Hello and welcome to the Friday of a holiday long weekend that arrives to us in the middle of endless days and time with no meaning. Looking for something to binge while you remember you used to go to BBQs outside? May we recommend Dead to Me, which debuted its second season earlier this month and has Natalie Morales flirting directly at you from the screen. Heather, Valerie, and Meg Jones Wall got together to talk about the absolutely PERFECT final season of She-Ra and the [spoiler] you don’t want to miss. Speaking of things you can watch this weekend, on Hightown Monica Raymund is giving a performance so masterful that it’s saving the show. Alex suits up and Lena joins the superfriends on Supergirl! On Legends of Tomorrow, there was a horde of zombies! We’re sure you’ve heard by now, but Ruby Rose is done playing Batwoman (yeah we can’t believe it either!). Valerie wrapped up the first season of Motherland: Fort Salem. Carly and Riese recapped episode 408 of The L Word — which you might better know as “the one with the iconic sex scene between Tasha and Alice.”
This week’s “My Top 10,” where we will will be telling you about the TV shows nearest and dearest to our hearts, showcases the one! the only! Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya!
Notes from the TV Team:
+ This week on The Baker and the Beauty news of Natalie’s brother’s relationship with Noa Hamilton has started to get out and she’s being harassed about it at school. Someone sprays “Garcia Diggers” on her locker and another group accosts her in the halls. She defends her brother and lashes out at one of the girls… which leads to a physical fight at school. But when Natalie’s mother finds out that Amy has a history of disciplinary issues, she forbids Natalie from seeing her again. Yeah, I don’t think that’s going to go over well. — Natalie
+ Canadian import, Burden of Truth, returned to the CW this week for the start of its annual summer run. Luna’s back, sharing an apartment with her friend, Taylor, still volunteering with Bear Clan Patrol and, hopefully, getting a job at her sister’s law firm in Winnipeg. I’m excited to see where Luna’s story in Season 3 goes. — Natalie
+ S.W.A.T. wrapped up its abbreviated third season this week and Chris Alonso escaped the threat by the Mexican cartels, though not entirely unscathed. Our resident bisexual badass got caught in a firefight and took a bullet to her vest. Thankfully, she was okay — dazed at first, then just sore — and we’ll get to see her when S.W.A.T. returns for its fourth season. — Natalie
+ Stumptown renewed! — Natalie
+ Last night’s Top Chef was, perhaps, the toughest competition of the season (and perhaps the entire series). Chefs were tasked with making a Japanese Kaiseki meal to toast the upcoming Tokyo Olympics. It was a little jarring to celebrate an Olympics that has been delayed for a year but even more jarring was seeing the chefs pushed so far outside their comfort zone. Kaiseki require a lot of finesse, precision and restraint and the task was a challenge for the chefs, including our remaining queer cheftestants. Melissa and Karen both ended up in the bottom. Though Melissa failed in her execution (errant crab shells, an custard that hadn’t completely set), her flavors were spot on, but Karen failed on multiple fronts and was eliminated. — Natalie
Harley Quinn 208: “Inner (Para) Demons”
Written by Heather
This week, Harley decides that she only kissed Ivy because it was the heat of the moment and their adrenaline was going berserk and, look, man, she’s Harley Quinn, okay, she just does what she wants to do when she wants to do it because she’s an agent of chaos, and she’ll take over the city or she’ll kiss whomever ’cause that’s just who she is. She tries to prove it by kissing basically everyone she sees and also fighting a badass grandma so a dark lord will give her an army of demons to use to fight Commissioner Gordon.
Ivy, meanwhile, meets Kite Man’s parents, who are a couple of WASPs with their own superpowers who treat Chuck like garbage. They go to brunch and are jerks to him, and even though Ivy tries to keep it respectable to make them like her, she finally cracks and tells them to go fuck themselves. As Ivy and Chuck are leaving the restaurant, they notice the demon army and Ivy correctly assumes Harley’s up to some shit. She chases her down and says she’s her ride or die, always, but is this actually how she wants to ride? She asks Harley what she really wants.
Harley almost tells her but Kite Man shows up and Ivy reminds everyone that she wants to marry him for some reason. But it seems like Harley at least knows, finally, that she’s got a BIG LEZBIAN CRUSH on her best friend.
Batwoman 520: “O, Mouse”
Written by Heather
It’s weird to be writing about Batwoman‘s truncated season finale now that we know Ruby Rose has left the show. Speculation abounds, of course, but all we really know is that The CW is going to recast the role and the series will be back for season two. What’s new Batwoman walking into? Well, for one thing, she’s at full-on war with her dad, despite Mary’s best efforts to help reconcile the two of them. She thought she could work together with him to help catch this week’s baddie, but her dad sold her out and a zillion Crows tried to gun her down on a football field. Also betraying family this week? Alice, who, in a shocking turn of events, poisoned Mouse because he threatened to leave her! But Alice still has one major accomplice and it’s Hush, and now he has a whole new face, and that face belongs to… Bruce Wayne.
Alice is after the Kryptonite in Wayne Manor, which Luke has figured out how to destroy. But Kate’s got another piece, the one Kara trusted her with in CRISIS. So! That’s where will pick up next season with a whole new face in the cape and cowl! New faces for everyone!
Betty 103: “Happy Birthday, Tyler”
Written by Drew
Betty’s charm might be getting to hang out with this group of skaters. But there is so much buried within that charm.
First, the casual queerness of the show continued in full this week with Honeybear finally talking to Ash, Kirt flirting with multiple people to various results, and Camille saying Charlie Chaplin is her style icon. Ash writes her number on Honeybear’s board and says, “No board slides until you call me” and I enjoyed that flirt!
But while all this top-notch queer content is going on, Janay is searching the city for the girl who accused her friend of assault. She’s convinced her friend is innocent and she wants to confront the girl. She calls her a thot, and not in a good way. Honeybear keeps pushing back, but Janay is certain, the way so many women foolishly are when the men in their lives are accused of wrongdoing. This culminates in a fight that Kirt — the only white member of her friend group — escalates. But, of course, it’s Janay, Honeybear, and Camille who end up in the back of a cop car while Kirt is nowhere to be found.
This episode also offers a further glimpse into the sweet but complicated relationship forming between Camille and Bambi — sweet because they like each other, complicated the way any relationship between an older boy and a younger girl might be — and a look at Indigo’s surprisingly privileged home life.
Show creator Crystal Moselle comes from documentary and the show has the depth of the best cinéma vérité documentaries. Its observational style may not provide commentary but there’s plenty of meaning to be found.
Vagrant Queen 108: No Clue
Written by Valerie Anne
This week’s episode was an almost line-for-line recreation of the movie Clue, which was a romp, so unfortunately there were far too many shenanigans for any real romance. And Elida is still in denial, calling Amae her friend despite Isaac’s attempts to wingman. There was a point where Elida cheated at drawing
straws frankfurters to partner up with Amae, where the commenced having moments fraught with sexual tension. I do worry they’re going to make us wait until the finale for a kiss, which is a bummer, but hopefully it’ll be worth the wait.
In the Dark 206: “The Truth Hurts”
Written by Valerie Anne
Jess is really going through it, y’all. Sterling is continuing to sneak between her girlfriends’ bed, Sam starting to feel jealous, Sterling seeming to catch feelings for Jess. Sam’s breaking point is when she wakes up in the morning to find that Sterling has snuck off to bring Jess coffee.
Sam ends up getting Nia involved, and when they realize Jess didn’t know about the drugs her friends were dealing, Nia assumes this means her friends don’t trust her (which… is actually kind of fair) and decides Jess has to die (admittedly less fair.) There ends up being an attack, and Jess ends up saving Nia’s life, so I think her own life is probably safe for the foreseeable future, but boi oh boi is her heart broken. And she doesn’t even KNOW about Sterling yet.
The Good Fight 406: “The Gang Offends Everyone”
Written by Natalie
One of the most interesting things about The Good Fight is the way it interrogates the limits of our progressivism. It asks, at what point do your own personal political views become a causality of capitalism and ambition? For Adrian Boseman, Diane Lockhart and Liz Reddick, the show wonders at what point are their liberal values subsumed by their obligation to their clients or by their pursuit of power for their firm.
In this week’s episode, the Democratic National Committee comes calling: They want a black candidate who can make it past Iowa to buttress support among black voters and they’re hoping to recruit Adrian to be their straw man. Though nothing comes of it immediately, they’ve offered him access to the most celebrated pursuit of the greatest power on Earth, the US presidency, and Adrian salivates at the possibility. He takes his newfound swagger into the courtroom, where he’s representing a swimmer, Melanie, whose effort to qualify for the Olympic team was thwarted by changes to the qualifying schedule.
At first, Adrian argues that the move was an effort to keep his client off the Olympic team because of her political activism. The committee rewrote their own rules, giving another swimmer — a white swimmer, Sadie Lipton (Dana Aliya Levinson) — the opportunity to get better and take Melanie’s spot on the team. But the opposing attorney calls him out on the real reason Melanie objects to Sadie’s inclusion on the team: she’s trans. Initially Adrian attempts to avoid this line of attack but given the Judge’s reluctance to the accept his claim of racial discrimination, he changes tactics.
He recruits Liz to serve as co-counsel, in hopes of creating better optics for Melanie’s case. Liz begrudgingly appears and questions the head of the Olympic committee. Later, when Adrian suggests that women and trans women aren’t on same playing field, Liz starts to squirm, the discomfort of their transphobic defense clearly getting to her. After endocrinologist concedes that testosterone levels are the best available gauge of sex, Adrian takes his transphobia a step further to very out of hand levels. It’s every bit as terrible as you think but Adrian walks out believing the judge is on their side.
Not everyone else is on their side: When Adrian and Liz return to the firm, all the associates and assistants stand up and voice their objection to the firm’s transphobia. She doesn’t contradict Adrian in front of the associates but once they’re alone, Liz asks Adrian to reconsider his strategy. He points to the recognition he’s gotten from LGBTQ groups — the equivalent of saying he’s got a black friend, Liz points out.
The next day, Sadie takes the stand. She’s prepared to face a withering cross but when it comes down to it, Liz just can’t do it and so Adrian takes over. He points out that Sadie failed to finish in the Top 20 in previous trials and it wasn’t until she was competing against women that she was able to secure a spot on the Olympic team. Fighting back tears, Sadie insists that her success is because she can train harder now that she’s happy with who she is.
Ultimately, the judge sides with Sadie. Soon thereafter, the firm’s private investigator shows up with documentation that another member of the team — Melanie’s mentee, Piper — also has elevated testosterone levels. Recycling the arguments from the previous case, Adrian wins Melanie a spot on the team: disqualifying Piper because she’s intersex.
Adrian’s running for president in 2024… and what you learn from his handling of this case is that he’d sacrifice all of us if it meant it would help him win.