Spooky season continues this week! Drew and Kayla released their list of 25 Scariest Queer Horror Movie Moments. A. Tony reviewed Aisha Dee’s queer horror movie, Sissy. And Alison Rumfitt took a look at Eurosleaze. In less creeeepy news, The Good Fight season six has given Carmen a girlfriend, and Kayla wrote about it. The Owl House’s third season is the gayest thing Mickey Mouse has ever seen, and Heather wrote about that. And Riese updated our streaming lists of LGBTQ things on Hulu and also Prime Video.
Notes from the TV Team:
+ The Prime Video India original series Four More Shots Please returns for its third season today (trailer). I’m anxious to see how the show builds out Umang’s character now that the relationship that monopolized her attention for the first two seasons is over. — Natalie
+ I have to pace myself with Big Shot — which returned for its second season last week on Disney+ — because my tolerance for watching faux-basketball is very, very low. I mean, if I wanted to watch a basketball team that can’t shoot, I’d just watch the Lakers. But, if you can look past that, the season’s second episode is devoted to Mouse and her coming out…and it’s adorable. — Natalie
+ On Station 19 this week, more of Maya fighting and Carina fighting, But also, Carina might be pregnant (with Vic’s help, in a really touching scene, she decides not to look at the test until she’s with Maya). Next week however it looks like Maya’s self-destruction spiral is going to hit a really dangerous point on the job. So I’m more than a little nervous! — Carmen
Grey’s Anatomy 1903: “Let’s Talk about Sex”
Written by Carmen
I’m actually REALLY EXCITED to be with you today, because last night’s episode of Grey’s Anatomy was not only one of my favorite episodes of Grey’s in literally… years? Is that possible? Since before the pandemic at minimum. I’ve already watched it three times since it aired at 9pm eastern standard time last night. But also! Drumroll! It’s gay!!
The gay parts aren’t necessarily the central parts, but that’s ok because they are very hot + also we have a new queer person to add to the glass menagerie of Gay Sloan Memorial. Let’s do that first!
I absolutely had new internTM Mika Yasuda clocked the minute she showed up in the trailer for this season. She.. walks gay? I cannot explain how someone walks gay. In fact, to prove how right I was, please enjoy this message in the Autostraddle TV Team Slack that I sent on September 6th, before a single episode had aired (bonus jokes for any Glee fans are also within):
So imagine my delight! IMAGINE MY DELIGHT! When, faced with having to put a condom on a banana to teach sex ed to high schoolers (we’re coming back to that) Intern Yasuda said, “I mostly have sex with women” because of course you do buddy. May the power of Calliope Iphegenia Torres light whatever path you may walk. May the smiles of Arizona Robbins brighten your darkest day. May your queerness become more central than whatever it is they did with Hellmouth. Amen.
The other queer plot came with the heart-stopping return hot doctor Kai – who did not have much to do, other than walk around in that all black suit and make me grasp at collarbone beside myself over.. well, everything. Their everything. It’s perfect.
The episode starts with Amelia being upset that she hasn’t seen Kai in weeks and long distance isn’t for the weak, so Amelia is considering flying on a six-hour red eye to be in Miami for a neurology conference if it means even 12 hours alone with them. But that won’t be necessary because surprise — Kai is already in Seattle. In that all black suit. And again. Grasping. Collarbones. Hot. HOT. Ok ahem.
(I’m dutifully required by law to saw that Autostraddle TV Award for Outstanding Hairstyling winner ER Fightmaster has grown out their hair for the new season. And it’s.. really working.)
Everyone has sex at the end of the episode, and that means that Amelia and Kai also have sex. It’s great because everything they do feels like a fire warming off the side of the sun. Plus, hot doctor Kai has diagnosed that not-so-baby Zola is actually a kid genius! Wonderful, Grey’s Anatomy was going to need some reason to write off Ellen Pompeo (she only signed on to do eight episodes this season hahahaahaa, I know) .
Speaking of reasons I love this episode. Speaking of Ellen Pompeo leaving. Guess who’s back? ADDISON MOTHER F*CKING FORBES MONTGOMERY. Kate Walsh has signed on as a recurring character this season and last night was her first episode. This brings us back to Yasuda and the condom.
So the reason Yasuda was putting a condom on a banana is because Dr. Bailey had the brilliant idea that since the Supreme Court has redrawn the battle lines on the rights to our bodies, the first line of defense is in arming the teens of America with factual, non-judgmental, sex education. She asked Addison to fly up to Seattle to help out.
Bailey, Jo, and Addison gather up the new internsTM and ask them to make “viral videos” which is hilarious on face value, but also fits in so much really honest, clear, great actual real life sex education on a show that millions of teens somehow still watch even though its 20 years old. I’m out of space and time so I have to wrap this up, but watch this episode! I loved it. So excited to finally have good Grey’s back. Thanks.
Survivor 4305: “Stop with All the Niceness”
Written by Anya
Another great week for Karla! From the very start of this episode, it’s clear that Karla is running this game. On the Coco tribe, Ryan and Geo think they “have the numbers,” and apparently have no idea that neither Karla, nor Cassidy, nor James, consider Ryan and Geo their allies. However, Karla and Cassidy decide to let the men think they’re in charge — all the while planning to vote Ryan out, should the opportunity arise. Karla sat out the challenge, and her team went on to lose. Special shout-out goes to the Vesi tribe, who once again won the challenge, and seems far more unified than the other two tribes (perhaps because they had to go to Tribal council the most). The Vesi tribe chose Geo, Jesse, and Janine to go on the Risk-Your-Vote journey. At this point, Ryan reveals in a confessional that he “threw the challenge” so that the Coco tribe can go to Tribal and he can take out Cassidy.
As any Survivor fan will tell you, there are two things you never do: you never throw a challenge, and you never go to rocks. So I already know this isn’t gonna go the way Ryan wants! On the journey, all three contestants risk their votes, and Geo ends up winning the Knowledge-Is-Power advantage. Upon returning to the Coco tribe, Geo lies to the tribe at large and says he didn’t risk his vote, and then decides to confide IN KARLA AND KARLA ALONE that he got the advantage. She is so good at getting people to trust her! At this point, Karla takes the reins again — she works with Cassidy and James (a pretty strong alliance at this point) to switch the vote from Ryan to Geo. Karla doesn’t mess around — as soon as Geo got just a little bit of power, Karla decided he needed to go, and it needed to be a blindside so that he wouldn’t even think to use his advantage. And, like we saw in the last episode, that’s exactly what she did. The tribe voted out Geo, who went home with the advantage in his pocket. Again, I find myself hoping that no one realizes how powerful she is — we’ll find out next week at THE MERGE!
The Equalizer 303: “Gaslight”
Written by Natalie
Since her niece’s kidnapping, Aunt Vi’s nerves have been frayed. She constantly questions Robyn about her missions and their level of danger she faces, knowing full well that her niece can’t tell her everything. But she finds comfort in her rekindled relationship with Trish, a recently widowed gallerist who Vi dated in college. Thus far, their relationship has played out, almost entirely, off-screen, but this week, a mid-day visit from Trish brings her into Vi’s other world.
Knowing that her family was away for the day, Trish turns up on Vi’s doorstep, armed with macarons and memories of their last night together. The two share a kiss and Vi pulls Trish inside. But before they can recapture the spark of the previous night, Dee returns home from school early. Trish rushes to make herself scarce but Vi asks her to stay and meet her family. She makes the introductions and Dee can barely contain her giddiness at having met her aunt’s girlfriend. Vi invites Trish to stay and join her and Dee for lunch.
Over lunch, Trish regales Dee with tales of her aunt’s legend: how Vi was once the “it girl” of the early 80s art scene and how she rubbed shoulders with all the big names. Once, Trish tells, Vi was even invited to do an exhibit with Jean-Michel Basquiat but she was too much of a perfectionist to meet the show’s deadline. Vi grows increasingly uncomfortable with each revelation and admonishes Trish for sharing these old stories with her great niece. Dee can’t get enough of the stories, though, and can’t believe she’s never heard about Aunt Vi’s history before. Even once Trish leaves to head back to work, Dee presses for more details and Vi sternly says, “enough.”
Later, Vi apologizes to Dee for snapping at her. Dee admits she was being pushy but her aunt assures her that she can ask her anything. Vi explains that it’s just uncomfortable for her to revisit that time in her life. She might have been the scene’s “it girl” but when she saw Basquiat’s work, she knew she couldn’t compete. Robyn and Dee remind Vi that she shouldn’t compare herself to others and Vi understands that now. But back then, she admits, she felt exposed so she lied and told Trish that her work wasn’t finished.
Vi’s nieces remind her that it’s never too late to jump back into the art scene but Vi’s convinced she’s missed her window. Besides, sje doesn’t know if she has the passion anymore. But Robyn pushes back: Vi is the most passionate woman she’s ever met and she can do anything that she wants to…the only question is: what does she want to do?
9-1-1 605: “Home Invasion”
Written by Natalie
After she recommits herself to her dream of becoming a doctor, Henrietta Wilson’s village steps up to help: Bobby gives her time off from work at Station 118, Karen meticulously schedules their home life so nothing falls through the cracks and her mother volunteers to bring over lunch. Hen’s only job is to study for her practical exam with Dr. Simmons. Following a full day of studying, Hen feels ready for her exam and invites Karen to quiz her before bed. Karen has other ideas, though: she puts Hen’s flashcards on the nightstand and slides into bed next to her. Karen encourages Hen to trust that she’s done all that she can to prepare for the exam. Now, Karen notes, Hen deserves a reward for all her hard work and pulls her into a kiss.
But before things can get too spicy, Hen gets unnerved by the watchful eye of Hoover, the dog Hen saved from an overdose and who the family begrudgingly inherited. Karen carries the dog out of the room, closing the door behind her, and then slides back into bed to pick up where they left off. But Hoover will not tolerate this disrespect and paws at the door until Karen lets him back in the room. He immediately jumps on the bed and sandwiches himself between his two mamas. The next morning, Hen’s alarm wakes the couple up early. Karen climbs out of bed to make coffee and yells when she discovers that their house has been ransacked. Hen wonders if they’ve been robbed but, it turns out, they’ve just been Hoover’d.
While Karen searches for a new home for Hoover, Hen joins Dr. Simmons for a practical exam during rounds and absolutely crushes it. Everyone gathers at Bobby and Athena’s later to celebrate Hen’s big accomplishment. Hen tries to be modest about it all but her village won’t allow it. Karen excitedly notes, “My rock star paramedic wife is about to be a doctor, y’all.”
The crew toasts Hen’s success but admits that they’ll miss her as part of the 118. But unfortunately, Hen’s last hoorah with Station 118 might not be a pleasant one: they’re dispatched to respond to an explosion at the astrophysics laboratory where Karen works.
NCIS: Hawai’i 205: “Sudden Death”
Written by Natalie
When NCIS Hawai’i debuted, I did not have high hopes. Between CBS’ history and the franchise’s history — Tammy Gregorio’s most intense romance was with a former Russian agent on NCIS: New Orleans over just two episodes — I didn’t have much faith in the Hawai’i edition to change that. This show quickly proved me wrong. Not only that but now, 27 episodes into NCIS: Hawai’i‘s run, I found myself wondering: is there another show on network television centering their lesbian pairing like this? Did NCIS: Hawai’i lowkey become the gayest thing on broadcast TV?
This week starts out with Lucy gathering up her things which have been scattered all across Kate’s apartment. Of course, Kate being Kate, she knows exactly where everything is and instructs Lucy on where to find what she needs. The one thing Kate didn’t know, though, is that Lucy’s lease is up and because her landlord is selling her apartment, she has to find a new place. Taken aback by the revelation, Kate asks how long Lucy’s been looking for a new place. A couple of weeks, Lucy admits. Anxious to conceal her hurt, Kate urges Lucy to find something that suits her lifestyle…a lifestyle that Lucy points out is basically just “work, gym and [Kate].”
Kate points out that Lucy spends most of her free time at Kate’s apartment. Lucy acknowledges the point and then…they both wait for the other to ask the question that they’re studiously avoiding. Frustrated, Kate pivots and offers to help Lucy find a place. An uncomfortable tension sets and Lucy rushes to escape the awkwardness.
Later, Kate stops by HQ and hands her girlfriend some options: apartments in Lucy’s preferred area with amenities similar to the things Lucy likes about Kate’s place. Lucy interjects, “I could just move in with you.” Kate doesn’t respond right away so Lucy tries to backtrack but Kate assures her she was thinking the same thing. Kate insists that it makes sense since they spend most of their nights together anyway and, plus, it’s the “financially responsible thing to do.” The completely unromantic response throws Lucy for a loop and the uncomfortable tension returns. This time, though, it’s Kate who makes the hasty getaway.
Eventually, Lucy shows up at Kate’s door and explains that she doesn’t want to move in because it’s rational or responsible, she wants to move in because Kate genuinely wants her there. Kate insists that she absolutely does want Lucy there. If that’s true, Lucy wonders, what was up with all the research? Kate admits that she didn’t want to pressure Lucy and Lucy responds that she didn’t want to pressure Kate either. They realize that they’re really fighting over nothing and kiss to celebrate their domestic bliss.
Vampire Academy 109: “The Darkness”
Written by Valerie Anne
This week, our vampire princess is going through it because her sister is a Strigoi now. She tries to warn Lissa about using the Spirit powers, but Lissa is so sure she has it under control. Mia goes to pick up a bracelet she had ordered for Sonya that is ready (sob) when she runs into Meredith. Meredith offers to help but Mia says there’s nothing to do. Meredith stumbles through an awkward apology, saying she acted like a jealous jerk at the party and also knows now is probably not the best time to bring it up. Mia is glad Meredith said something but she has to go be with her dads. Meredith offers to meet with her later if she wants to, and Mia nods a sad nod and leaves.
Meredith goes back to the Guardian residences and tries to get her friend to not leave with Rose because it’s very obvious to her that Rose doesn’t love him. Rose loves
Lissa Dimitri. But he just snaps back at her about how she keeps lying about needing “family leave” but is actually off doing something else entirely…mysterious!
Meredith leaves and goes to wait with flowers for Mia, but Mia doesn’t show. Meredith looks bummed about it but if she knew the real reason why she would understand. You see, the Strigoi – specifically Christian’s parents – kidnapped Mia and are holding her hostage to exchange for Strigoi Sonya. As the sisters pass each other, Mia sobs out an apology to Sonya for not being there for her, telling her that she loves her, but Sonya doesn’t seem to react.
In the end it seems the exchange was successful (Christian even kills his Strigoi father) but the whole thing was just a distraction so the Strigoi could ambush the town. Here’s hoping Mia goes right to Meredith to explain why she didn’t meet up with them. Poor thing is going to need all the support she can get after all this trauma.
American Horror Story 1101: “Something’s Coming” and 1102: “Thank You for Your Service”
Written by Drew
Last year, in my coverage of American Horror Story: Double Feature, I expressed a desire for Ryan Murphy’s queer-inclusive horror to actually center queerness. For better or worse, he’s complied.
AHS: NYC is a gay slasher set in New York in 1981 — think Cruising (1980) meets Hellbent (2004). (In fact, there is an explicit recreation of a Cruising interrogation scene… you know the one.) But because this is American Horror Story, there is also a subplot where Billie Lourd is a scientist doctor discovering(?) AIDS and probably by the end of the season there will be ghosts or witches or something.
Ryan Murphy is easy to make fun of but he’s also easy to have fun with. And considering a super low-budget movie from 2004 is still our best example of an explicitly gay slasher, I welcome the attempts made in these first two episodes. The problem again and again with this anthology show is horror lives on suspense and it’s very hard to sustain most horror genres across this many episodes. It’s why so many of the seasons fall apart by the end or have to reinvent themselves midway through — or both. This time Murphy and his team have adopted a slow-burn approach and while there are some dull moments and too many characters, I feel more optimistic about the season as a whole than if these first two episodes were a self-contained triumph.
The MVP of this season so far is Joe Mantello who plays the editor in chief of a gay newspaper, seemingly the only one who actually cares about this serial killer targeting gay men. Mantello is such a great actor and he sells the sometimes goofy, sometimes convoluted AHS writing. He even comes close to selling the most annoying aspect of the season — Mantello’s character dating a closeted cop played by Russell Tovey.
Like the new film My Policeman, the point Murphy and his team are seemingly making is that the cops don’t care about gay people and a closeted gay cop is in a hopeless position. I just don’t find the whole leftist gay journalist dating a closeted gay cop thing to be that interesting. We don’t need a POV character on the police force to grasp the very basic commentary on 1980s police homophobia. There are some hints that Tovey’s character is the killer but hints like that in episode two feel like an obvious red herring. If he is responsible that would be a little interesting but I’m not expecting that outcome.
Cop protagonists as complicit in a broken system is better than making them heroes — it’s still not as interesting as doing away with them altogether.
Yes, the show is focusing on gay men but women do make an appearance beyond Billie Lourd’s scientist doctor. Sandra Bernhard plays the leader of a group of lesbians who want to write for Mantello’s paper. They succeed in episode two so I’m sure we’ll see more of them.
As far as trans women, I did look up who the trans actress is playing one of Bernhard’s lesbian companions — turns out she’s Ewan McGregor’s daughter and is totally cis. Oh well. Murphy flashes a picture of Marsha P. Johnson on-screen so that’s enough of that.
Raising Kanan 209: “Anti-Trust”
Written by Carmen
Previously on Raising Kanan, as I had predicted Jukebox’s relationship with her long lost (conservative, Christian) mother does not end well. As I had not predicted, and to be honest have not forgiven as a storytelling decision, that bad relationship ends in Juke being physically abused in a violent conversion therapy scene that quite literally NO ONE ASKED FOR.
It seems they wanted to set up Juke’s mom as a greater evil to set the stage for Jukebox’s reconciliation with her father, Marvin. Last season Marvin also had a violent reaction to finding out Jukebox was gay (even more reason they didn’t need to show her receiving homophobic physical abuse from both her parents in back-to-back seasons, but I digress). This year though, he’s gone to anger management. He clearly is remorseful about their past and what happened. And he’s willing to earn back Jukebox’s trust and love, on her own time table. Especially after her experience with her mother, Jukebox seems cautiously willing to let him back in — bit by bit, one diner breakfast at a time. I’d be more willing to accept this comeback arc for Marvin if the writers had trusted it to stand on its own two feet. Jukebox and Marvin could have found their way back to each other without a horrific, violent, Black churches are homophobic trope thrown on top of it.
Raising Kanan, at its core, is about how evil is created. We are watching Kanan and Jukebox as teens, cousins, and best friends in the 1990s. Two kids who unconditionally love each other. But anyone who’s seen Power also knows that they both grow up to be villains. The forces around them have to take these sweet kids, who it’s impossible not to be charmed by on some level, and harden them. That’s the conceit of the show. For Kanan, that comes at the hands of his emotionally manipulative mother (the exquisite Patina Miller!). I just don’t know that I buy that for Jukebox this was the only path to get where we know she must end up.
My little mediation on storytelling decisions is also tied to the secondary queer plot in this week’s episode. Detective Burke is in a cat-and-mouse chase with her partner, Detective Omar Epps (of Love and Basketball and real life 90s Black heartthrob fame, I haven’t bothered to learn his name in the show). She knows he’s keeping secrets (and he is) and he’s trying to outrun her.
Which is why Detective Omar Epps went to Nicole’s father’s house — remember him? The one that Jukebox gave the tape to, of her singing at the mall with Nicole? And I said that was a bad idea? — to convince him that known lesbian Burke was grooming both Jukebox and Nicole. He goes as far as to say that Burke is the reason Nicole died of the overdose (Nope! Still Kanan’s fault, and Nicole’s fault for stealing the drugs). It’s clear that Omar Epps is trying to get Burke put away before she finds out the truth about him, but something tells me that it’s actually going to be Jukebox who ends up caught in the crossfire.
I will say that Hailey Kilgore and Patina Miller share a scene as Jukebox and her Aunt Raq that’s easily one of the finest scenes of acting I saw last week. Despite the show’s faults, getting to watch those two giants play together never fails to disappoint.