For an episode titled “Looking For A Plot,” this may have been one of the most eventful episodes of the series yet. While the ‘plot’ in the title refers to a burial plot and not the narrative arc, it still felt like a response to some audience members who keep throwing the word 'boring.' Tonight was an example of what this show is capable of at its best.
On top of some of the larger developments that happened throughout the episode, tonight was also a showcase of the immensely talented Lauren Weedman as Doris. She’s been the acerbic comic relief, but thanks to her relationship with Malik (Bashir Salahuddin), she’s becoming a more fleshed out character. In “Looking For A Plot,” Doris became a richly textured character, and Weedman’s masterful performance lent depth to Doris as she laughed, cried and danced her heart out to “Walking On Sunshine.”
Let's dish on the trip to Modesto, AFTER THE JUMP …
- I’ve been looking forward to this episode since series creator Michael Lannan intimated it was coming in our conversation earlier this year:
Michael Lannan: There’s an episode in the back half that’s almost like a friendship version of episode five, where we isolate some of our characters and they go deeper with each other and their love for each other. They’re not romantic, but finding out in the face of some events more about what matters to each other and how they love each other and how they relate to each other.
Towleroad: I really hope that has something to do with Doris.
ML: It does. It does in fact.
- I’ve made no secret that Doris is one of my favorite characters on this show. In her few appearances last season, you could depend on her to dispense some much needed real-talk to the boys when they were spiraling further into their own self-absorption. Watching her deal with her own grief tonight, you could almost see her checking herself with that same trademark humor, even if it was just within her own mind. Take, for instance, when she first learned of her father’s death, she had a momentary glimmer of shock before collecting herself and focusing on the coffee. It’s a defense mechanism she’s been depending on since she was a child growing up with an alcoholic mother. We also learned just how close Doris and Dom (Murray Bartlett) were while growing up. Sure they made out to Wham! (both thinking of George Michael), but they also apparently had sex.
- Dom’s return to Modesto was also notable. With people coming out younger and younger, it was refreshing to see a man of Dom’s age come back and still need to come out to the folks in his hometown. And I think it’s not uncommon for a big city type to go home and wonder if they would have been happier living a simpler life in the suburbs. His exchange with his old high school classmate was one of those Looking moments that just rings so true.
- The specter of Dom’s father also hung heavy around this episode. First, Dom brought the crew to his father’s old Portuguese diner (now a donut shop). Then he worried about never having come out to his own father. After failing to find his gravesite, Dom decides to scream his coming out to the whole cemetery from the window of the car, which leads us to one of the three shocking moments in this episode. The car gets T-boned by another car, sending Dom, Doris and Patrick (Jonathan Groff) to the hospital.
- While Doris and Dom wait for Patrick at the hospital, Doris reveals that her father left her some money, and she wants to give it to Dom to open his chicken window. “There’s no one I’d rather invest in more than you because you’re my family.” That’s the second surprise of the evening. Just as she opens up to Dom, Malik shows up to pick them up, and, after not being able to cry throughout the mourning process, she lets it all out in his arms. Could this be a sign that she’s ready to open herself up to him?
- Patrick is fine, of course. Just a little banged up. No worse than he felt after his epic meltdown last week. He shared a bit about his own sad childhood while tagging along to Modesto (it involved a box of glazed donuts and an Out magazine tucked inside a copy of Sports Illustrated). At the sad local gay bar, he projected a bit on a lonely guy at the end of the bar, but when that guy’s boyfriend showed up, it drove Patty’s own loneliness a little deeper. Maybe that’s what made Patrick so hysterical during the funeral, leading him to blubber loudly during the reading of a Walt Whitman poem.
- His loneliness is short-lived, of course. When the crew comes back from Modesto, Kevin (Russell Tovey) is waiting outside. He tells him that he’s left his boyfriend, and he wants to give this a try. Patrick is in, and the two kiss in tonight's third surprising moment. With his boyfriend out of the picture they're going to try and make this relationship work.
What did you think of tonight’s episode? Is Patrick making a mistake giving Kevin a chance?