara if she has a boyfriend. And no, she doesn’t. We also learn that Darcy is either really bad at French or has a girlfriend. I guess we will just have to wait and see which one it is.
Back at Truham, Charlie spaces out and imagines Nick saying he only likes girls and that they shouldn’t be friends. Nick snaps Charlie out of it and tries to get him to open up about what is wrong. Instead of being honest with Nick, he invites him to hang out at his house.
“Crush” returns to Higgs, where Elle overhears Darcy and Tara bickering playfully in the classroom. Elle finally decides to ask the two of them if there is something more than friendship going on. And there is. Tara and Darcy as a couple though only a few of their close friends know it. And now, Elle is a part of their inner circle.
The following weekend Nick and Charlie spend more time together. Charlie teaches Nick how to play the drums, they watch movies and it seems like Nick is questioning his feelings for Charlie. There is even a rather romantic moment where Nick almost holds a sleeping Charlie’s hand. He doesn’t, but he does hug Charlie before he abruptly leaves. We have to agree with Tori here. We think Nick might be learning more about his sexuality than he expected.
Charlie reaches out to his friends to figure out the hug situation, and Elle finally lets him know that Tara is not into Nick at all. But that doesn’t mean that Nick doesn’t like her. Just that there is a big chance that they won’t ever become a couple. At Nick’s house, he is still dealing with his feelings for Charlie and “Crush” comes to a close as he asks Google if he is gay. Hopefully, it is a bit more helpful than when you ask Google for medical advice.
Netflix’s adaptation of Heartstopper continues to blow my mind. The main story of the series focuses heavily on Charlie and Nick’s relationship and journies, but Oseman’s secondary characters are just as important. In this episode, we get the chance to see how Elle is settling into a new school and being the odd one out. It was great to see her connect with Tara and Darcy. The diversity and inclusivity are marvelous.
It’s time to head into the next episode! Let’s get this ball rolling!