Last week Finley accepted that she hooked up with a preacher, Shane slept with Lena, Micah comforted himself with Hassan, and Dani got into a serious conflict with her father and Sophie. It was revealed that Bette is still having an affair with Felicity.
By the end of the episode we get to know more about the past of Shane and Bette, and it made me much sadder than I was when I was still trying to piece the full picture together, based on crumbs of info.
Like all the episodes before, this one also starts with a typical LA morning, Bette and Felicity are starting the day in the hotel room, with room-service breakfast. When Felicity poses ‘THE QUESTION’ Bette dodges answering, because how could she possibly give a good answer to what exactly she wants from Felicity, in the middle of an electoral campaign?
Cut, and we jump over to Shane’s latest conquest, or at least we are lead to believe so at first, but we may get suspicious at hearing the phrase ‘I love you’, and so we find ourselves in Shane’s morning, with birthday texts, (even from Helena!!!), made complete by Finley and the birthday gift basket. And poor Rebecca is left in Finley’s bed, trying to figure out if this flame is going anywhere.
Meanwhile the usual morning routine of Dani and Sophie is disturbed by Dani going jogging which – we’re told – she does when she’s upset. We don’t know if Dani talked to her father, and if so, how it went, but we can assume she did, and that’s the reason why she’s currently being so distant with Sophie. Of course Finley barges in on this morning too and discusses the Rebecca situation with Sophie, who declares that what Finley feels is for sure romantic love.
The day goes on at Planet 2.0, with the usual Bette, Alice and Shane breakfast. I wish I could also start all my mornings at a café with my friends, but I guess no one would want to get up at 5 AM for that.
Turns out the reason Alice is wearing canary yellow is that she’s being followed by a reporter form LA Times all day, who is making a profile interview with her. At that point Bette arrives too, who is having a suspiciously good morning. The birthday party is brought up, but Shane declares she only wants drinks with present company, no more. Alice and Bette seemingly concedes.
After that Shane shows off the new club, which she named Dana’s. I think we all cried at that, or at least shed a single tear, because I know I did. Alice and Bette both love the name.
At the club Tess and Lena are already preparing for the surprise party, maybe with a little more drinks than you’d normally expect, but who am I to judge. Shane came in to sign a cheque, Lena shows her where to find them. Tess can already tell something is up.
After breakfast Bette goes to a campaign photoshoot where, thanks to Dani, she finds out she left her phone with Felicity. Dani, keeping the campaign in mind, gives Bette a dressing down, after all the future and livelihood of people depend on the results of the election, and she should think about what she’s doing. Sounds fair enough.
Alice is also going to a photoshoot, at her office, with Nat and the children present. Gigi also arrives, with a change of clothes for the kids. Going by the Gigi – Alice interaction the reporter assumes that she is Alice’s partner, but then Nat turns up, so she gets to answer the questions after all. The question of the work/life balance in their lives, for example. Nat’s answer is not exactly what Alice wanted to hear.
Meanwhile Dani switches the pones back and tells Felicity off too. Also sounds fair enough.
We’re back with Alice, who prepares to interview Jeff Milner, the show’s next guest. Drew suggests some new questions, which neither Alice nor Sophie like at all. Drew declares that they either pose the questions, or the show is a lost cause.
So here’s this talk-show, running under Alice’s name, but the channel (meaning the producers) are butting in on what should happen, and also there’s the viewership to consider, who effectively keep the show afloat. Alice doesn’t want to sell stuff that contradicts her integrity, the channel doesn’t want to cater to a niche market. I think Alice’s stubbornness will bite her in the arse sooner or later.
We’re back with Dani and Bette, where Dani tells Bette that, to quote the classics (in this case Pitch Perfect) ‘She could get her head out of her ass. It’s not a hat.’ At the end of the argument we finally get to know what, for the last three episodes, we only got hints at: the reason Bette is running. Kit died in a heroin overdose, and Bette wants to fight the system, which she plans to do by becoming mayor. Dani can feel that she kicked a wasp’s nest, it turns out Felicity helped Bette through these hard times and that she isn’t really the villain here. From this angle, it all looks a bit different.
At the talk-show recording, Jeff and Alice are facing off. Alice includes the questions approved by Drew, but still manages to change the topic in a way that paints Jeff in an unfavourable light. Drew is pissed, the LA Times reporter likes her courage and we know that Bette is still having an affair with Felicity, so all this can still blow up in Alice’s face in the future.
In the evening we’re back with Dani and Sophie, who are at last discussing their problem, like two adults should, and Sophie gives her grandma’s ring to Dani, who can only react to this by letting them reconcile in the bathtub.
Meanwhile Bette and Shane are warming up to the night out, Shane with weed, Bette by baking. In the end they both get high, and Shane signs the divorce papers. Here we get to know at last, what happened to Shane’s marriage. Shane simply didn’t want children, while Quiara did. It’s a little reassuring that Shane didn’t cheat on her wife, and that this was the ‘only’ reason why the marriage failed, but at the same time it makes everything even sadder. It’s like the engagement of Alex Danvers and Maggie Sawyer all over again, my little heart can’t take this anymore.
What could cure all this angst better than a surprise party? Shane accepts the loss of the quiet night out and that she’ll celebrate her 40th birthday with an extremely long list of guests (Finley!).
But what happened at the party?
At first we see a really cute montage with Shane, Alice, Bette and Dana from 10 years ago. I can’t imagine a better homage, the creators truly made the right choice here.
Then here come the new ones, Sophie, Dani and Micah. Even José and Hassan! Tess and Lena are behind the counter and of course Nat and Gigi are invited too. All this drama can only end well, right?
First Dani apologises to Bette, who promises to end the affair. Shane gives a speech, which Lena films and Tess in the background already knows.
Finley really gets going, after all the drinks are free, and after the umpteenth shot she gets a bright idea – we can all guess where she’ll end up. The focus shifts to the Micah-Hassan-José triangle, who still have a lot of problems to clear up, especially Micah and José.
A drunk Finley cashes Rebecca’s dinner party and declares that of course she can accept her being a preacher, because it’s not real, the church isn’t real, and anyway, she’s in love with her. Rebecca slams the door in her face and Finley, like a puppy who can’t figure out why she’s being scolded – she just wanted to play with the expensive rug! – bikes home.
Tess confronts Lena, who at first denies that there’s anything going on between her and Shane. This moment marks the end of their relationship and Tess leaves the party rather than having to spend another second with them. This makes the club’s future rather interesting, also I want to hug Tess.
By the end of the party everyone figures out who to go home with, Dani and Sophie leave early to keep the night going in private, and Micah and José also end up snogging.
And then finally we get to the moment that blew up the L Word net. Yes, Alice, Nat and Gigi. Let’s be honest, we’ve been hoping for this since episode two. I at least hoped the writers would have it in them to give us a miniature You Me Her with three women, after all, poly relationships are very much a part of queer culture. Right now we only get a well put-together threesome in Shane’s office, but I hope this arc doesn’t stop here. Pushing at the boundaries of monogamy deserves a place in progressive theory and this is an opportunity we can’t afford to miss. The photo and the article from the interview suggests that the party sex won’t be a one-off thing and I could absolutely get behind Alice finding her work/life balance in a poly group.
Before the celebration is over Shane gets the cake, a dishevelled Alice, Nat and Gigi resurface from the office and at the very end even Quiara turns up.
A lot was revealed in this episode that might fuel future drama, but the plot was undoubtedly driven by the birthday party scenes. Extra props for Halsey’s Strangers that closed the episode in the best way possible.
Translated by Zsófia Ziaja