May 1, 2020
Looking Recap: Folsom Street Fair Blues
This shall be our shittiest recap of HBO’s newest gay, gay, gay show “Looking” yet.
This week’s episode opens with bumbling bachelor Patrick (Jonathan Groff) and his new Brit boss Kevin (Russell Tovey) trouble shooting the video company’s newest game set for release. Kevin, the digital-world tycoon, is stressing whether the game is good enough for the next day’s unveiling, which is why they’re pulling a Sunday No-Funday to try and work out the kinks.
Kevin feels bad for dragging Patrick into it though, particularly on what is unfolding outside. It’s the Folsom Street Fair, in all its assless chap glory and celebration of a different type of kink to finish off the week’s Leather Pride festival in San Francisco.
They end up sitting in S&M-looking swings in the office (ah, we get it, irony!) fully clothed and talking about relationships, Kevin’s two-year-old one particularly with his boyfriend who lives in Seattle. Patrick is being a little flirty, regardless, feeling things out.
The phone rings and it’s the boyfriend, John. Turns out John is at the airport and in town for the night. Kevin takes off to pick him up, leaving Patrick to pull an alldayer solo.
“Yo what’s up girl?” says Agustin (Frankie J. Alvarez) from the other end of a cell. He, Dom’s roomie Doris (Lauren Weedman) and some other dude are getting their party on downstairs on Folsom. The mustachioed manly man Dom (Murray Bartlett) is MIA, which makes absolutely no sense, but we digress. They do, however, reel Patrick in for some Folsom Street-style shenanigans.
“Let’s get you leathered up,” Agustin says upon seeing Patrick in his ghastly golf-ready gear. Upon trying on a leather vest, Patrick asks with a snicker if he should scotch guard it in case he gets ejaculated on because, as the writers remind us incessantly, Patrick is an awkward computer geek who doesn’t know a butt plug from a port plug.
We soon find out that Dom has inexplicably opted out of Folsom to instead track down Lynn (Scott Bakula) from last week’s bath house, the older gentleman who owns the local flower shop whose acquaintance was made in a steam room. He asks him out to lunch.
Dom regales Lynn with talk about the wonders of authentic Portuguese chicken and how he and his father had a little business off the I-5 in the desert making and serving it. Dom puts it on the table that he is picking Lynn’s brain about business, and Lynn goes out of his way to make him feel awkward, acting like he mistook the tête-à-tête for a different sort of mentoring.
Poor sexy Lynn. We hope he gets some eventually. We don’t like to see sexy old folks so sexless.
Lynn tells the endearing story of how he met the “hippy fags” who are now his business partners at the flower shop. They were selling geraniums and skunky weed when he first made their acquaintance as a loan officer. He ended up moving in with one of them and opening the flower shop with them.
“So you are saying I need to date a loan officer?” Dom asks, searching for the moral in the story.
“No,” Lynn says with a silver-foxy grin. “I am saying the restaurant business is like any other business. It has less to do with business and more to do with who you know.” He doesn’t know anyone who has half a million dollars, Dom says. But serendipitously it turns out Lynn does, or at least knows others who do, he teases.
Not bad for a day at the gay bathhouse, Dom. You just never know what the right place at the right time will look like, y’know? That’s probably the real moral of the story.
At the end of their lunch, Dom invites himself over to Lynn’s to throw together a home-cooked meal. “I want you to taste my chicken,” he says, blushing upon realizing the double entendre he put out there and that he’s already inadvertently sexually harassed his prospective business partner. Lynn shuts him down for dinner, but tells him to put together a business proposal and he’ll take a look-see.
Back at Folsom, Patrick hits the street leathered up as Agustin drags him to the rentboy.com booth. They track down CJ (T.J. Linnard), the male prostitute from last week’s café and invite him for a similar sort of business lunch.
After some prodding, CJ gives an example of one of his moneymaking dates where he jerks off some guy while calling him a faggot and watching TV. “You actually know these guys better than anyone else does! Like a therapist,” Agustin says, thinking he’s hit on something that isn’t a total cliché.
Agustin tells the gigolo that he wants to hire him, but not for sex, and despite the fact that he had to bum money from Patrick to pay for CJ’s lunch. The fee stands for whatever it is Agustin does during that hour, CJ makes clear, handjob or no handjob.
Hiring a prostitute who he does not intend to fuck wasn’t the only questionable decision of the day for poor Agustin. He accepted a little taste of CJ’s sausage in a flirty moment — not man meat, real actual pork product — even though he’s a vegetarian. It backfires on him (the pun possibilities are endless) and he is in urgent need of a crapper so as to not shat his cutoffs.
They head to Patrick’s office, which is within shitting distance.
Agustin unleashes the bowels of hell and Patrick explains that it’s God’s way of shaming Agustin for hiring a hooker. “If God exists, I hope she has better things to do than give people the explosive shits,” Agustin says in a moment of philosophical reflection.
Agustin explains his plan for his newly hired prostitute over some stomach-settling toast. “I just want to follow him around,” he tells Patrick. “Shoot some video, see what happens. Not over think it, just do it.”
Patrick asks the obvious question: “Watch him fuck people?” Perhaps.
Agustin wants to find out more about the dynamics and how CJ makes his customers feeeeeeel. “Yeah, he kind of had something,” Patrick agrees. “But it may have just been the jock strap.”
It’s about intimacy, Agustin argues, that paying someone for sex allows you to truly be your authentic self because there is no need for romance or impressing anyone. But Patrick’s not buying Agustin’s newest load of crap.
And then things turn on Patrick, who Agustin says wickedly knows nothing about intimacy because of his lack of actual boyfriend experience and his newest imaginary boyfriend, his boss, who is not even available. Ouchy.
“Sorry,” Agustin says. “I’m being horrible. It must be the meat.”
Meanwhile, back at Patrick’s office, Doris and her friend Hugo, who it turns out is a video game-obsessed part-time bartender under all that leather, have their way with the new game Patrick was supposed to be working on. And of course Kevin walks in to find the scantily-dressed crew lounging about.
Patrick and Kevin get back down to business, admiring Kevin’s handy work creating a sexy digital troll. And now it seems like Patrick’s little crush might not be one sided after all. But Agustin’s harsh words are rattling around that brain of his still.
Patrick cuts to the chase, and wisely takes off for the night, resumes leather vest attire and heads to the bar, aptly called Stud.
As a drag queen croons from the stage, there’s Richie (Raúl Castillo)—you ’member, the Latin lover from Episode Two who Patrick tried to hook up with only to instead offend with some vaguely racist dirty talk.
Patrick takes a few more gulps of liquid bravery and heads over for some awkward humble pie. All is forgiven, sultry slow dancing ensues and it seems maybe the leather vest suits Patrick just fine.