When Love, Simon hit theaters back in 2018, it was groundbreaking for being a mainstream queer rom-com in wide release. Love, Victor didn’t make quite the same splash when it came to Hulu in 2020, but it carried many of the same vibes as Becky Albertalli’s signature Creekwood universe. Leading man Michael Cimino killed it as the shy and naive Victor on the cusp of unleashing his sexuality, although the sexual edges were a bit sanded down since it was created for Disney+. Curiously enough, the show moved to Hulu, and the second season took advantage of these freer constraints. For its finale, Love, Victor pulls out all the stops to conclude this tale for Victor. With stricter focus on intimate moments and character work, the series closes out on a memorable sugary-sweet high.

For those who needed a refresher of last season, we left Victor just as he was about to make a monumental choice, heading to the doorstep of his true love in a grand gesture—would it be Rahim (Anthony Keyvan) or Benji (George Sear)? With a cliffhanger that extreme, the show wastes no time giving us the answer. It picks up immediately at that moment, and it must be said that this choice is pretty final. It drives every moment of this explosive homestretch to a wonderful, heartfelt series. That we get a full three-season long arc with Victor means we enjoy more time with him than we ever had with Simon. Victor feels like a fully fleshed-out person. Leaving his character behind will not be easy, and one can only hope that we see more projects from this beloved universe very soon.

To get things out of the way for those hoping to see one last appearance from Nick Robinson as Simon, I am sorry to say that his insistence to Victor that he will no longer need him was indeed accurate. The third season finally allows Victor to stretch his legs as his own person, no advice necessary. This gives the audience a window into Victor’s personality that we were previously unable to bear witness to, and it also means that every choice Victor makes this time around is strictly of his own volition. Though his texting friendship with Simon may be a thing of the past, Felix (Anthony Turpel) is still very much his straight bestie. Season three circles back to everything that made this duo so irresistible in the first place. 

Felix spends the season reeling from his breakup with Lake (Bebe Wood), and turns to Victor’s younger sister, Pilar (Isabella Ferreira), as an obvious rebound. Lake juggles her deep feelings for her new girlfriend with her close friendship to Mia. Mia (Rachel Hilson), Victor’s former fling, has been with Andrew (Mason Gooding) for awhile now, but with college aspirations nigh, she must soon make a vital decision. Personally, I found Isabel’s views about Victor being gay (particularly in the first season) to be borderline offensive, yet she has gone through immense character growth from beginning to end. Armando is still a dad who doesn’t always react instinctually like a father should—he gives Pilar an immense amount of trouble after Isabel discovers birth control pills while cleaning up her room. Every major character is given a storyline with purpose that plays into the direction they will take. Throw in a big Winter Carnival night as a way to bring our cast together, and you have one perfectly laid-out season.

It feels like a lot has happened in the year since season two debuted on Hulu. Seeing Mason Gooding attend a high school party takes on an entirely familiar new context thanks to the excellent Scream. Nico Greetham popping up in a steamy, adorable supporting role as the hot hookup after Victor’s mom tries to set them up is a delight. From alien pregnancy in American Horror Story: Double Feature to horny queer teenager that “doesn’t text,” Greetham’s presence continues to light up the screen. References to “the superior” season of Emily in Paris and being a “grower not a shower” made me giggle with their queer authenticity. An episode that includes a drag queen bingo with RuPaul’s Drag Race queen Eureka O’Hara, and another that expressly handles the realities of STDs, feel like they never could have happened without moving to Hulu. A sex montage on Disney+ would have been unheard of years ago, and yet it will be on the streamer!

Whether you’re Team Rahim or Team Benji (the correct choice, in this critic’s opinion), season three gives both characters ample screen time and resolution. One should not expect anything other than an open ending here, albeit a naturally happy one. The final episode gave me all the major feels that Love, Simon did the very first time I saw it in theaters. The only way that can be described is heartwarming and hopeful, following a lovely trend just after Netflix’s exceptional Heartstopper. With these types of stories becoming more hopeful and normalized, modern television continues to impress. Similarly to Heartstopper, if I had this type of show in my early teen years, I cannot imagine the more accepted and less nervous I would have felt initially to embrace my sexuality. Hopefully, Love, Victor can someday be that show to help a younger generation of teens realize what they may be feeling isn’t awkward or shameful. Being queer is a beautiful reality, and Love, Victor celebrates this till the bitter end.

Don’t miss the conclusion of Love, Victor when the final season heads towards its endgame, exclusively on both Disney+ and Hulu with all episodes on Wednesday, June 15th.

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