Did you check out the results of our Autostraddle March Madness Sweet 16? So many match-ups were decided by less than a dozen votes! You better hop on over to the Elite 8 if you want your faves to survive!
This week, Kayla recapped TWO episodes of Killing Eve (406 + 407). Natalie recapped a fully chaotic bisexual episode of Good Trouble. Drew recapped Drag Race. Valerie Anne wrote a wrap-up of the first season of Astid & Lily. Carmen showed us Alice Wu’s Oreo commercial and we all cried. And Riese rolled out your monthly streaming guide!
Notes from the TV Team:
+ Y’all I’m not sure what I can say about Station 19 that hasn’t been said at this point. Maya and Carina asked Jack for his sperm and he said yes, so I guess we’re really doing this. No one watching along seems to want this (and no, that doesn’t excuse harassing actors) but nonetheless here we are. But aside from the unfortunate Marina baby plot, some of Station 19′s storytelling for its women characters has been sensational this year so I just want to give a shout out. Both Barrett Doss and Vic’s abortion story a few weeks ago, along with Jaina Lee Ortiz’s work with Andy’s self-defense from sexual assault last night, rivals some of the best in all of Shondaland. — Carmen
A Million Little Things 414: “School Ties”
Written by Natalie
Katherine Kim is as straight-laced as they come: she’s the dutiful daughter of immigrants who made perfect grades that vaulted herself into the perfect career. She never stirred up trouble or drew attention to herself. But the people that Katherine’s been attracted to, at least since we met her — Eddie the former rock star, Shanice the actress and Greta the tattoo artist — have been creative types, rebels, people who challenge conventions wherever they go. Deep down, Katherine’s always wanted to be like them — it’s why she kept them close — but she felt duty-bound to adhere to her mother’s exacting standards. In the wake of her divorce, though, Katherine is giving into the impulse to be the person she wants to be, rather than the person that she should be.
But the call to the “should be” remains: as Katherine’s getting ready for her high school reunion, her mother reminds her that Randy Kwan — the single dentist that she’s long tried to set Katherine up with — will be there. But Katherine refocuses the conversation on her renewed friendship with Greta which doesn’t sit well with her mother. She dismisses Greta as a troublemaker and takes issue with her work as a tattoo artist (prompting Katherine to pull her sleeve past the new tattoo on her wrist). We don’t get to see Greta’s encounter with Katherine’s mother but, safe to say, it was probably pretty tense.
“You know, I-I do plan to tell her about me. And us. I’m just…working up to it,” Katherine promises and Greta encourages her to take as much time as she needs.
The reunion turns out to be a reminder of all Katherine missed out on while trying to be perfect. The parties she missed. The practical jokes she wasn’t a part of. What’s worse? The realization that she didn’t need to miss out on that stuff…that she could’ve had fun and still grown up to have a great career. Before she leaves the reunion, Katherine’s determined to do one bad thing so she snatches the President’s Award plaque — an award that she worked hard to get in high school — off the wall. In the process, she smashes the glass to a nearby trophy case…so she gathers the plaque and makes a quick escape.
Katherine returns home and her mother spots the tattoo on her wrist. She wonders if Greta pressured her into getting it but Katherine insists that she wanted to do it. Another thing she wanted to do? Kiss Greta…so she does it…right there in front of her mother, who scurries away without a word.
Top Chef: Houston 1908: “Texas Trailblaze-Hers”
Written by Natalie
When Padma Lakshmi and Tom Colicchio became executive producers on Top Chef, the show changed. Sure, the show was always focused on food but it seemed like the production company relished bringing on one or two asshole chefs a season to give the Bravo audience the drama they were used to. But, as Padma and Tom have taken over, we’re seeing different kinds of chefs, different kinds of challenges and a renewed focus on the food. I mention all of this to say that this week’s episode has Padma’s fingerprints all over it.
Hosting a Top Chef competition in Texas — as the show also did in season nine — means so many thing: barbecue, beef, incorporating Mexican culture, etc. But in this moment, being in Texas also means witnessing the undoing of Roe and unrelenting attacks on trans people. Insomuch that a food competition can be about shining a light on those things, this episode does that.
“My goals, in being on Top Chef, have always been about visibility because living in Texas is hard,” Jo admits. “It’s hard to feel like your friends are being legislated against but my presence matters so much more here.”
Jo differently makes her presence felt in the quickfire challenge, where she teams with Evelyn to create a sweet and salty dish. Fresh off her Last Chance Kitchen win, Ashleigh rejoins the chefs and partners with Nick for the challenge. The catch? This isn’t a savory challenge. The chefs have to use their sweet and salty ingredients to create a dessert. Everyone’s desserts delight but both queer cheftestants find themselves in the top three and Ashleigh and Nick pull out the victory. The win earns them $5k each and immunity for the next elimination challenge. Immunity, it turns out that Ashleigh very desperately needed.
For the elimination challenge, each chef will draw knifes to select the name of a female Texas legend. Afterwards, they’ll be provided a dossier with information about the icon and have to come up with a dish inspired by them. The Trailblaze-hers? Aviator Bessie Coleman, Congresswoman Barbara Jordan, Texas Governor Ann Richards, Queen of Tejano music Selena, and Olympian and golf legend Babe Didrikson Zaharias. And the cheftestants face an impressive slate of judges, including Selena’s sister, Suzette Quintanilla, Ann Richards’ daughter (and former Planned Parenthood president) Cecile Richards and Texas Tech/Houston Comets legend Sheryl Swoopes. It’s amazing array of Texas talent.
The chefs who got the challenge…who were really able to draw a line from their icon to their dish did well…those who weren’t able to craft that narrative didn’t…and Ashleigh ends up in the bottom three again. Thankfully, she’s not at risk of going home this week but the disappointing finish clearly demoralizes and I worry if she’ll be able to shake it off by next week.
Charmed 404: “Ripples”
Written by Valerie Anne
This week on Charmed, Kaela is put to the test when Mel takes Maggie to a spa to get her out of her head since she’s really going through it, as evidenced by her beating the crap out of a regular human asshole and landing herself in jail. This leaves Kaela to ‘mind the store,’ as it were, and chaos ensues. Eventually the trio works together to stop the Tallyman’s chaos (if someone doesn’t ask this baddie to tally them bananas I’m going to be furious) and Kaela thinks she did a bad job. She offers to sit out the witchy business for a while but the sisters reassure her that chaos is kind of their brand and she fits right in, actually. After hearing some whispers at the magical bar questioning her lineage, she realizes that she wants to look into her bio family, not because she wants a relationship with them or even particularly cares, as much as because she’s curious about where her powers come from in hopes that learning more about them will help her learn to control them. On the other hand, I’M interested in her biological family to know if she’s actually related to the Veras or if I can go ahead and ship two of the Charmed Ones. (I am trash!)
Also, this is neither here nor there, but did this episode feel…messy to anyone else? Not the writing or the acting, just the like…technical bits. The rubber ducky in the fountain, some moments of ADR? I don’t tend to notice things like this (I’m a huge fan of low-fi VFX) but something about this episode felt unfinished to me, like a screener I might get, even though I was watching it on my YouTube TV. Just curious if it was just me!
Legacies 413 & 414: “Was This the Monster You Saw?” & “The Only Way Out Is Through”
Written by Valerie Anne
Okay I have two weeks’ worth of Legacies to catch up on so let’s jump right into it. Last week, Ben and Jed get their flirt on while Hope arrives at the school to…”help.” Sort of.
And while Hope and the Squad fight a clown monster at the school, Lizzie and Aurora are therapizing each other on their quest to find the gods and get them to save their loved ones, even going so far to join in a blood pact so they don’t betray each other, since one has trust issues and the other has codependency issues.
The clown monster makes everyone relive the worst thing they’ve ever done, and Hope’s is somehow killing Landon and not what she did to her mother, but the important thing that comes of this is that her humanity personifies itself and starts to fight to return to her.
Lizzie and Aurora eventually find Vulcan, who tells them about how she imprisoned her family in the sarcophagi and put the key in Ben’s tummy, so the duo heads back to Salvatore School.
Meanwhile, Hope and the Squad are at the school with special guest star Wesley Wyndam Pryce testing their battle stats in a game that’s like a combination of D&D and Wizard’s Chess; their first playthrough, for example, teaching Hope that she has to keep Lizzie alive if she wants to win this.
After countless runthroughs and countless sacrifices all resulting in her losing the battle, Hope realizes there’s one factor she didn’t consider: what would happen if she did this fight with her humanity on? And of course, that’s what does it; her friends would choose to fight by her side if they’re not being offered up as cannon fodder, and listening to Humanity Hope is the first time the simulation shows that they can win this fight against the gods.
But Hope isn’t ready to give up this freedom from guilt and pain, so she lashes out and forces the Squad to knock her out.
Next week is the season finale, and also a family reunion. And I, for one, can’t wait.