Our journey into Netflix’s adaptation of Alice Oseman‘s Heartstopper continues with episode three, “Kiss.” The last episode ended with Nick (Kit Connor) seeking answers surrounding his feelings for Charlie (John Locke). Now, Nick is invited to a birthday party for one of his mates and takes Charlie along. There he runs into Tara (Corinna Brown) and Darcy (Kizzy Edgell), who have decided not to hide their relationship anymore.

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.

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“Kiss” picks up where the last episode left off. Nick is sitting in his room asking Google if he is gay and it isn’t helpful at all. It just leaves him feeling more conflicted than ever. While waiting for school to start the next day, Nick is invited to a Harry’s (Cormac Hyde-Corrin) birthday party and Imogen (Rhea Norwood), the girl who got on him about texting someone else last episode, pushes for Nick to invite her as well. It’s pretty clear that she likes him though we wonder if he even notices.

Later on, in the locker room, the guys talk about Nick having two girls to pick from at the party. It seems that Tara and Imogen are going to be there. But Nick stands firm that he doesn’t like Imogen, which prompts the guys to go on about Tara. He doesn’t deny that this might be his chance to get with her and poor Charlie has to sit and listen to all of this. In form, Nick asks Charlie to come to Harry’s party as well. Charlie tries to say no, but Nick really wants him to be there.

That night, Charlie shares the news with Tao (William Gao), Elle (Yasmin Finney) and Isaac (Tobie Donovan). Elle is excited for him, but Tao quickly points out that they already have plans. Charlie tries to get them to reschedule, but Tao won’t budge. Tao tries to get the others to back him up, but Isaac doesn’t even bother joining the gray and Elle tells Charlie that everything is going to be fine and have fun. But we know Tao isn’t going to let this go.

Charlie, Tao and Elle texting about Charlie going to a birthday party with Nick.

The night of the party arrives as Charlie is dropped off with the promise that if he needs to leave, then just to call. He makes his way through the party, looking for Nick, who is spending time with his mates. But, Nick seems preoccupied and when the two finally meet up, we learn that he has been waiting for Charlie this whole time.

“Kiss” cuts to Tao’s house as Elle arrives. It is fantastic to see Tao’s mom be so supportive of her and inquire about her school and how she is doing. Elle and Tao rush upstairs to settle on the movie when Isaac sends a message claiming he is sick and bails as well, leaving the two of them all alone.

Back at the party, Nick’s friends find him and Charlie chatting together. They pull Nick away to see Tara in an attempt to get the two to rekindle their romantic relationship. Very awkward for all parties involved. Charlie doesn’t seem to know how to deal with it and rushes off. We shift to Tao’s house, where he opens up to Elle about Charlie’s recent changes. The fact that he bailed on them for a rich boy party, his crush on Nick and that Nick has stolen Charlie. Elle doesn’t want to argue about this and goes back to watching the movie.

Nick is having his own awkward moment as he tries to talk to Tara and explain what he thinks is going on. Tara opens up to Nick about her relationship with Darcy and that they have decided to stop hiding it. They aren’t looking to make a big announcement but just to not hide how they feel anymore. In turn, Nick opens up about being friends with Charlie and even calls him his best friend.

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When Tara and Darcy head off to dance, Nick realizes that Charlie has disappeared. He heads off to find him, but Harry and the others find Nick first. They make some pretty homophobic comments about Charlie having a crush on Nick and Nick calls them out. It turns out he doesn’t want to be friends with the crappy birthday boy after all. He doesn’t bother hanging around to see what they have to say and heads off to find Charlie instead.

“Kiss” returns to Tao’s house, where he apologizes for making the night awkward. But Elle is right; change is good sometimes. She opens up that the party might not even be that bad since she has friends there. Tao is excited that she finally made friends at school and Elle shares that she was worried about how people would react to her, so she kept her distance. But this change is a good one. She feels safe and happy in her new school. It seems that more might be changing on the horizon as Tao reaches over and holds her hand.

Back at the party, Charlie wanders off on his own when he runs into Ben (Sebastian Croft) while Nick rushes around looking for him. While Charlie argues with Ben, who just can’t get a hint, Tao and Elle promise that their friendship will always come first. Elle thinks it is a bit dramatic, but she agrees anyway.

While Nick is searching for Charlie, Imogen stops him and gets him to dance with her. He tries to get away, but she won’t let go. She even drops that she likes him and wants to be with him. Nick looks extremely uncomfortable and manages to break her off of him and heads off to find Charlie. He spots Tara and Darcy in the crowd, who have decided they aren’t hiding anymore and share a kiss.

Darcy and Tara dancing together at Harry's birthday party while other people dance around them.

Nick finally finds Charlie, who tells Nick that he felt like he was in the way and that Nick’s friends are intimidating. But Nick doesn’t see them as friends anymore and shares that he really likes hanging out with Charlie instead. Charlie switches the conversation over to running into Ben, but he handled it. Nick decides it’s too loud and the two head off to find somewhere quieter to hang out. That somewhere is a big empty room all to themselves.

Charlie finally gets the courage to ask about Tara and if Nick has a crush on someone. The conversation flows into Charlie asking if Nick would date or kiss someone who wasn’t a girl. More importantly, would Nick kiss Charlie? Mix that with the little pinky holding between them (and if Bridgerton taught us anything this season, hand-holding and near touching is swoon-worthy), Nick saying yes and the two drifting closer together and we have got ourselves our first kiss. And then some.

The moment is ruined as Nick hears his friends looking for him and he bolts out of the room, leaving Charlie behind. Outside he tells the guys that he must have just been in a bad mood before rushing back to find Charlie. But Charlie called his dad to come to pick him up and take him home. That night, he struggles with what happened. “Kiss” comes to a close the following day when Charlie awakes to no messages but someone banging at the door. And that someone is Nick, standing in the rain.

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What an ending! For those who have read the original graphic novel, we know what comes next. But there is still a chance that Netflix could swap a few things around. So far, Heartstopper has exceeded my expectations in both bringing the story to life and expanding to give us more from the secondary characters. I hope that we get the chance to learn more about Tao and Isaac as the season goes on.

No point in spending any more time here; let’s dive into episode four!

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Julia Roth
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