Friday, April 22, 2022

Heartstopper: Episode 2

2. Crush
Elle finally makes friends at her new school with Tara (Corinna Brown) and Darcy (Kizzy Edgell) who turn out to be in a secret lesbian relationship. In a flashback, Ben introduces himself to Charlie at school, calls him brave for coming out, then starts flirting with him. Nick and Charlie talk about the incident on Insta and begin to spend more time together, like that weekend at Nick’s house where he introduces him to his dog Nellie and they have a fun time under the snow, or that weekend at Charlie’s house where he teaches Nick how to play the drums. As Charlie falls asleep watching TV, Nick feels drawn to holding his hand, refuses, then gives him a long hug before leaving, prompting Charlie’s sister Tori (Jenny Walser) to blurt out her observation that Nick does not seem to be straight. Even Nick’s mother Sarah (Olivia Colman) notices how her son is different when he is with his new friend. Confused about his feelings, Nick turns his MacBook on and Googles “Am I gay?”.

My favorite characters so far are Tori and art teacher Mr. Ajayi (Fisayo Akinade). Tori appearing out of nowhere to ambush her younger brother with unsolicited advice or observation is such a mood, not to mention there is something subtly hilarious about her deadpan British Sadako aura. Mr. Ajayi, on the other hand, feels like an adult who grew up in a hostile and non-tolerant environment without the luxury of an accessible support group, survived, and now serves as some sort of beacon of wisdom for tweens who are also going through the same experience. Anyway, I guess what I admire about this show so far is how the casting seems spot-on. Both Locke and Connor are apparently 18 years old in real life, which is a good step away from the common trope of casting actors in their 20’s for such roles. Let teenagers be teenagers and stop giving them unrealistic expectations about themselves, okay? So good job, Heartstopper crew. It also helps that Locke is openly gay while Finney who plays Elle is transgender in real life. Representation!

“As your token straight friend, it's my duty to remind you that sometimes people are straight. It's an unfortunate fact of life.” –Tao Xu

<<Episode 1                Episode 3>>

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