Heartstopper 2×05 “Heat” sees our favorites still in Paris and dealing with new feelings, fainting spells, and Ben. The latter is the worst of course. There’s also the fact that Charlie spoke his truth and I think came out stronger for it while Elle and Tao made some big strides in the relationship. Those strides are kissing. But overall, this was another fantastic episode that gave nuanced storylines for very familiar yet barely explored concepts and feelings. So without further ado, let’s dive into Heartstopper 2×05 “Heat”!
Charlie Opening Up to Nick
Ever since “Challenge” I’ve been thinking about Charlie and his eating disorder. I honestly would love to do a rewatch of Heartstopper to see what I missed along the way. Because it was there. It didn’t just suddenly appear. He has been moving his food around on the plate and not really eating for ages and not for TV magic. And in “Heat” we all saw that come to a head when he fainted in the Louvre and Nick confronted him about it. Nick’s handling of this tough conversation also proves that they are the right people for each other. And this is them as teenagers. Imagine them as fully-fledged adults. They’d conquer the world!
For Charlie, I really appreciate how the show used its distinct style to show that he was fading in and out before he collapsed. It somehow made it more understandable in comparison to how we have always seen these fade-to-black kind of scenes. And when confronted with someone asking him how he was, he spoke up. Now, not everyone is going to react like this. When you have an eating disorder, everyone is at their own stage of healing, recovery, or active mode. And with Charlie, he feels like he is in a position to share with Nick something super private. Charlie felt like his life was out of control and that food was the only thing that he could truly have a handle on. And something like that doesn’t just go away because the situation gets better. It lingers.
For Nick, I’m glad that he asked Charlie. A lot of times we’re afraid to use our voice to simply ask someone if they’re okay. But Nick knows how to use his voice, especially when it goes to Charlie. Even his reaction was something that made me go whoa. Because oftentimes when people are faced with such a confession, they ask questions that turn the situation around to make them the center of attention. Why didn’t you tell me? What was wrong with me that you didn’t feel comfortable telling me? And it’s not about that. It’s a silent battle that takes strength to speak about. Nick understood that and made sure that Charlie knew that he had done nothing wrong and that he was there for his boyfriend. It’s not going to fix everything but it’s good enough for now because not everything gets solved in a day. And more people need to understand that, especially those who write TV. Problems remain with characters, even something like an eating disorder.
Charlie & Tao Are My Babies 😭
With everything that happened in “Heat” I think the moment with the locks between Charlie and Tao were my favorite. In fact, I cried. It was just such an honest, open, and sweet interaction between two people who have known each other for a really long time. They are there to support each other, especially when one of them needs it a little bit more. Right now Tao needs it more. And Charlie will be there to help him in any way he can because he is a good friend. Signing their names on that lock was a declaration of that friendship and might be my favorite moment of the series so far.
On the Tao side of things, he’s been holding on to the secret for a very long time. He was there when Charlie was being bullied. He saw the pain. And he didn’t want to risk losing his friend by telling him the truth. So instead of speaking up, he kept quiet and let that rot inside of him while making sure that he helped comfort his friend. While he was doing that, he was also feeling even worse about himself because he felt like he destroyed his friend’s life. And that in turn carried on into other relationships that he has, including the one with Elle. He doesn’t think that he is good enough for his best friend Charlie who he has known since year seven. So he definitely thinks why would Elle want him either?
On the Charlie side of things, he knows that Tao didn’t mean it maliciously. Of course, he’s disappointed because he remembers all the bullying and pain that he went through when he was outed. But Tao is his friend. Tao was there when everything was going down and he knows who Tao is. Tao is kind, loving, and a great person. And I really appreciated his words to Tao that basically said that we all fuck up and that doesn’t mean that we stop loving people. That’s what true relationships, mature relationships, are all about. And I love Charlie even more for him having the range and capability to understand that it’s such a young age. That doesn’t make him perfect. But it is setting him on a great path into adulthood.
Fuck You Ben
Every time I see Ben I go into an uncontrollable rage. And I’ve been holding off on talking about him in the last couple of reviews for Heartstopper because I’ve wanted to make it about the rest of the cast and not this asshole. But the time has come to talk about Ben again because he annoyed everyone around him including me. And it was all due to his entitlement and the fact that he keeps needling at Nick, with this time around new material in the docket. Because apparently, Ben wants Charlie back. And I love how Nick reacted because he will have Charlie’s back but this is Charlie’s fight. It’s the reason why Nick told Charlie afterward on the stairs too. Because there is honesty in this relationship in a way that Ben will never understand even though a part of him probably wants something like this.
I do think that there is something big brewing when it comes to Ben. He is either going to cause the biggest trouble and drama that Heartstopper has seen so far. Or he is going to get a redemption arc of sorts. Personally, I want the drama more than anything else. Not because I want to out Nick or anything like that. It’s because I can’t fathom the thought of Ben having a redemption arc. And I understand that he’s a kid. But he is someone who wouldn’t take no for an answer. And the manner he did it is sexual assault. That’s going to take a lot of work for viewers to even contemplate forgiveness and I hope that Charlie doesn’t forgive Ben like he forgives others in his life. Because Ben will definitely try to find healing through Charlie. And Charlie can’t do that for him. Only Ben can do that for himself.
In the midst of all this anger, I will admit that Sebastian Croft is doing a fantastic job. It takes a lot for me to hate someone on a show. It takes brilliant acting and a commitment to the craft. And that’s especially true when it comes to truly vile characters. I think that Croft has managed to find that and join the ranks of many other TV assholes that I want to shove off a ledge into the water. If he manages to convince me to give him another chance, then even more kudos to the actor. Because that seems like something that could never happen but Heartstopper has surprised me at every turn and maybe this is another surprise.
Elle & Tao Are Now a Thing
Admittedly, I was willing to throw the towel in a bit after “Challenge.” Elle was annoying me with her indecision even though I understood that she’s a teenager. Indecision is basically their middle name. Then there was the fact that she said that friendship was the most important thing and she rebuffed Tao’s efforts multiple times. But “Heat” seemed to unlock something within her that made me understand her a little better. She likes things to happen a specific way and she has a really hard time letting go of control. (Totally relatable.) And thanks to Nick’s advice I think she gave herself some grace to not have everything fully figured out but still dive in. That led to a kiss between Elle and Tao.
The kiss between Elle and Tao didn’t feel rushed. It felt really natural and I liked how he stopped her and told her that he felt the same way, even as he was going through his own things when it comes to self-doubt. He took another chance just like he did when he first asked her out. And it seems to be paying off. Of course, this is only episode 5 so there will be more drama to come, like her new school, but for now, they can enjoy the changing dynamic of the relationship and see what kind of people they become together. And if anything, long distance relationships are a thing and there is video calling, voice notes, and video notes. Technology will save the day for teenagers.
But going back to Nick’s comments to Elle. I think that Alice Oseman keeps knocking it out of the park with these simple but effective concepts about what it is to grow up today without feeling like she’s talking down to teenagers. And within Nick’s words to Elle, you can see a really important message about letting go even though you don’t understand every single aspect, knob, turn, or feeling about what’s to come. Because at that point you’re just stuck and you’re not moving in any direction. And at the end of the day, it’s about trusting your gut even if you don’t have things 100% at the time. Who knows, maybe that could lead to new experiences and an opportunity to explore something extraordinary. That’s what I see with Elle and Tao even if it was a little bumpy ride getting there.
Random Thoughts from Heartstopper “Heat”:
- Mr. Ajayi and Mr. Farouk definitely have something going on. From Farouk’s hoop earring on the upper part of his ear to the way that Ajayi looks at him…EVERYONE IS QUEER AND EVERYTHING IS OKAY!
- Darcy is definitely hiding Tara from her family and being purposefully obtuse because she doesn’t want to have a hard conversation. My bad is that she hasn’t come out to her parents yet or one of her parents is extremely homophobic and she doesn’t want to ruin what she has with Tara at the moment.
- The most unbelievable part of this episode was that security didn’t tell them to stop running or immediately have medical services there to help Charlie.
- Darcy was real about her thoughts about the Mona Lisa. It’s okay.
- You mean to tell me that none of the high schoolers on this trip to Paris brought makeup? I’m looking at you Imogen with your pink eyeshadow. You know that girl has some foundation!
- How did Harry see Charlie’s hickey from the other side of the room?
- Also what backstory is between Isaac and Harry that I think he humbled Harry enough to chill the fuck out?
Heartstopper season 2 is now available on Netflix.
What did you think of 2×05 “Heat”? 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.