Hello, if you can no longer keep track of the days of the week, today is definitely Friday. Here’s some TV!
It was a very special episode of To L and Back — and not just because the episode covered The L Word’s true cinematic masterpiece, “Layup — but also because Riese and Carly interviewed TV Team member Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya about it. If you’ve ever heard Kayla talk about “Layup” (which she does whenever given the chance), then you understand this is a joy for us all. Heather had some very smart things to say about new FX on Hulu period piece chronicling the second-wave feminist movement, Mrs. America, and also promises that Cate Blanchett won’t make you attracted to Phyllis Schlafly (we’ll see about that). The entire TV Team got together to talk about One Day at a Time and how sad we are that the pandemic cut their episodes short, but at least we’ve had some solid laughs along the way. And then Valerie recapped Legends of Tomorrow’s triumphant return!
Notes from the TV Team:
+ I wrote about Little Fires Everywhere and it will go up on Tuesday. — Riese
+ Melissa King continues to dominate on Top Chef, winning her third overall elimination challenge with her (and Kevin’s) fish sauce caramel roasted cabbage. The news isn’t quite as promising for fellow queer cheftestant, Karen Akunowicz. She and her partner, Nini, were eliminated for their failure to bring out the umami in their dish. The pair went straight to “Last Chance Kitchen” where they went to head-to-head-to-head with reigning champion, Lisa Fernandes. Karen survived a double elimination and will get to rejoin the competition next week. — Natalie
+ Tanya Saracho’s always perfect Vida returns for its third and final season on Sunday and I can’t talk about anything else. VIDA ON SUNDAY!! VIDA ON SUNDAY!!! QUE VIVA VIDA!!— Carmen
S.W.A.T. 319: “Vice”
Written by Natalie
On her way home, Chris is nearly side-swiped by a yellow BMW. She flips on her lights, chases and makes an off-duty stop. As she approaches the car, the driver spills out, clearly drunk, and tries to offer Chris a bribe. Of course, she’s not having it and she hands him over to a patrol officer for arrest. But the next day when she goes to give her statement, the driver, Jacob Carter, is not in the system.
While her team works to find an escaped convict, Chris tracks down the officer from the night before. She accuses him of having taken the bribe but the officer insists he did everything by the book. Turns out, Carter is the son of the Deputy Mayor and he put the kibosh on the arrest. Later, she asks her commander for insight into the Deputy Mayor. She learns that he’s got deep roots in the city and, more importantly, he controls public safety in Los Angeles. Chris stands firm but with no evidence, Commander Hicks warns that Chris would “be fighting a battle that’s already over.”
Chris discovers that this is the third time that the Deputy Mayor’s interceded on behalf of his son and she worries that the next time he does it, he’ll hurt himself or someone else. Then we learn why Chris can’t just let this case go: Her mother drove drunk and ultimately killed herself and three others. Chris doesn’t want her crusade to blow back on the team. Hondo reminds her that they’re in the business of saving lives and encourages her to do the right thing.
When she gets to City Hall to meet with the DA, she’s met by an assistant to the Deputy Mayor. He uses the carrot first — offering her a nice promotion if she’ll reconsider her efforts — but when that doesn’t work, he tries the stick: threatening “a lot of misery” for Chris and her colleagues at S.W.A.T. Chris is undeterred, armed with her statement and the affidavit from the EMT who drew Jacob’s blood. The Deputy Mayor’s son will finally get the help he needs but the fight between City Hall, Chris and S.W.A.T. has just begun.
Tommy 110: “Packing Heat”
Written by Natalie
A few minutes into “Packing Heat,” Kiley Mills shows up at her girlfriend’s daughter’s door. It’s their first meeting and she wants to make a good impression but, as is usually the case on this show, work gets in the way. Jovani Perez, a local baseball prodigy, thwarted a robbery using an unlicensed firearm and, as Kiley comes in, Tommy’s fielding calls about getting Jovani sent to a diversionary program that’d allow him to avoid prison time. Kiley advocates on Jovani’s behalf because she, like every other sports agent in town, wants to see him get his shot in the Major Leagues. Even though their conversation is consumed by work, Kate recognizes how happy her mother looks.
That, my friends, is when I knew that shit was about to go sideways. Kate totally jinxed it.
After dinner, Tommy walks Kiley out when Kiley asks, again, about Jovani. As always, Tommy plays her cards close to the vest and doesn’t offer a definitive answer. But then Kiley pushes a bit more, asking for an introduction to Jovani… and if I weren’t certain they were breaking up before, I definitely am now. Tommy refuses and Kiley tries to defend her momentary lapse of judgment but the damage has been done. They kiss goodnight — while someone photographs the moment nearby — and this goodbye feels like it might be permanent.
The next day at work, Tommy advocates for Jovani’s admission into the diversionary program, over the objections of her Chief of Staff and the police union. The judge accepts the recommendation and Jovani’s released. And, of course, who’s sitting right behind Jovani’s family in the courtroom? Kiley Mills.
The optics go from bad to worse when Jovani’s mother tells Diaz that they’d seen the pictures of Kiley and the Chief together and, as a result, want to take a meeting with the sports agent. Tommy’s actions are criticized but Tommy is firm in her support of the diversionary program and is more angry that someone snapped the photos than the appearance of impropriety. Later, she meets with Kiley who assures Tommy that she didn’t name drop her to get the meeting but admits she won’t allow their relationship to stop her from doing her job. But just when you think it can’t get any worse, news breaks that Jovani’s been implicated in a murder in East LA.
Eventually, Jovani turns himself in, at Kiley’s urging. It leads to yet another clash between the two women, neither prepared to stand down for the other. Later, at an event with the Mayor, Tommy fends off questions from the press about Jovani and the conflicting statements from her office and Kiley. It’s a shitshow that eventually leads to Kiley and Tommy breaking up during a covert meeting in the parking garage.
Even after Jovani is vindicated, another hurdle awaits Tommy: The mayor announces an ethics inquiry into the Chief’s possible conflict of interest violations.
Roswell, New Mexico 206: “Sex and Candy”
Written by Valerie Anne
Roswell, New Mexico is all kinds of gay this season. This episode happened to be EXTRA gay, starting with the artist formerly known as the Beautiful Hobo flirting with another man by talking about their pets named after Buffy characters (Alex had a lizard named Willow and used that fact to confirm he was gay.) Later, after barely escaping an episode of Criminal Minds with their lives, Alex, Maria, and Michael are so relieved to be alive they have a threesome.
And potentially most excitingly, Isobel found herself at a gay bar because as we’ve established, she is bisexual, and after her last toxic relationship with a man she thought she’d swim in different waters. She finds Kyle there, but he’s not gay, he’s just taking up space in a gay bar because he didn’t feel like going to his usual bar and apparently just not being at a bar wasn’t an option. But when it’s clear Kyle’s not interested in Izzy, and the cute lady bartender shows more interest, she hooks up with her instead.
Later, when she’s talking to Max, she starts to excitedly recount her night, zero shame, just excitement, and a new t-shirt that says, “I got probed at Planet 7.” Unfortunately before we can get more details about the night’s events, Max has a flashback and we have to deal with that instead.
Hoping Isobel leans into this, and hey I think Cameron is single now. I’m not sure if she’s alive, but I’m pretty sure she’s single. Just an idea.
Siren 305: Mommy & Me
Written by Valerie Anne
Siren has been a little light on the reasons to be #HornyForMermaids this season, but this episode reassured me that Rin still sees things as a relationship. She says that Maddie and Ben are still love for her, even if they’re not dating each other. And Rin and Maddie kiss, which was was sweet and long overdue.
And frankly a relief, because I got nervous when she called Rin her friend when talking to the new guy she’s sort of almost dating. Then again, who can blame her, I feel like “I’m dating a mermaid who is also dating my ex-boyfriend and the three of us are raising a baby together” isn’t second date material. Third, maybe.
Also, Xander’s new basic training buddy confided in him about her cheating ex-girlfriend in this episode. I was excited to maybe have more of her around, but then she saw some men walk Rin’s baby into the ocean and disappear, and knowing nothing about mermaids, was rightly shook. I’m sure Ben will just kill her soon because she’s too close to knowing the truth, since that seems to be his jam lately.
Motherland: Fort Salem 106: “Up is Down”
Written by Valerie Anne
This week’s episode was a real heart-breaker, with Raelle being worried about Scylla and no one taking her concerns seriously. Scylla’s necro teacher tells Raelle that Scylla is dead, which sends her spiraling. At first it’s hard to tell if it’s denial or instinct, especially as she starts saying My Girl levels of tragic things like, “We were supposed to go to the beach.” But eventually we see that Raelle gets an S carved into her palm so she knows for sure Scylla is alive. She just doesn’t know where. Raelle, desperate to find her girlfriend, overdoses on Salve and flies to the beach. Tally quickly realizes her drugs are gone and so is their grieving sister, so she and Abigail rush to Raelle’s side, holding her while she cries.
What we learn is that Scylla is indeed alive, but she didn’t run. She’s being held by Anacostia and General Adler. This is going to break all three of our girls in three different ways. Abigail will have her whole worldview shattered; that maybe the people she admires aren’t good guys after all. Tally will feel guilty, because she’s the one who trust Anacostia with the fact that she saw Scylla talking to a balloon. And Raelle. Raelle is going to want to watch the world burn.
I’m really, really enjoying this show and that the queer relationship is the one at the forefront of the season so far. I love watching this trio become family. And I love that they continue to surprise me week after week.
In the Dark 201 & 202: “All About the Benjamin” & “Cross My Heart and Hope to Lie”
Written by Valerie Anne
I wasn’t sure if they were going to give Jess a new girlfriend after Vanessa left to go date a girl in Utopia Falls, but in episode two while they were interviewing people for Guiding Hope, a cute soft butch came in and Jess practically shorted out for the sight of her. (Murphy’s reaction was, “Do you love her? Are you married now?” which was hilarious and exactly how my friends and I tease each other.)
I also appreciated that in this episode, Murphy used the phrase “lez out” but didn’t mean kissing girls, she meant sharing feelings. Which made me giggle.
Vagrant Queen 104: “In a Sticky Pot”
Written by Valerie Anne
Amae continues to be the actual cutest little queer alien in the galaxy (the one that is decidedly not ours, in case you missed the memo.) She admitted last week that she doesn’t really do long term relationships because she “loves people” but she does seem to have eyes for Elida. And frankly it seems like Elida has eyes for her right back.
Elida is kindest when she’s talking to Amae, and Amae, who is usually vibrating pure energy, is most still when she’s looking at Elida. I’m not sure Amae could (or should) be in a monogamous relationship, but it does seem like these two might have to release some of their sexual tension soon — based on how it almost snapped the ship in two when their hand-touching was interrupted by Isaac.
Harley Quinn 204: “Thawing Hearts”
Written by Heather
Last week, Harley called up Catwoman to secure a little help for doing a heist, and Sanaa Lathan did some next level voice acting work, friends, flummoxing both me and Ivy — and I grew up on Eartha Kitt’s Catwoman; I am not easily flummoxed! While navigating the museum, she purred to Ivy about how she’s settling for Kite Man and sure okay play it safe but that’s not the Ivy she knows. Ivy realized Catwoman was right but she got engaged to Kite Man anyway, because he’s a nice guy, which is a complete 180 from the Joker.
This week, Ivy and Kite Man are wedding venue shopping while Harley and the gang blast a vagina-shaped hole — “Listen, Georgia O’Keeffe, if you hadn’t made it so accurate we’d still have some fuel left in that incredibly powerful gun” — in Mr. Freeze’s lair, as she continues her season-long plan to take out all of Gotham’s baddies, one-by-one. Unfortunately they get trapped, unfreeze Mr. Freeze’s dying wife, and Harley is forced to call Ivy to come do some scientist stuff to try to find a cure. The whole time she’s doing her hijinks, Harley’s talking about how she’s not going to bring a date to Ivy’s wedding ’cause once the vows are over, Harley’s going to drop Kite Man and spend the whole time with her at the reception anyway, being BEST FRIENDS, which is how I imagined all my friends’ weddings going when I was in the tenth grade. It would seem like wishful thinking if Ivy didn’t completely abandon Kite Man at the venue to go help Ivy out of her scrape.
Ivy finds a cure, but to save Mrs. Freeze, Mr. Freeze will have to sacrifice his own life. He does it. Harley is bamboozled, bewildered, bemused! She says she gets it now, that when you love someone, you do not act like a literal psychopath, you do selfless things so they can be happy.
This wedding, it ain’t happenin’!
Brooklyn Nine-Nine 713: “Lights Out”
Written by Heather
On the season finale of Brooklyn Nine-Nine, the city faces a blackout! And of course, Amy goes right into labor! Jake and Charles don’t know that when they zip out into the night to try to figure out what’s going on with Brooklyn’s power (with the help of Charles’ arch-nemesis, Lieutenant Peanut Butter, the horse). Nothing goes according to plan. There’s a cranky old woman who needs help getting back to her apartment, the guy who ran his car into the light pole that caused the blackout is actually part of a team of bank robbers, a bachelorette party on one of those pedal bars ends with a broken ankle. The whole time that’s happening, Amy insists it’s fine fine everything’s fine, she’s hardly in labor at all. Rosa’s very worried about Amy and also worried about their friendship, because Jake keeps saying things like “mucous plug” when they’re on the phone and Rosa picks up a baby-birthing book off his desk and there are some pictures that really freak her out. Once she sees what’s on page 53, she and Amy they will never be the same again.
Amy goes into full-blown labor and is forced to have the baby in the office, despite the fact that it means a firefighter will have to touch her and her newborn child. Rosa rises to the occasion, assisting the fireman, and even managing to do it with her eyes open. That’s really her only option after he plan for distracting Amy from her pain — “So, what’s new with binders?” — doesn’t work. Holt and Terry do a choreographed dance to keep Amy’s mind off her pain, Jake rides to her side on the back of Lieutenant Peanut Butter, and I cried! I don’t mind telling it to you! It was very sweet and I cried!
After the baby is born, Charles, who has been petitioning for some truly bananas nicknames all day, is incensed when he finds out Rosa gets to be called “Ro Ro.”
I can’t believe we’re losing Brooklyn Nine-Nine and One Day at a Time, back-to-back, in the middle of a pandemic! What am I going to laugh about now!