Boob(s On Your) Tube: Two Women Actually Touched Mouths on “Once Upon a Time”

Goodness me, it finally happened: A couple of ladies smooshed their faces together on Once Upon a Time. No, it wasn’t Emma and Regina. Or Mulan and Aurora. But it was something.


Wynonna Earp

Fridays on Syfy at 10:00 p.m.

waverhaught

I think one of the reasons queer women are still so into subtext — aside from being conditioned from birth by Xena, of course — is that lady-on-lady love stories on TV are so often paint-by-numbers. It’s almost robotic. There’s no push or pull, no will-they or won’t-they. Here’s a girl and here’s the girl she’s gonna kiss, and just thank your lucky stars if they both stay alive. But man, where’s our Pam and Jim?

I can’t say for sure if Wynonna Earp’s going to be that, but the last two episodes have made it very clear that Officer Haught is hardcore into Wavery Earp, and Waverly’s all flummoxed about it. Their chemistry is so good and even the way it’s filmed when they just touch hands is all swoons and breathlessness. Will they? Probably! But it’s gonna be a slow burn.

Waverly’s got a boyfriend, remember; that washed-up cowboy whose actual name is Hardy Champ. This week he almost gets possessed by a couple of the Revenants because that’s a thing those guys can do, just some general body-snatching. They get their hands on one of Wynonna and Waverly’s father figures and Wynonna ends up having to shoot him in the face to kill the demon inside of him.

Haught comes to the bar to tell Waverly she’s sorry for her loss, reaches right across and grasps onto her hands. Waverly is so open and so sad and so relieved Haught is reaching out to her (both literally and figuratively), but then stupid Champ swarms the scene and Haught jerks her hands away. He puts Waverly in a chokehold, basically, smooching all over her face and promising to never leave her side again because of all the bad guys in town (as if she and her sister can’t take care of them a billion times better than him). Waverly tries to talk to Haught some more, to thank her, but Haught backs away and drops her head and leaves.

Hey, but Waverly said thanks! She tells Detective Dolls about it, about how Waverley said thanks. You can’t build a life on that, but you can build a dream on it. And that’s just what Haught is going to do.  Every lesbian falls in love with a straight girl, from time-to-time. Straight girls, though? They don’t look at you like that.


Once Upon a Time

Sundays on ABC at 8:00 p.m.

Written by KaeLyn

ruby-dorothy

Does anyone other than me still care about Storybrook and saviors? The storyline has twisted and turned and upchucked all over itself even more in the second half of Season Five, but still I’m here, patiently waiting for that gay lady action we were promised. This past Sunday, it happened and I have to be honest, it was not the worst.

I was disappointed and annoyed when Mulan Rouge (Mulan and Ruby) slipped into the woods after some brief eye sex, a mere blip on the main storyline. I’d given up hope, until Ruby appeared in the underworld at the end of last week’s episode. (Yes, we’re in the underworld now, to save Hook. Barf. It’s a long story that you don’t need to know much about.)

As much as I backed the Red Warrior ship, I was pleasantly surprised to find that after journeying together through all of the midseason break, Ruby and Mulan’s relationship is more lesbro than lovers. Through flashbacks, we learn that while Mulan was helping Ruby find her wolf pack in Oz, they came across Dorothy and Toto. Zelena stole Toto and Ruby and Mulan ended up helping Dorothy get her little dog back. Don’t fuck with lesbians and our companion animals, Zelena.

Ruby and Dorothy bonded over their fucked up family issues and that familiar gal pal feeling came over them. For once, though, OUAT’s writers didn’t leave us with the love that dare not speak its name. They actually took those love feelings to their final conclusion.

In an actually really well-written scene, Ruby confesses her feelings for Dorothy to Mulan:

Ruby: I know we just met, but I have never felt like this about anyone before.
Mulan:: Don’t make the same mistake that I did. Don’t wait until it’s too late to tell someone how you feel…

MULAN! With this great advice, Ruby goes to confess her love, but Dorothy is already gone. Zelena put her under a sleeping curse that can only be broken with—you guessed it—true love’s kiss. Not knowing if Dorothy feels the same way, Ruby goes to Dorothy’s side and takes the ultimate risk—potentially hitting on a straight girl. And in the heartfelt, over-dramatic final scene, Ruby saves Dorothy with a kiss on the actual lady lips. :balloon drop: :disco lights: :confetti:

It’s not much, after so many seasons of skirting the issue and teasing us with Swan Queen and Sleeping Warrior. But in a month with more dead lesbians on TV than living ones, it feels like something good. A lesbian kiss saves the day. Three queer women in one episode, including one new one with a cute dog. Queer women overprocessing their feelings with other queer women. Our first real, actual, viable lesbian relationship. It’s something.

I hope Ruby and Dorothy live happily ever after. As co-creators Adam Horowitz and Eddy Kitsis said in a statement about the episode, “…in a fairy tale, as in life, love is love.” Now the only question is: what should the Ruby/Dorothy ship name be?

Jane the Virgin

Mondays on The CW at 9:00 p.m.

LUISA, COME BACK.

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 838 articles for us.

71 Comments

  1. Don’t count on Luisa showing up anymore this season, sadly. 🙁 Jennie Snyder Urman announced before this season even premiered that Luisa would only appear in the first 12 episodes this year, which is way more than in season one but still not enough, woe.

  2. “Will they? Probably! But it’s gonna be a slow burn.”

    Oh god, that sounds eerily similar to the statements leading up to Clexa.

    Fingers crossed Waverly and Haught slow burn, burst into a passionate flame, and have a steady, beautiful, loving burn for the entire show. I just adore where their storyline is going.

  3. i think its really cool that ouat finally had two women getting together- i haven’t really watched since s3 except for a couple of episodes here and there, but im glad to hear it has some redeemable aspects lol.
    however, as an asian girl, i am annoyed that ruby got with another white woman, leaving the asian woman, mulan, alone, given the fact that the interactions that mulan/ruby had vastly outweighed ruby/dorothy, imo. this episode introduced dorothy to be the love interest for ruby, when there was a perfectly good love interest right there who already had a good and slightly flirtatious relationship with ruby.
    i just want more queer asian representation that isn’t doesnt leave me sad and lonely lol 🙁

  4. I wouldn’t really call them a relationship unless they keep showing them on screen. If we never see them again, what was the point. We don’t need tokens. We need and deserve real stories with depth that take build up and no one dies at the end. We deserve Better.

    • That’s what I thought too!

      (And, idk,I gave up on OUAT after the season 3 finale. But I have a hard time feeling good feelings about one kiss after years of queer baiting. But it’s not one of My Shows so I acknowledge it means less to me in general.)

      • OMG I just realized that the name of the episode was “Ruby Slippers.” Sly, writers, very sly.

        I mean, I’m not going to give them a ticker tape parade for finally putting some gay shit on their screen, but it was nice for the lesbian storyline to be “true love’s kiss” and central to the plot of the episode for once. Yeah, I’m not feeling super optimistic that this wasn’t a “very special episode of OUAT.” I’ll be waiting to see if this new relationship actually gets screen time.

    • So a lot of fans have been actively rejecting using “Ruby Slippers” as the ship name expressly because that was the episode title. And they don’t want to give credit to the writers for what is most likely a bare-minimum token ship. So I’ve seen folks using “Red Kansas” as an alternative.

      I get (and fully support) the politics behind the name change. But darn it, if Ruby Slippers isn’t the most adorable ship name! So, I tend to use both.

  5. I was really hoping this recap would have a gif of Waverly getting smooched on by Champs, because it was the perfect encapsulation of that moment you realize your relationship is a lie and you need to date women.

  6. Ten minutes into this episode and I decided to quit Wynonna Earp for good. I just can’t deal with watching another terrible genre show that doesn’t have it’s mythology together. I mean, these revenants seem to develop new powers every episode – super speed? possession? brewing magic potions? What the hell?

    But I’m glad you’re going to keep recapping the gay lady stuff! I will definitely be tuning in to the recaps every week to check in with Waverly and Officer Haught!

    • I think the mythology is that all the revenants are different varieties of demons, so they don’t have the same powers. I’m withholding judgment on worldbuilding for now because I like the characters.

    • I am really hoping that someone does the YouTube queer lady cut, because I also can’t sit through the crap for the gold in this one. (The fact that I can’t watch it online without paying is a big piece of that.)

  7. I Don’t think Luisa is coming back. They don’t have a storyline for her that won’t take away from the main characters. It doesn’t make me love JtV any less, though. I adore it, and I wouldn’t have watched it without you endorsing it, Heather, so once again, thanks for enriching my TV viewing 🙂

  8. – I love stone face Dolls. I thought I would hate him, but his straight (so to speak) delivery is everything.
    – You missed the part with Wynonna going all hardcore…with powdered doughnut on her face.
    – Dolls is a trained detective, so he notices the #WayHaught that’s being broadcast on billboards right in front of him. I have to laugh at his face every time he sees it.

  9. “Every lesbian falls in love with a straight girl, from time-to-time. Straight girls, though? They don’t look at you like that.”

    I just came to say that this terrific, punchy conclusion made me strongly reconsider my “do not get involved with US TV shows because they never ever end” rule.

  10. We will see if we ever see Ruby and Dorothy again or if they will disappear for another two seasons like Mulan did when she came out. I’m not ready to give this show any ally cookies until I see if they treat them like any other couple on this show in terms of screentime. Speaking of Mulan, what was the point of bringing her back this season if they weren’t going to give her anything else to do besides help solve white women’s problems? When it was announced that Mulan was coming back and that their would be a same-sex relationship this season, I foolishly assumed that she would be one half of that pairing. Especially the way they introduced Ruby to Mulan. Then here comes Dorothy out of nowhere. They could have done the Ruby/Dorothy story without including Mulan at all. Serves me right for putting any more time into this show after I said I wouldn’t. Mulan is one of the more complex characters on this show and she deserves more than to be the other characters’ traveling bodyguard who never her own storyline or love interest.

    It’s also really annoying to see Adam Horowitz on twitter talking about how adding a same-sex pairing into a show has to be earned or “not shoved in”(as he tried to clarify after being called out on his previous wording). It still sounds bad any way you word it. Seems like same-sex relationships on tv always have to be “earned” but they will stick any two straight characters together regardless of their chemistry. Many of OUAT’s couples for example haven’t made any damn sense except Snow and Charming.

    In The 100 news, William Shatner decided to add his 2 cents that nobody asked for in regards to Lexa’s death. I lost count of how many tweets he made about it but they got real offensive real quick. He basically tried to straight white mansplain to LGBT fans of the show that they should be grateful for the representation they are getting on tv and to stop harassing tv writers or else they will stop putting LGBT characters in their shows because it just isn’t worth it. Someone linked him Autostraddle’s article on The 152 dead lesbian/bi character deaths and he dismissed it by saying that those shows are all international shows and that the people complaining about this aren’t even from the US. He then went on to call LGBT fans “social media terrorists”. Someone posted a comment whining about how “I guess it’s okay to kill straight white men but not minorities!!!!” which he retweeted. I stopped reading after that because I didn’t want to deal with any more of his bullshit. Is it any wonder George Takei can’t stand him?

      • He’s pretty into fandom in general and really into a couple of them (I think he’s really into supernatural) so he tweets about the shows and basically kisses the butts of important people and gets himself into cons. Some people will do anything to stay relevant

    • This.

      Seems like same-sex relationships on tv always have to be “earned” but they will stick any two straight characters together regardless of their chemistry.

      There you have it, another double standard. JRoth did the same when talking about how Clarke and Lexa needed to earn their love.

      Also, Shittner is a dick.

    • I’ve seen people speculate that the OUAT showrunners were planning for Mulan to be one half of the same-sex pairing, but changed it at the last minute. It would make sense; they did say that they would set up the pairing in the first half of the season. Although I’m not sure why they would discard this setup, as flimsy as it was, to pair up two random white women. But they aren’t known for being competent storytellers, so…

      Now they’re facing backlash from homophobes who are angry they had to turn off the TV and explain to their kids that the two ladies making out were sisters (…what do straight people do with their siblings??), *and* from the LGBT community who isn’t happy with being thrown scraps with the expectation that they’ll finally shut up. I can’t say I feel bad for their cowardly asses.

      • I had heard that the fact that they made the pairing Ruby/Dorothy instead of anything involving Mulan (which is totally cowardly and racist and I’m sure we’ll never see either character again) has to do with Disney’s ownership of Mulan. Does anyone know if there’s some truth to that?

        (And why couldn’t they have made Dorothy a character of color?)

  11. Ok so missus decided she wouldn’t mind watching OUAT from the start to see if she liked it, as I’d watched it without her. Given that there was no sign of Red Warrior happening I was like yeah why not, I can survive this Netflix binge sanity holiday.
    So I’m somewhere in season 2, pre Mulan subtext, knowing that maybe it’ll be worth it when we get to Ruby Slippers…then again maybe not. One kiss does not amends make. Even a true loves one.
    I have a dim and distant dream that we might get BraveWarrior someday, but then someone is bound to die. No way any show could have 2 lesbian couples, gasp, what would people say?

  12. Have we talked about The Family or The Catch? Two new ABC shows with queer ladies. The Family has the blogger who wishes she could be Kalinda and also {spoiler alert} the main daughter who does all the shady stuff {end spoiler}. The Catch (I think this is a Shonda?) has one woman, Penny from Lost, who works with Douchey Conman, and one woman she sleeps with.

    Additionally, I heard Quantico did something, but that show sucks too hard for me to watch and find out what.

    • In other news, on Quantico, the FBI lady who was married to another FBI guy who is pining after another FBI lady, was revealed to have fallen in love with a woman when undercover.

      I doubt this is going anywhere.

  13. Welcome to a very special episode of OUAT:
    We got the going to the ends of the earth storyline, we got epic gestures, even lady smooching, so much in fact, that half the population of munchkinland didn’t know where to look.
    But what we also got were the obvious parallels to Snow and Charming, sleeping curse and I’ll always find,uh, come back for yous, initial antagonism and even Snow pointing out how much they’re alike without even seeing the two of them together?
    We also got everyone cheering, a touched tear in Snow’s eye,even a picture of the two of them smooching making the rounds, that got a wistful look from Emma and not an eyebrow raise from anyone anywhere, ever.
    As someone who stepped out of the show eons ago, I can only say, that no, this isn’t what would have been possible or what I wanted, but it’s something.
    It’s something if you don’t think of Swanqueen or even Sleeping Warrior, it’s something if you imagine yourself into a Sunday night onto a family couch with a twelve year old baby gay squeezed in between her siblings and parents.
    She’ll have that episode, is what I’m saying.
    It’s not much, it was too rushed and quite implausible, but, hey, it’s something.
    And they really did try to make up for the lack in the Lady kisses department.
    So, thanks, Kaelyn, everyone on twitter was so negative about this, I almost didn’t watch it, and also thanks for enduring the rest of that shitshorm to keep us up to date.
    I really couldn’t believe they simply used their same sets with a red filter to portray the underworld..

    • Yup, you summed it up well. It’s like…nothing worth giving out all the cookies for. It’s kind of a shitty consolation prize after all the queerbaiting and BS and my girl Mulan is still single and tragic. But it’s something. For what it was, I thought it was fairly well done and/or could have been a lot worse. I mean, we’re way past the point of expecting meaningful inclusion of queer characters on OUAT. The ship sailed when Aurora and Mulan parted ways.

      I’m also not holding my breath that this signals things are going to get better for queer representation on OUAT in the future. I think the backlash is certainly earned and maybe it will push the writers to consider making Mulan and Ruby and Dorothy part of the main storyline again. I hope so!

  14. As many complaints as I have about Once, I will say that kiss was beautiful. I completely credit the actresses. There’s just no way the writers planned all of that, when they barely even planned the story.

  15. I can’t help but think that Ruby Slippers isn’t going to last very long. If they don’t disappear never to be seen again, it’ll be because one of them dies.

    I find it very strange that a show that has never even hinted that queer people even exist in their universe, would suddenly highlight a queer couple that everyone just accepts as normal?? Where did this sense of queerness as normal come from since IT APPARENTLY NEVER EXISTED BEFORE THIS EPISODE??? It’s so hard to swallow.

    Also it was hilarious that after Henry comes to show his family the new drawings he made, even though the one with Dorothy and Ruby is first, Charming immediately puts it behind the one of his wife and is like “OH GOOD MY WIFE IS OKAY”. He had no idea about Ruby Slippers!! Why IS NO ONE SAYING ANYTHING. Why did Henry even include that drawing if no one was even going to look at it??

    I also found it super rich that Snow would be the one to “understand” Ruby is queer, when she and Charming have always been the heteronormative, traditional gender roles poster children. Like really??

  16. Once upon a time, the definition of suspending belief in good writing. Instead of a good show,it is a tale about a bunch of overpaid writers who use a magical shoehorn to come up with a Sunday night drama for ABC. Shoehorning every single fantasy character into a show like a bad tragic fan fiction crossover.

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