The third season of The L Word: Generation Q is upon us, and I’m here recapping every single episode. Whether it be the epic rekindling of everyone’s favorite (or least favorite) romance, the return of The One, or a musical episode straight from the 1940s, I will be talking about every key moment and giving you all a chance to chat about it in the comments.
Welcome to The L Word: Generation Q Musical Episode Edition! Why this show decided it needed a musical is beyond me, but you know what, despite hating most musicals I think this was one of the best episodes of the season. The musical element forced the show back into a campiness that I adored. It’s Dana-in-the-waterfall, Jenny-in-the-raft level ridiculousness that made me love this show in the first place.
We start the episode off with a few shots of LA and then dive right into Shane having an orgy. There’s quick shots of lots of women wearing just panties and bras, and Shane sitting there topless, watching them make out. She looks exhausted by the whole entire thing, and yet again we get only a 10 second sex scene that ends with nobody finishing.
Cut to Alice, wearing an absolutely incredible bubblegum colored one piece jumper and talking on the phone with Sophie about the likelihood of shitting herself while on ayahuasca. They did a cleanse to prevent that very thing, so Alice isn’t worried at all. In fact, she’s delighted, both for the team building and the multiple safari onesies she plans on packing. Sophie hangs up the phone in disgust, because honestly there was nothing more for her to say.
Sophie’s lucky she hung up when she did, because Alice walks into her home and is immediately greeted by Shane’s orgy, which is “a lot of naked people on [her] velvet couch”.
Cut to scenes, and we’re at Finley and Sophie’s! Finley is browsing Carmax for a car, and Sophie is packing her bag for the retreat. She says that Alice “bullied everyone into going”, but despite Sophie’s retreat being for work Finley is upset that Sophie won’t be able to accompany her to pick up the car.
As she tries to pout off, Sophie asks if they’ll hold the car for her, and Finley says no, they won’t. This is such a weird fight! Sophie has work! She offers to just stay, but Finley says it’s fine and that she should have a good trip.
Over at Alice’s, Shane is apologizing for what feels like the millionth time for throwing a party while Alice wasn’t home. Alice says there’s “no gentle way to say this, but you’re kind of a fucking mess”. Shane acknowledges this, and then performs her own time honored tradition of running away by sharing that she was getting a hotel room.
Unlike most of Shane’s romantic partners, Alice isn’t having that at all. She’s not letting Shane out of her sight. In fact, Shane has to come with Alice to the retreat, where they’ll be doing ayahuasca in the desert with Alice’s coworkers. We find out that Ivy got a job in New York and moved, and also that despite all of the girls wearing their underwear on camera, one of them (Bridget) managed to leave a pair in Alice’s house.
Shane responds like every other child who is grounded and being forced to tag along on errands with their parents, but she finally relents and agrees to do the “ten years of therapy in one night” that is promised.
It’s retreat time! A series of coworker extras we’ve never seen before pour out of the car, followed by Alice, Shane, and Sophie. They’re sprayed in the face with some aromatic mist, which serves to aggravate Shane and inspire Sophie to leave and see Finley. Alice refuses to let her go, and Shane gives an inspirational speech: “do it for the drugs”.
Before they can go inside, it’s time for Alice to give a little speech. She thanks everyone for coming and shares that she’s doing this retreat to team build and bring the group together. Shane, who’s leaning edgily against a tree, lets Alice know that nobody thinks the retreat is about work— they know it’s Alice’s personal mission that she dragged everyone else along on.
The whole group enters the meditation room and settles down to open their minds eyes to the universe, led by a rather luminous woman named Mercury. After a few seconds of guided meditation, they open their eyes to write down their intentions for the retreat.
After a series of flashbacks of Gen Q’s most traumatic moments for each of our big three, they write down their intentions.
Alice wants to know if she’ll ever find the one.
Shane wants to know why she keeps blowing shit up.
Sophie wants to know if Finley is the right one for her.
Even this simple exercise is enough to make Alice realize that yes, maybe the retreat is a little bit more about her than about work. I personally would never want to do ayahuasca with my coworkers, but all the power to the crew on Alice Show!
It’s time to drink up, and despite the fact that Mercury refuses to give Alice a lemon or Splenda to make it go down easier, they all “knock these back” and enter the trip.
The musical episode has begun!
Everyone on the retreat participates in the Big Comfy Couch clock dance, and then they enter their separate experiences.
We start out with Shane, who’s a sailor in the 1940s. Other sailors are running about all around her, and she trips over a poster advertising “Tess Van De Berg”, who will perform at Dana’s that very night. Shane sprints inside and finds the woman she’s looking for at the bar.
They break into yet another musical number, and Tess and Shane dance together, Shane dances while other women flirt with her, and it’s generally a very cute scene. I’m glad Tess gets at least one scene to be endearing this season!
In Sophie’s journey, she’s a black and white housewife in a sitcom titled “Finley’s Home”. She’s in a dress and shares that she belongs in the kitchen when Finley slides into the kitchen on her way home from work. Finley invited her boss and his wife over for dinner, and told them that Sophie had laryngitis so that she wouldn’t have to talk.
The boss and wife are Micah and Maribel! It’s extraordinarily interesting that Sophie’s drug induced fear is not just that she’s not funny or interesting enough for Finley, but that Finley is forcing her into classic man/woman societal norms. This definitely feels like more of a Sophie issue than a Finley issue, which is fine but very interesting given that we were led for 2 seasons to believe that Sophie is the problem.
Finley calls for the sitcom to cut, because Sophie can’t seem to land a joke. Dani, who is producing, tells Finley to just ignore Sophie. It’s the Finley show! And Finley and Dani are dating in this world! They kiss! Maybe it’s the three of them that should throuple.
Now we go to Alice’s world, where she finds herself on a game show run by Eureka (a real life famous drag queen) titled “Name That Flaw”. The goal? She has to name each of the flaws that led to her exes not being right for her.
First, Tom: “Too conventional, wanted to get married too fast”
Taylor: “Didn’t like me enough”
The answer is always Gigi
The Gen-Z Boy: “Coachella”
I wish they had brought back Gabby Devaux and Tasha for this, but alas they did not. The last round is a picture of Alice herself. What do her exes say is wrong with her?
Alice is overwhelmed by the question, just as I am overwhelmed by that high collared shirt they chose for her in that photo. She asks the audience, and someone says she thinks she’s better than everyone, and another person says she doesn’t rinse her yogurt container before she recycles it.
It’s the moment of truth, and Alie says her flaw is “I push people away”
That’s correct! As a reward, she gets to meet her dream partner, and it is….
DANA IS BACK AND IN THE FLESH!
Alice (like many of the audience who hasn’t obsessively followed the career trajectories of every member of the original cast for the past ten years), is shocked to see Dana old. Dana is here as part of the dream life where the two of them get to grow old together, and Alice’s shock turns to pure joy as they launch into a musical number.
Their dream life consists of organic gardens, tennis courts, no kids, cats, and jet setting around the world. Leisha Haley is a singer, and it’s fun to get to see her sing here. I can’t help but think Alice should have been in actual therapy to unpack the trauma of Dana dying, but I suppose it’s hard when she’s forgotten about for years on end. I love to see her back though. It’s so cute to see what would have been.
They kiss, and it’s the cutest most romantic thing I have ever seen. If only they hadn’t killed Dana!
Back in Sophie’s crisis vision, she’s getting fed up with being constantly cut off. Finley won’t let her say a single word, stuffing potatoes in her mouth whenever she tries to speak. When Finley demands she go into the kitchen to get the apple pie, Sophie has had enough. She bursts into song, and let me tell you Rosanny Zayas kills this scene.
The conceit of the song is that she’s finally putting herself first and finding her own voice. In doing so, she takes over the show, breaking from musical song into rap on top of the kitchen table. She’s the star now! As much as I’m sad that it seems like Finley and Sophie are going to be breaking up, I am obsessed with this musical number.
In the port town, Shane and Tess are walking the streets and chatting. Shane thinks that the reason she hasn’t settled down is because she hasn’t found the right girl yet, but maybe Tess is the one. Just as they appear to be falling in love yet again, the “dames” appear to chase after Shane.
They decide to let Shane climb the building to lose them while Tess pulls the car to the other side. The only way for them to reunite “forever” is for Shane to leap off the building. She isn’t sure what scares her more, that “forever” or the jump. Caught between the four hot women and the one hot woman she loves, Shane lets herself be pulled back by the dames.
Alice and Dana are sitting in bed talking, and Dana is making fun of Alice’s throuple. This is a perfectly funny thing to make fun of, but Dana’s reasoning is that Alice is “one of the most sensitive people [she’s] ever known”. I would like to state for the record that there are plenty of extremely sensitive people in throuples and other styles of polyamorous relationships. Sensitivity has nothing to do with it!
It takes this chat with Dana for Alice to realize that she’s projecting Dana onto everyone else she ever tries to date. As Dana curls up to go to sleep, Alice launches into a song where she declares that Dana was her “one”.
At the end, Dana wakes back up to let Alice know that she “missed it. But not with me. You have to let me go”. Alice wants to know more, but since she’s waking up from the trip Dana is becoming cagey. All she can say is that, in a way, Alice’s person knows Dana. I am not going to be happy if it is Tom! I am all for bisexuality but I still think it makes more sense for Alice to end up with a queer person in some way given how much of her life centers her own queerness.
Alice wakes up, and the two of us are equally sad to see Dana go.
Seconds before the ayahuasca wears off completely, Shane makes a split second decision. She fights the dames off of her and leaps off the building, joining Tess forever.
We return to the group dance scene, and then drop back into reality.
As they wake up confused, Alice blinks and looks at Shane. Remembering the wise words of Dana, who told her that it was someone who knows her, she leans towards Shane to kiss her. As she gets close, Shane realizes what’s happening and screams, inspiring Alice to scream too.
Confused by what she just witnessed, Sophie checks in on the adults in the room and then runs off to find Finley.
Alice apologizes for kissing Shane, and Shane shares that she had a good experience on drugs. The two walk off arm in arm talking about how Alice saw Dana. This is very cute! If I were writing the show I would have had Jenny show up in Shane’s dream and give her shit about still not being able to commit, but that’s just me, because I remember Jenny in a way that this show does not.
Back at home, Alice is staring into a box of her possessions, where she keeps the Sunflower toy she was going to give Dana seconds before she died, and the book that she wrote last year. A strange collection to keep together, but poignant in that it forces Alice to realize what Dana meant. She picks up her phone and texts someone (probably Tom) whose name we can’t see.
As she does this, the “you are my sunshine” song plays, and I fight back tears as I remember Dana’s countdown timer towards death.
Sophie arrives home to Finley, who purchased the car all on her own! In the weekend apart, Finley realized that they need to make time for themselves as separate people as well as themselves as a couple. This seems like what Dream Sophie wanted as well, and for a second I truly believe that they can work it out, but alas. Sophie can’t do it anymore! She tells Finley that she’s not her full self with her— or with Dani— and that she needs some time to be single.
Poor Finley is so intent on finding a way to work it out. This truly does seem like the most Sophie problems of Sophie problems, but I respect her for knowing herself well enough to know that she can’t work this out while in a relationship.
Points for Jacqueline Toboni’s facial expressions here because they broke me!
Enter house number three, where Shane bursts inside yelling Tess’s name. From the instant we see her, it’s clear that something is wrong, but Shane clearly thinks the “wrong” is still about her cheating and keeps talking. Shane’s monologue is pretty great in its completeness but I’ll leave it here:
“I’ve been hanging on to this part of me for a very long time and I’m scared to let that go because I don’t know who I am without it. Does that make sense? I’d like another chance to get better at this. I want to earn your trust back”
Throughout all of this, Tess doesn’t do anything except nod her head, and then she bursts into tears. Her mom died.
Jamie Clayton cannot get a single episode where she’s purely happy! Tess sobs and Shane takes her into her arms, holding her tightly. I am really hoping that they don’t use this as the plot device which forces Tess to take Shane back, because she deserves enough to decide that independently of any outside forces.
And that’s the episode!