Queer as Folk

Season 2 Episode 12

One Degree of Brian Kinney

1
Aired Sunday 10:00 PM Apr 07, 2002 on Showtime
9.0
out of 10
User Rating
52 votes
6

EPISODE REVIEWS
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Episode Summary

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One Degree of Brian Kinney
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Still upset about finding the body in the dumpster, and outraged by the apparent lack of progress Debbie sets out to do some detective work on her own. Her quest eventually pays off and she is able to notify the police of her findings. Meanwhile, Michael is distraught to learn that Ben has slept with Brian two years back.

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SUBMIT REVIEW
  • Michael and Brian

    10
    This is one of the first episodes I've loved in a long time that did not involve Justin and Brian's relationship - the development of Michael and Brian's friendship was flawless, complex, and honest. While one may get annoyed with these characters it is easy to cheer for them and to empathize with what they go through; that is why I cannot stop watching this show, no matter what.



    Also, Deb is a true fighter. Love her.moreless
  • Mike finds out that Ben and Brian slept together two years ago and struggles with how he feels about it. Debbie decides to stop waiting around for the police to look for the dead boy she found in her dumpster, and starts looking herself.moreless

    10
    So Debbie is outraged at the pathetic grave site the dead boy has, which really wasn't even fit for an animal. She can't believe how the case is being treated for lack of interest, so she decides to do some investigating of her own after Brian encourages it. With the help of Jen and Vic, various tips led her to learn that the boy was asthmatic, which brought her to a pharmacist who tried to help out. When she finds a prescription that was never picked up she finds out that the boy's name was Jason. She tells the detective off for a second time, who later shows up at her door and tells her that he did some investigating of his own. The boy had nothing but a mattress and his mother had overdosed when he was four, which put him in foster care. He hit the streets at eighteen. There's no information yet on who killed him. Vic and Deb invited him in for pasta but he declined. I already know there's a romance heading between those two since i've seen a couple of the older episodes. Meanwhile, Ben tells Mike about sleeping with Brian two years ago. Mike acts like it doesn't bother him at first but later starts asking Ben all these questions about what it was like to be with Brian. I remember asking myself "is it because he wants to know because Ben was with him, or because Mike wants to know what it would be like to sleep with Brian." Distraught, Ben goes to Ted and Emmett who tell him the truth about the history between Mike and Brian and how it would've been better had they slept together. Brian shows up and puts the moves on Mike. If Brian is just messing with Mike's head it's not right, especially torturing him by telling him he knows all about how much Mike wants him. It is sometimes hard to tell that Brian loves Mike too. Mike tells Brian to leave and later explains to Ben about the feelings he's always had for Brian and that it did bother him to know they slept together. Ben says it's ok which makes Mike feel a lot better. It also puts Ben one up on Brian since Brian lost a little bit of power there. Also, Ted is dying to get involved in these get togethers with the rich upper class of gay men. He finally gets invited and is excited about it, until he finds out that one of the big whigs is just using him to try to score dates and such. Ted doesn't like this and i'm pretty sure he either just walked out on it, or is shortly going to. It's not like the men were trying to hide that they were bored by him either. This was a bit of a slower episode, but it was nice to find out who the boy was anyway. Looking forward to the next one.moreless
  • Ben knows Brian in a way Michael never has or ever will.

    10
    So Michael's a little slow at catching on to things. The fact that when Brian recalled meeting Ben at the White party in years past, should've said it all right there. I mean the only way that Brian ever really meets a guy is through having sex, but you know Michael and him have only known each other for a short time, why would Michael draw that conclusion. It seemed pretty obvious to Justin. After finding out though, Michael is visably upset and jealous of Ben because he knows Brian in a whole different perspective than he does. A perspective that he's longed for his entire life, but will probably never get the chance to act on. Later on, Brian actually gives into what he knows deep down Michael really wants, though he'd never admit it. Just like Brian would never admit to loving Justin, at least until season 5. But Michael knows that even if they have sex, that's all it will be, at least for Brian, so he declines Brian's offer.moreless
  • Michael discovers that Brian had sex with Ben, and he doesn't handle it very well.

    8.0
    I marvel at how slow Michael is on the uptake. I mean, Justin figured out right away that Brian and Ben had sex immediately after Brian mentioned that he and Ben both were at a White Party a couple of years ago, but Michael just doesn't catch on. And you think he would, after all the years he's known Brian.



    Anyway, it turns out that Michael is very upset that Ben has had sex with Brian. Are we surprised? But then, something quite extraordinary happens. Brian willingly offers himself to Michael. This isn't like the time in episode 119 when Brian makes a move on Michael because he doesn't want to think about his father's death--and besides, he is completely wasted at the time. But this time, Brian offers himself up for Michael's sake, and not for his own.



    I have a theory about why Brian finally decided to let Michael have what he always wanted: Before Justin, before Brian fell in love with Justin, Brian took pleasure in knowing that he had this power over Michael. Brian always knew that Michael wanted to be lovers with Brian, and perhaps Brian felt that maybe someday in the far future, when he was no longer young and beautiful, that he and Michael would be together. Since Brian didn't want to risk losing Michael as his friend--and as a way to always have him by his side--Brian took advantage of the fact that Michael wanted Brian as his lover. He gave him bits of his affection, to make him think that maybe someday Brian would be his, but never following through on the deal. As a result, Michael always stuck around, hoping that someday his time would come. And Brian had the security of knowing that Michael will always be around for him, just in case he changes his mind.



    But then something unexpected happened. Brian actually fell in love with someone, and that person wasn't Michael. I think that when Brian fell in love with Justin, he figured out that Michael's fantasy would never come true, even when Brian grew older. He was left without a doubt in his mind that he'd never be Michael's, because he wanted to be Justin's. Brian said it himself: he wants Justin around for a long time (episode 207). So, in this episode, when the moment of truth came, Brian was willing to relinquish his hold on Michael so that Michael would finally have the chance to love someone for real, who would love him back. By having sex with Michael, Brian would be giving up a great deal of power that he's had over Michael for the past 17 years. And Brian's finally able to let him go in that respect because he found a whole new life with Justin. In some ways, Michael was a temporary fix for Brian until Brian found something more. Don't get me wrong, I love Brian and Michael's friendship and I don't doubt that they'll be friends forever. But Michael isn't what Brian really wants or needs. So when Justin came along and managed to inspire feelings in Brian that Brian thought he'd never have for anyone, everything changed.



    In the end, Michael didn't accept Brian's offer, I guess because he knew that it wouldn't mean anything to Brian, the way he would like it to. That is, after the act, Brian wouldn't feel for Michael what he obviously feels for Justin. Michael realizes that he and Brian will never be, though I think he continues to hold on to the idea even after this episode. But finally, there's absolute closure on that part of their relationship. Brian and Michael are forever friends, but nothing more. The 'more' part on Brian's side is reserved only for Justin.moreless
  • Brian gets back from the White Party to discover Michael's new boyfriend in a former conquest. Michael finds out and is upset.

    10
    One of the best episodes. If you're looking for insight into Brian and Michael's complicated relationship the scene near the end at the comic book store will give it to you. To see Michael so vulnerable breaks my heart every time. But it shows why I tune into the show in the first place.
Sharon Gless

Sharon Gless

Deborah 'Debbie' Jane Grassi Novotny

Robert Gant

Robert Gant

Professor Benjamin 'Ben' Bruckner (Season 2-5)

Michelle Clunie

Michelle Clunie

Melanie 'Mel' Marcus

Peter Paige

Peter Paige

Emmett "Em" Honeycutt

Scott Lowell

Scott Lowell

Theodore 'Ted' Schmidt

Gale Harold

Gale Harold

Brian Kinney

Lena Vajakas

Lena Vajakas

Babylon Performance Artist

Guest Star

Luc Boudreau

Luc Boudreau

Gymbod

Guest Star

Scott Brownall

Scott Brownall

Rex

Guest Star

Peter MacNeill

Peter MacNeill

Detective Carl Horvath

Recurring Role

Jack Wetherall

Jack Wetherall

Vic Grassi

Recurring Role

Sherry Miller

Sherry Miller

Jennifer Taylor

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions

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  • TRIVIA (2)

    • Patrons of bathhouses are required to register each time they visit, and the doorman is required to verify identity based off of a government issued ID. If the dead guy from the dumpster was a frequent visitor of the Liberty Spa, his name could be coaxed from the door man, rather than the random patrons.

      Furthermore, how did Debbie & Jennifer get past the front desk?

    • Brian didn't know that Ben had HIV until he was told by Michael. Isn't that incredibly irresponsible of Ben (who has had HIV for 5 years) to not tell a one night stand from 2 years ago (Brian) that there was slight possibility of infection? Especially to someone of Brian's reputation and sex drive.

  • QUOTES (6)

    • Michael: I love you.
      Ben: And it's okay that you love him.
      Michael: It is?
      Ben: Uh huh. Michael, we've know each other for how long? A few months? You had a life before I came along. So did I. Including people we've loved, that we're still in love with. That doesn't mean we can't love each other.

    • Ben: Come on, you guys. Tell me. Were they lovers?
      Ted: Would've been better if they had been. Then Brian could've broken his heart and Michael could've gotten over him.
      Emmett: Instead of always wondering what it would've been like.

    • Brian: Yeah, well I did all three.
      Justin: At once?
      Brian: I tried... scheduling difficulties.

    • Ted: And then Garth invited me to his house for a very exclusive get-together.
      Brian: While he's busy excluding others, have you figured out why he's including you?

    • Michael: What's the kinkiest thing you've ever done with a guy?
      Brian: It's too weird to talk about.
      Michael: Come on, dish.
      Brian: Uh... kinky... kinky... Well, one night I went to this guy's house and, uh... I stayed over.

    • Brian: Why would I want to hang with a bunch of arrogant, self-important assholes?
      Ted: 'Cos you'd fit right in.

  • NOTES (0)

  • ALLUSIONS (2)

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