We’ve been busy this week, friends! Natalie reviewed The CW’s Naomi (which is queer), Carmen reviewed Peacemaker (in which Danielle Brooks plays a lesbian), and Drew reviewed Mars One (which is now at Sundance). Recaps? You know it! Drew did Drag Race and Euphoria, Valerie Anne did Legends of Tomorrow, Nic did Batwoman, Heather did And Just Like That, and Kayla brought us home with Yellowjackts. She also made you a lil quiz so you can know which Yellowjackets characters you are! Plus a Style Thief to dress like Taissa. Here’s what else happened!
Notes from the TV Team:
+ Tien Tran plays a lesbian named — wait for it — Ellen, on How I Met Your Father, which landed on Hulu this week. I need to write a full review of it, but I’m going to watch a couple more episodes to see if it gets any better. — Heather
+ In the meantime, the best sitcom on TV right now is Abbott Elementary, which isn’t gay yet, but your fave Brittani Nichols is in the writers room and their first episode is next week! — Heather
+ On Home Economics this week, Connor is helping Sarah and Denise declutter their apartment, which leads to a funny sight gag when he finds their, ahem, toy box in the bedroom. — Carmen
+ Naomi continues to be a highlight of my week even if the romantic storyline takes a backseat to Naomi’s realization and exploration of who she truly is (that ending, tho!). That said, the highlight of this episode came when Lourdes shows up to rescue Naomi and her friends after their car breaks down. Naomi thanks her and Lourdes responds, “You know I’m always happy to get a text from you.” The flirty tone of her voice, the way she glances at Naomi… Anthony and Nathan witness it and glance quickly each other, realizing that they’ve got more competition for Naomi’s heart. — Natalie
+ I haven’t been thrilled about the storylines for Tessa and Mariah on The Young and the Restless in a very long time — mostly because their storylines don’t actually center their characters — but there was a noteworthy development this week: the couple got engaged! Mariah and Tessa have been together since they reunited in 2020… which is like an eternity in soap years. If Tessa and Mariah make it to the altar — which with Mariah’s brother/Tessa’s ex making heart eyes at Tessa all the time, isn’t a foregone conclusion — it’ll be the first lesbian wedding on American daytime television, I think, since Bianca and Reese got married on All My Children in 2009. — Natalie
Claws 407: “Chapter Seven: Ascension”
Written by Natalie
When I started recapping Claws for Autostraddle, I had to periodically remind myself what kind of show this was and adjust my expectations. This wasn’t a “female Breaking Bad,” it was its own thing: a soapy crime drama that oozed camp. But while I came to expect the most Florida things from Claws — especially when it comes to Uncle Daddy — this season’s writing has been disappointing. The show meanders from one plot point to another, neglecting the show’s history…whether that history happened a few seasons ago or a few episodes ago. It’s been frustrating to watch.
This week, Ann confronts Virginia about letting the details of Uncle Daddy’s cruise ship deal slip to Desna. Her anger’s understandable, I suppose — Desna’s move prolongs Ann’s stay in Palmetto — but when you consider that the two crews have been trading secrets all season — Ann did this exact thing with Polly — it’s hard to imagine Ann being truly surprised the “betrayal.” Virginia warns Ann that her involvement with the beat down of the “Claws Up” consultants means that Desna’s coming for her but Ann assures her former colleague that she’s not scared.
While Desna’s plotting her revenge, Ann, Bryce and Uncle Daddy toast her downfall at the Underground and strategize new ways to expand their reach. Ann cuts the strategy session short, though, as she leaves in search of baby supplies. Uncle Daddy gleefully ushers her out, reminding Ann that “ain’t nothing in the whole world more important than our baby.” Ann raises an eyebrow to Uncle Daddy’s use of the word “our” but doesn’t confront him about it. Later, though, Bryce comes to understand the full scope of Uncle Daddy’s obsession: he proclaims “the little bundle of joy that’s in Quiet Ann’s belly” will inherit his throne and nothing else matters. Angry about being “passed over for a fetus,” Bryce loses it and hitches his truck up to Ann’s trailer with Ann still inside.
Bryce takes his kidnapping victim to Desna’s and she talks him out of his plan to kill Ann. She urges Bryce to see the bigger picture: now, they have everything Uncle Daddy wants. She approaches Ann with an offer: return to the crew, only this time as a 50-50 partner. But as much as Ann wants out of Palmghetto, she refuses to work for Desna ever again and rejects her flat out. Desna leaves Ann to reconsider her generous offer or else be forced to deal with Bryce. Later, Desna returns with a counteroffer: $100k for Ann to cash out of the game. When Uncle Daddy storms in, anxious to reclaim what’s his — Ann and her baby — Ann relents and accepts Desna’s offer. Ann pushes Uncle Daddy to just go home… and while the gangster retreats, for now, he promises he’ll be back to claim his revenge.
For a moment, Desna thinks she’s won — Bryce in her corner, Ann gone and Uncle Daddy’s operation in shambles — and rushes to reunite with the “Claws Up” consultants. But the moment is short-lived because she spots DEA agents loading her former consultant into a car…and worse? The delivery man she’s been shtupping and spilling secrets to? He’s a DEA agent too.
NCIS: Hawai’i 111: “The Game”
Written by Natalie
Though few procedurals center around a relationship, the NCIS franchise has been good about injecting some personal drama into its stories. There was Ziva and Tony on the OG show, Kensi and Deeks on the LA version and, on the New Orleans edition, the “will they, won’t they” of Chris and Sonja and, later, Hannah’s relationship with Quentin. Seeing a lesbian couple follow in those footsteps… it felt like a big deal… so I got invested. It didn’t help that Kate was played by Tori Anderson who I’d been hoping to play gay since she was Kate Crawford on Blindspot.
Clearly, though, I was setting myself up for a fall.
It all started lovely enough… just two gal pals sitting out on balcony, enjoying a delicious cup of fair trade coffee, a gorgeous view and some comfortable silence. Or at least Lucy tries to convince herself it’s comfortable when, really, she’s desperate to fill the empty space. Kate grabs Lucy’s hand, offering a gentle assurance that she’s happy too, but then turns back to the messages on her phone. As Lucy rambles, she slips and drops the “L Word,” though Kate’s so wrapped up in what she’s doing, it’s not clear that she heard Lucy say it. But things shift abruptly between the pair and suddenly, they’re parting ways (with a kiss!) and promising to touch base later about dinner plans.
Lucy doesn’t touch base with Kate and instead, shows up at Kate’s doorstep later, excited about her upcoming undercover assignment. She’s greeted by Cara, “Whistler’s girlfriend from DC.” Shocked, Lucy tries to make a quick retreat, breaking an usually tense moment, but Kate follows closely behind trying to explain. She assures Lucy that it’s not what it looks like — “people always say that in the movies and it is, in fact, always what it looks like,” Lucy retorts — but Kate’s defense is just that she didn’t know Cara was coming. Kate begs Lucy to stay so she can explain what happened but Lucy heads over to her undercover gig.
Things go awry while Lucy’s undercover and Kate, who stopped by HQ in hopes of explaining herself, paces the floor awaiting word on her (other?) girlfriend. When Ernie and Jane realize that someone else at the party is working with their bad guy, Kate jumps into action to vet the rest of the attendees. She discovers the identity of the other culprit and the team comes running. Turns out, though, Lucy doesn’t need their help: she disarms and defeats the culprit on her own. When word arrives at HQ that Lucy’s okay, Kate breathes a huge sigh of relief and leaves to await Lucy’s return.
Lucy finds Whistler sitting at her desk and the confrontation she’s been avoiding finally happens. After discovering Cara at her apartment, Lucy realized why Kate worked so hard to keep their relationship a secret. Kate assures Lucy that that’s not true and corrects the record: she and Cara were dating but she ghosted her when she left DC for Hawai’i. Kate assumed things would fizzle out — which seems reasonable given that they were almost 5,000 miles apart and (presumably) not talking at all — and admits that she was blindsided by Cara’s appearance. Kate admits that she also didn’t see this thing between her and Lucy developing as it had…and once she realized how much she cared for Lucy, she worried about the impact telling Lucy about Cara would have on their relationship. She assures Lucy that she’s broken things off with Cara for good now but it’s too little, too late.
“There are a lot of chances — bets, really — that I’m willing to take, [but] you’re no longer one of them,” Lucy responds, breaking Kate’s heart and mine.
New Amsterdam 413: “Family”
Written by Natalie
This week’s episode of New Amsterdam was truly a standout for Freema Agyeman (Helen Sharpe) and Sandra Mae Frank (Elizabeth Wilder) as they grappled with family issues, but for Lauren Bloom, the question remained: what to do about her chosen family. She’s tried everything and still hasn’t heard from Leyla and wonders what she should do next. Bloom asks Dr. Reynolds for some advice and he stalls. Lauren realizes that he knows something and tries to press him for more information but is interrupted by an emergency rolling into the ED.
The doctors treat victims of a car accident, the parents of a 4 month old baby girl (Tiya) rushing to get their child to the hospital. While nothing seems immediately wrong with the baby but the mother is certain that something is seriously wrong: ten years ago, they had a child who cried the same way just before he died. Labs on the baby all come back normal but the little girl has a seizure and Lauren redoubles her efforts to find the cause. Since she can’t run individual tests for genetic disorders — the baby doesn’t have enough blood — Lauren decides to sequence the baby’s DNA. Reminded of Bloom’s dogged persistence, Reynolds relents and admits that Leyla came to see him for a recommendation. Unfortunately, he can’t give Bloom any insight on what Leyla’s future plans are.
Once Bloom gets the DNA sequencing back from the lab, she’s challenge to find the disorder to match Tiya’s genetic profile. Only thing? New Amsterdam doesn’t have any DNA-sorting software so she and her residents are forced to do the entire thing by hand. It looks impossible — there are hundreds of pages of DNA sequences and disorders to sift through — but people step up and embody Max Goodwin’s spirit: “how can I help?” Miraculously, though, they find their needle in a haystack and order the treatment to ensure Tiya will live a normal life. Unfortunately, the baby will have to live without her father, whose injuries from the accident proved too severe. Reynolds is able to buy the father some time, though…so he gets to spend time with his daughter and know he died saving her life.
Later, Leyla returns to Floyd’s office and Lauren is there waiting for her. Furious, Leyla lashes out at Lauren for not respecting the boundaries she’s set. Lauren understands and admits what she’s done wrong and is prepared to live with the regret of losing Leyla for the rest of her life. What Lauren isn’t prepared for, though, is to see Leyla give up her career: her residency slot is still available. Leyla refuses because she can’t work with Lauren but she won’t have to…Lauren’s atoning for her sin in the only way she can: she’s leaving New Amsterdam.
Queens 110-111: “Nasty Girl Records” & “I’m A Slave 4 U”
Written by Carmen
We’re catching up on the last two weeks of Queens today, but really I can sum up what will grip you and stay with you long after you ever expected for a soapy (and a overdramatic) hip hop musical on ABC, in just one paragraph. In “Nasty Girl Records” Naturi Naughton gave the performance of her career, when Jill finally confronts her homophobic father, the root of so much of her internalized homophobia.
Jill’s father is in town visiting and Jill, who’s been wrestling more and more what it means to be a woman of faith and also be gay, is spending time with him — even though the other Queens warn her that his conditional love ain’t no kind of love at all. What’s most stunning is watching Naturi become a smaller version of the Jill we’ve come to know, become Daddy’s Little Girl and shrink in his presence.
Anyway, it turns out that Daddy is an alcoholic, which Jill — a vet of her own addictions — wants to help him through. In his drunk stuper, he’s so kind to her. He tells her that he was proud after her BET coming out performance; that he’s so happy that she’s happy. Of course Jill is floating!!! That kind of recognition? That’s all she’s wanted. But the next day, she returns to his hotel room and now that he’s sober, he’s gone cold again. Mean. Blaming her for her homosexuality. And that’s what leads to the performance I can’t stop talking about! Naturi, tears brimming her eyes, lets him have it:
You don’t love me because you can’t. Because you don’t love yourself. I’m not sure that you even love God, or if you just love the fact that you can use the Bible to justify the hate in your heart.
I love God. I have that in my heart, which is why I keep coming back to you, hoping you’ll be different! Hoping that you will finally accept me for who I am. That’s love. That is God. You know, I have been fighting for your approval my whole life, but after 40 years I don’t even want it. I’m done. I’m proud of who I am. I’m Jill Da Thrill, the rapping lesbian who is worthy of unconditional love, and if you won’t give it to me, then you can go to hell!
(In the week’s episode, Jill tries to save a Sabrina the Teenage Witch type ex-child star in a story that’s half Hannah Montana and half #FreeBritney. HAhahaaa Damn I hope this show never changes.)
Nancy Drew 311: “The Spellbound Juror”
Written by Valerie Anne
This week Bess’s gal pal is MIA so instead she helps her friends out with her newfound positive outlook on love. She helps George move out of Nick’s apartment and reminds her that scar tissue is tough and she’ll make it through. She also encourages Ace to tell Nancy about his feelings for her and let HER decide if he’s a better fit for her than Detective Park is.
Ace almost flaps her new positivity by bringing up the soul splitter since they might need to use it again on Charity, reminding Bess of losing Odette, but she will not be swayed back to Team Love Is A Lie that easily.
Bess also leaks that Carson is dating the opposing counsel to help with the case Nick is infiltrating a jury for, because I guess in small towns they kind of wave their hands about conflict of interest and let Carson’s daughter’s best friend/ex-boyfriend be on the jury of the case he’s trying. Sure! It works out because Nick ends up being an awesome juror (Tunji Kasim once again knocking it out of the park with a powerful monologue)
In a final attempt to get Ace to tell Nancy how he feels, she tells him, “Love is painful and messy and stupid, but beautiful and perfect and worth it.” And that means a lot coming from someone who fell in love with the ghost who shared residency with her best friend’s body and then had to be released into the ether at her own hand.
And so Ace does take her advice and tells Nancy how he feels, but we’ll have to see how Cupid Bess’s plans worked out next week, because Papa Ryan interrupted before Nancy could respond.
4400 109: “Great Expectations”
Written by Shelli Nicole
4400 are back and we are in the aftermath of Mildred showing the world that they had special powers. Those that signed the conservatorship papers had them activated. They are being heavily guarded at the hotel and essentially being prepped to be medically experimented on whenever the government wants to — and they also set up a tip line for anyone to call in and basically snitch on the 4400. Jharrel is heavily invested in the idea that his brother who went missing before the 4400 arrived is hiding amongst them — then he gets fired by Jessica. Later on, he is arrested in his brother’s old apartment (where Claudette now lives but she’s out of town) right after connecting the dots that his brother has in fact been sending him messages!
Elsewhere, Doc and Soraya connect and are using the computer LaDonna built to find patient files — side note: Fawzia Mirza makes a guest appearance as Soraya’s mom in a very cute phone call about wanting her daughter to find love! Later on, Doc and Shanice sneak out of the hotel to have a chat and get fresh air. They are seen by one of the guards from the hotel and just as he is about to call them out, someone runs into him and causes him to fall and hurt his leg. Doc heals him, even though Shanice warns him not to out of fear of being seen, and then the two of them head back to the hotel. We learn that The Reverend’s power is, well, taking away the powers of others with his touch. He did it with Mildred by mistake but Shanice asks him to do it for her purposely and he succeeds.
Keisha and Jessica finally talk about how they have opposing opinions on how the government is handling the 4400 (and a bit about their breakup) and Keisha quits. Shanice and the Reverend manage to get the hotel approved and turned into a sanctuary and the government has to leave and is upset about it — but it actually all part of their plan. Later on, Soraya and Jessica meet up in a park where Soraya hands over the patient files she found earlier on a flash drive and we learn they are working together — Soraya is a double agent?!