Welcome to your weekly queer TV round-up! We’ve had a busy week! Gentleman Jack came back and Heather recapped it. Alice finally revealed what happened to her on Margaret Cho’s comedy tour on Good trouble, and Natalie recapped it. And Drag Race recapped their season 14 winner and Drew recapped it. Drew also bid a warm goodbye to Better Things.
In movie news, we got confirmation that Pixar’s Lightyear added back in the lesbian kiss. Hulu’s Crush finally landed, and Analyssa reviewed it and also interviewed Rowan Blanchard and Auli’i Cravalho. Drew reviewed Anaïs in Love and also we have an exclusive clip and poster giveaway!
Notes from the TV Team:
+ Some NCIS: Hawai’i spoilers for you: I guess Lucy’s session with the Kahuna really paid off because on Monday’s episode the NCIS agent has her first, post-Whistler, date. Which do you think will derail the chances of a second date more: work or Lucy finding out that Whistler turned down a promotion in DC to stay in Hawai’i? — Natalie
+ I’d hoped that Ashleigh’s Restaurant Wars victory would kick off a win streak that’d carry her into the Finals of Top Chef: Houston but it was not to be. That said, our lone queer cheftestant lives to cook another day after outcooking two competitors in the Houston Freedmen’s Town Conservancy elimination challenge. — Natalie
Naomi 110: “Fallout”
Written by Natalie
Early on in the Naomi pilot, the show’s titular character comes to Lourdes for information about the Superman stunt that’d taken place in the town square. When she’s called home for dinner, Naomi asks Lourdes to text her if she hears anything and then pauses for a beat, meets Lourdes’ wandering eyes, and adds, “or even if you don’t.” It’s a clearly flirtatious moment — even Annabelle seems impressed by Naomi’s game — and our first sign that our hero is a little bit queer. The flirtation continues in the show’s subsequent episodes and, though you expect it to stop when Naomi reunites with Nathan, it doesn’t. The flirtation — the furtive glances and the accidental touches — continues and suddenly, it feels like Naomi is toying with Lourdes. The cuteness gives way to the cruelty.
Am I willing to accept that a teenager, even one as exceptional as Naomi, would be oblivious to how their actions were affecting someone else? Of course. But the show never afforded Lourdes the opportunity to react to any of it, making the character feel inauthentic. The fact that Anthony was given that space and Lourdes was not only compounded the cruelty. But thankfully, this week we finally get some reprieve.
After discovering a box beneath the space rock where she’d been found as a baby, Naomi wants answers. But since everyone that she’d normally depend on for answers — Dee, Zumbado, her parents — have been lying to her, she decides to visit a bar where aliens are known to frequent, in hopes of getting some impartial answers. She calls Lourdes and the two head out on a road trip to find the answers Naomi’s after. Things are light between them — they jam out to Keri Hilson’s “Pretty Girl Rock” along the way — and Naomi snaps a few pics for the ‘gram.
When they arrive at the bar, Lourdes volunteers to go inside with Naomi but she declines. This is personal, Naomi admits, and Lourdes doesn’t ask for more than Naomi offers. But it doesn’t matter anyway because Naomi never makes it inside. The bouncer stops her at the door — because who’s letting a 16 year old kid with a backpack into a bar — and Naomi tries to make her case for entry by showing him the artifact she found. But while Naomi doesn’t know what the box is, every other alien at the bar clearly does…and soon, some nameless alien tries to steal it away from her. Thankfully, Akira (AKA Alex Cabot) shows up, tosses a fireball in the alien’s direction and rushes Naomi to safety.
(From Lourdes’ seat, it was nearly impossible for her to not have seen Naomi being accosted or Akira’s fireball but, frustratingly, the show doesn’t bother to interrogate that fact.)
Back at her comic book store in Port Oswego, Lourdes leaves Naomi to sort things out with Akira. But before they can get too deep in the mythology — the artifact is a transmatter cube that opens portals — Naomi’s principal discovers her being truant. The misstep leads to the confrontation she’s been avoiding with her parents. Later, Lourdes invites Naomi (and Annabelle) out for a night to decompress at a warehouse party. The girls have fun, snapping pics and dancing…and, though Annabelle is there, Lourdes and Naomi are in their own little world. They’re dancing together, holding hands, smiling at each other and exchanging furtive glances. It’s flirtatious, in the same way so many of their past interactions have been, but this time Lourdes leans in for a kiss.
Naomi immediately pulls away. Lourdes stammers, trying to understand how she misread the moment, and Naomi reminds her that she has a boyfriend. Clearly hurt, Lourdes asks what their entire day has been about and wonders aloud if Naomi has just been using her. Naomi insists that she wasn’t — they were friends and they were just having fun — and apologizes for giving Lourdes the wrong impression. She used a similar excuse when Anthony misinterpreted their pizza outing as something more but Naomi never actively flirted with Anthony in the way she’s flirted with Lourdes.
“I don’t just want to be your ride or your friend, and you know that,” Lourdes asserts. “If you want to deny how you feel, fine, but I know what I want. And I’m not settling for being the girl you use in selfies to make your boyfriend jealous.”
Lourdes suggests that it’s time Naomi start facing things on her own and returns to the dance floor. Left alone, Naomi is approached by Mac (Briana Venskus) who brings her a message from Brutus, AKA “the bad guy from [Naomi’s] home planet.” He invites Naomi to return to Earth-29 but, of course, she refuses. A fight breaks out and Naomi — showcasing all she’s learned from Dee — defeats Mac in the first round. Just as she regroups and threatens Naomi again, Akira and Zumbado show up, forcing Mac into a retreat. I can’t imagine it’ll be the last we see of her, though.
All American 416: “Labels”
Written by Natalie
Last week, when Layla criticized Patience’s disinterest in finalizing her album title, Coop jumped to Patience’s defense and urged Layla to just respect the process. I understood that: the creative process isn’t linear — it ebbs and flows — and you can’t force inspiration to strike. This week, though? This week, when Patience can’t be bothered to send out invitations for her album release party or get her own guitar? That just feels lazy…diva-ish, in a way we’ve never known Patience to be. The only thing that gets Patience excited about her own album release? The promise that Sabine — a singer-songwriter who Patience is a big fan of — will make an appearance.
Patience is far less enthused by the day’s second visitor to the Baker mansion: Skye, Ms. Maritta’s granddaughter. She stops by to return a phone charger Coop left at her grandmother’s — though, to be clear, Coop didn’t actually leave the charger — and inquires whether she’ll see Coop later when she stops to visit Maritta. Coop demures, explaining that she has a record release party to go to, and Patience interjects that it’s her record release party. Her, the girl that her ex-girlfriend just introduced as her roommate. Skye tries to finagle an invite to the party but, sadly, Patience muses that there’s no space left on the guest list. Skye laments that her and her 2.5 million Instagram followers will have to find something else to do…and just like that, Layla finds space for Skye on the guest list.
Am I surprised to see someone react badly to seeing their ex being thirsted after by someone new? Not at all. But Patience being this childish and petty? Again, this feels like a version of Patience that we’ve never seen before.
Just before the show’s slated to start, Sabine shows up and Coop takes notice of their easy rapport. Later, she questions whether Patience is just a fangirl or if she’s Sabine’s girl. I’m less bothered by this flash of jealousy from Coop because, though it’s a bit ridiculous because Patience and Sabine just met, we’ve seen Coop be jealous before. After being questioned about her relationship with Sabine, Patience turns the tables, questioning Coop about her relationship with Skye. Coop dismisses the suggestion outright, still clinging to the belief that Skye came over to return the charger.
Sabine interrupts to make sure everything’s okay and Coop assures her that they’re good. Patience is still nervous that Layla hasn’t arrived but Sabine tries to put her at ease. The trio stand their in an awkward silence until Coop introduces herself to Sabine. As they shake hands, Patience injects and also introduces Coop as her roommate…an introduction that, clearly, gets under Coop’s skin. But that’s not the night’s only annoyance: when Patience takes the stage — with Sabine’s guitar — she neglects to acknowledge Coop but is effusive about Sabine. Coop gets in her feelings so when Skye comes in, looking all kinds of thirsty, Coop flirts back and eventually, they leave together…just as Patience is wrapping up her performance.
That gets Patience all in her feelings and she acts out impulsively. When Sabine greets her after the show, Patience misreads the energy and plants a kiss on her. Patience apologizes immediately and Sabine recognizes that Patience acted out because of her “roommate” Coop. At a different time, Sabine says, she would’ve happily mixed it up with Patience but once she started taking her career more seriously, she had to put the personal drama in the rearview. Sabine encourages Patience to do the same.
New Amsterdam 417: “Unfinished Business”
Written by Natalie
The day after the New Amsterdam team’s karaoke outing, half the team is missing. The remaining members disperse to locate the missing: Max leaves to search for Helen, Floyd tries to find Mia, Iggy hunts for Trevor, Ben and Karen track down Elizabeth and Lauren frantically scours the city for Casey. She recalls that Casey was slated to meet up with an old Army buddy and tracks down his contact information through the VA. Once she gets his number, she calls Ronnie to ask about his night with Casey. Still hungover from the night before, Ronnie admits they went out but that Casey “bounced” after they nearly got in an accident. Lauren’s so concerned about what’s happened to her best friend that she rams into Leyla in the halls of New Amsterdam.
Seeing Lauren’s determination to find Casey, Leyla agrees to join her in the search. They take a cab to the last place that Ronnie remembers seeing Casey and look for any signs of him on the empty city street. While they search, Lauren asks Leyla to explain the situation with her visa and she does. Essentially, her refugee status is being revoked and and if she doesn’t fight it, she’ll have to return to Pakistan. She hasn’t been able to secure a lawyer via Legal Aid or pro bono legal clinics but Lauren insists that she needs to get a lawyer. Leyla stammers and Lauren knows what Leyla’s struggling to say so she pre-empts her, asking how much she needs: $10k for a retainer and another $10k a month after that.
“I hate to ask you,” Leyla admits. “I don’t know who else [to ask].”
Before Lauren can answer, Leyla spots Casey work ID on the ground, covered in blood. She follows the blood trail to a nearby alley and finds him collapsed against a wall with a screwdriver stuck in his neck. When Lauren tries to rouse Casey, he jostles and dislodges the screwdriver from his neck. I’ve watched enough Grey’s Anatomy to know that that’s a very bad thing. Lauren presses against his neck in an effort to stem the blood flow and sends Leyla to find something to seal off the wound. After searching the nearby area, she returns with a caulking gun which Lauren uses to seal the puncture wound. It holds long enough for Lauren to get Casey into an ambulance and to New Amsterdam.
On the ride to the hospital, Lauren tries to assure Casey that he’ll be okay but Casey’s seen enough to know how dire his straits are. He encourages her to be honest with him in what could be their final conversation. She admits that Leyla’s asked her for money and while she has it to give, Lauren knows once she does, their entire relationship will be transactional and that, one day, Leyla will come to resent her. But she also knows that if she doesn’t give Leyla the money, she’ll have to go back to Pakistan and Lauren will never see her again.
Casey’s wheeled immediately into the OR and Lauren and Leyla watch the surgery from the observation deck. Thankfully, the screwdriver didn’t puncture his carotid artery so there’s still a chance Casey might survive (spoiler alert: he does!). Leyla reaches out and grabs Lauren’s hand to comfort her as they watch — almost out of instinct — but then withdraws when she realizes how it must look. Leyla promises that she’s not trying to take advantage of Lauren or her feelings but Lauren knows that Leyla wouldn’t do that. She says…
Things between us are complicated. Over. But I’m in awe of you. Starting out in a new country. Never backing down. Even when faced with obstacles that would probably break me. I love you. And not just in the way that I know that I need to get over. I love you as a person. And I wanna do whatever I can to help you be that person. I’ll give you whatever money you need.
It’s such a beautiful admission — “I’m in awe of you” makes my heart swell — and all I want is for Lauren and Leyla to find their way back to each other, but it feels like a goodbye. Lauren wants the best for Leyla even if it costs thousands of dollars and their relationship.
A Million Little Things 417: “60 Minutes”
Written by Natalie
Last week, before Katherine invited Greta to “temporarily” move in with her, she paused to make sure that her son was okay with it. Of course, Theo didn’t care, he was just excited to have someone new to play board games with. It didn’t seem to cross her mind, at the time, that there was one other person she should’ve talked to first: Theo’s dad. And while Eddie’s been surprisingly cool about Katherine’s new girlfriend, when he arrives at the house this week to find his son and his ex-wife’s girlfriend wearing matching footie pajamas, he’s rightfully upset.
Katherine gets immediately defensive when Eddie questions her decision and, honestly, that’s understandable too. It’s a real changing of the guard for the former couple: Katherine being the impulsive one, and Eddie being the thoughtful, concerned parent. Eventually, though, she realizes that Eddie’s right and apologizes for not talking to him first. She opens herself up to whatever questions she has and, unbeknownst to either of them, Theo’s sitting at the top of the stairs listening to the entire conversation. Later, when Greta’s taking Theo to school, he drops a question on her that she clearly wasn’t ready for: “What does ‘bipolar’ mean?”
After dropping Theo off, Greta returns to the house and questions why Katherine would tell Eddie that she’s bipolar. Katherine admits that she did tell Eddie but that she also told him that Greta had it completely under control. Greta bristles at the notion that her personal details are being shared with someone she’s not in a relationship with but Katherine asserts that, as Theo’s father, he has a right to know. She assures Greta that Eddie’s not worried about her “issues” at all but it’s clear to Greta that Katherine clearly is. She asks directly if her bipolar scares Katherine and Katherine admits it does. John’s suicide — which is the inciting incident for this whole show — looms large in Katherine’s mind and the statistics for people with bipolar are scary. Greta takes Katherine’s admission as evidence of a lack of trust and storms out, determined to find another place to live.
Later, Katherine shows up at the tattoo parlor, just as it’s closing, and apologizes to Greta for not talking to her before she talked to Eddie. Greta answers with an apology of her own, admitting that she’s not used to her girlfriend putting a man before her (even if he’s only 12). They agree to have a conversation about Greta’s bipolar and the two sit down with Theo to talk it out.
Meanwhile, Katherine’s friend, Rome, has taken a new job teaching filmmaking at his old prep school. Things do not go well until he decides to open up and make himself vulnerable in front of his students. He gives the students their first assignment: to interview someone in their family and give him some insight into why they’re important in their lives. After class, Rome’s approached by a student who thanks him for his candor and asks if the assignment can be expanded to include anyone close to them because their parents aren’t around. Rome agrees and, as soon as the student exits, celebrates a successful first day of teaching.
Later, Rome receives video submissions from his students, including the student who stayed after class. For the first time in their life, the student introduces someone else to their true self. They come out as trans — a boy named Maddox — and admit that Rome’s willingness to be open gave him permission to do the same.
“Hearing what you said in class today about your journey and seeing how your film helped you, I can finally imagine a day where I might be able to accept this piece of myself and show it to everybody else,” Maddox admits.
Legacies 416:”I Wouldn’t Be Standing Here If It Weren’t For You”
Written by Valerie Anne
Even though Hope’s humanity is back, her dark passenger is still lurking, ready to take over as soon as those pesky emotions become too much to bear. Lizzie is panicking that she helped free a god and she knows that Hope is her only hope. When she goes to see her, Hope immediately apologizes and asks for help getting rid of Dark Hope but something about Lizzie triggers her and she pushes her away. She says her and Lizzie aren’t the same because Hope’s humanity switched off and Lizzie was just Lizzie when she gave into her intrusive thoughts. When Lizzie storms off Hope realizes she might not have wrested as much control away from her dark side as she thought. Her dark side tries to tempt her, but before she can even consider giving in, Lizzie comes back with a therapy box.
Lizzie thinks Hope is holding onto her dark side as a defense mechanism, and admits that she was mean to Hope their entire lives not because she hated Hope, but because she idolized her, and Lizzie choosing to reject Hope before Hope could reject her was a form of misguided self-preservation. Inspired, Hope works with her to use the spell to turn her dark side into a butterfly she promptly incinerates.
Dad god arrives in a huff, so Hope and Lizzie go find their squad…and Hope promptly puts them to sleep. She’s starting to accept the inevitability of outliving everyone she loves, but she’s lost too much family prematurely and she’s not losing more today.
Hope goes out to face Ken, giving a CLASSIC Hope hero speech, and her and Lizzie tag team him…to no avail. Luckily, before Ken can use his powers in all their glory, Jen shows up and stops him. So the battle’s done, and they kind of won, but Hope is in the Underworld with Landom now, so she’s going to have to find her way back before the gods mess anything else up.