Quick clothing ad through a shop window. Someone's playing a violin on a street, so it must be Ethan, who is the only street musician genius in all of Pittsburgh. I love that they make Ethan play beneath a rainbow flag, so that we never forget for a second that this is the show about the gay struggle. Gay Violin Student Struggles. A "handsome stranger" drops some cash into Ethan's case. Ethan stops and tells the stranger that he accidentally dropped a hundred. The stranger is Brian, and the drop was no accident, of course. Brian tells Ethan that he knows a way Ethan can make thousands of dollars instead of peddling on the street for tuition. He says he's going to get a cup of coffee, knowing that Ethan, like anybody else, will follow him anywhere.
Ben staples a Rage poster to a school wall and tells Michael that the comic book is now required reading for his class. He says it's not because he's fucking the author, but that the comic is appropriate for his class. He then explains the class title, but I totally fall asleep around the word "aesthetics." "Wow. Say that ten times fast while holding your breath," Michael says. It's like Ben's dating a child. Doesn't he hate that he can't have a conversation with his boyfriend without poopie jokes, allusions to Captain Astro, and stories that begin, "This one time Brian and I..."? Ben says that Rage is really good: "It might look like a comic book, but it says something important about gay people." Which is what I'm sure CowLip is going for, but unfortunately this show is the Mad Magazine of gay people. No, wait. It's totally Highlights. The "Goofus and Gallant" part. Ben blows smoke up Michael's ass, saying he cares about the characters. Even Rage, who isn't SuperThigh Ben by a long shot. Ben calls Michael an honest-to-God writer and then kisses him. Michael thanks him. I finish my beer. It's two in the morning. I'm not going to make it. Ben thanks Michael for encouraging him to follow his dream of going to Tibet. He pulls out the "When I was dying" card, saying that focusing on something positive (like being far away from Michael) gave him the strength and hope he needed to pull through. Ben shows Michael an email he got this morning from a monastery in Sarnia, accepting Ben to study there. Ben says he won't go unless Michael gives his blessing and approval. Michael gives no answer.