L Word Generation Q Episode 202 Recap: Lean On Me When You’re Not Yelling At Me

Welcome to the second recap of the second season of The L Word: Generation Q, brought to you by the same network that brought you The L Word, a show about a charismatic 55-year-old self-help guru with a wife and family who spends his days on the road speaking in expansive hotel conference rooms regarding his own self-help theory “The Theory of Everything” (aka TOE) and selling related merchandise and literature who, at one such event, meets a legendary singer-cum-entrepreneur seeking economic success for her queer coffee-shop/venue/club through overcharging for Pear Poletna Tarts, says she reminds him of an “alley cat,” seduces her after a mid-morning poolside hotel lunch and then stands her up for a fancy dinner at said coffee shop, thus resulting in the unnecessary death of two lobsters set aside for the meal by noted Soup Chef Lara Perkins.

In this recap of Episode 202, we will find out what happens when lesbians stop being polite and start getting real honest at somebody else’s wedding! I would like to give a hearty thank you to the 30k+ humans who read my first recap and everybody who gave me compliments in the comments, honestly it was even better for my sense of self than Wellbutrin and I’m walking on sunshine now. (But don’t worry I’m also still taking the Wellbutrin.)

After last week’s cliffhanger, itself a follow-up to a previous cliffhanger, it’s time to strap on our carabiners and ascend the climbing wall of lesbian drama because my friends, Dani was in fact quite serious regarding cheating being a dealbreaker, which brings us to our very first fight in an episode that will set the record for “most fights ever in an episode of The L Word.” The prior record-holder was Episode 511, the one where Jodi and Bette dressed exactly the same and broke up for eight hours.

Lesbian Squabble #3: Did You F*ck Her All Night Before Telling Her I Was The Love of Your Life?
In the Ring: Dani vs. Sophie
Content: Dani has a lot of stuff to do now, like yell at Sophie in her veil. Also, pack a suitcase because this venue has it all: Bridal Suite AND wedding parlor AND rehearsal dinner room. It’s like Greenfield Village but with less glass-blowing.

Also, Dani has questions like “when did it happen” and follow-up questions like “never mind I don’t want to know.” She’s curious if Sophie was ever gonna tell her or if she was just gonna marry her, have her little babies and then sit across from Finley at Thanksgiving dinner as if they did not fuck in Episode 108; which, honestly, great question!

Sophie insists it was a one-time thing and Dani yells at her to stop talking. “Who knew?” Dani screams. “Did everyone know but me?” and Sophie is simply dying inside.

Dani would like to know if Sophie fucked Finley in their home (no) and then declares, “I never want to see you again, is that clear? You’re fucking disgusting.”

Who Wins? Chaos? I’m gonna give Dani the W here because she is objectively “in the right” and also let’s be real, she needs a W.

Back in the downstairs chambers, Finley is, as Alice so aptly notes, “standing there like a kitten on the highway,” and so Alice kindly trots over to offer support which Finley is unable to accept because she’s in a bit of a wierd mood. Also, she’s surrounded by extras who are really earning their day rate today “expressing disgust towards Finley.”

Lesbian Squabble #4: Are You Here For An Affair, Sir?
In The Ring: Finley vs Everyone

Content: Bette — who has committed a healthy list of sins we will address later in the recap — leans over to tell Shane —  who fully left ethereal beauty Carmen De La Pica Morales at the altar in gorgeous Canadian snow-palace wedding sponsored by the Peabody Foundation — that Finley’s little speech was “the most selfish thing she has ever seen.” 🙄

Micah tells Finley to stop following him and wonders what exactly she thought would happen. Then Dani goes downstairs to tell Micah that she knows that he knew and then she gathers her petticoats and stomps over to Finley and punches her right in the face. Bold but also appropriate.

Who Wins? Again, let’s give this W to Dani!

The Suarez family is facing another pressing dilemma: what the hell are they gonna do with all this food? They should have a party anyhow, like Will Schuster did in Glee, thus enabling Santana and Quinn to have lesbian sex. Despite explicit instructions to remove herself from Dani’s life immediately, Sophie is on the horn trying to reach her.

Sophie's family upset in their home


Virginia: Give her time. She’ll come around.
Maribel: Or she won’t.
Sophie: Nobody fucking asked you!

Virginia asks Sophie why Finley thought her little class presentation would have a positive outcome. Does Sophie love her? Sophie doesn’t answer the question. “I love Dani,” she says instead. Virginia suggests that maybe Dani will take her back.

I’m not sure if Sophie is genuinely as all-in on Dani as she says, but I do think in this moment her interest in marrying Dani is probably difficult to parse out from the utter catastrophe and emotional turmoil of what she’s currently facing. You never really know what it feels like to lose somebody until you do. You can try to prepare yourself, you can entertain a thought experiment wherein you consider hypothetically losing the person who’s been by your side for many years but that rehearsal will always be a dreamy cakewalk compared to the stark reality of opening night. Even if your relationship is objectively broken, even if you no longer make each other happy — it’s terrifying to let go of someone you love and have planned a life with. Especially due to your own fuck-up.

Even if Sophie did truly want to choose Finley, how? After the public spectacle of it all? After being outed as a cheater and a liar in front of her entire family, her friends, Mr. Dani, Shane, Marissa, Marissa’s husband and Marissa’s girlfriend? All of the extras who braved a pandemic to be present for this wedding, who dutifully waited outside in their N-95 masks for their time to shine? Would anybody besides me and my Gen Q podcast co-hosts be rooting for them? Would they feel like the black sheep of their social network? Would anybody in their remote network ever feel comfortable pressing “like” on a photo of Sophie and Finley grinning in their luxurious backyard pool? Would they feel like they had to succeed as a couple in order to justify everything they blew up to get there? ‘Cause that’s not a healthy place to be either!

On the one hand she has this beautiful life with this stable, employed, loyal, hot wife that was moments away from being certified by the government. On the other hand, a love nest with someone who has yet to reconcile her own internal demons and is a little adrift psychologically and logistically. And Sophie knows she hurt Dani, and no matter how much Dani hurt her by shutting her out and not being supportive when her grandma was in the hospital, this blows essentially all other methods of hurt out of the water. And like I said last week, if Dani can’t forgive her then that doesn’t just mean their relationship is over, it means Sophie has to grapple with what this says about her as a person. And that’s really hard to do! She will probably feel guilty for the rest of her life!

It’s evening at Natalice’s, and Alice is gunning for quote of the week already with, “You know what the weird thing is? I don’t even think Finley has seen The Graduate.” But lest we dwell in levity, let us get into a BIG FIGHT.

Lesbian Squabble #5: Is That a Poly in Your Pocket Or Are You Just Upset To See Me?
In the Ring: Nat vs. Alice

Nat: Do you think if Sophie had talked to Dani before, and just been honest about being attracted to Finley, that maybe Dani would’ve been okay with it?
Alice: Are you kidding?
Nat: I don’t know, I mean I have lots of clients who have sex outside of their primary relationship. Monogamy’s not for everyone.
Alice: Well it’s for most people, except the bad ones.
Nat: I just think open communication is so important.
Alice: Well, there’s nothing to communicate if you don’t cheat.

It’s for most people except the bad ones. This is both offensive and truly absurd, that Alice, who has been in the queer community in Los Angeles for three decades, is unfamiliar with non-monogamy and still believes it is a gross practice imposed upon humanity by bad people. Shane and Quiara were non-monogamous! So of coure Nat’s crestfallen — she cracked a door open into a conversation she wanted to have and Alice slammed it in her face. Also “there’s nothing to communicate if you don’t cheat” is absolutely inane.

Who Wins? Genuinely nobody, but definitely not Alice.

Alice listens to Nat CRY AND BRUSH HER TEETH in the bathroom. When Alice asks what’s wrong, Nat says she choked on some toothpaste — a very common dental issue many brushers struggle with on a daily basis!!! We do not talk about this enough! Louder for the people in the back!!!!!

Dani is unmoved by Sophie’s voice mails and pleas for reconcilliation and therefore she will be LITERALLY FLUSHING MONEY DOWN THE TOILET in a video to her former beloved.

dani making a video over the toilet

The One Where She Takes Her Ring Off Her Finger and Donates It To an Unsuspecting Sea Turtle

Imagine that your friend just ruined your wedding by revealing that they’d fucked your fiancée and the next morning you are throwing jewelery down the toilet and then there’s a knock at the door and it’s fucking BETTE PORTER with a bag of food from TARTINE?

bette handing a bag to dani

Here, it’s poison

Well, here’s what Dani would do: claim she’s totally fine and needs nothing and nobody, which tbh, is a classic Bette Porter move!

Now that Tess has been “blackballed” from every Poker table in town (which would be legitimately impossible for Eddy to actually pull off) and therefore is in serious financial turmoil, Shane’s determined to fix the problem she unsurprisingly caused by opening up her own poker game at the Dana Fairbanks Memorial Tavern. It feels like they’re trying to make a Dawn Denbo parallel, but Dawn Denbo was a skinny white lesbian trying to put Kit Porter out of business. For a show that so rarely (read: never) has Black masculine characters, having this be the entirety of Eddy’s role in the story is irresponsible and offensive.

Tess worries Shane’s not discrete enough to pull off this type of enterprise.

Shane at Dana's

And for my next act, I will make love to a wooden pole

“Trouble follows you,” Tess declares, correctly.

Back at the home formerly known as DaSoMi’s, Micah and Maribel are developing what i’m certain is eventual sexual chemistry while returning wedding gifts and ragging on homewreckers. Like Finley, who arrives, surveys the scene, and promptly recuses herself from “sending back the gifts for the wedding I ruined.”

Finley in the kitchen

Could I interest anybody in driving me to Trader Joe’s and buying me some Turkey Jerky and Dried Mango?

micah at a table

I think you’re gonna be on your own there bud

When Micah declines a call from Jose and also pretends it wasn’t Jose, Maribel starts an emotional prodding session, noting that Jose is still married and therefore Micah “is the Finley.” Micah insists he’s not the Finley ’cause he didn’t even know Scotty existed. “Buy you do now, so,” Maribel drops the mic. Finley announces she is gonna ditch the marriage-ruining talk to go vomit.

Finley with a thing in the kitchen

Just a heads up I’m taking the goldfish!

Welp, it’s time to take your woes to work at The Aloce Show! Sophie’s depressed but eager to work, because like I always say, “you can type and cry at the same time.” Also, big news for Alice and bad news for Sophie: Finley’s back, she’s got the correct coffee in her hand and accurate knowledge regarding the soup of the day at Alice’s favorite lunch spot. Alice and Finley share an enthusiastic hug and Finley’s like, “I hope that wasn’t an HR thing.” Awww.

Finley at the office

You got any of those like makeup thingamagigs I could use to cover this black eye

Alice in her office holding coffee

I think you’re gonna be on your own there bud

Sophie tells Alice she actually will take that producer job because it sounds more fun than having a nervous breakdown. Regarding Finley’s presence in the workspace, she promises Alice her personal life will not impede her success in the workplace and I’d like to wish everybody a big Good Luck on that.

Micah hits up Jose for a little heart-to-heart and we’re on a one-way road to Squabble-Town.

Gay Squabble #6: No Way Jose
In the Ring: Micah vs. Jose
Content: Micah doesn’t wanna put anyone in the position Dani’s in right now, even Jose’s stupid-ass husband. Also, Jose is a liar. Jose says he never lied to Micah, he meant every word he said, which is absolute nonsense. “You’re lying right now!” Micah points out. “You’re a fundamentally dishonest person!” Then Scott peeks out to see if everything’s okay and Jose’s like, “yeah we’re just catching up. You remember Micah?” DUDE.

“Fuck you,” says Micah before getting the hell out of this disaster.

Who Wins? Micah. But he is almost overshadowed by the depths to which Jose loses!

Alice’s book editor Tom, who you may remember from his halcyon days cruising through Beverly Hills with Cher and Dionne sharing theories regarding whomst is a Friend of Dorothy and how to drive, has arrived on the set of The Aloce Show to craft literary magic between takes. He finds himself immediately intimidated by the glitz and glamour.

Alice and Tom

He’s a disco-dancing, Oscar Wilde-reading, Streisand ticket-holding friend of Dorothy, know what I’m saying?

Good news: Alice’s draft is very funny and he loved the chapter about legendary MILF Lenore. But he’s here to help her combine humor and pathos. “We know you’re funny,” Tom says. “But now we need to know what it felt like the day your Dad left… we wanna know how you and your girlfriend weather the storm.” Finley and Tom become best friends immediately, Alice has a bisexual flag on her desk, and she apparently was unaware that part of writing a celebrity book is that someone else is actually going to write it!

Finley with a giant bottle

I dunno man all I was told is that Paul Bunyon’s wife just popped out a Paul Bunyon Junior and I’m just doing my best to help out

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Riese is the 41-year-old Co-Founder of Autostraddle.com as well as an award-winning writer, video-maker, LGBTQ+ Marketing consultant and aspiring cyber-performance artist who grew up in Michigan, lost her mind in New York and now lives in Los Angeles. Her work has appeared in nine books, magazines including Marie Claire and Curve, and all over the web including Nylon, Queerty, Nerve, Bitch, Emily Books and Jezebel. She had a very popular personal blog once upon a time, and then she recapped The L Word, and then she had the idea to make this place, and now here we all are! In 2016, she was nominated for a GLAAD Award for Outstanding Digital Journalism. She's Jewish and has a cute dog named Carol. Follow her on twitter and instagram.

Riese has written 3178 articles for us.


  1. So evidently no one on the entire L Word cast or crew has ever seen a black eye in real life? The make-up artist thinks the bruises show up wherever a fist makes contact? (They don’t, because of gravity! Citation, I have had 7 on my own face thanks to unfortunate martial arts incidents!) I am very distracted and annoyed by this and I wish Finley unusually quick healing in hopes it doesn’t come back next week!

  2. Yes it was very strange the Polyamary thing compared to Bisexuality.

    Its also strange that Polyamary is being used as a different thing from “open relarionship”. I think last season when Alice wasnt up for an open relationship even as limited as throuple showed her stance on the matter.

    But the writers want to do it again and choose to introduce it as polyamary now to somehow make it different from last season when its the same and Alice should have the same exact reaction regardless

    So to avoid Alice having the same reaction, its now an identity thing. Its Polyamary as an identity that Alice must accept (even going as far as calling Alice a hypocrite by comparing it to bisexuality) as opposed to the Throuple situation which was treated as a sex life spice thing.

    • I was hoping they would explore non-monogamy a little more but this one threw me for sure (and I apologise in advance if my own ignorance on the subject comes through here) because it seemed to me that Nat was the least comfortable with the situation of all three of them. She was devastated by Gigi cheating when they were married, to the point that she didn’t want to hear her out or work through any issues (which is of course a valid choice for somebody in a monogamous relationship). She appeared to be the only person to feel regret at the threesome after it happened, and the most hesitant to continue as a throuple. And she ditched Gigi when she realised she would lose Alice.

      I guess there could be an argument made for Nat realising she had feelings for both women and that this opened up a part of her identity that she’d never known about before. But it kind of felt in this week’s episode that she was implying she’d felt this way, and denied it, for a very long time (I know, I know, time is a flat circle on this show as Riese would say).

      I’m definitely up for seeing some more non-monogamous dynamics but I’m surprised this is the route they took to get there (as opposed to more obvious choices like Bette or Shane).

    • I appreciate what you’ve said here. To my mind, polyamorous relationships are different from open relationships, because polyamory is about loving other people, whereas an open relationship is usually about dating/sleeping with other people. The writers are going out of their way to make a distinction here because Nat is probably in love with someone else while also being in love with Alice, and has probably been seeing this person behind Alice’s back.

  3. i’m not even halfway through the first page of this review and already i’m losing it the most over the sheer number of references to things i had forgotten about – “soup chef”, TOE, tina’s pre-table flip “did you fuck her all night?”, pear polenta tarts…there is no greater l word scholar than you, riese!

      • SHANE. DOES. NOT. DESERVE. TESS. I think I’m alone in this and I think the show is 110% gonna pair them up, but dammit Shane you do not fuck Jamie Clayton over and then have the privilege of being with her. You can be friends, business partners, whatever – but Tess deserves better.

      • There’s a bit of a range of opinions on these issues in the queer community. I’ve often gotten the sense from Gen Q that this group of writers/the leadership has a lot of viewpoints that I am not with. It’s possible that this is one of those instances.

  4. I give this episode a 10/10 and I give this recap a 100/10. I honestly thought this was an excellent episode of television. Am I going crazy?? Or was it actually good (with flaws, of course)? And this recap made me laugh out loud as always. Starting with the TOE guy.

    I was so confused about the venue with the bed that for a moment I thought they were getting married at Dani’s dad’s mansion, but I thought it was weird that she would call it a venue. Then I thought they had gone back to the house?? I don’t know. I was lost.

    Honestly, I love when you analyse the situations we’re dealing with. This show IS deep!!! hahaha Relationships are complicated and humans are very complex, like Micah said.

    I’m a Bette-apologist (sorry) but she was the worst (except when she was bringing food to Dani, having sex with Gigi, and hugging Dani. she was very good then)!!! She was always judgemental but in this episode she took it to the next level and I was super glad when Shane called her out! And I’m just happy whenever they mention Tina haha

    • Same – like, was this episode actually GOOD besides the Alice and Nat scenes? I had to literally pause the show and ask my friend if it was just me or today’s episode was better than usual

  5. “All of the extras who braved a pandemic to be present for this wedding, who dutifully waited outside in their N-95 masks for their time to shine? Would anybody besides me and my Gen Q podcast co-hosts be rooting for them?” These questions were amazing!! I would root for them just because you all love Sinley so much.

    Dani throwing the ring down the toilet and then throwing the food in the trash drove me nuts. Thank you.


    “FUCK THIS LAKE” precious. I think it symbolizes something.

    I didn’t know we already had phones with facial recognition so I thought Alice was trying to wake up Nat with the light and the noise from the phone. Sorry

    “This advice has absolutely nothing to do with the conversation they’re having but you know, it’s a nice sentiment.” THANK YOU. A lot of dialogues in this show are like this!! It drives me nuts.

    Dani’s angry/sad cry-run was so relatable I got chills even when I saw it in the trailer. It was the first time I felt connected to Dani and I’m here for it.

    The poker party was priceless. I miss big group scenes like that!!!

    That scene with Nat was a mess but I’m just glad they remembered that Alice is bi!!

    Thank you, Riese, for another wonderful recap!!! I don’t know how you do it but I’m super glad that you do!

  6. I didn’t get one little thing off the 1st paragraph’s references. 55 yo guy? TOE??
    Somebody please help me, I suddenly feel I know nothing about the L Word.

    Loved the recap. I need to take a few seconds to laugh every single time I read “the Aloce show”!

    • The TOE guy was that guy Kit sort of dated (but he had a wife somewhere). He was a self-help guru and his book was titled “The Theory of Everything”. He gave lectures/talks around the country, talked to Kit about making profit with the Planet, and told Bette to give Tina some flowers.

    • Thanks guys! I guess Riese’s description was perfectly detailed then hahaha.
      Now I vaguely remembered the actor’s face, but this storyline is so weird that my mind surely put it in the “best forgotten” parts of the show.

  7. Does anyone else feel like Nat and Alice are about to do all sorts of crazy off the rails crap since we only see Nat struggle with telling Alice about her polyamory realization for one episode?

    I know this show throws things at us in unexpected and ridiculous ways and that’s part of what I love about it (except for 80% of the Schecter storylines, which were nuttier than an acorn farm. Directing the film adaptation of her book because a billionaire saved her while she was adrift at sea?? hard pass).

    I’m gonna go ahead and prepare myself to be mad (more than I was when Alice broke off the throuple, since the throuple was the most perfectly Alice thing I could imagine) or who knows, I may love it. But they could’ve stretched Nat’s internal struggle out and didn’t so I feel like shit is about to go down.

  8. I gotta be honest this episode tested me!!

    I’m finding both Sophie and Finley really selfish and hard to root for. Finley at least seems completely unaware of how her actions will hurt others until it’s too late. She’s a drowning swimmer who accidentally drags down anyone who gets too close. But Sophie has been consciously choosing herself (in the bad way, not the praxis way lol). Like it feels shady af that she asked Finley to stay at the end. It didn’t feel motivated by any genuine concern or affection for Finley so much as a selfish (and understandable! but still selfish!) desire not to be alone. Idk!! I’m just a Black girl looking for literally any reason to root for the Black girl!!

    Alice being super prudish about polyamory was bad and Nat comparing it to bisexuality was even worse, the kind of thing I would have expected from the original series. I also was really turned off by Tess saying that we keep repeating our patterns until we meet the right person. Like…no person is ever going to be the right person if you’re stuck in self-destructive patterns. Truly terrible advice. Still love you tho, Tess. Glad you’re going for Shane.

    Bette being so hypocritical was outrageous but admittedly in-character lol.

    Micabel’s flirting and Gibette’s top-off were the highlights for me. Looking forward to watching the former relationship blossom and the latter explode. I’m also going to be really curious to see how all this new conflict between the three baby gays affects the friendships between the OGs, since they’ve each basically adopted one.

    • I don’t know, I thought it was fine she asked Finley to stay (maybe because I’m a hardcore Sinley shipper and just love seeing them together.) She’s made it pretty clear she doesn’t want to be with Finley romantically, and I feel like I can understand her wanting her best friend around while her life is going to shit.

      But yeah, I agree about Finley. I hope this is a season of growth for her. I’m glad she stopped the wedding from a TV perspective because I didn’t want to watch Dani and Sophie’s dysfunction anymore, but in terms of doing that to your best friends…yeah not great

    • As another Black girl who finally was excited to have a Black girl in the cast, the reason you find Sophie hard to root for is because the way they write Sophie is awful. She is hard to root for because her actions make no sense. In season one it was clear she was unhappy with Dani, who is emotionally unavailable. Now, they are writing her as both desperate to run back to what was not a good relationship and somewhat still in love with Finley. I honestly hate it. We have no idea what Sophie actually wants or what motivates her behavior and if Rosanny Zayas wasn’t such a great actress I’m sure I’d be even less enthused.

  9. as somebody who reflexively yells JUSTICE FOR JODI LERNER whenever Marlee Matlin is on screen, the combination of CODA ads all week + Bette talking about cheating on the L Word is really trying my vocal cords.

    …can we please have Jodi Lerner back in Generation Q?

    • I feel like this was one of those episodes of the L Word where I just get annoyed with all of the characters.

      The whole Shane running poker nights after being kicked out by Eddie feels wrong. Bette’s moral posturing showed a complete lack of self awareness (and while that’s true to her character, I’d love a little bit of growth in Bette by this point). The entire poly v bi discussion was stupid as hell and I hated it. I hate that Sophie only spoke to Finley after Dani made it clear that they were over, so that discussion feels like if anything does happen there, Finley is Sophie’s second choice.

      I hope this episode was just to set things up and we start to get into some of the good stuff soon like Shane/Tess, Micabell, Sinley.

    • right???

      I love the intergenerational chaos but Eddie telling Shane she doesn’t like her colonial bs and then Shane setting up the exact same business made me so angry, like hello?

      I’m genuinely baffled why the writers have done this, it tainted the whole episode for me

      • I also have the following questions:

        1. Why would quiara need Shane’s money? She’s a music star or whatever, she seemed VERY fancy, and I’m sure they had a pre nup and look idk a lot about divorce but it seemed like they loved and respected each other and this financial situation just seems unlikely, I feel like they didn’t think that through this at all!!!

        2. Eddy “blackballing” Tess from every poker game in town to begin with! It makes zero logical sense? First of all it would be impossible, there are hundreds of poker games like this in the Los Angeles area, according to Catherine Rothberg and Papi it’s basically a municipal lesbian pastime, how would Eddy even know all of them?? (I have now looked it up online and genuinely there are hundreds of poker games happening every night in this city, and I’m sure many more that aren’t publicly listed)

        second of all it makes Eddy seem really illogically vengeful in a way that *could* be over the top L Word camp, so much of this show is — but for a show with such a shitty track record with Black characters and Masculine of center characters, just….. why?? Then we learn that Tess’s mom has MS and relies on Tess financially, thus framing her as an even
        More innocent victim in this conflict — she and her sick mom are being punished for Shane’s sins — and I think that’s where they have landed to justify Shane starting this game.

        If they wanted Shane to start a poker game and wanted Lena Waithe to guest on this show both of those things could’ve happened without this plot.

        Not to get too macro here but like framing two white ppl as victims of capitalism’s slings and arrows while Black ppl hold all the cards LITERALLY … just ….. why

    • yes THANK YOU. In the first episode that whole setup felt like they were trying to score Woke Points TM in a very strange way and this follow-up without even acknowledging it made it feel even more that way. Unless they’re setting up for an arc where Shane has to learn and grow because she missed the point so hard, but I doubt it

  10. Dana Fairbanks Memorial Tavern LMAO. Hoping that if this show gets at least a couple more seasons they’ll do a friendly tennis tournament episode with some passive aggressive serves hitting exes.

    Very funny(?) that Shane is like “oh no, my Black ex-wife took half my money and then a Black underground poker kingpin wouldn’t let me smash her wife and bounced me for trying so I will take this thriving Black idea to refill my white pockets and flirt with/gainfully employ Tess.” I love Shane and I will love Shane and Tess, but this chain of events is very…funny.

    I cannot believe Shane’s mental processing was like…just to create a game that rivals Eddy’s? Or, because Eddy clearly told Shane that her space was Black lesbian centric, did Shane’s eyes start rolling like a slot machine envisioning 1) non-Black lesbians with money to blow and 2) Tess’ undivided attention in a shimmery top and also 3) the it’s free real estate meme? Like are these competing ventures???? Has Shane forgotten her most valuable skillset is less chips more snips? Will there be a lone salon chair in the Dana Fairbanks Memorial Tavern poker speakeasy by season’s end?

    On an unrelated note, mostly I’m here for hot women being chaotic and for the clearer to me than the OG series friend dynamics, but I’m also here for these sort of heavy, uncomfortable moments where characters do something fucked up, and they’re shunned or comforted or placated or whatever before a friend admits to them that they did indeed fuck up, and ultimately really have to grapple with what their choices say about them.

    It’s not that the original series never made characters feel badly about their behavior, but I didn’t usually feel like there was enough consistency or coherence for their regrets to hold weight. It’ll be interesting to see whether this new installment follows through with any growth for all these messy people whose friends can love them and hold them accountable in the same breath.

    • “Has Shane forgotten her most valuable skillset is less chips more snips? Will there be a lone salon chair in the Dana Fairbanks Memorial Tavern poker speakeasy by season’s end?”

      YES THANK U what happened to Shane’s shampoo dreams? This reminded me of that legendary party at wax where drunken celebrants gathered in a circle to watch Shane do haircuts ??? And chanted ?? To music ??? That is Shane’s lane and it’s where we should all stay, although also Shane should probably also think about updating her own haircut

      “On an unrelated note, mostly I’m here for hot women being chaotic and for the clearer to me than the OG series friend dynamics, but I’m also here for these sort of heavy, uncomfortable moments where characters do something fucked up, and they’re shunned or comforted or placated or whatever before a friend admits to them that they did indeed fuck up, and ultimately really have to grapple with what their choices say about them.”

      Nothing to add here, just that I agree 100%

      • As an old who is at a crossroads in her own professional life, I love that the show is demonstrating how a person’s interests/passions can change and that they may sometimes go off in surprising directions. Quiara took half of everything, and Shane probably has a lot of bad feelings about that, so to me it seems understandable that she sold the salons and left that business behind.

  11. RIESE!!! This recap is too good. What did we do to deserve this gift?

    Really enjoying the new season so far, genuine laugh out loud moments tempered with heartfelt and/or messy drama. Just what we needed in these genuinely shitty times (coming to your from lockdown 6 [!!] in Melbourne, Australia).

    The recaps though are even better than the episodes. Love all the call backs to original L word (omg TOE!!), especially the call back to Alice’s deranged KCRW show, truly perfect.

  12. The scene with Bette and Gigi was hot! Short, to tell the truth, but really hot! Bette is my favourite and I want her to be happy. Dani, my sweet gril. The whole situation was so embarrassing and she deserves better!
    Also, Alice’s story this season is very bad…please, bring back Tasha!

  13. Am I the only one that knows Tom as Turk from Scrubs? And also his upcoming role as Professor Utonium in the CW’s gritty adaption of the beloved children’s cartoon the powerpuff girls.

    I know that’s very random but I found this out and had to share it with anybody

  14. Loved the consequences of f-ed up shit you did in your 20s and what that looks like in the rearview in your 40s. Like, really Bette, you did a lot of messed up shit- projecting much? But maybe she’ll eventually get there.

    • See also: Alice accusing Sophie and Finley of behaving unprofessionally when she literally had a breakdown on live radio whilst slating her ex-girlfriend at every turn.

  15. RE: Bette and Gigi
    *insert every slackjawed meme and emoji ever created*
    I didn’t remember anything else that happened in this ep until I read this recap. Is that a GiBettesharestongues induced short-term amnesia or something? They’ll likely only last another episode but damn, I will have fun watching this thermonuclear trainwreck.

    I cackled out loud many times during this recap…btw…thanks to you Riese, hundreds of pieces of granola had to be cleaned from my laptop! I also sighed heavily many times because I was reminded of the Nat/Alice storyline (big WTF/GTFOH energy) and Dani and Sophie…can someone please tell me how/why they were together in the first place?

  16. Personally offended by the Canada soccer game comment on the picture… demonstrates a lack of understanding about the beautiful game that I have come to expect from Americans and that pretty much ruined the recap for me.

    Also Gigi is the best and I would def throuple with her.

    • I’m genuinely confused by this comment, sports fans yell lots of things that don’t reflect their own level of knowledge of the legacy of a sport when their team loses and they are upset?

      • For what it’s worth, Riese, lots of Canadians, myself included, don’t take your nationalism personally. FYI, the refs in the 2012 Olympic match between Canada and the US made several questionable calls against Canada, so I feel your pain re: a sketchy penalty.

  17. Appreciated the list of Bette’s cheating/fuck ups! When she said “I cheated on Tina 17 years ago” immediately my brain started trying to do the math like “ok was that with the carpenter in the early seasons or ??” Riese keeps score! Also I want more Bette and Gigi, but like other commenters have noted I feel like their relationship is going to be imploded soon for the dramatics 💥

  18. For the record, I now feel compelled to purchase a box of Honey Nut Cheerios this week. And the likelihood a “Clueless” quote makes it into an episode? Hoping pretty high.

    Riese – I think they paid a lot to be able to play Drivers License, but they should be paying you even more to join their writing team.

  19. I love these recaps they’re so funny.

    Anyways after this episode I’m more convinced that Dani See’s Bette as a mother figure.

    Also A furious Dani is terrifying! I have so much empathy for Sophie but this whole debacle was her own doing. The fact that Alice called Finley to come back because Sophie missed her it’s just more indication that Finley is a golden retriever.

  20. JUSTICE FOR JODIIIIIIII to be honest though, i wish gen q would do a better job at continuity with the og. which i know is hard bc the og has so much continuity and just crazy shit happening but that’s what’s good about it yk?

    • Yes! After watching this episode my theory is that the writers are purposely trying to make gen q stand alone, for viewers who didn’t watch the original. So Bette’s cheating on Tina got mentioned (because Tina exists in the gen q universe) but not all the other cheating or Shane leaving Carmen at the altar.

      But all they would’ve had to do is have someone say something like “Bette, remember when you cheated on your girlfriend Jodi and she made an art show about it? We all make mistakes”

  21. Okay this isn’t necessarily relevant to this episode, but I just started rewatching season 4, and ya know, I’m not sure how Bette could have ever been in love with Tina again. Back in ancient history, do we not remember how Tina and Bette agreed that they would co-parent Angelica, but then one day Tina decided to tell Bette “hey, so I’m really loving this heteronormative thing I got goin on with Henry, and we’ve decided that perhaps we could just pretend you never existed so me and Henry could be Angie’s mom and dad”? I mean, this prompted Bette to commit a federal crime, but idk, if it were me I think I’d never forget the time my long term girlfriend tried to remove me from my daughter’s life. Bette never really treated Tina that great but let’s not forget, Tina is kind of a terrible human being.

  22. “Would anybody besides me and my Gen Q podcast co-hosts be rooting for them?”

    Dani was extra hot in this episode, because character development. But every time Sophie and Finley are in the same room, my heart stays with them. I cannot wait for the podcast!!!

    Love the callbacks to the original.

  23. “most fights ever in an episode of The L Word.” The prior record-holder was Episode 511, the one where Jodi and Bette dressed exactly the same and broke up for eight hours.”

    oh MY GOD I’ve always been so salty that people didn’t recognize Jodi and Bette’s long-ass dragged breakup that lasted the entire episode. This observation is a win. I love you and Autostraddle forever

  24. Ok I cackled out loud so many times but I just have to point out how perfect this caption was with the screenshot: “He’s a disco-dancing, Oscar Wilde-reading, Streisand ticket-holding friend of Dorothy, know what I’m saying?”


  25. Also, is it not a little odd that Alice seems so utterly stunned (and absurdly judgmental) that Nat is polyamorous? They were in a throuple?! Also also, am I the only one who finds the characterization of Alice almost void of ANY likability in this revival? I always loved her, mainly for her comedic input, but she’s shown her compassionate side in the past. In this version she just seems outrageously self-centered and there’s not much else to her? It pains me to say this as an Alice-lover…

    • Yes! My gf and discussed at length after watching how weird it is that Alice not only hasn’t grown but honestly seems to have regressed emotionally since the end of the original series? She is like astoundingly immature in her relationship with a literal therapist and it just doesn’t make a lot of sense.

    • To be fair, Alice has always been very self-centred, but Nat also gave her the impression that she wanted to be monogamous on her television show, so I can see how it came as a shock. This storyline is more in character than the time she stalked Dana for like half a season and then went back to normal like nothing had happened.

  26. Riese I cannot handle how good these recaps are!! You ending the list of Bette’s crimes with ARSON, ARSON absolutely killed me. You are doing the most and we all love you💖

  27. WOW the polyamory fight was bad. Besides making it seem like Nat was using her polyamorous orientation to justify her cheating (a healthy poly relationship requires honesty and communication!), there was the nasty bi stereotypes and the implication that Alice “thinking about guys” would somehow be the same as whatever Nat has going on.

    Okay that was kind of an angry rant, I think I’m just mostly mad the Shane and Tess still didn’t have sex THEY’RE PERFECT FOR EACHOTHER

  28. Thank you Riese for this superlative recap.

    As far as L Word wedding hijinks go, this one makes the least sense, and that is saying something. Finley’s behavior just doesn’t seem believable. Even if she thought the wedding was happening later that day, it didn’t occur to her to message Sophie asking to talk before showing up at the venue? Really? Then she doesn’t make any effort to check in with Sophie before going back to their shared workplace and sort of acts as if it’s not weird for her to be there? Really?
    Like a Jenny Schecter of Latter Day Seasons, Finley has me wondering if any real person would interact with other humans this way. Also, as soon as Alice told Sophie she had told Finley that Sophie missed her, wouldn’t Sophie have immediately texted Finley to confirm that she didn’t want Finley to get the wrong idea? Why don’t these people send text messages? Are Sophie and Finley secretly living in 1997?

  29. Others have commented on this so I, too, will express vehement disgust that Shane decided to open her own poker game. The notion that she had to do it because Tess was “blackballed” and so she needs a job is absurd. Please keep in mind that Eddy’s anger stemmed from Shane flirting with her non-monogamous wife. Thus, the narrative is that an angry Black lesbian is cutting off the financial opportunities of her ex-employee because her white lesbian friend flirted with her wife. What? The?? Fuck???

    Also! I’ve noticed how many people are saying they hate Sophie but don’t seem to have issues with Finley. Part of this is because the writers work overtime to underscore the innocence of the show’s white queers. Every scene Finley appeared in had someone telling her that what happened wasn’t actually her fault (and even Sophie tells her this). Meanwhile, every scene Sophie was in featured her receiving some verbal reminder that what she did was terrible. The L Word’s racial politics are beyond embarrassing and regressive and we should say it loud and often.

    • THIIIIISSSSSSSSSSS. So much this. The optics of an angry masculine lesbian (and her threatening words/vibe) is *too much* for me. I was hoping Gen Q wouldn’t end up a hate watch the way the original L Word was, but I fear that’s the direction it’s headed.

      Also: can we find another Black lesbian other than cheating-ass Lena Waithe? There’s a whole WNBA over there, and I’m sure at least one or two of them have fairly decent acting chops.

    • For the record, I found Sophie’s situation completely understandable, and Finley incredibly annoying and pathetic with a side of a “who, me?” toxicity. Idk if the show was aiming for that though. What she did at the wedding would be, in real life, the moment where I’d realize the person I thought was a friend is actually an oblivious narcissist.

    • ” Every scene Finley appeared in had someone telling her that what happened wasn’t actually her fault (and even Sophie tells her this). Meanwhile, every scene Sophie was in featured her receiving some verbal reminder that what she did was terrible.” This was extremely bizarre to watch. What Finley did was downright maniacally cruel and the people that love her should be encouraging her to get some sort of professional help to try to understand why she would behave so recklessly toward other human beings. That everyone was basically “eh, it was a big mistake but everyone makes mistakes and I still love ya!” was so jarring.

      Cheating is a mistake, keeping the cheating a secret from bride-to-be is a mistake, but those are mistakes that any imperfect person can understand as just that — mistakes. Sophie’s mistakes are about a kajillion times easier to understand and sympathize with. Finley’s little floor show was reprehensible and I’m incredibly irritated she’s already been brought back into the fold for no discernible reason. I get that they want us to see these as forgiving and compassionate people, but it’s supremely irritating that there’s not even a moment of establishing a boundary when it comes to and act of such hateful and selfish cruelty.

    • Stunningly said.

      I agree particularly with the comment in re: mediocre and morally whitewashed white characters. When Micah said something along the lines of “Finley is impossible not to love” I audibly laughed. I can’t name one redeeming quality — mooching, stealing, self-pity, and a general lack of tact? Bleh.

      Sophie is a complex, wonderful woman who made a huge mistake but she’s still the best character & deserves better than Finley.

  30. I don’t understand how still still still the L word finds itself playing out the most non-progressive attitudes. This week’s episode was offensive to Black people, bi people, poly people… and anyone who likes characters to act with continuity. What the FUCK is up with Sophie and Finley not talking properly? And what does Sophie actually want?! And why is Alice acting like a mean child?! Why is Shane being the epitome of white monied privilege?! Why does this show defend its white characters so heavily and shaft its characters of colour? 😭 Why can’t I watch the L word without having an aneurysm about its shoddy writing and piss poor politics in 2021?!

    I just want to have soapy lesbian fun :(

    • I’m pretty sure it’s cause they thought meeting a character of color quota was sufficient. TV is usually written by people who come from money, let’s face it. I’m disappointed but not surprised that there’s no class awareness and everyone lives in a sort of monopoly money world, with Shane for some reason having the most of it. Why they chose to turn the character who originally had at least some level of financial struggle into just some thoughtless money machine I don’t get. I don’t really agree with the idea that some have said that she’s stealing poker games from the black community because honestly poker games are everywhere. I think that comes from the silly idea that the show implied, which is that underground poker is a reaction to rich white people in WeHo….but it’s somehow also only for people who can afford a 10k buy in…so no middle class or working class black people need apply. Idk, it’s a mess. I could go on about it being a symptom of the professional managerial class glorifying their empty progressivism without any working class consciousness but we’d be here for awhile. Aaaanyway.

      • I think the money issue went off the deep end when they introduced Helena Peabody and then it turned into a fantasy of what having an extremely rich friend could do for people. She’ll buy a movie studio for you to work at, take you on a private jet, and pay for your destination wedding! Helena’s money can magically solve every problem, totally realistic for a community of people who tend not to have a ton of money.

        The storytelling was just lazy, as is the idea of Shane and Alice both getting super rich. How did a broke hairdresser and a non-celebrity with a humble radio show become Vidal Sassoon and Ellen Degeneres? If they wanted some class tension between Dani and Sophie, why not make Dani the daughter of doctors or lawyers instead of a billionaire? Just wait until next season when Sophie ascends to be a rich Hollywood producer overnight due to her new segment on Alice’s show and perhaps Tess will win 10 million dollars at poker.

  31. “ Cheated on her girlfriend Jodi with aforementioned Tina for a significant period of time, actively lying to Jodi” BY USING JODI’S DEAFNESS TO GET AWAY WITH IT

    Justice for Jodi!

  32. Also (apologies for colonising this comment section like Shane colonised the underground lesbian poker scene) is any character going to notice, or show concern for, the fact that Finley managed to get sober and is now drinking again?

    • Tess looked *straight at her* drinking a beer and barely seemed to notice? I’m hoping that it was actually supposed to be that she clocked it subtly and will bring up later (when they’re ready to do a storyline about it probably) but I won’t hold my breath

    • I feel like Tess will bring it up at some point, even if nobody else will. Tess even asked out loud whether Finley was drunk when she crashed the wedding, so I wonder if they’ll have a sort of continuation of their S1 convo about sobriety.

      I think Micah side-eyed Finley for about half a second before he decided to have a beer with her, and Rebecca was aware that Finley has a problem with drinking.

      Hoping to see other characters realize it and actually encourage her to work on it.

    • I was curious about this too- did Finley say get sober or stop drinking? Because to me, those are very different things. Sober seems more like a permanent choice while “stopping drinking” is what I hear a lot of people do in like, January. As the partner of a sober person, I so desperately want Finley to get sober and get some therapy!

  33. Would buy a Justice for Jodi t-shirt!

    All of Tess and Shane’s “advice” had almost no bearing on the actual issues that are going on!

    I also did not buy the financial trouble that Shane is in! Downsize from that monster home and you don’t have to start an underground poker game if you pay Tess a living wage!

    • OMG I know I am very late and maybe all this has been resolved by now but this season only just became available in the UK and so this is where I’m up to right now and Shane not paying Tess enough is making me yell at the television so much!

      She is single-handedly running Shane’s now pretty busy bar for her so how on earth does she a) have TIME for other jobs (e.g serving at the wedding, not just poker!) and b) NEED more jobs? WHY ISN’T SHANE PAYING HER ENOUGH TO LIVE ON??

  34. Something that’s been bothering me about the ring flushing is that it wasn’t money it was the ring Sophie’s mom gave her from the family!!!! So much worse than money!!!!!

      • That was the first thing I thought of too. I mean, Dani has every right to be angry at Sophie for cheating. But flushing a ring that she knows is an irreplaceable family heirloom down the toilet struck me as an awful, awful thing to do. It’s not about the money at all; that ring was a gift to Sophie from her beloved grandmother who almost died last season? I don’t care how angry she is, flushing that particular ring just seems … really cruel.

  35. Something that’s been bothering me about the ring flushing is that it wasn’t money it was the ring Sophie’s mom gave her from the family!!!! So much worse than money!!!!!

  36. The thing that has been bugging me about this episode since I watched it last night: If Eddie’s poker night was for Black lesbians (and she thought it would be cool to let the white girls in for a change – LOL), does this mean that Shane’s poker night is for white lesbians/non-Black lesbians?

    I have read that this show will be dealing more with race this season, especially as it relates to Bette and Angelica, but I hope this is a thread that gets picked up and not glossed over.

    • I felt that the implication that poker is a thing that only the black community does set this whole mess up. Surely given the reality of how many poker games are in the area, this isn’t true. But from the perspective of the show, Shane setting up her own thing does make it kinda like wtf, especially implying that a black lesbian would be so angry as to financially ruin a broke white girl. And as I’ve mentioned in a reply to an earlier comment, this show kinda has no working class consciousness. Black and white alike are all extremely well off. In the first episode, Eddie says they needed a place of their own because white people had colonized the whole scene, but if buy ins are 10k, that place is really only for black people with obscene amounts of money. Where are the middle and working class black people chilling? I wanna hear their stories.

  37. If Quiara is some international pop star who gets recognized and asked for selfies at the goddamn DMV, how is she feasibly entitled to half of Shane’s hairstylist money, much of which she has already spent on lavish jets/Hollywood Hills mansions/an entire fucking bar in WeHo, without Shane also being entitled to half of Quiara’s money?

    If they so desperately needed the underground poker game storyline, they could have centered it around Tess’s financial difficulties, which are definitely more realistic, and had Most Loyal Friend Shane McCutcheon there to try to help her without making it feel like obvious charity Tess might not take.

    It just makes me think the poker game isn’t gonna go well (shocker) and they didn’t want to make it seem like Tess’s livelihood depended on it? Or if they’re pushing for a Shane/Tess romance, they didn’t want it to be a sugar daddy situation? Whatever. It’s ridiculous and as you can tell by the length of this comment, it bothers me.

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