Episode 1 of Heartstopper begins with Ben Hope messaging “I miss you x” to our protagonist, Charlie Spring. Charlie attends Truham Boys School, and he’s in a secret relationship with this boy. Ben urges Charlie not to tell anyone what they have though, as the pair continue to meet in secret. However, sparks begin to fly between Charlie and a boy called Nick Nelson, who happens to be one of the popular kids who plays rugby.
Charlie has two friends, outcasts Tao and Isaac. They warn Charlie over getting too invested in Nick, pointing out that he’s a “bro” when he’s with his friends. Now, this trio used to be a quartet, until their friend Elle having moved across to Higgs Girls School earlier in the term. She’s a new student and unfortunately a bit of an outcast too, given all the other girls have their own cliques.
Charlie has a history of being bullied too, and unfortunately Ben is not helping. He’s clearly ashamed of their secret kissing and even worse, he seems to have a girlfriend as well. Given he doesn’t even want to acknowledge Charlie in the hallways, it’s probably for the best that they go their separate ways. After all, Charlie has the hots for Nick now.
Nick notices Charlie is quite the runner and encourages him to join the rugby team. He even offers to teach him t00. Although Charlie accepts, both Tao and Isaac are not so sure.
Things seem to go well though and after some one on one sessions, Charlie starts to improve his technique. The thing is, Charlie is more interested in Nick rather than playing a silly game of hand-egg.
Ben is a constant thorn in Charlie’s side though and after practice, asks to meet at the music block. Nick watches him go as Charlie confronts Ben and calls him out for not caring about him. “Well it’s not like anyone else would want to kiss you is it,” Ben says as he forces himself on Charlie. Thankfully, Nick is there to stop him.
As the pair go their separate ways and head home, Charlie tries to find the right words to message Nick. Eventually he takes a leap of faith and messages him “Thank you x”
The Episode Review
Heartstopper gets off to a great start, one that manages to introduce Charlie, his friends and Nick in a relatively short space of time. The depiction of a secondary school in the UK is pretty accurate too, complete with the little touch of the fogged up bus windows and the friendship cliques.
The visual aids alongside the story beats add a welcome bit of flair too and certainly help to keep things feeling very whimsical. This looks to be an enticing ensemble worth coming back to in the upcoming chapters. If this is a sign of things to come, we could be in for quite the rollercoaster!