The L Word Generation Q 301 Recap: Last Year I Gave You My Heart

Welcome to the first recap of the third season of The L Word: Generation Q, brought to you by the same network that brought you the original L Word, a show that asked and never quite answered the question: Nipple Confidence?

My friends, it is an undeniable thrill to be back here in this space with you, writing Generation Q recaps, nose-diving head-first into a long-awaited frothy sea of Sapphic Chaos. As you know, Angie still has her kidney. Let’s dig in.


As the moon resigns and the sun wakes to rise, as the tides ebb and flow, as hurricanes gather and storms fill the clouds, as babies are birthed braying into the sanitized hospital air and tennis players are given fatal illnesses and left to die while their exes make small talk in a hospital courtyard, as wars rage and peace screams for attention, as the stars and LAPD helicopters light up the night sky and parents tuck their children into bed, so too do Bette Porter and Tina Kennard return to one another, over and over again, forever and ever, as predictable as the aforementioned rising sun, as inevitable as a tornado’s restless eye. And we, mere mortals, bear witness to this clash of legends, to The Song of Bette and Tina, Chapter 75, Verse 16.

As you recall, dear reader, we last left these fine young cannibals at a pivotal moment. Pippa was stepping out of a shiny car into her Fancy Art Show Debut, looking fantastic. Bette was at home but on her way out to meet Pippa — adorned in a killer white powersuit and armed with a penchant for sending conflicting romantic signals — when Bette opened her very own door to find a surprise guest on her doorstep. It was not, unfortunately for me personally, a Girl Scout selling cookies. Instead, it was the one, the only, the formidable TINA KENNARD.

We return to exactly that same spot: Bette dressed up to go out, Tina entering the foyer.

Tina on Bette's doorstep

I can’t *believe* you almost hooked Angie up with one of those scammy college admissions consultants who place students on niche sports teams to get them unearned spots at elite schools

Bette looking at Tina

Well to be fair Tina I was too absorbed in my own personal drama to pay attention to the news cycle that year

Tina’s got one question for Our Lady of Porter: “are you in love with me?” I think we all know the answer to this question (yes). Tina chastises Bette for destroying her romance with Groupon Queen Carrie — a woman for whom all of us would lay down our lives — but defers Bette’s offers to fix it. Because there’s no fixing the fact that Tina is — just like you! — in love with Bette Porter.

Tina: “I’ve loved you my whole life.”
Bette: “And I’ve loved you all of mine.”
Tina: “I just wish that you were fucking better at it.”

Tina storms out. Bette does a good old fashioned primal scream:

Bette screaming FUCCCKKK

TINNNAAAAAAAAAA

And her voice goes out into all of the earth, her words echo across the canyons of the world!


We then leap into our DeLoreans and race down the runway into a whole entire year later, where Alice is engaging in sexual intercourse with a mysterious alleged member of Generation Z I have identified as “Teddy,” played by Chris Renfro, who played Daddius in the short-lived Peacock reboot Queer as Folk. I love this crossover episode and a classic silly Alice sex scene.

Alice looking back at a guy sexing her

Ok tiny kisses are cute but can you go back to the big thrusts

Sex Scene #1: Why Don’t You F*ck Me On Your Livestream
Participants: Alice & Teddy
Materials: He wants to f*ck her face! He wants to watch her f*ck her clone! He wants to f*ck her on his livestream! Alice says yes to everything except the livestream, because she is famous! Good on Alice for setting boundaries.


We then transition into an enormous apartment that quite possibly is the apartment Shane’s had all along but newly redecorated. It is hereby christened The Shess Shack. Last we left these two, they were 11 days into their relationship and Tess had announced her intention to move to Las Vegas to care for her ailing mother and subsequently asked Shane to come with her to Vegas.

It’d appear that they listened to our podcast and therefore chose a far superior, third option: bringing Mom to Los Angeles. You know what I always say: “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, unless it’s your Mom getting sick and then she should come to Los Angeles.” So we meet Tess’s former showgirl Mom Patty, no relation to Peppermint, who is played by Joanna Cassidy (aka Margaret Chenoweth on Six Feet Under, my favorite show of all time).

Tess and her Mom barter over a carafe of milk in Tess's apartment

Come a little closer dear I just wanna feel for myself if your shirt is one mutil-colored t-shirt or three t-shirts combined into one t-shirt

Tess and Shane are in a tizzy regarding an MS Society Fundraiser they’re hosting that evening and Shane’s manhandling an assortment of prescription medications for Patty when Gloria the nurse arrives.

Tess’s attempts to canoodle with Shane in the living room are rebuffed by Shane, who is too modest to make out in front of people’s Moms. Everybody knows Shane is much better at making out with people’s Moms, hey-o! Anyhow, Shane and Tess shuffle into the lower level of this behemoth residence to steal additional sexual moments together.

Shane and Tess's faces close up about to kiss

Did you steal my peppermint chapstick again

Even safely downstairs, Shane’s still uneasy about having full sex right underneath Patty, but Shane cannot resist Tess’s wiles and eventually caves to the makeout. I just dropped a blueberry on the ground and I’m not sure where it is or if I’ll ever see it again.


Speaking of hot people being hot, we dash on over to Dani’s Castle in the Sky, where Gigi and Dani are looking extremely hot and lightly teasing the prospect of a top-off before Gigi gets off Dani’s top, announcing she’s gotta dash due to a traffic situation in Los Angeles, the innermost circle of hell. Specifically, Beverly is down to just one lane! Dani has a great idea to fix this chronic civic issue: Gigi should simply move in! I’m going to run for mayor of Los Angeles on this exact platform.

dani in bed looking cutely at gigi

C’mon we’d have so much fun as roommates I could make you fresh coffee every morning—

gigi in bed looking cutely at dani

Babe shoving a Nespresso pod in a machine isn’t making fresh coffee

Dani expositions that this has been the hardest year of her life — I imagine perhaps this is related to the ambiguous incarceration of her father, Lex Luthor — and Gigi’s been there for her all this time. Most L Word relationships transition into cohabitation immediately so bravo to them for taking it slow.

“Of course I wanna live with you,” Gigi says breathily, before delivering a crushing blow: she’s just gotta check with Nat first! Because of the kiddos. This feels like an extremely reasonable next move, but Dani’s face suggests she doesn’t agree with me on that.


At last we are now returning to the esteemed California University: the former employer of Bette Porter, legendary dean of the art school best known for banging an intern (Nadia) and the visiting artist (Jodi Lerner) and then cheating on Jodi with Tina (Tina), thus inspiring Jodi Lerner’s unforgivable video art installation “Core.” It appears Angie is joining the Cal freshman class, hoping to one day appear in an alumni newsletter with Brandon Walsh, Nadia the Intern, and Zach Morris.

Shane looking surly with a coffee cup leaning on a travel bucket

Why do I look more hungover than all of these college freshmen

Alice, exuding a post-coital glow from her romp with Teddy, is extolling the virtues of Gen Z — they’re hot! they’re smart! they’re bi! they don’t want the white picket fence! — in what feels like a self-soothing mechanism. She concludes that she was ahead of her time, and I agree. Shane’s bummed about a makeup artist cancelling for their MS fundraiser and Alice volunteers her Glam Team, thus saving the day.

Hark, look who’s here!

Angie approaching her pals in a Sisterhood is Powerful t-shirt

Oh THAT’S why the registrar asked “any relation to Bette Porter”

Angie asks where her Moms are which bring us to the best part of every season premiere that occurs after a lengthy time jump: EXPOSITION!

Firstly: Tina and Bette have been in touch this year, but mostly regarding logistics such as college tours.

Secondly: Shane’s all “domesticated” and grown up now that she’s living with Tess and caring for Peppermint Patty Chenoweth. (I changed my mind and decided there indeed is a relationship to Peppermint Patty.)

Thirdly: Bette’s been doing a lot of “personal work” of her own and “reflecting.” Furthermore, Tina is fine, totally fine, and not feeling even remotely weird about apparently seeing Bette for the first time in a long time.

Tina looking knowingly at her friends

Okay, soooo which one of you two told Angie the best way to make new friends at college was to sell weed

Alice pointing her thumb at Shane

“Speak of the devil,” Shane gestures towards the resplendent entrance to the University Drop-Off-Area as Bette Porter herself pulls up in her Tesla, gazing at Tina as Tina gazes at her, radiating effortless calm and cool which is immediately disrupted by a careless child recklessly parking her car directly behind Bette Porter’s car and subsequently ramming it right in the rear.

Alice and Shane taken aback by what they see

Stand back I think Heads Will Roll Kroll is heading our way

Shane, Alice and Tina assume Bette’s gonna unleash her documented road rage upon this poor soul, but this is new Bette! Evolved Bette. I’ve Done A Lot Of Personal Work Bette. When the student emerges crying from her car, Bette has nothing but serene words to share: “the only thing you have to do is hold compassion for yourself and enjoy move-in day.”

Bette hugging the girl whose car she hit

It’s okay, it’s okay, you’re not the first crying freshman to realize they’re a lesbian after being held closely to my chest

Ladies and gentlepeople, I would like to introduce you to…. THE NEW BETTE PORTER:

The Old Bette: "Do you understand me, you fucking idiot?" yelling at the man she just had an accident with. The new Bette: Bette hugging the student and telling her to have compassion for herself.

As Alice and Shane head upstairs with Angie and her possessions, Tina remarks fondly that she’d expected Bette to “bite that girl’s head off.”

“Well, we’re all gonna die,” Bette recites my own personal life philosophy. “So what’s a little bumper?”

Bette porter holding a basket of goods talking to Tina

You might not know this Tina but actually Bed Bath & Beyond does these coupons for 20% off everything in the store


Over at FiSoMi’s, Sophie’s panicking about Finley’s impending return to her home and into her arms, as apparently Alice paid for Finley to not only attend rehab but also sober living, both events consuming the entirety of a calendar year. Amid her compulsive rearranging of objects, Sophie finds a cute small box atop a dresser and pops it right open.

Sophie in a button-up short sleeved floral crop top and black jeans, holding an open jewelry box in amazement

You ALSO keep all of your baby teeth in a tiny box???

It’s a ring! It’s true: Micah’s gonna pop the question to Maribel!!! But before we can get into the details of this premature predicament, FINLEY’S HOME!!!

Finley in the landing, looking up at Sophie

Well you are … just as hot as I remembered

Finley and Sophie embrace

I know

Finley drops her garbage bag suitcase and embraces her one true love, Sophie Suarez, who immediately spills that Micah’s gonna propose to Maribel, and Finley greets Micah, and everybody is home again. Most importantly to me: #SINLEY IS STILL ON.


Sophie and Finley relocate to a local civic park to discuss Finley’s experiences in rehab, which she testifies were just like 28 Days. Finley’s pretty bright-eyed about her sober future, certain she’s ready now to give Sophie what she needs, and Sophie’s trying her hardest to believe in this bright turnaround, too.

Not wasting any time or conforming to the actual guidelines for amends in the AA program such as asking for Sophie’s consent to be amended upon at this moment — Finley unpacks a square of paper containing her ambiguous apologies to Sophie and begins to read.

Sophie lying on the grass smiling at Finley

Remember when you said your first night back you wanted to drink a bunch of cran-raspberry juice, put on Radiohead and make out, is that still in the cards or—

Finley on the grass squinting at Sophie

Oh yeah. Big time.

Finley confesses that when they were together she couldn’t see Sophie or consider her the way she’d like to, which was because she couldn’t see herself. “I’m sorry you had to take care of me and I’m sorry that I couldn’t see that the intervention was an act of love,” says Finley, which is a really generous re-framing of a truly unhinged intervention, and also re-writing history because we actually rarely saw Sophie taking care of Finley, usually she was just as drunk! “I’m sorry that I haven’t loved you the way you deserve to be loved, because you really deserve to be loved, well. Thank you for saving my life because you did, but you shouldn’t have had to. But thank you.”

Finley and Sophie being flirty in the park

C’mon lemme feel the forearm muscles you developed playing table tennis in sober living

Now that this amend is done and dusted, Finley moves on to discussing her optimistic plan for the future: she’s gonna get a job with benefits and a car and maybe go back to school? Sophie congratulates her on this unrealized dream. Finley promises to always be honest with Sophie and they laugh and kiss and roll around and it’s super cute and I hope that after this, perhaps off-camera in some tender night of the soul, they sit down and talk about how Sophie can support Finley in her sobriety and what this means for their relationship in general!


Back at California University, Shane and Alice are imploring Angie to call them if in need, while Bette and Tina are hovering, trying as always to resist the urge to plow over Angie with their overwhelming need to hold her extremely close while also respecting her independence as an autonomous human being. They offer her cash and then, in the grand tradition of mothers with smartphones, try to corral Angie into a selfie. She wisely refuses.

Bette and Tina in Angie's dorm being concerned

And remember if any sketchy characters on campus try to give you a lollipop, it’s probably fentanyl

The Moms have just begun their exit through the hallway when Angie pops out and calls them back for a hug, to tell them she loves them. Bette is crying. It’s very cute.

Tina, who previously told Shane she couldn’t attend tonight’s benefit, asks Bette if she’s going to the benefit and when Bette says yes Tina turns her frown (no) upside down (yes) ’cause she’s got a big fat lesbian crush on The New Bette Porter! Despite her professional success, ultimately Bette’s always been a bit resistant to acknowledging that she still has work to do on herself. But her newfound dedication to that work is giving Tina the ability to feel hopeful about their future for the first time in a long time. Maybe this time getting back together will be less like “returning to their old ways” and more like “growing up together.”

Then Bette gets a call — it’s Pippa, who’s doing a show in South Africa, and Tina tries not to have a visible emotional reaction to this call. She mostly succeeds.


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Riese

Riese is the 40-year-old Co-Founder and CEO of Autostraddle.com as well as an award-winning writer, video-maker, LGBTQ+ Marketing consultant and aspiring cyber-performance artist who grew up in Michigan, lost her mind in New York and now lives in California. Her work has appeared in nine books including "The Bigger the Better The Tighter The Sweater: 21 Funny Women on Beauty, Body Image & Other Hazards Of Being Female," magazines including Marie Claire and Curve, and all over the web including Nylon, Queerty, Nerve, Bitch, Emily Books and Jezebel. She had a very popular personal blog once upon a time, and then she recapped The L Word, and then she had the idea to make this place, and now here we all are! In 2016, she was nominated for a GLAAD Award for Outstanding Digital Journalism. Follow her on twitter and instagram.

Riese has written 2986 articles for us.

117 Comments

    • I’m so glad they revealed Alice paid for it, because it seemed entirely unbelievable that Finley could afford rehab for a year (G & I had to pause and discuss this for about ten minutes). So then it only seemed mildly unbelievable.

  1. This episode makes me very optimistic for this season!! Unfortunate that they’re still committed to not quite portraying the sobriety/AA experience accurately, but it wasn’t as offensive as last season so I’ll take it.

    I actually was expecting the Finley/Dani encounter to be much worse than it was – while Finley definitely shouldn’t have approached Dani at work at all, she did listen when she said no, and only really responded when Dani started yelling at her, which I do think is a normal response to your entire character being insulted! And yeah, her owning that Dani’s reaction was her own fault afterwards with Sophie showed real #growth.

    Dani on the other hand…woof. I too think that Gigi talking to Nat/the kids about moving is extremely fair, and I for one am happy someone on the L Word is finally thinking of the children!! I can understand Dani being hurt/anxious about this, especially with all she’s been through, but her passive-aggression around the whole thing was real rough. I was feeling the same way as Gigi in the promo for the next episode – “stop acting like a child!”

    Also, whatever the situation it is with this Dre person better not mess things up, though of course it obviously will. #sinley4evur

  2. I haven’t read this recap yet because I know it’s going to be oh so good (always is Riese!) and I want to savor it from the comfort of my couch with a hot cup of tea. But I do have to say this right now…I am so vehemently opposed to a TiBette reunion that I don’t want to watch. Yep I said it! I think it’s me nearing old age and the cantankerousness that that brings because how can I not watch this show if just to see Gigi’s wonderful everything? But the writing in the first 2 seasons being brought to a 3rd season plus this TiBette toxicity? Girl…I guess. From the “this season” promo it looks like there will be a lot of throwing things and destroying property so…yeah there’s that.

  3. Wow, I have so many questions…
    – Why did everyone assume Maribel would say “Yes” to Micah’s proposal? The more people said it, the more certain I became that she would decline
    – Don’t couples talk about whether they want to get married and have kids before proposals? It would save a lot of (TV) trouble. On the other hand, new and more original TV storylines would be needed then!
    – Why did the writers let the opportunity slide of Sophie saying: “I’m sorry for the part that I played by accusing you for drunk driving when I first encouraged you” (and everything related to that) and also a “I’m sorry for the way we did the intervention, also after trying NOTHING ELSE before”
    – Why would Shane and Tess give Finley her job back at a BAR after having fired her “out of love” because they were “enabling” her? Wouldn’t they think that maybe… just maybe… this could be threaten her new sobriety? Also with EVERYONE drinking around her
    – Why is Finley wearing this kind of skip after we getting to know her with Calvin Klein underwear? Why are the 90s back with this kind of underwear? It will puzzle me forever!
    – When will Bette return to her old self? It is just a matter of time! She cannot have changed at 180 degrees in one year, silent retreat or not. (Loved the old self-new-self photos)
    – Does Finley have a history of sexualized violence? She choked… and in season 1, she had a panic attack with Rebecca… Finley mentioned never having had sex sober… It would make so much sense! I hope that if they go there, they handle it well!
    – Also: Haha, so meta with Tina speaking about the 9th season of a show and other creative choices… Now that the L Word is nine seasons long and the last season got a lot of criticism… Nice one!
    – Also meta: Dani saying that Finley is not cute, not funny etc. was acknowledging all the Finley haters!
    And last but not least: Bette saying that we’ll all die is so relatable to me stating it… My kind of people! (Bette is usually NOT my kind of people, she is sooo controlling, but I loved her in that moment. Also, great blouse!)

    • Also Maribel telling Sophie, “you lose yourself in her” uhhh they were together like 2 seconds, and Sophie basically did nothing for Finley’s drinking (not that she had to, since Finley’s drinking didn’t really affect anyone else). I was like uh that’s kinda rewriting history

      • Nothing brings me more joy than L Word recaps returning.

        Last season left me SO down on this little show that’s fun to hate watch, and watch watch, because S2 was 98% hate watching and then waiting for Gigi to eye f*ck someone. But I must say, I was pleasantly delighted by this first ep. It was funny, there were solid lines, great pacing and comedic timing were on display in a few of the ensemble scenes. Everyone seemed to be behaving somewhat rationally and in alignment with the general concept of time. Still wish they had used the year jump to get us a little further out from Finley’s fresh-out-of-rehab sobriety. It’s still a little painful that they’re going down this amends route which is not accurate and feels so cheap and boring as a tool. Would rather see some complexity around drinking/sobriety that feels in line with modern culture vs. drunk dad in 1983. BUT, I’m willing to let all of that go if they keep up the good work elsewhere. Maybe they’ll let Finley win for once, instead of being shit on by everyone around her for literally doing nothing other than being a little goofy.

        My only on-going complaint is Tess and how pointless that character feels. I genuinely find it so uncomfy when her and Shane touch in anyway. The chemistry is sooo absent. And the acting. It would behove the show to cut her loose.

      • There was literally a scene in season 2, the one while Sophie and Finley are walking to the car before the DUI, where Sophie communicates that she does NOT lose herself in Finley the way she lost herself in Dani, loses herself in work, etc. 😵‍💫😵‍💫😵‍💫

        • Yes this!!! I was like no maribel Finley is the one person Sophie doesn’t lose herself in!! Are we supposed to just pretend we don’t remember that being the whole foundation of their relationship?

          Obviously the show wants us to side with maribel, but I was agreeing with Sophie in that whole convo lmao

          • As an absolutely obsessive sinley shipper I have watched all their scenes a bajillion times and will not allow this weird rewriting of history and storylines cloud what I know to be true about them !

            Also I prob need to get out more 🤷🏻‍♀️

    • yes i agree with many of these points! very little about finley’s sobriety journey makes total sense to me although i am trying to let go and let Go-, particularly the sense that she can just return to her previous life without any changes needing to be made. like for example going to a Party at a Bar on her first night back (and Sophie drinking at the party!)… feels like a missed opportunity to talk about what spaces Finley feels comfortable in. And I’m surprised Sophie hasn’t done any soul-searching of her own as well, in my personal experience, when your parter gets sober and you used to get drunk together all the time, it does lead to some inventory-ing and self-reflection.

      finley did have sex sober with sophie a few times! but she probably feels more vulnerable in general now. i’m not sure where they’re going with that just yet. but i feel like there’s definitely a lot of shame there because of how she grew up.

      anyhow i still hope these two crazy kids can make it work and eventually have a sex scene

      • I was thinking about that a lot, with the sober sex stuff. I was wondering if maybe the sober sex she did have with Sophie while in a relationship with her might’ve felt incidental, since she was drinking in general so she wasn’t her full raw self. And the first time with Sophie ended up being so complicated for other reasons? But maybe I’m just giving more thought to this than the writers!

        I too hope they can find their way to a sex scene with each other, both because I love watching them have sex, but also that would be so moving and beautiful!

      • Finley’s sober sex with Sophie – yes, absolutely. I kind of meant except for that, but I didn’t make that clear at all. By the way, I always look forward to your recaps, Riese, they are so funny and include so so many details from the OG series I have no clue about any more! And you are an awesome and very talented writer. I am a big fan of your articles, they are always such a treat! Finally, I enjoy the space they provide for coming together as a community to chat about what people loved, hated, and everything in between.

  4. This is eating at me so I just have to say… I’m pretty sure Bette took the Kiki Smith down at the end of S03E03, implying she actually decided to sell it in order to be Financially Independent While Soul Searching. I guess just like most of the characters’ siblings, they just conveniently decided to ignore it! Which is fine! I just had to put it out there because my own brain is gaslighting me into thinking I am the one Making Things Up!

  5. I am trying to give season 3 the benefit of the doubt that this first episode had a tricky task, with the stilted exposition (and ignored cliff-hangers from the finale) demanded by a year time-jump, not to mention the narrative corners the writers had backed themselves into in said mess of a finale… But I was underwhelmed (and the Bette and Tina stuff doesn’t even bother me – although my response was 100% Angie’s! which I adored).

    Instead of pointing out the things that grated (eg. the writing of what we all watched in regards to the characterization of Finley and Sophie’s relationship; the very inconsistent way they are depicting rehab and sobriety; would Micah really have 0 idea that Maribel didn’t want to be married, and why was she so obsessed with Sophie’s wedding-that-wasn’t then? etc.) I am going to focus on what I did like:

    1. I appreciated that Finley and Sophie’s reunion went slow, and held true to the awkward uncertainty of being back together with someone you’re very close with after you’ve been apart/your lives have been chugging along in separate contexts.

    2. Gigi being Gigi

    3. “I love our live and I want more of it” = purchasing another business to set up and manage? Sometimes I think Tess is a little unhinged? I’m glad at least she listens to To L and Back evidently!

    Questions:

    1. I really, really hope Gigi doesn’t get faded out.

    2. Is the show really never, ever going to parlay the Finley sobriety storyline into a broader discussion about substance use and social dynamics within the group at large? If the season teaser is any indication, at least they can put Finley to work (with paid sick and vacation!) doing reno in the new property…

    3. I too am with the commenter above who questioned the radical transformation in Finley’s underwear selection. Thought maybe she’d been getting slammed with those Woxer ads on Instagram too.

    4. I hope we find out what happened with Alice and Tom and the seeming engagement ring? Or Dani’s stint in jail? Or actually, maybe I’m ok not knowing! Let’s just move right along.

    • Yes I definitely feel like this episode was hobbled by the absolute disaster that was the season two finale, so considering what they’d set themselves up for, I was pleasantly surprised that I enjoyed it so much and am still optimistic for the rest of the season.

      I also noticed Finley’s underwear, which I think I talked about in the podcast episode that’ll come out on Monday. :-) I was like.. are all her clothes dirty??? HOPEFULLY THIS WILL BE ADDRESSED

      “Is the show really never, ever going to parlay the Finley sobriety storyline into a broader discussion about substance use and social dynamics within the group at large?”

      I definitely don’t think so! I think this is an especially frustrating elements of the show for me; like why is Tess, a sober person whose life was negatively impacted by alcohol, wanting to open another *bar* instead of maybe some other type of space for the community that isn’t centered around alcohol? (And not just her own personal shit but like; she’s definitely been a victim of other people’s bad alcohol-influenced decisions, like Shane hooking up with Lena.) I really like that they actually have sober characters, but I wish they’d grapple more with what it means for those characters to be surrounded by alcohol and other characters who seemingly do also drink every day? It’s weird that Sophie decided to take Finley to a bar on her first night back and also drink at that bar?

      I was looking for photos a few weeks ago and realized that in the Season 2 promo picture, everybody is holding a drink! Which is such a weird choice for a show that isn’t literally about alcohol.

  6. it’s not that I want Bette and Tina back together it’s that when they’re busy hurting each other it’s a little harder for them to pull in and hurt perfectly nice other people like Pippa/Carrie/the love of my life

  7. Oh wow, I laughed so so hard at this recap. It makes watching the show so much better. Thanks Riese!

    I couldn’t believe Bette says she found her mother – aside from me (and it seems from the recap like this is real?) thinking that her mom was dead, that such a pivotal event would happen off-screen is such unearned character development. Absurd! Not that I would want to see that storyline play out or that the character development ever makes sense so oh well! Personally I am not minding Bette’s new personality at all – new personalities are an L Word tradition, after all!

    In addition to the other people mentioned in relation to California University (I laughed so hard at the mention of “Core”), let it be noted that Tim was also once a swim coach there.

    Tess’s “let’s buy another baby” line was a funny twist on the “let’s make a baby” line that was I think the second line of the pilot and is super common in lesbian baby storylines.

  8. Wait! Are we so desensitized to misogyny that we are ok with one of our favorite women beings sexually manhandled. Disgusting that the “L Word” still insist on straight sex in their episodes. Shame on you!!! I really cannot believe that lesbians are so desperate to have such a little piece of the pie that they will watch a man pound and degrade a woman to see a few lesbian scenes. Ilene Chaikin should ashamed.

    • Hey, hold up. A whole lot of assumptions getting made here!

      a) Teddy is played by a non-binary actor who uses they/them pronouns and – just checked – the character is never referred to by any pronouns in the episode, so let’s perhaps follow the episode’s lead here instead and not assume he/him. (Riese, correct me if I missed something!)

      b) Alice is bisexual, and bi people don’t stop being bi no matter who they’re with. The sex she has is queer by virtue of her having it. And showing the range of what queer sex looks like and how queer people live their lives is…the point of this show! This kind of visibility is really damn important – anything but disgusting (thank you).

      c) There’s nothing inherently misogynistic about consensual rough sex and/or penetration – and to assume that it, or BDSM, or anything non-vanilla is degrading or un-feminist is deeply sex-negative.

      signed, a kinky queer non-binary bisexual

      (Side note: Riese, I love these recaps and reading them after watching each episode is my favorite part <3)

      • F the L Word has raised an excellent question.

        But here to back everything that the fawn said. I think the scene was hilarious and was very on point for Alice who was once getting ****ed out of a sunroof. Yes I suppose that we could’ve more strongly addressed the slightly unsexy uber hetero pillow talk, but I think the point was Alice was kind of using Teddy- like into the sex, but not so into him and talk if clones, etc. I kind of hope there of deleted scenes of him saying things that are even more off the beaten path (and hope that its not offebsive to people whose kink is kind of being the joke here)

        Now if only we can get some strap on scenes just like that one… and also Tasha back while I’m wishing…

      • Rough, unenjoyable sex is never fun. If Alice was enjoying it that would been one thing, but some dude throwing her around while he’s trying to figure it out is just gross and wrong. Alice (as a character) deserves way better. My issue, once again….as always in life, is the man’s pleasure over the woman’s. And it hurts even more that we have to watch it again in a “lesbian” show with straight sex. Over it!!

        • My friend, your feelings are valid, but – coming from someone who used to think similar thoughts when I was younger – I think you might be projecting stuff onto this scence that isn’t actually there.

    • I think Alice exploring her bisexuality on the show is important for the bi members of our community! The vast majority of bi women characters exist on shows framed around straight people. On this show that’s framed all around lesbians and other queer people, including a bi character like Alice and presenting her relationships with men as fully dimensional sends a powerful message to the many bi women IRL who feel unwelcome in lesbian spaces or uncertain about claiming a “valid” queer identity.

      Many of the most ardent feminists I know enjoy rough sex or choose to take on a submissive role for their pleasure, that doesn’t make their sex any less feminist! I know there’s been a long history of TV and film sex scenes where men dominating women is depicted as the default dynamic, and those scenes have often been misogynistic, for sure. But in the context of a show like this that’s primarily written and directed by women and depicts a wide range of scenes where women explore sex on their own terms… it’s just one variation, ya know?

    • Bisexuals have sex with people all up and down the gender spectrum, Karen. And though you’re too ideologically pure to go for that, sometimes it feels really nice to be pounded. Cry about it.

  9. I’ve missed these recaps more than I’ve missed this messy little show, and I’ve missed this messy little show a hell of a lot.

    Micah and Maribel’s lack of screentime last season has translated for me into an absolutely baffling dynamic. Cannot imagine dating someone for a calendar year and buying them a ring with scarcely a mention of the prospect of us marrying each other, but sure! Quoting Love and Basketball to someone is a soft proposal now.

    I swear I’ll just start repressing the Finley + alcohol missteps that this show insists on making eventually out of both self-preservation and my deep desire to like Sophie in an uncomplicated way, but it’s wild that anyone thinks Finley’s sobriety is disconnected from the people around her.

    I think Sophie’s “you’re still fun line” is meant to be a comfort to Finley, and to Sophie, and to signal that the relationship can survive Finley’s whole life changing shape, but it really made me wonder if Sophie is aware, deep down, that she thought sober Finley might not be fun for her. Has she considered that alcohol is like an egg in the soufflé of her own life, or are we to believe that Sophie’s figured out her own relationship to alcohol since Finley’s been away?

    Also Finley ambushing Dani is bad and silly and Sophie slips so easily into just saying that Finley is cute and harmless while Dani is a bitch for not buying into what was annoying behavior, and I hope Dani goes to therapy and talks at length about how bad it feels that someone who bombarded her with pleas for honesty and transparency, then lied to and betrayed her, somehow believes she’s the villain in this dynamic for not fawning over the person who peed outside her apartment. Love to see see Finley treated as an adult someday. Love to hear 1 sentence about Dani starting therapy one day.

    I’m glad Alice is out here having fun and getting railed, and actually it was very fun and funny to have a gen x-er spend time with a gen z semi-influencer or whatever and to come away with an appreciation for the experience instead of spinning it into the very tired space of older people emphasizing that youth is the last frontier before people start really learning things about the world.

    Like, absolutely, Teddy is young and having a wild, youthful time, but it’s nice that Alice had enough respect for him to be direct and kind and to recognize that being in different places doesn’t mean being in a better place than him. Huge growth in the writer’s room since Bette’s mostly unchallenged and cruel dismissal of the hottest younger woman she’s ever spurned, one Gigi Ghorbani, who Bette treated like an imbecile off the street.

    Speaking of Gigi… She’s so hot and she’s being so normal and I only miss ‘nail my ring to the front door’ Gigi a little bit.

    • Mina, I’m glad you mentioned Sophie’s line about “you’re still fun” because I did feel like that betrayed Sophie’s underlying feelings/fears and also suggest that she has done very little reflection in the past year about her relationship to alcohol or how Finley’s sobriety will likely necessarily alter their dynamic and life together, at least to some extent.

      I feel like you really are growth on Finley’s part (not to say she doesn’t have a long way to go… ambushing Dani at work etc.) whereas Sophie, not so much.
      I hope all three of them (S/F/D) are in therapy.

      • I hope they are in therapy, too, but I guess most TV drama wouldn’t happen if the characters were actually in good therapy and spent time reflecting, getting their shit together, unlearning old patterns and changing their (self-) destructive behaviors…

    • I often feel like Sophie gets a lot of unfair criticism, and I wondered if the show was going to address it by making her overly sympathetic or something, like I felt they did with Dani last season. But it seems like they’ve just doubled down, and made her hyper critical and cheating and behaving in other ways I feel like are baffling and also incongruous with how the character was originally introduced.

      Or maybe it’s unintentional, and just a result of the writers not giving her character the care they’re giving other characters. Her line “you’re still fun,” I do think was meant to signal “Finley was concerned she wouldn’t be fun without alcohol, but here she is still fun!” But it doesn’t consider how Sophie specifically saying that is a tad dark, insinuating all of the things you said

      I had a feeling people also weren’t going to like Sophie defending Finley in the whole Dani situation. I more so saw it as her comforting her girlfriend even when she’s in the wrong, as often happens in that situation, but I see your point as well

      Dani needs to be in therapy, Sophie needs to be in Al Anon, Finley needs to keep doing what she’s doing, with some revisions to the amends process! Something tells me that may not happen!

      • Agreed on all counts, Em. I wasn’t very careful with my wording but my concern about the Sophie/Finley sobriety dynamic actually has less to do with Finley and more to do with the fact that it feels like a departure from the empathic, direct Sophie we met in season 1.

      • S1 Sophie was so patient and empathetic, and always made a real attempt to see where Dani and Finley were both coming from in their feelings, and her resentment for Dani felt…well not great for a long-term relationship to thrive under, but not at all unreasonable, given how Dani behaved in S1.

        The cheating was a bad look, but the glimpses we were getting of the Sinley dynamic made it seem like Sophie was just being selfish in a way that she usually denied herself where Dani was concerned, and it felt easy to forgive since Dani was so checked out and hot and cold while Finley was steady and supportive.

        But then there’s S2, and Sophie running to Ojai to comfort Dani while Finley dresses up to take her out, and there’s that weird ending where we have no clue if Sophie and Dani are done with each other, and then the rest of that season is Sophie and Dani trying to be civil to each other in passing while Sophie and Finley take turns doing wild stuff that hurts Dani (the karaoke declaration and Finley’s first forced apology tour), and Sophie keeps acting like none of it warrants an apology because Dani was an ice queen when they were together.

        It’s immature and bitter in a way that S1 Sophie didn’t prime me to anticipate I guess. And when combined with Sophie not talking about what role alcohol plays in her own life/dynamics, and that wild new context added in S2 that Sophie doesn’t have much to say when her family is both transphobic to Micah’s face and infantilizes Maribel for her disability, it really changes how I think of Sophie.

    • “I swear I’ll just start repressing the Finley + alcohol missteps that this show insists on making eventually out of both self-preservation and my deep desire to like Sophie in an uncomplicated way, but it’s wild that anyone thinks Finley’s sobriety is disconnected from the people around her.”

      Yes, this so hard!!

      And agree that it was nice and refreshing that the gen x/gen z crossover was mutual appreciation rather than a “kids these days” eyeroll.

  10. The Kiki Smith did make an appereance later: in last season of Gen Q, you can see it in the background in the second episode when Gigi is at her home.
    Thank you for such a wonderful and funny recap once again, I have laughed so hard!

  11. Based on the promo for the second episode, I hope they don’t make Micah as trans masculine character into agreeing to getting pregnant in order to make Mirabel happy or to save their relationship. Granted, I have no idea what is going to happen, I just hope that Micah does not have to go through all the dysphoric elements of a pregnancy as a trans man just for more drama in this TV show. The L-Word did it with Max. And yes there are trans men who want to be pregnant and this is not what I am rallying against here at all! Just don’t portray it as a persuasion/pressure. Split couples up when one wants to become a parent and the other does not. Don’t make partners agreeing to something they don’t want when it comes to KIDS!
    And also generally, I hope they give Micah a storyline that does not only focus on him being trans. In the previous season, Micah did not want to be reduced as the trans social worker/counsellor for trans kids**, but this is what the writers are doing with his character. Yes, being trans informs key elements of a person’s life, but there is more in a trans person’s life than about being trans! Who is Micah as a person? What are his characteristics? What is unique to his character? The majority of scenes with him seem to center around him being trans or bring his transness into play.
    **This was also puzzling – so he wanted his cisgender co-workers who were not knowledgeable about transness to deal with trans youth? He was much better informed than Natalie etc.
    And I remember Claudia, Micah’s other co-worker who also had knowledge about trans issues. However I was annoyed that both her and Micah made it about themselves when arguing about the teenage trans client. Micah and Claudia both used their own experiences as reference points, each doing what they wished someone had done to them in the past… Please show social workers who are actually good at their job and don’t make their clients’ lives about themselves!

  12. I love this recap so much, it’s a huge dopamine hit, so very satisfying. The photo captions are hysterical and what can I say about the Before-After Bette collages that hasn’t already been said ? C’est magnifique.

    And that brings me to the comments ! So interesting to read the different takes. I’m Team “I-only-read-the-recaps” so it’s a vicarious pleasure to see so much passion about these characters.

  13. This episode cracked me up and gave me so much hope for this season! I am so excited to have the absolute chaos that is and always has been The L Word back in my life. These recaps are just as much a part of the show for me! If ever an episode is a little lacking at least I’ll still crack up at the recap and while reading about everyone’s love/hate relationship with this show! Am I the only one who feels like the fans/viewers of this show are some of the harshest critics? I love to make fun of this show but damn people love to hate it and find every little thing wrong. Obviously the show is far from perfect and could handle some things better but I’m blown away by how many people expect it to be so on point all the time. I don’t know any show that is. My biggest critique is that I already feel Micah/Maribels storyline is going to be boring, again. I want so badly to like both of the them but there really isn’t much to go off of and there are hardly ever any positive scenes with Maribel in them. Hopefully I’m wrong!

    When Shane was eye fucking Ivy I thought the scene was more about Shane realizing how much she misses doing hair, especially with her digging through her hair products later. Maybe it was both? Is the new baby going to be a hair salon?

    • Regarding fan criticism: when I see much more successful writing — more coherent, nuanced, subtle, specific, still funny — on queer and/or queer-helmed shows like Vida, A League of Their Own, and Yellowjackets, it just makes me want this show (with which I so have so many history and care about these fictional characters!) to be better.

      • Yeah I hear that! I haven’t seen Vida or Yellowjackets but I thought A League of Their own was awesome. I’m realizing I must not hold this show to the same standards I do for other shows. The L Word’s writing to me has always seemed a little silly and that just always felt like a characteristic of the show. What you said makes a lot of sense to me though.

        • I hear you! I am aiming to channel 2022 Bette and make peace with a little bumper. :)

          PS. I delayed watching Vida for a couple of years and it is SO GOOD. (If you like ALOTO, Roberta Colindrez has a great role in Vida seasons 2 & 3).

          • Yeah I think I could channel some 2022 Bette too hahah

            Nice!! Yeah I’m not sure why I never started it so thanks for the nudge! Roberta Colindrez is great. I’m definitely going to check it out!

    • Yes, I saw that as Shane missing doing hair, but also curious about other women. If I had to guess, the building next door that Tess was thinking about becomes Shane’s Salon. Maybe Wax II or something.

    • i do think that we are hypercritical of this show for sure, moreso than any other show in human history, but also it’s hard for me to say because when i recap something i am like trying to analyze my feelings about every single scene and sometimes those feelings are negative, it’s been a minute since I’ve been able to just sit back and enjoy it.

  14. A year of rehab is crazy expensive. Let’s have a real addiction storyarc that’s common- someone pays for you to get sober because they want you to be sober (you aren’t so sure) and then you relapse. The bitterness of that person who paid to “fix” you is profound

  15. I thought Tina’s look upon hearing Bette speaking with Pippa on the phone was less trying not to have an “emotional reaction to this call” and more of a determined Tina game face of, “oh game on, Pippa, she’s mine now.” No?

  16. I’m only still watching this show for Gigi and these recaps. The writing is so uneven. Bette’s ‘we’re all gonna die’ line was perfection, then Jordi and Angie’s breakup scene was one of the most perfunctory TV breakups I have ever seen. What a poor send off for that actress.

  17. Old Bette, my parents are dead, I sold that artwork already (I swear we never ever saw it back up on her wall), silent retreats are repressive
    New Bette, one of my parents is alive oops that little bit of emotional push-back was unnecessary, nope I never sold that artwork it lived in that house we fought about where Jenny killed herself, forever, silent retreats tell us all we need to know by day 2.
    also, I kept yelling ‘noooo oh god nooooo’ through the Tina and Bette kissing stuff, so Angie was me at the end. you have got to be f’ing kidding is the perfect response to more tibette hahaha.

  18. So what does Dani do now exactly? I feel like every 3 episodes she changes jobs. She’s gone from COO of shady drug company > Mayoral Campaign manager > CEO of shady drug company > Charity event runner (?) > art gallery show event person (?) > 100th Aloce Show producer (?). It’s like watching me as a Freshman/Sophomore in college trying to pick a major.

  19. Once again, these recaps are better than the actual show. I know I’m in the minority but I’m just not a Tibette fan and had procrastinated watching this episode because of the spoilers. I agreed with Angie’s reaction.
    Bette is all grown up and poor Shane is forced to regress, can’t they all be grown ups? I know, the drama has to come from somewhere. Speaking of though can we get a lot more Gigi and a lot less Finley? Dani and Gigi deserve to be happy and the worst part of them fast forwarding a year is we didn’t get to see enough of that. Now it appears they might be headed toward the end. I really hope not but that last scene between them didn’t lead to much optimism. I will keep watching because I guess I can’t turn away from this car wreck but I don’t have to love it. lol

  20. First thing. I assumed Angie was a senior in high school last year and that whole event was Senior prom. Either it was a Junior prom or she had a gap year before college since a year has passed since last season.

    Second issue. The actress that plays Tess is a trans woman IRL. Why no mention of it in the show? Is Tess a trans woman or a cis woman? If Tess is cis, are we supposed to be upset that a cis actress is not playing her? I’ve found it odd that no one has ever mentioned Tess being trans on the show.

    • Tess is a cis woman. There are not many trans characters, so if trans actors could only play trans characters, they would barely work.

      There are endless cis characters out there and so it is hardly shutting out a cis actor if a trans actor is cast in a cis part. The pushback has been about cis actors getting cast over trans actors for trans parts when there are hardly any trans parts at all. The other element of this is that a trans person has some very different experiences from cis people, so it’s harder for a cis person to play a trans character truthfully than for a trans actor to play a trans character truthfully, but since cis people and cis culture and cis experiences are majority dominant, we’re all soaked in it whether we’re cis or not, it’s not really difficult for a trans actor to play a cis character truthfully. They have eleventy billion examples to draw on, they don’t need to do research for the role.

    • Tess’s character is cis, Marja has confirmed that, I guess because that’s what Jamie Clayton wanted?

      I don’t think anybody has a problem with a trans actor playing a cis role, I think it should happen more often than it does even!

      In this case it’s disappointing because trans women are so often erased from queer women’s spaces and representation of queer women’s spaces in the media and it would’ve been really great to have a lesbian trans woman character in the show.

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