Love, Victor’s second season is spicy, flaunting its newfound Hulu freedom. It’s also surprisingly gloomy. Victor and his friends are coping with issues like depression, divorce, homophobia and poverty. The show has improved but is wildly uneven. Still good but not great.
Michael Cimino remains compelling in the title role. He’s out of the closet and clashing with his devout Catholic mother (MVP Ana Ortiz). It’s rare to see a gay teen protagonist move past coming out tropes. But the supporting cast tends to push him to the background.
The series is juggling eleven principal characters. Some get lost in the shuffle (sorry Pilar). Others get more attention than they merit (Andrew, ya basic). The biggest casualty is the lovable Felix. He’s gone from comic relief to desperate caretaker for his bipolar mother. Their bleak conversations seem lifted from a different show.
George Sear plays Benji, a handsome musician. He dumped a selfish jerk to date Victor. I was eager to learn more about him. But soon he’s criticizing Victor’s family, his love of sports and his naivete. I wondered why the writers were turning him into a killjoy like his ex. Enter Rahim.
Rahim (Anthony Keyvan) is an Iranian Muslim who dispenses jokes and fashion advice. The tropes are familiar but I was grateful for the levity. The season peaks in episode nine when Victor and Rahim spend a day together. It reminded me of the best episodes of Looking where the ensemble stepped aside to let two characters breathe. I wish Benji had gotten the same opportunity.
Some fans will be Team Benji. Some Team Rahim. Others will wish Felix would come out as pansexual.
They end with another frustrating cliff hanger. Last season left me eager to see where the story would go. This one leaves me ambivalent. Still, gay protagonists are rare outside of indie films. If Love, Victor returns next summer I’ll be sure to tune in. I just hope Victor finds a sense of humor.