TGIF!! Let’s see what happened this week in Autostraddle TV Coverage! First up (and this is A Very BIG Deal) the TV Team revamped our queerest shows to watch on Netflix list! It’s up to 82 shows now, can believe it? And just in time for all your cozy fall binging needs. Natalie broke down a truly exceptional episode of All American. Alex and Kelly are cute as ever on Supergirl and Valerie has all the details. Molly brought a glorious level of nerd energy to explaining all the gem choices behind Steven Universe in deep dive detail. Toni and Cheryl got to kiss on camera this week on Riverdale and Kayla’s ready to meditate on what the show means for queer loneliness.
Riese and Carly dropped a new episode of To L and Back and then just to really outdo herself, Riese also made a The L Word/ Succession mashup video that’s going to leave you screaming. Last but not least, Valerie’s really loving Orphan Black: The Next Chapter and having Tatiana Maslany’s voice in her ears!
Notes from the TV Team:
+ Impulse Season 2 dropped this week! I will be reporting back as soon as I finish my binge, but I’m loving what I’ve seen so far. Spoiler alert: it’s gayer than the first season already. — Valerie Anne
+ Santo Padre Mayor Antonia Pena returned to Mayans M.C. this week (“Tohil”) to deal with the fallout from a City Hall scandal. Pena suspects that the cartel is behind the suicide of a city clerk and starts to move more cautiously as a result. When she comes home, she kisses her wife, embraces her son and peers outside to see if she was followed. — Natalie
+ In addition to seeing Chris Alonso be the hero again on this week’s episode of S.W.A.T. (“Funny Money”), we also found out that she’s still involved with Kira and Ty. While Chris claims to be content, it doesn’t seem like all is well in throupledom, as she is remiss to make a romantic connection between Street and the boss’ daughter. — Natalie
+ Good news from OWN: Our favorite summer soapy guilty pleasure, Ambitions, returns with new episodes on November 12. — Natalie
+ Maybe you’ve already heard the good news, but word is hot on the Twitter streets that next week Grace Choi will make her long awaited return to Black Lightning! Depending on what happens with that, I’ll either write you a stand alone review or include it in next week’s Boobs on Your Tube! Either way, we have you covered. — Carmen
Nancy Drew 102: “The Secret of the Old Morgue”
Written by Valerie Anne
I knew it wouldn’t be long before we saw the CW-mandated queers on Nancy Drew, but I didn’t know they would reveal themselves THIS soon! And, much to my delight, we already met one of the queer characters, and it’s one of the core four: Bess. Who happens to be played by Maddison Jaizani, the same actress who played Odessa, one of the queer women on Into the Badlands.
We meet the second queer women, and the impetus for us finding out Bess is queer, when Nancy Drew breaks into a morgue and Ace and Bess act as a distraction to keep Lisbeth, the coroner out of the way until Nancy has what she needs. At first Lisbeth is just a go-getter who knows how to fix cards lickety split, but soon she all but pushes Ace aside to have an excuse to put her hand on top of Bess’s.
After this obvious flirtation, Ace, who he had previously not been shy about fawning over, asks Bess what’s up, and she admits she hasn’t really been into dating anyone – boys OR girls – lately. Ace says either way, he will be there for her, even if it’s platonically. It’s actually very sweet.
Later, she almost texts Lisbeth to ask her to hang out, but then she remembers that she’s lying about being a little rich girl and is actually living out of a van, so the text goes unsent. But something tells me, with this rascally bunch, it won’t be long until they have another run-in with the coroner.
PS. The names Bess and Lisbeth are both technically, historically, derived from Elizabeth, which is neither here nor there, but, they were to date, would up the gay factor by at least double.
Almost Family 103: “Notorious AF”
Written by Valerie Anne
(I get it now, the AF episode titles. I thought it was just Roxy-style slang when it was just the second episode but now that it’s all of them… I get it.)
This week on Almost Family, Edie is still trying to resist her feelings for Amanda, though Amanda’s patient smirking is hard to deny. Julia confronts Edie about what she saw last week, and Edie insists that no matter what she’s feeling, being with Amanda would cause too many complications in her marriage and at her job. (Side note: Despite the open conversation about sexuality being a spectrum in the last episode, everyone seems to have forgotten about that this episode, and I guess none of them have heard the term “bisexual” before. I’m hoping that improves as Edie starts to get out of her own head about her feelings.)
At the end of the episode, Edie finds Amanda to break it off, and Amanda seems, as she has all episode, willing to follow Edie’s lead on this… but almost before Edie can finish saying they’re done, Edie is shoving Amanda up against her bedroom wall and they’re tumbling into bed together.
So I have a feeling Edie is going to have to try something new besides ignoring her feelings in order to sort all this out.
9-1-1 304: “Triggers”
Written by Natalie
After dealing with the fallout from a Los Angeles tsunami over the last few episodes, 9-1-1 settles back into regular form this week, starting with a relaxing get together between Athena, Hen and Karen. As they sip coffee, Karen shares her schedule for IVF treatments and egg retrieval and both she and Hen look excited about the prospect of welcoming a new child into their lives. But when Denny interrupts their conversation with a fight with Athena’s son — one that Athena settles immediately with one stern rebuke — Hen starts to wonder how her son will handle becoming a big brother. Athena admits that having more than one child brings its share of headaches but assures Karen and Hen that they’ll adjust….and that Denny will love being a big brother, eventually.
At work, Hen joins calls that both allay and exacerbate her concerns about Denny getting a new sibling. First, there’s a mother and her two sons who need rescuing after the road collapses beneath their SUV. As the vehicle dangles precariously off a cliff, Chimney and Lena (guest star, Ronda Rousey) repel down and find the boys relatively unscathed, but terrified, and the mother unconscious. The elder son, Camden, tells the rescuers to save his brother and mom first, saying his brother is too young not to have a mom. Thankfully, Lena and Chim are able to save them all. Hen rouses the mother from her unconsciousness and explains what happened. She asks about her kids and Hen assures her that they are taking care of each other. Score one for Team Siblings!
But during a later call, Team Only Child strikes back! Two squabbling sisters are arguing over their mother’s estate. At the root of their disagreement: a ring left to the “screw-up” sister, instead of the responsible one. But, over a pitcher of freshly made margaritas, the sisters seemingly come to a truce, as the sister promises never to let anything happen to the prized family heirloom. Later, though, with the “screw-up” sister passed out on a lounger, the responsible one can’t resist trying the ring on…and is forced to call 911 when she can’t get it off. Turns out, she has a margarita burn and it’s caused her hands to swell and blister. The ring’s restricting blood flow in her ring finger and it needs to be cut off before she loses the finger. The screw-up sister refuses consent to destroy her property — she’s already sold the ring — but the Station 118 crew dismiss her concerns and cut the ring off. Once she’s done, Hen splits the ring in two and hands one part to each sister. Sharing is caring, Hen reminds them.
At home, Karen asks Hen if she’s certain about having another baby. Hen confesses that, as a child, she was often lonely and she doesn’t want that future for Denny. Hen promises Karen that she’s ready if her wife is.
Why Women Kill 110: “Kill Me as if It Were the Last Time”
Written by Natalie
Why Women Kill is the story of three women who live in the same house, decades apart. Through nine episodes, those stories have existed wholly independent of each other — aside from the commonality of this house — and each has been entertaining in its own right, but this week, those stories came together like a sweet symphony. As promised, someone had to die but the who and how are a mystery until each of the stories reach their crescendo in unison. It a sight to behold, truly, and made for one of my favorite episodes of television this fall.
But how’d we get there?
After being discharged from the hospital, Eli and Taylor start to plot a new future for themselves. Eli wants to sell the house — a house he convinced Taylor to buy at the start of his addiction — and start over elsewhere and Taylor wants to close their open marriage and shift the focus back to them. In a surprising display of thoughtfulness, Eli resists: he knows how important her sexuality is and doesn’t want her to give up that part of herself. While Taylor acknowledges that her sexuality is important, she reaffirms that her love story is with Eli and she chooses him.
When the couple gets home, Teacup the dog is there and Eli and Taylor know Jade can’t be far away. In fact, she’s in the kitchen, cooking as though nothing ever happened. Eli tries to placate Jade — there’s a knife nearby, after all — but Taylor is completely unafraid and undeterred by Jade’s tears. Taylor calls Jade on her bullshit and tells her to leave but Jade wants $10k first. Taylor refuses and, instead, decides to call the cops. Before Taylor can even make the call, Jade “escapes” out the back door. When the cops arrive, they aren’t there to investigate Jade’s break-in, they’re investigating the murder of Duke Riley.
After hearing the whole story, the cops recommend that Taylor and Eli find somewhere else to stay until Jade is located and they rush to pack a bag and get away. But when Eli goes looking for his laptop, Jade steps out of the closet, kisses him and jabs the knife into his gut. She rushes upstairs to try and do the same with Taylor but a fight ensues that, ultimately, leaves Jade dead on the stairs. Why do women kill? Because someone tried to kill them first, apparently.
Why Women Kill has been renewed for a second season but this is the last we’ll see of Jade (RIP), Taylor and Eli, though. Ultimately, the couple does move out of the Pasadena mansion and back to their comfortable condo (with Teacup!) to begin their lives anew.
American Horror Story 905: “Red Dawn”
Written by Drew
There’s a reason many of the best horror movies stick to a 90 minute runtime. The horror genre is difficult to sustain for two hours. Let alone ten episodes. There are only so many ways you can heighten the drama, only so many ways to twist the plot, before the scares wear thin.
Part of American Horror Story’s charm is its total disregard for any of this. It’s like the scary movie version of post-modern comedy that tells the same joke so many times it stops being funny, only to become funny once more.
This episode was especially chaotic. We begin with a flashback to 1980. Donna discovers that her father is a serial killer. This is the reason for her studies. She wants to prove that nobody is all bad, that her father wasn’t all bad.
But Margaret is making a case for the contrary. She’s quickly become the scariest villain on a show where just about everyone is villainous. There’s something about her weaponization of white womanhood and her random murderous rage that makes her scarier than some of the more conventional monsters. She kills two more of the boys, gleefully keeping their ears.
Meanwhile, Montana finally attacks Brooke. Brooke fights back, stabbing her repeatedly just as the sun comes up and a bus full of children arrives.
Brooke is arrested. And Montana returns, along with Ray who died a few episodes ago and the dead hiker. Montana shoots a cop with a laugh. “Lighten up!” she says to the boys. “You’re doing this purgatory thing all wrong!”
There were moments where this episode grew tiresome. But by the end I had to take Montana’s advice and lighten up. We’re not watching American Horror Story for the logic or the story. We’re watching for the thrills.
How to Get Away With Murder 604: “I Hate the World”
Written by Natalie
Last week, before Gabriel’s mother departed Philadelphia for good, she left her son a gift: dozens of tapes from his father’s therapy sessions with “A. Harkness,” who we know today as Annalise Keating. Gabriel listens to them, of course, in part to get a better understanding of who his father was but also to get dirt on Annalise…because, surely, whatever she’s has done is worse than this awful breach of privacy that he’s doing…or, at least that’s how I imagine he rationalizes it to himself. But as creepy as it feels to listen to the tapes, they do offer us a window into Annalise’s thinking, circa 1994, when she was coming to grips with her relationship with Eve.
AK: Maybe I’ve just been using Eve as some kind of an escape.
Sam: An escape from what?
AK: Me. Hating myself.
Sam: You don’t hate yourself around Eve?
AK: No. I like myself more when I’m with her.
Sam: What’s the problem with liking yourself?
AK: Liking myself isn’t the problem. It’s how I got there.
Sam: You mean falling in love with Eve?
AK: Falling in love with a woman.
So much of what Annalise says on those tapes is teeming with internalized homophobia and biphobia. She never denies loving Eve but wonders if it’s genuine all the while. What will her father think? Did she fall in love with a woman because, after her uncle and the abuse, she just didn’t want to be with a man? Is she really in love or is she just taking respite in the first safe place she’s found since her trauma? Do you have to choose between feeling good and feeling safe? And while a part of me — the small part that Pete Nowalk didn’t deaden last season — instinctively listened to the tapes, hoping to find a path back to endgame for Annalise and Eve, what I found instead as proof, perhaps, that my hopes of an Annalise-Tegan hook-up aren’t dead yet.
This week, Annalise and Tegan team up with outside counsel, Robert Hsieh, to defend a Tinder-like app that’s discriminating against its users. The disabled plaintiff wants the app to change its algorithm or face a lawsuit under Title II of the Civil Rights Act. The case itself isn’t that compelling — once the plaintiff is revealed to be an incel and the would-be defendant is revealed to be someone about to license her discriminatory algorithm to the government for its use, it becomes hard to cheer for anyone — but what is compelling is what we learn about the lawyers. We see that, though Annalise and Tegan are equally committed to justice, they have different perspectives on the best way to achieve that goal. Annalise wants immediate change — she wants the system to yield here and now — while Tegan favors trying to slowly amass the power necessary to create wide-reaching systemic change.
The other thing we learn? Tegan remains very, very interested in Annalise. Every time Robert flirts with Annalise, the look of jealousy that flashes on Tegan’s face is unmistakable. When she mentions it to Annalise, she brushes it off Robert’s interest — he probably works for the FBI, she says — and when Tegan probes why Annalise thinks no one can actually find her attractive, AK chalks Tegan’s interest up to her wife’s recent re-emergence. But, eventually, Annalise gives in to one person’s interest: she acknowledges Robert’s flirting and goes on a date with him. How is it possible that Annalise is choosing this guy over Tegan? Who chooses this Star Trek lovin’ stranger — who could be the Feds — over a tested and true ride-or-die like Tegan? She’s right there, she’s so clearly interested….what are you even doing Annalise?!
But then I remember last week: “I feel safe with you. Too safe, clearly,” Annalise told Tegan and this week, the tapes confirm, she’s been running away from that feeling of safety since, at least, 1994.