Episode 5 of Heartstopper starts with how every monopoly game ends – with an argument and the game board being tipped upside down. Charlie wans to invite Nick over to his birthday bash that weekend but Tao and Elle both exchange knowing glances at one another.
Nick tries to broach the subject of cancelling his date with Imogen but there’s a problem. She’s having a rotten week and she throws the news at him that her dog has died. Upon hearing this, Nick decides not to cancel after all, feeling bad and not wanting to break her heart. The thing is, the date is actually on Saturday, the same day as Charlie’s birthday. This leaves Nick with quite the dilemma.
Nick talks to his Mum about how he feels, who helps to make his mind up. Nick is going bowling.
Tao doesn’t trust him and in fact, decides to tell Charlie about Nick’s date. While they talk in the bathroom, Tao worries that Nick is just messing Charlie about. Unbeknownst to them, while airing his concerns Nick happens to be listening from the doorway.
When Charlie heads out the bathroom, Nick embraces him for the longest time. After, he sits with Tao and the pair have a super awkward conversation. He issues Nick a final warning and tells him to stop messing with Charlie. ]
Nick comes clean to Charlie after this and apologizes about the Imogen situation. He admits he just said yes to try and appease her and didn’t want to break her heart. Nick promises to make things right and tell her the truth.
As a birthday gift, Nick hands over a framed photograph of the pair together, from their time in the snow. Nick admits this was one of the best days he’s ever had.
Nick eventually admits that he likes Charlie and the pair finally kiss, properly, out in the open together. Straight after, he messages Imogen and cancels on her, wanting to hang out with Charlie and the gang for longer.
The thing is, sparks begin to fly between Elle and Tao too, as they sit in the arcade playing games. Will their pent up emotions be explored?
Nick heads out and meets Imogen the following day. He apologizes and cuts straight to the chase, admitting that he’s not into her and in fact, doesn’t feel like his true self around their current crop of friends. Imogen is okay with that and she shrugs it off. For Nick though, he has a big decision to make regarding Charlie.
The Episode Review
The bowling alley birthday bash is a great way to blow off some steam and allow those pent-up feelings to finally be given some room to air out for all to see. Of course, not everything has been explored fully – especially when it comes to Tao and Elle.
However, Heartstopper has done a great job depicting Charlie and Nick’s will they/won’t they romance and the supporting ensemble alongside these guys help to elevate the material a lot.
The subplot involving Elle and Tao is well written and a definite highlight, while Imogen is given a bit more time to grow here too in a really nice segment where she covers for Nick at the end.