Cut to The Zakarian Gallery where Bette’s wearing 45 coats and a man dressed like Professor Plum is commenting on her extraordinary work at the CAC, where she mixed politics and art and also fucked the carpenter in multiple locations.
He’s like, if you work here with me you could champion the work of so many artists of color and marginalized voices!! But she’s like, excuse me, what about Impressionists in Winter?!?!
Bette: “You know I could be a little irritated that in your myopic vision you’ve somehow solely associated me with BIPOC artists when in fact I’ve worked with pretty much every major artist of the last two decades but instead I will simply point out that you represent exactly THREE artists of color.”
Professor Plum: “Which is another reason I need you. I mean those marginalized artists are suddenly the hottest commodity in the art world and I have found for the first time I am behind the curve.”
This man has given us nothing and would like to continue giving us nothing by instead hiring Bette Porter to give us everything. I’m in favor of this plan, because he also wants to meet her salary demands, pay off her campaign debt, and give a signing bonus to all her BIPOC artists but Bette wants them for EVERYBODY lest any white people be left out in the cold of an impressionist winter which is so…. Bette. He agrees to this and further stipulations and then shows Bette to her office where she may or may not have liaisons with passionate women.
Alice’s book is moving along significantly faster than my book, and I have only one job and one girlfriend and zero children. HOW DOES SHE MANAGE TO DO IT ALL? Her publishers wanna move up the publishing date and also give Alice an editor. She thinks this means they adore the book but I suspect she’s getting an “editor” ’cause what she really needs is a ghostwriter.
So, big news for Sophie and me: Finley’s totally down to come back!!! Sophie’s unhappy about this which brings is straight into….
Lesbian Squabble #1: Somewhere Between The Moon and Kansas City
In the Ring: Alice vs Sophie
Content: Sophie says Finley’s supposed to stay in Kansas City and is horrified to learn that Alice told Finley that they both missed her. “You gotta tell her that she can’t come back,” Sophie insists. “She can’t come back here.” Sophie’s saying all this at an alarming volume, thus alerting the entire office to her situation. Thus, Alice yanks her into her private office where everybody can still see them, but not hear them. Within the office walls, Sophie confesses that her and Finley boned after The Aloce Show wrapped its Roxane Gay episode. Alice is distressed to hear that this happened on her couch.
Sophie: And look it was — it was a one time thing, and it didn’t mean anything. I mean… it was fucking amazing —
Alice: Well I don’t need the—
Sophie: But she’s gone and Dani doesn’t know and now I think that I should’ve told her. do you think that I should tell her?
Who Wins? Alice because Sophie forfeits by immediately pivoting the fight into a confession session.
Alice suggests leaving the past in the past and moving gamely forward. Sophie thanks her for those wise words and announces her intention to tell Dani tonight! At the rehearsal dinner! No better moment than far after the checks have been signed, the mixers have been wrapped, the venue has been booked and the love has been declared not a lie.
We return to the Wedding Venue Location where we began the episode. Will everybody build a tower high enough to hit heaven? Will they rehearse a dinner? Well, Sophie is quietly hyperventilating. Micah and Maribel are lurking in the immediate corner like the first exhibit on a dark ride at Disneyworld, where they’re singing Did you tell her? Did you tell her? The next thing that will happen on this ride is that the music will start and we will careen into a grim land of horrors in which Sophie will tell Dani about smacking the salmon with Finley and then there will be a steep drop into a thicket of thorns.
As Sophie stands at the front of the room with Dani’s family, freaking out internally, we get a fun little erotic voiceover that on par with the legendary EZ Girl hit “Shane and Carmen Fucking.” We hear Finley: don’t do that, you’re getting married tomorrow. We hear a lot of deep breathing. SEX BREATHING.
Back in the hallway, Micah once again implores his friend Sophie to tell Dani the truth, and Maribel agrees wholeheartedly. Real quick I would just like to remind everybody of something I said in 2019: “Since everybody else is offering free ideas to the Gen Q Writer’s room, here’s mine (besides my #1 idea which is “put me in the Gen Q Writers Room”): Maribel and Micah! I love both of these characters and the actors who play them SO MUCH and I’m excited just THINKING about what they could accomplish together. “
I am getting very strong VIBES here that my dream might come true!
Anyhow, Sophie tells them of COURSE she’s gonna tell her and OF COURSE Dani shows up at exactly that moment to ask, “Tell me what?” But before Sophie can answer, Dani bulldozes her with an uninterrupted monologue that begins with “is it the place?” and ends with a confirmation that tonight they’ll go out dancing and get drunk and do the horizontal hula. Dani promises to make it up to her, whatever “it” is. The place. The place? What’s wrong with the place?
I guess an advantage to marrying very young is that you can go out the night before a photoshoot (a wedding is a photoshoot, don’t @ me) and not worry that you will wake up the next morning looking like the Grinch Who Stole Christmas just got rescued from a coal mine.
Regardless; that’s always been the thing with these two: they don’t really see each other, but they’re long past the moment in their relationship where that failure had any hope of getting corrected. They’ve got incredible physical chemistry. They love love — love being in love, love loving each other, are electrified by the rush of taking each “next step” in their relationship. Sophie admires Dani’s ambition and conviction and she knows Dani will always take care of her. Dani needs Sophie’s playfulness to keep her from getting too serious. Both of them are convinced they are ready to settle down.
But a long time ago Dani decided who Sophie was and what Sophie wanted, and since then, to Dani, Sophie’s always been 50% actual Sophie and 50% Dani’s idea of her. When they fight, Sophie’s angling to bring her real self to the surface, to be seen, and when they make up, Sophie doesn’t necessarily feel self-actualized, but she does seem to feel safe and honored. Those are good feelings to feel, although they’re not necessarily feelings that engender a sustainable relationship.
But whatever has happened between this season and last season, Sophie’s got more on the line than ever to be seen how Dani sees her, because who she really is — what she really did — Dani can’t ever see that. Now they’re both invested in maintaining the image and obscuring the reality. A dangerous place to be right before you get married!
Back at Chez Bette, Angie’s pondering the genealogy kit but thrusts it into her backpack when Bette arrives in the kitchen looking amazing. She explains that she’s just going out on a little date and “it’ll probably be a disaster.” Clearly “having to go on an arranged date” is the ultimate low point in Bette Poterland. She’s used to just being able to seduce the power-drill-wielding visiting artist who just joined her department or, you know, her T.A.. Or Tina, again! I love this humbling journey for our queen!
Angie, an exemplary mature child, wants Bette to know she doesn’t think the donor is her real Dad, she’s just curious about where she came from and it won’t make Bettina any less her Moms. Bette says it’s not that, it’s that the contract they established with her donor included a clause that he’d stay anon ’til she turned 18, because he gave Bette & Tina his sperm during a time when it was really difficult for “us as lesbians” to have a child. Also she doesn’t want Angie giving her DNA to the deep state, sorry!!!!!!
Meanwhile on the mean streets, Shane got Tess a sandwich and Chloe is blowing up her phone with erotic desires for later that very evening at Cup o Noodles Door Poker Night.
At the restaurant, Bette’s feeling very nervous about her date when in strolls Gigi, all smiles and laughs and absolute utter radiance. Gigi’s amused that Nat and Alice orchestrated this date between two unsuspecting hotties. She complements Bette on her dress and asks if it’s Tom Ford. Bette looks at her with unforgivable contempt.
Over at Natalice’s, Nat’s watching Law & Order SVU on her laptop like a lesbian sophomore trying not to obsess over why her crush hasn’t texted her back. Alice arrives and declares that she has had “a day of lesbian sex and scandal.” Also, Alice says she’s never seen SVU before.
Alice: Does she always wear a leather jacket?
Nat: Of course.
Alice: She’s serious.
Alice gives SVU about 30 seconds before turning immediately to her girlfriend’s hot bod, which she mounts and begins to kiss. Unfortunately, Nat gives Alice about ten seconds before falling asleep, and then Alice wants to die!
Nat: “I wasn’t asleep I was just resting my eyes! I have heavy lids!”
The weirdest thing about this is that it is almost definitely impossible for Nat to have fallen asleep that quickly so if I were Alice, I’d be convinced Nat was making it up, and then I’d develop like yet another carousel of baggage all about it. Being alive is fun.
Back on Dating Around, Gigi’s doing 95% of the work for this date while Bette gives it about as much attention as Mark Zuckerberg gives opposing counsel in that deposition scene in The Social Network.
Bette actually TELLS GIGI that she finds DATES “a little sad” and to be honest, I understand where she’s coming from and I too find myself fundamentally uncomfortable with the concept of a date but listen lady, you gotta do what you gotta do to find love. Gigi is like, “Oh, I don’t know, I think it’s a useful step in getting to know somebody.” Bette gets defensive in response because she is hellbent on blowing this date.
But then SURPRISE! Guess who else is dining here tonight???
Gigi: Nice to meet you! And you must be Carrie. I’ve heard so much about you!
Carrie: Oh really? Anything Bette’s told you about me is subject to cross examination!! (laughter) I’m kidding, I know we’re all part of the same team.
Gigi: And what team is that?
Carrie: Yankees. All the way. Yankees or die.
Tina: Well I hear this place is great.
Gigi: It is. Get the scallops! They are perfectly seasoned.
Carrie (to Tina): Ahhh honey I can’t, I’ve got a texture thing with the scallops, no can do.
Gigi: Well, save em for the grown-ups, right?
Everybody stands still in awkward hell and I’m truly unclear regarding what Gigi was trying to communicate here but I think I hate it. The two couples separate to talk about each other in peace. Finally, Bette turns to Gigi and is like, “I’d say I love you but I don’t know you that well” and I breathe a sigh of sweet relief that perhaps Bette will not blow this date after all.
Gigi asks Bette if it’s hard to see Carrie and Tina together, like it was for her with Nat and Alice. Bette says nothing for a long time, ’cause she struggles with you know, vulnerability, and then:
Gigi: You make a life with someone and when it’s over … it’s like you’re spinning in the dark.
Bette: I… just really thought that I… well at first when she left, I thought “Tina just needs some space, she spent her entire adult life in my orbit, she probably just needs to be front and center for a while.”
Gigi: You thought she’d come back to you?
As we all know and can see, Bette did indeed expect Tina’s return and Tina did not in fact return. Instead, she’s sitting with Carrie, who’s a bit anxious about the menu font being too tiny for her to see the ingredients. What if she orders the wrong thing and gets reflux??????
Tina: Do you think Bette’s okay?
Carrie: No, I don’t think Bette’s okay. I think she’s in love with you.
Tina: No she’s not.
Carrie: Yes, she is. I mean, she’s sitting with that beautiful woman and all she can do is sit over there and stare at you.
Carrie says she’ll try the scallops if Tina wants to try the scallops! (She should really try the scallops, scallops are great.) Also Tina tells Carrie that she’s beautiful and Carrie and I both tear up.
Meanwhile, over at Love at First Date, Bette remains unable to focus on aforementioned beautiful woman as she blinks back tears while casting excruciating glances in Carrie and Tina’s direction. “Come here,” Gigi demands. Bette leans in, asks, “you’re really doing this?” She is. We are. LADIES AND GENETLEPEOPLE WE ARE REALLY DOING THIS !!!!!!!
“You’re naughty,” Bette says under her breath. Okay Dean Porter.