Film and TV | Frankie J. Alvarez | Jonathan Groff | Looking | Murray Bartlett | Russell Tovey | Television

'Looking' Back: Episode 8, 'Looking Glass' - RECAP


Count me among those who initially were unimpressed with Looking, but have really fallen for its charms. After the first four episodes left me wanting for more excitement and tension, the final stretch of the freshman season has me fully invested and loving (almost all) the characters.

Episode five, "Looking For the Future" was the turning point. By zooming in on Patrick (Jonathan Groff) and Richie (Raúl Castillo), we got to spend enough time to better understand how all their little character quirks and nuances came together in aggregate. If only we had similar time with the other characters. It makes me want to view this first, short season as almost like a prequel miniseries for what I'm hoping is an extended second season

Tonight's finale, titled "Looking Glass," certainly contained a few unexpected twists (and one expectedly adorable butt), ending the eight-episode run on a high note. 

Discuss the season finale and read our thoughts, AFTER THE JUMP ...


  • 6_lookingLet's start with Patrick. The chemistry between he and Kevin (Russell Tovey) has been obvious from the beginning. It's shocking it has taken this long for them to finally act on it, really. In some ways, Kevin is such an obvious match for Patrick, they have to layer on the scandal (not only does Kevin have a boyfriend, but he's also Patrick's boss) just to keep them off each other for a few weeks. Their curt post-coital talk ("So, now what?" "I don't know, Patrick.") leaves things mighty ambiguous. Similarly, Patrick's and Richie's kind of, sort of, maybe break-up didn't leave us with a clear picture of where they stand. Tovey and Castillo have been upped to series regulars next season, so the door is wide open for this love triangle to keep evolving. 
  • In an episode full of excellent scenes, Castillo deserves particular praise. His emotional confrontation with Patrick outside his apartment was one of his best performances thus far. Everything, from his intense stare to the moment when he took off his hat, added depth and realism.
  • Dom (Murray Bartlett) got his big night with his restaurant, but he was really more concerned with Lynn (Scott Bakula). When Lynn arrives with a younger date, it's sufficiently awkward ("Why have you been gushing all over this poor guy?"), but it rang true considering all of Dom's insecurities. When he tells Lynn they should keep doing this, it's clear he's not just talking about pop-up restaurants. I've rewatched him lay one on Lynn over and over, and I'm pretty sure Lynn is kissing him back. We cut away real fast, so we don't know what happens after the kiss. I'm hoping to see these two give it a go next season.
  • How great was Doris (Lauren Weedman)? So great. After weeks of being the comic relief, she got to have a dramatic moment with Lynn. She's also been upgraded to series regular next season.
  • Then there's Agustín (Frankie J. Alvarez). I almost feel sorry for him, since the character is so utterly unlikable. In fairness, we barely spent time with Agustín and Frank (O.T. Fagbenle), so his journey was the most difficult to care about. Now that his relationship (and, presumably, time in Oakland) is done, second season Agustín could be a whole new ballgame. Frank tore down Agustín's whole pseudo-artist self-image (in case his destruction of the unicorn painting didn't drive that home enough). I like to think his drug-addled BART ride was something of a metamorphosis. Maybe next season we'll get to know a better Agustín. (And, while we're at it, maybe he can get that beard situation under control.)
  • The sex scene tonight was fascinating, and not just because Tovey's butt. For starters, there's something extra hot (or extra creepy?) about Kevin concocting this whole scheme to get Patrick back to the office. How long was he sitting in that office, drinking beer, calling Patrick repeatedly? Then, once he got there, for Patrick to choose to bottom for Kevin after being reticient with Richie is a good indicator where Patrick's heart is leading him. (The way to a man's heart ... ) Groff discussed another interesting element of this scene with TVLine: "I feel like I’ve had a lot of people ... say that they did not know that gay men could have sex face-to-face until they saw the show." There's something about demystifying gay sex for a mainstream audience that could be a powerful side effect of Looking's matter-of-fact approach to sex.

Did you enjoy the finale? What did you think of the season?

Feed This post's comment feed


  1. Count me among those who find it boring as hell.

    Posted by: Continuum | Mar 10, 2014 8:16:57 AM

  2. I fell asleep halfway through. I could like these characters with some exposure - and thats not something I would have said on Episode 1. Personally I hope they scrap the whole format and reformulate for Season 2. Better Writing, Better Directing, and a 1 hour format.

    Posted by: Robert Rhea | Mar 10, 2014 8:35:28 AM

  3. Strong finish to the first season, I thought. It's a smart show.

    Posted by: Profe Sancho Panza | Mar 10, 2014 8:36:21 AM

  4. i'm really surprised this show got another season. when the story finally got past the boring first half season it just left you with a bunch of awful main characters that i have no compassion or interest in

    Posted by: jeremyo | Mar 10, 2014 8:46:07 AM

  5. "In an episode full of excellent scenes" LOL

    Posted by: MARCUS BACHMANN | Mar 10, 2014 8:47:28 AM

  6. Fell in love with Doris last night. She had basically already won me over, but when she said, "Dom is worth it, just...worth it", I fell hard. So glad she'll be back next season, maybe with more screen time. She really captures the gay best (girl) friend.

    Posted by: Mike | Mar 10, 2014 8:48:51 AM

  7. Kevin is interested in the Patrick as a side piece only. The idea as far as I can see, is that Patrick has enough emotional space to be treated as a conquest, but not enough to let someone love him. That's why he bottomed for Kevin and not for Richie.

    Posted by: IJelly | Mar 10, 2014 8:48:59 AM

  8. Some of you boys are just harsh. Loved the whole series.

    Posted by: mike | Mar 10, 2014 8:53:44 AM

  9. Complaining about the show being boring and falling asleep halfway through while suggesting they expand it to an hour shows how ridiculous much of the criticism is.

    Posted by: cbc | Mar 10, 2014 9:04:07 AM

  10. So that was the season finale? ...more like the season fizzle. The entire season didn't add up to much. Each scene of the final episode simply contained the characters in awkward situations with each other, without providing any reason for the audience to care about any of them.

    Those who gushed about this mediocre series may want to watch some paint dry as a substitute until HBO decides to kill some time on its programming schedule with it again.

    Posted by: JonnyNYNY2FLFL | Mar 10, 2014 9:12:42 AM

  11. Those who watch something they profess to hate should find something to fill their empty lives.

    Posted by: crispy | Mar 10, 2014 9:16:23 AM

  12. Admit it. You only really liked it because of the sex scenes. It was still pretty boring.

    Posted by: Jay | Mar 10, 2014 9:29:16 AM

  13. If someone is watching that show for the sex really need to get an internet connection..

    I'm so glad I'm not in my 20s anymore. But these guys look like they're in 30s. At first I was interested but they became feckless and seem too confused about sex. They should stay out of Oakland. No one goes to SF for Oakland. And I never got the richie interest except to show that looks aren't everything.

    Posted by: steve talbert | Mar 10, 2014 9:41:04 AM

  14. OK Russell Tovey's Butt didn't get enough screen time. The passionate kiss between two out gay actors was beyond any expectations for the entire series. The series would have greatly benefited from an 90 minute pilot/opening episode. It took half of the 8 episodes to just develop the characters. Off to a slow start but finished great. best of all NO drag queens. SF is currently being over run with awful drag "performers" (thanks alot RuPaul). I'm glad the show didn't give the tired trend any more oxygen.

    Posted by: KevinSF | Mar 10, 2014 9:42:17 AM

  15. I loved the whole series. Castillo was amazing last night.

    Posted by: wiley | Mar 10, 2014 9:46:51 AM

  16. It ended the way it should have started. Here is hoping for a better second season.

    Posted by: Jay | Mar 10, 2014 9:55:05 AM

  17. All this complaining people ... All they want is porn....not a story or character development ... The show is actully amazing in its' reality...And please, stop complaining that you don't like Agustin.... YOU ARE NOT SUPPOSED TO... He tell you, himself... He is an A-hole. Can't wait for season 2.

    Posted by: art | Mar 10, 2014 10:06:15 AM

  18. I'm genuinely surprised you saw the scenes with Kevin and Patrick as anything but manipulative and predatory. Flip Patrick's gender, and I doubt any of it would seem quite so "hot". Kevin is straight up bad news for anyone, but especially Patrick since he's Patrick's boss.

    No matter how hot Tovey may be Kevin isn't. He's cruel and manipulative and I don't think we were supposed to see anything sexy in that scene. Especially after they opened and closed "Looking for the Future" (and titled it "Looking for the Future) with very fun, sexy and intimate scenes between Patrick and Richie.

    The sex between Patrick and Kevin was awkward and difficult to watch because it felt like a power trip for Kevin. Patrick clearly uncomfortable the whole time and looked like he was just doing what Kevin wanted because he was still sad and vulnerable about Richie. And he certainly wasn't thrilled when they were done.

    Kevin's attitude post-coitally was definitely of a man who got what he wanted and no longer had any need for Patrick "romantically." If anything, I felt like he kept pursuing Patrick to dump some of his guilt from the wedding onto Patrick. Now they were even, it wasn't all him. Now that he's satisfied his curiosity, they can go back to being "boss" and "underling."

    Which is probably why there was no spring in Patrick's step when he was walking home. Banging the boss didn't get Richie out of his head so when Richie was there and was, like Patrick said, so sweet and sincere, when he kind of broke up with Patrick, it just broke Patrick down.

    If anything, it looked like they were setting Patrick up to finally grow up next season. No more feigned naivete to get along and no more living to please his mother or his sister or his friends or his boss. Having Richie walk away from him because he, not Richie, wasn't ready kind of put the whole situation in place for him. He was pushing away the best thing that ever happened to him because he can't get past his own hangups.

    Which is why it should have been enough to bump Castillo up to regular while keeping Tovey on as recurring. There were plenty of stories to mine between Patrick and Richie that didn't need to include a soap opera quality love triangle. Kevin as a character works best as the occasional bump in the road for Patrick, not as a legitimate "love" interest.

    Posted by: DdV | Mar 10, 2014 10:14:34 AM

  19. "The show is actully amazing in its' reality"

    Sorry but nothing about the show is "amazing". It got better with time, yes, but the show still has a lot of issue (format, script and wardrobe to name a few).

    Posted by: Jay | Mar 10, 2014 10:18:30 AM

  20. I think the show is OK but they need to increase the volume a bit in order to retain audiences. Just a thought.

    Posted by: John | Mar 10, 2014 10:22:39 AM

  21. Loved the series. Great season finale. I plan on going back and watching the entire series in marathon format. I hope we get more of the Frank character next season even if he is no longer with Augustin.

    Posted by: Brian W. | Mar 10, 2014 10:39:16 AM

  22. Stopped watching half way through episode 4. Decided to watch episode 8 last night. What a freaking waste of my time.

    Posted by: Perry | Mar 10, 2014 10:48:29 AM

  23. I know you (Andy) have grown to be a fan - but I am still not impressed. For all those that say how realistic it is - here is something to consider - why would Patrick - neurotic Patrick - bottom without any "prep" before hand. It seems someone as tightly wound as Patrick would want to make sure he was clean before bottoming - I found that to be totally a false note. And I do not see any sexual chemistry with Patrick and anyone - let alone his boss - . Patrick seems a very asexual homosexual.

    Posted by: David | Mar 10, 2014 10:51:56 AM

  24. I watched the entire series, and must agree with those who called it boring. There is no reason to connect with these characters, and none of them present any redeeming qualities as they plod from one non-event to the other. I'm glad there are those who do connect and find value in the show, and I wish it every success. . .but for me as someone who lives in San Francisco and interacts with the community here every day, this hollow show just misses the mark.

    Posted by: Keith | Mar 10, 2014 10:52:23 AM

  25. I really want to like "Looking" in its entirety, but its parts are greater than its whole. That parts I liked were the ones with Russell Tovey's "Kevin" and Scott Bakula's "Lynn" were the focus. Maybe because I think they are much better actors and force the rest of the cast to work that much harder.

    I could really do with out Frankie Alvarez' "Augustin". To me, its the character we need the least, especially since "Augustin" is nothing more than a drug fueled waste of limited airtime.

    Get rid of Augustin, expand to 48 minutes (or more, cause does HBO really need 12 minutes of promo time each hour?), focus more on Kevin & Lynn and I think Looking could be what so many of us hoped it would be from the start. We truly want to like it.

    Posted by: Phoenix Justice | Mar 10, 2014 10:57:47 AM

  26. 1 2 3 »

Post a comment


« «'The Normal Heart' Teaser Trailer Unearths the Panic, Grief, and Humanity of the Early Days of AIDS: VIDEO« «