The Holidays are supposed to be the time to relax with loved ones, but Fellow Travelers Season 1 Episode 4 proves that Christmas and the festivities that come with it rarely hold up to what you envision in anticipation of the big event.
Beginning the hour with a man walking into oncoming traffic after likely having his whole career thrown away because of suspicions about his sexuality was a choice. Still, as heartbreaking as it was, it underpinned the urgency of Hawk’s plight.
Hawk has largely lived how he sees fit, sleeping with who he wants and facing zero consequences.
It wasn’t too long ago he was called bulletproof because of his close ties to Senator Smith, but there’s an immediate sense of dread in Hawk when he finds the letter summoning him for an interview.
A part of him understood that his life, as he knew it, could be over, but he also had the drive to come out of the other side unscathed.
Miss Addison reporting him wasn’t too much of a surprise. She’s been watching his every move from the sidelines of Fellow Travelers Season 1.
The biggest shocker was how confident she was when she told Hawk and Mary it was her at the Christmas party. She was goading Hawk into doing something about it.
We’ve witnessed his reactions to various situations throughout the season, but there’s always been this level of restraint, and thank god he had it at the office party.
Hawk knows to pick his battles, so watching him get back at Miss Addison and even the man interviewing him with words was the only way to proceed.
Seeing these little acts of aggression in ways that he can’t be penalized for is a small victory for him and viewers as this story plays out.
Matt Bomer can play menacing very well, and he was positively chilling in his exchanges with Miss Addison and the man conducting the interviews.
Hawk: The gentleman who left the unit last week, he stepped in front of a truck. That must affect someone in your position.
Man: Unfortunately, we’re seeing an average of one suicide per week.
Hawk: You ever worry that someone might kill you instead?
Man: One moment. You’ll have to return tomorrow for a polygraph.
Hawk: No, that won’t be necessary. Just speak to Mr. McLeod.
Man: When we believe a polygraph is required, cooperation is mandatory. We’re trying to clear the backlog before the holidays. Can you come back tomorrow after hours?
Hawk is living a lie, and he’s slowly making mistakes he wouldn’t have made before he met Tim, which is a testament to their intense love for one another.
Passing with flying colors was necessary, or Hawk’s life could have gone in a very different direction, and there’s a good chance Tim would have also been outed in the process.
Hawk’s undoing will probably be the love he has for Tim. I know they were exchanging information, but a night of passion while knowing people are watching your every move probably wasn’t the best idea.
Mary: They’re going to ask you questions about your private activities in detail. Hawk: I hope they’ve scheduled several hours for that.
Mary: I thought you were taking this seriously.
Hawk: I am.
Mary: You take nothing seriously. You’re all wrong for him, Fuller. He is deeply sincere, and you’re going to hurt him.
Miss Addison: I know who you’re talking about. The boy who gave Mr. Fuller that book? Yeah, I saw what he wrote inside. “Mr. Fuller, thank you for everything. You’re wonderful.”
Mary: You reported him.
Hawk: You’re right, Miss Addison. I am wonderful. So why don’t you just suffer? Merry Christmas.
The Hawk from the beginning of Fellow Travelers Season 1 would have kept Tim well away from his apartment, but Hawk is beginning to think about a future with Tim and what they could do if they were away from the prying eyes of everyone in Washington, D.C.
Their chat about Christmas and what they would do was very telling, but it’s sad knowing that in the 1980s timeline, their relationship has been blown to smithereens.
Where did it all go wrong? Does Hawk get closer to the life he wanted and cut Tim out because he wasn’t ready to come out?
There are many questions here, but one little nugget of truth that surprised me: Hawk and Lucy losing a child.
I hadn’t picked up on that before, but it was on full display as Hawk and Tim had this conversation about loss.
Telling a story across two timelines and filling in blanks along the way can be a recipe for disaster, but Fellow Travelers is giving us information slowly and leaving the viewers to draw conclusions.
The result is a satisfying and timely storyline that will be remembered for years.
Seeing how happy Hawk and Tim were all those years ago, to see them practically act like strangers to one another almost 30 years later is hard.
Hawk: Maggie said we have to keep your weight up. Pasta.
Tim: What else?
Hawk: Peanut butter.
Tim: They didn’t have crunchy?
Hawk: No, I looked.
Tim: You said you know someone connected to the governor.
Hawk: Dave Holm. He’s a Republican fundraiser.
Tim: Okay, how well do you know him?
Hawk: Not well. You know, he’s…
Tim: What, he’s straight? The way that you’re straight? You can’t smoke in here.
Hawk: I know, I know. What do you want, Tim?
Tim: Call your friend. Ask him. Convince him to set up a meeting with the governor’s chief of staff.
Hawk: And why am I doing this?
Tim: To introduce me. There is an AIDS anti-discrimination bill sitting on the governor’s desk. I need to convince him to sign it. We’ve been waiting for this meeting for weeks. They’re ignoring us. They can’t ignore you.
Hawk: Of course they can.
Tim was taken aback by the cufflinks Hawk bought him for Christmas because he never envisioned being happy with a man due to his beliefs.
Slowly, Tim is realizing that he can be happy, even if he isn’t telling his family about his love life.
You could tell it killed him to lie about the cufflinks to his sister. The only good about this tale is that Tim can live his authentic self all those years later, and his relationship with Maggie is in a good place.
Hawk rushing off at the first sign of an argument with Tim was typical. As I keep saying, Hawk likes to be in control, even if that means hurting those he loves.
The sad part is that it might take Tim dying for Hawk to realize how much he’s hiding about himself.
It’s even sadder that it took Hawk getting drunk to realize that speaking to his contact about passing the bill was right, even if it could have changed how people view him.
There’s so much we don’t know about these two men, but the severity of Tim’s health hit Hawk like a ton of bricks when he returned to the apartment to learn Tim was in the hospital.
Hawk has been desperate to prove he’s not the man Tim’s sister believes he is, but he’s single-handedly proven that he can’t be trusted to care for Tim.
My hope is that if Tim is lucid in the hospital, he will be surrounded by the people who love him, including Hawk.
The petty squabbles are worthless when someone is slipping away, but I don’t doubt people will be looking for someone to blame, which will get ugly.
Hawk seems doomed to repeat past mistakes, and the only way for him to come to terms with those mistakes is to confront them head-on.
The best thing Hawk did in the episode was hand over the evidence to Tim for Schine and Cohn to expose McCarthy for who he is.
The timing was impeccable because of the increased scrutiny of Cohn’s support of Schine. How did Cohn think he could call all of these shots about Schine being in the army?
Cohn: He probably is a Jew hater. They’re all Jew haters until they need us. Schine: You need to look at this.
Cohn: What? Oh, I’ll be damned.
Schine: Uh, what does it mean?
Cohn: It means this is a time of nachas, Dave. A time of nachas indeed. That stupid, alcoholic fat Mick isn’t gonna fire Roy Cohn, and Gerard David Schine is not goin’ to Korea. Oh. Kick off your shoes and crack open the brandy, Dave. We’re not going anywhere.
It was only a matter of time before it led to a full-fledged investigation into McCarthy, but the poetic justice is that the same team he assembled will be the ones to investigate him.
It’s hard to tell how Cohn and Schine will use this to their advantage without implicating themselves, but I feel the pair will be a formidable force with that evidence.
“Your Nuts Roasting On An Open Fire” was another stellar episode of this Showtime limited series. We’re at the halfway point, and I can’t wait to see what comes next.
What are your thoughts on Hawk being investigated? Are you growing tired of him bailing on Tim?
What are your thoughts on Cohn and Schine teaming up to take down McCarthy?
Hit the comments.
Fellow Travelers continues Fridays on Paramount+ with Showtime.
Paul Dailly is the Associate Editor for TV Fanatic. Follow him on X.