We sure had a jam packed week! First, there was that Killing Eve SPOILER we can’t stop talking about. (And wow, we really mean this, you don’t want to miss it). Carmen wrote a love letter to Vida’s final season and we’re all really sad to have Tanya Saracho’s masterpiece leaving us so soon. Riese sat down with Little Fires Everywhere‘s bisexual showrunner Liz Tigelaar about everything that made the show addictive, bingeable, and gay. Then! Heather talked with One Day at a Time showrunner Gloria Calderón-Kellet about Elena, Syd, and helping people find comfort during a pandemic.
Batwoman‘s queer love triangle reminds Heather why she first fell in love with superheroes in the first place Valerie recapped the latest Legends of Tomorrow while Kayla got Riverdale covered! Drew wrote a beautiful review of Better Things and how its succeeding at telling trans story by explicitly not telling a trans story. To L and Back covered the iconic episode “Lez Girls,” a classic if there ever was one.
But we still aren’t done yet!! Today is the premiere of Alice Wu’s new film The Half of It! We are ECSTATIC!! None other than Malinda Lo stopped by to review the film for us, and we still can’t believe we were lucky enough to get her. Drew spoke with Alice Wu (OMG) about the movie and also her legacy on lesbian filmmaking and also wrote about what the movie meant for her.
AND GUESS WHAT!?!? THE ENTIRE TV TEAM IS LIVE TWEETING THE FILM TONIGHT!! STARTING AT 8PM EST/5PM PST! IT’S BASICALLY RIGHT NOW!! PLEASE JOIN US!!
Our TV Team — @draw_gregory, @natthedem, @carmencitaloves, @autowin, @PunkyStarshine, @KaylaKumari, @theheatherhogan — is joining @thatalicewu for a live-tweet of #TheHalfOfIt tonight! You don’t want to miss it! pic.twitter.com/sQImpMBNBz
— Autostraddle (@autostraddle) May 1, 2020
Notes from the TV Team:
+ Tia ended this season on Boomerang still dating Dorothy, but more importantly, with the two of them starting a mobile clinic for dancers and sex workers. I love that Boomerang not only took Tia’s activism around sex workers rights seriously, but took her from single action protest campaigns to evolving into longterm care from her community. Talk about a glow up! — Carmen
+ On Station 19 Maya is starting to confront the legacy of her dad’s abuse towards her and her mom. So far, it’s not going great. We’ve all seen the previous flashbacks on the show and know that Maya’s dad was emotionally abusive, but she’s in such deep denial that when her mother shows up to announce that she’s left Maya’s father — Maya rebukes her. She’s grateful that her father “pushed” her so hard that she won a Gold Medal and is now Seattle’s youngest an first woman fire chief. She’s angry that she’s being asked to think of her life differently. (Don’t worry, Carina’s there to hold her hand through it all). — Carmen
+ Elena and Syd had their first cute little baby gay spat on One Day at a Time! While listing off their crushes to one another, Elena makes the mistake of listing the cute barista from around the corner among all the other celebrities. Syd’s definitely a little jealous, but before the two get to dig in it further they have to hide from Alex on the rooftop (it’s a long story). — Carmen
+ It’s rare that I find myself surprised by cancellations anymore but CBS’ decision to ax God Friended Me certainly caught me off guard. Nonetheless, the show went out in dramatic fashion, its last episode devoted to Ali’s cancer surgery. Thankfully, she survives and the experience compels her to attend seminary, following in her father’s footsteps, and becomes a pastor. — Natalie
+ Dre’s lesbian sister, Rhonda (played by IRL queer, Raven-Symoné), returned to black-ish this week with a special announcement: She’s planning to adopt a baby. Her sister-in-law, Rainbow, is excited to host a shower, while Dre’s skeptical that his recently divorced baby sister is ready for the arduous task of single parenthood. Rhonda admits her marriage didn’t work because her wife didn’t want children but she’s committed to being a mom… and eventually, Dre relents, and commits to being genuinely supportive of his sister. — Natalie
+ Team Queer lives on on this season of Top Chef. Karen rejoined the competition, after battling her way out of Last Chance Kitchen, and placed among the top three in Immunity challenge. Meanwhile, Melissa continues to impress, finishing in the top four again this week and being lauded for her Michelin-level skills. Next week: RESTAURANT WARS! — Natalie
9-1-1 319: “The One That Got Away”
Written by Natalie
Earlier this season, heartbroken by an accident that left a young cellist dead, Henrietta Wilson nearly walked away from her job. She found the strength to put the uniform back on but she’s a different person now…more determined than ever to save lives.
Station 118 is called to the scene of apartment building fire and Hen is left to triage the victims. As she’s examining one victim, Anton, she notices that he has some tenderness on his left side. Anton admits that he’s been nauseous for days and has been popping antacids like candy. Hen quizzes him about his other symptoms and, ultimately, suspects that he has excess calcium in his blood due to an undiagnosed thyroid condition. Hen and Chimney transport Anton to the hospital and she lists all Anton’s injuries before handing him off to the nurses. She alerts them to his suspected thyroid condition and suggests ordering an EKG.
Later, news that someone from the building fire has died interrupts Hen and Karen’s date night. She stops by Bobby and Athena’s house — in the middle of their date night — in hopes of getting more information. Bobby confirms that Anton died from cardiac arrest and Hen’s frustrated that the nurses and doctors didn’t listen to her. The Captain reminds Hen that she did her job but she’s angry that she’s the only one that did. A few days later, the team’s called to the set of a reality cooking competition where a chef has impaled himself with a pressurized canister. It’s reminiscent of an accident that killed a French fitness blogger.
Once they get the chef into the ambulance, his blood pressure starts to crash. Hen surmises that the shrapnel has nicked the chef’s aorta and he’ll likely die before they can get him to the hospital. Over Chim’s objections, she performs a successful thoracotomy and stabilizes his pressure. He’s wheeled into the ER with Hen still pinching his aorta with her hand. The nurse is dismissive of Hen’s success but the surgeon seems impressed…and, all of a sudden, I wonder is this episode is a backdoor pilot for “Henrietta Wilson, MD.”
Back at the firehouse, the team presents her with a doctor’s coat to celebrate. Bobby sees that Hen’s still acting out of guilt over the deaths of Anton and the young cellist. He congratulates her on the win but warns Hen not to do it again.
The Baker and the Beauty 103: “Get Carried Away”
Written by Natalie
It feels like we’ve seen a story like The Baker and the Beauty about a thousand times: regular, good-hearted, good looking, blue collar guy crosses paths with a celebrity and complicated romance ensues. If you opted to skip TBATB based on its overdone premise, I can’t blame you, but this week, the show offered a reason to tune back in: BABY GAYS.
Let me back up: TBATB is about the Garcias, a tight-knit Cuban family that works together at their bakery in Little Havana. The eldest son, Daniel, is the aforementioned guy who finds himself caught up in a celebrity romance. Mateo’s the middle brother, a baker by day and aspiring rapper/DJ by night. And then there’s Natalie, the Garcia’s only daughter, who is a smart and witty teenager, still trying to come into her own at her new school. Last week, after a painfully uncomfortable shopping trip to get a new swimsuit for school, she meets a classmate, Amy, and the two strike up an easy rapport. When Mateo’s not there to pick Natalie up, Amy offers to give her a ride home. Natalie beams when she gets a follow-up text from Amy…so much so that her mother’s convinced she got a ride home from a cute boy.
But this week, Natalie’s mother realizes that her daughter’s happy because she’s finally made a friend and, naturally, she takes it upon herself to invite Amy over. Free from her responsibilities at the bakery, Natalie and Amy retreat to her bedroom and watch Daniel’s exploits from his impromptu trip to Puerto Rico. Amy admits that she has the biggest crush on Noa Hamilton — Daniel’s celebrity girlfriend — and Natalie shifts uncomfortably as she ponders the revelation. Before she can respond, their conversation is interrupted: first by Mateo, then by Natalie’s mother who invites Amy to stay for dinner. Amy accepts and Natalie is an adorkable mix of excited and nervous.
Later, Amy asks Natalie she’s been holding onto the entire day: “do you like boys or girls or both?”
“None of the above?” Amy asks.
“No, I…I mean…I like…” Natalie responds, stopping herself before she admits liking another girl aloud. But Amy hears enough and leans in for a kiss…and then Natalie closes her eyes and leans in for a kiss…and they’re almost there when Natalie’s mom knocks at the door. Natalie jumps away from Amy so quickly, she falls off the bed. As she collects herself, Natalie informs her mom that Amy was just leaving, much to their surprise. Soon after Amy walks out the door, Natalie realizes she screwed up and collapses on her bed in frustration.
Later, Mateo intrudes on Natalie’s teenage self-loathing and asks what happened with Amy. She’s reluctant to share, of course, but Mateo persists. He may seem hapless but, without her even telling him, he sees Natalie for who she is.
“I told her to leave,” Natalie admits. “I really like her and I think she likes me and she’s so nice and I freaked out. Can you believe that?”
Mateo — who’s no stranger to having women stomp angrily out of his room — encourages his sister to call Amy. Natalie insists she can’t but her brother promises she can…and, besides, if Natalie doesn’t call her, their mom definitely will.
S.W.A.T. 320: “Wild Ones”
Written by Natalie
Last week, the Deputy Mayor’s assistant threatened to reign “a lot of misery” down on Chris’ head if she persisted in seeking charges against his boss’ son. This week, the misery started. But Deputy Mayor Logan Carter doesn’t attack Chris or S.W.A.T. directly — as Chris had been expecting — he targets her family just as she targeted his. Chris’ uncle gets a citation for un-permitted construction at his house and she knows, right away, who’s behind it. She heads to City Hall to confront Carter directly and he denies any knowledge of the citation. Carter chastises Chris for trying to use her influence as a S.W.A.T. officer to make her uncle’s problem go away. He accuses her of an abuse of power and Chris just stands there in disbelief.
Later, back at HQ, Chris is still seething about the Deputy Mayor’s actions. She still doesn’t know what to do about the city’s demolition order but promises that she’ll cover the cost of his fine because it’s all her fault. Street overhears her problem and while he understands the stakes, he wonders if its worth all this trouble. Chris stands firm, determined to be the thing that stops the Deputy Mayor’s son before he hurts himself or someone else, and plots to catch him driving drunk again. Street warns Christ that she’s in danger of crossing the line — a particularly ironic warning given his history in S.W.A.T. — but Chris is undeterred: Carter crossed the line first. Thankfully, Lieutenant Piper Lynch intercedes, bringing together Chris’ passion with her political acumen to keep the situation from spiraling out of control.
Lynch manages to convince Carter to come to HQ to meet with Chris and hash things out. They step inside one of the interrogation rooms and Lynch apologizes for Chris’ impulsive confrontation of him at City Hall. She insists, however, that Chris’ concern about Carter’s son is legitimate. The Deputy Mayor assures her that they’re dealing with it but Chris interjects that he’s not, he’s enabling his son’s bad behavior. Annoyed that he’s not getting the apology he was promised, Clark says he’ll continue to cover for his son for as long as he wants. There are perks and privileges that come with his office, Clark explains, and he doesn’t care if Chris likes it or not. Then the Lieutenant and Chris remind the Deputy Mayor that the interrogation rooms are wired — their whole conversation has been recorded — and Lynch threatens to pass the tape onto the press.
“You and your son have all the second chances you’re gonna get,” Lynch tells him and soon thereafter, he resigns from office.
Tommy 111: “This Is Not a Drill”
Written by Natalie
Lord knows I enjoy a good police procedural but, to be honest, Tommy‘s struggled to keep my interest at times. It was too saccharine, too uncomplicated…which, while being CBS’ trademark, is not Edie Falco’s…and from a show, starring Edie Falco, about the first lesbian police chief of Los Angeles? I expected more. This week, 11 episodes into the show’s inaugural season, it felt like the show might offer us that.
At the site of a fire in the Hollywood Hills, Tommy confronts the Mayor about not giving her, at least, a heads up that he was going to ask for an Ethics Inquiry. The Mayor avoids her question and, instead, blames Tommy for creating the appearance of impropriety. He assures her that the whole thing is just theater but Tommy’s clearly worried. Later, she sits down with her speechwriter and the LAPD’s legal counsel for prep for her hearing and opts against submitting written responses. She insists she has nothing to hide.
Once again, this show confounds: there’s no way a female police chief — especially not a lesbian police chief, especially not a lesbian police chief with a black ex-husband and a biracial child — would be this naive. But the show persists…Tommy’s legal counsel pesters her with invasive questions and she pushes back, insisting that the panel would never ask her those sorts of questions. She’s dismissive about her speechwriter’s suggestions about what she should wear and assures her lawyer that she did nothing to interfere in the investigation into her son’s sex crimes. Even on the way to the hearing, she takes a call from Kiley and insists that she’ll be fine. Meanwhile, across town, powerful men are gleefully plotting her demise and the elevation of her Chief of Staff, Donn Cooper, to the head of the department.
As I expected and Tommy so obviously did not, the hearing is a complete shitshow. The panelists rebuff Tommy’s attempts to clarify the record and the head of the Vice division lies about Tommy’s involvement in her son-in-law’s case, torpedoing her defense. The Ethics Commission believes him and recommends that Tommy be dismissed…and the Police Commission concurs.
It’s an auspicious way to end the show’s penultimate episode but I’m hoping that it signals a shift in the show’s narrative. They’ve dispensed with the pretense — the LAPD’s sexism and homophobia has been laid bare — to not fundamentally change Tommy in the wake of that would be a disservice to the audience and Edie Falco.
Roswell, New Mexico 207: “Como la Flor”
Written by Valerie Anne
Isobel is really leaning into her queerness and I am so happy about it. This week, she was proudly recounting her time at the gay bar to her brothers, talking about the bartender’s “thoughtful manicure” and saying it makes sense to her, that it should have dawned on her sooner that aliens wouldn’t be fussed by human gender and sexuality constructs. But that’s how pervasive heteronormativity is in human society! Anyway, she’s very excited about this new part of her she’s discovered and plans on going back to the gay bar again, and even recommends Max consider joining her and Michael in the beautiful land of queerness. I can’t wait to see what comes out of this new side of Isobel, no pun intended.
Motherland: Fort Salem 107: “Mother Mycelium”
Written by Valerie Anne
This week’s Motherland was another one where our sweet gays really went through it. Scylla is being tortured, fed glass, made to listen to horrible noises. But she stays strong, loyal to her cult, refusing to let Anacostia into her mind. That is, until Raelle is kidnapped in the night and dumped into her cell. She’s kept there long enough for the witches to be reunited in a tearful moment that goes so quickly from relief that the other is okay to fear and panic about the truth of what’s going on.
Scylla tries to warn Raelle that she’s going to hear things about her, and just wants her to believe two tihngs harder than the rest: That she loves her, and that she would never do anything to hurt Raelle. Those are the only truths that matter.
Seeing Raelle weakened Scylla’s defenses enough for Anacostia to get into her head, which of course was the plan all along, and they were able to see the day Scylla got her first blue balloon, burnt a new face for herself, and killed a bunch of people in a mall. The first scene of the series.
Anacostia is hesitant to keep treating Scylla as a total enemy when she sees this though. She sensed…hesitation in Scylla. Regret. Like she wasn’t 100% on board with the Spree’s mission. And what we didn’t see is what led Scylla to that moment. But General Adler has no room for grey areas, despite being comprised of them herself. Scylla is Spree, and Spree is the enemy. So fingers crossed Anacostia enlists the help of the Bellweather Trio or Scylla may be doomed.
In the Dark 203: “Son of a Gun”
Written by Valerie Anne
In this week’s episode, Jess continues to be awkward around Sterling, the cute new butch in the office, and Murphy wants them to just do it already, but Jess doesn’t think she’s capable of having sex without feelings. (“Being a lesbian sounds exhausting,” Murphy says. Used to such quips, Jess has an answer ready. “It sure is on the wrist.”
Jess also admits to masturbating to Sterling’s instagram, which I’m sure isn’t helping her be able to keep her cool, and it’s clear she’s got it bad. She eventually finds herself in a grooming pickle, and thinks Sterling can help because she wrote that she worked at PetSmart on her resume, but that turns out to be a lie. Still, they work together with cute smiles, and eventually Sterling admits that she wants to help Jess with the grooming truck more often because she wants to spend more time with her. And Jess doesn’t hate this plan at all.
Later, Jess claims to Murphy that it’s just casual, but I think we know Jess doesn’t really do anything halfway, so we’ll see how that goes.
Vagrant Queen 105: “Temple of Doom”
Written by Valerie Anne
Elida and Amae continue to have insane chemistry, sweetly complimenting each other, making lingering eye contact. At one point Elida offered Amae an out for the dangerous mission they were about to embark on and Amae said, “I can’t do this” and at first I thought she misunderstood and was trying to back out of their flirtationship but both Elida and I sighed with relief when a) she was talking about the mission and b) she was joking. She’s all in. She even adds a cute little, “Moms love me!”
Eventually they learn that their mission was doomed to fail from the star because Elida’s mother isn’t actually alive after all, and when they find out Elida’s old mentor Hath had been lying this whole time, all Elida can do is stare at him in devastated disbelief, but Amae marches right up to him, glares up at this man who is a full head taller than her, and calls him an asshole. The girl who uses “crackers” instead of “darn” full-out swore in his face and isn’t even sorry about it. She also pulls Elida aside and gently takes her hand, promising her that no matter what, she has them, Amae and Isaac, on her side. To which I say: KISS KISS KISS!