Episode 2 of Heartstopper starts with Nick looking through Charlie’s social media photos. He laughs at his quirkiness… until he finds a message of the darkened school hallway, reading “I hate this place.” It’s a sober reality check, one that harks back to Charlie’s days of bullying. This, as it turns out, happens to stem from him being gay. There’s some really nice visual cutaways here too; scribbled figures depict bullies as they taunt Charlie.
Nick and Charlie continue to trade messages to one another, wracked with angst as they await messages from the other. Charlie calls Nick his “straight friend” (clearly trying to provoke a reaction) but it doesn’t quite work. Tao believes Charlie needs to give up on Nick given he’s straight but Charlie is not so sure.
The beacon of all knowledge though is Mr Ajayi, Charlie’s teacher. He asks Ajayi about what to do but he simply tells him he needs to suffer through this.
Over at the girls’ school, Elle finds herself alone again. Her teacher is concerned and encourages Elle to try and make a new friend before the end of term. The thing is, it’s not as easy as just breaking into a friendship circle, as she finds herself struggling to start up a conversation with any of the girls. Thankfully a chance encounter comes her way.
After dropping her pencil case on the floor, Tara picks it up and encourages Elle to join them at lunch. Elle does just that and appears to have made some friends.
Meanwhile, Charlie heads over to Nick’s place that weekend where they find it snowing outside. The pair end up having a snowball fight and then lie on the ground together, talking. Funnily enough, Nick’s mother points out that Charlie is a good friend and has noticed that he allows Nick to really be himself around him.
At school, Nick thinks twice about messaging Charlie when the other kids tease him about who he’s texting. However, rumours start spreading that Nick is in love with a girl. Apparently he’s super interested in Tara Jones, the girl whom Elle has started to befriend. Small world!
That night, Elle agrees to at least try and broach the subject with Tara, to see if Nick likes her back. She cleverly does so through speaking French, learning that Tara does not, in fact, have a boyfriend. It turns out Darcy and Tara are actually dating so no, there’s no chance she’s going to be dating Nick anytime soon.
After school, Charlie invites Nick over to his place, where he helps Nick play the drums. They eventually watch TV together but Charlie ends up falling asleep. Nick thinks about holding Charlie’s hand.
Heart racing, fireworks sparking (quite literally, thanks to some cartoon graphics), he decides not to. Charlie does, however, hug Nick goodbye. In doing so, Charlie’s sister Tori happens to be watching nd she nonchalantly tells Charlie that night “I don’t think he’s straight.”
That much seems to be true as Nick heads onto Google that evening, searching for “Am I gay?”
The Episode Review
Heartstopper is such a good show. The characters are well written, there’s a sweet core to all of this and the inclusivity is fantastic. The show has a way of allowing you to easily warm up to all of these characters, and it speaks to a whole generation of kids who haven’t got this sort of coverage in mainstream media. This is shaping up to be one of Netflix’s best originals this year.
The writing is solid across the board, and not only that but Heartstopper accompanies its ensemble with a great soundtrack and some slick visuals too. Will Nick and Charlie become a couple? We’ll have to wait and see!