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Raúl Castillo (#110 of 7)

Looking Recap Season 2, Episode 8, "Looking for Glory"

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Looking Recap: Season 2, Episode 8, “Looking for Glory”

HBO

Looking Recap: Season 2, Episode 8, “Looking for Glory”

“When Brad broke up with Jennifer, he didn’t have to let people know he was fucking Angelina straight away,” Kevin (Russell Tovey) says to Patrick (Jonathan Groff) near the beginning of “Looking for Glory.” “There was a courtesy gap.” The question of how much time must pass before one acknowledges the collateral damage caused by relationships severed and forged is at the center of tonight’s Looking, an episode in which each character’s evolution this season begins to upset the balance they’ve clung to through years of stasis. Is the “courtesy gap” a way of protecting the potential victims of our shifting desires, or is it a way of avoiding the fact that we must inevitably change, often far more than we bargained for?

Looking Recap Season 2, Episode 6, "Looking for Gordon Freeman"

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Looking Recap: Season 2, Episode 6, “Looking for Gordon Freeman”

HBO

Looking Recap: Season 2, Episode 6, “Looking for Gordon Freeman”

In honor of perhaps the most excruciating Halloween bash ever thrown, a drunken disaster of karaoke sign-up sheets, PrEP shaming, and sloppy sexual advances that culminates in a meltdown so embarrassing I watched it through my fingers, let’s pour one out for Patrick (Jonathan Groff), the victim of his own unreasonable expectations. “Looking for Gordon Freeman” finds him dressed as the titular video-game character, determined to become a “fun gay,” though in an episode chock-full of extratextual allusions, the one that lands hardest is the least current. “If it’s any consolation,” Agustín (Frankie J. Álvarez) says after Patrick’s flameout, “there was only one suicide during Clarissa Dalloway’s party.”

Looking Recap Season 2, Episode 5, "Looking for Truth"

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Looking Recap: Season 2, Episode 5, “Looking for Truth”

HBO

Looking Recap: Season 2, Episode 5, “Looking for Truth”

In last season’s “Looking for the Future,” the episode that transformed Looking from a muddled collage of character sketches into a lovely, harmonious portrait of three men struggling to grow up in the midst of adulthood, Patrick (Jonathan Groff) and Richie (Raúl Castillo) amble through Golden Gate Park toward Land’s End, discovering the seeds of their romance in the process. The water that has passed under the bridge in the time since is the subject of “Looking for Truth,” a beautiful companion piece to “Looking for the Future”: It has the feeling of a first date, but ends with a reckoning, run through with the conviction that we can never really leave the past behind us.

Looking Recap Season 2, Episode 4, "Looking Down the Road"

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Looking Recap: Season 2, Episode 4, “Looking Down the Road”

HBO

Looking Recap: Season 2, Episode 4, “Looking Down the Road”

In what amounts to something of a departure for Looking, “Looking Down the Road” picks up where “Looking Top to Bottom” left off, on the morning after Patrick (Jonathan Groff) and Kevin (Russell Tovey) spend the night at the former’s apartment. The episodes, both directed by Ryan Fleck, fit together as snugly as adjoining pieces in a jigsaw puzzle. “Looking Down the Road” offers fitful glimpses of the previous episode’s eroticism (like Kevin in his skivvies and a kitschy apron serving “a proper English fry-up”), but it lingers on a sense of romantic disenchantment at which “Looking Top to Bottom” only nodded. “What the heart wants is never quite so flexible,” I said then, but even I was unprepared for just how brittle the heart would turn out to be.

Looking Recap Season 2, Episode 3, "Looking Top to Bottom"

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Looking Recap: Season 2, Episode 3, “Looking Top to Bottom”

HBO

Looking Recap: Season 2, Episode 3, “Looking Top to Bottom”

Tops, bottoms, douches, enemas, rim jobs, “hot shower orgies,” and even a swinging dick or two: Tonight’s episode of Looking, written by John Hoffman and directed by Ryan Fleck, is all about the pleasures of sex and its most irksome complications. Hell, even Doris (Lauren Weedman) lands a big one. The series has never shied away from frank treatments of the subject (the pilot opened with Jonathan Groff’s Patrick cruising in the woods), but “Looking Top to Bottom” addresses the physical and emotional logistics of fooling around with newfound confidence. It’s unafraid of desire, and of the melancholic moments that often accompany its fulfillment.

Looking Recap Season 2, Episode 2, "Looking for Results"

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Looking Recap: Season 2, Episode 2, “Looking for Results”

HBO

Looking Recap: Season 2, Episode 2, “Looking for Results”

“When you’re little, you just are really happy,” Patrick (Jonathan Groff) remarks to Kevin (Russell Tovey) as they loll in bed after a midday tryst. “But you don’t fully know exactly why.” This faint note of nostalgia runs through “Looking for Results” in subtle, slightly skewed ways, but it’s omnipresent nonetheless. The result each character seeks is, in essence, simplification, the ignorant bliss of childhood, and the result each one arrives at instead is a whole mess of unforeseen consequences. “Delete, delete, delete,” Patrick wishes when he encounters Richie (Raúl Castillo) near episode’s end, but in life as in Looking, there’s no going back.