By Sneha Jaiswal (Twitter | Instagram)

Yes! Episode one of ‘Love Victor’ season three begins with the answer of the biggest cliffhanger yet – who does Victor choose? Boyfriend Benji or new friend Rahim? The first scene gets straight to the point and viewers get a decision that completely makes sense… for the time being.

Creators Isaac Aptaker and Elizabeth Berger bring another wholesome volume of the romantic young-adult series about navigating modern relationships. Season 3 dropped on 15th June, a cute comfy mid-month offering for Pride month, celebrating love in all forms… platonic, familial and sexual. Michael Cimino continues to be the adorable lead Victor Salazar, but the story isn’t about him anymore. All the other major characters get ample screen time, in-fact, sometimes, it feels like maybe we don’t get to see enough of Victor.

Let’s get to the obvious storylines that carry over from season two. Victor’s best-friend Felix Weston (Anthony Turpel) ends up dating Pilar Salazar (Isabella Ferreira), who isn’t open to telling her parents about their relationship, leading to eventual problems. Felix’s ex-girlfriend Lake (Bebe Wood) too has moved on, with a girl, which comes as a surprise to everybody (including the viewers), but her friends are extremely supportive. Lake’s sub-plot felt contrived at first, like a deliberate token attempt to have some bisexual/lesbian representation; however, Bebe Wood and Ava Capri as Lucy are convincing as two awkward teens in love and eventually make you root for them. Then there’s Mia (Rachel Hilson), who rekindles her relationship with Andrew (Mason Gooding) and the two try to work things out. Rachel Hilson and Mason Gooding have an eerily similar way of speaking, a laid-back lazy drawl, which isn’t a bad thing, since their characters have known each other their whole life and people who’ve been together forever do tend to start resembling each other. Although not sure if the similar dialogue delivery is intentional or co-incidental.

While the teen stories take up most space, Victor’s parents share some of the spotlight too. His mother Isable (Anna Ortiz) is trying her best to be an LGBTQ+ ally and even switches to a more accepting Church, complete with a rainbow flag. We also get a glimpse into Rahim’s (Anthony Keyvan) relationship with his family, who are surprisingly supportive of his sexuality, yet expect him to play straight around relatives. Teens who haven’t had such smooth coming-out-stories might find ‘Love, Victor’ overtly optimistic/unrealistic on its take on conservative parents welcoming their kids with open arms, but we do need this kind of positive onscreen for healthy representation. Rahim and Victor’s distinct personalities make for an interesting study. While Rahim is the loud, fashionable one, practically wearing an invisible ‘queer’ label on his forehead, Victor blends into a crown, making their public experiences with homophobia very different. The makers also touch upon issues like teen pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases, mental health among other things, all without making it too awkward.

Aesthetically, the show is a treat to watch, sprinkled with beautiful bright colors and a great looking cast. There’s a dash of modern fairy-tale like unrealism to it all, but well, that’s not really a sticky point for a teen romance. One wishes all the teens in this show could just have some pure moments of fun, instead of fussing over their relationships all the time. That said, all the platonic friendships are adorable in the series – Michael Cimino and Anthony being the sweetest BFFs ever as Victor and Felix. And, thankfully, the shy serious Victor does try to come out of the ‘Benjy’ shadow and has some fun in this season.

Episode eight, the last one, is the least entertaining in the series. Things get repetitive, preachy, overtly cliched and the makers go in for a very safe typical happy ending. The one you can see from miles away but hope that’s not how things end. To be fair, maybe a lot of fans will love it. Who doesn’t like a classic ending? But it’s 2022, and they should’ve shaken things up, given a different yet fun ending to Victor’s final onscreen chapter.

It’s a 7.5/10 from me. You can stream the show on Disney Plus or Hulu.

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