In our 2nd Lionel episode, the focus is him truly getting to know Troy and how his journalism career is going.
Brooke, Gay Apps, and Comment Sections: Lionel
Lack of objectivity is leading to Lionel not getting the best marks from Silvio and with Gabe catching so much heat, he isn’t happy about Lionel’s most recent article either. However, waiting on the bench is Brooke (Courtney Sauls), someone who is an almost comedic foil and adversary of Lionel. Something Silvio knows hence why he gives her the ultimate assignment: An article on Troy. One that Lionel pitched.
Though, while dealing with ridiculous comment sections and Brooke, Lionel is also dealing with being confirmed in his sexuality but no one to explore it with. He is looking into apps but, no one wants a relationship and everyone is so picky. Especially when it comes to race. Making it where his platonic time with Troy will have to play love’s methadone for now.
Something about this episode, setting aside the new layers presented about Troy and Lionel, talked about below, was a bit weirdly comical. Mostly because of Brooke who I just can’t put my finger on. Is she supposed to be comical, an over achiever, or what? Like Joelle, who deserves her own episode, there needs to be more said and done with said character.
That aside, I kind of wished this went deeper into Lionel’s dating life. If just because, who knows when we may see another Lionel again.
Like An Onion, They Have Layers: Lionel, Troy
Covering a parade is not what Lionel wants to do. He wants to cover Troy. However, as noted, Silvio gives that job to Brooke. Thing is, as noted early on in the season, Lionel has a backbone now. So, not only does he block Brooke from getting a sufficient interview but also spends the day with Troy. During that he learns about Troy’s mom leaving [note]we aren’t told if they still keep contact[/note], and Lionel reveals his dad died when he was 6 [note]As well as his mom being his dad’s mistress[/note], and they perhaps, for the first time, really get to know each other. Including Lionel learning about Neika and that whole situation.
Though perhaps what could have been most noteworthy is that Lionel had a gay roommate before Lionel named AJ (Shamir). Someone who has long since dropped out but knew who Lionel was. He even brings up his Bonr profile and says he is cute. Unfortunately, though, nothing comes out of that. Well, besides AJ revealing that he too, for Troy, was asked to pee in a cup. Since, thanks to freshman year activities, Dean Fairbanks has Troy piss in a cup regularly.
Oh, and before it is forgotten, a key part of Lionel and Troy’s conversation deals with the constant need to be at 110% in order to fight against inequality. It is how Dean Fairbanks has raised Troy and it is getting tiring keeping up the pace. Almost to the point, he is ready to just escape it all. Something Lionel decides to write about for his article. One dedicated to the recent birthday boy [note]Just to show how much Dean Fairbanks is more worried about his son having some semblance of privilege vs. being a true father, Troy notes his dad hasn’t remembered his birthday in 3 years[/note].
I must admit, I didn’t get much out of this Troy storyline. If only because, I feel like there are enough Troy types seen in the world and while their stories are important, they also saturate the market. Plus, his moment of vulnerability wasn’t like Reggie’s. Reason being, the point of view is from Lionel’s so it all felt a bit romanticized. Like he was writing a romance novel in his head and his long time crush opening up to him was but a few chapters before the climax when they kiss. Hence the weird bathroom moment Lionel thought could mean something.
But it should be interesting to see how people react to Lionel’s newest article. Especially Troy since he didn’t know what he said was on the record and could be circulated. And while I would talk about Neika popping up and us being reminded she exists, well since the show isn’t taking her seriously and dedicating much time to that, I don’t see why should I?