We don’t know about you, but we’ve hardly ever been more relieved to have regular season teevee back than we were these last few days. This week Riese worked up a Bi TV quiz, Carmen wrote about a beautiful fan-created Calzona comic book (which Shonda Rhimes then tweeted out!!!!), Heather published a Bad Behavior issue personal essay about the ’90s UK soap Bad Girls, Valerie recapped the Wynonna Earp (which closes out its third season next week!), and we updated our list of best bisexual characters for Bi Week! Here’s what else!
The Purge 104: “Release the Beast”
Written by Carmen
If one of your favorite TV aesthetics is babes in ball gowns huddled in together and touching arms while speaking softly, then this is the episode for you! Jenna and Lila spend a lot of time alone and though they don’t kiss this week (don’t worry! you get to see them post-coitus in a flashback, so all is not lost!), their energy nevertheless crackles off each other. Lila can tell that Jenna still has a good heart, she’s not like Rick – who is more than willing to bow to the NFFA if it means a big paycheck. She encourages her love to leave him, really laying it all on the line. She promises that no one will love her like she can. Jenna won’t budge, she’s pregnant with Rick’s baby. Lila counters that families come in all shapes and sizes. It’s sincere and heartfelt. The “grand declaration” of great romances. You can see the flicker in Jenna’s eyes. She’s wavering, if only a little. Something tells me that small crack is all Lila needs.
In flashback we get final confirmation of what has so far been implied about the triad: Rick and Jenna found Lila when going through a slump in their marriage. All three clicked immediately, so knowing this was more than a “one night thing” Jenna and Rick quickly moved to establish the boundaries of their relationship, chief among them that neither of the married couple should have sex with Lila alone. I hated that the rules scene was done without Lila in the room. I know that polyamory works different for every couple, but without showing on screen that Lila had a say in creating their parameters it felt as if she was ultimately silenced in an uneven relationship. OBVIOUSLY Jenna and Lila hook up alone, because why would you be with a Sack of Potatoes when you could be with a hot girl instead? Exactly. Also, Lila supports Jenna. She believes in her career ambitions to make a difference for the poor. Rick seems mostly interested in dimming Jenna’s light to better shine his own.
Rick finds them together in bed one day, and that’s when it all falls apart. In the present, he becomes enraged anew at the realization that Lila and Jenna are once again spending time without him. Awww, poor man baby! I don’t care.
Here’s live dispatch from our very own Valerie on Lila and Jenna: “I’m obsessed with them even though they’re probably both going to die (probably at the hand of their father and husband somehow).” I wholeheartedly agree, even though I naively continue to believe that they won’t die! I think they’re going to band together and kill all the evil rich white men instead. And then drink from their cold, dead bodies like it’s a crossover episode with True Blood.
Speaking of misandry and murder, Jane has ridiculously left the safety of her armored work building and into the night IN THE MIDDLE OF PURGE NIGHT (side note: in real life black women are not this stupid, we have excellent self-preservation skills. Why do horror movies always get that wrong? I know why. It’s so we can die first. ANYWAY). She makes it less than two blocks and she almost gets raped. Thankfully, before the assault can go any further, the most awesome group of radical feminist Avengers show up in a off-white passenger van like it’s a white knight on a horse! They call themselves the Matron Saints. They’re strapped for business. Apparently three women are killed for every man each Purge, and that’s not including the dramatic uptick for sexual assault and rape. These bad bitches are here to “protect the females of this fair nation for the gendercide of Purge.”
FUCK. YES. (This week, especially.)
Grey’s Anatomy 1501 – 1502: “With a Wonder and a Wild Desire” and “Broken”
Written by Carmen
I have good news, and I have bad news. The good news is that the two hour Grey’s Anatomy premiere last night featured THREE queer women! That’s right. Three. Which is quite a way to begin your apology tour to queer fans still licking our wounds over the lost of our beloved Dr. Arizona Robbins.
Now the bad news, not a single one of those queer women kiss anyone, touch anyone, or do anything explicitly “gay” (Well except for Intern
Hellmouth Helm, because pining over an older straight woman who will never love you back is the gayest, just ask any lesbian or bisexual teen girl in America. Or half of our Autostraddle staff. Ahem.)
Let’s start with Carina DeLuca. First of all, congratulations on not getting shipped off to the Parking Lot of No Return! Way to go, hot stuff! I thought for sure that with Arizona busy rekindling her sweet, sweet love with Callie Torres underneath New York City street lights, Carina was going to be on the first thing smoking out of Seattle. I’ve never been happier to be proven wrong. She doesn’t get to do a lot, just poke fun at her little brother’s growing God complex (blerg) and make a quick gay joke! Dr. Webber calls her in to do her Dr. Orgasm song-and-dance after a male patient shoved an “unknown object” up the butt, presumably to pleasure himself. Carina correctly diagnoses the problem as straight male stupidity, because – and I quote – “gay men know how to use proper sex toys, so that they don’t get lost up there.”
Sing it, sister. Queer sex is better sex, pass it on.
Hellmouth (Dammit! I mean Intern Helm. This year will be the year we call Taryn Helm by her proper name, in Lesbian Jesus we pray. Amen.) continues to openly swoon over Meredith. It’s a full on puppy dog, heart eyes meltdown. Meredith gripes or barks or says whatever snarky comment she feels like spewing that day, and poor Helm just drools over her. I want to wrap her in a blanket, warm her up some soy milk with a cinnamon stick, and warn her about the ways of our people. Sadly, Intern Helm is a fictional character and therefore I cannot.
But, do you know who can? Cece, a professional matchmaker and patient of the week at Grey Sloan Memorial. She takes one look at Helm falling over herself in Meredith’s presence and tells her the hard truth that every baby gay has to hear at some point, “I spent 35 years of my life falling for straight women.” Helm stammers that she doesn’t know what Cece’s talking about, but our sage doesn’t let up. “Hook me up to that thing and sit down, let me save you from a whole life of misery.”
Here’s the thing; I want to like Cece. She’s funny and her blonde pixie cut is gorgeous. I like her attitude. I’m always and forever going to be on team queer black women. Y’all know that about me. Plus, with Meredith hiring Cece at the end of the episode to be her match maker, I think we will be seeing more of her in the future. That’s my worry. So far, everything about how her character is deployed in the premiere gives off Magical Negro trope vibes. That, I cannot abide. I’m not ringing the alarm bells yet, but let’s just say that my Spidey senses are very much tingling. Tread lightly, Grey’s.
We don’t talk about straight romances much around these parts, but UGH WHY DID THEY BRING TEDDY ALTMAN BACK FOR THIS?? She had a happy ending already. In Germany. I wanted that for her. She deserves better than yet another re-warmed love triangle involving Owen fucking Hunt.
For my Everything Sucks! fans, I can confirm that there’s a small Peyton Kennedy sighting in the first hour of the premiere. It looks like she’s gotten taller over the summer! Cute.
Glasses and Dr. Kim – I’m very much here for this.
How to Get Away With Murder 501: “Your Funeral”
Written by Natalie
Apparently, since the crown for the best-dressed character on television is up for grabs now that Olivia Pope has retired to the woods of Vermont, the HTGAWM wardrobe department has stepped up their game. The styling in this episode is flawless: Annalise in those leather pants. Tegan in that pencil skirt. Annalise in the bold colors (Viola Davis wears color better than anyone else in Hollywood. This is a fact). But I digress… [Editor’s note: That is not a digression!]
Annalise has her swagger back. Fresh off her big win at the Supreme Court, AK’s career prospects are looking up: she’s back in the classroom, teaching Advanced Trial Skills at Middleton, and being recruited by every law firm in Pennsylvania, both large and small. She’s unflinching in asking for what she’s worth, salary-wise, and is looking for a place to reunite her team — her, Bonnie and maybe Frank — to continue defending the plaintiffs from her class action suit. Of course, things can never be easy for AK and she’s dealt two roadblocks: first, Bonnie’s not particularly interested in leaving the DA’s office and second, as retribution for her class action suit, the governor is threatening any firm that brings Annalise onboard. All her offers are pulled and Annalise is left to wallow in a pint of Ben & Jerry’s.
After a pep talk from Frank — because that’s what he’s been reduced to now, pep talks and daddy duty — Annalise marches back into Caplan & Gold and reasserts herself. Knowing that she’s up against it, the partners at C&G pushback. Annalise won’t take less than what she’s worth, and they eventually offer her a job.
Know who’s not thrilled about Annalise joining the ranks of Caplan & Gold? Tegan Price. She wants a clean break from the Jorge Castillo mess — and, of course, she doesn’t want to be outed as the whistleblower. She can’t do that with Annalise around. As AK finalizes her deal, Tegan looks on with a mix of fear and thirst flashing on her face.
Back in the classroom, Annalise offers a year’s worth of law school tuition for the student with the highest ranking at the end of the semester, bringing back the competition between students that we saw in the first season. Another hallmark of season one that re-emerges? Asher Millstone being on the outside looking in. Annalise nixes his involvement in the class for being inauthentic and his classmates and Baby Christopher move into a house without him. After having spent most of Thursday listening to an overly privileged straight white man snarl over not having things go his way, seeing Asher’s react to everything felt not a little too on the nose for me.
Three months from now, someone on HTGAWM will die. They’ll be walking wounded, outside the space hosting Connor and Oliver’s wedding, before collapsing to the ground, staining the pure white snow with their crimson blood. The murder is shown entirely from the victim’s perspective this time — their view becomes ours — and, as we gasp for breath, we spot Baby Christopher sitting on the snow nearby as Bonnie comes to snuff out what’s left of our life.
As is their wont, HTGAWM will spend the next seven weeks slowly revealing clues to exactly who was or wasn’t murdered during the wedding. However, as Bonnie suffocated the wounded victim — as she suffocated us — I wondered if this is how the show ends. Is this just a new camera technique the show wanted to try out? Or should we take the audience’s apparent death as a sign that the end is nigh.
Killjoys 410: “Sporemageddon”
The Season Four finale was intense and fun and great. Aneela was fantastic and The Lady saw her love for Delle Seyah as a weakness so tried to use her face to break her. And at first it seemed like it worked; Aneela said she wanted her family back (meaning Delle Seyah and Jaq) but then it looked like maybe she WASN’T really betraying Dutch, but THEN it looked like The Lady knocked her out and switched places with her. All I know for sure is that the last five minutes were fucking BONKERS and it set up next season (aka the last season) to be off to a pretty wild start. Also I don’t remember if I mentioned this but at one point this season, Zeph said, while in bed with Pip, “This is why I don’t date men,” which implies to me that she is bisexual/queer so I’m hoping that maybe Zeph can find a girlfriend to end the series with now that Pip’s gone. We’ll see! If you’re not watching this show, you now have a few months to catch up, and you should. I’ll wait. — Valerie Anne
9-1-1 201 – 202: “Under Pressure” and “7.1”
Lest you believe that the restrained version of Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk that we were treated to on Pose this summer represented a real sea change for these two: FEAR NOT, 9-1-1 is back! Murphy and Falchuk are still concocting outlandish scenarios and writing with all the subtlety of a grenade or cement truck (both of which found their way into season two’s opening episodes). We didn’t get to see nearly enough of Aisha Hinds’ Hen this week, but given that episode 202 ended with an aftershock that sent Hen falling through the ruins of a structurally compromised hotel, I suspect next week will be a heavy episode for our favorite lesbian firefighter/paramedic. — Natalie
This week, Alexandra Barreto, who you might remember as Jesús and Mariana’s biological mom from The Fosters, made her debut as Antonia Pena on Mayans M.C.. Pena is the mayor of Santo Padre, a small town near the California and Mexico border. She shows up at a crime scene where an immigrant’s been shot and killed by vigilantes while attempting to cross the border. At first, everyone suspects it’s the MAGA-crowd playing target practice, but when some oxycodone turns up, Pena suspects the immigrant was killed for the drugs he was muling. She asks the Mayans to investigate. Pena’s established a detente with the MC and the cartel, but if there’s a new drug pusher in town, all bets are off. She had a brief appearance, but the show was surprisingly explicit about defining her sexuality.
“Jesus, am I the only one not getting laid at [the brothel]?” she asks, at one point.
“You’ve already got a hot wife,” Bishop, the head of the MC, snarks back.
That’s all this week from the mayor, but if the mayor’s role on Sons of Anarchy foretells what we’ll see on Mayans M.C., we’re about to see a lot more of Antonia Pena. — Natalie
The last time Kristina’s mother, Alexis, interfered in her daughter’s life, she fled all the way to Oregon to escape the meddling. In the time since, it doesn’t appear that Alexis has learned her lesson because she needles Kristina for her job choice at her first opportunity. Kristina’s exhausted of her mother’s complaints and busies herself while Sam tries to talk Alexis out of interfering. Kristina understands that she’s given her mother cause for concern in the past but nothing she’s done lately — including her relationship with Parker — warrants her mother’s intrusion.
Just after Kristina’s done lamenting the lack of relationships in her life — American soaps are very subtle — she meets Daisy at the pub where she works. Daisy’s passing out flyers for a concert in the park. It’s too early to tell what’ll happen between the two — though, the last time Kristina went to a concert in the park, it was the beginning of her relationship with Parker — but they’re both adorable. As grateful as I am that there’s the prospect of romance on the horizon for Kristina, I do wonder how GH can leave the chemistry between Valerie and Kristina unexplored. — Natalie
The First 5 – 8
I’m super sad to report that nothing much came from LisaGay Hamilton’s Kayla Price in the Season One of The First! Well, she does get to go to space, and is part of the first manned mission to Mars, so that’s something. Still, I wanted so much more from her, you know? Particularly given the immense talent of the actress playing her.
If you recall, the plot for Kayla in the first half of the season was that she was removed from her leadership position on the team to make room for Sean Penn. Well, they eventually learn how to work together. Also, she also gets to have a deeply moving scene with her wife (Heeeey Tracie Thoms!) about her final decision to go to Mars. It’s short, but a real tear jerker, and both women nail it like the acting vets that they are.
If you hate Sean Penn and decide to never watch this show, I wouldn’t blame you one bit. If you can stand looking at his smug face without losing your lunch, and are looking for the kind of sleepy show you can binge from underneath a blanket on a hazy fall afternoon – you know, a cozy tv show where the plot moves slow enough, and the music is comforting enough, that the naps you inevitably take won’t mean you miss anything, then The First will give you that. It also has bonus lesbians who love each other and support each other and no one dies or cheats on the other! So! Yay? I guess. — Carmen
This week, Charity went to confront her ailing father. Every awful thing that’s happened to her has been rooted in his decision to toss our out onto the streets and she wants to make him own his role in it all. The encounter is wholly unsatisfying; her father rewrites the history of one of Charity’s fondest childhood memories — daily trips to the beach — and replaces it with the horrible truth: they were searching for her mother’s body. Her father couldn’t take the daily reminders of his wife’s suicide so he’d thrown Charity out of the house. Knowing how abusive her father could be, Charity understands why her mother did it and forgives her for it.
Charity arrives back in Emmerdale, determined to make sure her kids don’t look at her the same way she looks at her father, but it’s a struggle. When things don’t come together right away, she takes her frustrations out on Vanessa. But once her kids all arrive and the view of her family starts to take shape, Charity apologizes and thanks Vanessa for sticking by her.
“I love you,” Charity admits for the first time. “I really, really, stupidly and completely love you.”
“Of course you do, because I wouldn’t go and fall in love with someone who didn’t love me back,” Vanessa jokes before assuring her girlfriend. “Charity Dingle, I really, really, stupidly and completely love you too.”
And my poor, poor cynical heart grew three sizes. — Natalie
The Good Place 301: “Everything Is Bonzer”
Get this: Eleanor and Chidi aren’t soul mates anymore in this iteration of The Good Place and Eleanor already asked Tahani to move in with her. MAKE IT GAY YOU COWARDS. — Heather