If there’s one thing we’ve learned about Hawkins Fuller, he’s one of the most stubborn men on the small screen.
Fellow Travelers Season 1 Episode 7 dealt with the loss of his son, Tim’s tenacity to save him, and Frankie and Marcus’ relationship woes, with the backdrop being the tensions following George Moscone’s and Harvey Milk’s assassinations.
It was another stellar hour of this Showtime drama that flawlessly nestles these intricate storylines throughout essential points in history.
Welcome to Fire Island, but Don’t Try Hit on My Man
After Fellow Travelers Season 1 Episode 6, there were questions of whether the next time Hawk and Tim crossed paths was when Hawk arrived in San Francisco on Fellow Travelers Season 1 Episode 1.
Sadly, there was more pain in store here as Tim arrived on Fire Island with determination and a plan to save Hawk’s life.
Hawk was spiraling out of control in the aftermath of Jackson’s death, which was hard to watch because this wasn’t the man we met in Washington, D.C., all those years ago.
At one point, Hawk was so sure of himself as he tried to keep on this mask about his personal life to those not in the know about his sexual orientation.
The mask has slipped somewhat as he’s turned to alcohol and drugs to mask the pain of losing a child.
He was a sorry sight, and he wasn’t the man Tim fell in love with almost 30 years ago, but somehow, Tim couldn’t quit him when they first crossed paths again.
Although Hawk was in a relationship with Craig, you could tell there was a lack of chemistry between the pair.
Frankie: You are not serious about going.
Tim: I owe my parents a visit. Fire Island’s a ferry ride away.
Frankie: If White gets off, this city is going to explode. Timothy, I need you here. Not chasing after your long lost whatever he is to you.
Tim: He’s been through a tragedy.
Frankie: The tragedy is you holding on to him.
Tim: Like you hold on to Marcus?
Frankie: At least Marcus and I sleep in the same bed. Most of the time.
There’s a good chance Craig only put up with Hawk for so long because of the house he lived in, but Tim’s arrival definitely threatened him.
There’s so much history between Hawk and Tim that anyone getting in the way would struggle to come out the other side without their heart being broken.
Craig saw Tim as this disruptor of the life he was leading on Fire Island and wanted Tim to believe there was something deeper beneath the surface with Hawk.
Hawk was only masking his pain and grief with Craig, as evidenced by his reaction to his new squeeze going through his belongings and finding Jackson’s photo.
Hawk: Where are you going?
Rafael: I’ll wait outside. Walk you to the ferry.
Tim: It meant nothing to you. Everything we said last night. Everything we have been through. What is wrong with me?
Hawk: Skippy. No.
Tim: What is wrong with me?
Hawk: This is not about you.
Tim: Why can I not stop believing anything you say? If this is what you want, fine. If you want to die, go on, fսcking die. Your wife and your daughter have already buried a son and a brother, and they’re gonna have to bury you. But you don’t care because you’re so fսcking selfish! I’ve wasted all this time. My life on you.
Hawk: Don’t go. No. Don’t go. No, please.
Tim: Hawk, I’m done with you. I’m free.
Hawk is very selective about whom he shares his life with, and Craig was merely someone who would follow him around, clearing up after him.
We’ve known for a long time that Hawk uses people and discards them when he no longer needs them, but thankfully, it’s always been different with Tim.
While observers like Frankie were vocal about Tim moving on from Hawk, Tim understood that Hawk was there for him in his time of need and wanted to return the favor.
The sad part is that Tim probably thought there was a future for him and Hawk at various points throughout the episode, but thankfully, his B.S.-meter received an upgrade, and he called Hawk out countless times throughout the hour.
They’ve known each other for almost 30 years, and while Tim has been able to move on, he’s always held on to those feelings for Hawk, even if they can never be together.
Tim wants to respect Hawk’s marriage to Lucy as much as possible, which explains why he picked up the phone and hinted at asking her permission to find Hawk.
The phone call between Lucy and Tim from earlier in Fellow Travelers Season 1 makes a lot more sense.
Hawk: It’s Daddy. Hi.
Kimberley: Hi. Are you okay?
Hawk: I’m fine. How are you?
Kimberley: I’m fine. Daddy, I miss you. We miss you.
Hawk: Sweetheart… I’m coming home.
Kimberley: Okay. Okay.
Hawk: You’ll tell your mother?
Kimberley: Of course. We have a lot to talk about.
Hawk: I know.
Tim cutting Hawk out of his life, once and for all, is what gave Hawk the drive to cut out the drugs, return home, and work, paving the way for him to be stationed abroad, which is what he always wanted.
Hawk wanted to move away because he would be able to live his life his way, without the prying eyes of anyone, but, surprisingly, that’s how he still feels all these years later.
It didn’t take long for Kimberley to put the pieces together about what her father was getting up to in his time away from the family, so I guess he’s at a point in his life in the 1980s where the people closest to him know everything.
After losing Jackson and realizing the error of his ways, Hawk seems determined to make the best decisions for his family.
His going to San Francisco initially seemed like his way of apologizing to Tim and repenting for everything he did to him over the years, but deep down, Hawk has helped Tim through many hardships.
It’s a shame they could never make their relationship work due to the circumstances.
Hearing Tim say he wasted his life on Hawk was heartbreaking because, for many people, there’s always that one person you can’t quit.
Tim struggled to date and move on with his life because he was hung up on Hawk. As much as he hated Hawk’s guts at times, he couldn’t quit him.
Nurse: I’m afraid Tim’s had another seizure.
Hawk: What do you mean? How bad is it?
Nurse: It was severe, but they were able to pull him out of it. He’s in his room.
Tim’s words profoundly affected Hawk because it seemed like he realized that he had contributed to the pain Tim endured.
It’s such a complicated web of pain, but it’s been fascinating unraveling just how they went from their first meeting to their last.
Tim’s latest seizure in the present is another sign that his life is ebbing away, and the visual of Hawk holding his hand as he slipped away was both gutwrenching and satisfying.
But the only satisfaction that comes from that is that the person Tim loved the most — despite some resentment — is there with him in those final hours of his life.
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Fellow Travelers Season 1 Episode 8 — the series finale — will likely find Tim recounting some of the best moments of his life as he dies, and then we’ll get the aftermath of how it affects everyone.
Tim has a significant impact on people because he deeply cares for what’s right in the world, and I don’t doubt he helped many people while working with Frankie.
Speaking of Frankie, I didn’t expect those middle years of the narrative to be so harsh on him and Marcus.
I spoke a bit about how it’s nice they have this perfect relationship in my Fellow Travelers Season 1 Episode 6 review, so their differing viewpoints came out of the left field.
There’s always been an attraction between these two, but the very different work they were doing drove a wedge between them somewhere along the way.
The big surprise is that Marcus was straight-up cheating because, to people on the outside, you’d think they had this love story for the ages.
But the reality is that all great romances tend to have hurdles that make the foundation stronger.
Marcus grew from the infidelity, and Frankie understood that by taking him back.
Frankie: What are you doing here?
Marcus: I came to walk you home.
Frankie: I’m going downtown with everybody else.
Marcus: There are cops all over the place. This could get ugly.
Frankie: Yeah, let it get ugly. Tomorrow is Harvey’s birthday. Happy birthday, Harvey.
Marcus: Babe, babe, babe. Open your eyes. This fight is for whites. If you go out there half-cocked, who do you think they’re gonna swing at first? We’ve been doing this too long.
Frankie: What does that mean?
Marcus: This isn’t the time.
Frankie: What the fսck do you mean? Do you even look in the mirror when you shave? Because I have news for you. You are a big, chocolate gay man. Everyone is meeting up at the Elephant Walk later. If you can find your balls by then.
Marcus: Don’t get messed up in this shit. They’re not worth it.
We’ve witnessed Marcus’ attempts to be a journalist in an industry dominated by white men and the struggles he came up against during that.
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He’s conditioned himself to pick and choose his battles, and he was well aware that he and Frankie would have been some of the first people the cops would go after in the aftermath of the Dan White verdict.
Frankie wanted to join the people in his community and was desperate for Marcus to realize that sometimes, you must stand up for what’s right, no matter the consequences.
There was a resolution for the pair after Marcus showed up and saved Jerome from the cops.
It was another powerful scene in a long line of them, reiterating once again that Fellow Travelers should be one of the year’s most talked-about shows.
The acting, historical accuracy, and storylines all nestle together to deliver an eye-opening display of what life was like for people not long ago.
Fellow Travelers concludes Friday, December 15, 2023, on Showtime.
Paul Dailly is the Associate Editor for TV Fanatic. Follow him on X.