Welcome back to another Love, Victor recap! Last time, Victor (Michael Cimino) blamed himself for all the problems in the universe and no one really told him otherwise. And his mom, Isa (Ana Ortiz) took him to church.
We’re in the home stretch now, as Season 3 Episode 7, “The Gay Award” is the series’ penultimate episode. It does what it says on the tin. A wee little content warning: the homophobia and bullying is strong in this episode.
As this is a recap, it’s got more spoilers than Victor has storylines about being gay. You’ve been warned.
“About being so brave and open about … you know … [flails arms].”
Nick (Nico Greetham) and Victor hold hands after a mini golf date. Apparently Nick likes to cheat (at mini golf, that is). Victor invites him up. Nick turns him down. He wants to take things slow this time around. They kiss goodnight.
Victor gets a text from his basketball coach. Is he in trouble?
The next morning, Coach (Andy Richter) tells Victor he’s getting an award before the winter carnival. Is it MVP? Nope. It’s something even more important. Given the title of this episode, I somehow doubt that.
He’s getting the Bravery Award. It’s an award for being gay. Victor’s face speaks for all of us when coach says “Yes queen” and “slaying.”
Poor Victor. His life can’t move beyond being about being gay even if he wants it to. That might sound rich, coming from me, 90% of whose articles are about queer things. But honestly? Outside of this job, queerness is but one facet of my identity.
Victor’s gonna get back to Coach about whether he wants to accept the award. Coach was not expecting that. He’s already paid the 3D printer for the award.
“Our relationship journey is over.”
Over at Felix’s (Anthony Turpel), Felix overhears his mom, Dawn (Betsy Brandt), getting dumped via phone — rude — and he consoles her. But she’s gonna be fine. Maybe he should worry about his own broken heart.
At Creekwood High, Rahim (Anthony Keyvan) and Victor are processing the Bravery Award. What does he have to be brave about? Rahim thinks that Victor’s sweatpant/shirt convo was a brave choice. 🙄
Victor doesn’t think straight athletes win awards (Rahim: they do!). More importantly, Victor’s tired of the adjective “gay” permanently affixed to the front of his name. Isn’t he out and proud enough without accepting awards for it?
Besides, Victor thinks Rahim deserves a gay award for getting with Connor (Tyler Lofton) the hot server while at that awkward family dinner. I think being gay is the award. Just sayin’.
Rahim’s nervous for he and Connor’s first date IRL, though, so he asks if Victor and Nick would want to double with them.
Next, Felix sees Lake (Bebe Wood) walking into school all dejected. He wants to know what’s up with his former “lover.” Lake tells him about Lucy’s (Ava Capri) Portlandia plans, which are putting an expiration date on their relationship.
Felix’s not as fast as Mia (Rachel Hilson) would be on on the sage-advice front, but he eventually gets there. He first tells Lake that Pilar (Isabella Ferreira) dumped him. But then, he tells Lake just to enjoy the last couple months of fun she has with Lucy.
“Thanks for taking me shopping. And for standing outside the store.”
Over in Palo Alto, Andrew (Mason Gooding) and Mia have arrived and are playing with her unnamed brother. Veronica (Sophia Bush) and Papa Mia (Mekhi Phifer) can’t decide between the names Noah and Camden.
Andrew gets a call from Coach. Apparently Andrew skipped out on a v important game college recruiters were attending to be with Mia. Papa Mia overhears and invites Andrew along to pick up takeout. LIES. Everyone in the Bay Area uses delivery apps.
Back at school, Benji (George Sear) comes up to Victor in the hallway and asks him what’s wrong. Victor starts to tell him about the Coach weirdness. Then stops himself. Benji tells Victor he knows he said they couldn’t hang, but they can still have a convo.
Victor’s not down for the mixed messages. Ah. Benji does not know his dad (Kevin Rahm) paid a visit to Victor. Figures.
Next, Isa and Pilar return from some retail therapy. They run into Dawn in the hallway. Pilar hightails it into Casa Salazar, leaving the moms to chat. Apparently Dawn didn’t understand from Felix’s conversation earlier that morning that #Pelax is over. Huh.
“Dua Lipa’s Doin’ Pizza.”
At Lake house, Lake’s set up a romantic cooking date for herself and Lucy. Lucy is a bit surprised; she thought their date was gonna be a convo about Portland. Nah, Lake says, she wants to live in the now. Is that cool? Lucy’s response? I guess so. Ruh-roh.
On to the double date! Nick’s stoked they’re meeting in a straight restaurant. It means they’re the cutest people there. Connor and Rahim arrive. Nick compliments the latter’s fantastic blue jacket, prompting him to do a twirl. Which prompts some jerk faces (Josh Pafchek, Jack Chain) at a nearby table to point and laugh. Real mature.
Rahim asks his friends if they can move to the patio. Victor says just to ignore them. Not a great look, dude. Victor needs some education about femmephobia and how it functions inside and outside the gay community. Wait. Didn’t Rahim and Victor already talk about this last season?
Over on the Left Coast, Papa Mia and Andrew have a heart to heart about Andrew’s future. Papa Mia appreciates Andrew’s devotion to Mia, but points out that even she wouldn’t want him missing opportunities for her. Andrew says Mia is his future and everything else comes second. Oh boy.
“I am a Persian Clark Kent.”
Next, we head to AA with Benji. Talking to Victor made him really sad and want a drink. He hasn’t drunk, but he doesn’t know what to do anymore. His parents think Victor is a trigger, but Benji isn’t so sure. His ‘rents even want him to go to boarding school.
Back at dinner, Nick and Victor are laughing about The Gay Award. Rahim doesn’t understand what’s so bad about it. Victor’s all, “Why are you so pressed?” He wants to win awards for his talents, not his sexuality. Rahim insists he isn’t pressed.
Victor and Rahim head outside while their respective dates hit the restroom. The jerks from earlier are outside. They drop the f-slur. You know, does the f-slur have to get dropped in every piece of media about queer guys? Like, it’s one thing if they’re reclaiming it … I don’t know. If you’re a queer guy, let me know what you think.
The homophobes taunt Rahim, asking him what he’s looking at, saying “You wish.” Rahim fights back (verbally). Victor tries to pull him away, but Rahim keeps going. What does he wish? Why would he go for these guys? “Look at me,” he says, “and then look at you.”
He makes a lot of other comments about their physical appearances, including about their genitalia. I won’t repeat them ’cause I don’t love body shaming as retaliation, especially when that body shaming equates manhood to genitals. That’s transphobic.
The music tenses up the farther his words go. Victor positions himself in between the homophobes and Rahim. Then, Nick and Connor get back. Outnumbered, the homophobes leave. Victor asks how Rahim came up with his speech on the spot. He didn’t. He’d been writing it from the moment they started laughing at him at the start of dinner.
This happens to Rahim all the time, and he can’t brush it off like Victor does. Rahim and Connor head off, just the two of them. Not loving Rahim’s very real queer trauma being a learning experience for Victor.
“They do say the best revenge for an almost gay hate crime is to be really, really gay.”
Back at the Lake House, Lucy and Lake get a bit distracted during the cooking process. But it’s too much for Lake. She starts to cry. Lucy insists they talk.
Lake can’t live in the now, and she doesn’t understand why Lucy has to go. Lucy tells us she’s been sad since she was nine, when her mom died. Her stepmom hates her and her dad can’t even look at her ’cause she looks just like her mom.
Lucy needs a fresh start. Lake gets that. And while she doesn’t want to break up, they have to. Lake can’t keep falling deeper in love with Lucy only for the inevitable heartbreak at the end of the year.
In Nick’s car, as a response to the stress of the near-attack (and also because horny), he and Victor get their makeout on. Victor’s heart’s not in it, though. He needs to talk to Rahim.
Meanwhile, in Palo Alto, where it shouldn’t be as dark as it is, considering the time difference, Mia’s still playing with her brother. Veronica enters the room. Being away is harder than Mia thought. It’s clear she wants to relocate, but she doesn’t want to break Andrew’s heart. Veronica thinks he’d understand.
Mia suggests they name her brother Zaher, which means “shining bright.” It’s beautiful.
“You are looking like a young Angela Lansbury”
Felix gets home, equipped with compliments and beef stroganoff for Dawn. She has other ideas. Root beer floats and Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? Felix has got to stop prioritizing her emotions over his, she says. Dawn can handle his emotions. Even when he sprays whip cream directly into his mouth?
Back at AA, the meeting leader (Chris Doubt) tells Benji that he needs to make his own decisions about what’s right for him.
At the coffee shop, Rahim tells Victor that he and Connor kissed on the walk to the coffee shop. That’s surprising and brave considering the homophobia they’d just experienced. #GiveRahimTheGayAward. The kiss, Rahim, says, was perfect. Not bitey and slobbery like Victor’s kisses.
Victor apologizes for not handling the earlier altercation well. Rahim tells Victor that it may be fine that Victor doesn’t want to be known as gay Victor, but not everyone has the luxury of hiding their gay.
He says that sure, Victor may be out and proud, but he busts it out only when he feels like it. Rahim feels hurt that Victor “doesn’t feel like it” when it comes to accepting an award. Victor’s gonna accept the award. Not for Rahim. But for himself.
At a personal level, I get what Rahim’s saying about Victor being able to hide his queer, but it’s had the opposite affect on me. When I’m in Turkey, no one expects queerness from anyone, which is probably why I shout louder about it — at least on the internet — than in the US.
By the fireside in Palo Alto, Andrew and Mia attempt to have a heart to heart. He tells her about the recruiter and that she’s the most important thing in his life. Of course, after that, Mia doesn’t open up about wanting to move.
Lake shows up at Felix’s. She didn’t know where else to go. They hug. It’ll be OK, he says.
Outside the apartment building, Nick and Victor say goodnight. Nick says that when he saw the guys harassing them, all he wanted to do was protect Victor. Scary stuff makes you realize what’s important. They kiss.
Cue: Benji walking up and seeing this exchange. Back at his house, he and his mom (Embeth Davidtz) talk. He wants to go to boarding school. Get that fresh start.
That’s a wrap on “The Gay Award.” I’m so proud of Benji and Lake this episode! I’m mostly proud of Rahim, though as I said, didn’t love how Love, Victor handled his response to the bullies. What someone might do IRL isn’t what the show needs to have him do. What would you do if your school or workplace wanted to award you for part of your identity?
Also, I haven’t found the place to say this, so I’ll say it here, but I don’t think Rahim has a last name and that really bothers me.
Correct conspiracy theory of the ep: “I don’t believe in expiration dates. That’s just a myth big grocery invented to sell more soup.”
All episodes of Love, Victor are streaming on Hulu now.