For its third episode, “Looking” shifted its focus from sex and relationships to the careers of its three core characters. But it did not shift its tone, as Patrick, Dom, and Agustin are about as successful in their work lives as they are in their personal lives. Which is to say, not very.
Patrick’s video-game company celebrated the release of its new title -- a fighting game featuring Naval officers, that somehow involves arm wrestling, which really might be the gayest game ever -- with a lavish launch party on an aircraft carrier. At the shindig Patrick came into contact with a rather cute British fellow who Patrick approached with his typical total lack of social acumen. He literally hit on the guy while they were both straddling torpedoes. Speaking of bombs, Cute British Guy (I don’t know if we ever got a name) dropped two of his own: yeah, he’s gay, but he’s got a boyfriend; and by the way, he’s basically Patrick’s new boss.
Patrick and his design partner spent the rest of the episode in a panic over whether Patrick’s faux pas might have cost them their jobs. We really got to see Patrick’s self-absorption this episode; both Dom and Agustin had to interrupt Patrick’s neurotic spiral to interject important life news of their own. But, again, Patrick demonstrated at least some self awareness in the fact that he keeps doing this to himself in basically every area of his life. By the end of the episode Patrick took some initiative and made it clear that he wants his job -- he also deleted his online dating account, which can really only help him at this point -- and Cute British Guy admitted he was only mindfucking Patrick anyway. He always had a spot on the team. And there was mild flirting that, in a few episodes, will almost certainly lead to major disaster. But hey, he’s cute and British. I think we can all give Pat a pass on that one.
Dom was feeling good after exorcising Real Estate Douche from his life, so he and series MVP Doris went to a…Bollywood dance class? I think? And Dom announced that he’s ready to open the periperi chicken restaurant of his dreams. This was met with a mix of tentative support, concern about finances, and at least one flat-out smackdown from the chef he apparently intended to hire. Dom being Dom, he tried to soothe his frazzled nerves with some casual sex, and thus mainstream America was introduced to the concept of the gay bathhouse. Yes, these are places where men go to get some time in the sauna or steam room -- and also to bang random strangers.
While there, Dom encountered Lynn, an older stud played by the still-fine Scott Bakula. There was some nice furry beef in that sauna scene, so thank you for that, show. The two of them chatted for a bit before Dom went off to wash the back of some pretty young thing, but the show is clearly setting up Lynn as Dom’s potential new business partner -- and possibly something more. (I think a relationship with a guy older than him would totally blow Dom’s mind.)
Agustin was actually given something to do this episode, but I ended up liking him possibly less than ever. He’s a supremely defensive, irritable human being who has very few positive qualities that I can see. I’m not sure why his boyfriend puts up with him. Anyway, Agustin got fired by his terrible sculptor boss for stupidly telling her that her sculptures are, well, terrible. He consulted cake for solace, and in the process met a very handsome, bearded sex worker who showed no shame about his profession -- he owned who he was, and what he does. This had a profound impact on Agustin, a struggling artist who -- the show hit us over the head with this -- has not been creating any actual art for quite some time. Agustin becomes somewhat obsessed with the sex worker, and previews show that next week he tries to do a “project” with him. I’m telling you right now, if Agustin ends up cheating on Frank with the hustler I’m basically done with him as a character.
Shifting focus to the characters’ professions made for a less racy episode than the first two, which is probably a good thing for a show critics say is obsessed with sex. (Mind you, we still had a bathhouse scene, so it’s all relative.) But this episode perhaps more than the first two felt very short to me. The half-hour format is not doing the show any favors. Just when we’re starting to get into some meaty stuff ,the episode ends. It’s a little like edging, but without the required release. (Don’t be confused, straight folks; that’s another one of those gay secrets the show will probably demystify at some point.)
Next: Patrick has a fantasy relationship with Cute British Boss that can only end badly; Dom and Lynn go on a quasi-date; Agustin tries to make art with the sex worker, who costs $200-plus an hour. I am in the wrong line of work.