Warning: Love, Victor spoilers are ahead.
The message behind Love, Simon was sweet and straightforward: Everyone deserves a great love story. The movie’s new spin-off series, Hulu's Love, Victor, supports the same sentiment — in a voice-over, Simon (Nick Robinson) pretty much echoes the words to Victor (Michael Cimino) — but Victor’s happy ending, though just as romantic as Simon’s, is a little less neat.
Hulu’s Love, Victor follows a new student at Simon’s alma mater, Creekwood High. Like Simon, Victor has not shared his sexual orientation from his family and friends, but that’s where the similarities end. While Simon lived with his progressive, over-involved family in a home straight out of an Architectural Digest shoot, Victor lives in a humble apartment complex, and his traditional, religious parents are more focused on their fractured relationship than Victor's day-to-day struggles at school. Victor knows he likes guys — specifically, his coffee shop coworker Benji (George Sear) — but he also loves spending time with his girlfriend Mia (Rachel Hilson), and Benji has an out and proud boyfriend in the picture. As Victor tries to parse through his feelings, he turns to Simon for guidance.
As we approach the season 1 finale, there are still a lot of storylines left to resolve. Victor wrote an apology note to Benji, who he spontaneously kissed on a work trip, but it accidentally ended up in the hands of his sister, Pilar (Isabella Ferreira). And, even though he’s officially out to his friend Felix (Anthony Turpel), he still hasn’t ended things with Mia.
Like any good teen drama, the bulk of the action in Love, Victor’s final episode happens at a school dance. The start of the episode simply sets up all the drama to come: Victor tells Felix he wants to wait for the perfect time (that is, sometime after the dance) to come out to Mia. Pilar — who is under the impression that Victor’s been going behind Mia’s back with another girl — is acting even more passive-aggressive than usual.
At the Spring Fling, everything starts to slowly unravel. Victor encounters Benji in the bathroom, who explains that he forgives Victor for kissing him, but he’s still moving to another coffee shop. “I have a boyfriend, and you kissed me, so you need to stay away from me. I’m sorry,” he says. Victor looks heartbroken as Benji leaves, but the worst hasn’t even happened yet: Cool jock Andrew (Mason Gooding), who’s been harboring a not-so-secret crush on Mia all along, steps out of another stall. Of course, he heard everything.
Then, we pivot back to the dance floor. Pilar is (understandably) sick of her family members keeping secrets, but (less understandably) she decides to confront Victor’s friends instead of Victor himself about the letter. First, she approaches Felix, who admits that Victor kissed a coworker on a work trip, but it only happened once and he has the situation under control. Then, she goes right to Benji, who’s trying to convince his very bored boyfriend, Derek (Lukas Gage), to stay at the dance. “You and Victor work together, like, every day, right? Do you work with any girls?” she asks, before telling him she suspects her brother got with someone on a work trip.
Pilar doesn’t learn anything from this exchange — but Derek does. “Benji, didn’t you and Victor go on a work trip together?” he asks after Pilar has left. Oops.
Next, we go back to Victor, now trying to explain himself to Andrew. They’re interrupted by Benji and Derek, arguing with raised voices. Andrew exits, and Victor approaches Derek. “It wasn’t his fault,” Victor says, before telling Derek how amazing Benji is and taking full responsibility for the kiss. He closes with a promise to stay out of both of their lives.
Later, Benji finds Victor outside. He tells him that he broke up with Derek and that he wants to be with someone he can be himself around. “That’s how you make me feel,” he says, and they kiss.
It’s the kind of sweet, romantic scene that easily follows up Love, Simon’s rom-com ending. But, as Benji notes immediately after their kiss, Victor’s still with Mia — as much as he wants to be with him, he wants to make sure Victor is ready. When he asks if Victor has even said “I’m gay” out loud yet, Victor says he will. They kiss again… and then Mia steps out and sees.
The most powerful part of the finale, though, comes in its last few minutes. Victor and Pilar are home from the dance, and when Victor says he has something to share with his parents, they tell him they have news, too: they’re going to spend some time apart. “Victor, what were you going to tell us?” his mom asks.
“Nothing,” Victor says, adding that he’s going to change out of his suit. But, at the last second, he turns around. “No, not nothing,” he says. “Mom, Dad. I’m gay.”
And while this indicates he’s ready to be with Benji, this moment is of course bigger than a boyfriend. Throughout the season, Victor’s people-pleasing tendencies have gotten in the way of his own happiness — and, as we see with Mia, hurt others. The episode closes on Victor, smiling with a look of relief on his face.
Hulu has already commissioned a writers’ room for a second season, and there’s a lot left to explore: the biggest question, aside from how Victor’s parents took his announcement, is whether Mia and Victor will ever be able to repair their friendship. Like Simon, Victor got his fairy tale ending and the chance to come out to his parents — but his story is clearly still far from over.