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In An Eventful Finale, ‘Love, Victor’ Tests Whether The Truth Really Can Set You Free

Photo Credit: Hulu

Written by Samuel Niles 

The end of the third episode of Love, Victor established one of the most important themes in the show

Victor (Michael Cimino, Annabelle Comes Home), thinking he’s okay with dating Mia (Rachel Hilson, This Is Us), thinking he can be friends with Benji (George Sear, The Evermoor Chronicles), and thinking he can still keep his secret, sees Benji kiss his boyfriend Derek (Luke Gage, Euphoria). 

Normally in drama, devastation over the sight of a romantic kiss occurs when this kiss, to put it a little coldly, disrupts the “goal” of a romantic pursuit. Not so here, because Victor convinced himself that he wasn’t romantically pursuing Benji, and so the “goal” being disrupted, and Victor’s ultimate problem for the rest of the season, is contentment with a lie. 

This makes for an effective, interesting arc for Victor, full of development that is at once beneficial but never enough, with each positive progress possessing a splintered fragments of the truth he should not be suppressing. 

An example of this stunted growth also relates to Benji and Derek’s relationship. When the two attend his birthday party, Victor tries to keep their relationship a secret so as to not upset his homophobic grandfather (Juan Carlos Cantu, The Bridge), much to their humiliation. But by the end of the episode, he stands up to his grandfather and does not back down on defending his friends. 

This is most certainly a moment of growth for Victor. It’s incremental in the broader scope, but incremental growth has value. Victor’s problem is that he takes too much pleasure in incremental growth out of fear of that final height. 

His fear is understandable, as it stems from an assortment of areas. Exploring his orientation and finding out whether or not he “like” likes Mia is important to his growth, but in doing this he’s also dug himself deep and doesn’t know how to come out to her. His father (James Martinez, One Day At A Time) proudly approves of his son standing up to his grandfather, and even has a casually positive “it’s none of my business if they’re happy” attitude about Benji and Derek, but this lovely moment is essentially thrown out the window when he “jokingly” hopes VIctor’s brother Adrian (Mateo Fernandez, in his screen debut) “doesn’t turn out gay.” 

Victor’s fears are reasonable. Victor’s fears are understandable. But Victor continuing to lie about himself comes out in unhelpful, sometimes toxic ways. Victor fears coming out will hurt Mia, but his suppression leads to him lying to and disappointing her on a number of occasions. 

Once more, Victor’s fear of coming out is understandable, and the show by no means tries to paint coming out as some sort of end-all-be-all to whatever issues he might face in his life. Just as Simon coming out didn’t suddenly make Creekwood High a bastion of universal love and acceptance, Victor coming out will not suddenly fix every problem he will ever face. But being honest about who he is will allow him to face those problems. 

This theme is present throughout in a top to bottom manner, and shines in the supporting cast. When Victor and Mia’s gender respective besties Felix (Anthony Turpel formerly of The Bold and The Beautiful) and Lake (Bebe Wood, The Real O’Neal’s) start hooking up, Felix’s earnest goofball nature proves to be at odds with Lake’s squeaky clean veneer. Both of their natures are, in a sense, a response to harsher truths of their family lives. Lake’s self-deception is, at once, a sort of submission to the darker side of her life and a shell that will conceal it from other people. 

But Felix’s goofiness is not some deceptive shell that he uses to lie to himself with, but rather a genuine optimistic coping mechanism to help him deal with the harsh truths in his own life. It’s his way of telling himself that he’s not going to let his past hold him down. When he tells Lake about his home life, he’s unveiling himself in a way that leaves no doubt about his feelings for her, and for his dissatisfaction with merely “hooking up” with her. The scenes between these two make for some brilliant character development and add a beautiful nuance to what could have been a tired “the goofy best friends start hooking up” trope. 

Mia is more on the level of Lake. She’s been hurt countless times and has an occasional ruthless demeanor in response to this pain. This ruthlessness appears to be an honest reflection of her feelings, but like her friend, she’s lying. When her father (Mekhi Phifer, ER) brings home Veronica (Sophia Bush, One Tree Hill), Mia treats the new woman with an almost vile callousness that disgusts her father. This anger, this resentment, and this pain all comes from a need that she dare not confess to either of them, because it’s precisely the fear that she won’t get that need that brings out that pain and its successive responses. 

This sense of covering up the truth with a shiny veneer culminates in the season finale, centering on the high school staple of the school dance. This event is the perfect encapsulation of the show’s theme of covering up the truth with a shiny veneer, because it’s at this colorful, spectacular looking dance that everyone’s truth, everyone’s whole truth, and nothing but everyone’s truth comes out. And it does not come out because they want it to, but because it needs to. 

That’s the thing about the truth. It always comes out. But while Love, Victor shows how it looms, how it threatens, and how it terrifies, Love, Victor never lets us forget that it is, above all, freeing

The Love, Victor Finale and Entire Series is now streaming on Hulu.


Pop-Break Staff
Pop-Break Staffhttps://thepopbreak.com
Founded in September 2009, The Pop Break is a digital pop culture magazine that covers film, music, television, video games, books and comics books and professional wrestling.

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