Welcome to the fourth recap of the second season of The L Word: Generation Q, brought to you by the same network that brought you The L Word, a story about a camisole-and-cargo-shorts adorned computer whiz and dancer from the esteemed Berkeley dance troupe “Homo Erect Us” who moves to Los Angeles to work in music videos, immediately regrets it due to her perception that everybody in LA is “into high fashion” and fails to “celebrate female masculinity,” meets a newly-out trans male OurChart coder with a big group of transphobic friends, starts interning for and dating him, gives him a beejer in the computer room, tags along with him to a poorly lit funeral in Illinois but somehow vanishes for the majority of the storyline, accompanies him on a trip to San Francisco for eventually thwarted top surgery and then is never seen, heard from or discussed ever again. However, her OurChart Bio lives on forever in my mind and, I can only hope, in yours as well.
About 60% of the way through episode 204 of The L Word Generation Q, I texted The Gen Q podcast team “I’m watching 204 and I already cried 4 times.” So that is what I have to say about THAT.
We open on a cool spring evening in the fine city of Los Angeles, where our young friend Dani is returning home with Gigi following a three-hour period in which Dani was not actively devastated about the implosion of her life and relationship. Unfortunately, her joy is immediately thwarted because there are cop cars surrounding Daddy’s Manor!
As you may be aware, people in television programs with a lot of money often find themselves the victim of a home invasion from the FBI. The FBI will enter the office or home with brisk efficiency and emerge with neatly labeled file boxes. If the FBI ever raided my home, they would be like, “how much A-Camp memorabilia do you really need to be holding onto??” and I would be like “Sirs, that is for the Lesbian Herstory Archives!” Anyhow, don’t worry the FBI will never take my A-Camp maps and pigeonhole notes away because I’ve done nothing illegal and have no money to seize.
So, Daddy’s being arrested for Criminal Conspiracy and Fraud. Somehow I am already crying??? For Dani??? HOW MUCH PAIN CAN ONE GIRL HANDLE???!!? (Dani, that is.) (Although it is also worth asking about me.)
Cut to a gorgeous spring day on the verdant streets of Los Angeles, California, where Micah and Maribel are flying in the face of their obvious chemistry by making plans for Micah to allow himself to be set up with Maribel’s co-worker, Harry, a 27-year-old lawyer, and for the two of them to double date with Maribel’s “man-child who doesn’t deserve me.”
Anyhow, this adorable pre-amble to their eventual marriage is interrupted when Rodolfo decides to call Micah from jail.
We then jet some number of blocks in a specific direction to FiSoMi’s (I’m renaming it permanently) where Sophie’s looking at vintage lesbians on her laptop as she researches her new segment, an experience I am intimately familiar with. Finley shows up looking hot to trot in her athletic shorts and grey sweatshirt and announces that she just went on a run and also coached soccer at the LGBTQIA+ Center.
Big development for Finley: she has a life goal! To be coach children’s soccer!! Maybe she can take over for Roy Kent now that he is abandoning the small girls for the large boys. Anyhow: Finley does her Finley things — scrounging for food someone else bought, offering a waffle before realizing there’s just one — and Sophie starts smiling a little bit as she watches Finley and eventually takes a deep breath and asks Finley if she’d like to have dinner that evening. Like at that sushi place on Hyperion at 7?
Finley is truly delighted by this prospect, like a kitten who was found on a highway, nursed back to health, and then placed atop a silk pillow to eat tuna out of a can. I admit that I, too, am delighted.
We then sprint over to Chez Bette, where the Original Cast has gathered for breakfast and emotional processing, as Alice apparently crashed there last night following her breakup with Nat. Unfortunately, Alice is exhausted because she stayed up all night watching videos of soldiers reuniting with their families. I hope she watched my favorite one, in which a lesbian radio hostess named Alice is sitting at home in her glasses watching a news report about Baghdad and crying softly to herself when SURPRISE her hot girlfriend Tasha arrives at her front door in a leather jacket and promptly fucks her right there on the floor!
Now Alice has gotta kick her Mom out of her house so she can move back into it.
Shane: Well I can talk to Lenore for you if you’d like—
Bette: That’s very generous of you ——
Alice: We’re very aware of that, thank you Shane.
Bette says Alice is welcome to stay as long as she’d like, but also EXPOSITION TIME: Bette’s dressed up (“like a million bucks” – Shane) because she’s gotta “hunt down” a prospective client today. Watch out Pippa!
Then we take a group field trip to The Aloce Show, where Micah has tracked down Sophie to demand she find Dani because he cannot find Dani anywhere in this entire city!
Micah: Don’t blow this off.
Sophie: Micah, what do you want from me?
Micah: I want you to find her.
Sophie: I haven’t heard from her in weeks and she wouldn’t want me to find her.
Micah: Okay, maybe she doesn’t want you to find her, but she needs someone. How can you not see that? Just… make sure she’s okay, and have her call me, okay?
It was in this moment that I knew, deeply and entirely, that Sophie would not be, in fact, meeting Finley for dinner tonight at that sushi place on Hyperion, and within me a great sadness took root and began to grow, its branches reaching through my ribs and angling towards the waning moon.
Angie and Kayla are literally taking a walk in the actual park as an activity, chatting about Marcus and also what they want to be when they grow up. Angie wanted to be President or else Snoopy. Kayla wanted to be a dancer. Angie, blissfully unaware of the anxiety I am currently experiencing re: Finley, is BURSTING WITH JOY regarding this conversation, particularly when Kayla says Angie reminds her of her Dad.
However, Kayla says there’s something she’s gotta tell Angie about her Dad but she doesn’t know how. Jesus Christ I hope this man is not already dead?? I have so much anxiety this episode!!!
Crosstown at the Dana Fairbanks Memorial Tavern, Tess and Shane are setting up for Movie Night when Tess gets a phone call revealing she is immediately needed in Vegas. Shane attempts to invite herself to Vegas but Tess insists she cannot before eventually explaining that she’s going to see her Mom, so there will be no Bacchanal Buffets or Whitney Houston hologram shows or other forms of Vegas-induced fun on the menu tonight. Therefore Shane should stay right where she is.
“I’ll be back tonight,” Tess promises. “Don’t try and put the projector together without me.”
Alice returns to her home and OH MY GOD IT’S LENORE
Okay, if they brought back Lenore then all bets are off! Reboots often re-awaken major characters from the past, as this show has with Tina and will be doing with Helena later in the season (according to IMDB) — but bit characters generally remain in the annals of history, especially when your bit characters were largely sourced in Vancouver and you’re shooting the reboot in Los Angeles. But damn! If Lenore is back then who knows, Marcus Allenwood may very well be lurking around the corner. That said, Mark Gibson, who played Marcus, isn’t an actor, he’s a house painter who was working for an A.D of the original series and got asked to be on the show ’cause they somehow could not find an actor “suitable” for the role. So, who knows!
Anyhow! Lenore obviously is up to her elbows in boxes relating to her new career as a Multi-Level Marketing Wizard Super Silver Seller for Swan’s Breath Cosmetics.
Alice: Nat and I broke up.
Lenore: Oh sweetie.
Alice: I know. It ran its course so it’s probably better this way.
Lenore: Is that why you look so terrible?
Alice: That feels unnecessary.
Alice informs her Mom that she’s gotta hit the road, Jack. Mom insists she’s needed right here in Alice’s apartment because Alice does not need to wallow here alone. Alice insists that she very generously rented her mother an entire apartment in Brentwood, replete with a second bedroom for her Swan’s Breath scam boxes. Mom insists once more that in fact she is very needed during Alice’s trying time. Alice says Mom’s gotta be out by Monday, bye!
Gather round the wooden table, my dears, because Angelica has sought out the deep wisdom and advice of Ol Uncle Shane-o. Angie has learned that her donor is dying and wants to know if Shane thinks she should meet him before he kicks the bucket. For crying out loud, this show needs to think long and hard about how many Black relatives of Angie they have already killed and maybe RECONSIDER.
Angie wants to know what Shane would do if she was in Angie’s situation, which Shane struggles to answer due to her own experiences with her father, a noted philanderer and scammer who robbed the Peabodys, disowned his son, re-owned his son and didn’t read Some of Her Parts.
Shane: He left when I was very young. And then I was in and out of foster care. And uh, when I felt like I was ready I tracked him down. And I realized I didn’t like the guy.
Shane: Well, he uh. He reinforced the worst parts that were in me. And I made a very poor decision because of that.
Angie: What did you do?
Shane: I left someone that I loved very much at the altar.
Shane: Yeah. Sometimes I think I would’ve been a lot better off had I never met the guy.
Once again I find myself in tears, while also thrilled to hear the past addressed in a logical context in which to address the past. Shane asks where Jordi’s at and Angie says they’re “on different life tracks” ’cause Jordi is running for Prom Queen. Unclear how that would prevent her from engaging in this storyline, but anyhow, Angie wants to ask her Mom if she can see a therapist. Everybody light a candle and pray she won’t suggest Dan Foxworthy.
Sophie’s driven deep into the woods of the greater Los Angeles area and landed in Ojai, a beautiful little town north of Los Angeles largely inhabited by wealthy white people who like to meditate and buy artisanal jams and windchimes. Dani emerges from the upper threshold to stand on a balcony like Rapunzel, looking down upon her visitor. In no time at all the duo launches right back into their favorite activity: fighting!
Lesbian Squabble #16: Bring Back What Once Was Mine
In the Ring: Sophie vs. Dani
Dani: The fuck are you doing here?
Sophie: Oh, wow.
Dani: You can’t even give me space when I run away into the woods, it’s unbelievable.
Sophie: Oh God you and your fucking space—
Dani: It’s all I ever asked you for and you could never give it—
Sophie: It’s not called space if you don’t ever come back, it’s called avoidance. And did you ever think maybe for second that that was me trying to love you? Fuck, you make it impossible.
Sophie drove 70 miles to Ojai just to make sure Dani was alive. Dani’s still alive congrats! Sophie would like to come in to take a piss and she might as well just keep her pants at her ankles ’cause we all know where this behavior will eventually lead!
Sophie tells Dani to call Micah ’cause he’s been worried about her ass and they banter about the local Thai place you pass on the way out of town in that way that you can with somebody you know like they know each other.
Who Wins? Sophie.
At this point one must let go of Time because somehow it is both the day after Alice and Nat broke up AND a significant period of time since Dani was last spotted in Los Angeles. Where’s Gigi? She was such a boss at the scene of the crime!
Finley is dressed up in an aggressively lavender suit and picking out flowers for her dinner date with Sophie so I am absolutely going to LOSE IT.
Micah: Hey did someone help you pick that out? ‘Cause it fits perfectly, it really suits you—
Finley: Yeah! A lady named Barbara at Mens Warehouse. It took her a minute but once we established I was not a 14-year-old boy, she was actually pretty cool.
Finley’s stoked because she’s gonna be the new referee at the Silver Lake Community Center! Micah is so super happy for her but also is curious WTH she’s doing because according to Micah, Sophie asked for time and space. Did she? What’s happening. Finley says it’s just dinner and by the way, Sophie asked for it.
Finley: “Okay, I get what you’re saying, and I think you’re looking out for me which is actually really nice ’cause I know you’re close with Dani, but I know it’s not perfect, I know it’s an uphill battle or whatever. But it’s Sophie, dude. It’s worth it. When something’s worth it, I’m not scared to make an ass of myself, I guess. Or, I already made an ass of myself, so there’s nothing left to lose.”
Is this foreshadowing? I am upset.
Meanwhile out in the wilds of Topanga, Bette has found her prospective client, the elusive Pippa Pascal! You know what they say about Bette Porter: you can run, you can hide, but if Bette Porter saw your exhibition at the [place] during a [time] and it made her feel [orgasmic], she will hunt you down and she will get you to show your art at her gallery.
Pippa knows who Bette Porter is and yet somehow is not thrilled to see her.
Lesbian Squabble #17: This Business of Art
In the Ring: Bette vs. Pippa
Content: Pippa points out that not signing her work and escaping “far from the art world” should send a message she’s not looking to get found. Bette did the math but decided that she needed to tell Pippa that the art world was not ready for her when she got her big break and she was willing to do that even if that meant risking that Pippa would simply slam the door in her face.
Who Wins? Pippa, for going right ahead and slamming the door in her face.
Back in Ojai, Dani calls Micah and apologizes for worrying him. She just needed a break ’cause she’s not ready to get deposed. She sure was ready to PROPOSE, though HEY-O. Anyhoo, Dani doesn’t wanna talk to Sophie about the charges, but before Sophie can even take note of this resistance, Dani is already getting defensive about it. Everybody’s doing great!
She asks if Sophie can undo the past month but Sophie says nope, however she will always be there for Dani.
“You meant a lot to me, Dani. You still do,” Sophie says. “I wish you believed that.” She does, of course, of course she believes that. It doesn’t change any of the other stuff, but she’d never doubt that.
But then she reaches out to Sophie’s face, and Sophie leans into her palm, and Dani pulls her in, and they kiss, and she is sad and the world is fucked up and this is familiar and hot and distracting and therefore here we are, of course, of course we are here.
Lesbian Sexy Moment #3: Ah, These Old Chestnuts
The Players: Sophie and Dani
The Pick-Up: Sophie’s lips on Dani’s hand
Hot or Not? Of course! Of course of course! There’s a moment, when they’re already partially undressed, already in bed, already re-treading all the slopes and angles of each other’s familiar bodies when Sophie says “no, wait, we can’t,” and there is a pause, and Dani says “we can” and she tells Sophie to touch her and she does and we can’t see it but we know exactly what she’s feeling right, right of course we do, and then she’s a goner. They’ll be fucking for hours, bless their emotionally self-destructive hearts.
Back at the LGBTQIA+ Center, Micah’s wrapping up his big work day of having a morning walk with Maribel, visiting Sophie at work, catching up with Dani on the phone and talking to Finley about flowers and her emotions and is ready to finally head out for some social time — specifically that double date with aforementioned lawyer. Alas, Angelica Porter-Kennard is loitering in the lobby because she’s kinda going through something.
Micah’s ready to hook her up with some resources but Angie needs to talk to someone … like, now? Micah says she can come back in the morning but yannow, Angie’s face and her feelings and before he knows it he’s getting her signed in for a session.
Back at the Dana Fairbanks Memorial Tavern, Shane’s puzzled by a projector when Tess texts to say she won’t make it back in time for movie night.
It’s ok because also Finley was definitely part of the plan they recounted earlier this morning and absolutely was not actually on the schedule because as we know she has other plans! Listen, we can all have movie night at home you know?
It is now past nightfall and Pippa emerges from her studio to find that Bette Porter is still lurking outside in her coat like a total creep!
Once again we have a Yale Art School Tale, in this one Bette recalls Pippa’s art changing her on a molecular level and inspiring her to change her major to Art History. She drove to NYC during finals to see Pippa’s first post-grad show and she was there at the opening of the first museum show at the Studio Museum of Harlem and she protested when Pippa got dropped from the Whitney Biennial and also Pippa’s op-ed made her WEEP and she NEVER let go of the fantasy that Pippa was tucked away in a mountain living off the land awaiting this very moment. Pippa is like okay fine, you can come into my art cave.
Bette enters the art cave and her soul leaves her body.
Pippa: You alright? You gonna need some smelling salts or something?
Bette: Yeah I think so.
Pippa: Will wine work?
Bette: Dinner would be better.
Pippa: I will not be manipulated by you.
Bette: It’s just dinner.
WELL PLAYED, PORTER.
I was deeply dreading the scene where Finley would sit alone at the restaurant in her outfit with her flowers waiting for a Sophie who would never arrive. The scene where the server would stop by and gently ask if she wants to order and Finley would naively reply that Sophie would be there soon, any minute now, and then eventually order a glass of wine, and the server would wince to herself, and hours would pass, and more glasses of wine would be ordered and consumed, and guests would come and go, and eventually it would be just Finley alone in the restaurant at the table, drunk and lonely, and the server would give her a sympathetic facial expression, and Finley would say “I guess something must have come up,” and the server would nod and slip her the bill. And the flowers would sit, un-smelled, across from her. And I would die inside.
LUCKILY we are saved from that scene because Sophie simply calls Finley and tells her she’s in Ojai doing some work and asks for a rain check.
While the rain check comforts me — it means Sophie’s not putting her eggs in Dani’s basket despite their recent ovary-bumping activities — not telling Finley the truth about why she’s in Ojai will absolutely backfire. Pretty sure Micah’s gonna blow Sophie’s cover within the next 2-3 hours!
Sophie sets her phone down and gets back into bed with Dani.
Bette attempts to creep into her home so she can creep back out of her home and have dinner with esteemed recluse Pippa Pescal but Angie shocks her with a special request!
Angie saw Micah today and really liked him, so perhaps she could keep seeing him and perhaps maybe all of them could go together? Angie and Tina and Carrie and Bette, all together as one powerhouse matriarchy? Bette says it’s okay, of course it’s okay, she would do anything for Angie! They hug and it’s sweet and I tear up AGAIN because that is unfortunately who I am now. A GIRL WHO WATCHES SCREENERS AND CRIES.
It’s night-time at The Aloce Show, Alice is in a meeting with Tom, relaying some of her chart-esque drama from the night before and complementing his ability to retain gossip.
Tom says the only chapter they’ve yet to revisit is the one about Dana. You know Dana Fairbanks, she was a tennis player who did a Subaru campaign and liked Love Boat roleplay but then she was diagnosed with breast cancer and died five minutes later. Tom tells Alice this sweet story about his older brother, who took him to the Magic Castle when Tom was 13. Then his brother, who was 19 at the time, died on his drive home back to college.
Tom: I like to think he’s up in heaven, doing magic tricks, cheering me on. What about Dana? Is she up there rooting for you?
Alice: She’s too busy playing tennis.
Tom: She’s the love of your life.
Alice: Can we just not do this?
Tom: Come on.
Alice: I see her when my eyes are closed but I also see her when my eyes are open. I can hear her laugh. I smell her smell, I can feel her everywhere. And I miss her so much sometimes, the emptiness is like — but there’s nothing that I can do about it because she’s gone. And I do not wanna dwell on the fact that she was taken from me and robbed of a life because of some fucking disease. Okay? I don’t wanna do it, Tom.
Tom: Do you think maybe you could like… say that again, maybe just a little bit slower, so I could jot it down?
Alice: Oh my god, you’re the worst.
I AM SHEDDING REAL TEARS???!!?! I feel whole? We are all growing up and processing our trauma together?
Micah made it to 50% of his date!!! Good job Micah!!! Maribel’s like, well, what did you think of Harry? Micah’s not sure that Harry is his type.
Micah: I’m not sure that I’m —
Maribel: — into lawyers.
Maribel: Oh! Okay.
Micah: Yeah, uh, I think that I’m into women as well.
Maribel: Shit, I am so sorry, did I offend you?
Micah: No, I mean how could you know? I’m still sort of just trying to figure it out myself.
Micah has been canonically bisexual in my head ever since the moment we learned he used to date Dani, but this is fine and I will accept it. Micah says his bisexuality is a recent feeling BECAUSE UM and Maribel says oh maybe she could find him a woman to date and he’s like, um, yeah okay maybe kinda sure I guess so right but but but but but but also or oop! the Lyft is here! MARIBEL MARRY THE MAN ALREADY I WILL OFFICIATE
Over at what is undoubtedly an expensive farm-to-table restaurant that delivers delicious, sustainable produce from local makers, Bette has reached the pitch portion of the meal, for which Pippa is putting up quite the resistance. Bette is visibly aroused but also challenged and determined. Pippa says Bette’s boss is racist and that Bette is compromised by working with him — but Bette says she wouldn’t have access to the resources she needs otherwise.
I mean truly — a white man with too much money is giving it to Bette to spend it on artists of color who have been historically marginalized! Take that man’s money and run! Show the art! Fuck Bette in an elevator!
Pippa: Your boss doesn’t seem to think there are any Black or brown artists who are “ready.” I’ve heard him say that verbatim through the years—
Bette: I’m not going to defend him. Okay? But you should know that I am using the power of his resources to try to mitigate the damage that’s been done.
Bette says she was able to secure full funding for Kizmet Russell’s project in a matter of days. Still, Pippa won’t consent to receiving full funding for her projects to be seen on a major scale under the watchful eye of Our Lady of Porter. But now, things are gonna get steamy!
Pippa: It’s nice talking to someone as smart as you.
Pippa: And as beautiful. You know you’re beautiful of course. How could you not know? So I think it’s okay to mention it.
Bette: You are the most beautiful woman I have ever seen. And your work should be back in spaces that would give it the platform that it deserves.
Pippa says she can’t work with Bette because she’s “one of them now.” Bette grips her hand desperately and moans, “Please.” Pippa cocks her head, looks own and looks away: “don’t touch me like that unless you’er coming home with me.” Bette relents. Devastating.
Lesbian Sexy Moment #4: Miss Right Now
The Players: Gigi and Bette
The Pick-Up: Um, probs like, “hi”
Hot or Not? Between a song that goes “you’re not the one, but you’re the one right now” and Bette’s somewhat unenthusiastic facial expression for about one second AND knowing Bette’s just using Gigi as a body even though the body she really wants is Pippa’s…. I don’t know!
Shane has taken the opportunity of Tess’s absence to go to her house and set up a projector right there in her very own backyard so now they can watch Empire Records whenever they want! Or you know, they could simply watch Casablanca upside-down.
But first, feelings: Tess talks about how difficult the visit was with her Mom, who has dementia, Shane says she’s sorry, that must be so difficult to watch.
Shane’s trying to fix the projector and Tess is telling her where to put the cords and then, at last!!!! Shane leans in for it and Tess leans right on into it and…
… then Tess pulls away and says she’s sorry because…. she’s seeing someone?!?!?!!?!?!?!!? How serious could it possibly be if it’s just now coming up?? HAVE SEX
Back at the Ojai Honeymoon Castle, Dani and Sophie are in bed together laughing and talking about their former dreams of living in Ojai and riding bikes to the Farmer’s Market and Sophie being Dani’s hot little housewife. Sophie starts talking about her job and Dani is so engaged in the conversation, like now they have the space to look at the other person’s career choices as their own rather than a set of circumstances that impacts their relationship. (To be clear, that should also be possible IN a relationship but these two were never great at talking about each other’s careers.)
Dani reminds Sophie about the documentary she wanted to make about all the lesbians in Buffalo in the 40s and 50s which I think means somebody on this set has read Boots of Leather Slippers of Gold! (Which you can read about here too.)
Lesbian Squabble #18: I’m Up and Doing Circles I Collapse
In the Ring: Sophie vs. Dani
Content: It is time for the Second Act of every lesbian’s favorite play, SEX WITH YOUR EX. In this act, the couple who just bonded over a shared interest in fucking each other are quickly torn apart by the reason they became exes to begin with, and their respective emotions regarding The Other Woman.
Dani asks who Sophie was talking to earlier and reminds her that she’s a bad liar. Sophie says it was Finley, and Dani asks if they’re dating, and Sophie says she doesn’t know what they are, and Dani gets pissed and gets out of bed, and Sophie’s like “you told me not to lie” which, LOL, and Dani’s like, how are you not FURIOUS with her for ruining our wedding, and Sophie says she didn’t mean to! But also, Dani told her it was firmly over, and is it over? LADIES IT’S OVER!!!!!!!
Who Wins? Maybe Finley?
And then, of course, Micah spills the beans to Finley about Sophie’s actual reason for being in Ojai. Finley brushes it off but is clearly deeply, unspeakably pained. Yikes.
WHICH BRINGS US TO OUR ENDING MUSICAL MONTAGE!
Finley hops on a scooter while crying.
Alice comes home and sobs into Lenore’s open arms.
Micah sits at home texting Maribel and not telling her how he feels about her.
Finley takes her sad scooter to the liquor store.
I sit on the floor in the dark in front of the screener sad about everybody’s pain!
And, finally, Sophie and Dani are standing outside in the cool spring air. Sophie says she’s gotta go, but she’s glad Dani’s okay.
“I think we dodged a bullet, you and me,” Dani says after Sophie turns her back.
“You do?” Sophie is hopeful that maybe they agree on this and that could lessen her guilt.
“Just… got too hard. It doesn’t feel hard now,” Dani smiles like she’s surprised to be smiling.
“No,” Sophie shakes her head. “It doesn’t.”
“Maybe you should stay,” Dani says.
Sophie looks back at her, shakes her head, AND SCENE.
Lesbian Sex Scense: 2 this episode, 4 total
Lesbian Squabbles: 4 this episode, 19 total.
Quote of the Week: “Don’t touch me like that unless you’re coming home with me.” – Pippa, to Bette Fucking Porter