Boob(s On Your) Tube: Root and Shaw Are Getting Ready To Rip Each Other’s Clothes Off

There’s so much queer TV to explore about this week, including a new web series starring Brittani Nichols, another exemplary episode of Orphan Black, and Raven-Symone’s triumphant return to Black-ish as Dre’s lesbian sister. But first, we sure do need to talk about this season five Person of Interest trailer.

I cannot believe I am seeing what I am seeing. I cannot believe my eyeballs are looking at such a thing. THIS thing.

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Long live, maintext! Come quickly, May 3rd!


Empire

Wednesdays on Fox at 9:00 p.m.

Written by Carolyn Wysinger

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I am in shock. Empire is on a roll! They toned down all the over-the-top antics and misplaced guest appearances and are sticking to providing good drama. I can’t believe I just said that. Although they did bring in one of their best guest appearances at the end of this episode.

This week begins all the way in St. Louis where creepy ass Thursty continues being, well, creepy and approaches a little girl in the park. I was afraid he was going to kidnap her. Instead he plucks a big chunk of hair from her head. It was commissioned by Lucious and carried out by Thursty, so it’s totally in character. The two of them together are both tacky and tasteless.

Rhonda is still staying with Anika and filling her in on what’s going on with her and Andre. He shows up at the door so they can talk about getting back together. As they are discussing getting a place together, we hear Anika in the bathroom throwing up. When they get to the bathroom and ask her what is wrong, sweet, innocent Anika doesn’t want to tell them. Not after what they have gone through. She doesn’t want to tell them, but she must! She’s pregnant and it’s Hakeem baby. What in the world will they all do? (Yes, that was in my sarcastic voice.)

Lucious is having a part for all of the big money shareholders in Empire. It’s a group Cookie aptly describes as “old white folks” that are so excited to see Lucious’ “gritty and raw” video for Boom, Boom, Boom. When that lady actually said “gritty and raw,” I almost spit up. She just as well have said, “It’s just the right amount of ghetto.” But again I can’t be mad. This is how decisions about hip-hop music are made every single day. Cookie hems Lucious up to find out if he is planning to pull something at Hakeem’s shareholder meeting because she claims she is trying to pull the family back together. She also lets him know that she found out that Frank Gathers is Freda’s father. Lucious promises that Freda is not a problem, but Cookie isn’t convinced and doesn’t want her hanging around the boys.

Which is exactly what she’s doing. Jamal is visiting her at the barbershop where she cuts hair and apparently spits random bars with Jamal. Even the tracks that Timbaland has been giving Jamal have been better since they started including Freda. As Jamal leaves the shop, another dude walks in and sits in the memorial chair they have for Frank Gathers. So disrespectful. Number one, you don’t just randomly sit in a chair in the barbershop unless you have been called for service, and this chair was a memorial for Freda’s dad. Dude ran his mouth for a minute but soon had it closed as Freda pistol-whipped him right there in the shop. If she did that for a guy sitting in her dad’s chair, what’s she going to do when she finds out Lucious had him killed?

Jamal plays his new track with Freda for Cookie and the A&R team and everyone is feeling it, except Cookie. She tries to convince Jamal that it’s not good enough to take people’s attention off of Lucious’ video. Jamal is in shock and goes to battle for his song. Cookie relents but she already has a plan in motion.

Hakeem and Jamal are meeting with the execs of the label as they prepare for the shareholders meeting. Andre joins the brothers to talk strategy with Hakeem. Among the most important pieces of information is that Lucious is going to be a problem. Hakeem doesn’t want him there but all shareholders have the right to attend. Hakeem will have to be on point with all of his numbers so that he can impress the shareholders who all view Lucious as the face of the company. While the boys are talking strategy, Thursty is playing chauffeur to a group a guys who run up on the Empire warehouse and steal all the Antony and Cleopatra designer clothes. Hakeem rushes to Lucious and confronts him about the heist but he has even bigger problems on his hands. Laura calls Hakeem to tell him that the road crew for the tour was stopped by the police and they found drugs in the truck. All of the gear for the tour was confiscated. Lucious doesn’t confirm that he had the drugs planted but you think he didn’t when you know he did?

Cookie made a deal with a Nicki Minaj lookalike name Stacy Run-Run. That’s a terrible stage name by the way. Stacy Run-Run will appear on the album as well as promote to her millions of social media followers. The only problem is that Ms. Run-Run has an exclusivity clause that says no other female rappers can be on a project with her. This is exactly how we ice ourselves out of the game. This was no accident though; Cookie is too smart for that. This is her methodical way of making Jamal boot Freda from the album.

Later that day, Hakeem and Cookie are having one last exec meeting before the shareholder meeting but there are literally no numbers to report because of Lucious’ exploits. Most importantly Hakeem keeps pouting like a baby when problems arise instead of coming up with solutions. Cookie tells him he needs to get a handle on his temper instead of exploding like a child in meetings.

Andre and Rhonda call the family to Lucious’ house so that Anika can announce her pregnancy. This time even Cookie wants Lucious to hurry up and pull out his checkbook to get rid of her. Notice how they are all quick to ask Lucious to do deceitful things for them when they need help. I guess that almost makes sense. They just wish he would stop doing deceitful stuff to his own family!

Anyway, Anika says she doesn’t want his money. The only thing she wants is for her child to have a real family. She wants the child to be treated like a real heir to Empire. Jamal insists that if there is going to be an heir that they need to find Lola. Remember Lucious has already found Lola and he tells Jamal he is not the father. Anika says she recognizes the role she played in the dysfunctional nature of the family and she wants to make amends so they can all be a family. So is she taking responsibility for pushing Rhonda down the stairs too, or nah?

Time for the shareholders meeting. Tiana got her hair all pressed out to perform her million-seller hit. Cookie introduces CEO Hakeem to the shareholders and he starts giving his speech. Meanwhile, over at Anika’s house, she walks in to find Lucious waiting for her. He offers to take care of her prenatal care and then give her ten million dollars to give the baby to Hakeem. Anika isn’t interested because she has already told him that she wants a family for the baby. He says she couldn’t want a family the way she betrayed him by sleeping with Hakeem. She is insistent that “He has made me believe in myself again.!” She knows that, “he,” means everything to Lucious. She says that after living with him for five years, she has information that the FBI might be interested to hear. Lucious isn’t worried. “Some women don’t survive child birth.”

Back at the shareholders meeting Hakeem is just wrapping up his speech before the shareholders when Lucious appears like magic. He heckles Hakeem by using the shareholders against him, eventually leading with a shareholder revolt calling for Lucious to return to Empire. Cookie finally takes over the meeting calling them both men willing to kill each other for Empire and make it successful. All the while Hakeem stands there pouting with his lip almost on the floor. Honestly, I wouldn’t want him as my CEO either with his spoiled ass. Then something I knew was coming happened. Someone yells out that what Empire needs is Cookie. I KNEW IT. I have always believed that if Cookie hadn’t gone to prison she would have been CEO from the beginning. Although the episode ends without the board appointing a new CEO. Although it ends with everyone assuming that Lucious will be reappointed to the throne. I truly believe that Cookie is the one they will appoint next week.

It’s time for Jamal to record his latest song with Stacy Run-Run but she isn’t there. Instead she sent her recorded track from Tokyo. Cookie assures Jamal that artists record in separate places all the time. This is absolutely true but Jamal isn’t feeling it. He misses the organic magic that he made with Freda and walks out of the session. He returns to Freda’s shop to beg her forgiveness and ask her back to the project. Freda says that she will think about it.

Thursty has another trick up his sleeve. He’s visiting a convalescent home where he drops a huge package of money on the nurse’s desk. The nurse asks if he wants to see Ms. W and he says no, he just wanted to make sure that everything is copacetic. Yes, Lucious’ mother is alive. Not only is she alive, but she is being played by effing Leslie Uggams! I told you Empire had a huge guest star at the end of the episode! Leslie Uggams, though?! If you don’t know Leslie Uggams, you need to take a day off of work and watch Roots! That’s Kizzie from Roots! Okay, I am done losing my shit over all that Black Girl Magic. Needless to say I can’t wait until next week’s episode!


Black-ish

Wednesdays on ABC at 8:00 p.m.

black-ish

Raven-Symone’s appearance as Dre’s lesbian sister Rhonda on last season’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” was one of my favorite lesbian sitcom plots in history. Lesbian guest appearances on half-hour comedies are usually centered on male characters’ misunderstandings about/reverence for women who sleep with other women, but Black-ish rolled out a wonderful, nuanced episode about Rhonda having to super overtly come out to her family because they wouldn’t just realize she’s gay, choosing instead to believe that she lives with her “lady mechanic” with whom she shares a cat named “Kitty Lang.”

Dre and Rhonda’s mom, Ruby, finally came to terms with Rhonda being gay last season, and this week, when Rhonda and Sharon come over to Dre’s for a family dinner to talk about their wedding, Ruby wants to be prepared.

Ruby: Listen, I know lesbians like saltines, but how do they feel about a Triscuit?
Dre: Mama, what are you doing?
Ruby: I’m just trying to make the lesbians feel more comfortable when they get here. Maybe crackers are all wrong. Maybe they’re more tuna on toast people.

When they arrive, Ryby hugs Rhonda and pats Sharon gruffly and says, “I’m not going to ask which one of you drove, or if it was in a midsize sport utility vehicle — because it doesn’t matter.” And later, at dinner: “Martina Navratilova. Billie Jean King. Oh, are those lesbians? I had no idea. Ellen DeGeneres.” What gets her, though, is when she hears Rhonda calling Sharon’s mother “Mama D.” Ruby has asked Sharon to call her “Deaconess,” but softens and tells Sharon to call her, “Ms. Ruby Johnson.” (And ultimately just “Mama Johnson.”)

The episode also hints at the trouble with white feminism, but doesn’t dive in there too deeply. It’s a good half-hour of comedy, and one of the very few depictions of black lesbians on television. Even if you don’t watch the show, you should watch the episode!


Orphan Black

Thursdays on BBC America at 10:00 p.m.

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All I wanted last season on Orphan Black was for the show to slow down and zoom in on the Leda clones and their relationships with each other. I mean, that’s basically all I want for any show. Character development over plot, times infinity’ a world of glacially-paced episodes like a smorgasbord of Carols. But Orphan Black wanted to do the opposite thing: zoom out as far as possible — how far and wide does this clone conspiracy even go?! — and move at the speed of lightening so no one would have a chance to think through their questions about that sci-fi science. This season, though, dearest, my dreams are coming true. After last week’s deep dive into Beth’s pre-suicidal psyche, “Transgressive Border Crossing” picks up where the core clones left off and takes a long moment to check in with all of them and their emotions, while inching the plot along like a sleepy little Glo Worm.

Speaking of which squiggly, crawly things, Sarah’s got one of those Neolution maggots in her cheek. Dyad planted it in there when they had her, I guess, which is both terrifying and disgusting. Even Ms. S, who has seen everything and done everything and always has enough gasoline on hand to burn down an entire house on a moment’s notice, is yucked out about it.

Leading up to that, we find out that Helena is posing as Alison for the free insurance and with the blessing of Donny. And she’s having twins! Wonderful! She loves sisters more than anything! Alison is struggling to be happy for Helena’s easy fertility, writing in her passion planner twenty hours a day, and perfectly at terms with the fact that she and Donny are manslaughterers (which isn’t as bad as being trained killers, okay?) Cosima is still kind of dying, trying to work out the genome sequence with Scott — their HQ is in the basement of a comic book show now — and missing Delphine like crazy. She tells S not to use “chicken” as a term of endearment for her, and next thing you know she’s sobbing into S’s chest about how sad she is that she can’t find Delphine.

The structure of “Transgressive Border Crossing” is pretty brilliant: By putting Sarah back into Beth’s space, the show continues to explore the parallels between them while flashing forward and backward seamlessly. It’s jarring watching Beth walk out of the house in the same clothes she was wearing in the pilot, the night she jumped in front of that train. And it’s down right soul-punching to juxtapose her detached, resigned embrace with M.K. in that moment with the one Cosima shares with Sarah when she arrives back home from Iceland. Beth could have made the sestrahood a reality, but she was too broken. She killed somebody that night she killed herself. And Sarah has created that Sestrahood — but the person who needed it the most (before we met Helena) is too scared to be a part of it now because she thinks what happened to Beth was all her fault.

With no sign of the Castor clones in sight and a promise from Scott that Dyad and Topside and all that are gone so we can focus on a single Big Bad in season four, I have never been more excited about this show. Also, how about that throwaway line that it’s only been SIX MONTHS, in-series time, since the pilot episode? Amazing.


Boxed In

On IFC.com right this second

https://www.instagram.com/p/BEgdionq6Wr/

I haven’t had a chance to watch IFC’s new Amy Rubin-penned web series about identity yet, but I can tell you that it stars Brittani Nichols and several other very funny queer women and that I will, for absolute sure, be watching it this weekend. Why don’t you watch it too, and we can talk about it in Tuesday’s column.

Heather Hogan is an Autostraddle managing editor who lives in New York City with her partner, Stacy, and their cackle of rescued pets. She's a member of the Television Critics Association, the Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and a Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer critic. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Heather has written 854 articles for us.

51 Comments

  1. Just watched orphan black and made the comment to missus that the way they are integrating flash backs is perfect. God I wish I could watch it all at once though. It is so damn good this season. Character dev over time is just everything. I love that a woman who cheerfully planned to murder her own mother, and dissolve her in acid, last season calls people chicken.

  2. In a free fall.

    That season 5 POI trailer has touched me jus right in all of my happy places, I’m just a blissed out boneless puddle of action sci-fi fanperson that is not sure how they are typing without out any bones.

  3. I got an A+ account specifically because I needed somewhere to squee over POI with other people (and I had a small amount of money to spare, so!), and I will be in the comments section of every Boob(s) column during the show’s run to yell and cry about every episode. I would like to apologize about this in advance.

    That being said… Holy shit. I mean the entire trailer is amazing, but that was a given. But that scene! It’s really happening, isn’t it? On CBS? They’d been teasing it for a while at cons and in interviews but I was convinced it would end up getting cut.

    I’m so ready for this season and at the same time I’m really not.

      • There’s this game I love where people look at a picture of two women in an obviously romantic or sexual situation and try to find the most ridiculous explanation to make it seem platonic. For this one, they’ve said that Shaw is ripping Root’s shirt open to perform CPR on her. I mean, that’s obviously what’s happening, right? That’s why Root is gasping for air and they’re breathing into each other’s mouths.

    • Full recaps of PoI would be great! I’m really looking forward to this season (and pretend it’s not the final one).

      Can’t get myself to watch OB this season because maggots, probably the most ridiculous reason I ever had not to watch a show. But maggots…in cheeks! [insert sick emoji here]

    • I hope they do full recaps, too! But only by someone who really likes the show. I don’t want just an average viewer watching just for their job and recapping, you know? Heather, are you a POI fan? Or are one of your Boob(s on Your) Tube writers fans?

      If they do recaps, I can 100% guarantee that, behind the 100 stuff, POI content will bring in the best numbers.

  4. But…. But…. But…. GREYS!!

    Callie and Arizona are gearing up for what looks to be WWIII over Sofia’s custody? Are we not talking about that??

    I’m sure Aja’s busy and we will get it soon. This comment wasn’t meant to be pressuring- at all. I’m just drowning in feels! And I need my community to process with like the queer tv watching lady that I am, lol.

    ——————–

    (I also have blackish thoughts! But I’m waiting until I catch up on Orphan Black tonight, so I can do both at the same time. More from me later!)

    • Ughh Yess C.P I need to process this episode (and the promo for next week) with you. I’m so upset about the direction they’re taking this storyline. Bailey is so right – what is an attending doing moving across the country for a LESSER job, for her resident girlfriend!? I really need Callie to come to her senses, ASAP.

        • I’m so glad that Bailey said that, actually. Callie needs a variety of feedback -not just from Arizona- that she is acting insane right now. She needs her people to pull her back and say, think about this.

          I get that *this* is what Callie does, she leaps for love head first, we’ve seen evidence of it time and again over the course of the show. Still, I can’t justify her actions here. She is going to derail her career over a resident who she has been dating for MAX 6 or 7 months. She is going to move a daughter that she shares with someone else across the country with little input or notice. And she acts like this is all no big deal or that those who are against it are “judgey” or “overreacting”?

          Ugh, it’s all so hard to watch.

      • So two other things:

        1. I can’t understand how anyone could see this as Arizona “jumping the gun” at this point. I actually think that AZ would have considered backing off a little after she talked it out with Webber. You could see her reconsidering her position. BUT then the school from New York called! How could Callie put in applications from schools already????? And she wasn’t going to tell Arizona. Arizona had to bring it up- after Callie supposedly apologized- so Callie got caught. AZ is getting steamrolled here, she has to protect her rights. I hate that it’s happening, but I really don’t see any other way.

        2. If I thought this week’s episode was rough, oh man the preview for next week! A full on custody trial! Everyone in the hospital taking sides!

        My heart is not ready.

      • I love how prominent Sofia has gotten again! Last night’s episode not only had a brief cameo from Zola (in one of Meredith’s all time greatest parenting moves!) BUT continuing to set up what will obviously be a season ending major plot around Sofia.

        As someone who’s loved the Greys kids so much from the time they were babies- it’s enough to make me squeal!

  5. Well i kinda gave up on Legends of Tomorrow after the third episode but now i need them to come pick me up and drop me on 22nd of June. So i can binge the whole seasons of Orphan Black and Person of Interest without actually making myself wait…

    And in the process get me over the clusterf**k this season of The 100 has become… cherry on top of the cake i guess..

    Make it happen, Rip 😀

  6. I’ve been loving Orphan Black and for all the same reasons as described in this review. I had some trouble giving a shit at times last season when all the Castor stuff was eating the show, and wasn’t sure if I’d be disappointed or excited about season 4. Excited it is!

    Is anyone watching You Me Her? Does anyone know of a forum where folks can discuss it?

    Also, did anyone see the Elementary episode a couple of weeks ago? There were lesbians as part of the case of the week. The show is very matter of fact about all types of sexuality, and pretty much all the guest characters are involved in a crime of some sort (usually murder), so I couldn’t really decide whether to be upset that they brought us in for a little killing as per trope, or whether to give them a pass since they’ve done the same with lots of other characters and pretty much all the characters who show up at all have some hook to a murder or other horrible conspiracy. Would love to know how any Autostraddlers felt about it, if you saw it.

    Also, and this may be the wrong place to mention it (and maybe it was already mentioned somewhere more appropriate), I wanted to note this story: http://www.slate.com/blogs/xx_factor/2016/04/21/chyna_the_female_wrestler_who_broke_all_the_gender_rules_is_dead_at_45.html

    It’s not really a TV thing, but I thought it would interest people here, and that it might not be getting as much notice as it otherwise would, because of the other sad news this week.

    Love to all….

    • 1. I have so many feelings about Chyna (T-T). Celebrity deaths don’t really get to me (not because it isn’t a sad occasion but because I Just don’t know them personally) but this one fucked me up. I would watch wrestling with my mom every Friday when I was 5/6 and looking back I realize that I had the biggest crush on Chyna. Along with Lucy Lawless and Miss Honey from Matilda, Chyna helped me for into the little gay that I am now. And I am livid that she isn’t in the hall of fame!

      2. I, personally, give Elementary a pass here. It came at an unfortunate time but the it was one of the many instances on the show where guest stars show up, commit crimes and die. It didn’t feel any different to me than any other the other dead criminals, of various backgrounds. The show has diverse criminals, victima, heroes and bystanders with diverse outcomes so ill let this one slide. Now if they needlessly kill Ms Hudson, I’m rioting. But that’s all personal opinion, I can understand if people feel different.

    • They might.
      I wouldn’t even be that afraid if I wouldn’t feel so jaded by The100.
      Because a Happy End for Shoot? I don’t even know what that would look like.
      But now, I kind of need for none of them to get shot to death, because I wouldn’t know how to deal with that right now?

    • I’ve been expecting characters in POI to die in blaze of violent fiery villain annihilating glory worthy of Folkvangr or Valhalla since HR and Eli, then began to expect even further with Decima’s activation of Samaritan.

      So um they might but I can hope they won’t go out like Detective Carter, because that would almost be as bad as Lexa.

      Dying saving the world from an evil or going down fighting with your boots on I can live with, but I can understand if others cannot live with it because queer lady characters are of course over killed in TV.
      Type and “quality” of the death is what eats at me. (Some of this quality of death stuff is tied up in how I almost got murdered/manslaughtered and could of been proud that I at least never backed down if I had lost an well died.)
      And the majority of queer lady character get a shit fucking pointless stupid deaths.

  7. Oh oh also the new detective – DC Anna Ram – on Scott and Bailey smooched what I assume is her lady love at the end of the last ep. So let’s cross everything that they survive!

  8. All Time Greatest Greys Moment (because it needs to be highlighted on its own for all of prosperity):

    Zola: Mommy, why did Aunt Maggie stop having S-E-X with DeLuca?

    Meredith: Because he couldn’t handle that she was his B-O-S-S

    Meredith: Don’t ever date a man who can’t handle your P-O-W-E-R

    Zola: Okay

    ———————

    Feminism, it’s never to early to learn it.

  9. Okay, so this isn’t about any of the shows mentioned above, but I do have some really intense feelings about television right now, and this seems like the place to talk about it.

    I just finished binge watching the entirety of Sleepy Hollow, and watched the season 3 finale last night, and it made me SO angry, like The 100 level angry. So along with Bury Your Gays, and Women in Refrigerators, there’s a disturbing trend of women getting killed off of their own shows.
    http://www.forbes.com/sites/scottmendelson/2016/04/21/huntsman-sleepy-hollow-and-why-it-matters-when-female-stars-are-kicked-out-of-their-franchises/#4f73604e7ddb
    This article explains that it doesn’t matter if a woman is 1/2 of a dynamic duo and the headliner of a show, she will be written off and the guy on the show continues on, nbd. I’m LIVID. And The Blacklist and Castle are doing the same thing. I feel so betrayed by television this season.

    • That shit on Sleepy Hollow was one of the most horrible things I’ve ever seen a show do to destroy both itself and its lead character. It was made worse by the fact that they KNEW there was a lot of outcry that they were fucking up in a very racist and sexist way, and that their ratings were tanking as a result. They had LOTS of time to fix it, and instead they doubled down on the destructive course, after a season of promising and baiting fans to stick with things because they had supposedly heard the criticism and taken it to heart. It was one of the worst, most shameless campaigns of writing malfeasance I have seen in a long time. Incredibly disappointing, too, because they actually had a very interesting, creative, fresh, and POPULAR show before they ruined it. I have seen a lot of shows goof up but few as deliberately and consciously and relentlessly as Sleepy Hollow, and for what? The ratings were on our side and they were so determined to be poisonous racist sexist motherfuckers that they refused to listen and then threw it in our faces besides.

      • YES! It is so important to talk about here–because all these trends, the racism and misogyny and the bury your gays–are all so connected.

        Nicole Beharie as Abbie Mills was a wonder, and the best reason to watch the show, and it’s a farce for it to continue without her. (Prayers that she gets the starring role she deserves soon!) And to see the same thing happen on Castle and these other shows is deeply disturbing.

  10. After seeing that trailer I am starting POI this weekend! I’ve been told it’s a long wait until Root/Shaw show up, but I’m trusting Taraji P. Henson will carry me through.

  11. I’m so glad other people on the internet are having palpitations over that POI trailer.

    I’ve been in denial about them actually doing a Root/Shaw sex scene ever since they started mentioning stuff in interviews just because I didn’t want to be disappointed if it didn’t happen. And now it looks like it’s happening. I’m so excited.

    Is this what watching television is like if you’re straight?

  12. Shaw reunites with the rest of the team in episode 4, but the team is going to be worried if she’s still the same person considering what she’s been through.

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