Boo! It’s October! This week, Riese published the monthly gay streaming guide for the month. Heather reminded you about how Serena Williams turned that DIRECTV woman gay. Valerie Anne recapped the most recent episode of Supergirl. Heather reviewed Amazon’s new gay ballet drama, Birds of Paradise. And Drew and Analyssa podcasted The L Word: Generation Q.
Here’s what else!
Notes from the TV Team:
+ On NCIS: Hawai’i, tension remains high between Lucy and Kate after last week’s encounter. Kate insists that they can’t do “this” again — whatever “this” is (give me a flashback episode, CBS!) — and need to forget about what happened. Lucy begrudingly agrees. Later, though, after solving a harrowing string of robberies, Kate tries to invite herself to the team’s celebration but Lucy nixes that idea: going to a bar together isn’t consistent with keeping their relationship strictly professional. Lucy confesses that she feels sorry for Kate because she’s amazing and Kate is truly missing out. Lucy turns and walks out, leaving a stunned Kate with her mouth agape. — Natalie
+ Okay we finally made some progress on finding Jess on In the Dark. I still don’t care about the goings-on of this show but I’m invested in this little lesbian’s fate now. The episode ended on Murphy finding Jess working at a pet store, seemingly unaware of the lengths Murphy has gone to find her. — Valerie Anne
Station 19 501: “Phoenix from the Flame” and Grey’s Anatomy 1801: “Here Comes the Sun”
Written by Carmen
Station 19 is making a leap this season into a (we can pretend is not-so-distant) future where the Covid-19 pandemic is officially over and people are celebrating with actual fireworks in the sky. Maya and Carina hold each other as the rest of the crew of Station 19 watch the fireworks from the firehouse rooftop. Carina whispers in Maya’s ear about the the triumph of humanity and my friends… that is pretty much her only appearance in the episode.
There is also a flashback to 10 months prior, the night of Maya and Carina’s wedding in last season’s finale.. After finding out that she had been suspended as Station 19’s captain, Maya, Carina, and Andy all storm the head fire boss’ (please don’t ask me to learn firefighter rankings) office. Maya argues that her being let go was sexist, plenty of male fire chiefs have performed worse examples of insubordination without being reprimanded. The Chief accuses of pulling the “sexism card” and Maya (who looks so fucking hot in her wedding dress that really, ahem, shows off those canons she calls arms) retorts, “I am not ‘crying sexism’ sir, I am shining a light on it in the hopes of creating real and lasting change.” I definitely hollered from my couch.
Unfortunately, the head fire boss guy threatens that if Maya doesn’t step down, he will dismantle the entire team (he sends Andy to Station 23, just to prove his point. And speaking of arms… did y’all see what Andy is working with in the Station 23 workout room later in the episode? My GOD). So Maya ends up stepping down, and 10 months later everyone still, very rightly, blames Sullivan for lighting the metaphorical match (I couldn’t help myself) that began this mess to begin with. Now they are being led by some new guy whose name I didn’t pay attention to, but I feel like it might be Mr. Potato Head? Just saying.
Anyway, firehouse Grandpa Warren tells Maya that until she forgives Sullivan, no one else will. And by the end of the episode, Maya has done just that. It’s still going to be a long way back for our 19 family, but we’ll get there.
In the Grey’s Anatomy portion of the two-hour Shondaland return, there’s very little gay things to report. But I wanted to say that I am exceptionally excited for what might have been the first episode of Grey’s to genuinely make me smile in over a year. There’s some back-and-forth in the fandom last night if Meredith’s “big reveal from her past” was worth it, but Scott Speedman was my favorite Meredith love interest post-Derek, so while I have no goodwill for Ellen Pompeo at the moment, I for one cannot wait.
But the real reason I’m including Grey’s in this recap is that Noted Bisexual Dr. Teddy Altman got married to Noted Worst Human Dr. Owen Hunt, and two lesbians literally crashed into their wedding on bicycles which is what we call sweet, sweet justice. Also 4-year-old Leo is really into wearing dresses and tutu’s at the moment. We love to see it!
Raising Kanan 110: “Paid in Full”
Written by Carmen
Jukebox ended the last episode talking with Detective Burke (hey I finally learned the lesbian cop’s name! And it’s the finale so just in time!) and warning her that the police were about to get caught in the street wars happening between Raq and Unique. Jukebox had promised her Aunt Raq that she’d never betray the family and this week we learn that, even in the midst of her own pain following the homophobic violent attack from her father, Juke kept her word. She pinned the entire thing on Unique.
Detective Howard was shot by Kanan (long story, not relevant) and Burke is on a rampage in Queens. She finds Jukebox walking alone, seemingly left on the street following her fight with Marvin, and pushes her up against a wall. She asks Jukebox how she had the information she gave them, especially since it turned out to be true, and even goes as far as to tell Jukebox she knows Raquel is a drug dealer so it’s time to cut the shit.
Hailey Kilgore’s comedic timing has never been sharper than when she stares that cop down, doesn’t blink, and responds, “Aunt Raq sells hair.”
The cop with Burke searches Jukebox’s book bag and finds men’s clothes. Her eyes go wide, pleading with Detective Burke. In a moment of 90s butch solidarity, Burke tells the cop to let it be — there’s nothing useful in the bag. When the cop next pulls out Nicole’s love letter to Jukebox, her given name Laverene decorated against a purple envelope with rhinestone hearts, Burke softens completely and lets Jukebox go.
The gag of course is that Jukebox’s clothes? The “men’s clothing” that prompted Burke to feel some need to protect the gay teen? They were Kanan’s. Jukebox wasn’t alone on the street because she had nowhere to go following her fight with her dad, she was on her way to Kanan’s hideout with instructions from her Aunt to bring him a change of clothes and cash. She played Burke completely, form top to bottom.
Juke has always been a real one.
Burden of Truth 409: “Standing by Peaceful Waters”
Written by Natalie
Last we checked in with Luna Spence, her life was starting to come together — she was killing it in law school, she found work that fed her passion and a cute girlfriend, Stevie, to boot — but, sometimes, the moment when you think everything is finally coming together is exactly when it falls apart. Her passion project is challenged by an offer from a prestigious law firm…one that would secure her future and her mother’s. Luna’s best friend, Taylor, pulls her into an investigation of a sex trafficking ring…and Luna grows so obsessed with the case that she prioritizes it over everything, including her girlfriend. But, perhaps most importantly this season, Luna sees her sister — the most influential person in Luna’s life — for the imperfect person she is…and it changes the nature of their relationship.
Heartbroken over her break-up, Luna rededicates herself to ensuring that Dee — one of the sex trafficking victims — gets some measure of justice. When she’s stuck, she finally relents and seeks out her sister’s help. They’re able to secure a settlement for Dee and working together reminds Luna of what Joanna is capable of…the good that Joanna is capable of…and she stands by her sister as Joanna goes before the disciplinary board. Despite their breakup, Stevie shows up too to offer her support and the couple finally get a moment to talk about their relationship. Luna confesses that, like her sister, she’s committed to doing whatever it takes to win; she doesn’t know any other way. Stevie understands Luna commitment to her work but if they’re planning a life together, she can’t come in second all the time. Luna promises to make Stevie a priority moving forward and the couple embrace.
Her case resolved and her relationships with Stevie and Joanna repaired, all that’s left is for Luna to make a decision about her career path. She asks Owen Beckbie, Millwood’s police chief and her almost stepfather, about what she should do. He urges her to consult her ancestors and when he discovers Luna doesn’t yet have a spirit name, he arranges a naming ceremony for her. Her name — which signifies her someone who brings together the past, present and future — clarifies Luna’s purpose and she ultimately takes the job at the prestigious law firm.
A lot has been written about expanding Native representation lately — that is, lest Hollywood pat itself on the back too much, about how TV went from no Native represent to not enough — but much of it omits Burden of Truth from the narrative. That’s unfortuate because, over four seasons, the Canadian import showcased indigenous stories in a way that few other television shows have and managed to give a queer indigenous woman a happy ending on top of it all.
New Amsterdam 402: “We’re In This Together”
Written by Natalie
Last week, after outing her relationship with Leyla to the other Emergency Department residents, Dr. Lauren Bloom tried to assuage concerns about favoritism by criticizing Leyla publicly. But Leyla’s reprieve from her colleagues’ scorn was short-lived, as she becomes the object of their disdain again this week. Leyla and Lauren arrive at the hospital together in a Lyft, happily boo’d up and oblivious to the world around them, including Leyla’s fellow residents who watch the couple’s arrival after stepping off the city bus.
Later, Leyla overhears her fellow residents — Roxana, Huxley and Pavan — mocking her as they get off the elevator. They swear their criticism isn’t personal but Leyla’s not sure how else to take it. Roxana warns Leyla to be careful of flaunting her privilege, an accusation that, rightly, stuns Leyla. She pushes back, informing her colleagues that just a few months ago, she was homeless and sleeping in her car. Roxana mockingly applauds her come up. Huxley notes that they’re forced to share one iPad between the three of them and have to study in shifts. Pavan admits that they share a studio in Morris Heights and have to wake up super early and take three buses to get to the hospital on time. Roxana clocks the fancy stethoscope around Leyla’s neck and contrasts it to the crappy one she’s wearing. Yes, Roxana notes, from where her fellow residents are sitting, she’s privileged.
Leyla tracks Lauren down in the ICU and tries to give her the iPad and the stethoscope back. She admits that Lauren’s given her access to wonderful things she’s never had before but it’s turned her into a different person. Lauren doesn’t understand Leyla’s objection: half the people in the hospital, including her, got to where they are because they had all the necessary tools. She rightly points out that, if the shoe was on the other foot, not a single one of the other residents would give up those resources. For most of her career, Leyla’s scraped by but now she has Lauren and all these fancy things and her success feels unearned. Before they can continue their conversation, Lauren’s called to her patient’s room…his heart rate’s slowing and she can’t figure out what’s wrong. She runs through his symptoms and — with no iPad and no stethoscope — Leyla diagnoses the patient with descending paralysis.
After work, Lauren pulls Leyla aside and tells her she won’t let allow Leyla to give up the things she needs to get ahead. Instead, Lauren volunteers to establish a level playing field between the residents: each will have the same access to the same resources. Hopefully then, Lauren hopes, Leyla will believe that she deserves all the wonderful things in her life. But with the secret of how Leyla got into the program still waiting to be uncovered…and Leyla clearly concerned about the role of money in their relationship…I think Lauren might be giving herself false hope.
Work in Progress 208: “FTP”
Written by Drew
Throughout the past two seasons, we’ve seen Abby at her best and worst. At her best, Abby is a sardonic boundary-pushing dyke who connects with people easily and is a great person to have on your side. At her worst, Abby is self-destructive and selfish and can make everyone else’s crises all about her.
Abby works better as an underdog. And that’s why I was so interested to see how the show handled this episode where Abby reckons with her whiteness in June 2020. I didn’t expect Abby to approach this reckoning with any semblance of humility. And she doesn’t.
A lot of the episode consists of Abby grappling with run-of-the-mill liberal white guilt. Vincent D’Onofrio comes back as Robert Goren in one of the episode’s many dream sequences and I wish we spent more time with Abby investigating why her comfort show and sexual fantasy is connected to the police. This is one of the few moments where Abby is critiquing her present self rather than her past or others and it felt rushed.
The most complicated and interesting moment is toward the end when Abby’s neighbor tells her that their mom died. Abby has spent the whole episode fixating on other people’s racism and making empty gestures, but when a Black person in her life needs support — after their mom has died due to the ways doctors so often don’t listen to Black women — Abby runs away. Abby knows it’s wrong to let her mental illness take over as she prioritizes pandemic safety. But calling herself a “selfish cunt” as she furiously washes her hands isn’t helping anyone.
This is an ambitious episode directed by Yance Ford and written by Samantha Irby and Lilly Wachowski. Work in Progress is a show that’s always been defined by imperfection, so even though not every moment worked for me, I respect the choice not to skip over this period of 2020. It’s a lesson fictional Abby could learn herself.
American Horror Story 1007: “Take Me to Your Leader”
Written by Drew
American Horror Story has an acting problem.
I’ve been trying to figure out why AHS: Red Tide worked so much better for me than the show’s spin-off. Was the writing really that much better despite being from most of the same writers? That seemed… doubtful. Especially when Red Tide was far from Shakespeare.
Well, we’re back with the second story in our double feature and Death Valley’s split first episode clarified for me when this show works — and when it doesn’t.
The first half takes place in the 50s and follows Dwight D. Eisenhower as his life of golf and being married to Sarah Paulson gets interrupted by some aliens and Amelia Earhart. It’s goofy but it’s also delightful. Probably because Paulson, Neal McDonagh as Ike, and Lily Rabe as Amelia are all talented actors.
But when we shift to the present day to a group of vapid twenty-somethings, the show falls flat. It’s not that the writers don’t know how twenty-somethings talk — it’s that they aren’t finding actors who can pull off the Ryan Murphy brand of camp.
Purposeful camp is actually really hard to perform. It’s not as easy as “just being bad.” And of our four new actors only Rachel Hilson is talented enough to sell the stylized lines. (Full disclosure: I went to college with her, but she’s clearly the most talented performer here.) Kaia Gerber is especially horrendous. Not every famous daughter is Billie Lourd. And not every boy Ryan Murphy wants to fuck is Evan Peters.
This kind of writing requires a Frances Conroy or an Angelica Ross. Murphy and his team need to stop casting young performers better suited for a third rate CW show.
Roswell, New Mexico 310: “Angels of the Silences”
Written by Valerie Anne
I feel like perhaps I have been under-representing this show by only talking about the queer lady stuff on this show, since it’s fairly minimal, but this is a very good, funny show that manages to tackle both the metaphorical alienation of literal aliens, and the literal alienation of metaphorical aliens. But yes, also gay. This week, for no reason other than to delight me, Anatsa taught Isobel some archery skills. They flirt and it’s cute, and later they dance some more, and also Anatsa is applying to jobs in Roswell, so hopefully this means she’s sticking around and we get to learn more about her besides that she’s a brilliant badass.