Love, Victor Season 2 takes flight, evolving into a charming, deeply moving show about love & sexuality

Love, Victor Season 1 had a lot of great stuff. It was sweet, heartwarming, and often hit similar beats to the 2018 breakout film Love, Simon, but I often felt it lacked depth. It felt like, as a series, it should have moved past the beats we already got from Love, Simon and found its own groove.

Well, Love, Victor Season 2 proves the writers have taken note of the first season’s faults as they deliver a compelling, emotional and altogether stronger, more confident season about love and sexuality. I appreciated Love, Victor‘s deep exploration of what happens after coming out, something so rarely explored in media.

Often in media, we see lots of build-up to the moment before the gay character then acclimates immediately, as if coming out was the only hurdle. Love, Victor Season 2 doesn’t mess around, diving straight into the bittersweet core of the matter.

The premiere episode begins with the immediate scene after Victor tells his parents that he’s gay before skipping ahead ten weeks to the end of summer vacation. For the entire summer, Victor and Benji have been living in a “Perfect Summer Bubble” (the premiere’s fitting title) where they can mostly drown out the rest of the world and hang out with Lake and Felix (who are still going strong).

Mia has been away all summer at camp. She and Victor haven’t spoken since that night at the dance. But the more pressing matter at hand is Victor’s parents. In Love, Simon, Simon’s parents were gracious and accepting of their son’s sexuality right away. That’s not the case for Victor, and while it’s sad to watch them all struggle, it’s also realistic.

Victor’s mom, Isabel Salazar (Ana Ortiz), gets a meaty arc this season. Ortiz is excellent as her character works to unlearn the many antiquated values taught to her by her religious upbringing and involvement with the church. Isabel struggles to accept her son’s sexuality more than his dad, Armando, does, although they’re both awkward and unsure of what to do next.

Love, Victor — “Perfect Summer Bubble” – Episode 201 — As summer break comes to an end, Victor grapples with his family’s reaction to his coming out. Isabel (Ana Ortiz), shown. (Photo by: Michael Desmond/Hulu)

Love, Victor Season 2 returns with renewed vigor and confidence

Then there’s Victor at the heart of it all. He sums up his feelings quite succinctly in the premiere, noting that on the one hand, he wants to shout about his relationship with Benji at the top of his longs because it’s so it’s new and exciting. But on the other hand, he doesn’t want to force his parents to undergo any more hardships on top of what they’ve already been dealing with.

This sentiment is particularly true for Victor’s mom, as Victor feels like she’s been through so much with the move, the affair, and now the separation. And yes, on top of everything else, Victor’s parents are going through with their separation, which we see play out through the season, starting with Armando getting his own apartment.

But even though Victor wants to do the right thing by his mother, she owes him respect, too. Isabel has barely even been able to look at Victor since he came out and even sabotages a dinner to avoid spending time with Victor and Benji together as a couple in the first episode. Victor also casually mentions that she won’t let him tell his little brother Adrian that he’s gay. It all speaks to Isabel’s ingrained homophobia, bigotry she’s going to have to work hard to undo if she wants to maintain a relationship with her son.

Love, Victor Season 2 steps forward with renewed vigor and confidence. It has blossomed into the show that I had hoped it would become, giving us the same amount of heart and comedy while balancing the complexities of trying to find your identity.

The second season brings a lot more depth to the show. I do, in part, wonder if some of these changes come from the fact the writers knew they were creating a show for Hulu rather than Disney+, which we know had more limitations based on the shuffling that took place ahead of its premiere and similar problems that arose during the Lizzie McGuire reboot. No longer forced to adhere to strict Mouse House protocols Love, Victor takes flight into a powerful show about love, coming of age, sexuality and friendship.

All ten episodes of Love, Victor Season 2 premiere this Friday, June 11 on Hulu.

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