The L Word: Generation Q S1E4 review: Happy 40th, Shane

(L-R) Stephanie Allynne as Natalie Baker and Leisha Hailey as Alice Pieszecki in THE L WORD: GENERATION Q, "Lost Love". Photo Credit: Hilary Bronwyn Gayle/SHOWTIME.
(L-R) Stephanie Allynne as Natalie Baker and Leisha Hailey as Alice Pieszecki in THE L WORD: GENERATION Q, "Lost Love". Photo Credit: Hilary Bronwyn Gayle/SHOWTIME. /

In this week’s episode, The L Word: Generation Q celebrates Shane’s birthday and gives a few stunning revelations about past characters and new relationships.

Last week’s episode of The L Word: Generation Q brought us a delightful appearance from Megan Rapinoe along with further twists and turns in the lives of the lady-lovin’ ladies we love.

This week’s installment focuses on Shane’s fortieth birthday, and feels much less scattered than the previous episodes, bringing all of the characters together to celebrate. Shane is, of course, reticent to acknowledge her birthday, but nonetheless touched, saying, “I never knew I’d get this far, so I’m just happy.”

After many references to her and a few glimpses, Felicity, Bette’s mistress (or is Bette hers?) finally talks! It’s a tough balancing act. We’re starting in media res with Bette, Alice, and Shane’s relationships and are being asked to care about them.

As far as Alice, her relationship is still ongoing, so we have a little more to cling onto. Bette’s was supposed to have been over, but we have to have Bette tell us why Felicity is important to her in order to make us care.

It works perhaps the best with Shane simply because of characterization. Shane was never one for relationships, let alone marriage. Thus for her to have loved someone enough to have married them automatically forces the viewer to buy into the relationship a bit (while still pouring one out for Carmen).

The sequel has been doing so much exposition and groundwork for characters new and old, that the stories so far have necessarily mostly been told separately, causing for it to feel like six or seven stories are crammed into each episode. This week, everyone finally comes together to celebrate Shane and we’re the better for it.

Before the party truly kicks off, though, there’s some business to attend to. After waking up with Felicity and coming into the office, Bette discovers she’s misplaced her phone. Dani immediately seizes on the opportunity to confront Bette about Felicity.

Dani tries to go hard on Bette. But Bette basically tells her to suck it up as she is sure that Dani had to clean up worse messes when she worked for her dad. Dani then delivers a very pithy line about how she’s never “felt things” before she worked for Bette and honestly, the whole scene is pretty ridiculous.

Bette finally confesses the big reason why she’s running, and it’s one we’ve known was coming–Kit (Bette’s sister, played by Pam Grier on the original series) died of a heroin overdose. Bette wants to change the system that failed her sister.

Dani doesn’t skip a beat. She tells Bette to drop out and be with Felicity or break up with her and stay in the race. She can’t do both. Honestly, I don’t think Dani is wrong, but she also appears to have zero compassion whatsoever for Bette, and I can’t believe Bette lets Dani get away with it.

Meanwhile, a reporter from the L.A. Times is doing a profile of Alice, who is, of course, having zero chill about it as she wants to appear as perfect as possible for the profile. This involves lots of hijinks at the Alice offices with some fun preening on the part of Leisha Hailey.

But the day is about Shane, of course. Shane takes Alice and Bette to the bar to unveil the name to them:  Dana’s. It’s a touching reminder for long-time fans of the show of the legacy of the characters who’ve come and gone.

Later, Bette cooks dinner for her and Shane and they smoke pot together and talk about their relationships. It’s quite possibly the best scene in the episode, just like the previous episode.

“Did you ever think you’d be spending your fortieth birthday with a middle-aged lesbian and no chance of sex?” Bette asks, and the two friends laugh and giggle while also remembering those who are no longer in their lives–Kit, Tina, and Quiara.

With the special courage that only a milestone birthday can offer, Shane finally signs her divorce papers, and she and Bette laugh even harder as Bette toasts her to new beginnings. It is such a fun scene as Jennifer Beals and Katherine Moennig genuinely seem to be having a blast.

But they’re meeting Alice for what is supposed to be quiet drinks at Dana’s and have to go. Of course, it ends up being a massive surprise party, and Dani, Sophie, Finley, and Micah are there, too.

Dani and Sophie are more than happy to flaunt the newest turn in their relationship–engagement rings–as Finley throws back shot after shot of tequila. While Sophie tries to slow her down, Finley doesn’t.

Again–what exactly is up with Finley? There is clearly more to her backstory, but when will we get these details? It seems like there’s more to her character beyond “religious homophobia” trauma, but the show is taking a long time to reveal what that is.

So for now, Finley exists as the millennial lesbian Kramer of the show. And it makes perfect sense when she shows up at Rebecca’s to say she can get over the “priest thing” since she isn’t a real one anyway.

Rebecca is understandably hurt, and basically tells her to go home. But in a truly cringeworthy moment, Finley doubles down and tells Rebecca she loves her. Rebecca doesn’t budge, though, and Finely drunkenly bikes away.

Back at Shane’s party, the alcohol is flowing freely and everyone is feeling good. Jose shows up, totally confusing Micah with mixed signals after a long night of flirting (even though he blew him off in last week’s episode). Jose finally kisses him and hopefully, these two are back on track.

Shane and Bette present Alice with a framed copy of her front page story crowning her as the “Queen of Queer” which wow. The photo has both Gigi and Nat in the picture, foreshadowing what we all knew was coming…

A threesome right then and there in the middle of Shane’s party! (I mean, they went to another room and everything, but yeah…) Though Alice maintains pretty firm control the whole time, it remains to be seen whether this rendezvous will only serve to further rekindle Nat and Gigi’s relationship…

Alice returns to the party (hair all kinds of askew) with Bette to present Shane’s cake, and Shane blows out the candles, just in time for Quiara, Shane’s ex, to appear in the flesh for the first time to wish her a happy birthday.

Next. The L Word: Generation Q season 1 episode 3 review: Introducing Megan Rapinoe. dark

What did you think of this week’s episode of The L Word: Generation Q? Sound off in the comments below.