Whaddup? This time on Love, Victor, our titular hero learns he and his bae are not the only gays in town.
As always, Love, Victor is a Hulu show set in Becky Albertalli‘s “Simonverse.” It follows Victor Salazar (Michael Cimino) as he navigates family woes, coming out and first love. This series takes place in the same Atlanta suburb and high school, Creekwood High, as Albertalli’s book Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda and Love, Simon, the movie based on said book. Those worlds collide when Victor reaches out to Simon Spier (Nick Robinson) for gay guidance.
Last episode, Victor rejoined the basketball team after some discourse about which porridge was just the right amount of gay.
Is Victor ready to be a gay guru? Let’s dive into season two, episode six, “Sincerely, Rahim,” and see, shall we?
“We live in a constant state of unspoken weirdness.”
A new voice-over!
We open with Rahim (Anthony Keyvan) being all shy about reaching out to Victor. You see, Pilar (Isabella Ferreira) thought Victor might be a good gay mentor for him. Rahim is nervous about coming out because his family is super traditional, just like Vic’s! Main diff is, Rahim’s fam is Iranian Muslim — love the close-up of Rahim’s painted nails as he prays, by the way.
At the Salazar apartment # 1, Victor’s reading Rahim’s message and smiling to himself. Isa (Ana Ortiz) is fussing over Adrian (Mateo Fernandez), who, according to Vic, looks like Willy Wonka. He’s not getting ready to murderate kids under the guise of a factory tour, though — he’s trying on clothes for Isa’s big church solo this Sunday. She invites Victor, who begs off since the church doesn’t exactly welcome “people like him.” Whoops. Adrian still doesn’t know that his older brother has a big ole case of The Gay. Cuz, you know, lil kids can’t deal with Gay.
O’er at the coffee shop, Victor is telling a very uninterested Benji (George Sear) about the morning haps. He’s all, “Talk to your mom.” Victor’s all, “Umm, we’re Catholic. We don’t do that.”
“Am I your date or your postmate?”
Next, in the darkest timeline, Felix (Anthony Turpel) is begging mom Dawn (Betsy Brandt) to take her meds. She’s not a fan of the side effects and refuses. Felix reminds her that side effects take time to go away. But before the conversation can get anywhere, they get an unexpected home visit from Lake’s mom, Georgina (Leslie Grossman). Georgina uses a pear-thin excuse to assess their home situation. Seriously, who brings a basket of pears as a thank you gift? Felix realizes that Lake (Bebe Wood) broke his trust and yeets Georgina outta his house with a #kthanxbai.
Over at Mia’s (Rachel Hilson), Andrew (Mason Gooding) comes to pick her up for a date. Mia’s not happy that he came inside. Like, omg, he was supposed to text her from the driveway. Basically, she’s not interested in this being a thing and having Andrew (re)meet the family. Veronica (Sophia Bush) very awkwardly refers to Andrew as hawt and then invites him to her wedding. Oh, Jesus.
Meanwhile, at Salazar apartment #1, Pilar brings Rahim over to meet Victor. Victor kinda can’t believe Rahim’s parents aren’t even a little sus considering he wears nail polish. Rahim says they believe him when he says it’s for drama club. All right, hun-bun.
So the whole reason that Victor even thought his house would be a safe space is that Isa was supposed to be at choir practice. Guess who comes home early? Just in time to meet Rahim, who is gay in a way that Victor (and Benji) aren’t. The 13-year-old that lives in my brain can’t let it pass that Pilar introduces Rahim as “the only kid at Creekwood who doesn’t suck ass.” Isa quickly realizes how un-true that is but gets that this could be an olive-branch moment and invites Rahim to stay for dinner.
“You weren’t answering my texts, so I figured I’d stake you out.”
Lake’s waiting outside Felix’s, and he sees her when he takes out the trash. She’s annoyed that he’s been ignoring her texts, her rock-throwing, even her window-flashing (which turned out to be directed at Adrian’s window. UGH). Lake apologizes for her mother’s visit earlier, but Felix is mad that Lake broke his trust.
Over at Victor’s apartment, Isa is bonding too hard with Rahim. Not like she’s forcing it, but in the way that it’s hard to watch because she’s never been this loving towards her own son since he came out. Pilar and Victor are in a kind of shocked confusion, but Victor’s also a little happy because he sees this as Isa trying. When Rahim tells her that he thinks she’s so cool and that his parents are never gonna be this cool, Isa launches into this speech:
Well, I hope they surprise you, but if they do take it badly, just know that they love you so much and that part of the reason that they might struggle is that they thought they knew everything about you and then, all of a sudden, they didn’t. So, even if they say the wrong things, I hope you don’t give up on them.
Clearly, she’s talking to Victor here, with Rahim as a surrogate. The look of sadness that passes between Pilar and Victor here is fan-tas-tic. Part of why Isa’s journey is so frustrating to watch is because it’s so realistic. Of course, it’s easier for her to talk to Victor through someone else, but that’s not what her kid needs. Not that what she’s saying is wrong, but I do want to make clear here that we don’t need to keep people in our lives if they make us feel terrible about ourselves. And obviously, though the internal and external pressure to come out may be overwhelming at times, it’s absolutely not a situation to take lightly if your personal safety might be at risk.
“Spiderman is in high school.”
Next, Mia and Andrew are back from their date, and she was not impressed by the latest Avengers flick (It was not realistic!). Their banter becomes serious when Andrew passive-aggressively admits he was hurt about Mia de-inviting him to the wedding. She apologizes, but he’s not soothed.
Back at Victor’s, Benji and Vic are FaceTiming. As with earlier, Benji is unimpressed by Victor’s postmortem of the event. I mean, I get why Benji is hurt that Isa was so cool with Rahim. She’s been a total jerk to the both of them. Benji warns him not to get his hopes up. Thing is, he’s so cold and passive-aggressive. Yes, he’s a human, I get it. But it doesn’t sit right with me.
So, I guess it’s easy for me, now, as an adult, to look at Isa and see that she’s trying. And that she’s trying before it’s too late. It’s hard to let go of the downright crappy things our parents have done and said in our past. But sometimes we have to if we choose to have relationships with them (I’m not talking about abuse here). I’m trying to place myself back into my teenage years to understand more where all these characters are coming from, how they’re making their decisions. I just want to hug them.
Anyway, Victor agrees to watch his mom sing in church and they make plans to have lunch after.
“We are not a charity case.”
The next day, Mia tells Veronica they need to have a lil’ chat about boundaries. They agree that it was super creepy of her to call Andrew hawt. And Veronica sort of apologizes for inviting him to the wedding. But, before the conversation can go anywhere, Veronica starts having contractions, and they are headed to the hospital.
Over at Felix’s, Dawn is headed back into a manic episode. She wants to buy a Thunderbird, just like her father’s and fix it up to resell. Felix gently asks her if she’d be open to seeing a psychiatrist that Lake’s mom pulled a lot of strings to get Dawn into, pro bono. Unfortunately, Dawn is not open to the idea.
“I wanna lead with rat poison and chicken nuggets”
Back to the hospital, where Veronica’s OK. She’s not in labor or anything; she just has an irritable uterus, which means that she has extra contractions. Sweet, sweet Mia starts crying from relief. Veronica admits that she was also terrified but that she’s gotten good at hiding her own fear. Apparently, Veronica previously had a miscarriage that led to two surgeries and a warning that she may never have a viable pregnancy. So, she hasn’t been letting herself get excited about this one.
Meanwhile, at church, Father Lawrence (Sean O’Bryan) corners Victor and lies to him. Straight-up lies to him. He tells Victor that Isa is praying for Victor, hoping he’ll find his way back to the Lord. Jesus Christ. We cut to Isa singing her solo. Looking around the church, it’s like the walls are closing in; it’s all too much; Victor has to get out of there.
Oh no. Dawn has shown up at the news station, and she has a bone to pick with Georgina. Dawn accuses her of trying to take Felix away from her. She is in full-blown crisis and Georgina calls security, which is just … not gonna end well. The police do not do well with the mentally ill.
“She had seven [dachshunds]. Is that a gay thing?”
Back at church, Isa finds Victor in the courtyard. She wants to know why he walked out in the middle of her solo. He tells her what the
fox priest said. Oddly, Isa doesn’t deny that she was trying to pray the gay away? I really don’t remember her doing that …
Anyway, everything comes out in this scene. Including a dead aunt. Victor tells Isa that her half-assed attempt to deal with The Gay is making it that much harder to love himself. She counters that she’s doing her best. But, he disagrees. Victor flat out rejects the notion that Adrian is too young to know as that implies being gay is a bad thing. She concedes that he’s correct and apologizes.
What Isa does try to do is provide context for why she’s having a hard time, using the example of her aunt, who fulfilled basically every lesbian stereotype ever. But when she asked her mom why her aunt Yoli didn’t have kids, she was met with a “we don’t talk about that.” Isa tells Victor she was taught that being gay was shameful — nice word choice — and though she knows in her head that’s not true, it’s hard to let her upbringing go. Isa wishes she could be the perfect mother for Vic and promises she will try to make Benji more welcome. And that they will tell Adrian.
“I’m glad you’re here.”
Next, Andrew comes to the hospital to make sure Mia’s OK. She’s glad to see him, even if she doesn’t deserve it. She says she’s pushed Andrew away cuz she’s used to people she cares about leaving her. Nooo. Mia!
Meanwhile, Felix is talking to a social worker because Dawn has been admitted for a 72-hour psych hold. His caseworker wants to know if he has family he can stay with, and Lake offers up her place. Lake tries to comfort Felix by telling him that it’s like his mom is gonna get a lil glow-up. He cannot with her naiveté. So, Felix tells it to her straight; basically, the social worker is now in charge of decisions about his mom and custody, etc. He breaks up with Lake.
And we’re back at the coffee shop. Benji’s apologizing (again) for s***ing all over Vic’s excitement. Victor shares the breakthrough he and his mom had that morning. Then, Benji craps on that too, saying, “He’s heard that before.” Benji, are you ever gonna provide context for your shame and judgement? Victor calls him on his ten-second apology.
We end at Victor’s with Felix at the door with his caseworker. Felix needs a place to stay, and Isa says yes, no hesitation. She wraps him up into the biggest hug imaginable while he sobs and sobs. Victor watches, first confused, because he has no idea what’s been going on in Felix’s life, and then sad, because he wants that hug. Me too, Vic, me too. Please tell me I’m not the only one crying over here?
Nerdishness of the ep: “Thor is a god from another planet or Sweden, maybe.”