Thursday, August 3, 2023

REVIEW: 'Heartstopper' - Nick and Charlie Invite Their Friends to a Sleepover While Elle Tries Flirting With Tao in 'Out'

Netflix's Heartstopper - Episode 2.01 "Out"

As his relationship with Charlie matures, Nick considers coming out to Imogen - but it's a lot harder than he expected. Elle tries flirting with Tao.

"Out" was written by Alice Oseman and directed by Euros Lyn

Nick and Charlie are boyfriends. Nick wants to come out as bisexual. And yet, coming out is a lot harder than he expected. He quit the big rugby match during Sports Day to run away with Charlie. None of his classmates appear to have read into that dynamic. Imogen had a moment where she looked on with the awareness of knowing Nick's internal struggle as of late. That brought some clarity. However, Nick still faces the pressure of coming out. He had a wonderful experience doing so with his mother. She accepted him completely. It was information she appreciated having. She was apologetic if she ever made Nick feel like he couldn't tell her. Charlie often declares how amazing Nick is. In this moment, they are in pure bliss together. The season opens with Charlie waking up to a boyfriend text. During that exchange, they lay out what's expected of being boyfriends. It mostly includes a ton of kissing every day. That's something they enjoy doing. In fact, they can hardly keep their hands off each other. Of course, that is largely true in private. In public spaces, they still feel the attraction. However, they also deal with the anxiety and fear of getting caught. Charlie doesn't want Nick to get outed. Everything should happen how he wants it to. It's not expected of him to make some big public declaration. It's his choice whether or not he tells people. He has complete control. It's still difficult getting the actual words out. He wants to tell Imogen. The perfect opportunity presents itself. In fact, Nick has several moments where he could just share this truth. He puts pressure on himself. It doesn't need to be perfect. The friendship isn't going to end because she knows about Nick and Charlie's relationship. In fact, she already has a new crush. Of course, that's concerning in many new ways. Imogen is someone who forged these friendships while she was younger and doesn't feel any urgency to break free of them. As a result, that has developed into these innocent crushes as she has matured. Now, Ben is the object of her desire. She wants Nick to be excited for her. However, his opinion is clouded over how Ben treated Charlie. Moreover, Nick is now stuck sitting next to Ben for two weeks of study hall as the Year 11 students prepare for their GCSE exams. Being seated next to each other is what brought Nick and Charlie together. But now, that expectation is gone. They are in different grade levels. The school year requires different things from them. And so, the only way they can spend time together is if Charlie rejoins the rugby team.

Obviously, Charlie is beaming with happiness over having a boyfriend. He's supportive of Nick coming out. And yet, he too feels the pressure of this moment. He knows just how terrible their peers can be if this situation is handled poorly. Charlie was outed. He was bullied. That has largely gone away. That still remains a thought that lingers for many people. Those who care about him don't want him to repeat the same patterns as the past. Charlie goes above and beyond to accommodate Nick to make this situation perfect. Of course, chasing perfection is a foolish aim. Charlie believes it's obtainable. He has a phenomenal group of friends who have fully welcomed and championed his relationship with Nick. Even then, it's still awkward as they try to be intimate. During a sleepover, their neurotic brains agonize over every touch of the fingers, every knee that brushes up against each other and every longing glance. Everyone but Imogen already knows they are dating. They are all rooting for Nick as he prepares to come out to Imogen. She too thinks it's incredibly obvious. She's not upset upon realizing Nick is actually bisexual and theoretically could have had feelings for her at some point. She has moved on. Now, she wants to preserve their friendship. Moreover, she enjoys hanging out with everyone at the sleepover. She appreciates how nice everyone is. Of course, it's also amusing when Darcy recalls how Imogen is an ally. That is actually true now. Nick and Charlie feel weird kissing in front of their friends. At a certain point, they just have to stop caring. It's better to act on these feelings especially in front of people who love and support them. It's so cheesy and over-the-top. That's the kind of pressure these two have built up in their minds. Their love is just so obvious. It's baffling to think anyone believes Nick is straight. Charlie's friends once carried that opinion. But now, it's so obvious how good he is for Charlie. This happiness needs to be uplifted and cherished. That's what is needed of friends right now. Sure, Charlie's parents have different expectations. Knowing about the relationship changes what they are comfortable with happening in their house. That's expected even though Charlie and Tori cringe at how their parents behave. It's not some explosive development though. It's simply making people aware of what's going on. This is what Charlie and Nick want their loved ones to know.

Tori sees how Nick and Charlie interact even though she doesn't want to participate in the sleepover. She appreciates her alone time. She doesn't require that level of social interaction. The same is true of Isaac. He just needs a book to be happy. He doesn't need to get caught up in relationship drama like the rest of his friends. Of course, only two couples currently exist amongst this group. With Tao and Elle, it's still just the two longing for each other while also doubting that the other is actually interested. Elle is encouraged to flirt. She acts on that advice. She is willing to admit her feelings for Tao to her friends. Tara and Darcy are incredibly supportive. Meanwhile, Tao hasn't quite admitted that he likes Elle. It's not from a place of fear for what would happen to their friendship should a relationship not work out. It's simply being unable to voice his crush. That means he pulls away. That too is part of the pattern. It's obvious to others. Nick is already thinking about the future and the year he'll spend away from Charlie when he eventually goes to college. Elle already has her eyes set on art school. She is stressing out about her submission. Tao is there for her. He does so as a friend. And yet, he fears others also believe it is something more. He lashes out because of his insecurities. Nick genuinely tries to bond. A better friendship between the two would be uplifting. They haven't quite arrived at that point. Again, it's because these teenagers are often too caught up in their own minds to reckon with how someone else is feeling. Nick and Charlie's relationship is strong. However, Charlie professes his ability to protect Nick from all the pain and suffering that might come from being outed. He knows what to expect. He is wiser now. He will never pressure Nick into doing something he doesn't want to do. Nick wants his friends to know about his relationship with Charlie. Most of the rugby lads are good people. And yet, Harry is never far away. Nick doesn't want to nourish that particular friendship any longer. The past can't so easily be forgotten. That's especially true when the fights happened not too long ago. The school year is coming to an end. Everyone is stressing over exams. They are also planning for the summer. That promises different kinds of stories and adventures. Right now though, Charlie is forever the optimist over what his relationship with Nick can handle. He projects that strength while others are more worried about him. He can't lose himself along the way. With this mentality, he may be giving too much of himself away in this relationship to make Nick feel comfortable. It's up to Charlie to realize that and communicate his needs. It's not a problem right now either. It's simply two boyfriends celebrating two months of being together and enjoying whatever comes next alongside their ever-growing group of friends.