“Twenties” Episode 203 Recap: Moonlight

Welcome back to your Twenties recap, episode 203 — otherwise known as the one where if you squint just hard enough from a distance and don’t talk back or ask too many questions, it’s actually the 2017 Oscar winner Moonlight. In our last episode, Hattie learned that just because she’s cute, that’s not enough to carry her through life unless she’s willing to work for it.

We also learned that Marie is about zero.point.zero seconds away from fully cheating on Chuck, which brings us to….

You know what would go great with this lipstick? A cute tote bag from the Autostraddle fundraiser

In a ridiculously glacial bathroom, Chuck wants to talk about social media hashtags for his and Marie’s upcoming wedding. Marie’s mother calls to remind us that she has a terrible relationship with her daughterBasically, the overall thing here is that these are two people who just absolutely should NOT be getting married. More on that soon.

Meanwhile, Hattie is back living at Nia’s and looking like a snack in her new delivery uniform. Sadly, the rising fires of my lust quickly burned out when Hattie — for no reason at all — hates on Nia becoming a gif due to her popularity on Ida’s show. Now sometimes we can’t help feeling jealous when our friends are doing Big Things and we are stuck stagnant, I get that Hattie is not immune to the human condition. But if I were sleeping on someone’s couch, I wouldn’t fix my mouth to hate on that person’s success, just saying.

Siri play Montero

Hattie’s in her trainee period at (fake)UPS and she’s shadowing comedy GOAT Louie Anderson, who I’m glad to see working — if Louie Anderson is one of those cis white men who did something awful, just let me know in the comments and I’ll edit this statement, but for now, good for him!

Ida FaceTimes Hattie in satin lingerie and a robe that only a middle-age femme can pull off, talking about “look at you” with her voice all husky as she takes in Hattie in her uniform (Hattie, smiling while posing with her delivery package: “I’m a working woman now”).

Ida on the phone with Hattie

You don’t need to see my google history…

hattie delivering packages

… stay outta grown folk’s business

Now when we left Ida and Hattie last week, they were on the outs because Ida had the audacity to encourage Hattie to you know… do a better job at her supposed life’s passion.

I wish we spent a little more time in the aftermath, so we could see how they eventually mended fences, but to be honest in this moment I was too busy being distracted by how cute their banter is and how I’ve seen quite a few pornos start this way (whoops) to really hold a grudge.

Hattie hates her new job (mind you, she’s been at it one day) and offers that Ida could hire her back. Ida responds, “I can’t sleep with my subordinates.” AND THAT IS WHY WE ARE TEAM IDA AROUND THESE PARTS! Respect the boundaries.

(I mean technically it’s Ida’s fault Hattie’s currently unemployed, and their hot sex life sure as hell ain’t paying Hattie’s bills, but shhhhhhhh moving on)

I know Nia is straight, but this is the tall femme/short butch representation that we need

Guess what! It’s time for Chuck and Marie’s engagement party and while there is nothing less exciting than a straight engagement party — except a straight engagement party where you know the two people involved shouldn’t be together — Jonica Gibbs is wearing the hell outta this red flower patterned suit coat, and so we must pay our respects.

A forever fan of the U-Haul, Hattie wonders if she and Ida will ever get married (Nia hopes not, so she is now #1 on my revenge list). Nia’s excited to live vicariously through Marie’s bougie dreams, and she jumps right into it, having boring bougie flirtations with Chuck’s college roommate Chance.

Chance, to Nia: We’d have some beautiful brown babies.
Nia: Oh, boy, girl, then another boy is my dream.
Chance: I like that idea! Two boys and a girl. So she can be the princess.
Hattie, representing for gays forced to mingle at their straight friends’ events everywhere: How ‘bout y’all let ya’ll kids tell you how they identify? Damn, that’s why we so messed up now.

Two things to note, one — Marie has been shooting daggers at Chance as he goofed around with Chuck, and two — Chuck is shooting daggers at Nia while she flirts with Chance.

My attention span for straight people only goes but so far, here’s a roundup of other Engagement Party Shenanigans:

  1. Hattie’s white ex-coworker (gonna have to learn her name, she’s hilarious) gets a few funny lines in; she also offers Hattie a place to stay in case of emergencies, and you just know Hattie’s gonna take her up on that.
  2. White ex-coworker’s Black boyfriend, who is also maybe Marie’s coworker (?), further encourages Nia down the path of social media, a storyline I’m quickly tiring of but let’s see.
  3.  Marie flirts some more with her white boss… at her own engagement party.
  4. Chuck’s Dad (RICK FOX, said in the voice of Tasha Mack, if you’ve ever seen my favorite Mara Brock Akil production, The Game) gives Marie a very surprising piece of advice to be the father of groom: “After all these years, she still gives me butterflies. You know, if you ever find yourself looking across the room at my son, and you don’t feel that… You got my blessing to walk away.”

Well damn then Papa Fox. Talk yo shit.

Hattie and Ida laugh

If someone had told me that being a lesbian is at least 35% just being goofy in at a forever adult sleepover, I would have come out a lot sooner.

Hattie spends the night at Ida’s house in — and I am sorry but we simply must all caps scream about this — MATCHING CROSS COLOURS HOODIES!!

That’s where we are, matching with our girlfriends, elite level dykeness.


Hattie calls the game of Jacks they are playing “prehistoric” and Ida laughs the self-satisfied laugh of a woman in her 40s who has a youthful, energetic, 20something in her bed. She tells Hattie to “focus.” Hattie says that Ida knows that her hand/eye coordination isn’t the best — really now? Just HOW does Ida know that? The people want to know! 👀 — and the conversation shifts to Hattie’s new job.

The training days are taking up all the time from Hattie’s writing. Ida suggests that Hattie work on time management, we all have to do it, and unlike last week Hattie doesn’t respond in defense. YOU SEE THAT GROWTH???

Hattie and Ida dancing

I tried so hard to screengrab the moment where they grind and Ida looks back on it, but BET won’t let me be great

However, Hattie does make fun of Ida for being a germaphobe neat freak. Which then leads to Hattie making note that Ida is a whole other kind of freak and before you know it they are… TOGETHER… IN MATCHING SWEATS… BADLY SINGING JODECI AND LAUGHING and if you saw a cuter lesbian moment on television this week, no you didn’t.

But somehow, Hattie and Ida don’t have the biggest gay moment of the episode. That comes for Chuck.

While I have your attention, Autostraddle.biz, thank you.

Chuck and Chance are sitting side-by-side with their feet in the cool pool water at Chuck’s parent’s house (the site of the engagement party). Chuck and Marie’s larger-than-life engagement photo shines behind them. Lanterns glowing everywhere.

Chance thanks Chuck for including him in all of this. Chuck smiles. He wouldn’t have had it any other way.

Chance wonders if Chuck is scared to become “that perfect Black dude” — you know with the perfect wife, kids, matching pajama pictures at Christmas. The kind of dude that Chance was pretending to try on earlier, with Nia.

Chuck’s not scared, he’s been waiting his whole life to be that dude.

Chance knows he has. And he also knows that Chuck is looking for permission, anything, to be something other than what his parents have expected his entire life to be.

Chance looks at Chuck with such care in his eyes that even with the teal blue of pool shimmering across their night faces, it warms the entire screen. “You don’t have to be straight for them to be proud of you.”

And there it is. The truth he can’t run from.

Chuck breaks Chance’s gaze, swallowing hard in his throat. Just because they kissed that one time in college, that doesn’t mean Chuck isn’t straight.

Chance says, “I miss you, man. I miss what we had.”

He wonders if Marie knows that Chuck likes guys. Chuck doesn’t even know if he likes guys. Chance was the only guy he ever allowed close, like that.

The crickets around them chirp.

They’re more than a shoulder’s width apart but somehow it is claustrophobic. So much feeling. So many years lost. Time spent. And now just the two them. Sitting side-by-side.

Chance makes Chuck laugh, quiet, underneath his breath. Their shoulders almost bump.

“Do you ever think about it?”

“About What?”

“About what our lives could have been, if we didn’t have so much to live up to?”

The background blurs, faint dances of light behind them. Chuck turns to face him. They keep talking, but each line more a whisper. And then, eyes meet lips. And then, lips meet lips.

Chance and Chuck kiss

Moonlight (2017 dir. Barry Jenkins).

The camera pans out, Chuck and Chance locked together in the forefront. Chuck and Marie’s engagement photo still lighting up the sky behind them.

Chuck cries a single tear. That night, he goes home to Marie — who pretends to be asleep, even though she knows he’s been away. He’s been away this whole time. And so has she.

But are they really ready to deal with that?

Post-Credit Notes:

+ I will never stop laughing at famous exes Vanessa Williams and Rick Fox playing Chuck’s parents.

+ My opinion that The Game is Mara Brock Akil’s best production is admittedly controversial, I assume most people pick Girlfriends.

+ In B. Scott’s post show they talked about non-binary identity and multiple times I couldn’t believe this was BET I was watching. It’s really stunning, how life comes at you so fast.

+ I’ve really enjoyed Ida and Hattie’s relationship moments in Ida’s bedroom, but it looks like next week Hattie’s gonna start picking up on the fact that Ida doesn’t want to be gay in public….

+ Friday Morning Update: It’s been brought to my attention that Hattie’s fake UPS uniform was named B.D.E., make of that what you will 🍆🍆

+ Amount of times I thought to myself that Hattie would be a mistake I’d gladly make:  3 (NEW RECORD! The fake UPS uniform, then again in the red flower suit coat, and one last time dancing with Ida in matching sweats and no I’m still not over it)

+ Amount of times I thought to myself that Ida would be a mistake I’d gladly make: 1 (very specifically the way she laughed and said “focus” simultaneously at Hattie while they played Jacks)

+ Quote of the episode: “Do you ever think about it?” / “About What?” / “About what our lives could have been, if we didn’t have so much to live up to?”

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Carmen Phillips

Carmen is Autostraddle's Editor-in-Chief and a Black Puerto Rican femme/inist writer. She claims many past homes, but left the largest parts of her heart in Detroit, Brooklyn, and Buffalo, NY. There were several years in her early 20s when she earnestly slept with a copy of James Baldwin’s “Fire Next Time” under her pillow. You can find her on twitter, @carmencitaloves.

Carmen has written 700 articles for us.


  1. Amazing recap as always. Something about this season that I really like is that the friendship feels more authentic and fun. Last season gave the vibes that Nia met Hattie and Marie in college, but they lowkey don’t fuck with each other but only hang out bc making friends as an adult is hard. I really hope it’s continues developing the relationship between all of them bc core friendships in shows like these are always my favorite part.

    I’m surprisingly excited about the Chuck/Marie mess that’s about to happen. When last season hinted at Chuck liking men, I was apprehensive it would go into this cliched dl man storyline. But that was mostly bc I would get glimpses of Tyler Perry’s Sistas when I was waiting to watch Twenties, and there was this ongoing joke about one of the girls love interests being on the dl and it would aggravate me so bad. I don’t know how that ended, I try to keep my Tyler Perry content at a minimum.

    Now that it seems like this is going to be a more nuanced storyline about sexuality in black men instead of the butt of the joke, I’m excited for the mess.I also don’t know why I was so worried, seeing as Lena Waithe’s at the helm and Boomerang. I’ve never rooted for two people to cheat in a show so hard, it just inevitable at this point.

    And really?? The Game better than Girlfriends? Is it Tasha Mack alone because that has to be the only explanation?

    • YES! I have been so scared about what they were going to do with this Chuck storyline, but after last night I’m sold.

      I think part of what’s making the difference is that we’re getting the story now from Chuck’s POV. So often DL storylines are told from the perspective of the women partners who were cheated on, and a lot of times played for jokes (don’t EVEN get me started on Tyler Perry and his love of DL storylines, especially not in public!) — I think getting to see Chuck be vulnerable is going to go a long way in turning this narrative around 180 degrees.

      Also I completely agree, the biggest problem for Twenties in the first season for me was that I struggled to understand why Nia, Marie, and Hattie were best friends (though “making adult friends is hard” is as believable an explanation as any), I think this season has made big strides on that front. When they tease each other now, there’s warmth and not hostility behind it. I’m also really interested to see what Hattie does with this Chuck storyline, especially if Marie starts on on some biphobia.

      I cannot believe I’ve been come for TWICE NOW (once in here, once on twitter) for my The Game preference! Love is Love, y’all! hahahaahaaa

  2. Great and hilarious recap. Thanks for the laughs!

    I’m interested in where the Ida B, and Hattie going out in public story goes. I’m not buying the germaphobe line. I’m lowkey confused on how it’s no to bowling but was tryna kiss Hattie in public at work lol

    • Oooh I hadn’t even connected the germaphobe line/not wanting to go bowling to Ida’s internalized homophobia/not wanting to be seen with Hattie in public. EXCELLENT catch!

  3. I really wish they’d spent more time on Ida/Hattie making amends…in part because Ida doesn’t seem like the type to forgive easily, but also because Hattie called the relationship toxic which seems like a harsh critique to throw flippantly and never address again.

    “I mean technically it’s Ida’s fault Hattie’s currently unemployed…”

    It’s Hattie’s fault Hattie is unemployed (or underemployed now)…she got fired for a legitimate reason.

    I refuse to believe that Ida enjoys playing Jacks…it feels like one of those moments from an old story that they didn’t update for today (like last season when Hattie used a flatbed scanner to individually scan Ida’s scripts). That said, I very much want Ida’s Cross Colours jogger set.

    • I also talked with Rooty below about the lack of reconciliation onscreen between Hattie and Ida, but suffice it to say, I agree it was a careless writing choice. I can accept that Hattie melodramatically said the relationship was “toxic” to a friend, from an emotional place where she didn’t really mean the word with the seriousness it has, but why bring it back up in this week’s “Previously On…” if the show wasn’t going to be addressed?

      And why put us, the audience, in a position where now we know something about Hattie’s feelings that Ida (presumably) does not?? It makes it awkward for everyone, and it feels like it doesn’t have a point.

      (And I agree it’s hard for me to believe that Ida forgave that easily! But since we never got to see the aftermath — or even how much time has passed — I guess we’ll never know).

      I forgive a lot because there’s only 22 minutes of storytelling, and selfishly I want to spend them with Ida and Hattie flirting because I am only human lol. But those are fair critiques!

      Your also right tho that it IS Hattie’s fault that she’s now underemployed, I was just going for the joke that Ida fired her. But she definitely had cause to do so.

  4. First and foremost…it’s hella flaw to fix one’s fingers to type that The Game is better than Girlfriends. Carmen, our recap relationship took a little hit with that one, not going to lie, but the rest of the recap healed me.

    I’m with Natalie on being disappointed by the writer’s not focusing on Hattie and Ida working through Hattie’s outburst. Labeling a relationship in such a negative way then walking out is huge in my book and needed to be discussed. I love Hattie, I do but she’s petulant, reactive and selfish but people largely overlook that because she’s charming. I would’ve thought though that Ida, of all people, would hold her feet to the fire but she didn’t and that’s feels so out of character for her.

    I still have a Cross Colours sweatshirt from 5th grade that was my best friend, sister, and girlfriend (well…then it was boyfriend because I didn’t know any better). I bought 2 hoodies after watching the show.

    • Yeah I agree about the disappointment that we didn’t get to see Hattie and Ida reconcile, I’ve been thinking about this… and I think part of the problem is that we know that Hattie called the relationship toxic, but Ida doesn’t, right?

      Because Hattie said it in the coffee shop to Idina. So as far as Ida knows, she’s only forgiving Hattie for walking out of her bedroom in anger. Which is still a lot! Don’t get me wrong!!

      But I think this is a situation where as the audience, we know more than the people in the relationship. Which is causing all of us unease (I also think it was a really careless writing choice!! I wonder if it’s still coming back, it looks like we have another Ida/Hattie fight ahead of us next week).

      I knew when I came out as preferring The Game, there would be pushback! But c’mon y’all, TASHA MACK!!

      (I always wanted Cross Colours as a kid, might have to make a purchase myself…)

      • You are right, there are things the audience knows that Ida doesn’t but Hattie did accuse her of trying to run her life. And she told Ida she was out of touch and couldn’t understand because she was old. To me that is a flag that shouldn’t be ignored because it means that Hattie will feel comfortable in the future using use Ida’s age as a weapon when she doesn’t get her way.

        I’ll give you Tasha Mack but that’s the only thing The Game had over Girlfriends. Periodt 😜

        • Ooooof yeah, that’s a really good point too. I think Hattie’s thin skin and defensiveness, and in particular her comfortability calling out Ida’s age when she’s hurt, is a real red flag.

          It would also make a difference if we saw them make up, so we can know if Hattie or Ida are learning from these moments — instead of papering over them for (admittedly my favorite part) flirtations. It would make a huge difference.

  5. LOVE THESE RECAPS. i’ve thought about how we have only seen ida and hattie being intimate in the privacy of ida’s house and NOW we are about to confront that! oooh.

    also hattie in the flower suit, it’s unfair.

  6. I was so sure they were going the classic biphobic/homophobic way with Chuck and Marie’s storyline, and I’m SO glad they’re actually giving Chuck depth and nuance! Chuck and Chances conversation was probably my favorite scene of the series so far. I hope we continue to follow Chuck when he and Marie inevitably break up.

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