WELCOME BACK to Boobs on Your Tube! Let’s see what happened this week! On Batwoman, a supremely excellent episode about anti-Blackness and policing got ruined in the last two minutes and Nic is the exact person you want to read commentary from about that. Questions about trauma and Black audiences followed through on Pose, as Pray Tell goes home to visit. Zari’s got talent on Legends of Tomorrow! On To L and Back, it was a sad one, as we said finally goodbye to The Last Word. But don’t you worry — we have all kinds of new L Word: Generation Q news for you to catch up on (they finished filming this week!). All these years later, and Kayla still can’t believe how relatable Jill and Bethenny’s friendship breakup was on Real Housewives Of New York. Abbi Jacobson is the queer all-ages hero we’ve been waiting for in The Mitchells vs. The Machine. And The Retreat is a new kind of lesbian horror that’s full of dykey swag!
Riese updated The 25 Lesbian Movies on Hulu That You Can Watch Right Now For Fun If You Want! (And you do want!) and also 33 Lesbian, Queer & Bisexual (LGBTQ+) TV Shows Streaming Free on Amazon Prime! (FREE!)
Notes from the TV Team:
+ Next week is the series finale of Black Lightning, a show that I have written about more than any other on this website. I wish with all my heart that I could tell you that Anissa and Grace had anything close to the central action going on as the series prepares their last bow, but alas. The wives are still in the background playing Scoobie (I mean, I am glad they stopped the government from eliminating meta genes from babies in what’s a convoluted allegory for… something real world and horrific and racist, I am sure. But damn, with only one episode left, there must be a better use of their time!) — Carmen
+ Coop was, strangely, MIA this week on All American but Mo continued to lay the groundwork for her revenge plot in her absence. This week, she sought to pull Coop’s protector, Preach, onto her side with a little seduction. It didn’t work, though: Preach wasn’t interested in rekindling an old affair. — Natalie
+ No Leyla on this week’s New Amsterdam but the show did feature a lesbian couple as the parents of one of Iggy’s patients. — Natalie
+ This week, on S.W.A.T., the moment I’d been dreading finally came to pass: worried that something bad might happen to Street if he has surgery to donate a portion of his liver to his mother, Chris confesses her feelings for him. They’re about to kiss when Luca interrupts them… and I’ve never been so happy to see that guy in my life. — Natalie
Station 19 414: “Comfortably Numb”
Written by Carmen
This week the long-simmering angst that’s been an undercurrent of Carina DeLuca leaving Maya and Station 19 finally came to a head and it was, in every way, worth the wait. It’s been a while (Station 19 has a lot of characters and plot to cover week-to-week, so it’s been a while since we’ve been back to the gays) so in case you need a refresher: Carina’s visa is up and she must return to Italy, but also with the pandemic raging, she wants to go to Italy so that she can be of medical service. At first Maya impulsively agrees to go with her, but then she realizes that her call to service is here with the firehouse, and so she is staying. That means Carina and Maya are planning on long distance — with no end date in sight. And now you are caught up, so here we go!
Carina is leaving for Italy today. She is packing and she is STRESSED. Maya tries to make bad jokes but they don’t land. Then, Maya switches tactics and tells Carina that her mother has returned home to her abusive father during the pandemic and she never has come out to her parents. Mostly because she never felt she had a romantic partner worth facing her father’s emotional abuse for. It’s as vulnerable as I’ve ever seen Maya and honestly Danielle Savre’s performance is nothing less than breathtaking this episode (you’ll hear that from me a lot today). Juuuust when it feels like Carina and Maya are finding their way, Carina admits that she never wants to get married. Maya had been on the brink of proposing so this is a swerve and it immediately sends them both into the tailspin of another fight.
Carina doesn’t want to get married, but she does want kids. Maya does want to get married, but kids feel out of her picture. They are both scared so they are fighting, but you know when you really love someone — sometimes you fight because even that feels easier than facing whatever is scaring you? Like the fight itself is awful, but what you are running away from is worse, and so instead you choose the fight in front of you. It’s a hard sensation to explain in recap, let alone perform with nuance, and now this is the second time when I will say that Danielle Savre and Stefania Spaminato were just off-the-charts last night (there’s going to be one more, hold on).
Finally, in the fight that’s within-their-fight, Carina and Maya stumble into truth. Maya has never bothered to learn the details of Carina’s immigration battle, she’s never tried to learn Italian or understand Carina’s culture. She’s kept those details at arms length because she thinks that Carina is leaving Maya to “return home” — Maya had been so caught up in her own baggage, that she hadn’t realized… she is Carina’s home (and if your heart didn’t melt when Carina called Maya bambina, you are stronger than I am). Of course this quiet moment terrifies them both, and so they fight once more — this time because if they love each other this much, Maya cannot understand why Carina won’t let them get married so that she can stay in the country together. Carina doesn’t understand why Maya can’t see that government regulation is not love. This time Carina storms out, disinviting Maya from taking her to the airport.
In the car, Carina FaceTimes with Gabriella — who tells her to get out of her own stubborn way and fight for what really matters. Maya is equally getting bestie time in with Andy, who promises her that it will all work out in the end. And just at that moment, in the grandest of Thursday Night Soap Opera traditions, Carina leaps out of the car and takes Maya into her arms, asking her to marry her. *Cue much romantic kissing and sweeping camera shots, which literally no one does better than these two actresses. (And that’s my third mention of how great they are! Thank you and goodnight!)
Our hearts break, but then they mend again. Such is the way of Shondaland.
PS: In Grey’s we find out that Carina is still going to Italy, but only for a month. She’ll be back in OB rotation and Maya’s arms before we know it.
9-1-1 413: “Suspicion”
Written by Natalie
With all the emotional fallout over Hen’s mom, Toni, losing her job and coming to live with her daughter, Nia’s return to her birth mother and 9-1-1 usual harrowing rescues, it’s easy to forget where Hen started this season: in medical school, chasing her dream of becoming a doctor. We pick that storyline up again this week, as Hen’s lab partners, Luis and April Nardini, come over to quiz each other. As they’re studying, Hen’s mom passes through, offering to pick the aspiring doctors up some cookies to while she’s out at the farmers’ market. Toni’s bones crack as she makes her way out and Hen starts trying to diagnose the ailment. Toni assures Hen that it’s nothing and she’ll be fine after she takes a few ibuprofen. But later, at the farmer’s market, things aren’t fine. After interacting with some vendors — a great showcase of Marsha Warfield’s comedic talents — Toni collapses and is rushed to the ER.
By the time Hen gets to the ER, her mother’s recovered and the doctor dismissively suggests, “sometimes people just faint.” Dismayed by his flippancy, Hen asks if he did an echocardiogram and he assures her the test wasn’t necessary. Instead, he recommends adjusting Toni’s blood pressure medication with her primary care physician and losing some weight. He dismisses Hen’s worried as well, urging her to “stay off WebMD,” and somehow Hen manages to restrain herself from popping him right in the mouth. Couldn’t be me.
At work, Hen laments to Chimney about her experience at the hospital. She wonders if she and her mother would’ve been treated differently if the doctor had also been a person of color… because white doctors don’t trust patients of color to know how they’re feeling or if something’s wrong. Chim recalls having to advocate (and translate) for his sick mother when he was just 12 and pushes Hen to advocate for her mother. She gets her study group together and they pour over Toni’s medical history and symptoms to try and find a diagnosis. They can’t come up with a solution and just when they give up, Toni collapses again. The team does a quick assessment of symptoms — fever, elevated heart rate, pulsating sensation around her navel — and April makes the final call: an abdominal aortic aneurysm.
Instead of waiting for a doctor this time, though, Hen rushes into the ER acting as though she is one: she insists on an electrocardiogram immediately and the nurse complies. Sure enough, the test confirms what Hen suspected but thankfully they got Toni to the hospital before her aorta ruptured and she should be fine, with surgery. Hen chastises the doctor for missing the call and urges him to listen when his patients tell him something is wrong.
Hen’s mother comes out of surgery fine and grateful to her daughter for saving her life. She takes the moment to tell Hen how proud she is and makes her promise to stay the course, even if it gets hard. Of course, Hen tearfully agrees.
All Rise 216: “Leap of Faith”
Written by Natalie
All Rise was a show built for me. Everything about it — its cast of predominantly people of color, led by the incomparable Simone Missick, its majority-POC writers’ room, its queer characters on screen and its multifaceted look at the justice system — it was like my catnip. That I’d found that show on CBS, a network notorious for its lack of diversity, was a pleasant surprise.
But behind the scenes, the same forces that had kept the CBS landscape so homogeneous for so long were still at work, making it impossible for the POCs they’d hired to thrive. It’s hard not to feel like those forces won with All Rise‘s cancellation, announced by CBS last week. Rather than giving the show a fresh start, CBS opted to cut their losses. As I watched this week, I was reminded of what we’re about to lose: the rare show that showcases multiple queer women, at different stages in their lives, navigating the personal and the professional.
This week, Georgia accompanies Lisa to a party at the Hamilton Club and she finally gets to meet Lola. Lisa’s clearly been waiting for this moment — for the two women that challenge her regularly to meet — and she’s beaming as they exchange pleasantries. The next day at work, Lisa gushes over Georgia while also worrying that they’re moving too fast. She’s so blissfully in love and Lola admits that they’re perfect for each other. Lisa wonders aloud if Georgia’s ready for the next step and Lola points out that the only way to know is to ask. The editing in the scene is so weird that it isn’t clear what “the next step” is until later after Georgia chats with Lisa, via video, from her seminar in Maine: Lisa’s got an engagement ring!
Meanwhile, Ness and Sam continue to spend time together. While the show hasn’t confirmed on-screen that there’s more than friendship between the two, their easy rapport — which vacillates between innocent and flirtatious — has me convinced that something’s brewing between them. Ness has a lot on her plate at the moment: the bar exam is imminent — Sam’s helping her study — and she still hasn’t decided what she’ll do once her clerkship is over. Then her roommate adds another problem into the mix: she’s moving out and Ness needs to find a replacement or a new place to live. Sam is about to suggest herself but she’s pulled away for a work meeting.
Later, the couple are sharing wine at Sam’s studio apartment when the answer to one of Ness’ problems becomes apparent: she invites Sam to move in with her. Before Sam can express reservations, Ness interjects: she needs a roommate and Sam needs the space and the company. Sam agrees and they toast to their new situationship.
Top Chef: Portland 1808: “Restaurant Wars”
Written by Natalie
As I mentioned last week, I’ve watched nearly every episode of Top Chef to date; I am a true fan… and like every true fan, each season I eagerly anticipate one episode: Restaurant Wars. It’s always the most stressful episode of the season for the cheftestants: they’re forced onto teams, have to develop a restaurant concept and menu in short order and for the first time, they have to concern themselves with front of the house issues like design, table settings and wait staff. Upsets happen on Restaurant Wars: it almost always forces a really strong chef from the competition.
Case and point, Kristen Kish returns to the Top Chef kitchen this week to join the season’s judging panel. As I swoon, I’m reminded that Kristen was actually eliminated on her season of Top Chef during the Restaurant Wars episode and had to battle her way back in Last Chance Kitchen. Both she and Gregory give the chefs great advice — over-communicate and develop a cohesive menu — which, ironically, the losing team summarily ignores. Teams are determined by the flip of a coin (a nod to Portland’s history): Maria ends up on a team with Byron, Shota and Jamie. The other team is stacked with cheftestants that have done well in the elimination challenges which worries Shota at the outset but not me… in fact, I’m even more confident at this point that #TeamMaria will come out on top.
Because of COVID protocols, Restaurant Wars this season isn’t what we’re used to: instead of make-shift restaurants bustling with diners and wait staff, they’re doing a chef’s table, which invites the judges into the kitchen and forces the chefs to take a more active role in engaging the audience. It’s a coveted experience for diners and, undoubtedly, a nerve-wracking one for the chefs.
Maria’s team quickly comes up with a concept, combining Latin and Asian cuisine, under the banner “Kokosun” (which itself is a combination of the Spanish and Japanese words for heart). They present their seven courses in kaiseki style and everything comes together seamlessly. Maria prepares her own dish — a lengua (beef tongue) sando with pickled mustard and green onions — and contributes a sesame mole to a dish with Shota and works on the stock and shrimp machacha for the team’s Hot Pot. And somehow, between all that work, Maria manages to do the bulk of the interactions with the diners and is great at that as well. The judges are effusive with their praise; it might be the best Restaurant Wars performance in Top Chef history.
Judge’s Table feels like a foregone conclusion: #TeamMaria gets the win. The overall victory, though, is a toss-up, between Shota, who shepherded the concept to fruition, and Maria, for her hospitality efforts. But because Kokosun’s hospitality was so much better than the other team’s, Maria gets her first win of the season! YAY GAYS!!
Next week, Top Chef gets even gayer: Maria Mazon, Melissa King, Kristen Kish and Portlandia star, Carrie Brownstein.
Jupiter’s Legacy Season 1
Written by Valerie Anne
Netflix’s Jupiter’s Legacy is both a superhero origin story and a superhero coming of age story all at once. It’s like if you took Amazon’s The Boys and the CW DC Universe and smooshed them together. It’s a little lighter than the first thing and a little darker than the second, with an all-star cast (Josh Duhamel! Leslie Bibb!) as well as some familiar faces. Gracie Dzienny, who played queer Greer in Chasing Life is a young upcoming superhero named Ruby Red. Bisexual actress Anna Akana plays telepathic assaasin Raiku. And our girl Humberly González, queer in real life, and on a queer role roll lately, plays Gabriella aka Neutrino alongside Jess Salgueiro who plays her girlfriend, Jacinda aka Shockwave. They’re only in two episodes, one for a good chunk of it as the episode follows their little band of super-misfits, and one just for a scene or two, but considering we are too often left out of these stories that lean heavily on our community’s metaphors, it was nice to have queer representation in this short series.
(Warning: Don’t make my mistake and watch the Neutrino/Shockwave episodes with your father, because Gabriella and Jacinda have a brief not-safe-for-parents scene.)
Charmed 312: “Spectral Healing”
Written by Valerie Anne
This week, Abigael is trapped in the tomb of chaos, where she is being tortured by her mommy issues, which include but are certainly not limited to the fact that her mother used to put her IN A CRATE because she was afraid Abi’s demon side would hurt the baby Waverly. As if our bisexual badass would dare hurt someone with such a gay name!
While Abi is being psychologically tortured, Mel is breaking the news to Ruby that they have to go back into long distance mode before they even get a chance to enjoy Ruby’s new lingerie. Mel starts to worry that maybe this is too much for their relationship to weather, until Mel goes with Harry on a mission and meets Ali Liebert, who introduces her to her wife and tells Mel they also did long distance for a while, and she’s inspired to keep trying with Ruby.
Nancy Drew 216: “The Purloined Keys”
Written by Valerie Anne
[The CW Website aka the bane of my existence wouldn’t play me this week’s episode so I couldn’t get a screenshot but here, enjoy the cutest scene of the episode!]
— Nancy Drew (@cw_nancydrew) May 21, 2021
This week Kennedy McMann once again did the most and broke my whole entire heart at least twice, but unfortunately Nancy is not yet dating Bess, so that’s a story for a different day.
Bess wasn’t really part of the adventures this week, so instead she focuses on trying to write a dating profile. George isn’t giving her enough attention on the subject at first, which surprises Bess; she thought George would have a more vested interest in finding Bess someone to crush on other than the ghost she shares a body with, but George is a little distracted. Eventually though, George overhears Bess thinking that being her true ex-con-who-dabbles-in-the-supernatural-and-has-a-crush-on-a-dead-woman self isn’t going to get her a new girlfriend anytime soon, so George and Odette team up to write Bess a very sweet dating profile about her relentless optimism and big heart. George tells Bess that her and Odette just want her to be happy, and I love that for all of them. Even though I still wish there was a way for Odette to be with Bess; she deserves to live her best lesbian life.
Legacies 313: “I Was Made to Love You”
Written by Valerie Anne
This week, it’s Josie’s turn to return the favor of a school tour as she shows Finch around the Salvatore School. Finch is a bit overwhelmed; she went from thinking she was the only werewolf to having breakfast with witches and vampires. Josie asks her to keep an open mind, and introduces her to the school’s wolf pack. Unfortunately that moment is also when Josie gets called away to help her dad with a mystical mystery and has to leave a very nervous Finch with Jed and the werewolves. But thankfully by the time Josie gets back, Finch is showing the boys who’s boss and realizing that she might have found an outlet for her excess werewolf aggression.
Josie feels bad for not recognizing her privilege when she told Finch this school is a safe place; she realizes now that this school run by a human speciesist monster is infinitely safer for her and her sister, being his daughters, than it is for the rest of the students. But Finch can see that Josie was right, that this school where she can be her true self is better than the one she has to hide parts of herself at, and so she agrees to attend…on one condition. From now on, when Josie introduces her to people at the school, she should introduce her as her girlfriend. It is very fucking cute.