Almost as immediately as news broke that a reboot of The L Word was finally, actually happening, it reignited the conversation about how the series could “atone for the sins” of its past. (Among them: its treatment of transgender and bisexual individuals, class, and race.) Thankfully, the cast of The L Word: Generation Q is devoid of cis actors playing characters who are trans. It’s also notably more diverse, thanks to a whole crew of younger, fresh faces who’ve joined the familiar ones of Bette Porter (Jennifer Beals), Alice Pieszecki (Leisha Hailey) and Shane McCutcheon (Kate Moennig).
But there is still plenty of sex, and the show’s interpersonal intimacies still drive it. Which is why these recaps will take the form of snippets of Alice’s legendary OurChart, tracking how each of their storylines intersect. (And not just sexually—no offense, Alice.) Here are the relationships that defined episode 5.
Quiara and Shane
Things are really starting to seem like they’re going to work out for Shane and Quiara—especially when Quiara, clearly touched that Shane has been wearing her wedding ring on a chain around her neck, admits she regrets sending the divorce papers. And then, Quiara drops a bombshell: She’s pregnant—and totally fine with Shane sitting out the whole kid thing.
“I’m not asking you to be a parent. It’s my dream, not yours,” Quiara says earnestly. “All I’m asking is for you to be my partner.” They’ve never been a traditional couple, Quiara insists, but it’s hard not to agree with Shane when she points out this would be different. Bette and Alice certainly see her point, anyway: “What does that even mean?,” Bette says when Shane fills them in. None of them have any idea.
Shane is still lost when Quiara shows up on her doorstep with a peace offering in the form of a bottle of whiskey. “You can take all the time you need. Process it,” she tells Shane. “I just wanted to let you know that I don’t need you—I just want you. So no pressure or anything like that.” And, just like that, she lands herself an invitation to Angie’s play. Bette and Alice are clearly shocked to see her, but it isn’t long before they seem just like any other couple. Shane is certainly back to herself, anyway; she ends the night sussing out Angie’s crush on Jordie, and pushing her to act on it.
Finley and Tess
Finley’s fling with the Hot Priest appears to be over—though according to the latter, the breakup was about much more than Finley getting wasted and telling her that a) she loves her and b) doesn’t think she’s a real priest.
“Sweet girl, you have so much you haven’t dealt with,” Rebecca says when Finley attempts to apologize, brushing her hair back condescendingly. “You need to work on your own shit. You have deep wounds.” Somewhat impressively, Finley manages to wait until after she makes a rare call to her dad—who hangs up because he’s busy with her sister, who’s apparently been engaged for two months—to burst into tears.
But never mind all that: Finley has Tess now. And Tess is a lot more fun—at least since she broke sobriety in a post-breakup fugue state. (Her girlfriend cheated on her with, you guessed it, Shane.) Tess was actually still sober when she and Finley started out their day, but a friend from AA’s suggestion that she do something nice for someone leads Tess to treat a pathetically hungover Finley to brunch. They bond quickly enough for Finley to know something’s wrong when Tess—who told her just hours ago that she’s two years sober—proposes they do shots. Already heartbroken, and newly inebriated, they naturally hook up.
Dani and Sophie
If viewers are starting to get bored with Dani’s daddy issues, well, imagine how Sophie must feel. Each is trying harder than ever to make their relationship work, but Sophie goes as far as acquiescing to signing the prenup Dani’s dad sends over—even though he wouldn’t support any kids that she birthed. It’s a huge gesture, and so is Dani’s refusal to allow it. (She’s prioritized what she perceives to be her father’s desires in every episode to date.) It’s also huge of Dani to tell her father to fuck off in the lobby of his workplace, and don’t think Sophie doesn’t know it. But when she tries to thank Dani, Dani essentially tells her to fuck off, too.
At the same time, it’s just as easy to see where Dani’s coming from. She clearly misses her late mom, and while her father is most definitely flawed, it wasn’t so long ago that she was supporting the opioid industry just like he is. There’s a good chance Sophie doesn’t know that, and almost certain that she doesn’t know what it’s like to have a small, casual, and not entirely supportive family. But it isn’t for lack of trying. Once again, the idea that they might actually get married seems unlikely. To quote the Hot Priest: “Sweet girl, you have so much you haven’t dealt with. You need to work on your own shit.”
Micah and José
Micah and José’s relationship has been slowly but surely simmering. But in episode 5, the pair take it up a notch, albeit unwittingly. As Micah walks him out, José turns to tell Micah how cute he is. And then, he lets something else slip: “I love you.” A second later, the fully populated living room bursts into joyful laughter. “That was an error,” Micah insists. Sophie, on the other hand, disagrees: “Um, it didn’t sound like it.”
Eventually, they get back to discussing José’s artwork (which is apparently good enough to be considered by Night Gallery). But it’s only a matter of time before they get back to the elephant in the room. “Do you love me?,” José asks, ever the picture of confidence. Micah blinks and looks away, smiling awkwardly. “It’s just, you’ve been kind of all over the place lately,” he finally says. “I just keep thinking: What is it this guy wants?” Turns out José himself doesn’t even know, which Micah all but expected. “We’re in this in-between part and it’s messy and it’s weird and I like you. I think that’s all that matters right now,” he says. José can’t help but compliment Micah’s ability to get him to open up, at which point Micah reminds him he used to be a lesbian. And on that very vulnerable note, they try something new: For the first time, Micah invites José to touch him.
Alice, Gigi, and Nat
No one, Alice assures a shocked Bette, is more surprised to see herself in the company of both her girlfriend (Nat) and her girlfriend’s ex-wife (Gigi) than Alice herself. But for the foreseeable post-threesome future, that’s the new reality. They drink wine; they bicker; they order Thai food via Postmates. And, perhaps most of all, they disagree on what all that means. Gigi and Alice—who unabashedly share another order of Pad See Ew—are clearly in the same boat. Nat, on the other hand, can’t help but frantically state the obvious: that Alice is her girlfriend, and Gigi is her ex-wife. No matter how many times she says it, it doesn’t change the fact that she’s the only one who seems to mind.
With Shane still reeling from Quiara’s pregnancy, and Bette still learning the meaning of the word “throuple,” Alice is on her own. At least figuratively. She, Nat, and Gigi start traveling in a pack, much to their own—and others’—discomfort. (At Angie’s play, Bette and Shane visibly lean forward in their seats to stare when Alice grabs ahold of Gigi’s hand.) Nat, on the other hand, is unbothered. Or at least appears to be. She seems too smart not to have realized the final equation doesn’t include her.