It’s November! Did you check out the streaming guide Riese made for you? Did you also check out all the new information Riese sleuthed out about The L Word: Generation Q season three?? Also this week, your wish for more reality TV content came true! Riese wrote about Love Is Blind and Kayla wrote about Real Girlfriends in Paris. On the movie front, Heather reviewed Tár and Drew reviewed Causeway.
Notes from the TV Team:
+ An interesting pop culture development that I noticed this week: both New Amsterdam and The Good Fight acknowledged that the downfall of Roe as a potential prelude to the dissolution of marriage equality. It’s the first time, that I can recall, seeing the fear many LGBT folks have been carrying, represented on-screen. With debate on a marriage equality bill on the horizon, post-midterms, it’ll be interesting to see what impact those depictions have on our conversation. — Natalie
Queen Sugar 709: “Whisper to Us”
Written by Natalie
Back when Mo came to St. Joe’s, Ralph Angel warned his sister against giving into their obvious chemistry (“Don’t go pulling a Nova,” he cautioned). Meanwhile, her aunt was seemingly awaiting the implosion of her current relationship: noting that around six months, Nova usually starts to get antsy and pursue something — or someone — else. Chantal even chimes in: telling Nova about her fear of dependency. And, listen…I understand the impulse to look at Nova’s moves with a healthy dose of skepticism but this thing with Camile, it feels different. This isn’t Nova being Nova…this isn’t even about Camile, not really…it’s about Nova and her father.
The high school sweethearts meet up again this week (in an episode directed by the great Aurora Guerrero) and reminisce about the old days. They settle back into their easy (and flirtatious) rapport, as if no time has passed. In the interim, Camile’s remained tethered to the area — and the unconditional love she found there — but Nova found no such thing. Camile encourages Nova to write a new story about her relationship to this space…one where she’s the hero, not the victim.
They fill each other in about the time that they missed but the conversation pivots to that summer where everything changed. Camile recalls their plans to meet at the graduation party where they’d share their first dance, in public, as a couple, but Nova never showed. Nova admits that Camile was “the best thing that happened to me back then” but when she was outed to her father, everything changed. The sadness that she saw in her father’s eyes broke something in side of her and, though it goes unsaid, Nova’s spent her entire life trying to heal from that pain. Camile’s tales of her encounters with Ernest are like a balm to Nova’s weary soul.
The stories also spurn Nova into considering the possibilities: what if she hadn’t been outed, what if she wasn’t so scared, what if she’d shown up to that graduation party? But Camile would rather relish the present than second guess the past. At any given moment, she opines, we all are where we’re supposed to be. She dismisses Nova’s worrying about the past and encourages Nova to finally share that public dance with her. Nova agrees, puts on SWV’s “Weak,” and the couple slow dances outside Camile’s shop.
Nova laments that their timing is off but Camile encourages her to just be in the moment. Right now, Camile insists that she just wants to dance with her…which, I mean, I guess could be true but also they’re dancing to “Weak” so I’m having a hard time believing it.
Survivor 4307: “Bull in a China Shop”
Written by Anya
This was a somewhat straightforward episode, with not nearly enough Karla!! We spent most of the episode watching the four-part immunity challenge, which was at times hard to watch. The first section of the challenge, which involved twisting around in a net while getting immersed in mud, was so difficult that two people fully couldn’t complete it — including Noelle, who has proven herself to be a very worthy competitor. I personally hope they never do this challenge again, it looked like torture!! Anyway, this all led to the fourth part of the challenge, which Gabler won.
After that, James found the Knowledge is Power idol, and — I’m not sure why — decided to tell seemingly everyone about it. Keep your advantages to yourself, people, like Karla has continued to do this whole time! Members of the former Baka and Vesi tribes, led by Noelle, wanted to unite to vote out a former Coco tribe member, either James or Ryan. Jesse, however, was debating leaving his former tribemates behind and aligning with, you’ll never guess, Karla, who wanted to vote out Dwight. Guess who gets voted out in Tribal? Dwight. Time and time again, we see that Karla is calling the shots, quietly and without drawing too much attention. Sure, Jesse and Cody may have swung the vote, but it’s because of the trustworthiness that Karla is able to instill in her chosen allies that they wanted to swing in the first place.
American Horror Story 1105: “Bad Fortune” and 1106: “The Body”
Written by Drew
Ryan Murphy, tired of doing Cruising without the grime, has switched to Angels in America without the humor and depth.
This season — like much of Ryan Murphy’s horror content — is wearing its influences with pride of a PFLAG mom. (Patrick’s ex-wife’s death in 1105 is recreation of an iconic moment from Dressed to Kill.) That’s not a bad thing. I just wish this stew of queer art’s past had a bit more flavor.
The first new episode this week is all about tarot. Patti LuPone has a side hustle running a psychic shop and Sandra Bernhard takes on a side hustle of working for her. This leads to multiple surreal scenes with Adam and Gino where Sandra and Patti turn into something out of a nightmare — or Kushner play — as they reveal the death card. It’s fun in a cheesy way even if it feels a bit like the show just padding out their ten episodes.
The next episode returns to My Policeman/Cruising territory. We get some answers in a flashback reveal that Patrick and Sam were involved with a cover up on Fire Island. A coked out threesome led to a dead twink and they called in mob fixer Denis O’Hare for help. He then enlisted our killer Mr. Whitely to chop up the body. This seems to have sparked Whitely’s desire to kill gay men to send a message which he promises will culminate at the pride parade.
There’s no hint yet that Whitely has anything to do with Big Daddy or the haunted tarot cards, so even as they close in on this killer, it seems another big bad is promised. And, of course, the biggest bad which is the start of the AIDS crisis.
The more AIDS becomes a part of the season, the less confident I am that Murphy and his team will handle that with any sort of tact or respect. But, alas, I’m along for the ride.
The Rookie: Feds 106: “The Reaper”
Written by Natalie
This week, Simone’s FBI team is on the hunt for an illusive sniper for hire with nine kills on their record already. Clues to the sniper’s identity have been hard to come by — they have just one blurry picture of his face — but after the sniper’s girlfriend, Zora, is arrested, the team might finally have an opening. Garza sends Simone into Ventura County Jail, undercover, to befriend Zora and try to get any information she can about the sniper and his next potential target.
When she returns from her unsuccessful undercover assignment, Simone gets a call from her father who shares some disturbing news: last night at DJ’s showcase, she was getting cozy with another woman…and not just any other woman, DJ’s ex-fiancée. The news comes as a complete surprise to Simone. She didn’t even know DJ had been engaged or that the engagement had ended just a month ago. Later, Simone confronts DJ directly with the news she got from her father. DJ insists that she was going to introduce them at the showcase but Simone cancelled on her as usual. Now, personally, I’m not sure what that would’ve accomplished — at the very least, it would’ve been hella awkward to meet an ex-fiancée that you never even knew existed — but DJ assures Simone that she wants to invite her into her life. She wants more.
The admission forces Simone to be candid about what she can offer right now. Simone is living her dream as an FBI agent but she knows the toll it can take on relationships. She can’t give DJ the “more” that she wants. DJ asks if ending things is what Simone truly wants and Simone confesses it isn’t.
“But relationships are about timing,” Simone admits. “And I guess this just isn’t ours.”
And then DJ walks away…out of this short-lived and poorly written relationship. I’m a little sad to see Jessica Betts go but I hope the next time she and Niecy share a screen, it’ll be with a team that can put their irrepressible chemistry to good use.
Station 19 605: “Pick up the Pieces”
Written by Carmen
I went back and forth about writing a recap for this episode, because on the surface level it’s the same merry-go-round that we’ve been on since the season started. Maya and Carina are fighting. Then they kiss and make up and it seems like it’s finally finally over, and then they start fighting again. Wash rinse repeat. HOWEVER! This time we do get Carina in that lingerie set — and that is worth paying attention to.
Carina’s dressed like that, and has lit their entire apartment in candles, including a full fancy dinner, because she wants to recreate her first night with Maya. She wants Maya to know that Carina is her safe space, that they are going to be ok. And they kiss, and they hold each other, but unfortunately that respite is short lived. By the end of the episode Carina is once again begging Maya to start therapy — she still hasn’t taken her pregnancy test, she’s holding the boundary of Maya needs to be in a better place before they make this leap. But Maya shuts down completely.
She says that talking will not work for her, and that she has a method that does work (over-working and over-exercising). The thing about that is that Maya’s methods aren’t working at all! Last week she fucked up her ankle because she wouldn’t listen to orders (it’s still wrapped up) and let’s not forget when she literally bought a bottle of whiskey to a recovering alcoholic. But alas, Maya insists that Carina’s controlling her, making bad faith assumptions based on Carina’s dad’s mental illness, and that’s the real problem here. And I get it, you can’t force someone to go to therapy who doesn’t want to go. But also if Maya’s self-management isn’t working, and is actively making herself and those around her unsafe, that leads us to very bad place. I don’t see how they make peace from here.
Ultimately, Carina ends up taking the pregnancy test on her own, the exact thing she said earlier this season that she did not want to do, because she can’t trust Maya to be there for her anymore. And friends, if you didn’t know before, this is a signal of a very long road ahead for all of us that love them. I don’t know how Maya and Carina survive this breaking point if it comes to a head. So I’ll just sit back and hope.
PS: My favorite Grey’s-verse side characters ever, the lesbian couple who got all of Grey Sloan Memorial high in season 14 AKA the episode when Arizona first admitted she was still in love with Callie, also the lesbians who Carina helped give birth in a hallway, also the lesbians who believed a quack doctor cured cancer, made a special appearance last night! They are volunteers at the Station 19 free clinic now. I love them, and I hope they always come back to visit forever and ever. Amen.