Hello and happy Friday! Let’s get to it! This week Drew and Christina were two dykes discussing Magic Mike XXL while Nic and Valerie paired up to give you the latest The Last of Us recap. Nic also watched Somebody I Used to Know and wants you to know all about Kiersey Clemons playing a bisexual bride in a rom-com just this side of My Best Friend’s Wedding. Kayla also wrote a reflection on queer parenthood on Bravo and reality TV. And here’s what else!
Notes from the TV Team:
+ The biggest news in the rest of Grey’s world is Ellen Pompeo’s last episode as Meredith Grey in Seattle (though a quick look at Ellen’s supposed contract for this year would show that she has one episode left, I’m betting she returns for a proper farewell in the finale) — but the biggest news in MY Grey’s world is that former gay intern Hellmouth and new gay intern Yasuda shared a scene together at Joe’s Bar, which means I’m counting down until a new ‘ship sails in Shondaland once again. — Carmen
+ The fourth edition of Food Network’s Tournament of Champions kicked off this week and their bracket includes noted chefbians Elizabeth Falkner, Crista Luedtke, Britt Rescigno, Karen Akunowicz, and reigning champion, Tiffani Faison. Can the gays take the championship for the second year in a row? I’ll keep you updated. — Natalie
+ This week on All American: Homecoming, Nate steps off the campaign trail and into a ball gown for Bringston’s Red and Black Masquerade. She gets a special invitation from a secret admirer and, at the ball, he pulls her into a dance. They wow the crowd with their moves but before Nate can determine the identity of the man behind the mask, he disappears. — Natalie
+ As some of you may know, Chyler Leigh has a new show called The Way Home, and while Chyler’s character doesn’t seem to be queer, she (along with the other executive producers on the show) joined the likes of Kat Barrell in their quest to queer up Hallmark and included a side story about two gay moms who kiss on screen and then retire and ride off into the proverbial sunset. Cute! — Valerie Anne
+ Ellen didn’t have too much of a storyline on How I Met Your Father this week besides just being a great sister and reminding her brother of the time they had a band called Sunny D and the Crazy Straw, in which she was the crazy straw. But Sophie did tell Val’s parents that she’d make out with either one of them (a fact they pointed out she’d made perfectly clear) so I’m officially declaring her bisexual. No take backs. — Valerie Anne
The Flash Episode 903: “Rogues of War”
Written by Nic
After months of rumors and weeks of “is that her?,wp_posts“Ryan Wilderwp_postsfinally made her debut on The Flash.
Air quotes because… well, because reasons. If you’re like me and you haven’t been fully up to speed (LOL) on the goings on over at The Flash, the tl;dr is that a group of rogues have been on a tech-stealing spree for their boss, a to-be-named benefactor. Team Flash soon realizes that each of the stolen parts can be used for a cosmic treadmill.
Barry decides to steal some tech from the Department of Defense, but he’ll need the help of his own group of rogues to do so. As they plan, Chester informs them that the tech is manufactured by Wayne Enterprises and it’s time to call Gotham.
During their attempted heist, one of Barry’s rogues reveals himself to actually be working for the mysterious benefactor, and soon it’s a 4v4 battle. They’re then interrupted by a speedster whose suit has a broken bat on it. It turns out, Chester did get a hold of Luke in Gotham, and he confirmed that the tech is Wayne-level tech, but way more advanced. Oh and also, Ryan went out on patrol a few weeks ago and never came back. Now there’s a new speedster in a batsuit and Batwoman is missing? Surely it’s a coincidence.
As the episode ends, the rogue defector threatens to bring the stolen machine back to The Flash if he doesn’t get a way to bring back Frost like the benefactor promised. Besides, why would they trust someone they haven’t seen? His question is answered quickly because the speedster takes off their helmet to reveal a gray hair-streaked Ryan Wilder!! We think? Is she a variant? Is she from another Earth? I’ve got a lot of superhero lore in my brain at the moment so forgive me for crossing the streams. I’m so excited to see Ryan suited up again. She delivered one line in the entire episode, “I am vengeance”, and that was enough for me to know I’m going to LOVE her as a villain.
Bonus: Candice Patton speaks French in this episode and it is exactly as hot as you’re imagining.
The Equalizer 308: “He Ain’t Heavy”
Written by Natalie
The Equalizer returned from its midseason hiatus this week and while most of the episode focused on Mel’s missing brother, we did get to see Aunt Vi venture back into the art world, however begrudgingly.
Recall that, once upon a time, Vi was the art world’s “it girl” but, when faced with the work of other artists of that time, she felt she couldn’t compare. Now, at the urging of her family and the love that she’s kindled, she’s stepping back into the scene. They’ve convinced her to enter a contest and today’s they’re slated to find out who the winner is. Personally, I’m perplexed they’d go this route — it feels like throwing someone who doesn’t like water into the deep end of the pool — but once Trish notes what first prize is (an all-expense paid trip to Paris, an art class at the Louvre, plus $5k), I’m like, “sign me up!”
Vi insists that “art isn’t about winning or losing, it’s about affecting people” but even she confesses that she wants to win that first prize. But once she’s at the art gallery, her confidence starts to waiver. Looking around at the other artists’ work, Vi’s convinced that hers pales in comparison. She grabs a glass of wine from the open bar and tries to soothe her nerves. Trish reminds her that she belongs here but pivots to an apology once she realizes how anxious the competition has made Vi. Trish assures Vi that she only wanted others to see what she sees but, if it’s too much for Vi, they can just leave.
Vi declines the offer and, instead, takes a few minutes for herself. She finds herself next to a young artist named Journey — one probably about the same age as Vi was when she retreated from the art scene — who is having the same crisis of confidence. Vi admits that she still grapples with imposter syndrome and, right now, the only thing that helps is a sip of pinot. Journey points out her work and Vi immediately recognizes the talent behind it. But when neither of them end up winning the contest, Vi’s words ring hollow and the young artist tosses her work down in frustration.
Vi rushes over to comfort her and points out the judges aren’t the sole arbiters of what’s good art. Besides, Vi notes, artists make art for themselves and if other people like it, that’s just a bonus. She assures Journey that she is a good artist, she just needs to believe it herself. It’s an encouraging moment for the young artist and spurns the director of a local art center to offer Vi a job as a teacher.
At home, Vi and Trish share the news with Robyn and Dee who, of course, encourage their aunt to take the job. It’s the first meeting between Robyn and Trish and, honestly, it underwhelms a bit. It’s particularly frustrating as I suspect Vi’s new job — which, of course she decides to take — will take her off-screen even more.
The Rookie: Feds 116: “For Love and Money”
Written by Natalie
The Rookie: Feds is back this week with a belated Valentine’s Day episode. Usually, that’d elicit a deep sigh of frustration — as a card-carrying member of Team #LoveIsALie — but Rookie: Feds rolled out my own personal kryptonite to try and make me a believer: uniting my TV crushes, Niecy Nash and Juani Feliz, professionally and, possibly, personally on-screen. Yes, please!
Nash’s Simone Clark crosses paths with Feliz’s Naomi Voss while trying to apprehend the same suspect: Naomi’s a LAPD detective, looking to collar the “Clickbait Casanova” — a fictionalized version of the Tinder Swindler — for having swindled widow out of her life savings, while Simone’s FBI team is hoping to find a new way into the inner circle of a notorious drug dealer. The FBI’s case takes precedent and Naomi’s force to hand over her collar to the Feds, however begrudgingly. But when Casanova eludes his FBI handlers, the team turns back to Detective Voss to find out where he might have gone. Unfortunately, by the time they locate him, he’s dead: shot through the heart (natch) with a harpoon gun.
During the investigation, we discover that Naomi’s a recent transplant to Los Angeles. So far she’s not vibing with the scene in LA but Simone assures Naomi that once she finds her community, she’ll see the city differently. Simone recommends a taco truck and, despite her insistence that she’s not big on tacos, Naomi and Simone cross paths in line later that night. It’s an impromptu Valentine’s date!
Over drinks, Naomi admits she and her girlfriend broke up when she transferred to LA to care for her mother. After Simone admits that she’s single too, Naomi asks if she’s ever dated anyone in law enforcement. Simone insists that she dates civilians just to escape the headspace that comes with the job. Naomi’s dismissive: sometimes, a fellow cop is the only person who can understand the demands of what they do. It’s both obvious where this conversation is heading and yet, it’s completely unsexy…an awful prelude to a potential relationship between characters that look like Niecy Nash and Juani Feliz.
The next day, Simone and Carter join Naomi at the LAPD to interrogate the hitman they suspect of having murdered the Casanova. The hitman admits to having been at scene but swears Casanova was already dead when he arrived. Simone, Carter, and Naomi piece together the clues and realize that the swindler likely had an accomplice. They concoct a plan and lure the accomplice — Casanova’s lawyer — out into the open. They easily subdue her and Naomi takes the lawyer into custody.
Later, Simone makes her way over to Naomi’s precinct and reports that the Casanova’s victims will be eligible for restitution, thanks to federal asset seizures. The news softens Naomi a little bit and Simone’s convinced that maybe Naomi isn’t a member of Team #LoveIsALife after all. Naomi suggests they try a local Jamaican spot sometime soon and Simone will definitely take her up on that offer soon. Cue the “Michael Scott/It’s Happening” meme!
A Million Little Things 503: “In The Room”
Written by Natalie
One of my TV pet peeves, following a coming out story, is what’s happening with Katherine on A Million Little Things: a character comes out, gets into a relationship, and suddenly their entire storyline becomes about being gay.
Don’t get me wrong: coming out is a big deal, worthy of compelling, engaging arcs, but when it becomes the character’s entire identity? Maybe it’s acceptable when it’s a young person — though, honestly, can’t they get Dan Dixon a hobby or something?! — but Katherine is a grown-ass woman, with a career she loves (loved?) and a firm that was barely off the ground. Everyone else gets storylines that exist independently from their relationship except Katherine. She’s just gay now. It screams to me, “a straight person definitely wrote this,” and I just want to scream back, “we have lives outside our relationships!”
But, I digress…back to recapping Katherine’s gay adventures.
At home, Greta picks up an old family photo album that Theo’s digitizing for his grandmother. She turns to a picture of Katherine’s mother in her wedding dress and Theo interjects, completely unprompted, “you know, if you two ever want to get married, I’d be okay with that.” Both women are caught completely off-guard by the pronouncement but Katherine quickly responds, “been there, done that, never gonna happen,” which is, seemingly, news to her girlfriend.
The couple meets Maggie, Regina, and Sophie at a nearby escape room for one last hurrah before Maggie gives birth. Thanks to her son’s love of puzzles, Katherine’s a regular at the escape room and she exchanges pleasantries with Melissa, the attendant. But when it comes time to introduce Greta, Katherine awkwardly avoids doing so. After successfully escaping the escape room, Greta confronts Katherine about the slight, accusing her of going out of her way to avoid telling Melissa who they were to each other. Katherine insists that she doesn’t need strangers knowing her personal business but Greta notes that attendant isn’t a stranger. Finally, though, it comes back to what Greta’s really upset about: Katherine nixing the idea of marriage earlier.
“The way that you were so quick to be like, ‘not gonna happen,’ it makes me wonder if I am more serious about our future than you are,” Greta admits. “I feel like I’m still that teenager on the beach, asking you to Homecoming, and you’re laughing at me…like the idea of us together is a joke.”
Katherine promptly takes Greta over to Melissa and introduces Greta as her girlfriend. Melissa already knew, though…possibly because of Katherine’s new gay haircut but also because she put Greta down as her emergency contact. Apparently, nothing says commitment like putting your girlfriend down as your emergency contact on an inconsequential form because Greta is assuaged and the pair kiss and make-up.
Truth Be Told 306: From My Hand the Poisoned Apple”
Written by Natalie
After last week’s harrowing takedown of the sex party, which brought Trini home and offered unequivocal evidence of the trafficking ring that Poppy and Eva had uncovered, I thought the dominoes would start to fall. I thought that, between the testimony of the girls and the Johns looking to escape accountability for their actions, we’d move closer to seeing the man behind it all — mayoral candidate Andrew Finney — implicated. I was actually worried that the show was moving too fast; with five episodes (including this one) left in the season, it felt too early to catch the season’s big bad. But this week, the show’s frenetic pace came to a sudden halt.
It was a jarring stop…one that forced the audience to sit in the aftermath of the girls’ trauma — Trini coming to grips with the aftermath of her assault or Melanie understanding that she was safe from her pimp’s wrath — and be uncomfortable. But even as the audience sits in that discomfort, the characters don’t…at least not the Oakland Police Department, the media, Emily Mills’ parents, or the company that hosts Poppy’s podcast. They seem more bothered that Poppy’s “tip” didn’t turn up the missing white girl than that it saved 15 black and brown girls from being trafficked.
The aforementioned stop means that none of Johns, at least thus far, are coming forward to implicate any of the “higher ups” in the trafficking ring. Though Eva and Poppy can link them all to Finney via his donor list, that evidence is circumstantial at best. With the girls traumatized and none of the Johns talking, Poppy turns to Eva, hoping that she’ll offer the power of a victim’s voice on her podcast.
“You’re strong, smart, and an admired force for good in Oakland,” Poppy insists, to Eva and my dismay. For years, Eva’s managed to keep the ghosts of her past at bay but now her defense mechanisms are failing. She’s moving closer to the edge — her persistent jitteriness seems like a physical manifestation of her loss of control — and this podcast interview could easily push her right over. I get why Poppy suggested it but, still, it seems cruel.
Eva sets out to convince herself of the utility of sharing her story publicly. Her friend and colleague warns her that some memories are best left in the rearview but emphasizes that whatever Eva decides, the decision has to be about her. The school superintendent warns Eva about the time she’s spending with Poppy — the podcast, he says, is making the school look bad, not the two girls who have been abducted and trafficked from its ranks — and threatens Eva’s job if she doesn’t distance herself. Finally, Eva admits to Poppy that she just can’t do it…she can’t risk losing everything. To her credit, Poppy assures Eva that it’ll be okay: they’ll get Finney another way.
But as Poppy noted, it is the victim’s voice that is the most powerful and it’s one of the victims’ voices that gets through to Eva. As she and Poppy listen to Melanie recount details of her time within the ring — including a tie to a dirty cop — Eva realizes that she can’t ask the girls to speak up and not be willing to do it herself.
Harlem Episode 207 & 208: “Fall Back to Rumspringa Forwardwp_posts& “Joy, Joy, Joy, Joy”
Written by Shelli Nicole
THE GIRLIES ARE GOING ON VACAY!
Quinn is on a journey back to herself, and while packing she lets the girls know that she hasn’t fulfilled any of the scripts the docs have given her. They are concerned but push forward with the trip and pop over to Puerto Rico. While there, Quinn runs into a college love and re-connects with him on an actual Eat Pray Love style date (they had dinner and kissed in a convent). The girlies warn her to slow down and just pay attention to herself but we know she won’t listen. Her mum shows up in Puerto Rico ‘cos Angie called her out of worry. Turns out depression runs in Quinn’s family but no one ever told her until now. Black families love keeping secrets don’t they
Tye however is taking jello shots, flashing strangers, kitesurfing, and going to the club. She is also trying to find some cocaine — mama is having a time! It feels like she is trying to recapture her youth on the trip for some reason, maybe because of all the changes that have happened in her life recently. She has a humbling moment when some kids on vacation tell her to grow up, and in the middle of it gets a call from Plant Lady Aimee! She is having some very adorable computer issues and calls Tye for help. Tye takes the opportunity to again tell her about her relationship issues. She is bored with Zoe and knows it’s going nowhere beyond sex, and kinda feels like she may want more.
At the end of the episode, Quinn and Angie find out that Angies’ “Michaelwp_posts(the guy she is falling for) is the same guy that Quinn’s mum set her up with weeks ago — and she is not too happy about it.
In the season finale, we jump forward a few weeks!
Quinn is doing and feeling much better! She is taking her meds and in a new relationship with her old college love, but she and Angie are a bit rocky. Quinn is making some pointed jokes about her relationship with Michael, even though she is in a new relationship with her old college boyfriend. Angie ultimatly breaks up with him BUT Quinn does her part in bringing them back together. Go Quinny!! Also, Also MIKE PROPOSES TO
Now onto Tye who is also killing it. She has launched a site for polyamorous folks, seems to truly be vibing in herself and who she is, and is still connected to Plant Lady Aimee. She is very much still killing plants and when she brings back another dead one, Aimee asks her out on a date which causes her to have a Clueless-like epiphany. Tye is wowed that she hasn’t realized how much they have been connecting all this time, and how much she has been herself. For a second, she switches and tries to impress her with the same moves she used on others — an expensive date, smooth-talking, the waiting game — but Aimee cuts her off at the knees.
They go to the fish market and in line, Tye says she didn’t think Aimee would be her type. Aimee jokes that she is much older than the women she has dated in the past, but Tye tells her it’s not that. It’s that she is together and that’s fucking hot and just what she is looking for. She is also making her wait to fuck, at the end of one of their dates (they are vibing HEAVY) she sends Tye home all horned up. As she is walking away from Aimee’s spot she gets a “You Upwp_poststext from Zoe — and responds by telling her to be at her place in 20. While they are either midway through a round or at the start of one (I can’t tell) Aimee texts Tye to come over. She ditches Zoe, has a shower, and pops Aimee’s right away. Turns out it’s not to fuck, it’s just to kick back, cuddle, and touch on each other.
Tye breaks the mood to pee, Aimee asks her to be quiet on the way to the bathroom so as to not wake her kid though. Her daughter is already awake and guess who it is — ZOE!
The season ends with somebody getting pregnancy news but we don’t know who it is!
That’s a wrap on season two of Harlem and my prediction is that either Tye is pregnant (slept with her ex-husband) Or Angie is pregnant with Michael’s baby!
Fantasy Island Episode 207: “#Happy”
Written by Valerie Anne
This week’s guests on Fantasy Island are Julie Cooper Nichol who wants her family to be happy and Isaiah, a man who lost his father young so wants assurance of a long life before starting one of his own.
The Drakes’ story starts off simple enough; the mom had a terrible childhood and has fought tooth and nail to give her kids everything she never had, and she feels like they’re still not happy. When her wish for her family to be “as happy as they look on social media” comes true, things quickly devolve into an episode of Black Mirror. Her family seems happy at first, and she enjoys her first day with her cookie cutter family, but she soon recognizes that’s all a facade, a surface happy…also her real family is trapped in a nightmarescape of her own making. She has to open up to her family about her childhood and why she puts so much pressure on them to be perfect, and agrees to back down. Her family admits they have felt like they weren’t enough for her, and so they all get on the same loving page and they truly see each other, and a way back to true happiness.
Helene actually ends up handling Isaiah more than Ruby or Elena, convincing him that knowing when he’ll die shouldn’t stop him from living a full life. She knows her mom wouldn’t have changed anything if she knew she was going to die when Helene was still young and she believes Isaiah’s father wouldn’t either. Isaiah decides not to look after all and heads back to the mainland to start living.
At the beginning of the episode, raw from her breakup, Elena tells Ruby she wants their relationship to be more professional. Ruby essentially says “fuck that” but consents to giving her space until she’s ready to talk. She leaves her with the sound advice, “Just because you’re hurting doesn’t mean you get to go around hurting other people.”
By the end of the episode Elena realizes Ruby is right and they make up. But as the guests leave, Ruby feels a sharp pain in her island tattoo. She brushes it off, because she still hasn’t learned how to interpret these signs, but we see the caretaker locking up Room 12 as someone…or something makes a racket behind the door.
The Watchful Eye Episode 105: “Stairway to Eleven”
Written by Valerie Anne
This week on The Watchful Eye, it’s Allie’s birthday. We first see the last birthday she had when she was alive, complete with confetti cupcake, a trip to the aquarium, and a secret meeting with Elena’s cop boyfriend, who is begging her to “try harder” to convince her husband of something.
On the first birthday after Allie’s death, Matthew has decided to treat it like any other day, thinking it will avoid upsetting Jasper. But when it’s just him and Elena, Jasper tells her he does know it’s his mom’s birthday, and wants the same cupcake and aquarium day.
He also tells Elena about a secret hiding spot just him and his mom know about. So naturally Elena investigates as soon as she’s alone again. Ginny finds her snooping and Elena asks her to go downtown to get the confetti cupcake, and even though she knows Elena is keeping something from her, she agrees to help.
Once Ginny is gone, Elena follows a mysterious marble and finds a secret door under a staircase and ends up in the walls of the Greybourne. Her phone rings and another secret door in the wall opens, but she manages to hide herself from whoever opened it.
Kim meets up with Ginny to keep her company as she gets the cupcake, and Kim calls her out for being a people pleaser. She tells Ginny she’s amazing and deserves to be treated that way. When they get back to the building, Kim heads off to write, and Ginny says she wants to read what she writes, and maybe I’m biased, but this was A+ flirting to me. They share a cupcake and Elena walks into a thick wall of vibes as she comes to collect the cupcake. Slow burn, baby, let’s go!
Other things we learned I believe will eventually be relevant: Tory and Matthew were sleeping together while Tory was dating Otis and Matthew was in his early days of dating Allie. Tory’s husband is deathly allergic to shellfish. Elena’s boyfriend is a distant, disowned Greybourne. And when Elena brings her boyfriend to the basement, it’s empty; no portraits, no safe, no creepy wallpaper. Just an empty room with candid photos of her on the walls. Well, her…and her brother. Dun dun dun!
Station 19 Episode 607: “We Build Then We Break”
Written by Carmen
When we last left Station 19 and Maya Bishop before the mid-season break, she had fallen on the treadmill after pushing herself over-exercising her way out of her mental (and physical) health pain for what’s felt like forever but in I recognize in the universe of the show, has likely been much shorter. But as an audience member, I think we can all agree — Maya isn’t the only one in pain here.
So we pick back up with Maya still unconscious and it takes Jack (who is also working out in the firehouse while the rest of the team is out on a call) a little longer to find her than I would’ve liked, but once he does he picks her up and takes her immediately to Grey Sloan Memorial. At first one of the new Grey’s interns, Blue, was working on Maya and the entire time I screamed “GET A GROWN UP!!wp_postsso I was relieved when Teddy Altman showed up. Altman works on Maya while Jack tells Carina what happens. The subtle, soft break in her face before she rushes to Maya’s room? Stefania Spampinato really does so much beautiful work with Carina, and she does not get her due nearly enough.
As Maya, Danielle Savre is equally devastating. She sells Maya’s desperation, her barely holding on, with just such skill it’s a like a knife to the heart. Maya refuses to take Teddy’s advice and rest, even though her levels are off the chart — she’s been exercising so much that her body’s responding as if it were a heart attack! Maya swears that she’s fine, but Carina knows better. She knows how Maya has been punishing her body for what her mind is going through. She pushes back.
Carina and Teddy agree that if Maya won’t listen to her doctors and stay in the hospital, then they will have no choice but to put her on a medical hold. Danielle Savre is pure heartbreak as she looks at Carina and through clenched teeth of disbelief asks, “You’re 5150’ing me?”
She begs them to stop, she cries out Carina’s name, she starts to pull out her own IVs. Teddy warns her that if she doesn’t calm down, they will have to restrain her. She whips her head to Carina, a desolate promise that is more like a wretched threat: If you do this, we are done.
Carina turns around as she starts to walk out the door. “I lose you either way, Bella. I’d rather lose you alive.”