Fellow Travelers, created by Ron Nyswaner, shows a lot of promise in its first episode, and after a while, we seem to have found a romantic drama that captures our imagination and keeps us hooked. Though we agree that there are chances that this opinion might change over the course of the next few episodes, we cannot deny that the show has made a solid start. We like how the writers have made sure that the show is not only about the romance brewing between Tim and Hawk, played by Jonathan Bailey and Matt Bomer, respectively, but they create an environment through which we get to know what was happening on the political landscape and how it had an impact on the relationship shared them. The narrative seems like an erudite discussion, and we geeked out listening to all those political conversations and viewpoints happening in the background. We believe that a great show is made when you are able to create subplots and supporting characters that have the potential to have a separate show of their own. I mean, Better Call Saul is a living and breathing example of that.
In a day and age where authenticity seems to be missing and most of the shows and films being produced refrain from going beyond the surface, Fellow Travelers comes as a breath of fresh air. Maybe we have watched a lot of mediocre shows and films, or maybe it’s just a bias towards the genre, but we do think that this romance drama could be one of the best series released this year. So, let’s find out what was happening in the United States of America in 1952 and how, amidst all the tension, resistance, and hatred, a beautiful romance was brewing between two people.
How did Hawk and Tim become acquainted?
It was the year 1986, and there was a small party organized at the Fuller household as Hawkins Fuller, aka Hawk, was appointed as the deputy consulate of Michigan. Marcus Gaines, a journalist who had long-standing relations with Hawk, arrived at the party, and Hawk already had an idea of what he was going to talk about. Marcus had come to give him something that a man named Tim Laughlin had sent for him, and seeing the look on Hawk’s face, we instantly realized that Tim and he shared a very close bond. At that juncture in Fellow Travelers, we had no clue what had transpired between them, but seeing the glass showpiece that Tim had sent for Hawk ushered in memories from the past; the latter was transported back in time when he had met Tim for the first time in his life.
The elections had just ended, and Joseph McCarthy had thrown a success party. And though Hawk was his opponent, he was still present, maybe because he liked knowing what his opponents were up to. Tim Laughlin caught Hawk’s attention, and they both had a brief conversation. It was evident from the word go that they had a spark between them, and though nothing happened on that day, Hawk knew that he was going to see Tim again very soon. Hawk met Tim a few days later in the park, and that’s where he took his number. Hawk got Tim a job in Tail Gunner Joe’s office, and Tim couldn’t be happier because he aspired to work there. Hawk arrived at Tim’s house one day, and from there on, they walked a path that they both knew, somewhere deep down, was not going to end well for them.
What did Tim want from Hawk?
Tim came to know about the rumors that Hawk was engaged to his boss’s daughter, Lucy Smith, and he wanted to know if there was any truth to them. Tim had met Hawk many times, but the former didn’t know anything about his life that he didn’t like. He didn’t want Hawk to treat him just like a meaningless hookup, as for him, their romantic rendezvous meant much more. But Hawk knew that there was nothing possible between them, and he didn’t want his hopes to get high. He knew that very soon; the Congress was going to launch a witch-hunting crusade to pin down the communists and gay people. Tim wanted to be respected in the relationship, and he wanted to feel that he held that exclusive position in Hawk’s life. Tim expressed his desires to Hawk, and the latter didn’t know what to tell him. Marcus, in his first meeting with Tim in 1952, had told him that he shouldn’t get emotionally attached to Hawk, but Tim was already halfway through, and it was not easy for him to take a step back.
Did Tim agree to meet with Hawk?
George Bauers came up to Hawk in 1952, asking for help as there were spies all around who were tracking his movement and wanted the names of people involved in queer practices. A congressional investigation was underway, and George Bauers was scared that he would have to face the consequences of his actions. He was involved in extramarital relations with people of the same sex, and he was desperately seeking Hawk’s help. Hawk gave him the name of a boy with whom he had a physical relationship and asked George to sacrifice him and save himself. George had a conscience, and he didn’t feel that it was right to throw an innocent young boy under the bus, but he didn’t have a lot of options.
At the end of Fellow Travelers Episode 1, Tim went to the church and confessed to the father that he had committed a sin, but the irony was that he had never felt purer during any other act in his life. Tim was also feeling guilty at that moment, as he was spying on his boss and providing intel to Hawk about McCarthy and Cohen. Tim should have agreed with Hawk when he told him to lock the door and not let him enter his life, but obviously, he chose a way that he knew was going to lead him to tragedy. Tim kept meeting Hawk, and probably, he catered to that delusion that one-day, things would change and Hawk would decide to have a life with him. Hawk decided to meet Tim after Marcus paid him a visit in 1986 at his house. We believe that Tim was suffering from AIDS at that time, and he knew that his end was near. Hawk knew that Lucy wouldn’t be happy when she learned that he was flying all the way to San Francisco to meet Tim, but at that moment, Hawk didn’t care about anything other than Tim. He knew that Tim deserved at least that much respect. Hawk reached San Francisco, gave a call to Tim, and told him that he was waiting for him in a cafe adjacent to the place where he was staying. Tim resisted because he was angry with him, but we think that he will eventually give in and meet Hawk.
It was disheartening to see Hawk sitting in that cafe in 1986 and seeing all those couples freely roaming the streets and expressing their love. He must have felt that it was extremely unfair how he had to hide his true self from the world and how it had ruined the life of a beautiful young man who was ready to give his everything for their relationship. Also, it was not fair for Lucy to be with a man who she knew would never love her more than Tim. We don’t know if times were bad or if the people were evil, but it was nothing less than a tragedy. In the upcoming episodes of Fellow Travelers, we will get to know how things pan out between Tim and Hawk and how they ended up getting to where they were in life.