Finale time! Or should I say Finley time? Because for this season of The L Word: Generation Q, Finley seems to be our big winner. She started messy, and bottomed out with a succession of messy choices, from “You’re not a real priest” and on-the-job/just-after-the-job sex with rebounding Tess to the hospital kiss heard round the genitals during last week’s episode. But in “Lapse in Judgment,” Finley comes out on top (well, Sophie is on top) even after screwing her best friend in Roxane Gay’s dressing room because, thanks to some spiritual guidance from a way-nicer-than-I-would-be Rebecca, Finley learns to take responsibility for her actions and face the pain from which she’s been running. Yes, we see her waiting to board a plane back home to Kansas City where her judgmental Catholic family awaits.
And maybe Sophie is going with her? We won’t know until next season, as the finale cuts out on Sophie’s face as she decides to either elope with Dani in Hawaii or go after Finley. I hope it’s Finley, because Dani’s gonna have a tough road ahead when she sees that following Bette Porter to the ends of the earth doesn’t always pay off. Yes, Bette’s suits and composure and hair and face and tone of voice and big dyke energy are compelling enough to hit like a bucket of water dropped from above, but Bette is ultimately pretty selfish and disconnected from the consequences of her decisions. Just ask Tina. Wait, did Dani meet Tina? I’d like to see that. Get them each other’s numbers.
Speaking of numbers, Alice ends this season with just one girlfriend, as Nat busts onto the set of AL((I))CE to win her back, having decided reuniting with Gigi would really limit the number of jumpsuits she has access to, or actually I think she loves the way Alice makes eggs. Having made the decision to go with a chat with the original Bad Feminist over a viral video written by that idiot Drew, Alice’s show might be saved by this on-camera love declaration. Though, since I’m assuming AL((I))CE isn’t live, maybe the couple will pause and decide to not air that moment of their lives. Who am I kidding; it’s Alice.
So Alice is maybe cancelled as a show but not as a lover, and Bette, after losing to her secretly pro-opioid-crisis opponent, won’t be mayor of Los Angeles but will be a more honest, open, and available mom to Angie, who isn’t having sex yet. Shane, for her part, also finds herself open to parenthood, though to a giant dog she finds eating garbage on the street, and not to the child Quiara will eventually try again to have after she processes her miscarriage.
And after a discouraging reunion full of misgendering with his mom, Micah sees himself through Shirtless Neighbor’s eyes in our finale — he’s been painted as what looked to me like a beautiful merman — and likes what he sees, until a chance conversation lets him know Shirtless Neighbor has been married this whole time. And thus the wedding and mayorship and throuple and parenthood and neighborsexlove that were the main arcs of this season all fall away in the finale, leaving each character’s life as up in the air as when we started, some having learned a few lessons and many having had a few solid fucks, but overall no one doing substantially better or worse than when we found them again.
Except Finley, who leaves L.A. likely to return but definitely stepping out of the cycle she’s set up for herself. It’s the messiest one who slides on through. And isn’t that realistic?
Yes, yes it is.
As finales are naturally a time for reflection, I wanted to end this last recap of the season with a personal note about what this show, and the opportunity to write about it for you, has meant to me.
In the space between the first time I watched an episode of The L Word — the original series — and when I started recapping the show just eight short weeks ago, a lot has changed for me. I watched the first season on my then-girlfriend’s laptop, a year after it ran in real time. She’d downloaded it from LimeWire. We watched it in my top bunk, pausing the show to have sex or make out or give the grainy footage because time to load.
Once, during the time when she and I were watching and dating, I met her and her friends at a lesbian party I’d heard a lot about — was it Dyke Night at Machine? Regardless, it was in Boston, and the only gay bar I’d been to previously was this multi-story warehouse spot outside Nashville that my sister took me to before I knew I was gay. That Boston night I walked into the club and it seemed massive, women everywhere. I spotted my girlfriend and her friends dancing deep in the crowd and started to make my way to them only to realize the room was mirrored and they were really like ten feet from me. Like any queer community, the throng of bodies seemed large until I was inside it.
Within a year I moved to Chicago. Living due west in Logan Square, I never took the annoyingly long drive to Andersonville, the lesberhood, except to go to T’s — which no longer exists — to watch The L Word on Sundays with a straight friend in tow. By the first run’s finale, I’d watched Xena guest star as an Olivia-ish Benson from the floor of a friend’s house with my fourth girlfriend and met a woman at that watch party who I’d end up dating two years later.
Because of my career, my interaction with the show has changed massively since its first run. I know multiple people involved with the show on various levels, and live nearby the show’s locations. I walked the fricking red carpet at the Generation Q season premiere for Christsake! Whereas in the past the LA — or Vancouver — of the show felt worlds away, lifetimes away, friend groups away, now this actually sort of is the way that I liiiiiiiiive.
So let me say: it has been a total honor to write about a show birthed by a show that meant so much to me. The most to me, really. And I have loved watching these new characters’ adventures. And I so hope that many of you out there got the chance to have now what I had all those years ago: something sexy and soapy and messy to read about or watch with a partner or catch at a gay bar or screen with a bunch of friends or fight about at brunch.
And as I said on the phone to my first girlfriend, who I’m still sort of in touch with almost two decades later because that’s what it’s like being a lesbian: can’t wait for next season!