Looking Back: Where Things Stand Heading Into Season 2

The HBO dramedy's finale ended the season on a high note — for the most part.

BY Kevin OKeeffe

March 10 2014 1:14 PM ET

Patrick (Jonathan Groff) and Kevin (Russell Tovey) on Looking's season finale

We've arrived at our final destination on the Looking train, everyone! Through the accusations of the show being boring to episodes we loved to episodes we hated (but you loved), we've managed to live and learn through eight episodes of really solid TV. No, Looking didn't redefine the dramedy medium, but it managed to put together a compelling world with genuine, fleshed-out characters. It even managed to give the plot an extra push toward true drama near the end of its first season.

In no episode was the drama more prevalent than in this finale. A lot of threads from last week's episode were resolved in ways we didn't expect, while others were left hanging as we head into season 2. We're optimistic about where creators Andrew Haigh and Michael Lannan and his team are taking us, but as we look back on this first season, there are some aspects of Looking that leave us a bit anxious. So let's briefly abandon our usual "5 Moments" format and instead check in on where things stand for our characters — and break down what we're both excited and concerned about moving forward.

Good: The Breakup
After last week's revelation that Agustín (Frankie J. Alvarez) had been lying to Frank (O.T. Fagbenle) about paying for their hooker friend's company, everyone's least favorite "artist" tries to push some of the blame for the fallout onto his boyfriend. But Frank absolutely isn't having it. He's determined to kick Agustín to the curb, reading him for filth on the way out. "You're never going to be an artist," he says, sniffing in Agustín's direction. "And if you ever do follow through with something, it's going to be mediocre at best." Harsh, absolutely, but considering what a rat he's been all season, Agustín totally deserves it. But more on him later — more importantly, since this is likely Fagbenle's last scene, we should take a moment to appreciate the really fantastic work he's done all season. In a show that often feels like there's no one worth rooting for, Fagbenle has made Frank a consistently sympathetic, genuine presence — one sorely needed in Agustín's plot.

Great: Where Dom and Lynn Ended Up
Speaking of fantastic work done in otherwise lame plots, Scott Bakula continued to knock it out of the park as Lynn in this episode. Dom (Murray Bartlett) is about to open his pop-up peri peri restaurant, but Lynn is nowhere to be found after Dom treated him like crap last week. He invents reasons to call Lynn, pleading that he be there — and he does show up! Unfortunately, it's with another man. Dom is clearly heartbroken but manages to stay the course and complete the service. Because there's not much tangible reward in this plot — the pop-up was successful, which means, uh, something good, probably — we're thrilled to see some action when Lynn breaks off their business relationship. Dom takes it well, kissing him quite passionately. Unlike last time, Lynn doesn't pull away. Bakula has a pilot with CBS next season, which means he won't be back on a regular basis, but we hope he can come back to resolve this dangling plot thread.

Iffy: Our New Regular Cast Members
We will, however, be getting a few new regular cast members next season — the most exciting of which is easily Lauren Weedman's Doris. Dom's best friend gets a great moment in tonight's episode when she talks to Lynn at the opening. She gently chides him for disappearing all day, which he tries to brush off, but she's insistent. "Dom's worth it," she says, tears in her voice. It's a gorgeously underplayed moment and proves that Doris is more than a one-liner machine. Her return is great news, but we're iffier on her fellow new regular cast members, Kevin (Russell Tovey) and Richie (Raúl Castillo). Both men have been turning in fantastic work all season, and tonight was no different. The plot they're in, however, is significantly more disappointing.

Tags: television

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