Lesbian Love Rolled a Natural 20 on Last Week’s “Critical Role”

WARNING: Extreme spoilers for Episode 126 of Critical Role afoot!


When we first met Beauregard Lionett, she was a womanizing jock who loved to flirt with any lady she met, laugh with her pals, and pop pop a bad guy in the jaw whenever she could. She was a former rebellious teen, a reckless young adult, and was just here to have a good time. The first time Yasha met Beau, the small human dramatically played up an injury so the hulking barbarian would carry her in her perfectly sculpted arms. But somewhere along the line things changed. They evolved from joking flirtations to gentle conversations. Beau went from a twinge of distrust when Yasha was in Obann’s control, to sympathy for the guilt Yasha carries. To forgiveness. And Beau went from one-night stands to planning an elaborate, thoughtful date for the girl she liked.

Somewhere between when Beau and Yasha realized they had feelings for each other and last week’s date, each of them had conversations with other members of the Mighty Nein. Jester helped Yasha write a poem for Beau, Beau confided in Fjord. But Yasha lacked the self-confidence to feel like she’s earned the right to make the first move on the woman she has hurt before (albeit not of her own accord), and Beau didn’t want to rush Yasha into moving on from her dead wife too quickly. Since both of them told Jester where they stood but not each other, Jester intervened juuuust a little and told Beau that even though she wanted to leave it to Yasha to make the first move, Beau had to at least make it clear she was open for that move. So eventually, amidst the chaos of their tasks to stop the Tomb Takers, Beau asked Yasha on a date.

Beau had Caleb change up the look of their wizard tower for the night to her specifications, designed specifically to follow the trajectory of Beau and Yasha’s history, complete with a fight against some dachshund ninjas. They finally got time to be alone and talk and it was so great and so gay.

Yasha explained a little about why she’s been moving so slowly when it comes to Beau. She knows the risk of loving someone when you have enemies after you. She knows how showing she cares about Beau could put a target on her back. But I think maybe she’s also starting to know that Beau can handle it. That, together, they can handle it.

Yasha said she fell in love with Beau when they went to her hometown and Yasha saw where Beau came from, met her parents, saw how she was raised, got a better understanding of how she grew up. Yasha got a glimpse into some of the shit Beau has been through, and looked again at the badass, strong, hilarious woman Beau grew up to be, and she started to fall in love. And it makes sense to me that Yasha, someone who has been through so much and is struggling with figuring out what the things she’s done mean about who she is, would admire Beau’s strength and determination to be her own person. Yasha looked at Beau and saw that maybe it’s possible that your past doesn’t have to define you.

And even though Beau reiterated to Yasha that she has zero expectations, that she will move as slowly as Yasha needs, Jester proved to be right and just opening herself up to the possibility gave Yasha the push she needed to make the first move.

So they finally kissed, and everyone at the table cheered. Beau and Yasha fought side by side and they kissed some more and there was even a throwback to the mirrored bed in Beau’s room. I was feeling very “everything is gay and nothing hurts” by the end of it.

Last time I wrote about Critical Role, I had only played a few one-shots of D&D. Two years later, I’ve been part of three campaigns, all of them exclusively with queer women and non-binary people. Queerness is embedded in the games, just like its embedded in our lives, and because we rule this fictional world we’ve created, everyone is assumed queer (even the NPCs) unless they state otherwise. No one has to come out in our games, we can just live our best queer lives in our fictional safe space because we’ve created a literal safe space. We explore our characters’ pasts and presents, their relationships with each other, and work out our motivations together week after week. We have some games where we’re laughing so hard we cry, we have some games that require more serious or intense conversations. We are open and generous and just so, so queer. It had brought me closer to friends I’ve known for years and made people I barely knew two years ago some of the best friends I’ve ever had, and, not to be dramatic, but it’s one of the only reasons I survived 2020.

Playing D&D, especially in a way that’s role-play heavy the way Critical Role is, requires both emotional intimacy and trust. It’s clear to me that Ashley and Marisha trust each other, and trust the rest of the table, too, and it’s so wonderful to witness. Ashley is a quieter player in general, not one to speak up too much during group conversations unless addressed directly, but this episode showed more than ever that just because she’s often quiet doesn’t mean Ashley isn’t thinking deeply about Yasha’s feelings and relationships. It was so lovely for Marisha to give her this space to be able to share them with all of us. Because it was as much fun to watch them go on this date as it was to watch my queer friends react to it one by one as we all watched. It felt so much like how my friends and I play the game, with story and inter-player dynamics being as important as any battle or baddie, if not more. It was such a beautiful, fun, emotional, hilarious, exciting hour of Critical Role, and it was all about two lesbians in love.


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Just a TV-loving, Twitter-addicted nerd who loves reading, watching, and writing about stories. One part Kara Danvers, two parts Waverly Earp, a dash of Cosima and an extra helping of my own brand of weirdo.

Valerie has written 312 articles for us.

13 Comments

  1. I could not believe how much of the episode the date took up, nor could I believe how good the date was. A little awkward at first but god! It was so wonderful and fulfilling. I love how Beau and Yasha were a little awkward but also so sure about what they want too!

    And I love how their friends love them. From Veth’s advice to Beau to be vulnerable, to Caleb’s complaining about turning his cats into dogs but then doing it anyway… I cannot wait for the next episode.

  2. I SOBBED the entire hour as my queer heart exploded. Excellent stories are immersive and offer you a window & a door – and by gosh, this hour had both. ‘I’ve had so many people in my head and I didn’t want to give them you’ resonated so fully against my own traumatic survivorship/acceptance of my queerness & finding my own person as did ‘I want to kiss you so bad!’.

    This felt like queer magic that we were fortunate to witness and I’m so excited for the fan art!

  3. I really enjoyed this episode as well, particularly the ninja break. Part of what I like about CR is the extent to which they’re able to inject DnD with strong characterization and relationship foci, which is how I like to play the game too. It was my introduction to dnd which I also love, and found helpful for meeting new people (nothing like a structured interaction to make me feel at ease!).

    Actual-play stuff has been a real lifesaver for me in recent times, especially since I haven’t been able to keep up with my old in-person group of mostly queer people, so I also wanted to strongly recommend a couple groups to anyone getting into actual-play stuff or interested in role-playing games and invested in queer content & creators. Hopefully this is not annoying! I am by no means an expert.

    One similar to CR in many ways (video! live! dungeons & dragons!) is Rivals of Waterdeep. Like CR it’s available both on Twitch, VOD and podcast, and the game system they play is the same, but Rivals plays within the official Dungeons and Dragons universe and has an all-POC cast with multiple LGBTQ+ people. I’m not all the way caught up on Rivals but I’ve really enjoyed it so far. One thing they do I find really interesting and cool is that the group started out with a mix of experience levels with dnd, and they take turns DMing (running the game) by story arc. This seems like a really good idea to bake into home games! I enjoy DMing but it is a lot of work, and it’s really cool to see how the game (and story) changes as each person takes over with their own particular strengths and interests. I found them through Tanya DePass (@cypheroftyr) who founded I Need Diverse Games and plays the grumpy vengeance paladin Selise Astorio, who holds tightly to the memory of her deceased wife while wanting to punch everybody and longing for the next chance at a relaxing bath. Rivals is live Sundays at 10amET and available in a variety of ways (https://twitter.com/rivalswaterdeep?lang=en). Rivals is in Season 9 now, but because they do those handoffs between short seasons, it’s way easier to jump in than some long-form narratives.

    Another is an actual-play podcast called Friends at the Table. FATT is a group (with multiple queer & trans people) playing games while focusing in on, well, “critical worldbuilding, smart characterization, and fun interaction between good friends” as they start every episode with. It can be intimidating to get into because there’s so much, and because (in contrast to a live show like Critical Role) a lot of the worldbuilding is mutually created & discussed in the show itself, rather than being prepped all by one person ahead of time. There’s also lots of seasons, and they alternate pretty significantly (often alternating between a quasi-medieval world like dnd and various future space dystopias, plus a bonus season set in fantasy Atlantic City and some one-shots). Luckily there’s a flowchart! (https://twitter.com/Friends_Table/status/878816769439412225) I enjoyed it from the beginning (I am a person for whom a long discussion of “but what does evil MEAN really” in fantasy character creation feels very normal), but their first space dystopia season (COUNTER/weight) hooked me for good primarily on the basis of Alicia Acampora’s character Aria Joie’s initial pitch, “What if Han Solo used to be Beyonce?”

  4. I am STILL riding this high.

    What’s really remarkable to me about the story that CR and Ashley/Marisha are able to tell is how they’re able to avoid the pitfalls that queer relationships on television so often fall victim to. It seems like to have queer representation there’s always a struggle between either the story that a show runner wants to tell vs. what their networks will allow, or the story that fans and writers want to see but show runners and/or networks don’t care about so it isn’t written for. Or else you have shows where certain writers care about a relationship but those writers go on to work on other projects, or the same happens to actors who are passionate about a relationship but who eventually have to take other jobs because they aren’t used in that show enough. Or, (often the most painful) when everyone involved is invested in telling a story but lacks funding and/or gets cancelled.

    The beautiful thing about Critical Role is that it’s independently owned, has proven that it cares about queer representation, and most importantly because it’s a show that is all improvisation the content comes directly from the brains of the people involved straight into the canon of the show. Add to that the care and love that Marisha and Ashley (and the rest of the cast!) have for their characters and the story they’re creating and you have this really incredible end result. It’s really unlike anything I’ve ever seen and I’m SO grateful to them for what they do!

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