Hello! And happy Annalise Keating day to us all! The most important queer black woman character in television history (yeah, we said what we said — and we stand by it!) took her final bow last night. Natalie has all the details for you below, but first you should ABSOLUTELY read her love letter to the show and character that reflected back so much of herself — even the parts she tried not to see. Heather promises that Batwoman’s dyke drama somehow intensifies even more in the Season One penultimate episode. Legends of Tomorrow is here to make your sorority girl dreams come true. Alex and Kelly ran into some work problems on Supergirl, but you know those crazy kids always work it out somehow. Over on To L and Back, Riese and Carly talk Bette, Jodi, and sign language in the mothership series’ fourth season.
The Autostraddle TV Team is starting a new series that we’re delighted about, called “My Top 10” where we will will be telling you about the TV shows nearest and dearest to our hearts. Our Editor-in-Chief Riese Bernard kicked us off with an ode to her favorites.
Notes from the TV Team:
+ Y’all have you watched Dead to Me? You should watch Dead to Me. Need more convincing? I’ll do it in two words: Natalie Morales. — Valerie Anne
+ Rachel Skarsten and her Lost Girl costars are organizing their second virtual convention, HomeCon, and it’s happening this weekend. Panels related to your interests include but are not limited to Orphan Black, Wynonna Earp, Wentworth and more! Panels are super cheap to access, and it’s a very cool way to keep the nerd vibes going strong during this strange time. Plus there are still a bunch of 1:1 virtual chats available for purchase. And a lot of the money is going to the charity First Responders First. — Valerie Anne
+ With Hen’s eyes set on the new goal of going to medical school, everyone joins in to help: Karen and Denny handling the MCAT practices at home, while her teammates at Station 118 quiz her between emergencies. The one person who’s not sold on the idea, though? Chimney, who can’t stand the idea of losing her as a partner. But after she pulls off an amazing save in the field, Chim comes around. So, we’re off to med school… eventually? 9-1-1 showrunner Tim Minear told TV Insider that he “doesn’t see the show without Aisha Hinds,” which is good because neither do I. — Natalie
+ Forced to prepare two dishes for a breakfast buffet, the Top Chef fortunes of our queer cheftestants was split this week: Karen finished in the top three and Melissa finishing in the bottom. Melissa’s lackluster romaine salad drew the judges’ scorn (rightfully so) and she likely would’ve been sent home but for her ham congee and the unintentional steaming of Le Anne Wong’s clafoutis. Both chefs live to cook another day. — Natalie
Harley Quinn 207: “There’s No Place to Go But Down”
Written by Heather
This week, Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy finally kissed on-screen! What’s funny is it shocked them as much as it shocked me!
It all starts with a sham murder trial during which Two Face tries to prosecute Harley for biting off Penguin’s nose and killing him. The jury’s all Two Face goons and the judge is Bane and the defense attorney is a shrieking bat (like an actual bat, not Batman). The trial doesn’t last very long, though, because even though Harley pleads with Ivy not to incriminate herself, to just let Harley take the fall, Ivy loses her temper on the stand and they both get shipped off to a prison housed in a canyon and run by Bane. And actually, Bane’s doing some pretty solid reform work in his cave. Killer Croc’s even working out some of his murderous propensities through art.
Ivy and Harley hatch an escape plan that involves invoking a riot during an open-mic night and getting away in the helicopter, but Harley gets thrown into isolation before the talent show because she refuses to make up her bed. Ivy tries to provoke the other prisoners by insulting them, which doesn’t work, so she just breaks down about how her life’s always one kind of a pit or another. And that resonates! The prisoners go berserk!
During their escape, Ivy has to choose between saving just herself or dying with Harley. Harley tells her to go! She wants her to live! And so it seems like that’s exactly what Ivy does. Once Harley sees that her best friend is safe, she shifts in mid-air and swan dives with contentment toward the flames. But no! Ivy did not leave her! She just needed another plant for support, and when she gets it, she swoops down and pulls Harley to safety. Once they’re outside the canyon, they hug and laugh — and kiss right on the lips. And then they break apart and stare at each other in shock.
Motherland: Fort Salem 109: “Coup”
Written by Valerie Anne
The penultimate episode of Motherland was yet another heart-breaker, with the illusion of safety from the organization they thought would protect them starts to shatter at the feet of our favorite witches. Even Anacostia is starting to realize Fort Salem leadership is going in a direction that opposes her personal beliefs. Her first act of bucking the system is bringing Raelle to see Scylla one last time before Scylla is shipped off to a prison.
This time, things didn’t go quite as well. Raelle knows Scylla lied to her, knows she was a mark. Thinks it’s because she’s weak, broken. Scylla looks at her like she’s speaking a different language. Is she KIDDING? She’s so, so powerful. Scylla tries to pull the 90s teen romcom movie, saying Raelle STARTED as just being a mark but her feelings for her are real. Raelle can’t hear it though, not over the sound of her heart breaking. So she storms out, leaving Anacostia wondering if she made the right choice. Anacostia still thinks there’s more to Scylla, there’s a reason she joined the Spree, there’s a reason she never hurt Raelle, but she’s being blocked by her higher-ups and isn’t being allowed to try to rehabilitate her. Next week is the last episode, and I really hope Anacostia busts her out to join the Bellweather squad in stopping the corruption. I still have hope for that tiny traitor.
In the Dark 205: “The Unusual Suspects”
Written by Valerie Anne
For the record, I totally knew this whole Sterling situation was too good to be true. My suspicions came to a head when Sterling was being so quietly supportive while Jess was spiraling, gently asking questions but not pressing in a way most people probably would if their partner said they “couldn’t tell” what was bothering them.
Sterling promises her she’s “not going anywhere” and my suspicions were confirmed when she leaves Jess’s place and heads right into the arms of Sam, Nia’s right-hand woman. I will say, while I don’t want Jess to get hurt again, I do appreciate that they didn’t have someone pretending to be queer to woo her. The queerness is real… it’s just everything else that’s a lie. I can work with that!
Vagrant Queen 107: “Sunshine Express Yourself”
Written by Valerie Anne
This week, with the help of the best wingman in the multiverse Isaac, Amae meets a cute new girl on the train to sit next to and flirt with. And let me tell you, as someone who has spent countless hours on busses back and forth between Boston and New York in my life, this is something that I have FANTASIZED about.
But after some solid flirting, the new girl goes in for a kiss, and Amae pulls back, surprising even herself. She realizes in that moment that she doesn’t want to kiss this woman, she doesn’t want to kiss just anyone anymore. She just wants Elida. There’s a little mayhem between when she sets off to get the girl and when the team is reunited, but here’s hoping Elida lets herself admit her feelings too before the season is through.
Betty 102: “Zen and the Art of Skateboarding”
Written by Drew
I watch a lot of TV, but there are few shows I actively look forward to week to week. After just two episodes, I can already tell Betty is going to be one of those shows.
The episode begins with Honeybear dressed in a conservative sweater/button-up combo. She tosses her board out the window and goes into the kitchen to bicker with her dad and grandma. Her cute backpack with trans flag color straps is the only clue that later she’ll be skating around with her button-up completely open.
Kirt continues to be a dykey delight as she indoctrinates Indigo into the skater world and tells a story about a girl who gave her a bracelet in Utah. “She was mad different, yo. After she gave it to me, she jumped into the hot tub at the gym with all her clothes on.” Midway through Janay starts repeating the story alongside her. Kirt’s told this one before.
Honeybear’s camera lingers on a new girl named Ash and Kirt springs into action. She runs over to her and after a brief chat yells back, “Yo Honeybear! This is Ash. Good news. She is gay.” Honeybear runs away.
Late at night, under the stars, high and free from any signs of cis male life, Kirt, Honeybear, and Indigo break into the skate park. They feel a freedom so often deprived by judgmental eyes. They lie down on the ground and look up at the sky.
Honeybear has a confession. She likes Ash. Kirt just needs to chill.
The Baker and the Beauty 105: “Honeymoon’s Over”
Written by Natalie
It’s been a week since the Garcias’ family dinner with Noa Hamilton and things between Natalie and her mother, Mari, are still frosty. Natalie’s father, Rafael, pushes his wife to make amends but Mari’s worried that she’ll say the wrong thing. Rafael acknowledges that she probably will say the wrong thing but then she’ll say exactly what Natalie needs to hear. The conversation spurns Mari to invite Natalie out for a mother-daughter shopping trip which Natalie reluctantly (and nervously) accepts.
Determined to give Natalie a quinceañera that is as special as hers was, Mari takes Natalie out to search for a dress. The two have completely different styles but eventually find the dress that appeals to them both. After trying on the dress, Mari takes it to the counter to pay and the shop owner is elated to see another family keeping tradition alive. She’s aghast at another customer — a baby gay — came in, looking for a quinces suit. Natalie’s stunned at the blatant display of homophobia and is about to let the shop owner have it when her mother interjects. She blasts the shop owner for her bigotry and refuses to spend her money there.
It feels like the thing that will finally thaw the chill between mother and daughter — Natalie’s so grateful for her mother’s defense of her — but it isn’t. The shop owner’s homophobia just reminds Mari of the challenges Natalie’s going to face and that she won’t always be around to protect her. Mari asks Natalie if this is really what she wants and Natalie scoffs: “wanting has nothing to do with it.” Heartbroken, Natalie retreats to her room and calls Daniel who, of course, doesn’t answer because he’s wrapped up in his celebrity girlfriend. Thankfully though, Mateo shows up to listen to his sister’s lament.
“For a minute, I thought we were past it,” Natalie admits. “Then she started telling me how terrible my life was gonna be. The worst part is I know she believes that.”
But Mateo encourages her to give Mari some more time: if their dad can learn to accept him doing his music, their mother will eventually come around too. That’s not at all the same thing but Natalie appreciates the effort and rests her head against her big brother.
Station 19 316: “Louder Than A Bomb”
Written by Carmen
Well, Maya and Carina broke up. That’s the first thing. And Maya’s getting plenty of drunk about it at a Station 19 team party on Dean’s houseboat (wearing a supremely gay beanie cap). That’s the second thing. The THIRD thing is that the next day, just as the hungover firefighters haul ass to put out a 5 Alarm fire at Pac-North (awww, remember Grey’s Anatomy? The coronavirus has taken so much from us) — Maya’s Dad shows up at the station. And that’s where our story truly begins.
First of all, Maya’s dad is an abuser and an asshole. I’d rather get that out of the way right now so I don’t waste my precious few recap words repeating “asshole” over and over. As Maya leaves for the fire he calls her “kiddo” and then despite her telling him to wait at the station, he shows up at the scene of the fire and disrupts her at work using the same “go get ‘em champ!” bullshit rhetoric that he used to control her throughout her track career.
It’s clear almost right away that Dad’s there to emotionally manipulate Maya into taking his side over her mother’s and get the upper hand in their separation. Of course he doesn’t realize that Maya’s repressed all of her abuse so far inside that she’d rather none of this be happening around her at all. The first few times he pushes, she ignores her. But then he crosses the safety line at the fire site and Maya loses it. She tells him to stand down, that she’s ordering it as the fire captain, and he seethes. HE GRABS MAYA BY HER PONYTAIL — in front of her entire team—and then before this asshole knows it, he’s being held down by two police officers.
Never one to know when he’s lost, the Maya’s dad makes a final play for control — taunting her that she needs other people to fight her battles. Maya turns around tomato red in the face and barks at him that she knows how to win her own races and she doesn’t need other people to win her medals, unlike him (asshole). All those years of emotional abuse, and she did it, she stood up to him. I’ve never been so proud.
Back at the firehouse Maya stares at herself alone in the mirror. Then with a pair of scissors, she cuts that ponytail off. He violated her for the last time.
Over at Grey Sloan, Maya and her new homemade bob finds Carina at the coffe cart with Dr. Teddy Altman, resident bisexual and forever shipper of Shondaland gays. Maya makes the big plea apology and — with a little cheerleading from Teddy to help along the way — Carina accepts. Mutual “I Love You”s are exchanged and a big gay kiss is shared by all.
How to Get Away With Murder 615: “Stay”
Written by Natalie
If you were hoping that Thursday’s series finale of How to Get Away With Murder would make it all make sense, I suspect you ended up disappointed. The how and why of this show’s murders and fantastical alliances remains elusive. But if you came to watch HTGAWM do what it’s always done — create utter chaos and leave it to Viola Davis to sell the fuckin’ hell out of it — congratulations, you won.
HTGAWM has always moved at a frenetic pace but, somehow, its finale shifted into an even higher gear: unleashing bombshell witnesses and subsequently diffusing them at a dizzying speed. But in the end, it all falls to Annalise — she is, as she’s always said, the only one that can save her — and, because Viola Davis is just that damn good, the result is astounding:
When Tegan Price first met Annalise Keating, she was unimpressed. Annalise’s reputation preceded her — “People said she was an animal in court. Her closings were infamous” — and the version she first found in front of her, fell far short of that.
It’s fitting then that it is one of Annalise’s infamous closings that finally gets Tegan to confess her feelings for Annalise.
Tegan: I think I’m in love with you, Annalise. I’ve tried to fight it, but I’m taking my mask off, too. I cannot not have you in my life. Because I love you.
Annalise: What do you really want?
Tegan: Love… and I can give that to you. I can make you happy.
Annalise: I can’t promise you the same. That’s what you deserve, and it’s out there for you, but it’s just not me.
Before Tegan can offer any pushback, the jury comes back and delivers a not guilty verdict on all counts. Triumphant, Annalise heads to the courthouse steps to talk to the media when shots ring out. Tegan immediately shields Annalise from the gunfire. When the dust settles, Frank has killed the Governor and he’s been shot himself. Bonnie rushes to his side and cradles his head as he dies. When Annalise joins Bonnie to mourn the loss of another member of their chosen family, she notices that Bonnie too has been shot… in, roughly, the same spot that Annalise was shot in Season 2. Though Annalise begs her to hold on — again, Davis acts her ass off — Bonnie succumbs to her injuries, dying beside Frank on the courthouse steps (Ophelia was right to dub them Bonnie and Clyde).
Annalise Keating dies that day (figuratively speaking) but Annalise Harkness lives on. She lives, she thrives. She finds love and tastes loss. And when she finally does die, of natural causes, there’s a crowd there to mourn her, including Laurel, a grown-up Christopher, Oliver, Connor and Eve.
The great love of Annalise’s life eulogizes her: “I’ve never loved anyone the way I loved Annalise. I loved her even when she didn’t choose me. But those moments when she did choose me? I would feel seen. I think we all seek that person in our lives — someone who shows us it’s possible to survive whatever good or bad is thrown at you.”
And so ends the life of Annalise Keating. I’m profoundly sad (and a little relieved) to see her go.