The reboot mania has luckily reached The L Word at last. It’s been two and a half years since the reimagination of the old classic series was announced and ever since the generation that grew up on The L Word has been waiting anxiously to watch the new episodes. I’ve been following their Insta for months to catch up on everyone. What do we know so far? Alice, Bette and Shane are back and Dani, Sophie, Finley and Micah are the new characters. Trailers give away a lot and Autostraddle also published its recap before the official premier, but let’s see what happens in the episode.
The first scene is daring, period sex is nothing but a usual opening. However, after the sex scene between Dani and Sophie I thought: yes, this is exactly what I was expecting.
In the first five minutes we visit the new characters. Finley, the lesbian girl in Vans shoes (typical in every circle of friends) escapes with a stolen bike after a one-night stand (she has to go back for her car, now that will be awkward). Micah, a trans boy, already likes the new neighbour guy who just moves in, as we learn it so far. The whole beginning feels homely and very queer.
A sense of nostalgia comes after five minutes. Bette is working on her election campaign, Angie (Angelica) is already 16! years old and a typical teenager. Alice is making breakfast for two kids and she seems to be in a serious relationship with Natalie (who is the wife of Tig Notaro in real life). At this point, I just find Alice’s relationship surreal, but later on it becomes stranger and stranger and finally unbelievable for me. Finally, Shane steps out from her private jet and she can’t take two steps without the stewardess flirting with her. A few moments later we learn why, of course, they have already become close to each other before the flight. Shane, just being her usual self.
Then we finally understand where the old story line connects with the new one. Sophie and Finley work for Alice, who runs her own talk show. Bette needs sponsors, and here comes the company of Dani’s father. In a brunch scene, so loyal to the atmosphere of The L Word, we learn that Shane has moved back to Los Angeles, Tina only speaks to Bette over the phone and Alice has become a parent. The wardrobe of the three actresses is more or less the same as in the old series, they haven’t even aged at all, so I completely feel like I’ve jumped back ten years in time, only the absence of flip phones reminds me that it’s 2019. We receive a few crumbs of the characters’ old life. For example Shane, being faithful to her character, avoids talking to someone, but we learn that she would still bang Alice’s mother.
In the meantime, Angie uses her grandma’s health condition as an excuse for ditching school. She is waiting for her alleged cousin in front of the schoot to go and visit granny together when someone rolls in with a BMW, but after Angie gets in the car, it’s apparent that instead of any cousin, only another teenager sits at the wheel. The two girls, Jordi and Angie in fact set out to vape pot and let off some steam, while Bette completely focuses on her campaign.
Dani’s father can’t make it to the meeting, therefore Dani needs to take the lead. The negotiation starts well but Bette eventually asks uncomfortable questions, more precisely about how the company funds itself, and the answer is not compatible with Bette’s values. This scene reminded me of this article on Autostraddle, a must-read, niche piece.
We jump back to Alice in the next scene, who is brainstorming with her writers about the next topic of her show. The lines, suggesting that this is a show too small for serious, political issues, may be a reference to the fact that the old series could not really deal with the LGBTQ+ problems relevant at that time with authenticity, but this time it may be different.
Dani excels at crisis communication in the meantime, as the son of an employee ODed himself which could easily mean a real PR nightmare for a pharma company. Her solution earns her a promotion to become Senior Vice President, but as her father breaks the good news we also learn that he thinks of Sophie as her friend rather than a romantic partner.
We return to the home of the new characters, where a nervous Micah breaks the front door window of the new property manager’s house, who despite this, says yes to a dinner date. That’s something!
Shane moves into her new luxury home and while Finley assembles her bed, she is just casually boxing on her terrace. At the end of the scene Finley gets one of Shane’s rooms and we learn that Quiara who sends “I miss you” messages to Shane is in fact her wife. I did not see this coming.
Night falls and Bette is giving a speech, where journalists have a chance to ask her questions, and the first one we hear is why Bette was having an affair with her employee who was a married woman on top of that. Bette has no answer, her aids can only escort her from the podium in her state of shock. As shown in the flashback, the accusation turns out ot be true, she really did have an affair with the woman. The forum ends and Bette pours out her heart to Alice and Shane at home, while she tries to reach her daughter, who is just vaping pot somewhere. After Angie gets home their fight escalates to the point when she shouts at Bette that she wants to live with Mama T, but they eventually reconcile.
The next scene shows Dani, who decorates the flat with candles until Sophie gets home, who first doesn’t understand what is happening. I felt a bit like this when I got proposed, too. At first, I didn’t really get what that was happening and after the question was asked, I couldn’t say anything for several moments. Sophie says yes and Finley and Micah come down from their room with a bottle of champagne.
Bette eventually becomes Alice’s talk show guest, where she speaks honestly about why she would like to become the mayor. Dani, hearing Bette’s speech, decides that she wants to work for her and this brings us to the end of the first episode.
Generation Q is much-much more diversified and less white as the original series. The characters seem to get a purpose and depth and we will see Jamie Clayton in the next episodes as well, whom you may know from Sense8, and who is a personal favourite of mine. I’m looking forward to watching what this season holds us.