Queer as Folk: Review Part 5

Dear Readers,

Finally comes the time for the fifth and final post of my Queer as Folk Review collection. I have let this final part sit as I focused on other things but it is time to come back to it and finish this show. In the fifth part to my collection of posts, I will be talking about the events of Series 5; the journeys of the main characters as a whole throughout the five series; the effects of the bombing in Episode 10 on the characters and where each of them are at the end of the show. I have also included a list of some of my favourite quotes from across the series.

Please do not read this post if you are under 18 as the programme discussed is explicit in nature. If you do not want to read about a show featuring graphic adult content, stop now.

Analysis of Events in Series 5

At the beginning of the series, we find several of the characters at a crossroads. Those in relationships are suffering from miscommunication and those not are finding difficulties in being unattached. We see Brian convincing himself he doesn’t need Justin anymore. He thinks Justin has moved on to the greener pastures of La la land. Justin himself sees through Brian’s ruse but doesn’t feel he can tell Brian that he loves him. Mel and Lindsay are no longer living together but have not told anyone for the sake of JR. Debbie and Carl have difficulties with where to start their life together. Ben wants to move to a gentrified neighbourhood but Michael doesn’t want to move away. Emmett needs his own space but doesn’t want to be alone and Ted has been putting on weight with comfort eating.

There is a foreshadowing to later events such as Michael suggesting Brian buy a house in the country, Brian picks Babylon over married life. After a sex montage, Brian in an achingly romantic gesture (for him anyway) shows the empty drawer he has ready for Justin after Justin asks to move in again. This indicates a growth for Brian’s character and a turning point for Brian and Justin’s relationship after some time apart.

The main plot of the final series centres around a new law that Congress want to pass called Proposition 14. It would limit the rights of gay individuals by making it illegal for them to adopt children, buy a house together, have joint bank accounts and claim domestic partner insurance. Justin confronts his father again and protests outside his father’s shop. This leads to him getting arrested. The characters go campaigning door to door and hold a benefit which is where the bomb explodes.

The characters all begin to grow up and move to the suburbs or consider more healthy relationships. We see a new side of gay life away from the club scene and constant cruising. Many of the couples now want children, a house, steady jobs and quieter lives in other gay neighbourhoods. This follows the pattern of life for all people who start to want different things as they grow older and wiser. That is except for Brian who is afraid to grow old and commit to Justin lest he become undesirable or bored. Due to his traumatic and abusive childhood, he craves the attention of others, usually countless men, Michael or Lindsay. When both are pulling away he tries to rely more on Justin and Ted but he is unable to fully give himself to Justin due to his fear of no longer being wanted and of rejection. Despite being funny, caring, smart and successful, Brian bases his self-worth on his looks as that is what makes him popular in the gay community.

We see the bombing first as a reflection of light on the character’s faces – Michael, Ted, Ben then we move to Debbie walking down the street and move to Brian in the car and get the full news story. Approaching the scene, we understand events through Brian’s point of view. He was the most removed from the situation out of all the characters as he was not planning to attend the event like the others. This makes for maximum impact as he struggles to comprehend what has happened and if his friends are alright.

Finding Justin’s mother first shows his desperation to find Justin but he also genuinely cares for her. Running inside calling Justin’s name shows that Brian does care about him and in a wider context, the gay community. If he were truly heartless, he would have carried on to the airport but as demonstrated from Brian almost bankrupting himself to letting Justin live with him to organising Ben and Michael’s wedding and Melanie and Lindsay’s; he does actually care but due to his abusive childhood and emotionally neglectful family, he struggles to show it on a more personal level without a crisis.

The scene between Debbie and Brian in the hospital chapel highlights their own faiths as Brian was also raised Catholic. It shows how two people who disagree with their religion’s outlook towards their community and other aspects still turned to that room for support. Brian, of course may have followed Debbie or simply gone to a quiet place to process but I believe he chose the chapel for a reason. Both Debbie and Brian turn to God to help Michael even when they have never particularly prayed or asked for anything from him in the past.

Effects of the Bombing on the characters

Brian admits finally to Justin that he loves him. This has been the biggest obstacle of their relationship for five years as Justin always wanted more than Brian was able to give. Despite Michael and Brian’s falling out, Brian shows his love for Michael at the hospital and with Debbie. Brian’s fears are shown with a funeral that starts off as Michael’s but ends as his own. However when he reached Babylon, he was first most concerned about Justin, showing that someone else finally replaced Michael as the man he cares about most. Romantic love takes precedent over friendship love. Brian then decides to make changes in his life. He sells the loft and Babylon and buys Justin a country manor house that he mentions wanting earlier in the series. He tries to become monogamous and devoted to Justin which surprises all the other characters. He also vows to be a better father to Gus who is now almost five years old.

Ted struggles to face Michael at the hospital as he blames himself for Michael being at the bar in the bombing. He throws himself into work but eventually sees Michael. After a talk with a stranger at the baths, he realises that he was not the cause of Michael’s injury.

Ben tries to carry on and not let Debbie take over. He goes back to teaching but cannot ignore his student’s pleas to discuss the events. He also becomes angry at the vigil and it takes Brian to calm him down. When Hunter makes an appearance once again, having come back after watching the news, Ben is happy after feeling lost when Hunter left.

Debbie becomes overly motherly and is with Michael all the time at the hospital. The effects of losing Vic are still very raw for her and Michael is the only family apart from Carl that she has left.

Emmett can’t get off the couch and suffers from PTSD. Drew tries to help him get back to normal but it takes a harrowing story from Carl about his earl days in the police force and Drew’s agreeing to speak at the vigil that gets Emmett out of the house.

Justin appears alright having dealt with trauma before and paints in his apartment. He initially laughs off Brian’s proposal. After years of trying t get Brian to think of them as something more, he can’t believe that Brian would change. After some corralling, Justin accepts Brian’s offer but cannot stay when he sees Brian changing into a different person. He does not want either of them to compromise their personalities or lives to be happy together.

Lindsay and Melanie come back together and realise their love for each other. After the death of their close friend, Dusty at the bombing they realise how they have to cherish their family. Mel becomes scared for the future and what will happen if Proposition 14 passes. They decide to move to Toronto for better rights as lesbian women.

Brian is influenced by Justin to not give his blessing to take Gus to Toronto and Michael is influenced by Hunter to give his blessing. Brian is influenced by Lindsay and Melanie to make Justin go to New York.

Everyone just wants to be with the people they love i.e. Melanie and Lindsay, Brian and Justin, Carl and Debbie, Drew and Emmett, Jennifer and Tuc, Michael and Ben.

Characters’ Journeys over the whole 5 Series

Michael starts off as the practically virginal inexperienced one who struggles to attract partners. He has two serious long-term relationships and moves into a life that he wants: a job running his favourite comic book store; a husband and kids. He becomes mature and responsible and a great friend. His priorities shift from Brian to Ben as Michael realises that Ben can give him the life he wants and Brian is stuck as a playboy in the clubs. Michael gradually gains his own interests away from Brian and does not let Brian sway him from being a kind and gentle soul.

Brian forms long-lasting friendships and a relationship with Justin. His peak romantic side is in Series 1 but Justin’s attack made him distance himself from his emotions. He blamed himself for the attack after turning up for Justin’s prom. They come back together but after their break up at the end of Series 2, Brian realises that he cannot give his full self to Justin for fear of rejection. Brian gradually starts to see love not as a weapon or something to be afraid of. He becomes a better father to Gus or at least more present and a better partner to Justin. He starts his own advertising agency, Kinnetic when his values are challenged and is fired. He also buys Babylon in an attempt to keep his friends at his stage in life. He fights for gay rights by taking down Stockwell, riding in the Liberty Ride and donating Babylon as the venue for several fundraisers. He tries to change his playboy ways for Justin.

Justin eventually understands that Brian is not going to immediately love him. He finds friends who understand him and forms a good relationship with his mother. He harnesses his talents as an artist and gets into a prestigious art college. He overcomes being seriously injured at the end of Series 1 and the challenges that come along with this. He forms a closer bond with Brian and has the courage to leave their relationship for something new. He moves to LA at the beginning of the fifth series to work on a film version of Rage. In the final episode, Justin figures out that he cannot trap Brian into a life he doesn’t want and has the strength to pursue his career over Brian.

Ted fights his crystal meth addiction at rehab and with the help of his friends and Blake. He has several different jobs such as accountant, adult website manager, singing waiter and success but falls into a depression. He has a few relationships and reconnects with Blake several times. Due to his self-esteem issues, Ted has plastic surgery to help love himself. He gets a job working for Brian and finds passion as an accountant and supervisor at Kinnetic.

Emmett has a string of casual relationships until Ted. He also finds a meaningful connection with Drew. He entertains a few careers such as retail, domestic help, adult entertainer but settles on event planner. He lives with Michael then Ted and finally Debbie and Carl. In the first series after a HIV scare, he joins a conversion therapy group and connects with a woman but they decided to be true to themselves.

Debbie constantly fights for gay rights and always stands up for her beliefs including at Justin’s school, against Stockwell and Proposition 14. She finds love with Carl and they move in together. She nurtures the men into accepting themselves and finding their place in the world. She often acts as a surrogate mother to Brian and takes Justin under her wing when his own father forbids his lifestyle.

Ben finds love with Michael and slowly comes to terms with his HIV status. He fights to keep Hunter as a foster son and make sure he is alright. After Hunter leaves town, Ben becomes depressed. He has Michael and the gang but not any of his own family. A student makes a play for him and he writes a book that gets rejected everywhere.

Melanie works hard as a lawyer and despite having a baby with Lindsay has an affair in the first series. She becomes a mother to Gus and JR. During her pregnancy, she has to stay on bed rest and this causes a lot of friction and subsequent breakup between her and Lindsay. She is always passionate for her rights and speaks of her grandfather who knew to leave Germany as a Jewish man in the 1930s.

Lindsay becomes a mother in the first episode. She initially leaves her teaching job at the university to be a stay at home mother but goes back to work at a gallery in Series 3. She almost marries a gay Frenchman in Series 1 as he needs a visa but after some serious intervention from Brian, she comes to her senses. In Series 4, she has an affair with a man, an artist having a show in her gallery. She then moves out with Gus to a small apartment and then into her parents house until she realises that they want her to be straight. Despite her affair with Sam and mentions of being with Brian in college, Lindsay does not identify as anything other than lesbian.

The End of the Series

Brian goes back to the club and reopens Babylon; Michael has Ben and they adopt Hunter. He lets JR go with Melanie and Lindsay to Toronto. Michael begins the last episode with a voice over like the first episode. A full circle moment. He still hangs out with Brian at the club. Justin leaves Brian and Pittsburgh to pursue art in New York; Ted ends up with Blake and is happy in his job at Kinnetic; Emmett lets Drew go and is happy with himself; Debbie is happy with Carl and Lindsay and Melanie move with Gus and JR to Toronto.

List of Favourite Quotes

  • “I’ve just seen the face of God. His name is Brian Kinney.” – Justin – 1×01
  • “If you don’t earn respect when you’re alive, you don’t deserve it when you’re dead.” – Brian – 1×19
  • “You’re Brian Kinney, for fuck’s sake!” – Michael – 1×22
  • “I’d run away screaming but its been a long day.” – Brian – 2×03
  • “Yeah, like I give a shit what God thinks about me. He’d better be worried what I think about him.” – Brian; “How do you figure that?” – Michael; “Well, in all this cold dead universe, we’re the only ones who know he exists, without us he’s nothing.” – Brian – 2×09
  • “Have some balls.” – Brian – 3×08
  • “Don’t be nervous.” – Lindsay; “If my heart rate was any lower, I’d be dead.” – Brian – 2×13
  • “It’s the most historic reunification since Germany.” – Ben – 3×09
  • “He has a boyfriend!” – Michael; “You do?” – Hunter; “In a non-defined, non-conventional way, yeah.” – Brian – 3×13
  • “Mourn the losses because they’re many but celebrate the victories because they’re few.” – Debbie – 3×14
  • “I’m queer, and to anyone who takes pity or offence, I say: judge yourself… This is who I am.” – Brian – 5×01
  • “Stop looking at the shell and see the pearl.” – Emmett – 5×02

Happy Watching,


Queer as Folk: Review Part 4

Vic’s death as a whole not only affected Debbie but also Brian and Hunter. Brian finds out upsetting health news just before Vic’s funeral and as he is wont to do, takes out his own emotions, especially anger on those closest to him, in this case Debbie. Brian struggles with dreams of joining Vic in heaven or hell but eventually comes to terms with his illness. Vic’s death served to remind Brian that even an apparently healthy man can be taken by an illness. Hunter was affected by Vic’s death because it is the first HIV-related death that he has been exposed to directly. Luckily, Ben realises this and helps Hunter realise that HIV does not automatically mean death and that he can live with the disease if he looks after himself. It was important to show that HIV was still very much a killer for gay men as up to this point in the show, HIV was not a death sentence and the characters with the illness appeared to be managing it well.

Hello Readers,

This is the fourth post of my Queer as Folk collection and I will be focusing on some of the hardships and struggles that the characters faced over the series. I have touched on a couple of these in my last post but this time instead of being bigger issues for the whole community, I am focusing on individual problems. All the problems I will be focusing on were in Series 4, not by design but because in Series 4, the characters have more struggles than the previous series. The writers really put the characters through it and I will be analysing what happened.

Once again, the post will be going over adult issues and more explicit content to fit along with the show so don’t read if you’re under 18 or do not want to read about mature content.

Despite the success of the election at the end of Series 3, the characters do not bask in the glow of the win for long. Brian is hit hard this series which was interesting to see as he has so far been a character with few worries or personal problems. Seeing such a dominating, powerful, unemotional character go through what he did humanised Brian and made him a little more vulnerable than he has been in past series. There are also a lot of relationship issues this series both romantic and familial. Melanie and Lindsay who have been solid since Melanie’s affair in the first series face big relationship issues along with Michael and Ben who up to this point had been steady since Series 2.

The first episode is framed by a performance from Shanda Leer, a local drag queen. It was an interesting narrative technique that led up to an attack on Darren after his performance as Shanda. This was the second homophobic attack of the show and this time on a character we have not seen previously. The attack triggers a response from Justin who was also attacked at the end of the first series. He wants to make things right and when he finds the Pink Posse, Justin thinks he has found a way to respond to Darren’s attack. Justin and Cody patrol Liberty Avenue looking for potential homophobes to apprehend. What starts as a vigilante group quickly descends into solving violence with violence. Cody becomes too hateful and starts attacking people for the slightest comment or even before they say anything. After a confrontation with Chris Hobbs, Justin’s attacker; Justin realises that injuring or killing someone won’t take away pain or hatred he feels towards them. It was a very emotional scene but Justin gained closure and understanding that love is better than hate.

Brian’s money troubles are present from the beginning of the series as a consequence from his actions at the end of Series 3. He was fired from Vanguard for trying to take down Stockwell and now has 100,000 dollars in debt to pay. Brian refuses to accept help initially as a matter of principle and pride. Since leaving home and becoming financially independent, Brian has never asked for money from anyone. He sees being in control as a way of proving himself to the world that he was not affected by his emotionally abusive childhood. When Brian loses his financial security, he tries to hide the struggle from his friends but they soon realise that Brian needs help. After raising money to help Brian with his debts, Brian accepts help for the first time in the show and it seems his life. This is a turning point for him and it shows the personal growth that Brian finally starts to exhibit. His pride takes a hit but he finally learns that people all need help sometimes.

One of the most heart-breaking moments of the series was when Debbie and Vic had an argument but before they could make up, Vic passed away. The two siblings were always very close and Debbie nursed Vic back to health when he was on the edge of death a few years before. Vic’s death was very sudden as he seemed to be getting better and had just moved in with his partner, Rodney. His death served to show that unexpected things happen all the time and just because someone may look physically fine, they still have HIV which can be deadly. Debbie does not take Vic’s death well as she would not be expected to but there is an added layer of self-blame and anger for how their last conversation ended. Gradually with help from Michael and a letter from Vic, Debbie manages to realise that Vic loved her and his last words were not his true feelings at all.

Vic’s death as a whole not only affected Debbie but also Brian and Hunter. Brian finds out upsetting health news just before Vic’s funeral and as he is wont to do, takes out his own emotions, especially anger on those closest to him, in this case Debbie. Brian struggles with dreams of joining Vic in heaven or hell but eventually comes to terms with his illness. Vic’s death served to remind Brian that even an apparently healthy man can be taken by an illness. Hunter was affected by Vic’s death because it is the first HIV-related death that he has been exposed to directly. Luckily, Ben realises this and helps Hunter realise that HIV does not automatically mean death and that he can live with the disease if he looks after himself. It was important to show that HIV was still very much a killer for gay men as up to this point in the show, HIV was not a death sentence and the characters with the illness appeared to be managing it well.

Series 4 brings one of the biggest hardships for any of the characters but especially Brian when he goes through being diagnosed with and then receiving treatment for testicular cancer. The cancer showed Brian that he wasn’t invincible but also brought him shame and caused him to pull away from his friends, especially Justin. Brian’s initial diagnosis by a doctor he met in the backroom of Babylon was humorous but also a plus for his lifestyle as he was obviously not checking for lumps himself. Brian is portrayed as untouchable, almost god-like especially in the sex department so to have testicular cancer which affected his ability to have sex was an extra twist of the knife. This storyline also served as a reminder for men to check for testicular cancer as even young and healthy men can be diagnosed. Lucky for Brian, his cancer had a high survival rate, especially after surgery and his sexual performance was not affected for very long. It was interesting to see how far Brian went to conceal his illness from Justin and his other friends, including telling them all that he was going to Ibiza when he was really going to hospital for surgery and recovery. He could not keep up the charade for long and eventually told Ted and Debbie. Justin found out from a voicemail and told Michael and the two became extremely worried which only aggravated Brian more. Michael explained it well to Justin that Brian sees himself as his sex appeal and was afraid that if he was not beautiful, untouchable Brian Kinney that Justin would leave him. Justin quickly put those fears to bed and made Brian accept help with his recovery. Brian receives the all clear in Series 5 and gets back to his usual sleeping around not too long after his treatment.

Ted has one of the hardest journey’s of the main characters in this series as he recovers from his crystal meth addiction. He is helped through rehab by Blake, Ted’s ex-boyfriend from Series 1. Ted took Blake to rehab for drug addiction at the end of Series 1 but Blake took off and Ted had not heard of him until they were reunited in rehab. Only this time, Ted is the patient and Blake is the sober one. Ted leans on Blake who is now a counsellor to get him through his dark time and when he leaves the programme, the two pick up where they left off. Ted becomes dependent on Blake during his recovery and the lines blur between counsellor and boyfriend. Blake makes the decision that it is best for both of them to part ways until Ted is in a better place with his recovery. Ted takes this hard but ultimately understands and he wants them to be together without drugs getting in the way. This was a mature decision for the couple and one that is not always taken by the characters but it appears that even when recovering from the worst place of his life, Ted still knows how to act emotionally mature.

Lindsay and Melanie have their relationship status challenged in Series 4 and 5 after Lindsay has an emotional and physical affair with a man. Lindsay and Melanie have been stable since Melanie’s one night affair in Series 1 and it was a surprise to see their relationship fall apart. Lindsay meets an artist, Sam who has a show in her gallery and he flirts with her even though he knows she is married and a lesbian. Lindsay initially is not interested but she starts to fall for Sam as he makes her excited about her own artwork and inspires her to draw again for the first time since college. Out of both Lindsay and Melanie, Lindsay is the one with more attraction towards men. In the past, she mentioned fancying Brian and even having relations with him when figuring out her sexuality. Lindsay even said she thought she would marry him. Lindsay is drawn towards Sam because he makes her feel talented and special and not like the married mother of one and another on the way with responsibilities and a mortgage. Lindsay sleeps with Sam and after confessing to Melanie, their marital problems begin that leads to a separation and custody battle for the baby.

Melanie and Lindsay decide to separate after being unable to get over their differences. Due to Melanie being pregnant, Lindsay stays in the house with her but they are not in a relationship anymore. Lindsay then moves to another apartment with Gus after Jenny Rebecca or JR is born. Her mother finds out and convinces her to move in with her parents but after being set up with a man, Lindsay leaves and lives with Melanie again but on a different floor of the house. They decide it is better for the children and makes it easier with the three way custody of JR. Melanie and Lindsay’s separation causes problems between Michael and Melanie and Brian and Lindsay as both donated their sperm and became JR and Gus’ fathers with the notion that they would be raised by a committed couple. Michael takes it especially hard as JR is only a baby and needs more attention.

Melanie is committed to bed rest in the final stages of her pregnancy which she struggles with, having always been very active in her work and social lives. She does try to follow the doctors advice but without Lindsay’s love and support she breaks the rules a couple of times. Once was to wave off the participants of the Liberty Ride and in full view of everyone. She insists she is fine and then has the baby a few days later, after the riders return. Luckily, JR is a healthy baby but it showed how stubborn Melanie can be and how she struggles to not work.

Ben and Michael who are the other stable couple in the show have problems after Ben is approached by a student looking to sleep with him. Ben is initially flattered by the attention and believes the student to simply be seeking knowledge on being a writer. Their conversation turns to the subject of Ben’s book, living with HIV and the student asks Ben to sleep with him and give him HIV. He is part of a group that see HIV as inevitable so seek to be infected as soon as they can. Ben is horrified by the man’s wishes and confesses them to Michael. Ben was tempted to sleep with the student as he hung out with him alone and accepted an invitation to a talk but he realises that he belongs with Michael and Hunter and he stays away after the student’s confession.

One hardship faced from Series 5 is the bullying that Hunter receives at school when his classmates find out his HIV status. When he had a girlfriend, he tells her that he is positive and her parents also find out. In Series 5, Hunter is in the swim team and when competing he hits his head on the side of the pool and starts bleeding in the water. His former girlfriend’s father then yells out that he has Aids which leads to everyone panicking. Afterwards, everyone at Hunter’s school avoids him or bullies him which leads to Hunter being ostracised and skipping school. Hunter then leaves Pittsburgh as he does not feel like he fits in anymore and cannot have a normal life. The reaction from Hunter’s classmates to HIV show how uneducated high schoolers were at the time to the causes and how HIV was transmitted. In the gay culture of Queer as Folk, the disease is something everyone understands and is aware of at all times but for children without any gay relatives/friends/people in their lives, they had little to no awareness of the disease.

One of the most visceral and heart-felt struggles was Brian trying to finish the Liberty Ride. He was told not to do it by his friends but as he does not like being told what to do, he trains in secret and insists on doing the race. He manages quite well until he shows off cycling with no hands to Michael and crashes into the road bank. He has broken collar bone and is advised to go to hospital but undeterred Brian carries on and manages to cycle one handed. This proves difficult and the effects of cancer on his body catch up with him. Michael hangs back with Brian at the end of the race and the two of them are the last to cross the line hours after everyone else. Ben, Hunter, Debbie and Justin wait for the pair into the night and after it has snowed. They eventually show up and Brian is obviously struggling, going very slowly and stopping frequently. Michael is by his side as he understands Brian’s need to show everyone that he is undefeatable and still the same Brian Kinney he was before he had cancer. Justin wants to go to Brian as soon as he sees him but Debbie tells him not to. Having practically raised Brian through his teenage years and into adulthood she understands how he has to complete the race himself and prove to himself also that his childhood did not affect him and he can be a strong, tough, gay man and not weak.

Analysis of Events

At the beginning of the Series, Brian is in serious credit card debt – $100,000 and has no job. He starts getting rid of his possessions to pay off some of the money but does not want to accept help from Justin or his other friends. After Justin tells everyone that Brian paid for the advert himself to defeat Stockwell, they throw a fundraiser for the ‘Concerned Citizens for the Truth’ and convince Brian to accept a cheque for around $80,000 on their behalf. While Brian keeps up the pretence of not being the one to defeat Stockwell, he accepts help. This is the first time we see Brian accept any form of help and he does so after almost selling the loft. This also helps bring Brian and Justin closer together as Brian is able to show Justin a vulnerable side that is not always all knowing and all powerful. Brian has been the richer of the two with a great job up until this point and when he becomes less powerful than Justin, he is able to see that they are more equal than he wanted to believe. They refer to themselves as partners and Brian tells Justin that he only wants him which is a big step for Brian in their relationship. Justin also refers to the first time they had sex as making love and Brian does not disagree or argue which shows another level of acceptance from Brian.

Earlier in the post I mentioned how Debbie, Brian and Hunter were affected by Vic’s death. They all had very different initial reactions which shows how grief can affect people in different ways. Debbie initially was in shock over his death and could not grieve properly. She went back to work at the diner to save up money to get Vic a massive angel statue as his headstone. After finding a letter from Vic that he had written a few years previously when he was on his death bed, Debbie decides to throw another Christmas. Her guilt over her argument with Vic and her interpretation of his letter lead to a big Christmas party in February. All the characters play along with Debbie as they understand that this is her way of coping. Debbie eventually breaks when the angel from the top of the tree falls off and smashes. With help from Rodney, Carl and the others Debbie makes peace with her guilt and begins to grieve in a healthier way.

Brian reacts with anger at Vic’s funeral and lashes out at Debbie saying that at least Vic had four more years. Brian does not usually let his emotions overcome him but his recent cancer diagnosis clouds his emotions and he unloads on Vic, fearing that he will be next. His outburst causes a rift between himself and Debbie but she forgives him after he tells her why he reacted with such anger. Ben and Hunter reacted with anxiety over Vic’s death. Hunter was affected more because as Ben put it to Michael, it is the first HIV related death he has seen. Hunter worries that his own life can be cut short but Ben reassures him that if he remains healthy then he will be fine for a while. Ben gets the chance to act as an authority figure to Hunter and we see why Hunter is in the right place with Ben and Michael. He has someone who has been though the same emotions and fears as he has and is still alive. Emmett reacted less with sadness and more annoyance over the loss of Vic in their party planning business. This is meant to alleviate the heavy grief from the others but it does present a real problem for Emmett and after finding a replacement in Shanda Leer/Darren, he does move on to other things.

Brian’s cancer affects Michael, Justin and Debbie in different ways. They are all used to seeing him as the immortal Brian Kinney with power and money. After Brian’s set back at the beginning of the Series with the loss of his job and debts, he appeared to have come out on top with the start of his own ad agency, Kinnetic. Michael reacts with emotion and worry for Brian’s life as he cannot imagine his life without Brian in it. After Justin tells Michael in confidence, Michael goes to Brian and after smoking pot together, Michael tearfully confesses that he knows. Justin accidentally hears a voicemail message from the hospital and calls them to find out more. He does not want to tell Brian that he knows and he understands how Brian is very private when it comes to his vulnerabilities. He questions Brian about Ibiza but does not push him. He then tries to help Brian by making him soup and being generally kind and loving. Brian initially does not want to accept help but after his discomfort gets worse, he lets Justin look after him. He thinks that Justin will leave him if his is not the perfect man he showed himself to be when they first met. Michael later explains this to Justin who makes sure Brian knows he’s loved not just for being a perfect sex god. Brian hates being ill or weak in any form and sees it as a failure. This comes from his own parents who never valued him. When letting Justin know that he knows, Brian refers to Justin as his boyfriend to his face for the first time ever which shows that Brian let down his walls enough to let his true feelings show. Debbie reacts as any mother would with sadness but also love. Brian’s own mother blames Brian’s sexuality for his cancer and reacts horribly so Brian seeks affection from Debbie who he thinks of as his surrogate mother.

The Liberty Ride was an interesting way to end the Series and it brought out different emotions and reactions in each of the characters. Ben decided that as he and Michael were in Canada, that they should get legally married. The two have an impromptu ceremony and even Brian who claims to hate marriage, finds them a cake. The wedding symbolises the commitment that Ben and Michael have to each other and sets up the plot for Series 5 where they start settling down along with Justin, Debbie and Carl and Emmett. Ted worries about how he will cope on the Liberty Ride without his NA meetings. Emmett promises to help him through it and they set off to find a meeting on the way back. The two end up lost for the night and Emmett creates a meeting for Ted in a field. This shows that Emmett has forgiven Ted for how their relationship ended and it brings Emmett more understanding of addiction and Ted’s struggle. Emmett was hurt terribly by Ted’s treatment of him and this is the first time we see the two get back to their old friendship.

Happy Watching,