“Twenties” Episode 208 Recap: Case of the Ex

Welcome back to your Twenties recap, episode 208 — otherwise known The L Word Season Five when everyone was sleeping with each other’s exes (don’t worry, no one’s actually cheating on Idina — yet).

In our last episode, we took a Girl’s Trip (© Tracy Oliver, 2017) to fake!Sundance otherwise known as Moondance. Hattie and Idina tried for a romantic getaway, but ended up in a few couple’s arguments, one of which was about if Hattie should send out her script to Ida’s possible ex Alicia, who had agreed to help her get it to a manager. I got very annoyed at Hattie’s immaturity and then Marie agreed to distract me by sleeping with her white bae-boss. Which brings us too…

Marie is in bed

My Narrator Voice: Ok but hear me out — on this journey Marie finds out she’s also bisexual, and then she and Chuck become two married Bi’s. LENA WAITHE CUT ME MY CHECK.

Marie sure did have sex with that white man! I’ve been saying this, but I think that the agreement to open up her relationship with Chuck (it was her idea, in fact!) has never solely been about him being bisexual. My good sis has been pressed tight in a number of ways; I’ve never seen someone more in need to let loose a little. I’m excited by the possibility that through these explorations, she might learn a few new things about herself.

Unfortunately, this will not be one of those times. Marie heads home and rather than be honest with Chuck about sleeping with white bae-boss at Moondance, Marie lies and says she has to “wash the plane off.”

Despite all the odds, I’m really rooting for Marie and Chuck to work! And I maintain that opening their relationship was the right next step for them as couple, but it won’t work with these heavy-loaded silences and dishonesty.

Meanwhile, at Idina’s apartment, the writing group is back in session and the general consensus on Hattie’s script is the same as what Idina said last episode and what Ida said five episodes before that — Hattie’s script is not ready. But too bad for that, Hattie already sent it out to Alicia’s connect! Now she’s sweating as she waits to hear back from potential new manager.

Hattie seems to think that all she has to do is get picked up by a manager to level up her career, but the group encourages her to consider this more deeply. One of the men in group says that a manager is a lot like picking a spouse — which, as a writer, isn’t a sentiment that I completely agree with, but is completely worth it for Idina’s bright smile as she leans in and says with more than a little hint of smug, “She getting better at that.”

The next day, Hattie, Marie, and Nia are all having lunch together at the studio lot (it’s been so long since we’ve seen the three of them hanging together! Especially to be a show about three best friends. More of this please!) — Marie’s barely listening because she’s thinking about white bae, Hattie’s nervous because today is her meeting with her potential manager, and Nia is.. taking selfies. NIA!! C’mon!! In my Tyra Banks voice 🗣 I was rooting for you!!

It’s the kind of lunch when you’re with your friends, but none of you are actually hearing each other because everyone is talking past each other about their own bullshit. Which isn’t a critique! That’s what friendship is like sometimes, I respect the realness of it. The main takeaways are that Hattie has hurt feelings that Marie never sent her script around like Alicia did, Marie says Hattie’s script isn’t ready (Hattie: “Are you and Idina in the same group chat or something?”). She cautions Hattie not to become tokenized by her new manager. And Nia wants Big Sister Dear White People out of her damn house.

Alicia walks down the steps

Here I come, on my way to ruin your life.

Hattie smiles

I likes that.

At the office of her maybe new manager, Drew Fowler, Hattie runs into a very smiley Alicia working the hell out of her yellow suit. Hattie and Alicie’s mouths talk about work, but their eyes talk “you see how good I look, right?” Then Alicia bounces on out of there and Drew calls Hattie into the meeting.

We have a lot (and I mean a lot) of lesbian antics to get to in this episode, so I’m going to cut to the chase: Drew seems much more straightforward than Marie feared, and acknowledges (like Idina, Marie, Ida and literally anyone who has ever met Hattie) that her script isn’t ready point blank. He says that him and Hattie need each other — she needs a manager, despite her flaws, and he needs more writers of color on his roster. He believes he can help Hattie tighten up her work and get to that next level. I dunno y’all, I found his honesty refreshing? There’s still a lot of bad potential here, but my gut is agreeing with Hattie and she signs with him. So we’re giving Drew a pass for the rest of this episode because it’s time to get get gaaayyyyyyyyyyyyyy.

Pull out your popcorn.

There were three reasons I knew that Ida — in all of her make my knees weak, ice cold, mean femme glory — would be coming back to us today.

  1.  Because Idina was so adorable when she said that Hattie was “getting better” about picking life partners. If there is one thing Twenties famously is about, it’s about Hattie making mistakes — not good choices. That means we’re due for a big one.
  2. Because of Alicia’s whole deal. I guess we have no official proof that she’s Ida’s ex? But their relationship consists of trying to make the other jealous, and there was no way Alicia was keeping Hattie’s come up to herself if she could rub Ida’s face in the mud with it. Absolutely n o n e.
  3.  Because Idina and Hattie are happy together. Here they’re on the couch, having mature conversations about career paths and being a writer who dates other writers. They’re blissfully making out. Hattie tells Idina, “thank you for being the best girlfriend that I’ve ever had in life.”

So you know.

YOU JUST FUCKING KNOW.

Idina and Hattie kiss

🥺 + ❤️ = 😭 😭 😭

Mid daylight-drenched kiss, wrapped in the arms of her new girlfriend that she’s quickly seeing herself build a life with, that’s when Hattie phone rings and Ida walks back into her life. Nothing like the timing of an ex-girlfriend with an axe to grind. It’s the way of our people. Sun rises, sun sets, dykes are gonna drama.

To her credit, Hattie sees Ida’s name, turns the phone face down, and continues with her make out. But this is just round one. Ida’s gearing up for the Tyson-Holyfield fight.

Chuck plays basketball with a friend

My Narrator Voice: I still cannot believe that they didn’t make out after this.

But before we return to what’s up Ida’s sleeve, can we pause for a second on Chuck’s very cute lil homosexual basketball date? He’s playing with the man he was flirting with at the gay bar back in 206 and at one point he very awkwardly and adorable wonders aloud, “can I ask how you identify?” Which just left me making little baby doe eyes at the screen because nothing is harder than being new at being gay!! I was really hoping they were going to kiss, but instead they just play some very erotic and sweaty basketball and listen ok… it’s hot. This is a safe space. We can say that here.

It ends with Chuck, lost so deep in his own thoughts that I thought steam was going to rush out of his head, being comforted, “Do me a favor? Take a deep breath. You’re gonna be alright.”

You sure are, baby!

Ida bent over a table

Surprise, bitch. I bet you thought you’d seen the last of me.

Ok so leaving the wading pool of baby bisexuals and being thrown into the forest of high powered lesbians who should be feared, Nia is called into a one-on-one meeting with Ida on the set of Cocoa’s Butter.

Somehow Nia didn’t get the memo that if your best friend breaks up with her girlfriend, who is also your boss, and then you are pulled into a private meeting — that’s a red flag. So she’s surprised when Ida, barely breaking her stride as she packs up scripts for the day, informs her that she’s being written off the show.

[And now wait now, hold on — what Ida is doing is bad! It is awful, petty, and dangerous! It should not be emulated or glamorized! In any real life situation, Nia’s next stop should absolutely be to HR.]

[I need to say all that so I can get to what I have to say next: IDA STEP ON MY NECK, RUN ME OVER, AND MAKE IT HURT REAL GOOD PLEASE I AM BEGGING YOU whew ahem — had to get that one out of my system!!! I’m but one simple queer woman, I was not built to withstand the pressure. You understand.]

Nia’s crying, tears streaming down her face. She asks what she could have possibly done wrong! Ida crosses the room in three steps, towering over her, eyes narrowed, her voice husks (see my previous statement, STEP ON MY NECK AND RUN ME OVER PLEASE I BEG YOU):

“Nia, do me a favor. Tell Hattie she owes me a phone call.”

Now, is this line of dialogue unrealistic in a firing setting? Yes m’am.

And again, should Ida be brought to HR? Yes m’am.

But also, and I must:

Ice Cube and Chris Tucker say Daaaamn from Friday

So Nia, still crying buckets, is back at her apartment and calls Hattie — who hasn’t been picking up her phone all day because *shoulder shrug* “I’m tryna cut down on my screen time.”

At first Hattie cannot believe that Ida would be so petty as to fire Nia over their relationship, and you know what? Maybe she didn’t? Maybe it really was time for Valentina the character to come to an end (we’ve been given hints before that the fans don’t like her) — but also have you met Ida? No way pettiness isn’t on the menu. Which means that Ida gets what she wants, Hattie finally calls her back.

Hattie wants to talk about Nia, but Ida waves it off. She lowers the register on voice so impossibly deep, it’s like gravel. The camera zooms in on her nude painted lips.

A close up of Ida's face

[redacted.]

She tells Hattie congratulations on getting a manager (told y’all to look out for Alicia!), but it sounds more like “do you remember that thing my tongue does?”. Then she reminds Hattie to keep working on her script, but it sounds more like ”I remember that time you made my toes curl.” And finally she says if Hattie ever needs her help, she knows where to find her, but I swear to you all I heard was ”we both know, your new girlfriend don’t do it like me.”

Here’s what is frustrating — clearly the scene is supposed to be hot! And ok, I clearly got into it, so maybe it was a little hot. And just last week, I was begging for Ida to come home to us! But not like this. I haven’t been a fan of Nia’s boring social media plot, but she didn’t deserve to be axed over someone else’s dyke drama. And Ida didn’t deserve to be brought back only to become some vengeful femme villain straight out of Basic Instinct. None of this is right.

But oh wait! A fourth lesbian fighter has entered the match!

That night, while in bed with Idina, Hattie works on her script. She gets a text from Alicia, who of course just happens to let Hattie know that she “loves a late night [writing] session” and did she mention? “I do my best work at night.”

Remember what I said about one-upping Ida?


Post-Credit Notes:

+ Marie had an awkward run in with white bae-boss at work that might unintentionally send her back into the arms of Iman Shumpert. I’m still very much here for her hoe phase.

+ HEyyyyYY Vanessa Williams!!

Quote of the episode: “The only person I’m in competition with is myself. You run your race; I’ll run mine.” — Idina, who deserves better than what’s coming for her.

+ Amount of times I thought to myself that Idina would be a mistake I’d gladly make: 1 (she was so cute playing bootleg Uno!)

+ Amount of times I thought to myself that Hattie would be a mistake I’d gladly make:  2 (I liked her confidence during the manager meeting; and I still think Hattie is making bad choices, but her voice was doing this hoarse thing during the card game that got me)

+ Amount of times I thought to myself that Ida would be a mistake I’d gladly make:  ALL OF IT. LITERALLY ALL OF IT. And yes, I am ashamed. I’ll take it to therapy.


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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 409 articles for us.

24 Comments

  1. Love the recap as usual – these are such a joy to read!

    Just an FYI that I think the last mistake you’d gladly make (iconic section titling by the way) should be Ida – it has Hattie twice.

  2. I’m still on the fence about Chuck and Marie but they may be able to work in the end. Zach looks like he in love tho lol

    I’m with you about Ida, I really hope they don’t turn this into A Thin Line Between Love & Hate type situation. I enjoyed seeing the softer side of Ida earlier in the season. I hope we can get back to it. That energy she gave Nia was a looooot tho!

    They need to cut the social media stuff with Nia. It’s #teamtoomuch at this point

  3. I did not mean to post as a reply, I am sorry about that and don’t know how/if I can edit that.

    (Carmen Edit: I got you!)


    Thank you, Carmen for the recap! This was a good episode, i especially enjoyed the steamy basket-ball scene w Chuck and his new potential beau. I also thought they were gonna get passed a soft touch on the chest and kiss but i like how respectful and mindful that man seems to be. He is into Chuck but understands it’s process and that Chuck shouldn’t rush. Quality time and intentions, love it. I thought it was beautifully shot.

    Ida, now, ugh!! What in the hell was that?! I personally dont care for her mean femme attitude at all and like her a lot better when she’s chill, laughing and acting silly in sweat pants. Gurl loves to misuse her power too much and seems to think living her IR life as if she was on one of her soap operas was ok. Nuh huh! Props to Hattie hanging up on her and not swallowing that bullshit. Also that whole close-up, turning that weird phone call into a sexy convo? I thought that was super weird. Not from the show necessarily (tho i was a bit confused) but more so that Ida thinks it’s totally appropriate? Gurl needs to chill. I guess you are correct, Carmen, to say that the show was trying to make her seem hot? I’m glad Hattie didnt fall for it.

    I cannot recall Alicia from episodes prior to Moondance (LOL), what makes you say she might be Ida’s ex?

    I love Idina and im so there for her relationship with Hattie. Im not ready for Hattie to slip up and break her heart and her trust.

    I dont understand what Marie is doing, she is so dodgy with Chuck and non communicative when he feels like a puppy and it’s so cute to watch. I understand she’s hella confused too, doesnt want to mess up her future with him, and might be unsure of what she is looking for but I seriously have a hard time believing she is actually still into him. It would be great if they could find a dynamic that would fulfill them both!

    Nia isnt given much to grind on, and I hope she isn’t seriously considering entering an intimate relationship with Ben, eww. He is hella fishy.

    In conclusion, i could stare at Idina and Hattie make out for 22 min and be totally fine with that.

    Thanks again for your recaps! Oh and! More Vanessa Williams!!!

    • The basketball scene was probably my favorite in the episode! For all those exact same reasons!!

      I won’t lie, I’m not immune to Ida’s mean femme ways (as can be seen in this recap), but I agree — this has really crossed a line. It’s hard for me to imagine a way back for her or Hattie back after she literally fired Nia?? Like, what??

      And that’s probably for the best, because I’m really not prepared for Idina to get her heart broken!! And I’m so scared that it is coming…

      • Thank you for your reply and edit!

        Ida firing Nia seemed like she was playing power games, scaring her into making Hattie react, rather than a legit creative decision. It is true that fans are hating on Valentina on social media but that whole conversation seemed really focused on Ida being salty because her ex is ignoring her and less about the creative direction of her show. Or it could be that the Twenties writers team thought that would create crazy drama and look… we’re here talking about it lol! I guess it worked!

        Maybe they will allow Hattie to grow and make more mature decisions, a.k.a not run back to Ice Queen and honor what they are building with Idina. Fingers crossed!

  4. From her intro in Season 1 to pretty much this very episode, Ida has been shown to be someone who is comfortable with cutting people off like bad toenails, who doesn’t suffer fools, has thick skin, and has always been 100% about her business. NOTE: All of those things are what make her character sexy af btw. I let it slide when the writers didn’t have Ida (the light-skinned-ed queen of checking people) check Hattie when she came out the side of her neck calling Ida old and out of touch simply because she’s a titty baby. Then they go and ruin her character by doing a Tyler Perry-esque belly flop into BFE, turning her into that chick from Fatal Attraction who won’t be ignored. AND they made her do this seeming 180 all over a 2 or 3-month fling with a woman who though talented is a “can barely get right” bum (love Hattie but truth is truth). Chile…I can’t even…I’m high key upset about this turn of events.

    I want to mirror the other comments by saying that I loved the Chuck basketball scene. That one scene had more intimacy and sensuality than we’ve ever been shown between him and Marie.

    Lastly, have you ever wanted to slap the sh*t out of someone just because of the way they talk? You know that it’s not really how they talk but some pretentious b.s. they put on because it makes them seem elite or cute or whatever? Yeah, I want to use 2 very strong A Pimp Named Slickback hands on Nia’s sister every time she opens her mouth.

    • I thought that Ida’s attitude was too much and out of a soap opera but she gets off power and, although her feelings for Hattie might be deep, at least they seem sincere, i can see how she would be upset to see that she doesnt hold the same power of attraction over Hattie. And real people on power trips will act petty af and be predatory. Those two scenes–with Nia and then on the phone–were predatory moves. It did not seem realistic to me at all, and it made her def gross in my book, but maybe we just got to know her a little better? Let’s wait and see how that develops.

      Nia calling out her sister by threatening to call her husband to “know what exactly is going on” seemed to be on point (and pretty funny). It seems her sister is there to avoid her own situation while putting Nia down to make herself feel better, under the disguise of “helping her”.

  5. God my heart is already breaking for Idina! My kind, smart, talented, good-hearted, emotionally intelligent baby does not deserve this!

    A downside of having a messy main character is getting attached to their romantic partners, all while knowing they will inevitably fuck things up

  6. It’s hard to tell for sure but Ida and Hattie have been broken up for a bit so why have her be petty and spiteful now? Ida has been so precious and calculating about her personal life in general so why draw attention to herself by screwing over Nia who knows about her and Hattie, by making a point to Nia that her firing is, in part, about Hattie and leaving that on the table for anyone to run with?

    I get Ida being powerful and therefore more prone to being petty and manipulative but it makes absolutely no sense that she would be that way to the detriment of her reputation especially not over a short lived relationship that she feared could negatively color said reputation. I just think it’s bad writing. If they’re going to play the petty/manipulative angle build to that, hint at it, whatever. Don’t mold her into this no shit taking, straight shooting, protective of her personal business powerhouse who can walk away from people with her head high then have her overnight forget about all that to become a stereotypical woman scorned.

    • Yes!! On top of everything else that you already — eloquently and hilariously — said above (all of which was 100% true), I simply CANNOT believe that Ida would leave herself this open by firing Nia and then immediately mentioning Hattie in the incident.

      If Ida’s been about one thing, she’s been about her business. This is childish and messy, on top of being petty and immature, and it’s just dumb!! She’s not a dumb woman. And I wouldn’t be surprised if this ends up biting her in the ass one day soon.

      (Also, I know you said this before, but this ridiculous 180 has made her so unlikable! I keep trying, but really don’t see us coming back from this?)

  7. I love how everyone is waiting for the bad news that’s coming Idina’s way. We all know Hattie makes terrible decisions at this point.

    But who asks for a favor after firing someone? Ida B, only she can pull it off.

  8. I’m finally caught up and can comment !!

    I’m really glad that Idina said the thing about only being in competition with herself. I was worried last episode they were going to frame telling Hattie she wasn’t ready as a jealousy thing when really she was just right. Idina deserves better!! But also Alicia is hot sooooooooo.

    I feel like Idina and Hattie just aren’t well-matched at all though?? The power imbalance is sooo drastic with Hattie and Ida but Hattie and Alicia makes sense to me? What I WISH is that Hattie and Idina could break up etc etc then eventually be friends and then Nia moves away with Ben to boring straight land and the show could just be about Hattie, Idina, and Marie. That is my season three dream. Basically I’m saying I agree with Ida about writing off Nia…

  9. Carmen, in all of these recaps and in your interview you did not ask the most pressing question: is Ida based on a real affair that Lena had with Laura Brock Akil? She seems very very similar to her and we know the show is partially autobiographical. Or is she some mash up of Laura Brock Akil and Ava Duvernay? Lena worked for them both. I mean I get it even if it’s fantasy- LBA is objectively hot

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