We have reached the finale for season one of Netflix’s Heartstopper. I will admit that I was nervous about how the adaptation of Alice Oseman‘s graphic novel will go. The series has held a special place in my heart for such a long time. But, I am happy to say that they have blown my expectations out of the water. In the season finale, “Boyfriend,” Higgs and Truham come together for Sports Day and Charlie (John Locke) is on the brink of ending things with Nick (Kit Connor). Grab some more tissues because it is time to dive in!
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.
“Boyfriend” opens with Charlie trying to reach out to Tao (William Gao). When he doesn’t respond, he turns to his music to try to help him escape. But his sister Tori (Jenny Walser) doesn’t want to deal with the noise and tries to get Charlie to open up about what is going on. Charlie blames himself for Nick and Tao’s fight with Harry (Cormac Hyde-Corrin), but Tori knows that isn’t the case and she wasn’t even there. Charlie opens up about how much Ben (Sebastian Croft) messed with his head and now Nick is suffering because of him. If he weren’t around, then everyone would be okay. Tori knows this isn’t true and continues to comfort him.
The next day Charlie shows up at school and while Isaac (Tobie Donovan) is willing to talk to him, Tao is giving him the silent treatment. The sports day between Truham and Higgs is coming up and because he is on the rugby team, he will be expected to participate with them and not his friends. After class, Charlie runs into Nick in the hallway and blows off his request to get lunch together.
Instead, he heads to coach Singh (Chetna Pandya) and quits the rugby team. She tries to get him to tell her if it was any of the boys (yeah, that Harry jerk!) but he doesn’t out anyone. He just claims that rugby isn’t for him. Elsewhere, Nick confronts Tao during lunch to figure out what is going on with Charlie. Tao is over trying to protect Charlie from everything when he doesn’t even act like he exists. Nick tells him that Charlie must have been really nervous about telling him about them because Charlie cares about Tao’s opinion and doesn’t want to disappoint him.
The conversation flips to why Charlie is ignoring Nick. Nick thinks it is because he doesn’t want to have to keep lying about their relationship. Tao gives him some insight into how Charlie thinks and that he constantly blames himself for other people’s problems. He also might be too afraid to tell Nick that he wants to be something more. It’s great that even in his anger, Tao still understands that Nick isn’t ready to come out and that is okay.
Later that night, Nick tries reaching out to Charlie again, but he doesn’t answer him.
“Boyfriend” cuts to Elle (Yasmin Finney), Darcy (Kizzy Edgell) and Tara (Corrina Brown) arriving at Truham. It’s the first time Elle is around everyone she left behind and while she is nervous, she wants to be there. As the school gets ready for the event, Charlie keeps on avoiding Nick. Tao finds Elle and tells her that he hasn’t even signed up for anything. Isaac eventually shows up and when Elle asks about Charlie, no one has seen him. Of course, they all think he will participate in the rugby match later that day.
Inside, Charlie meets up with Mr. Ajayi (Fisayo Akinade) to hideaway. He realizes that something must be going on with Charlie and even if he doesn’t want to open up about it, he gives him some advice. It might seem easier to hide from one’s problems, but the loneliness can be just as bad, if not worse. He tells him that he won’t kick him out of the art room, but he needs to not let people make him disappear.
Outside, coach Singh catches Tao and assigns him the 200-meter run even though he sucks at running. Thankfully, Charlie comes to his rescue and swaps bibs with him. Charlie apologizes to Tao for all of the trouble he caused before heading over to the race. Of course, Ben is there being a jerk face, but it is satisfying to see Charlie pull ahead and beat him in the run. And then the moment gets sweeter when Charlie finally stands up for himself and puts Ben in his place!
Afterward, Charlie and Tao finally apologize and move past their fight. They both understand that they could have been better friends but are willing to work together to get past this. And maybe a few dozen movie nights with all of Tao’s favorites. Tao leaves Charlie to wander the halls with Elle while the rest of the school watches Tara in the high jump and Isaac in the javelin throw.
Inside, Elle and Tao sneak into the art room. He shares his terrible landscape with her and she debates telling him about her feelings. But, Elle chickens out at the last minute and instead tries to rub his facepaint off. There are two almost-kisses before Elle dips off to find her old locker.
“Boyfriend” returns to the field as the rugby match kicks off. Charlie leaves his little hideaway with Isaac to watch the action and cheer Nick on. But Nick isn’t up for playing rugby and leaves the field, grabs Charlie’s hand and drags him off in front of everyone. Inside, Nick confronts Charlie about all of this breakup stuff and tells him that he doesn’t care about getting into fights with his mates or making people angry because Charlie is worth it. Being with Charlie is the best thing that has happened to him and he isn’t willing to throw it away.
Nick asks Charlie if he is free this upcoming Saturday and we skip to their very first date. Except, Nick won’t tell Charlie where they are going. There is a train and then some seagulls before Nick finally reveals that he has taken Charlie to the beach! (Editor note: as someone who lives close to the beach, it always makes me laugh when we get exciting beach trips like it isn’t an everyday occurrence) They spend the day riding rides, taking photos, getting food and doing boyfriend things. While laying on the beach, Nick opens up to Charlie about deciding that he wants to come out.
This excites Charlie, but he wants to make sure that this is something that Nick is sure of. He feels like he knows who he is and doesn’t want to sneak around anymore. He wants them to be able, to be honest with their friends and family and be honest with themselves. So now they are officially boyfriends. Cue adorable running around and telling the world how they feel and nearly dropping Charlie into the ocean.
“Boyfriend” jumps to Nick returning home to find his mom (Olivia Colman) in the kitchen. With his newfound confidence, Nick sits down and tells his mom that Charlie is his boyfriend. It’s a sweet and supportive moment between mother and son, followed by a montage of Nick falling in love with Charlie over the last few months. Season one draws to a close as Nick and Charlie cuddle together on the beach.
What a way to end the season! I have been sitting in my chair chanting, “SIX SEASONS AND A MOVIE!” for the last twenty minutes. Of course, Oseman’s graphic novel doesn’t end here, so Netflix has more material it can adapt into season two. Nick and Charlie are official, but there is still more for us to explore. If season two comes around, I want more Elle and Tao development, more Isaac (because we all need him in our lives), a closer look at Charlie’s struggles and, of course, Nick’s journey in coming out. So Netflix, the ball is in your court. Make us all happy and announce season two!
What have you thought about Heartstopper season one? Let us know in the comments below and on social media!