The second episode of Looking For Alaska diverges pretty significantly from the novel in the best possible way. It’s a great showcase for Denny Love as The Colonel that shows off both his comedic ability and his dramatic chops. After the first episode introduces us to a somber, borderline creepy Miles, episode two makes us fall in love with him. Read on to see what happens in the ever-growing prank war that has taken over Culver Creek.
We open with Alaska waking up Miles and The Colonel. It’s a rude awakening, but Miles is glad to see her. The Colonel is busier than usual, and when Miles sees him exchange money with another student, The Colonel reveals that he is writing term papers for money, so he can buy a new suit for his girlfriend Sara’s debutante ball. He is escorting her and wants to make a good impression. It’s clearly important to The Colonel, even if he’s trying to play it cool.
Miles, The Colonel, and Takumi head to the cafeteria for breakfast, where the Weekday Warriors come up to them. Sara tries to broker a truce, but fails. The Colonel proposes an alternative: the Weekday Warriors will name a president. If Miles can’t say his last words, then they will have a truce. The Warriors name Millard Filmore, and Miles recalls his words with ease; no truce. The Colonel is ecstatic to have this victory. The group praises Miles, and it finally seems like he belongs.
In Dr. Hyde’s class, Lara approaches Miles and asks him how he remembered the last words as an excuse to talk to him. Miles attempts to make a joke, but since it involves dying, it doesn’t really go over well. He starts daydreaming that Alaska is waiting for him outside the window, beckoning him to join her. Dr. Hyde interrupts his reverie, asking what could be so fascinating outside. Miles, unused to being called out by a teacher, stammers, and Dr. Hyde kicks him out. Alaska stands up for him, and she is kicked out as well.
They head to the Smoking Hole, and Miles confides in Alaska about his Great Perhaps. She points out that he is afraid to upset anyone or move outside his comfort zone; how is he supposed to find this Great Perhaps? Takumi and The Colonel arrive, wanting to plan their first prank against the Weekday Warriors. They offer Miles the chance to back out, but he emphatically shuts down their concerns. He’s all in.
Alaska invites Miles to study with her, and he takes the chance to impress Alaska seriously. He dresses nicely and puts on his father’s cologne, which The Colonel mocks due to its pungent smell. Sara arrives to talk to The Colonel, upset that he is helping people cheat for money. He reveals that he is doing it to buy a suit to escort her to the ball. Sara is devastated and tells him that he can’t escort her to the country club, because he isn’t a member. Longwell is escorting her instead. The Colonel is crushed, but Sara explains that the reason she invited him was because she wants him to be there. It means a lot to her, and The Colonel says he wouldn’t miss it.
Alaska pulls up for Miles’ study date, but there’s a catch: Takumi, Lara, and a few other students are also there. Alaska directs Lara to sit on Miles’ lap, since there’s no room in the car, but it seems Alaska also wants to push Miles and Lara together. Lara happily complies, and they sit in awkward silence. She admires his Florida key ring just to have something to say. They drive off in Alaska’s car.
The next night, Alaska and Takumi are playing video games with The Colonel and Miles. Alaska tells Miles that her plan paid off; Lara is definitely interested in him. The Colonel emerges in the suit her bought for the ball. He looks great and is obviously excited. Alaska, feminist that she is, tries to argue that he should skip the ball, but The Colonel tells her off, asking if she has to ruin everything. Alaska accepts this. They tell Miles to wear black — tonight begins their revenge.
A prank montage ensues, with the group bricking the Weekday Warriors door (and Miles dropping his distinctive key in the process). The Warriors then move Takumi’s entire room to the quad. The group retaliates by dyeing the Warriors’ hair blue. But then the Warriors go too far: they destroy The Colonel’s suit. He is angry and devastated.
The Colonel, Miles, Takumi, and Alaska head to the Smoking Hole, where they try to think of a way to get the Warriors back, and help The Colonel get a new suit. He insists that the debutante ball is off limits because of how important the event is to Sara. He leaves, and the group comes up with a prank to end all pranks.
Alaska takes The Colonel thrift shopping for a new suit, while Miles buys laxatives from the liquor store. Alaska also buys a white dress, which is part of their plan. Takumi and Miles sneak into the Weekday Warriors’ dorm, pouring the laxative into their protein shake powder. The group all drinks from it before leaving for the ball, unaware of its contents. Alaska drives The Colonel, still unaware of the plan, to the ball. He looks great and seems nervous about making a good impression. Alaska tries once more to talk him out of it. She knows what it feels like to be looked down on and doesn’t want to see him get hurt. The Colonel tells her that he wants to be there for Sara, to prove he’s just as good as she and her family are. He goes inside, and Alaska sneaks in the back window with Takumi and Miles. They’re just in time to see Holly, one of the Weekday Warriors, head to the bathroom: the laxatives are kicking in. They execute the second part of their plan: shrink wrapping the toilet seats in the men’s bathroom.
Meanwhile, The Colonel is stuck at the kids’ table. Despite Sara’s parents’ tolerant, albeit aloof, attitude, it’s clear The Colonel isn’t really welcome. As Alaska, Miles, and Takumi go to make their exit, they realize every way out is blocked. They do get some satisfaction when the Weekday Warriors motor down the hall and discover their prank as the laxatives start working. But then Sara appears on stage, waiting for Longwell to escort her. The Colonel applauds madly. But Longwell is…indisposed, and Sara is embarrassed. The Colonel makes his way to the front, wanting to help. Sara appears relieved and even happy, smiling at The Colonel in a way we haven’t seen from her. But Sara’s father stops him, telling him that this is a family matter and that there is no way he will allow The Colonel to be the one to escort her. It becomes clear that he will never fit in with this crowd, and he returns to the kids’ table.
As security guards search for the pranksters, The Colonel sees his friends trying to escape. He realizes what must have happened. Fed up with the situation, he sets fire to a piece of paper, setting off the fire alarms. Sara approaches him, sitting by his side as the sprinklers rain on them. She admits she found the prank funny. She smiles at him, and they kiss.
The group meets back at the dorm. The Colonel tells them that even though they defied him and ruined the cotillion, he is happy that they got back at the Weekday Warriors. But their joy is interrupted by The Eagle, who has found Miles’ car keys and the only physical evidence tying the group to the pranks. He takes Miles back to his house to chat. It’s a sad place, with moving boxes everywhere since The Eagle’s wife is moving out. He tries to get Miles to give up information on his friends, but Miles holds strong.
The Colonel, Alaska, and Takumi nervously wait outside to see if Miles will rat them out. When Miles returns triumphant, they are relieved and happy. The next day, the Weekday Warriors confront the group. They suggest a truce to get the heat off of all of them, since The Eagle is looking into the pranks. The Colonel doesn’t want to, but Alaska quickly agrees. She points out that she and The Colonel are scholarship students and can’t get in trouble.
Miles has to get through a hearing with the student board, who unanimously sentence him to kitchen duty, rather than expulsion, for his part in the pranks. Miles thinks that this is because of his heartfelt speech, but it turns out The Colonel is writing term papers for two of the members, Takumi is teaching one how to beat Halo, and Alaska promised Lara a date with Miles in exchange for voting in his favor. As the group leaves the hearing, The Eagle shoots Alaska a meaningful look. It is revealed that she is the rat: after The Eagle caught her burying bottles of wine in the woods, she ratted out Paul and Marya to avoid expulsion. Alaska rejoins her friends, shaking off her doubts.
Miles goes to see Dr. Hyde, who advises Miles to stop looking for the “right” answer and just be. He tells Miles to be present and not think about the future or the past. His advice plays over a montage of the friends at the Smoking Hole. Miles approaches Alaska and asks her why she smokes so fast. Melancholic, she says “Y’all smoke to enjoy it. I smoke to die,” as the title card “84 Days Before” flashes.
“Tell Them I Said Something…” Mixtape:
“Ask Me Anything” by The Strokes
“P.I.M.P” by 50 Cent
“Fast Easy Love” by Bangs
“Feel Good Inc.” by Gorillaz
“Yellow” by Fang
“Walk Idiot Walk” by The Hives
“Dagger Vision” by Communique
Looking for Alaska is now streaming on Hulu.