Boob(s on Your) Tube: Luisa and Rose Are Back on “Jane the Virgin”

This week was a little lighter than last on the queer lady front but there’s still plenty to keep an eye on. I’ve heard great things about the Netflix show Mindhunter, and medium-but-gay things about the SyFy show Ghost Wars. SEAL Team is still ambiguous about whether they’ll ~go there~, and Ten Days in the Valley showed no signs of our new couple this week.

Oh but first! Carmen pointed out to me that this week is the three year anniversary of this column’s first arrival here at Autostraddle! :blows birthday party noisemaker: Happy birthday, Boob Tube!

Things worth noting if not recapping, a character on the show Ghosted said he had four mothers, “Mom, mum, mummy, and Lynn.” He said his story involves a few divorces and “a whole bunch of lesbians” which honestly sounds like a story I’d be into hearing. Wisdom of the Crowd also had a little side lesbian; a cute girl with blue streaks in her hair said she met her partner in Quidditch forums, which while not being explicitly gay, was still definitely gay and you can’t take that away from me.

On Lucifer, bisexual hell demon Maze had sex with a woman off-screen and then made this face about it:

Maze smirks remembering her sexytimes

Such a good face.

On Legends of Tomorrow, Sara Lance wrestled around with Jes Macallan who you may or may not remember from her brief stint as bisexual on the US version of Mistresses. (Her stint on Mistresses wasn’t brief, their commitment to her character, Joss, being bisexual was.) I don’t know if anything is going to happen there, but I do know that I want it to.

Nyssa is still MIA on Arrow, and more than usual since last we saw her she was on an island that exploded, and no one has even given us so much as a throwaway line about her being alive or dead.

Also, I know this isn’t technically a TV show, but it was a made-for-TV-movie starring some of your favorite TV actors and I think it’s worth mentioning: SyFy aired an original horror movie called Neverknock, and it stars Waverly from Wynonna Earp (Dominique Provost-Chalkley) and Five from Dark Matter (Jodelle Ferland) as Grace and Leah, respectively. Grace and Leah are the leads of this movie, and also they are dating. Or starting to date. They are technically “taking it slow” but they are both queer and very much into each other and the leads in this horror movie. The movie itself is cheesy in the way most horror movies are, but I LOVE that particular sub-genre, and having two ladies at the front of it who weren’t being motivated by a man and also were queer was very exciting. And the core group of teens was four girls and one boy and that boy was Varun Saranga, who plays Jeremy on Wynonna Earp, so that too was new and different. All in all it’s a really fun watch, and I think it’s the perfect addition to this Halloween season.

Speaking of Halloween, ABC aired It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown instead of Greys, BUT we have a little Jane the Virgin content for you instead, on top of some Shannara, AHS, and HTGAWM. Without further ado…


The Shannara Chronicles

When we last left Lyria and Eretria, they had been kidnapped, and we start this episode with them strung up by their wrists. A man swoops in to save them (blessedly admitting he believes the girls could have saved themselves if given more time) but he wasn’t looking out for their best interest so much as he has been tasked to take Lyria as his bounty. Eretria goes after her, dressing the part and threatening anyone she can to get her girl back, and since Jax (aforementioned bounty hunter) loves love, he tells her where to find Lyria. Much to Eretria’s surprise, she finds her in the palace, because Lyria isn’t an ex-rover like her, but a princess.

Princess Lyria has a bejeweled eyebrow

I can’t tell if I hate this eyebrow jewelry or need it immediately.

And a princess betrothed to Amberle’s Uncle Ander at that. Lyria tries to assure Eretria she never technically lied to her, that she’s only ever felt like her true self when they were together, but before they can work things out, Lyria’s mother’s minions scoop Eretria up to go meet the queen herself.

The queen is a force and not amused by her daughter’s “weakness for feisty brunettes,” and tells Eretria that the speech about their relationship being special is the same one she has given to the scullery maid and the innkeeper’s son before. The queen offers Eretria money to leave, because her presence just puts her plan for an alliance in danger of falling apart.

Eretria, her pride bruised and her heart sore, is more than willing to get out of there, and gives Lyria a chance to prove that her whole “it’s different with you” spiel is legit by inviting her to come with, but Lyria is sure her mother would hunt them down, so Eretria leaves her behind, saying coldly, “There’s nothing left for me here.” Because her first princess is a tree and her second princess might be a liar and she doesn’t know who her little rover heart can trust anymore. I’m hoping they find their way back to each other, but it seems like they might spend a few episodes apart now, unfortunately.

Lyria looks pleadingly and sadly at Eretria

Same.


Jane the Virgin

Written by Yvonne

Episode 1

Jane The Virgin kicks the Season 4 premiere off with lots of telenovela shenanigans. First of all, they switched the child actor that plays Mateo with a different child actor and I’m really sad about it! The Old Mateo was so freaking adorable! I will miss him but I’m sure I will grow to like New Mateo too.

There’s also a new woman narrator in town who introduces us to Adam, the guy Jane almost married when she was 19. But that’s so unlike Jane! I was like whaaat, Jane would never decide to marry a guy she dated for a few months even if she was young and in love. They got engaged but Adam stood Jane up and they never got married. Sidenote, I found the woman narrator to be annoying and I think it’s because in contrast the original narrator is SO GOOD and my favorite and reminds me of my former gay best friend. Anyways, Adam is the tenant who found Jane’s letter to Michael under the loose floorboard, kept it in his wallet all these years without realizing it was the Jane Villanueva and finally returned it to her after Ro and Xo’s wedding.

Some would say their meeting is kismet, but in the Jane The Virgin universe, I’m totally suspicious of Adam and what he’s all about.

Jane and Adam talk and catch up on the beach and soon enough Jane is proving to Adam she’s not the girl he used to know and they’re skinny dipping in the ocean. They’re interrupted by New Mateo running down to the beach to save Jane from Stranger Danger with Rogelio, Xiomara and Alba not too far behind. Alba and Xiomara have always disapproved of Adam so they’re not happy about this new development.

Throughout the episode, we see Jane struggling to figure out if she still has feelings for Rafael or if she should rekindle her old flame with Adam. Jane is getting mixed signals from Rafael but he actually still has feelings for Petra. At one point, Jane thinks Rafael is seducing her and is about to jump in the shower with him when she realizes he isn’t seducing her and they end up having a huge fight over their financial struggles due to Luisa freezing Rafael’s accounts. Rafael wants to dip into Mateo’s trust fund to pay for his private school tuition while Jane doesn’t want her son to be enrolled in a school where its administrators aren’t understanding or compassionate of their financial situation. It escalates into a blowout over class and how to raise Mateo. It seems like Jane finally figures out Rafael isn’t the guy for her — at least for now.

On the other hand, Adam woos Jane by making her favorite grilled cheese for a romantic dinner on the roof of his loft and a cute astrology lesson. It turns out Adam is the composer of the “love cue” which plays when Jane gets lovey dovey feelings in the show. Adam is a comic book artist and is supposed to be dreamy and down to earth but I don’t know anything about Adam and I’m not invested in him yet.

Meanwhile, Rogelio and Xiomara aren’t enjoying their honeymoon and wedded bliss because Darci keeps trying to sabotage Rogelio into breaking his contract. Darci ultimately wants sole custody of their baby and baits Rogelio on social media into doing something stupid. Xiomara tells Rogelio he really needs to get his shit together and act civil with Darci for the sake of their baby. Rogelio changes his mind and decides to be nice to Darci. And then Darci goes into labor, maybe!

Let’s talk about the gay parts of Jane The Virgin!

Luisa and Anezka team up to get back at their siblings. Luisa is upset Rafael lied to her about his cancer relapse and landing the love of her life Rose in jail so she decides to kick him out of the hotel and freezes all his accounts. Anezka lured Petra out to the dock and tried to kill her but in their struggle they fall into the water and Petra survives. Luisa wants to sell the hotel in order to send $100 million to Rose’s account in the Cayman’s to initiate her escape protocol now that she’s in jail. Petra pretends to be Anezka once she finds out Luisa’s plan and schemes with Rafael to take back the Marbella. I feel like they’ve done too many Petra/Anezka switcharoos and Marbella power plays in several plotlines already! Don’t get me wrong, it’s really fun to watch Yael Grobglas switch back and forth between Anezka and Petra but these plot devices aren’t surprising anymore. Soon enough we find out that Luisa finds out that Petra isn’t really Anezka because Anezka is alive. The episode ends with Rose killing someone in an interrogation room after he tells her he’ll keep her secret.

We haven’t seen much of Rose lately so we don’t know what she’s planning next. Is she still the villain? Let’s hope we can see more from Luisa and Rose this season.

Episode 2

We catch a quick glimpse of Luisa in this episode when she’s demanding that Anezka make Petra sign her shares of the Marbella away. And that’s it, then she’s gone!

In the rest of the episode we see that Jane and Rafael are still struggling to figure out whether or not to enroll Mateo in public school or find the money for private school. They’re still being so mean to each other and discussing Mateo’s future. At one point, Jane snaps when Rafael suggests they lie about their address so Mateo could go to the public school in Ro and Xo’s district. Jane is all like all you do is lie and makes some assumptions about rich people. Rafael turns around and says that it was Alba’s idea. Jane is taken aback and eventually apologizes to Rafael and hopes they can be friends again.

Jane and Adam are having lots of fun together! Jane is Fun Jane when she’s with him and she’s reminded that she’s still young and more than just a mom. Adam was also offered a job in LA and asks Jane if he should stay in Miami instead. She fractures her leg when she jumps off the roof after playing roofball with Adam and misses her appointment to meet with the Catholic school she’s interested in enrolling Mateo in. Jane’s not sure if it’s all just a fun fantasy or if it can be a real thing with Adam. I’m still not invested in Adam but Jane sure does like him and seems a lot happier!

Rafael and Petra are trying to have mature conversations which turn out to be extra diplomatic when navigating their feelings. They’re trying to get secret investors to get the Marbella back and there’s two options that could be detrimental to their relationship: it involves either Chuck, Petra’s former lover or Rafael hooking up with hot hotelier Katherine Cortes. Petra decides that she doesn’t want to be with Rafael and Rafael ends up hooking up with Katherine Cortez because of it.

Rogelio and Fabian are up to their telenovela shenanigans again. They don’t want to work together anymore so the women executives decide to kill one of them off the show to boost ratings. A women’s focus group will decide their fate. Fabian’s grandmother infiltrates the women’s focus group to sway them into picking Fabian’s character to remain on the show. Rogelio finds out and was about to bust Fabian’s grandma but instead decides to infiltrate the group as well by disguising himself as a woman. I love Jane the Virgin and I love Rogelio but did they really have to resort to a historically transphobic trope just so Rogelio can remain on his telenovela and gain insight to understanding women? We know Rogelio isn’t a trans woman but it doesn’t do anything to help the harmful idea that trans women are men who like to dress as women and trick people.

Darci’s labor pains were a false alarm and instead was put on bed rest for her stress. She’s being a bitch to Xo who’s really taking care of her while Rogelio is out on set. I loved that Xo put Darci in her place and told her that Xo and Ro would be taking care of her and the baby no matter what because that’s what family is about, which is super real in Latino families.

Oh and the giant cliffhanger of this episode is that ONE OF THESE CHARACTERS WILL DIE! Oh god, the options are: Petra’s mom, Anezka, Luisa, Petra, Rafael, or Alba. I mean, the show killed off Michael and I thought that would never happen so I have no idea who might go! But damn, they better not kill off Luisa before they even tried to develop her as a character and they better not even think of touching a hair on Alba.


How to Get Away with Murder

Written by Natalie

Much to her counselor’s chagrin, Annalise is still determined to file her class action suit so this week, armed with her unhackable tape recorder, she takes her first steps to that end. Getting Virginia’s client list, via court transcripts, will cost her about $3,000 and Annalise doesn’t have the spare cash. She calls in a debt from Soraya Hargove, the President of the Middleton College, and gets a consulting gig on her not-so-amicable split and custody case.

Annalise’s co-counsel in the case? Tegan Price, flanked by her new intern, Michaela Pratt.

This feels like a gift. Like Pete Nowalk anticipated how much I’d hate the rest of this episode (more on that later) and decided to give me scenes featuring Viola Davis (who I love), Luna Lauren Vélez (who I’ve had a crush on since her New York Undercover days) and Amirah Vann (the unexpected star of Underground) to mollify me. At one point, Tegan even says of Annalise, “She’s still hot. I’ll give her that,” and my mind starts pondering whether Annalise could be with any other woman that wasn’t Eve and what Tegan and Annalise’s shipper name would be. As penance for really awful, offensive storytelling goes, it’s insufficient but, still, a nice thought.

They win the case, of course, and Tegan’s so impressed with Annalise’s performance, that she volunteers to talk to the partners on Annalise’s behalf if she’s looking for a new law firm to join. Annalise doesn’t accept the offer but she doesn’t decline it either, which makes Michaela apoplectic.

She chases Annalise to the elevator for the second time this episode and tells Annalise that she can’t come to Caplan & Gold. This is her new start, Michaela contends, and Annalise has no right to impose on it. And, I don’t think it’s the ask that Annalise objects to, it’s the reckless tone that Michaela uses and—FINALLY—Annalise has had enough. She’s coddled these kids and suffered their misplaced indignation and she’s just had it. So she turns to her former intern and reads her for filth.

“You’re doing it again,” Annalise warns. “Looking for a mommy everywhere you go. Me, Tegan, whatever woman you encounter next, you want us all to be the mother yours never was.”

Michaela tries to protest, but nothing comes out and Annalise leaves her standing in that uncomfortable truth.

Elsewhere, Laurel’s obstetrician has taken her off her anti-depressant medication and it’s left her wanting to hump everyone in sight. That doesn’t include Michaela, unfortunately—a disappointing development after last season’s enthusiastic kiss—but the pair once again collude to use Michaela’s new position to bring down Laurel’s father.

Michaela’s internship only gives her access to the company e-mail and access to Tegan’s files (and, hence, Laurel’s father’s files) on an as-needed, by approval, basis. Instead of further implicating her boss in the scandal, Michaela calls on Oliver to provide the technical support she needs.

Laurel’s a bit more successful in tracking down incriminating evidence from her perch in the DA’s office. She notices a familiar name among the list of donors to Todd Denver’s newly launched Attorney General campaign: Trent Stockton. Laurel remembers Stockton as a former Antares employee who died under mysterious circumstances. She surmises that the donations are really coming from her father, payment to Denver for helping cover up Wes’ death.

While all this is going on, Bonnie’s digging into the same files that Annalise is, looking for prosecutorial mistakes that could implicate the DA’s office. But in her cold heart of hearts, Bonnie is trying to obstruct Annalise’s path to the Public Defenders’ Office showcasing, once again, what her former mentor warned her against last week: her inability to separate her emotions from her job.

When Denver comes to check on Bonnie’s progress, he notices Laurel out in the bullpen and asks what she’s doing in the office. Once he discovers that Bonnie’s brought in yet another Annalise acolyte, he orders Bonnie to fire Laurel immediately. She can’t, of course, because Laurel’s pregnant and firing a pregnant woman could lead to a discrimination lawsuit.

So, let’s review: Laurel tells her father that she’s had an abortion, fearing for her life and the life of her unborn child. Then Laurel goes to work for a man she knows is working for her father. While Laurel couldn’t have anticipated Bonnie telling Denver that she was pregnant, did she think he wouldn’t notice her protruding belly? And did she think that, if and when Denver did notice, that he wouldn’t run straight to her father with congratulations for his impending grandfatherhood? It’s such an obvious turn of events that I can’t imagine Laurel having not anticipated it. And yet…

But, clearly, Laurel’s not making good decisions because she meets up with Frank, and then an otherwise great episode of one of my favorite shows turns to absolute crap.

Laurel’s horny and there’s Frank just sitting there, assuring her that she’ll be an awesome mom and promising to help in whatever way he can. He looks good—Charlie Weber’s beard has finally grown back—and his voice has that sexy, gravelly quality to it. And so, horny Laurel pounces on him, pushing Frank’s seat back and straddling him.

He says no. He protests that this is not what he meant. But she forces herself on him anyway, covering his mouth and saying, “Shh. It’s just sex. Shut up and take it.”

The words would’ve made me recoil whenever I heard them but after the last few weeks of hearing one story of sexual assault after the next, after watching one survivor after another, male and female alike, relive their trauma, I want to vomit. On this week’s episode of How to Get Away With Murder, Laurel Castillo raped Frank Delfino, and one of the most progressive TV production companies that’s ever existed doesn’t seem to be bothered by it.

Based on the promo, we’ll see more of Laurel and Frank next week, but I can almost guarantee the scene in the car won’t be brought up again. They’ll romanticize it and, by the season’s end, we’ll hardly remember that a rape is how it started.

This is the second show I’ve recapped on Autostraddle where one of the male characters is raped by a woman (Claws is the other) and while it feels out of sorts to belabor this point, given what we know about the perpetrators of sexual assault, I still feel obliged, as a survivor, to call out sexual assault when I see it. Women can rape men and, without question, Laurel Castillo raped Frank Delfino.

If you believe in the power of representation to change the way a viewer feels about themselves or the people around them—as those in Shondaland clearly do—then you can’t keep showcasing rape and pretending that it’s something less vile than it is. Depictions like this only add to our country’s profound misunderstanding of consent and rape and I couldn’t be more disappointed in Michael Russo, Pete Nowalk and the Shondaland team for adding to America’s ignorance.

Some final thoughts…

– Annalise is damn near destitute this season and I’m not entirely sure why. Back when Eve and Annalise were plotting their escape to Paris, she said she had “Sam money,” and I’m just wondering where it all went.

Related: what was Frank thinking, offering Annalise the money he got for helping murder her child? He was just starting to make inroads with Annalise after helping her with her last two cases and then he does that? On what planet does he imagine Annalise would ever take that blood money?

– A few weeks ago, I called Connor the Bette Porter of How to Get Away With Murder and, by all accounts, his father agrees. Like Bette, Connor clings to his relationship because it’s what he thinks he should want (monogamy, family) rather than what he actually does. Prepare for your Coliver shipping hearts to be broken in 3, 2, 1…

– Oh, Jimmy Smits, I knew you were up to no good. After submitting a positive recommendation to Annalise’s review board, we overhear him making patient notes that are not nearly as positive. He calls Annalise a trigger for him but we don’t get to hear why because his new client has arrived: Julie (aka Bonnie!).


American Horror Story Episode 707: Valerie Solanas Died For Your Sins: Scumbag

Written by Riese

I’m gonna need a new phrase to replace “on the nose” because I don’t know how many times I can say that about this show before it loses its meaning, you know? But how about this week’s episode of American Horror Story, ladies! How about it!

I wanna start with this scene that’s about 45 minutes into “Valerie Solanas Died For Your Sins: Scumbag,” so you know, bear with me. Lena Dunham plays Valerie Solanas, who’s one of a very small number of women throughout history who openly expressed a desire to literally kill all men. Like most women of that specific persuasion, Solanas was a survivor of multiple sexual assaults. Her father, reportedly, had raped her repeatedly and at some point Solanas had a baby and the baby was taken from her, and maybe the father was a john or a sailor or a relative, we don’t really know. Okay, but in this scene, Valerie is furious, in the throes of a schizoid episode, and she’s pounding away at her typewriter with fierce, manic intensity. They’ve got Dunham in this wig that’s like if you got a Heavy Metal Rocker Wig from the Spirit of Halloween pop-up store in the late ’80s and then left it under your bed for three decades. Her skin is ruddy and scarred. She’s talking to herself as she pursues the impossible task of documenting every male killer in the history of the world, throwing illegible typed pages all over her room. Then Andy Warhol — or, I guess, the ghost of Andy Warhol—shows up, legs crossed, perched on the edge of her ratty couch, carefully eating a McDonald’s cheeseburger. “Oh, Valerie, you’ve really let yourself go,” he says, all dry and gay, “You’ve gained so much weight.” His hair is just so, the acne visible beneath the makeup but the makeup’s as good as he could do, that’s for sure, and his clothes fit properly and his shirt goes with his pants and it all goes with his jacket. They volley insults back and forth, and then she knocks the sandwich out of his hand and yells, “I’ve had men trying to shut me up since I was a little girl!”

And I thought to myself, well, here we are. Here is the blown-up embodiment of every terrible stereotype about lesbians and gay men and how certain cis white gay men see lesbians. If anybody wants to erect a monument to whichever archetype of gay male / lesbian relations it is that the popular imagination ascribes to, here is a gift for you.

Like so many Murphy/Falchuk ideas, “Valerie Solanas Died For Your Sins” begins with a reasonable, innovative concept, one with adequate charm and relevance. For a minute it seems brilliant, even. Redemptive, even! Feminist history, even! Women gathering together to strike back against sexual assault! Untold stories being told, etc.

And then they take it just a tad too far. Then they take it even farther than that, into the realm of utter ridiculousness, and all the points that could’ve been made are sort of sandpapered out of existence. Then they launch a mission to Mars and take the idea with them up there and then they shoot the idea right at the moon but they miss and then the idea blows up the whole planet earth.

The episode itself was written by and directed by women, and I do think it’s the season’s best. The plot and outline of the thing is the problem here, not the writing out or playing out of that plot/outline.

The basic story of the episode is this: Bebe Babbitt (Frances Conroy), the former lover of Valerie Solanas and member of her S.C.U.M. group, entreats herself upon the women of Kai’s cult, who have been shut out of the shenanigans since the election, replaced by a group of Mormon-looking white men in matching denim shirts. This gave me lots of nostalgia for when I worked at GapKids.

Bebe tells Beverly, Winter and Ivy the saga of Valerie’s group, which’s partially ripped from history and partially fabricated. We open with Solanas’ famed shooting of Andy Warhol, who she loathed ’cause he didn’t want to put on her play “Up Your Ass” and claimed to have lost the script when she wanted it back (in reality, the script was so pornographic and vulgar that he thought it was a police trap, and promptly disposed of it). Then we get into the myth of the episode, in which Solanas’ misandrist classic, “The S.C.U.M. Manifesto,” is the rallying cry for a real group of women (and two gay men) she gathers to actually literally murder men and the women who love them. Her and her ladies, Bebe claims, were the real Zodiac Killers. All those murders were S.C.U.M. murders except for the taxi cab one.

Once the murdering starts, the episode gets nearly unbearable. It’s gory and gross and makes radical lesbian feminists look like monsters. After a stay in the Matteawan State Hospital for the Criminally Insane, Valerie decides she was wrong about letting gay men in the group, and decides to kill them, and oh my good lord it was the absolute worst murder I’ve witnessed in AHS history, which is saying a whole lot. I hated it visually, politically, socially, all of it, I hated it!

(Oh and by the way, Ally isn’t in this episode — at the start, we learn that Meadow has been identified as the mass shooter but Ally was also taken into police custody, but she isn’t talking. She doesn’t show up in this episode.)

The contrast of the lady-cult and the man-cult had potential: one is a cult of personality led by a well-off straight white cis man, the product of an abusive father / submissive mother. He’s fundamentally sane and chooses to make himself “insane’ by stealing his sister’s psychiatric medications. He lies and manipulates and desires power for its own sake and he gets it and then he quickly rises to a relative position of legitimate power. When a woman, Sallie Kemper, gets in the way of his rise to the top, he just goes ahead and murders her. The lady-cult is led by a working-class, gender non-conforming lesbian woman who is a survivor of abuse, incest and sexual assault, who has untreated mental illnesses and is estranged from her family. She is disenfranchised. The core of her cult is a relatively diverse group of women and femme gay men. She gathers people together not to start something, but to fight back.

S.C.U.M. meeting

But things go so off the rails for the lady-cult that the potential dissolves into a haunted house of horror. After Kai discovers the S.C.U.M. Manifesto in Winter’s room, he tells her that Harrison had an idea for the women’s faction of his cult, to call it “Men Lead, Women Bleed.” He’s obviously lying, but it somehow works, and Winter tells the girls about Harrison’s idea. This leads to Bebe, Winter, Ivy and Beverly murdering Harrison using a chainsaw? I had to close my eyes for the entire fucking scene so I’m not entirely confident about the type of power tool employed. Unlike the gay men murdered in the SCUM flashback, though, Harrison is a classic gay male misogynist who wants to build Kai a throne like on Game of Thrones.

“The male likes death, it excites him sexually, and already dead inside, he wants to die,” Bebe reads from the Manifesto as they prepare to sacrifice Harrison to the spirit of Valerie Solanas.

“I just drove my wife crazy, I didn’t get her killed!” Ivy yells at Harrison when he snaps back about what she’s done to Ally whens he calls him out for getting Meadow killed.

“Her death had more meaning than any moment in her pathetic life,” he screams, like a gay man who wants to be murdered by a lesbian with a large power tool.

Beverly Hope reports on the murder on the television. Authorities find Harrison’s body parts in a pond, covered in scum.

Kai sits on his couch, watching the report on his television, impassive and unmoved. “They’re at their best when they’re angry, ” Kai finally says. “Don’t you think?”

The camera pans over to the chair beside the couch, where Bebe sits, smoking a cigar. She responds: “Aren’t we all?”

So there we have it, then. This woman’s story, the one that went off the rails, wasn’t ever a woman’s story, it was also Kai’s story. Bebe has been in on it this whole time. He took a real woman—a controversial figure and one of the only well-known women in contemporary history to espouse really batshit ideas under the banner of feminism and lesbianism, aka the kind of woman that the alt-right ADORES — and twisted her story to fit his purposes, fed it to a woman who fed it to a bunch of women. Even our own story is his story. Fucking hell.

Just a nerdy, TV-loving, Twitter-addicted Hufflepuff who loves reading, watching, and writing about stories. One part Kara Danvers, two parts Waverly Earp, a dash of Cosima and an extra helping of my own brand of weirdo.

Valerie has written 168 articles for us.

18 Comments

  1. Argh, I submitted something to Autostraddle, and I was giving them until this article before I posted it myself. Now I can’t remember what that was, but I don’t think it’s here. Work with me, brain.

  2. Jane the Virgin is always fun to watch. I like HTGAWM but all the flashbacks gets tiring to watch just like it was with Quantico… but Viola Davis is worth it.
    Lucifer is very entertaining to watch and the dialogues are good and fun.
    Seal Team on CBS has a lesbian character so its another one on CBS with NCISNOLA.

    I am giving up on Supergirl. I enjoyed season 1 and 2 but this season 3 is totally disappointing. Not only because of the whole Sanvers storyline which took a turn take and makes no sense anymore. Mostly because the writers are messing up making the main character all about the guy…
    I am enjoying reading the tweets from all types of fans giving out to CW and the Supergirl writers so they can see that it is not only LGBTQ fans who are annoyed.
    I don’t know how the whole politics of Hollywood works but the fact that Floriana Lima is apparently not allowed to give interview or comment about the storyline is quite ridiculous. On top of the whole SDCC that the cast made fun of gay fans, I am done with the show.

  3. This last episode of AHS was one of the best of the season indeed but this ending scene killed me in such way that I have no words for it. It was so powerful that it threw me away from everything else.

    About Mindhunter, I was so happy to see Anna Torv again that I didn’t think through about her character. Now I just hope they don’t erase her sexuality completely next season (assuming there’ll be a next one), and that they giver her as much attention (and screen time) as the male characters.

    Finally, did you guys see Anna Paquim’s character on Philip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams last week? I don’t really remember reading about the episode here but I think it promotes a nice discussion about forgiveness and self-recovery.

  4. Natalie, thanks for another thoughtful recap of HTGAWM. I’m glad you made note of Tegan Price’s remarks about/to Annalise, because I was also wondering if the show was setting her up as a potential love interest.

    I also understand why you were deeply disturbed by the Laurel/Frank car scene. That said, I don’t fully share your interpretation. It’s clear that Laurel did not obtain anything close to clear consent from Frank when she aggressively initiates sexual contact (he says no!), so by the book, this is sexual assault. However, I believe that for interpreting what happens afterwards, it’s important to take into account the power dynamics between two people (regardless of their gender), including physical strength and whether there’s some hierarchical relationship (boss/employee, teacher/student, superior officer/recruit etc.), because that affects a person’s capacity to refuse to continue the interaction or otherwise negotiate as an equal partner how the encounter proceeds. Since Frank is not physically weaker than Laurel and since they aren’t in that kind of hierarchical relationship, he was in a position to stop the encounter going further. I’m not saying that he might not have felt *emotionally* compelled to go along with what Laurel wanted because (i) they have at one time had strong feelings for each other, or (ii) he feels guilty about Wes’s death, or any other number of unhealthy reasons that often drive the characters on this show. But I didn’t interpret that scene as ending up with Frank being raped.

    If it were Frank and Annalise, with Annalise behaving like Laurel, then most likely, I’d have a different view, because Annalise *does* have a kind of twisted mentor-employer thing going on with Frank, and it would feel like a more coercive context and one where Frank would have far less room to choose what he wanted. But with Laurel, I didn’t see it that way.

    All that said, I agree that sexual aggression from women to men is rarely framed as at least potential sexual assault, but we’re supposed to see it as something hot, since of *course* men want it (because men always want sex), and that’s very problematic. Years ago, on Once Upon a Time, there was a scene where the Evil Queen told her guards sneeringly to take the captured Woodsmen to her “chambers,” and to me, the implication that she would force him to submit to her sexually was undeniable … but the showrunners nevertheless denied it.

  5. “The episode itself was written by and directed by women, and I do think it’s the season’s best. The plot and outline of the thing is the problem here, not the writing out or playing out of that plot/outline.”

    Was it? It improved a bit later, but I thought the writing of Valerie Solanas and Dunham’s acting at the beginning – from the abysmal sex work scene to the absurdly hackneyed passionless cries of down with the patriarchy as she shot Warhol – was literally one of the worst writing/acting combinations I’ve ever seen on TV.

    More generally, aughhhh, I swear Ryan Murphy is pulling some of the worst centrist-liberal horseshoe theory tediousness ever. People who couldn’t stomach voting for a war criminal to stop Trump are the same as Trump. The problem with the cult members isn’t their ideology, it’s their ~extremism~, and somehow this can bring together people who blatantly in reality wouldn’t touch each other with a bargepole. Radical feminists are precisely the caricature that ooh-but-I’m-not-like-*them* liberal feminists would have them be (and yes, radical feminism has some abysmal stuff in its history and present, but the inability to divine even the most basic irony in Solanas’ work is grim).

  6. I am delighted by the nature of these Jane the Virgin recaps! Just in the sense that they’re delivered with the lightness of the show, it’s a lot of fun. I’m bummed that all the lesbians on the show are Pure Evil, though. But they’re so good at everything else.

    Mindhunter is terrific, with a lesbian protagonist (well, there are 3 protagonists, but she is one). Though it certainly comes with the world’s giantest trigger warning since they do discuss real serial killers and real heinous things done to women, I find the show a pretty tasteful handling of it. It comes up a lot (the specifics) because how could it not, but the lack of interest in depicting it via imagery is refreshing. They discuss it and quite a bit, because it’s revolting, but the context makes sense. Also, Wendy’s partner is a pretty terrible stereotype but is more of an academia stereotype than a lesbian one and is also dispensed of pretty quickly. And the men’s cluelessness about Wendy is a bit of fun that I like the showrunners for, since it’s not a thing in the book. Recommended, but again, only for those who can listen to frequent graphic discussions of some of the most (nonfiction) horrific things ever committed against women.

  7. Maze had sex with a woman. It’s not the first time in the series (she’s previously done so to get things she wants from those women, although she does enjoy it), but it’s noteworthy that her bisexuality returns in the episode that’s literally all about how she doesn’t have a soul.

    Kind of like how Lucifer is only “actively bisexual” in episodes where is plays up his amoral or sex fiend character traits, and between that it’s all women all the time.

      • I agree. But, that happens at the very end. Her bisexuality is displayed right in the middle of the “Maze doesn’t have a soul” arc, as a supporting piece of evidence.

        The writing on Lucifer is so very predictable we all know she’s not going to be irredeemable in the end, but the sex occurs in the “suspension of disbelief” part of the episode.

  8. Seeing four powerful black/latina women sitting on the same side of that mediation was a highlight of my week. I’ve been shipping Annalise and Soraya since they met, but will take an Annalise/Tegan pairing gladly.

    Not excited for the impending Coliver breakup, mainly because I think Oliver makes Conner, but also because I didn’t like Connor’s dad and so I’m skeptical of both his motives and his interpretation of his son.

    Also, I’m grateful that you wrote about that awful car scene, because it made me so uncomfortable. I’m not a fan of anything happening to/with Laurel this season (esp her not dating Michaela) but that scene with Frank was so unnecessary and gross.

    Why, when Frank canonically wants and probs loves Laurel, write a scene in which she forces him into sex? Why use language like “not like this” and “shut up and take it” when Frank “desparate to win back everyone he had 3 seasons ago” Delfino could’ve probably been propositioned by a horny, needy Laurel, and, against his better judgment, decided he’d take any chance to make her slightly less unhappy, even if it meant casual sex. It would be one thing to show exes making a shitty decision in a haze of pregnancy hormones and desperation, but that’s not what they did.

    Yes Frank is stronger than Laurel. Yes he’s older and he used to kinda sorta be her boss, but he clearly told her no and she clearly didn’t listen.

    Emotionally manipulating people into sex is rape. Playing on the guilt of someone who loves you to get them into bed is rape. Ignoring someone’s “no” is rape.

    It’s so simple and so disappointing.

  9. i am so, so upset that ahs has taken anything that could have been remotely politically productive and turned it into basically a parody – too self-aware to be helpful but not self-aware enough to be satire. i don’t know what i was expecting.

  10. I didn’t watch NeverKnock because I don’t do scary movies but I love what SyFy did. They created this movie and offered roles to actors on their already established show.
    I am dating myself but those were some of my favorite Made for TV movies of the 80’s and 90’s where you took all the “IT” kids of that time and made movies like “Dance til Dawn”, “Camp Cucamonga”, “Crash Course”, yeah they were super cheesy but they were fun to watch.
    Bring that back, you get fans of a certain actor watching the movie for them and you also pique the interest for a fan to check out the co-stars show too.

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