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

We sojourn to another part of this fair city where Kismet Russel, an artist Bette wants to exhibit at the Fancy Los Angeles Art Gallery where she now works, is having a little one-on-one with our favorite Yalie. Bette reveals that she fell in love with his “2016 light installation downtown.”

Kismet’s stoked for the opportunity to work with Bette Porter ’cause he knows who she is (Bette Fucking Porter) and what she stands for (Tina) but her boss Isaac Zakarian sucks. Issac immediately demonstrates his overall failure as a human being by crashing the meeting. I have previously referred to Issac as Professor Plum but today I am getting more of a Mr. Green vibe.

Bette in her office

What I try to do is every time Issac talks, I imagine a flock of birds flying through the office obscuring the sound of his voice

Issac in a green suit

Excuse me?

Kismet, the artist, talking to Bette

I’m not sure it’s that easy to drown out the sound of an entitled white man with a lot of money

Issac in the office

EXCUSE me I have several valid opinions about why prison abolition is a bad idea and it kinda seems like nobody is interested in hearing them

Issac invades the conversation with an irritating ignorant question and we remain at the edges of our seats terrified by what this overconfident white man might say out loud to ruin this relationship for Bette!


Back at the offices of The Aloce Show, Finley’s organizing some headshots (Sue Perkins is at the top of the pile) ’cause she’s run out of other stuff to do after fucking Sophie in the green room at the end of Season One, running off to Missouri, ruining a wedding, re-stocking all the candy and gum, cleaning out the fridge and also disposing of 12 yogurts that seemed a bit off.

Finley and Sophie in Alice's office

I’m pretty sure it’s a sailboat?

Sophie: “You tasted all 12 yogurts?
Finley: “I mean, you can’t let go of a good gurt.”
Sophie: “You’re so stupid.”

FInley, sensing a warm moment, miscalculates a pathway in which to ask if Sophie’s grandmother is mad at her. And we’re off!

Lesbian Squabble #7: What Are You Doing, Buddy?
In The Ring: Sophie vs. Finley

Content: Sophie doesn’t think Finley should make jokes! Finley’s not sure what else to do! Sophie wants Finley to feel bad! Finley does feel bad! But does she feel bad for the right people or just for herself and Sophie’s grandma??! Sophie bets she feels bad for Dani but does Finley feel bad for her, for Sophie? Because Finley hurt Sophie too!!?! And Finley’s like come on we all watched Season One, you weren’t happy, and Sophie is like “I was happy” but I do not believe her and she doesn’t want to see Finley ever and doesn’t want her to be here ever and you know what, this has gotten awfully loud!

Alice interrupts the slog-fest to declare it unprofessional. Finley volunteers to go. It’s her fault, and Alice needs Sophie more than she needs Finley. Sophie’s clearly impressed by Finley’s knighthood in this context, but that doesn’t make it easy. Alice is probably gonna have to switch to tea.

Who Wins? The assistant who will now get their job back?


We then transition back into the budding romance between Our Lady of Porter and Gigi, where they’re talking about racist micro-aggressions in the workplace! After the absurdly post-racial worldview of the original series, these conversations are so refreshing, and it’s nice to see Bette dating someone who can relate to some of what she’s experiencing.

Bette thinking

Well well well it looks like our next-door neighbors are gearing up for another Christmas Light Fight

Bette: He told an emerging Black artist that his HERO, Karrey James Marshall, wasn’t on the Zacharian roster because he wasn’t ready.
Gigi: I mean I don’t even know who that is and I can still see the thinly veiled racism.

Just like Bette always (allegedly) dreamed we have two (2) CAREER WOMEN here discussing how Bette can maximize her opportunity with this terrible white man. Gigi points out that at least he’s paying Bette absurd amounts of money (to refresh your memory, he paid off her campaign date and offered her a $600k salary) and Bette’s like “I’m not sure if it’s worth it.” A lot of people are working for terrible white men for $10/hour, so?

Then Gigi is like … you need to get clear on what you want…. IN BED

Bette and Gigi making out

Lesbian Sexy Moment #2: What Do You Want
The Players: Bette and Gigi
The Pick Up: “What do you want? Do you want this?”
Is it Hot? Gigi’s just got her fingers on Bette’s earlobe and Bette moves in for her lips and Gigi pulls back because ladies IT’S A TOP-OFF. Gigi’s down her knees, runs her tongue down Bette’s body and then tells Bette to wait for no reason but actually yes there is a reason (it’s a top-off) and the reason is control. They go back and forth and back and forth and Bette serves Gigi her fingers and they kiss like sex, like tugging and biting and sucking and then there’s laughing and  and tearing at each other’s clothes Bette flips Gigi over and climbs on top and then ….

Echo Park Lake at night

FUCK THIS LAKE


Alice arrives home, full of complaints regarding her day, to find Nat slumbering upon the sofa watching an episode of Law and Order: SVU that I am ashamed to admit I immediately recognize.

Alice holding Nat's phone in her face

No look closer I swear it looks like she had an eyelift

Alice decides to dance with danger and unlock Nat’s phone with her sleeping face, but Nat immediately awakens and somehow believes Alice’s claim that she was simply attempting to partake in Farmville, a game nobody has discussed in over ten years. Alice is really pushing it this week!


Over at the Dana Fairbanks Memorial Tavern, Shane is failing at advice for notable Lost Kitten on the Highway, Finley. So Tess steps in:

Tess: I think what Shane is trying to say is that we tend to get stuck in certain patterns until we meet the person that we’re meant to be with and then when you do, that’s when you can end the cycle. I mean that’s what we’re all in it for.

This advice has absolutely nothing to do with the conversation they’re having but you know, it’s a nice sentiment.

Tess in the bar

I know Ted Lasso doesn’t seem like the kind of TV show you’d be into but I promise it’s got a real feel-good energy that could be really great for you at this time

Finley

If you say so….

Finley explains that she loves Sophie, it makes sense for them to be together and when they hooked up it just worked. But. She knew Sophie was gonna marry Dani, so faced with the options of Fight or Flight, she chose Flight. She went home, got sober, cleared her head. Then Alice called, said Sophie missed her, and Finley thought, “oh, perhaps I still have a shot.”

Shane: Fucking Alice.
Finley: It’s not her fault.
Shane: Eh, I’ve known Alice for a long time. It kinda is.

Tess is like, where are you gonna live my man? And Finley is like good q, but more importantly:

Finley: I knew the wedding was that day but I thought it was later like at night? I didn’t think I was walking into the actual wedding. In a hat. In a fucking hat.
Shane: We know, we were there.
Tess: [Unforutnate nod]
Finley: I just…. I thought I was finally doing the right thing. Ha. Yeah. I’m an idiot.

This explanation does, actually, make a lot more sense than the idea of Finley orchestrating an entrance at the most dramatic moment possible and waiting until the absolute last minute to return to Los Angeles to make her Love Confession. (As dramatized in the short Mark + Gomey Film, Finley / Sophie Love Confession)

Shane and Tess

On the bright side at least your estranged father didn’t steal $10,000 from the heiress who was funding your Winter Wonderland Dream Wedding to the hottest woman alive, who you famously left at the altar before teleporting back to Los Angeles to drown in the ocean, do coke with your society wife ex and then crash her BMW into a highway overpass

But those do not cover the entirety of Finley’s woes: there’s more. She’s unemployed now! Luckily her Gay Dad Shane and her Gay Mom Tess will hire her to work right here at the bar! Shane’s proud of Finley for speaking her truth which isn’t easy and not many people can do it. Shane really ought to share her own wedding story! That’s what I do when my friends fuck up, I am like “listen, here’s a story of when I fucked up something similar but much worse.” And then everybody can feel less alone! Sometimes!

Tess gives Shane a coy little smile and Shane’s like “what?” and Tess is like “that was surprisingly sweet.” HAVE SEX


Finley arrives at DaSoMi’s with a six-pack and a message for Micah: she is aware that she is a piece of shit. Micah shrugs. He sees things differently now. “There’s two sides to every story,” he says. “Or, three.” But will anyone ever forgive her? Micah says Finley is really hard not to love.

Micah at home looking at Finley

Look.. Everybody knows how much more fun this show is when everybody’s single soooo you kinda did us all a favor

Then DRIVERS LICENSE starts playing? I am uncertain if this is technically legal. It is far too emotionally evocative for me at this time and I will be reporting this crime to Interpol. First up is Finley crying in bed:

FInley lying on the bed

I wonder how much it cost them to get the rights to this song

And then we segue into the next day in which Dani’s got the eye of the tiger and JUST KIDDING WE’RE STILL LISTENING TO DRIVERS LICENSE

Dani running outside

You’re Only One Workout Away From a Good Mood

Dani’s running it out, having a good old fashioned cry-run. You know the type. Dani replays it all in her mind— the sex scene in the bathtub, the sexy dancing in the pilot… and that night Sophie was crying in bed in her arms and Dani knew she was crying but didn’t pursue a reasonable line of inquiry. I find myself emotionally impacted by this scene. I too am crying for this relationship, but mostly for Dani’s deep sense of dissolution. She throws up on a tree and Olivia Rodrigo throws up on my feelings.


Back at the Dana Fairbanks Memorial Tavern, Tess reiterates how sweet Shane was with Finley, how kind it was to tell this broken highway kitten that she was proud of her for putting her feelings out there. Shane reiterates how hard it is to do so. For example, people told Shane her entire life that she would become a psychopath if she didn’t learn how to feel but then she did let herself feel and Cherie Jaffee ripped her heart out! (Also this isn’t the point but I suggest you watch that video and tell me if you sense a Finley parallel!)

So, Tess is gonna try a little something called Getting Shane to Talk About Her Feelings, a game invented by Carmen De La Pica Morales in 2005. Tess goes first: her Mom has MS and her Mom used to take her to church and play bingo and smoke Virginia Slims.

Tess on a bench

Wanna scissor?

Shane and Tess on a bench

That’s not a thing

Tess holding onto Shane's wrist

Why don’t you come over to my apartment and I’ll show you exactly how much of a thing it actually is

Shane volunteers the deep emotional truth that Quiara took half her money in the divorce (which makes no sense!) so she really needs this poker thing to happen and Tess not only accepts that as a deep confession but agrees to do a dry run of poker night!!!!!!!

Tess is like omg you’re blushing I made you blush and Shane is like omg I did not OKAY HAVE SEX

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Riese is the 39-year-old Co-Founder and CEO of Autostraddle.com as well as an award-winning writer, blogger, fictionist, copywriter, video-maker and aspiring cyber-performance artist who grew up in Michigan, lost her mind in New York and then headed West. Her work has appeared in nine books including "The Bigger the Better The Tighter The Sweater: 21 Funny Women on Beauty, Body Image & Other Hazards Of Being Female," 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. Follow her on twitter and instagram.

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133 Comments

  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.

    MICAH AND MARIBEL IS HAPPENING I CAN FEEL IIIIITTTTTT
    MICABEL FOREVER. RIESE, HOW DID YOU DO THIS???

    “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.

      • 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.
    Aaaaaaanyway….

  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?”

    Dead

  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. 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!

  32. 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!

  33. 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.

  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!!!!!

  35. 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.

  36. 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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