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

Back at The Aloce Show, Sophie’s doing some research for the segment, probably figuring out some introductory whale facts and yellow wallpaper ideas. Just something to keep her little mind busy! She tells Alice it’s okay if she doesn’t give her the segment job, Sophie’s just happy to be here doing research to help the incoming Segment Job Person. Alice is like you know what kiddo, take the segment! The world is your segmented oyster!!!!

No I have not fixed my personal problems thank you for asking but i have purchased a number of expensive objects to heal the gaping wound in my heart

Also, she invites Sophie to poker night and I hope there’s some liquor in the rear tonight if you know what I mean!!!!

We return to Daddy’s Manor where Micah’s arrived to deliver some important items from The Apartment Formerly Known as DaSoMi’s. We don’t get very far into this encounter before we embark upon yet another round of fight club!

Gay Squabble #8: Where Did The Goods Go
In the Ring: Dani vs. Micah

Content: Dani does not feel she owes Micah a ‘thank you’ for bringing over her stuff ’cause Micah didn’t tell her that Sophie was a cheater! Micah says he thought they were happy and Dani says they were, or she thought they were? Or she thought they’d be happy together forever? Micah suggests that they still could be happy if Dani were for example to forgive Sophie.

Micah: “I know it doesn’t feel like it but you have all the power right now, trust me. If you don’t wanna be with her, that’s one thing. But if you wanna forgive her, you could. And I won’t judge you.”
Dani: “How would I even begin to—”

Who Wins: Micah. Dani’s just angry and needs an outlet for it, which’s completely understandable and 100% forgivable, but it will not earn a win!

Friends, get your poker ducks in a row because it is time for Round 500 of The L Word‘s conviction that lesbians in Los Angeles are obsessed with poker!

Girls playing poker in season 1=one

IT’S TIME FOR FANCY POKER NIGHT. Gigi’s boobs are out and Bette and Gigi are hot and Bette is skeptical of Finley’s presence. Shane announces that all the pokers have arrived and Bette feels moved to mention that she invited Dani but she’s still “too shattered” to go out. POINTED STARE AT SOPHIE.

Gigi and Bette

Alice, pay attention

Alice and Sophie at the poker table

I’m sitting at a poker table with my ex and my ex’s ex, who is also my ex and now both of them are dating EACH OTHER like omg Fuckkkk this episode of The Chart on KCRW is really writing itself

Luckily we are able to hurdle right over that tension and avoid the steeplechase puddle (for now) as the music ramps up and the cards are shuffled and distributed and evaluated and everybody’s teasing each other and Finley and Sophie make eye contact without turning into pillars of salt! Intergenerational poker party is underway and G-D IT’S JUST SO GREAT.

Meanwhile guess who’s walking down the street, it’s my NUMBER ONE SHIP Maribel and Micah!!!!!!!! MICABEL FOREVER. Micah’s feeling good because he told Jose to go fuck himself in a swan boat and kinda patched things up with Dani. He would like to thank Maribel for being a friend.

micah and maribel walking down the street

So you agree? We should probably date and fall in love?

Their dynamic is so cute!

At Papi’s Poker Palace, Alice says her editor wants her to spill all her messy stories, as if there is any other way to write a good book? Once upon a time when not many celebrities came out so Autostraddle still covered male celebrities coming out, Don Lemon came out, and I read his entire autobiography on an airplane waiting for some messy gay shit and the whole thing was just about his career! I am glad someone is not letting Alice make the same mistake.

Tess and Alice playing poker

OMG one of my playing cards is actually just a $100 gift card to Ralph’s!?!

Bette jokes, “Don’t put me in the book”! As we all recall she has already been in one (1) book (Lez Girls by Jennifer Schecter) and does not want to relive her Bev Trauma again. I would like to request, of course, that Alice devote an entire chapter to Fingerbanging At The Opera. Anyhow, speaking of Bette and sex, it turns out Bette was actually not done doing her little pot/kettle thing with Sophie during this otherwise congenial group activity.

Lesbian Squabble #9: Justice for Jodi

In The Ring: Bette vs. Everyone / Her Internal Demons

Content: Referring to Alice’s impending memoir, Shane declares that it’s good that she’s digging into the tough stuff because “the messy parts are the relateable parts,” which’s true. Sophie agrees emphatically. Then Bette, shooting stern daggers right out of her retinas, declares:

Bette: Well it’s fine when it’s your mess, but when your mess is the cause of someone else’s pain it’s not quite so—
Sophie: Was that at me?
Bette: Did it feel that way?
Sophie: I know I fucked up, you don’t need to keep throwing it in my face.
Tess: It’s probably best not to judge.
Alice: Yeah…
Sophie: And I’m sorry. If you see her before I do, just tell her I’m sorry.
Shane: Everybody makes mistakes, right? (To Bette) Including you.

A hush falls over the crowd. Bette admits… that she cheated on Tina 17 years ago and will regret it for the rest of her life UM BITCH THAT IS NOT ALL YOU DID.

sophie and alice at poker

You know Alice I’m 95% sure that you can’t substitute Camel Cash for poker chips

Firstly before I begin this list of Bette’s sins, I would like to say that I am itemizing these sins not to pass judgment but simply to fill in some backstory on some PRETTY BIG MISTAKES  made by Bette because as mentioned, we all make mistakes. Bette:

  1. Cheated on her girlfriend Alice with Tina, who had a boyfriend at the time
  2. Cheated on Tina, her partner of seven years who was at the time processing the emotional fallout of her miscarriage, with The Carpenter
  3. Slept with her T.A. Nadia, who was clearly in love with her
  4. Cheated on her girlfriend Jodi with aforementioned Tina for a significant period of time, actively lying to Jodi and keeping her around despite her clear preference for Tina, denying anything was going on when Jodi inquired about it, therefore essentially driving Jodi insane with the gaslighting! Cheating is bad. But the ongoing betrayal? Denying Jodi the information she needed to understand the landscape of her relationship? SIMPLY NO. “Sneaking around” is a whole extra level, it is really hard to recover from that.
  5. Had an affair with a married colleague that she continued after it was exposed that said colleague was married, despite it putting Bette’s mayoral campaign at risk, which would potentially have negative repercussions for everybody else working on the campaign
  6. In 2007, banged a folding chair on the floor of The Planet and yelled ARSON! ARSON! without knowing if there were any arsonists in the building

And yet only cheating on Tina with the carpenter is what she brings to bear upon this argument. Perhaps she is simply projecting her situation onto Sophie’s.

Anyhow, Gigi throws her chips in on Team I Have Cheated, Alice name-checks Nat’s trust issues, Tess says people can change ’cause her and Shane are friends now and then Shane declares “we’re all a bunch of fuck-ups.” And this is the thing! That’s what we want out of these intergenerational dialogues is the olds telling the youngs that we are all fuck-ups and change is possible!

Who Wins? Alice closes out this conversation by literally winning the poker game, so.

Alice returns home to where her dearly beloved girlfriend Nat says dinner’s in the fridge and Alice takes a HAMBURGER AND FRIES out of the fridge and starts eating it without heating it up? Is she a sociopath???

Alice standing with her food

Hm yeah I guess these fries might taste better if I stuck ’em in the oven for a bit

She presses Nat to tell her what’s wrong, and finally, Nat does so. Which brings us back into the ring!

Lesbian Squabble #10: There’s More Than One Way To See The World
In the Ring: Nat vs. Alice

Content: Nat is polyamorous. She was afraid to broach this topic with a woman who didn’t heat up her dinner, and that was a good call because Alice could not possibly have a more appalling reaction than she has in this scene! She’s disgusted, she’s betrayed, she’s refusing to believe Nat’s reality. And then?

Nat: It’s no different than you being bi!
Alice: What?
Nat: Yeah, I’m poly and you’re bi.
Alice: That is not the same.
Nat: It’s actually exactly the same. It’s part of our identities that need to be explored.
Alice: I don’t want to be with a guy! I don’t even think about guys.

Um, what? Who wrote this scene!!! Giving Nat as much latitude as is currently possible on the world globe, it could be argued that when somebody realizes they’re bisexual, if they’ve only ever been with one gender, they might feel the need to explore the possibilities of dating or fucking other genders. I felt that way personally when I was 23! Not everyone does but I did! Nat taking this statement into the present tense, though, is confusing.

It’s similar insofar as Nat feels polyamory is not something she can change about herself, which is the same way many bisexuals feel about bisexuality.

But Alice’s response suggests the implication isn’t either of those things — that somehow this is about desire for people outside of your primary relationship. And that’s a really pernicious bisexual stereotype that should not be alluded to so dramatically and/or clumsily!

Who Wins? Um

Over at the Suarez Homestead, Sophie’s Mom is lamenting the expensive kitchen accessories that now must be returned to the wedding guests when Dani creeps in like a ghost doll to return a dish and before she can escape, Sophie spots her and chases her outside for a heart-to-heart.

Lesbian Squabble #11: And I Know We Weren’t Perfect But I’ve Never Felt This Way For No One Else
In the Ring: Dani vs. Sophie

Content: Dani feels humiliated. “I was holding you that night, wasn’t I?” she asks.


“The night you were with her,” Dani says. “You were crying in bed and I was holding you. Right?”

Yes indeed, the night she was crying and you didn’t ask her why she was crying was indeed the night she fucked Finley in the green room.

Dani: The thought of losing you isn’t something I thought I would ever have to face.
Sophie: I fucked up. I fucked up. But I will spend every single day of the rest of my life making it up to you, I promise. Just come home with me.
Dani: I wish I could, but I can’t. I know myself.
Sophie: We can go to therapy —
Dani: It’s not gonna help.
Sophie: We can just slow things down —
Dani: I will never be able to trust you again. Do you understand what that means?

That means it’s over!

Who Wins? Dani. She’s right! She will never be able to relax, to settle into this relationship, ever again. The cheating is one thing — Sophie could’ve confessed and maybe they’d have worked through it. But it’s the ongoing dishonesty that really seals it. Knowing Sophie could keep a secret like this for months, could be ready to tie the knot and have babies without ever revealing it, let alone addressing the conflicts that led to her feeling unloved by Dani in the first place. So, Dani wins insofar as she is correct about losing.

So it’s time for a slow montage! For Sophie to cry in her mother’s arms…

sophie hugs her family

It’s ok babe, at least we never have to have an awkward dinner with Dani’s Dad again

For Dani to truly win the night by having her emotional vulnerability cradled in Bette Porter’s loving arms…

Dani and Bette hugging

You smell expensive

And then, for Sophie to go home. Finley’s eating cereal in the kitchen. She apologizes for existing and explains she thought Sophie was staying with her family and that Micah was letting her crash in the back room, which Finley loves because “it’s like a little prison, which is fitting.”

Sophie and Finley in the kitchen with cereal

Yeah it’s a little dish I call “Depression Dinner” and all you need is a mostly-clean bowl, a box of cereal that reminds you of your childhood, and milk extracted from a nut

Sophie says she’ll take a bowl of cereal. Finley says she’s sorry for totally fucking up Sophie’s life.

“You didn’t,” Sophie says. “It was all my fault.”

Finley says she’ll be out of there in the morning.

Sophie says “No, I want you to stay.”

They say goodnight. And scene.


In Summary:

Lesbian Sexy Moments: 1, 2 all season
Gay Squabbles: 9, 11 all season.
Quote of the Week: “You know what the weird thing is? I don’t even think Finley has seen The Graduate.”

Pages: 1 2 3See entire article on one page

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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.

Riese has written 2885 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.

      • 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. 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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