It’s February! Here’s what’s new and gay and streaming this month! This week, Drew recapped the new episode of Drag Race. Valerie Anne and Nic rolled out their Last of Us recaps. Sai wrote about the new season of Harlem. Kayla wanted juuuust a little bit more from this week’s episode of Poker Face. And Drew and Shelli wrapped up their Sundance coverage!
Notes from the TV Team:
+ I forgot to note it last week but Leverage: Redemption wrapped up its second season and Aleyse Shannon remains as delightful as ever as Alec Hardison’s little sister, Breanna. Watching her break out of Hardison’s shadow and develop her criminal skillset — showing the capacity to be more than a hacker — has been one of the delights of the series. — Natalie
+ This week, as I was watching grown-ish, I realized why this new generation of Cal U kids weren’t nearly as interesting as the OGs: none of them are changing. College is a place where you come to evolve and grow and no one seems to be doing that? They are the exact same people they were when we met them last season. No matter how charming I find Zaara (“straight people are a disease,” she notes this week), this show is just dull. — Natalie
How I Met Your Father Episode 202: “Midwife Crisis”
Written by Valerie Anne
Much to my surprise, Ellen already got a subplot only two episodes into the season. I thought we’d have to wait a bit longer than that with all the love polygon situations happening in the A plot.
If you recall, last season, Ellen met her across-the-hall neighbor, Rachel, and despite originally meeting her under false pretenses, they ended up hitting it off and Ellen gave her her number in the hopes of going on a date.
When a few days go by without a word from Rachel, Ellen complains to Charlie, who decides to help her take matters into her own hands. They leave their apartment door open and try to sound cool, but it works TOO well, because soon the entire apartment building is over. Except Rachel.
Ellen eventually gets fed up and goes over to Rachel’s apartment and asks her what’s going on. Rachel admits she got in her head about texting Ellen back, and then she thought Ellen had a building party and invited everyone except her. They realize they’re both a mess and decide to skip the texting stress and just go on a date right now.
Across the hall, the apartment party breaks out in a cheer, happy the useless lesbians got their shit together.
Harlem 201 & 202: “Taksie Backsieswp_posts& “If You Can’t Say Anything Nice…”
Written by Shelli Nicole!
Quinn is going on her first LBGTQ+ date with Isabella (her words — not mine) and is flying in Melissa King to cook. She is trying to decide if she’s going to fuck her or not, so Tye steps in to offer her help as an expert on queer sex and takes her to a sex shop to find toys. This conversation was so cringe ‘cos it included Tye telling her to “Do what you do when you masturbate just – on herwp_postsand her asking “Since I’m with a woman now does that mean I’m still allowed to like Shemar (Moore)wp_postslike — what? Anyway, at the sex shop (that has a dildo light fixture) Quinn is having a meltdown. She is worried she is going to ruin things with Isabella before they even get started and Tye reminds her that the point of sex is fun. Tye is also still pressed about her husband (who still won’t sign the divorce papers) and the comments he made last season about who she is in relationships and friendships. She’s so pressed about it that she thinks about getting a dog to prove she can nurture and care for something, but opts for a plant – which she immediately kills. Meanwhile, Quinn brings Isabella over to her place after the Top Chef ass date, and they start hooking up. She whips out the biggest dildo I have ever seen, along with all the other toys she bought (over $4000 worth, and btw — gay sex is NOT that expensive) but ultimately, they go the analog route and Isabella takes the lead in Quinn’s first “Girl-on-Girlwp_postssexual experience, again that is their words — not mine.
Angie comes home (from pretending to be a twin so she could fuck roommates — incredible) and Quinn tells her all about how she had a lot of fun dykin’ and is basically so dickmatized by her that she thinks she is in love, AND she is going to end things with the guy she’s seeing. She has been on one date with Isabella and the tongue and the talking was so killer that she is begging her to stay the night even though she said she needs to go home — THE BAR IS IN HELL EVERYONE. The next day at lunch Quinn is late and Angie is worried that it’s because she’s with Isabella (she is correct), and that doesn’t bode well for her ‘cos she’s worried Quinn will kick her out. There is also a tired lesbian joke that happens but — yeah. Tye also reveals at lunch that she found out she is on a site called “SheBToxic.com”, where a bunch of her dates have revealed how terrible she is, and she is worried that it’s going to affect her case with trying to get a divorce and her overall dating life. She’s trying to be better at relationships and this site is also just a setback for her future dating life! BUT WAIT THERE IS MORE!
Apparently, on the site, there is a girl, Zoe, who has equally terrible “reviewswp_postsfrom folks as Tye. Instead of considering it a red flag, she wants to find her to fuck around with until the right one comes along. So she goes to one of Zoe’s well-known haunts, finds her, and they decide that they can be toxic together! When they are done being nice and naughty and making empty plans to fuck again — Tye’s husband walks in the house and literally says “Honey, your husband’s home!wp_postsNIGGA WHAT?! Meanwhile, Quinn takes Isabella on a date to some horrible ass lesbian poetry night that she read about on a dyke site (IT WASN’T US!) and Isabella is straight up not having a good time. On the way home Quinn wants Isabella to come in (and have wine and watch some Australian reality show), but she says no. She’s busy, running for office is hectic and she just needs to chill. Quinn also says “…we’re a couplewp_postsand Isabella is like we are absolutely not. And then she talks about how she came out for her and Isabella drives off in a big truck while Quinn cries on the street after being “dumped”.
It’s been a busy week in Harlem y’all..
All American 508-509: “Feel So Good” and “Feel It In The Air”
Written by Natalie
Spencer and Olivia’s break-up continues to impact everyone else in “the Vortex.” One morning, after Olivia overhears some information about Spencer and his new situationship, Sky notes the tension and wonders aloud if Coop has considered moving out. Coop scoffs at the notion (rightfully so!) and notes even if she wanted a new place — which she doesn’t! — she doesn’t even have time to look. Based on Sky’s reaction, though, I suspect she definitely has time today.
Later, Sky shows off her handy work: a few potential spots for Coop, including one with a fireplace. Coop recalls, from the last time All American did this storyline, that apartment listings don’t always tell the full story…and, besides, she’s definitely not moving. But Sky keeps pressing and eventually Coop puts her foot down: she’s tired of talking about this. No one would give up the set-up she has with the Bakers, Coop contends and Sky relents.
“OK. Well, I just love you and want you to be happy,” she says. I don’t recognize it at first because it’s offered so flippantly but, apparently, this is the first time that Sky’s said “I love you.” Coop doesn’t acknowledge the significance; instead, she just notes that she’s happy and rushes off to emcee Coach Baker’s birthday roast.
Later, Sky is understandably salty that her profession of love went unacknowledged and unreciprocated. She blames the disconnect between her and Coop on Patience, who’s always around even when she’s not physically there. But Coop tries to reassure Sky that she’s fully invested in their relationship but doesn’t want to repeat past mistakes. She encourages Sky not to tiptoe around her feelings, including her jealousy over Patience remaining such a presence in Coop’s life.
But, surprisingly, it’s Sky who invites Patience to spend more time in their lives. Fresh off tour and boasting a hit single, Patience’s social media has blown up…both for the “good” — like the fan Layla forces Patience to have lunch with — and for bad (people criticizing her every move). Patience is internalizing all of the hate and Sky steps in to school her on how to navigate her social media. She schools Patience on the three rules of social media: 1. never engage with haters, 2. always keep fans at arm’s length and 3. stay sexy, beautiful. I’m as confused as Coop about what that last one means but the other two rules are winners.
Sky’s social media savy impresses her so much, Patience hires her to manage her social media. But Coop’s a little taken aback by the girls’ newfound closeness…and the thought of Sky becoming part of “the vortex” is a little too close for comfort.
It’s not clear that Patience understands how having a social media manager works, though, because later she’s touching up her own photos and posting stuff to the ‘gram. Then, when the fan from lunch messages her, Patience doesn’t keep her at arm’s length, she engages, excited by all the flattery. The show’s telegraphing a forthcoming “fan turned obsessive stalker” storyline and I’m annoyed…not just because the show already did this storyline with Layla but also: THERE WAS A POTENTIAL LOVE TRIANGLE RIGHT THERE!
All American: Homecoming 208-209: “Rock the Boat” and “Hard Place”
Written by Natalie
Still smarting from her break-up with Nico, Nate opts to take a break from the hubbub of campus for a few days. But after two days of her family, in a cabin in the woods, with no cell service, Nate makes her way back to Bringston. All hell has broken loose in her absence: Keisha’s gone missing, the baseball team is embroiled in another scandal, and a positive drug test has gotten Simone suspended from the tennis team. Nate’s stunned to hear about Simone’s failed test because she knows Simone doesn’t use…but then she discovers the culprit: Simone used some of Nate’s THC-infused lotion.
Later, at an impromptu family dinners, everyone concedes that they’ve been so focused on their own issues that they have neglected the chosen family they’ve built at Bringston. Nate admits withdrawing from the group after her break-up. While she knows breaking up with Nico was the right thing to do, letting go was still hard.
“Finding love can be hard for someone like me — it doesn’t come as often or as easy as it may for others — so that’s why I didn’t want to let it go,” she admits.
But Nate’s decision to dump Nico is reaffirmed during the appeal hearing for Simone’s suspension. In his role as SGA president, Nico gets to vote to uphold or overturn the suspension…and because he’s an absolute ass, he votes to uphold it. Nico’s shady behavior pushes Nate to run against his ex in the next election. Bringston students deserve a president who will fight for them, she says.
Campaigning doesn’t come easily for Nate. She’s advocating for students who haven’t had a voice at Bringston before and she’s running against an entrenched incumbent with the Greek organizations on his side. And if that wasn’t bad enough: while she’s on line to become a member of PKZ, she has to boost Nico’s campaign by plastering his materials across campus. Nate comes across Simone posting Nico’s flyers and criticizes her for not staying true to herself. Later, when passing out leaflets with her line sisters, a chastened Simone tosses Nico’s leaflets in the trash and encourages voters to consider Nate instead.
After enduring Nate’s silent treatment for a day, Simone apologizes, explains, and asks for her forgiveness. Nate’s deferential but Simone insists that their friendship is the most important thing. Nate appreciates the commitment but insists that, when it comes to her campaign, it might all be for naught. Simone pushes her roommate to stop trying to be the perfect candidate and, instead, “just be the perfect Nate.”
The pep talk reinvigorates Nate and she approaches the PKZ president to convince her to shift the sorority’s allegiance from Nico to her. Nate is persuasive: while she the PKZ president alone can’t change the Greeks’ endorsement, she assures Nate the opportunity to make her pitch to all the Greek organizations at Bringston. Game on!
Truth Be Told 303: “Here She Shall See No Enemy”
Written by Natalie
From the outset of Truth Be Told‘s third season, there’s something about Eva. Something about the way she inserts herself into the investigation over the disappearance (and, later, murder) of Drea Spivey. Something about the intensity with which she operates, the speed with which she moves. She fights as though she’s running out of time. She offers an explanation — she’s just a concerned principal trying to return the kindness that was offered to her — but that feels like only part of the truth. There’s something about Eva.
This week, the enigma that is Eva Pierre unravels herself. Left threadbare by carrying the emotional weight of the world, seemingly, Eva is persuaded to finally share her truth with Poppy. She admits that once upon a time, she was Drea Spivey…unwittingly lured into sex trafficking by a young Stanford law student who assured a then-15 year old Eva that she’d secure help for her mother who’d been deported. With every promise of help, there was a new man to endure until the promises were forgone and replaced by threats. Eva has to get justice for Drea so she can get a measure of justice for her 15 year old self.
During the publicity tour for this season, Gabrielle Union’s talked about how taking on this role was triggering for her…how it forced her to mine her own experiences as a sexual assault survivor and incorporate those into her art. That’s on full display in this episode. It’s not just about the trauma of the assault the Union brings to the fore…it’s the shame, the disassociation, the emotional weight, the restlessness, the need to save others…it all feel baked into this character. It hearkens back to Annalise Keating on How to Get Away With Murder for me. There’s this one moment, as Eva’s making this confession to Poppy, where Union’s face lights up with youthful wonder, as the 15-year old version of her wonders if her sex trafficker loved her. It’s a well-written scene and a standout performance by Gabrielle Union.
But while that truth explains a lot about the Eva we’ve seen thus far, questions remain. Even as she battles these demons from her past, Eva puts on her best poker face when Alicia — the girl from the bar who Eva met on a dating app — shows up at her door for drinks. Before things go too far, Alicia admits that she knows who Eva is: she’s the deputy campaign manager for Andrew Finney and she spotted pictures of Eva from the GOTV event at her high school. Eva feigns surprise but, based on everything we know about Eva so far, I imagine she knew exactly who Alicia was when she took her home that night.
Criminal Minds Episode 1609: “Memento Mori”
Written by Valerie Anne
This week we get a little flashback action and find out how Tara and Rebecca met, once upon a time. They met at the coffee table after a meeting of AL-ANON, and they both had alcoholic fathers and alcoholic exes. Tara mentions her ex-husband, and Rebecca mentions her ex, Elaine. Tara does the surprised-excited little “Oh!” when she realizes but she must have been hanging out in hetero world too long because this bisexual babe should have been able to spot this fellow queer a lot faster. They decide to go for coffee; the rest, it seems, is history.
In the present-day, Rebecca vouches for the BAU to her boss and when Tara thanks her, Rebecca tells her that the BAU is the best, and Tara wants to take her out for coffee. To thank her, but also so they can make amends. Rebecca looks at her sadly and says she can’t. She accepts Tara’s amends, she does, but getting coffee would end up being more harmful than healing, because Rebecca had to accept a job in Sacramento, so she’s leaving soon.
Also this is neither here nor there, but now that the team has Emily, JJ, Tara, and Garcia, and that they work with Rebecca and their female boss, there are a lot of scenes that are majority women and this pleases me.
The Legend of Vox Machina Episodes 207-209
Written by Valerie Anne
In this week’s batch of episodes, we have accidentally split the party.
Keyleth, Vex, Vax, and Percy are in the Fey Realm, and Percy read a lot about it in books and tries to guide them, but the Fey Realm is too unpredictable to be known. Even Keyleth can’t talk to the plants here, it’s as though they speak a different language. Eventually they meet a satyr man, Garmelie, who is doodling hilarious crude drawings of them. He offers to help, but mostly is just leading them. When he doesn’t join in any fights, he admits to the frustrated party that he’s just a Traveler on their journey. On the way to the vestige, they pass through Singorn, the Elven city Vex and Vax grew up in that took cover in the Fey Realm when the Chroma Conclave attacked.
They go see their father, and meet their half-sister, Velora. Unfortunately, their dad (voiced by The Last of Us game’s Troy Baker) is still an asshole, extremely condescending and just plain awful. In fact, the party has to watch Vex be submissive and passive in a way they’ve never seen their bold, confident ranger.
In an attempt to impress Syldor, Percy gives Vex a title of Whitestone, which doesn’t work, but what it does do is snap Vex back to life, and she finally stands up to her father when he’s a jerk to Percy. Later, Percy also gives Vex a little arrowhead dagger and tells Vex that no matter how shitty her dad is, Vex’s heart is pure, and that’s something no one can take from her.
To get to the vestige, they have to pass an archfey named Saunder, and he preys on Vex’s daddy issues, tangles up her friends so no one can help her. Saunder calls her an unwanted daughter, tells her he can ease her pain. All he wants in return is her heart. This wakes her up and she says her heart already belongs to another and stabs him with her new arrowhead dagger. And the magical bow is hers.
Garmelie opens a portal for them to go back to Tal’dorei, then he transforms from a satyr to an archfey man with long ears and wild red hair. He says, “Travel safe, friends.” And if you know, you know.
I’m officially out of my allotted word count, but I’ll briefly summarize the parallel storyline: After Grog destroys his evil sword so he’ll stop hurting his friends, he is rendered weak and helpless. Scanlan and Pike bring Grog to Pike’s PopPop in Westruun, an old man that it turns out Grog once spared when on a killing spree with his old half-giant barbarian party, which lead him to be banished by his uncle who bears the next vestige: his gauntlet.
Scanlan also meets a bard named Kaylie who is scared until she learns Scanlan’s name, then she gets snippy and demands he help them. Which he does. It turns out Grog’s old herd is working for the dragon who calls himself the Hope Devourer, and is going to kill people for their gold. Grog knows that his muscles don’t make him strong, it’s that he stands up for the lil guy. And so he wants to stop his uncle once and for all.