'Atypical' Season 3 Episode 9 review: 'Sam Takes a Walk' is the best portrayal of young, gay relationship and vulnerable, male friendship
'Atypical' is using Season 3 to prove that it is possible to improve and improvise on the run, especially when it comes to diversity and representation. When the show premiered with Season 1, there were quite a few criticisms regarding the lack of an authentic voice of someone from the autism spectrum despite the show fully focusing on a character who is in the spectrum. Two years down the line, we not only have more characters who are underrepresented in television and movies, but also very realistic portrayals of these characters.
Episode 9 of the latest season of the series focuses heavily on the relationship between Casey (Brigette Lundy-Paine) and Izzie (Fivel Stewart), whose slow and steady love story we have been closely following since the Season 2 finale episode. The series saw Casey struggling to choose between her amazing boyfriend and her best friend she is undeniably attracted to. We saw Casey making the tough decision of coming clean to her boyfriend about this attraction and suffering the repercussions of that as well.
In 'Sam Takes a Walk, though is where we see the initial stages of this young love, with Casey finding it easier to slip into her identity as a queer girl, whereas Izzie struggles with it. We know that there is a stark difference between both of their backgrounds, with Casey knowing for a fact that her family will support all her decisions while Izzie doesn't even have a reliable guardian to turn to, for approval.
We see Izzie struggling to go public with their relationship, which makes sense because she probably doesn't want to lose the very few people she has in her life. However, her actions bordered on cruel, with her telling Cassie that she is not okay with public displays of affection but then going on to make out with a random boy at a party. A painful past is not the justification for introducing pain into a loving relationship, and it seems like she understands it too, based on her facial expression at the end of the episode.
This episode was easily the best portrayal of a young gay couple who are still figuring out their identity, and just for that it deserves to be graded at an 'A-', but extending that emotional arc to focus on Sam (Keir Gilchrist) and Zahid's (Nik Dodani) relationship translated to masterful storytelling as well. At the end of the episode, Sam learns that Zahid is planning to elope with his problematic girlfriend and screw up with his nursing degree, which Sam had promised he would never happen. Sam is a man on a mission to save his friend from his own choices, and we can just tell that the finale episode is going to be epic just from that.
Sam and Zahid represent the vulnerability, emotional attachment, and trust between two men we rarely get to see in media. And, we are excited to see more of it in Season 3 Episode 10 of 'Atypical'.
All episodes of 'Atypical' have been added to the Netflix library.