For the uninitiated, Love, Victor is a Hulu show set in Becky Albertalli‘s “Simonverse.” It follows Victor Salazar 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 time, Victor and his boyfriend Benji (George Sear) decided to take a break cuz of their boatload of issues.
So, are Victor and Rahim gonna Be Gay, Do Crimes while cutting school? Read our recap of season two, episode nine, “Victor’s Day Off,” to find out.
“How are you supposed to learn complex math while having gay relationship drama?”
We open with Victor writing to Simon for the first time in a hot minute. He tells him he’s been radio silent, not because he’s got his ish together, but because he absolutely does not. Next, Vic’s at the breakfast table moping about his “break” with Benji. Isa (Ana Ortiz) comes in and brags about her break-up with Father Lawrence (Sean O’Bryan). Not able to read the room, she excitedly goes on about having found a less homophobic church. Finally, Isa clocks that Victor’s upset, but he doesn’t wanna talk about it.
At school, our boy’s staring wistfully at Benji when Rahim sneaks up behind Victor and starts quipping about Benji’s perfect hair. Rahim senses there’s trouble in paradise when Victor doesn’t laugh at his jokes. And so, Victor lets him in on all the stuff. Victor doesn’t think he can deal with sitting next to Benji in pre-calc. Rahim suggests they ditch school, and Victor agrees, if they’re stealthy about it. To that, Rahim says, “Then fix your face and unclench your butt cheeks cuz you look like you just murdered your family, embezzled your inheritance and started over in Boca Raton.” He watches a lot of true crime.
How does Rahim get away with skipping school so often? By making up Muslim holidays. The admin never wants to call him on it, lest they be accused of religious persecution (this is 100 percent true facts, y’all). Rahim calls the admin, pretends to be Isa and tells ’em that Victor got a bad case of the chimichanga diarrhea. Hahahah #whitepeople. Victor’s not even Mexican.
“Sometimes I feel outside of it all.”
Why does Rahim skip class anyway? It doesn’t exactly seem on-brand for him, as Victor points out. Well, Rahim doesn’t identify so well with most of the Creekwood kids, and sometimes he needs a breather. The breather that Victor needs is a Benji-memory-free zone, so Rahim takes him out for some chicken tachin. It reminds Victor of his mom’s arroz con pollo, which Isa hasn’t made since his parents split. Rahim asks how that’s all going, but Vic’s not sure since it’s on the long list of Things We Don’t Talk About. Oh, I feel seen.
In turn, Victor wants to know how Rahim’s home life is going. Surprise! Rahim came out to his parents. He didn’t say anything earlier because he didn’t want to steal Victor’s pity thunder? Anyway, Rahim’s parents were glad that he finally told them. Turns out middle school Rahim didn’t know how to clear his browser history, and his parents have known for a long time. Oh yup, I hear that. Rahim thanks Victor for helping him be brave, but Victor correctly points out that Rahim did that on his own.
A digression …
OK, so remember how earlier Rahim was talking about the admin not wanting to be accused of religious persecution? On the one hand, I love that Rahim’s family is accepting of him and that we have an example of cool Muslims on television (it doesn’t happen often). It’s necessary that we have a devout family on this show that reacts in contrast to Victor’s. But …
I’m prefacing this by saying no culture or religion is a monolith. I’m not here to criticize, nor am I giving anyone a pass. While the countries where being gay is punishable by death are Muslim-majority countries, that doesn’t paint the full picture, especially not of immigrant life in the US. So, let me get into why I don’t think making Rahim’s family Iranian was the best choice.
Sure, Iran as a country is well-known for its extreme homophobia, but that’s a government, not its people? And it’s a country 7,000 miles away from America. Obviously, there are Iranian-Americans who are strict Muslims, but the majority of Iranian-Americans are not Muslim. Plus, according to Pew Research, the average Iranian-American is less religious than other Americans. That is due to the fact that the majority of Iranian-Americans are in the US because they fled the 1979 revolution. Again, I am not saying that there aren’t religious Americans of Iranian origin. I’m saying that tweaking Rahim’s family story or ethnicity a bit might have reflected reality a bit better.
It also seems disingenuous that Love, Victor is allowed to dissect Catholicism with nuance but not allowed to address Islam in any real way. I do hope that if there’s a season three, we can learn more about Rahim’s family.
“I had to miss school today for the Muslim ‘Festival of the Thousand Pistachios.'”
Oh, noes! Mando (James Martinez) and his “friend,” Shelby (Julie Benz), just happen to walk by Rahim and Victor. Victor pretends he’s got a free period and was just bringing Rahim some homework since he had to miss school for another (fake) Muslim holiday. To his credit, Mando doesn’t lie to Vic about being on a date. Unfortunately, Vic kinda spirals and wants to know if his parents are never, ever getting back together. Victor uses Mando’s guilt to get him to promise he won’t tell Isa about his truancy as long as he heads back to school STAT.
So, Victor’s fuming about his dad’s girlfriend, but Rahim wants to know if Victor really thinks it’s a good idea for his parents to get back together. Victor doesn’t know because the fighting last year sucked, but prior to that, they were mag-ic. He places his parents on a pedestal because they were high school sweethearts but then realizes maybe that was the problem; maybe you’re not supposed to end up with the first person you date. Rahim decides, nope, they’re not going back to school. Self-care is not done.
And what is self-care? Pedicures! Victor opts for clear while Rahim goes for au-au aubergine. Rahim’s grinning like the Cheshire Cat, and Victor wants to know why. Apparently, Rahim’s been texting with this dude on an unnamed app (cough cough Grindr cough cough). Victor cannot, cannot, believe how many guys are nearby and that they all claim to have, I quote, “nine-inch d***s”. Toto, this show is not in Kansas anymore.
Victor insists Rahim meet up with the dude he’s been talking to.
“I would so let him decapitate me.”
App guy Charlie (Nicholas Hamilton) and Rahim decide to meet at the coffee shop, and it does not go well. Charlie bails before they even order. He’s all, “You’re different than I thought you’d be. No offense, but I’m into more masculine guys.” One) A-hole, two) I don’t for a second believe Rahim doesn’t text like he talks. Victor overhears the whole convo. Rahim’s embarrassed, but Victor reassures him that he’s only judging Charlie.
Victor tells Rahim that he’s great as is — and his lavender jacket is fire — and not to let one stupid boy get him down. Unfortunately, it’s not just Charlie; lots of people look at him as basically a gay sidekick. Victor tells him, “Nah, dude, you’re smart, witty and super handsome.” Oh, but he’s not done. He tells Rahim that he’s a total catch who would clean up at a gay bar. I see you and that flirty smile, Vic. Rahim returns the compliment but then quickly reminds Victor that he’s single. Oh ho ho.
Aight. SO. Y’all know how I feel about the importance of queer friendship, and I seriously love, love, love Victor having a gay friend, especially one that gets him as well as Rahim does. HOWEVER. I also love that Rahim, who’s the type of character that’d normally get relegated to gay side-shtick, is being presented as a desirable, viable option. He and Victor make more sense together than #Venji ever did, and as much as I hate a love triangle, yay for a gay teen having more than one option?
Victor suggests they actually go to a gay bar. Rahim’s all … “IDs?” Vic tells him it’ll be fine. When he went to one last year in NYC, no one cared (if my college experience 15 years ago is any indication … that is true.). This gay bar does have a bouncer, though, so #Rictor sneak in through the backdoor.
“I think if you keep staring, you gotta tip ‘im.”
The bar is filled with some pretty hot go-go dancers, and Rahim is awe-struck. Not just by the eye candy, but because everyone around them is queer. Oh, honey. Cue montage of #Rictor flirting, dancing and drinking. LOL. Rahim tells Victor that, to him, the hottest part of a guy is his brain. But, physically, Rahim likes athletes. DUN DUN DUN!!! Victor gives him that smile of his. What’s Victor’s type? Benji. Oh, honey. He did also have dreams about being trapped in jail with Charlie Puth. What? Anyway, this is where Rahim admits that he’s never been kissed.
Their heated moment is interrupted because it’s karaoke time! And, of course, Rahim signed them up for it. They sing “Holy” by the Biebs. The lyrics are pretty romantic, y’all. If you’re ancient, like me, it’s all about how being held by your partner feels holy. There’s a lot of eye-sex happening. Unfortunately, it’s interrupted by Isa. Adrian (Mateo Fernandez) showed her how to use Find my iPhone. Victor! Turning your phone off is like number one.
“How many gay bars have you been to?
So, when Isa threatens to tell Mando about Victor’s day off from school, he tells her that he already ran into his dad on a date. She wants to know if that’s why he’s acting out. He says, partly, but mostly because Benji’s breaking up with him. Victor tells his mom that he didn’t tell her because he thought she might be happy about that. Ana Ortiz plays this next small moment so, so well. It’s just a flash on her face, a head nod and then prayer hands. But the way it portrays how deeply she understands that she messed up is just *chef’s kiss*. Isa tells Victor:
I need you to hear this. Your happiness is my happiness. If your heart is broken, so is mine … You kids are the love of my life. There is nothing in this world that is more precious to me. And I know that I didn’t make you feel that way this year. I’ll never forgive myself for that, but I accept you, Victor. I love every single part of you, and I will spend the rest of my life to make sure that you know that, OK? And if things with Benji are really over, I know you’ll find another wonderful person. Ay. Not person. Another young man, who is just right for you.
Victor throws himself at her, into this giant hug. Isa got there, she got there, y’all. Excuse me while I go call my therapist … Victor laughs and says, “Why do I keep having these life-changing moments outside of gay bars?” That snaps Isa back into worried-mom mode, relieving some of the emotional tension. But it’s obvious he’s not gonna get in trouble.
“Best fake Muslim holiday ever.”
Next, Victor walks Rahim to his door. Rahim’s worried he might smell like alcohol, which would apparently freak his parents out since his mom doesn’t even keep mouthwash in the house. Victor tells him he’s fine. Vic thanks him for cutting class with him, and there’s like five seconds of heartbeats and sexual tension before Rahim walks back into his house. The music turns horror-movie ominous. LMAO. WHAT?
Back in the car, Benji calls, and Isa tells Victor to answer and pretend she’s not there. It’s not a reconciliation phone call, though. Benji is calling to say he doesn’t want to go to Mia’s parents’ wedding with Victor.
That’s it for this Love, Victor recap. What did you think of “Victor’s Day Off”? And, #SorryNotSorry, but are you #TeamVenji or #TeamRictor?
Rahimism of the ep: “This is the content I signed up for. Can you start an Only Fans where it’s just you complimenting me? Maybe in an ASMR voice? ”