NCAA Women’s March Madness is underway and so is Autostraddle March Madness! Our A+ readers seeded our brackets and now we’re voting in round one! The voting for Gen Q is done and now the voting for Sci-Fi Fantasy is open! Natalie’s right: this bracket, particularly, is a crime!
Recaps? We got ’em! Natalie recapped a surprisingly gay Good Trouble. Kayla recapped a surprisingly gay Killing Eve. And Drew recapped a gay-as-always Drag Race. Also, Shelli interviewed B. Nichols about working on Abbott Elementary. Riese made a list of books from TV shows and movies that we wish were real. And Kayla shared an essay she wrote about Santana Lopez a million years ago. We’ve also got a review of Badhaai Do from Anamika Gopalan.
Notes from the TV Team:
+ There wasn’t a lot on Station 19 and Grey’s this week, just bits and pieces, so I’ll combine them. On Station 19, Maya got the bad news that she won’t be brought back as captain, and even though she promised Carina she still wants the baby — she just needed room to be angry over being passed over first. On Grey’s hot doctor Kai told Grey that the reason they stay with the arrogant doctor who was the patient in their Parkinson’s trial (listen I don’t keep the names of cis straight white men in my head), is because he always respects them and their pronouns, even when their parents didn’t. Arrogant with a heart of gold. — Carmen
+ It was a Denise and Sarah-centric episode of Home Economics this week, but somehow Denise and Sarah barely shared screen time together? Sarah was doing script rewrites with Tom, and Denise had a silly workout plot line with Marina that ended with her maybe finding a new sperm donor? Yeah, a lot going on there, but hey, I’m happy to see Sarah and Denise getting stories as individuals instead of always being attached as a couple. — Carmen
+ Ashleigh’s trajectory on Top Chef: Houston isn’t going as she had hoped: after finishing in the bottom three in last week’s elimination, she finishes in the bottom of a biscuit quickfire challenge. But she manages to turn things around in the most difficult elimination challenge to date: creating food doppelgangers. Paired with another chef, the partners have to create two dishes that look alike but taste radically different.
Guest judge Melissa King called the dishes (one scallop, one mushroom) made Ashleigh and her partner, “progressive and thought-provoking.” They are narrowly edged out for the elimination win. Jo’s team wasn’t as successful, though. Head Judge Tom Colicchio described her dish as “pork belly leather” and they finish in the bottom two. Thankfully, though, Jo will live to cook another day. — Natalie
+ 9-1-1 returned this week but not everyone’s back at the 118. Hen is still without her partner, Chimney, and has subsisted on a rotating door of folks serving as fill-ins. She doesn’t even bother to learn their names. But with no ETA on Chimney’s return, the Captain is forced to find a permanent replacement, much to Hen’s chagrin. — Natalie
+ It’s Graduation Day on grown-ish and, honestly, I was underwhelmed. The episode spent too much time focused on Zoey’s hijinks — which had long grown tiresome and repetitive — and not enough time with the supporting characters. I suppose that was intentional, as none of those supporting characters will be back for Season 5 anyway. But at least, Nomi got a happy ending, of sorts: Phil agrees to accompany her and Luna to Connecticut so Nomi can attend Yale Law. — Natalie
+ The first season of Single Drunk Female concluded last week and while there weren’t any explicit gay happenings, I finished the season convinced that there’s more than Brit’s feelings for Sam than meets the eye. — Natalie
+ Ashley’s turned into quite the vocal LGBTQ+ “ally” on Bel-Air and it’s caught her mother’s attention. Vivian asks Ashley about it but her daughter just says “Gay Rights are Human Rights” and little else. Frustrated that her daughter won’t share more, Vivian reminds that she’s always there to listen and promises to support her and her causes. — Natalie
+ Heads up: this week, bisexual actress Chris Alonso will be pulling double duty on Sunday’s episode of S.W.A.T. as she steps behind the camera to direct herself in the show’s 99th episode. — Natalie
NCIS: Hawai’i 117: “Breach”
Written by Natalie
A good angsty storyline is a tough thing to pull off; timing is everything. Shows have to allow the angst to exist long enough for the audience to really feel the anxiety but if you let it go for too long it can dilute the potency of the angst and make it feel like a hard scourge. In the weeks since Kate and Lucy’s break-up, NCIS: Hawai’i has done a good job maintaining that balance…and this week, the show gives the couple (and fans) just enough hope to avoid that scourge.
Lucy turns her back for a second during her outing with Ernie, the team’s tech guru, and a team of guys in black suits snatch him off the street. After a stop to talk tot he local police department, Lucy returns to HQ and who would be there to ride up in the elevator with her but Kate Whistler. She blames Whistler’s team at the FBI for Ernie’s disappearance but Kate assures her that they had nothing to do with it. Lucy spins out a bit — frustrated she didn’t do more to stop it — but Kate puts her hand on Lucy’s shoulder and assures her that there was nothing else she could’ve done. Lucy recoils from Kate’s touch but Kate swears she was just trying to be supportive.
Lucy insists that it’s weird, adding, “The way you’re doing it, all nice and sweet, and… Maybe hands to ourselves, okay?”
Working together, Kate and the team are able to track Ernie down: his services are being utilized by the Ransomware and Digital Extortion Task Force to prevent a takeover of the island’s water and power supply. The company upends Ernie’s efforts to track down the hackers by paying the ransom but they go through with turning off the power anyway. Once generator power gets his computer back online, Ernie is able to connect the source code to a well-known hacker, Kevin Rooker. Tennant dispatches Kate and a reluctant Lucy to go find Rooker and pick him up.
The former girlfriends are alone, together, in a car, steaking out the hideout of a potential suspect and the air is thick with tension. Finally, Kate speaks up and wonders why they can’t move passed what happened and just be friends. Sure, Lucy sarcastically agrees, they can just forget about how Kate lied to her and broke her heart. Kate insists that’s not what she meant — she doesn’t want to pretend they didn’t happen — she just wants to be forgiven. Lucy doesn’t understand how you forgive someone who hasn’t even apologized yet. Kate acknowledges that Lucy’s right, she’s only made excuses for her behavior. But she knew that apologizing to Lucy meant that things would truly be over between them.
After the case is solved — the Task Force’s leader was behind the whole thing — Kate shows up at HQ and offers Lucy the apology that she’s been waiting for.
“It’s all my fault,” Kate admits. “I was scared of breaking up with Cara, of starting something with you, because..you’re the most amazing woman I’ve ever met. And I am truly so sorry I hurt you.”
Lucy immediately wraps her in an embrace — so much for the “hands to ourselves,” eh? — and thanks her for the apology.
All American 412: “Babies and Fools'”
Written by Natalie
Coop returns from her road trip with her father to discuss what to do about the new evidence the police have in Mo’s murder. The folks in her circle disagree about what to do next: Preach believes the cops are bluffing while Spencer pushes for them to develop a contigency plan. Patience reminds them both that had they told the truth from the beginning, neither of them would have to worry about anything. Preach admits that Patience is right but that’s in the past and they have to focus on the present. He assures Coop that if she sticks to her story, they’ll be okay.
But everything is not okay: the cops show up at South Crenshaw High, where Preach has been working on a tutoring program, and arrest him for Coop’s murder. Spencer wonders if a witness came forward but Coop reminds him that, witness or not, Preach acted in self-defense. Patience suggests that, perhaps, the witness saw different and Coop questions whose side she’s on. Patience is rightly indignant about Coop’s accusation and I’m shocked that it doesn’t cause more of a fracture between the couple. Coop’s chief concern is about Preach’s daughter and they enlist the help of Mrs. Baker to ensure that Preach can get home to her soon.
Once he hears about the witness testimony and video implicating him in the murder, Preach brushes off Mrs. Baker’s efforts to help. He rationalizes that maybe it’s just his time but he asks Mrs. Baker to bring Amina to jail so he can finally tell her the truth about what happened to her mother. During his daughter’s visit, Preach tearfully confesses that he “did a bad thing” to protect Coop but Amina is not ready for his explanations. Later, at Slausson Cafe, Amina confronts Coop for lying to her about what happened to her mother. Coop offers a candid explanation about what happened and why it happened. Amina laments that she was so cruel to her father when she visited but Coop encourages her to just be strong and they’ll get through this.
Using some insight, Mrs. Baker gleans from Coop, she’s able to prove that Mo’s murder was a justifiable homicide. She gets Preach an additional year of probation for carrying a gun but otherwise he’s free to go. With everything from Mo’s murder finally behind them, Coop resolves to focus on her energy on rebuilding her relationship with Patience. But before they can make plans for their future, the cops show up and arrest Coop for obstruction of justice.
Charmed 402: “You Can’t Go Home Again”
Written by Valerie Anne
Hello I’m here with excellent news: the new Charmed One, Kaela, is also queer. So now we have a lesbian time witch, a trans nature witch, and a bisexual manifestation witch, all in the family! You love to see it. We find out that Kaela is queer when she lies to her best friend about where she disappeared to, saying she went home with someone, and her best friend asks if it was Stephen, or if she ‘got back together’ with Amy. Expert reveal, clear and natural, beautifully done.
Other queer happenings this week: In an effort to stop being too eager with Kaela, Mel hits up the girl in her phone as “Hot Elf Girl” though she ends up spending time with Kaela instead. (We need to figure out if they’re related ASAP…for…reasons.) Also the bartender calls Mel “Kiss and Tell Mel” which is a bad nickname, and a bit slut-shamey, but made me giggle.
After a bit of a hiccup with a witch who was hunting her for telling her best friend about magic, Kaela finally manages to get enough of a handle on her powers to save the day. After seeing what magic can do — what she can do — she decides to give the Vera sisters a chance and learn more about why the powers that be brought them together.
Astrid & Lilly Save the World 109: “Doppelkopfel”
Written by Valerie Anne
Feeling the post-detention tension, Candace asks to talk to Lilly privately and amongst mannequins. Candace tries to kiss her but ‘kiss and make up’ won’t work on Lilly as easily as Tate, especially since Candace had to be in a literal closet to do it. Lilly explains she was fine being patient if Candace wasn’t ready to be out as queer, but when she learned she just wasn’t ready to be out as liking Lilly, that hurt. She then says something that’s taken me decades to learn: “I’m not always my biggest fan, but even I know I deserve better than that.”
Candace has to go to her final rehearsal for Romeo & Juliet Down Unda, and Lilly tries to take solace in her current struggles being normal teen problems, but as she leaves, one of the mannequins assumes her form. When Lilly runs into herself, she realizes that something doppelgangy is afoot so on top of her crush breaking her heart and her best friend being mad at her, this is a bad day.
DoppelLilly leads Astrid into the prop room and bumps HER into a mannequin; Astrid tells who she thinks is Lilly that she knows she’s been acting off today, but she chalks it up to the recent heartbreak.
In her hunt for DoppelLilly, the real Lilly runs into Candace, who is confused when Lilly says she doesn’t plan on going to her show, since DoppelLilly said she would. Lilly is so annoyed that no one realized there was a fake version of her. She brushes Candace off with a ‘break a leg’ and runs to find Astrid. Lilly is ready to give up, but Tate asks Lilly to give Candace another chance; Tate was never there for her, and Candace’s mom sure won’t be, so Candace needs Lilly to show up. Lilly watches offstage, and Candace speaks Shakespeare to her, but Lilly doesn’t want to have to hide in the wings.
When Candace finds Lilly’s note about how showing up goes both ways, she runs off to find her before she can do the Down Unda ending of Romeo & Juliet, which involves a wedding officiated by a kangaroo. But don’t worry, Valerie also bumped into a mannequin, so DoppelValerie is ready to check yes Juliet.
The real Astrid and Lilly team up and fight their doppels, chopping off their heads and turning them back into mannequins. Candace finds Lilly and says she meant everything she said on stage, and she wants to prove she’s crazy about Lilly and doesn’t care who knows it. This proclamation makes Lilly think Candace is a doppelganger. Which is HEARTBREAKING. Luckily, before Astrid can decapitate the one and only Candace, two Valeries run by. Lilly is surprised and relieved to learn Candace’s confession is real.
Candace asks her to be her date to the dance, and they kiss right there in the hallway, under the fluorescent lights, in front of everyone. Lilly tells her moms that they’re together, and they feel bad Candace’s mom didn’t show up, and tell her they’re proud of her.
Astrid tells Candace she’s still on probation being mean to Lilly, but she’s willing to give her a chance. Candace thinks this is fair and seems determined to prove worthy of Astrid’s approval. Lilly gleefully grabs both of their hands. With the two people she cares about most not trying to bite (nor chop) each other’s heads off, and only one monster part left before they can close the portal, things are looking up. That is, until they learn the Guardian has taken human form and started sacrificing teens.