Welcome to The L Word: Generation Q Day! Season three has landed, and you know Riese is here with your weekly recap! Wanna watch… with your ex? Kayla’s got you covered. Also this week, Heather reviewed Warrior Nun‘s second season and wrote about The Dragon Prince‘s queer couple and fell in love with Dan Levy’s The Big Brunch. Anya was so excited for this week’s Karla-centric episode of Survivor. In the wide world of movies, Nico’s partner, Sadie, wrote about Tár from the perspective of a lesbian musician. Dani ranked Wizard of Oz characters. And Drew reviewed Flaming Ears.
Notes from the TV Team:
+ The first three episodes of the new season of Leverage: Redemption dropped this week and the show remains one of my faves. I love what Aleyse Shannon brings to the show as Breanna Casey but really relished having Aldis Hodge’s Hardison back for the first episode. The chemistry between Hardison, Parker and Eliot remains as strong as ever and the brother/sister relationship between Hardison and Breanna got some nice depth. — Natalie
The Sex Lives of College Girls 201-202: “Winter is Coming” and “Frat Problems”
Written by Natalie
Yay, we’re back! The girls of Suite 103 — Leighton, Kimberly, Bela and Whitney — have returned from their respective Thanksgiving breaks ready to complete their first semester at Essex. The trip home was fraught for Leighton: after coming out to Kimberly, she steps right back in the closet during the break. Leighton maintains the façade but, the moment she’s out of her father’s sight, she grimaces, clearly burdened by the weight of having to keep this secret.
The girls are all elated to see each other. When we first met them, it didn’t feel like we’d get here…to a space where they genuinely liked each other or where Bela felt comfortable enough to lounge around the common area in Leighton’s underwear…but here we are. Leighton comes bearing news: Nico’s been expelled — forced to go to Cornell (the horror!) and drive a new Audi — because of Kimberly exposing the Thetas’ cheating ring. Angry about the expulsions and the suspension of their charter, the remaining Thetas ban all the girls from attending their parties ever again.
With their preferred party venue nixed, Bela assesses the other options and determines that the Omegas are the next best (read: hottest) option. The girls pre-game at the dorm beforehand then rush out in only their bras and underwear to participate in “Essex’s oldest, non-racist, tradition, the annual Snow Run.” The girls run from the Quad to Fraternity Row and join the celebration at the Omega house. As she’s dancing with Kimberly, Leighton catches the eye of a girl across the room (it’s Tilda from Into the Badlands!) and she approaches, introduces herself (Sara) and asks for a dance. Kimberly is really trying to be the World’s Best Ally so she supplements her Pride balloon bouquet with being Leighton’s wing woman. She excuses herself from the dancefloor so Leighton won’t have a reason to say no to Sara’s invitation. But Leighton feels the eyes of everyone at the party on her and still declines Sara’s invite. It doesn’t really matter anyway because when the Omegas find out they’re the reason the Thetas’ charter is suspended, the girls are thrown out of the party and banished from Fraternity Row.
The next morning, Bela asks if Leighton chatted up any hotties at the parties. It’s the moment — the moment when she should come out — and Kimberly shoots Leighton a look, urging her to do it. Finally, Leighton bites the bullet and admits that she’s gay. Whitney’s surprised, Bela wants a hug and Kimberly pretends (badly) that she didn’t already know. They encourage Leighton to slide into the DMs of the girl she met at the party. She sends the DM and the girls all celebrate Leighton putting herself out there. It’s all just so cute and pure.
The DM worked because, the next thing you know, Sara and Leighton are kissing. Sara’s glad that Leighton sent that DM. Leighton turns Sara around, pushes her on the bed and seductively says, “By the time I leave here, you’ll be glad I did a lot of things.” Well, OKAY LEIGHTON…I mean, damn…
Afterwards, the couple does the walk of absolutely no shame through the quad. They run into Bela who immediately clocks that they just hooked up…which, of course, she does. Leighton tells Sara she’ll hit her up later and she leans in for a goodbye kiss. Sara does way, way too much — turning it into a full make-out sess that’s too much for anyone but especially Leighton — and, as they part ways, all I’m already convinced, we won’t be seeing Sara again.
A few days later, at the Bela-helmed Magic Mike fundraiser — an effort to get the girls back in good with the Thetas — Leighton spots Sara making out with someone new and wonders if she made a mistake. Thankfully, Kimberly’s teammate and fellow Sapphic, Willow, is there to talk some sense into her: Leighton’s one of the hottest queer girls on campus now and could have her pick of any girl at Essex. Leighton looks around, spots all the women salivating over her…and I think it’s safe to say: LET THE HOE PHASE COMMENCE!
All American 505: “I Need Love”
Written by Natalie
Though Coop’s been pushed off of Preach’s custody case, she returns to the law office, just before the hearing, with a checklist for Darius. She just wants to doublecheck to make sure everything’s been filed on time but Darius is so arrogant that he barely gives it a second glance. Coop mentions to Laura and Darius that she’s meeting with a GAU law professor in hopes of auditing his class and Darius is skeptical about her chances…so much so, he urges her to lie about her history.
Coop carries Darius’ skepticism into the interview and totally blows her opportunity. The professor questions Coop’s shift from one dream to the next (in part because Coop’s omits the key details about why that shift happened). He reveals that he’s interviewing 50 students for the 3 openings in his class and he’s looking for someone with prestigious internships and volunteer work on their record. He’s looking for another Darius. Knowing she doesn’t have the qualifications the professor’s looking for, Coop advises him to go with another candidate.
After the interview, Coop slides into the courtroom gallery to watch the rest of the custody hearing. Darius submits evidence to the court about the positive changes Preach has made in his life but, after the judge notes a mistake in the processing, she disallows consideration of that evidence. That mistake snowballs into the judge giving temporary custody of Amina to her grandparents. The judge advises Darius to re-present the case in 30 days and the decision leaves Preach stunned. He rejects Darius’ suggestion to calm down and storms out of the courtroom but not before directing some of his ire at Coop. She shoots an Itoldyouso look at Darius and follows Preach out.
Outside the courtroom, Coop insists the fault lies with Darius but Preach puts the blame right back on her shoulders. Amina was just another case to Darius, Preach notes, but Coop knows Amina…she loves Amina…and she was supposed to look out for her. Coop returns to the law office looking to scold Darius for his mistake but only finds Laura there. She takes responsibility for the mistake but Coop points out Laura’s real mistake: taking her off the case in the first place. She chastises Laura for not recognizing the privilege she and Darius have to shrug off mistakes, while people like her and Preach have to carry the burdens of theirs.
“I used to think that my background was a weakness. I thought people like Darius were better than me,” Coop admits. “But…I know it’s not true, alright? My life prepared me better than any clerkship or volunteer work ever could, I just gotta prove everyone wrong.”
With that in mind, Coop returns to the professor’s office to reintroduce herself. She doesn’t do it to win the spot in his class, she does it to proclaim the validity of the path she took to get to this spot. Coop sees her potential and will realize it even if it means waiting a semester…but the professor is impressed enough to not make her wait on her dream.
Look, I am immensely grateful to see Coop reclaim a sense of purpose. It is powerful to watch her affirm that the road she’s traveled is an asset, not a weakness. But, there’s something troubling about an episode centered around Valentine’s Day that leaves Coop (and Patience) out of the conversation entirely. Coop sits in Slausson Café, advising Spencer about what he should do about the woman he’s casually seeing but never acknowledges what she’s doing for the woman she’s seeing? Granted, we haven’t seen Skye all season but Coop acknowledged their six week relationship in the season premiere. I mean, damn…can’t aspiring gay lawyers have love lives too?
NCIS: Hawai’i 207: “Vanishing Act”
Written by Natalie
When Lucy arrives at NCIS HQ, with mushroom lattes from Kate in hand (it’s the thought that counts!), Jane calls her into her office: Lucy’s been awarded the Special Agent Afloat position aboard the USS Ronald Reagan. Lucy was turned down for the program when she first applied but a medical emergency created a vacancy abroad the aircraft carrier and Lucy’s the next in line. The news isn’t met with the enthusiasm that Tennant was expecting and Lucy admits that it’s because her life is a little different now than it was when she originally applied. Jane understands the hesitance — after all, she hated leaving her kids when she had to go out on CIA missions — but she reminds Lucy that this opportunity could provide a real boost to her career. She doesn’t push Lucy either way but insists that she needs a firm answer tomorrow, as she’d need to be in Singapore next week.
Lucy doesn’t run immediately to Kate to discuss the new opportunity, though; instead, she pauses and tries to wrap her mind around it. But Kate interrupts her thinking by stopping by HQ, after her texts and gone unanswered, and offering an in-person invite to lunch in the park. Lucy agrees but Kate notices something off in her girlfriend’s demeanor and her unexpected enthusiasm about outdoor activities. Lucy admits that she’s been avoiding Kate because of the position she’s been offered. Kate taken aback but the suddenness of it all but Lucy admits that she applied for the position after they’d broken up. And while Lucy manages to explain it away — everything on the island felt like a reminder of Kate, she insists — there’s something slightly foreboding about discovering that one person’s reaction, after a break-up, was to turn down a career making opportunity far, far away (as Kate did) while the other person was determined to get as far, far away as possible (as Lucy did).
Before they can fully talk through the issue, Lucy’s pager goes off and she has to go. Lucy assures Kate that she loves her and won’t do anything without talking to her first.
Later, while they’re working on the case, Ernie questions Lucy about the Special Agent Afloat position. She admits that, though the timing isn’t ideal, there’s something appealing about the power and responsibility that come with being the sole agent aboard an aircraft carrier. Ernie chides her about her motion sickness but she’s convinced that she’ll eventually get over it. Eventually Lucy admits her greatest concern — she doesn’t know if her relationship with Whistler will work if she takes the Agent Afloat job — and, unfortunately, even Ernie doesn’t have an easy answer to that question. After they wrap up the case, Jesse approaches Lucy to chide her about the Special Agent Afloat position. She admits that the thing holding her back is her relationship with Kate but Jesse assures her that Whistler is solid and that any reservations she has are her issues, not Kate’s.
The couple meets on the beach and Lucy admits that she’s having trouble making a decision. Kate assures her that she isn’t going anywhere — that there will be plenty of time for them to sit on hills together — and Lucy tries to believe that, despite her trust issues. Finally, Lucy decides to do it…she has to “go on the big boat”…and Kate hands her the bag of jumbo-sized Dramamine she’d already picked up for her girlfriend. If Lucy hadn’t agreed to the position, Kate would’ve insisted because she knows it’ll be great for Lucy’s career and, more importantly, that they’re strong enough to survive four months apart.
So, admittedly, this feels abrupt…and I think if this show hadn’t already exceeded my expectations for what it would be, I’d be a bit more worried about #Kacy’s fate or, beyond that, their future screentime. But given their track record, I’ll give the writers the benefit of the doubt and just wait, patiently, for Lucy’s return.
American Horror Story 1109 and 1110: “Requiem 1981/1987”
Written by Drew
Another season of American Horror Story has come and gone. And I certainly can’t critique this one’s ambitions. Balancing a gay serial killer story and a haunted AIDS allegory within a sprawling ensemble would be a difficult task for even the most talented group of writers. But I just wish the elements on display fit together better. I just wish the whole season was better.
A few weeks ago I brought up Angels in America and that’s clearly been this season’s aspiration, especially in these last two episodes. The fact is if Angels in America wasn’t one of the greatest plays ever written it would be laughably bad. Truly great art is like that. And it’s very hard to imitate.
The biggest problems in this season were underdeveloped characters and the lack of humor. Gino is really the only person in the ensemble who I cared about through these ten episodes. This became very apparent as the first half of the finale went on reflective odysseys with Sam and Patrick. If you’re going to take these kinds of big swings, you need to populate the artiness with people we care about.
You also need to not take yourself so seriously. Angels in America works because yes it has fantasy sequences with angels, but being in the presence of the angel makes Prior hard. It’s playful and sexy and human. This season of AHS was none of that.
There’s a real anti-kink, anti-leather, anti-sex thread throughout the season playing into Ryan Murphy’s most assimilationist instincts. But it’s hard to get too worked up about the season’s politics when in the end it mostly just left me bored.