‘Fellow Travelers’ Episode 7 Recap & Ending Explained: How Do Tim And Hawk Get Separated?


Showtime’s exceptionally good and impactful romantic drama series Fellow Travelers has always remained careful to include political strains along with the central romantic plot. The political side in the show begun with the introduction of the Lavender Scare that shook the entire nation in the 1950s. Later on, it went on to showcase the violent protests against the Vietnam War in the 1960s. Now, in the latest episode 7, the show moves forward to the ’70s and covers the mass protests by the queer community following the assassination of Harvey Milk. Along with this, Fellow Travelers Episode 7 also has Hawk and Tim reuniting for a short while, then their bond falling apart once again.

Spoiler Alert

How Did Harvey Milk’s assassination affect Marcus and Frankie?

The historical depictions in Fellow Travelers and the political references that form the body of many of its episodes have been richly accurate and resemble the times portrayed in the work. Episode 7 begins in 1978, when the city of San Francisco had already opened up legally for gay people to openly live their lives and claim their rights. This was greatly helped by the influence of Harvey Milk, the openly gay politician who fought to great lengths for the rights of homosexuals. Milk himself was then elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, where Milk became the first openly gay politician in America to hold a governmental post. There was much celebration and jubilation at this representation of the queer community, and the earlier days of hiding one’s sexuality were now gone. The new episode begins with scenes and archival footage from this very celebratory mood in San Francisco, until it all turned into grief and violence on the 27th of November.

Along with the growing influence of liberalism on citizens and society, there were also opponents to such ideas of free thought and life. Dan White, a Democratic politician, was one of these opponents, who had been affected by the liberalism on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. White had been a supervisor until he quit after the appointment of Harvey Milk, most probably because he could not stand the idea of serving in the same office as an openly gay man. Some more political disagreements followed, and finally, on the 27th of November, Dan White shot Harvey Milk and George Moscone, the erstwhile mayor of the city dead.

The assassinations were naturally viewed as a violent reaction against the queer community gaining visibility, and protests started to be held. White’s lawyers immediately tried to prove to the court that the man was suffering from mental illnesses and should, therefore, not be considered a premeditated murderer. Among their bizarre claims was also a statement that Dan White’s recent consumption of chocolates after being extremely health-conscious should also be taken into consideration. This statement led to the term “Twinkie defense,” which has still lived on to refer to unwarranted claims made by the defense in any court case. But the biggest shock came when White’s defense actually stood, and the man was only given a sentence of manslaughter instead of first-degree murder, and he was given just a prison time of seven years.

This unfair sentence caused massive public outrage and protests in San Francisco, and the two characters, Marcus and his partner Frankie, find themselves at the center of this turmoil. Leaving their entertainment career behind, Frankie had become a social worker and was now involved with a social organization that looked out for the rights and well-being of queer people. Tim was also working for this same organization, while Marcus had made it a part of his life to keep his sexual identity hidden from the world. He was now working as a professor at the state university, and his presence at a public institution also scared Marcus more into hiding his identity. After the assassination of Harvey Milk, a student in his class named Jerome speaks out against the prejudice against homosexuals when another ignorant student lashes out against the queer community. Marcus does not say anything to the second student, and this surprises Jerome, for he had figured out about his professor’s orientation. It is later revealed that Jerome was gay as well, and since he had come out to his parents, the young man had to leave home and stay on the streets, as his father refused to let him stay any longer.

The same surprise that Jerome gets at Marcus’ aloofness has also become part of Frankie’s life by now. While they were involved in every social and political show of identity, Marcus’ choice to stay away from it all and stay neutral in every situation saddened Frankie. When the massive protests against Dan White’s unjust sentence break out, Frankie naturally wants to be a part of them, and Marcus tries to prove otherwise. He reminds his partner of the various troubles they could get into, trying to deter Frankie from going to the protest march. This irritates Frankie so much that they have to literally push Marcus away to join the march. Along with trying to protect his partner, Marcus also has to join the protest because he sees his student Jerome at the march, and he feels responsible for protecting him, too.

In response to the protest marches, which turned violent in certain areas, the police force attacked the Elephant Walk bar, which was a well-known gay bar in San Francisco. Marcus and Jerome were at this very place when the police brutality began, and Marcus now had to defend his young student from the cruel authorities. By the end of this night, a clear change in Marcus is visible when Frankie joins him and Jerome, and they stand by the bar with others from the community. Marcus now kisses Frankie in front of everyone, possibly for the first time in public, signifying that he is ready to cast away his false identity as a heterosexual man. Jerome is also seen as inspired and pleased by this change, and such an example is sure to give him more inspiration and hope towards life as well.

How do Tim and Hawk reunite to then separate once again?

In between the ten years that had passed between the previous episode and this one, Tim and Hawk were hardly in touch, with a long gap of eight or so years of no contact at all. During this time, Tim had served his prison sentence for having trashed the army deployment office and was now living in San Francisco, working at the social service organization where Frankie works. It is revealed that Tim had come out to his family at the time, which had naturally led to objection, but he was much more at peace with himself now that there was nothing to hide from the world. Towards the latter half of these ten years, Hawk would sometimes call up Tim during nights while being drunk, and at present, he even sends him letters inviting Tim to join him at his house at Fire Island Pines. Despite initially not wanting to, Tim finally gives in and decides to visit his old lover.

But things had changed on Hawk’s side as well, for he had lost his son Jackson some six months before. The same Jackson who was shown in Fellow Travelers episode 6 had now grown up into a young man who had trouble with drugs. Despite his relationship with Hawk having temporarily mended at the end of the previous episode, Jackson grew up to have a wayward life. Despite staying away from alcohol because he saw his father as an alcoholic and therefore wanted to be as different from him as possible, Jackson got addicted to drugs. His untimely demise was also because of his cocaine addiction, and Hawk was terribly affected by this. The man secretly blamed himself for the death of his son, as he felt that it was he and his lies that had pushed Jackson towards this fate. Both from this guilt and his increasing alcoholism, the man had left home and would spend many days at a stretch at his Fire Island Pines house, which was a safe paradise for homosexual men. Hawk also made a new boyfriend at this place, Craig, and while he spent his days amidst alcohol, drugs, and free sex, Lucy and their daughter Kimberly were spending their days in a quieter and more restrained fashion.

Kimberley was now married and expecting a baby soon, and while spending her days with her mother, she learned of her father’s sexual orientation. Kimberley hears of Tim from Lucy, and she makes the connection between him and the apparent special friend of their father’s that Jackson had met in the cabin in the woods. The daughter also provides some much-needed comfort through a discussion, with Lucy, who had been abandoned by her husband, in a sense, throughout her life. Tim had incidentally called up Lucy before his journey to Fire Island, and upon learning that Hawk had not returned home for days, he decided to take the side of the family.

There is a clear difference between the likes of Tim and the young men that Hawk now spends most of his time with at the island house, for the latter are very little concerned about anything else than their merrymaking. At one point, Hawk offers to give away this house to Tim, and the latter realizes in this way that Lucy and the family do not even know about this secret house that Hawk owns. The man is ashamed and secretive about his identity, as always, and he is still against coming out to his own family members. Thus, at present, Tim concentrates on trying to convince Hawk to change his ways and return to his family instead of hurting them even more.

One night, while trying to have a steamy threesome with Craig and Tim, Hawk had a terrible breakdown after being reminded of Jackson through an old photograph of the boy. Tim stays by his lover’s side at this time, trying to help his misery, and during this time, Hawk agrees to mend his ways and reconcile with his family members. However, the very next morning, the man once again continued his revelry with alcohol and drugs. Having had enough of the false promises, Tim now angrily walks out of the house, and his action serves as a strong reminder to Hawk that his decisions have repercussions, too. Finally realizing his mistakes, Hawk immediately distances himself from the vices he had been involved in for so long, and he rings up his home. Over the short telephone conversation that Hawk has with Kimberley, it is suggested that he might open up some more about his life to his family, or at least to his daughter.

Fellow Travelers Episode 7 finally ends with a short scene from 1986, when Hawk is still in San Francisco, and he visits the hospital to meet with Tim. However, the nurse informs him of a second seizure that Tim has suffered, and although the man is in a stable condition, it seems highly unlikely that he will survive the ordeal. Fellow Travelers seems set for a sad ending with its final episode next week.

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Sourya Sur Roy
Sourya Sur Roy
Sourya keeps an avid interest in all sorts of films, history, sports, videogames and everything related to New Media. Holding a Master of Arts degree in Film Studies, he is currently working as a teacher of Film Studies at a private school and also remotely as a Research Assistant and Translator on a postdoctoral project at UdK Berlin.

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