Heartstopper 2×02 “Family” really went full throttle with the parental supervision in a way that maybe I didn’t want. It also saw the bottom fall out of this honeymoon phase that Charlie and Nick were in. It is a little overdramaticized but that’s what teenage hormones do to things. And I’m really hoping that those around our main couple have those that will listen to them and help guide them. As for Nick, he’s surrounded by assholes this episode and no wonder he’s a little hesitant to come out. I would be too. But at the end of the day this group of young people are stronger than expected and will without a doubt make it through these bumps that they are certainly hitting in season 2.
So without further ado, let’s break down Heartstopper 2×02 “Family”!
I Know I Asked for Parental Supervision But Come On
I know that in my previous review for Heartstopper I asked for some parental supervision. But the parents really took it from 0 to 100 without listening to Charlie. They shut him down before he could express his concern for Nick, making it so Charlie felt like he couldn’t trust his parents. That led to him sneaking out to see Nick over and over again. If only parents would do this magical thing aka actively listen to their kids when they’re going through things. And like I will discuss later on, if only parents remembered that they were also kids and teenagers at one point. That would greatly help everyone in this situation.
Keeping that all in mind, Charlie could get his work done. He is experiencing his first big love and emotions and hormones do run rampant during those times. If only his parents would listen to him, maybe they could give him some advice on how to move forward. That would definitely involve actually getting his coursework done, making it so he can hang out with Nick anytime he wants and not have something looming over them or keeping them apart. My high expectations of this show make it that I’m pretty sure they’re going to have a conversation with Charlie at some point. But right now it’s a little difficult to watch them shut down Charlie and for Charlie not to get his coursework done because it’s the simple solution to see Nick again.
Lastly, for how cute Charlie and Nick are, they’re kind of dumb too. They’re acting like they are star-crossed lovers being separated by their parents forever and ever. But they still have their phones. They can still do video calls where they just hang out and do homework together. We have technology, guys. I myself have long distance relationships and that’s what we do. We take advantage of voice notes, video calls, and using our voice to stay connected. That’s why I was so excited when Nick sent Charlie a voice note assuring him that it wasn’t his fault after the shit that happened with his brother David. But maybe it’s not cool to send voice notes for the youths. I’m old in comparison 😭
The Difference Between Nick and Ben
Trash Ben really has some nerve comparing himself to Nick. In no way, shape, or form is he anything like Nick besides being a teenager. And I’m glad that Nick called him out on his bullshit. Ben assaulted Charlie. There are no ifs, ands, or butts. There are no excuses. That’s what happened. He also tried to make Charlie feel small and insignificant. As if no one would want him and that he was desperate. Ben is a jealous predator who wants what Nick has but is too chicken shit to be open with himself. So he turns into this little monster. And I don’t have time for him and I’m glad Nick doesn’t either.
I especially hate how Ben’s words on coming out wound Nick up. Ben is projecting on Nick because he himself is terrified of coming out. And when you’re that young, those words get into your head really easily. So of course Nick is going to think about when he should come out, if he should come out, or if he really wants to in the first place. It’s confusing and I wish Nick was as far away from Ben as possible for the rest of the season. But that little shit is the villain of the story (and Nick’s brother as well probably) and will definitely be around to cause more trouble.
Then there’s the whole thing with Imogen. I do understand her hesitance at believing Nick. He didn’t give her any tangible evidence or reason why she should stay away from Ben, especially when she has known him as long as Nick. But on the flip side, she is so desperate for someone to like her that she doesn’t even take the time to consider what Nick is saying. But then there is the added complication that Nick can’t tell Imogen what happened because that is Charlie’s story. That was his assault and he is the one that should disclose what happened at his own time and choosing. All together this is even more reason as to why Nick and Ben will never be alike and why the former will definitely have a better and more fulfilling life than the latter.
I Love Tao’s Mom Yan
Even though we haven’t seen a lot of Tao’s mom during Heartstopper, the moment that they shared at the end of 2×02 was really significant. As we see with Charlie’s parents, some parents don’t listen. It’s become so commonplace to shut down teenagers when they’re going through things instead of listening to them. And I find it really disheartening when I see that in my real life or on TV shows because those parents used to be teenagers. If there’s anything that those teenagers need it’s empathy and understanding for how their world is shifting on its axis because of these new experiences they’re going through. What they don’t need is to be steamrolled before they can express what they are going through.
Tao’s mom Yan was really gentle and understanding in her approach when it came to talking to her son. You could tell that there was plenty of love between them, that they still had their mother and son bond but that she felt comfortable enough approaching him when she noticed something was wrong. And even though Tao was understandably a little shy about his inner turmoil with Elle, it was really nice to see Yan empathize with him. Even more so, it was really nice to see that she supported her son and gave him tangible advice about what to do next. She was an active listener and gave solutions that felt real and reachable.
I really hope that we get to see more of Yan throughout the series and more the parents in general. Hopefully parents that listen to their kids. But I enjoy how Heartstopper shows varying ways to parent and doesn’t just stick to one way of doing things. A lot of shows pigeonhole themselves and think that this is the only way to do things. And like I always say, you learn from what you consume. Hopefully a kid is watching this with their parents and they learn something about each other that opens communication. That would be the ultimate positive change that I think the writers of Heartstopper would be all for.
Random Thoughts from Heartstopper “Family”:
- I really loved the visualization efforts of “Family” when it came to the mental health struggles that these kids are going through. Not only does it add a specific look to Heartstopper itself, but it gives viewers visual cues to something maybe they’ve always had trouble explaining but that they have always felt.
- My mami would throw an absolute fit if I went out in the outfit that Elle did. Que scandalooooo!
- When are we gonna get that Tao haircut peopleeee?!
- While we’re at it, when is Paris? The trailer for season 2 made it the focus so I’m like what’s going onnnnn?!
- Olivia Coleman is always a welcome and she needs to be in every single episode.
What did you think of episode 2×02? Let us know in the comments below!
This piece was written during the 2023 WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes. Without the labor of the writers and actors currently on strike, Heartstopper being covered here wouldn’t exist.