That is the biggest question on Victor Salazar's head, as he grapples with his growing identity as an openly gay (former) celebrity athlete in Creekwood High. After reaching a major milestone in his relationship with Benji, Victor -- that was told last season that "there is no one way to become gay" -- is forced to face another loaded question: Is he prepared to sacrifice a part of his identity to devise a brand new one?
It's only a day away in the very first game of the baseball season, and Andrew has made one thing clear: He wants Victor back to the group. (Correction: He wants him back on the group ) But with no one willing to undermine or have a change of heart, the group is as fantastic as sliced liver. So when Andrew, who happens to be the desperate staff captain, sets out to win Victor back, he misses the mark... more than once. Afterward, at Benji's after-school"family and friends concert," it is calling Victor"that the least gay homosexual person living ."
And while that line might be sufficient to unnerve anyone, it is really Benji and his musical friends who sow the most uncertainty in Victor's mind. Throughout a preshow meet and greet with the band, Benji jokes in front of his bandmates that Victor is"at the first phases of jock recovery" and"only escaped the cults of cheap body spray and casual misogyny," implying that he does not think Victor should return to the team. When a bassist called Stevie (Kevin Norman) jokes which Victor -- together with his athletic physique and"church boy haircut" -- is Benji's"ideal straight-boy dream," Benji laughs and admits to being relieved that he does not"have to sit together with the basketball wives and perform the whole'move Grizzlies!' dance."
Victor, understandably, can't seem to shake the feeling that he doesn't belong everywhere and leaves the concert , and Andrew later finds him shooting hoops at an empty public court. "Please tell me what's the precise degree of gay I must be," he tells Andrew. "Because apparently, I'm too homosexual for the locker room, however I'm not gay enough for Benji and his pals. Where do I belong?" When Andrew insists he belongs to some basketball court, Victor asks what would happen if he returned but then chose to change the way he dressed or dyed his hair pink? "Well, then, I think you should take action. If anybody has a problem with it, they can reply to me," Andrew says Victor rightfully confronts him about not wanting to"risk your reputation for your homosexual child." (I had been hoping to see a story line like this in year two, but I must mention that I was pleasantly surprised to see the writers confront the double-edged nature of allyship, since a lot of people like to claim the name of"ally" without really working to advance a culture of inclusion.)
Back in the Salazar house, Isabel and Armando both can't stop thinking about what happened the other night, and Isabel suggests that they have dinner the next day to discuss their future together. Later that day, as Armando attends another PFLAG assembly and talks openly with a woman called Shelby, Isabel pays a visit to Father Lawrence (Sean O'Bryan) -- and also the contrast in how that they're handling Victor's coming out is striking. While Isabel insists that among those root causes of the marital issues is Armando's inability to discuss his feelings, Armando tells Shelby he feels way more in touch with his feelings ever since he started to attend these meetings. While Armando states that he thanks God"for giving me the courage to come here and also to adore my son for who he is," Father Lawrence tells Isabel that she's right to express her disapproval if she desires Victor"to know God's love." This highlights one of the most glaring causes of Isabel's reluctance to accept Victor's novelty: The classic religious values that are becoming so ingrained in her battle with the seemingly unconditional love that she has for her child, and she does not understand how to discuss it.
If they sit down for dinner at a fancy outside restaurant the following day, Armando says he believes their marital problems began long before Isabel's affair with his former supervisor. They had been stuck at a never-ending blueprint of battling and guilt-tripping, and in order to break the cycle, he needs her to attend PFLAG meetings with him. The idea that the (recently separated) parents aren't on the exact same page couldn't be more clear when Isabel brings her up conversation with Father Lawrence:"He said,'If Victor chooses this route... that he won't ever know God's love.' And I am thinking, How can that be? He is such a fantastic son. He is such a fantastic person. How come this is happening ? You knowthis whole matter with Victor, it's made me really look at myself and really try and change. But if you're not gonna change with me, I don't understand what the future holds." (Ana Ortiz and James Martinez have always been able to use their own experiences as parents and actors to give credibility and gravity to this series, but I really love how the writers have contributed them more powerful and more difficult material to use this season.)
Meanwhile, Felix decides to take another major step into his connection with Lake by introducing her to his mom, Dawn, who is performing a whole lot better on a new medication and has begun decluttering the apartment. The three of them have a lovely dinner together, but things quickly take a turn for the worse when Lake says that she has to get going and politely declines to get dessert. Dawn starts to experience a manic episode and seems insistent on providing Lake all her fancy dishes, which can be family heirlooms. When Lake tries to deesclate the situation, Dawn drops a cardboard box and breaks most of the plates before fleeing the scene, leaving Felix and Lake to wash up the pieces. Deflated, Felix comprehends that nothing has really changed. However, when Lake indicates that he get some expert assistance for Dawn, Felix says that he has"been handling this alone for decades " and forces Lake to promise that she won't ever talk of this. Yet when her mother Georgina (Leslie Grossman) notices that something is up, Lake decides to tell her the truth, which will only set off a series of unfortunate events.
Finally, after the game, Andrew shows up at Mia's doorstep and informs her that Lucy broke up with him. "As long as I can remember, any time I wanted to take the easy way out, there was always this annoying voice at the back of my head, pushing me to do much better, to be better," he informs her, using his reconciliation with Victor for instance. "Even when you are not about me, I always hear you. When Lucy finished it, I figured,'Hey, I have taken a million photographs along with you, but I'm going to take a thousand... and you. ''' The consequent kiss that literally sweeps Mia off her toes was a very long time coming, but man, it had been worthwhile.