It has been a long wait for the second season of Heartstopper, and we are beyond thrilled that it is about to grace our screens. There are plenty of tales of first love, but there is seldom one that tells us what makes it so special. The chemistry and love between Nick and Charlie, brought out by actors Kit Conner and Joe Locke, who not only look exactly like their characters but have captured them with perfection, is justice done right for fans of the book. Season 1 of Heartstopper is based on the first two volumes and has built on them to give us a better understanding of the characters of Tao, Elle, Darcy, and Tara. The season deviates somewhat from the books, but it justifies that by staying true to the story, and here is a recap of it before we start watching Heartstopper Season 2.
How Do Nick And Charlie Fall In Love?
Charlie has had a difficult year since the news of his being homosexual accidentally got out, and he was relentlessly bullied for it at his all-boys school. It has all stopped now due to the intervention of the teachers, but Charlie is still a shy and reserved boy who is awkward in most social situations. When he sees Nick, it is love at first sight for him. But unfortunately, Charlie and his friends are convinced that Nick is heterosexual, and Charlie is also in a relationship with Ben.
Charlie and Ben break up when Charlie stands up to him for cheating and not caring how he feels. Ben gets a little forceful with Charlie, but Nick rescues him in time. This is probably the point at which Nick starts becoming protective of Charlie. As they spend more and more time together, Nick recognizes his growing feelings for Charlie, though he is confused since this is the first time that he has liked a boy. Charlie, on the other hand, simply can’t stop himself from being drawn to Nick, despite knowing that he may get his heart broken. When they end up kissing at a party (Harry Greene’s birthday), Charlie is worried whether Nick felt compelled to do so, but the next day, Nick assures him that it is something he wanted and he wants to keep seeing Charlie, though he wants time to figure things out for himself.
As expected, Charlie is more than happy, and the two of them are together. From this point on, the series undergoes some significant changes from the books. One of them is the character of Imogen, who did not exist in the books at all. In season 1 of Heartstopper, she has a crush on Nick and asks him out in front of everyone. Nick says yes, not wanting to let her down publicly, but he makes it clear to her later on that he doesn’t see her that way, and Imogen takes it really well.
Additionally, Harry Greene is a bit more of a nuisance in the series than in the books. He and Tao constantly get into verbal spats, with the latter always getting the better of him. On that note, we should also mention that Tao doesn’t like Nick for a good part of the series because he is annoyingly overprotective of Charlie due to the bullying he had faced the previous year. There is another reason for his protectiveness, and we will come to know that in Season 2.
While we are discussing Tao, let’s talk about Elle. She is a trans woman who has recently transitioned, and her, Charlie, Isaac and Tao used to be a group before that. Right now, she has shifted to an all-girls school, and she and Tao like each other, though they don’t confess for the better part of the series. Yet there are quite a few moments of tension between them. This is a major change from the books, where they come together only on the Paris trip, which will be covered by the upcoming Heartstopper Season 2. When Elle transfers to Higgs, she strikes up a friendship with Darcy and Tara (Nick used to like her three years before the events of the series, and Charlie is briefly jealous of that). Darcy and Tara are a couple who have been out for a while, but when Tara makes them official on Instagram, the hate gets a little too much for her. There is a beautiful scene in the music room where she breaks down in tears, and Darcy is there to console her through it all. In the books, the music room scene was a different one that happened at the end of Volume 2. Tara and Darcy were not in a relationship yet, and when they accidentally got locked in the room, they started talking and understanding each other, leading to their first kiss.
The series is a look at different LGBTQ+ stories and the kinds of things they have to deal with, even in the most conducive environments. The amount of sweetness means that it is somewhat idealistic, but as Alice Oseman says, she wrote a story that she wishes had been there for her to comfort her during her hard times, and we can tell that Heartstopper, the book and the series, have that quality.
After Nick’s friends are mean to Charlie at the movie theater, Nick gets into a fight with Harry, and Charlie blames himself for it. It doesn’t help that Tao and Harry also fight, and the former is mad at Charlie because Elle tells him that Nick and he are going out. Charlie wanted to tell Tao on his own time, but that plan was shot to hell. Honestly, Tao is only having a bit of a temper tantrum, and the friends get over it when Charlie offers to run track for Tao during sports day. In the meantime, seeing the mess around him, Charlie blames himself for it. Something that has been mentioned in the book and brought out through Ben in the series is that when Charlie was bullied for being gay, he internalized a lot of the stuff that others said about him. This is one of the reasons he apologizes so much and blames himself so easily. Ben is still angry at Charlie for breaking up with him, and he doesn’t miss a chance to show him down, and Charlie is not able to stand up to that initially. But on sports day, Charlie finally tells off Ben and makes it clear that his hurt ego cannot have any power over him.
Due to Charlie’s brief period of self-loathing, he and Nick had almost been on the verge of breaking up, but when Nick left his game in the middle and took Charlie by the hand, they both declared that they didn’t want to break up with each other. This is enough, and the two of them start dating, with Nick coming out to his mother as bisexual.
Season 1 of Heartstopper was about Nick and Charlie falling in love and coming out to their friends one by one while figuring out their boundaries and feelings for each other. We also got a much deeper look at Elle-Tao and Tara-Darcy, and we saw the character of Isaac (Aled in the books), a sweet and quiet boy who is Tao and Charlie’s friend in school. Season 2 will see them go to Paris and progress further with their love story.
What Can We Expect From Season 2?
Since the series is deviating from the books, can we get a couple name for Nick and Charlie? “CharNi” and “Narlie” are our top contenders. Love in the Louvre is going to be interesting, but we are excited in some measure for Elle and Tao to see how they finally confess their feelings to each other. We are also interested in the backstory of Harry. Some of the things he did in Season 1 of Heartstopper felt like he was seeking out the attention of others, so we suspect that there might be a story behind that. On that note, we don’t want to see Ben make a reappearance. Otherwise, it is a story we can’t wait to get more of.