The 10 Best LGBT-Inclusive TV Episodes of the Week: June 18-June 25

This week TV gave us a beautiful ending for Sameen Shaw, more rage and angst for Deran Cody, D. Smith dealing with even more “just my opinion” bullshit, and much more. Here are my choices for the 10 best LGBT-inclusive TV episodes of the week.

10. The Last Ship: “Rising Sun” 

This episode had Tom Chandler trying to return to his old crew. It was full of the tension and action people looking for in this type of show.

Best Moment: Alisha silently welcoming Chandler back with a salute.

9. Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta: “Mystery Solved”

This show continues to be everything I want from reality TV. Mimi and Stevie J tracked down the woman who alleged to be the mother of Stevie J’s child. She insisted the daughter was home and that they could do a drug test until suddenly admitting she never had a baby and made the entire thing up.

Best Moment: The cut from Scrappy saying “I appreciate you respecting my opinion” to D. Smith saying “I really don’t respect his opinion.”

8. Pretty Little Liars: “Tick-Tock, Bitches”

Pretty Little Liars is back for a seventh season and seems more committed than ever to just being a sexy Scooby-Doo. I mean, they thought Hanna was dead until it turned out to just be a mask on a doll? What a silly show.

Best Moment: Emily flashing back on her relationship with Alison as she looked through her room.

7. UnREAL: “Guerilla” 

In this episode, Quinn decided to get more hands-on. This let us see even more of her cold, manipulative side and created even more tension between her and Rachel.

Best Moment: Jay telling Ruby to use the fact that she’s the smartest woman in the competition.

6. Animal Kingdom: “Stay Close, Stick Together”

This family sure does have trouble getting along. There were a lot of tense scenes in this episode and plenty of sad backstory from J.

Best Moment: The underwater fight.

5. Containment: “A Kingdom Divided Against Itself” 

This episode had a truly tragic cliffhanger for Katie and also revealed a lot more about Sabine, who might be the best character on this show.

Best Moment: Sam already being exhausted by the drama between Suzy and Dennis.

4. Game of Thrones: “Battle of the Bastards”

Obviously, the huge battle sequence is what makes this episode stand out. But, personally, my favorite thing about it was all of the dialogue between Sansa and Jon. And, of course, Sansa coming face-to-face with Ramsay again was powerful.

Best Moment: Yara flirting with Daenerys.

3. Penny Dreadful: “The Blessed Dark”

This was the series finale, which means many characters were trying to bring about the end of days. Fortunately, it seems like Ethan stopped it with a quick prayer/murder combo.

Best Moment: Dorian’s speech leading up to “it’s worth it for all this perfection.”

2. The Fosters: “Potential Energy” 

This episode did a much better job with tone than any guns in schools TV episode I’ve seen. Of course there was tension and fear throughout, but they also captured the monotony of being in lockdown and the way people don’t put their personal dramas aside. The cliffhanger set things up for an even more tense episode next week.

Best Moment: Stef leading Mariana to safety and Lena running to hug her.

1. Person of Interest: “return 0”

In Person of Interest‘s final episode, they decided to let Shaw be the hero and the survivor. I couldn’t be happier with this decision.

Best Moment: Shaw’s beautiful, understated reaction to the computer telling her that Root understood what makes her special.

The 10 Best LGBT-Inclusive TV Episodes of the Week: June 18-June 25

The Best LGBT-Inclusive TV Episodes of the Week: June 11-June 18

This week TV gave us a full season of Orange is the New Black, which overtook the list a little bit. Plus, another great episode of UnREAL. Here are my picks for the best LGBT-inclusive TV episodes of the week.

10. Orange is the New Black: “Turn Table Turn”

This episode finally gave us Blanca Flores’ backstory and it was great. In the present, she fought back against the random searches through personal odor. Overall, the episode showed what a badass genius she is.

Best Moment: Poussey saying “I’m going to take my girl to Amsterdam.”

9. UnREAL: “Insurgent” 

Between Quinn’s competition with Chet, Rachel running around wanting credit for how progressive she thinks she is and Ruby trying her hardest to be an actual good person in this world, this show continues to be incredible.

Best Moment: Jay’s reaction to Rachel saying that she thought he’d appreciate her doing something subversive.

8. Orange is the New Black: “Bunny, Skull, Bunny, Skull” 

This episode gave us Aleida adjusting to life outside of prison and some strong feelings about the film The Wiz. Plus, Piper joined Blanca in standing on the cafeteria table.

Best Moment: Sophia getting Jane’s note.

7. Orange is the New Black: “(Don’t) Say Anything)

Sometimes Brook can just be so Brook it’s embarrassing, both in the present timeline and in her flashbacks. But it was nice seeing her own up to her mistakes and communicate with Poussey.

Best Moment: Brook holding up a boombox and asking for forgiveness was very cute.

6. Orange is the New Black: “The Animals” 

The end of this episode was extremely hard to watch and I don’t think that the character death was necessary, but there were several good moments in it. In particular, Poussey’s fight with Brook, coupled with the quiet reconciliation at the end, was very well done.

Best Moment: Poussey and Brook’s shared smile from across the cafeteria.

5. Orange is the New Black: “Friends in Low Places” 

This episode highlighted how difficult it is to improve things at Litchfield, when Caputo’s plan for education courses was distorted into a plan to get inmates to do construction work without paying them. Plus, Aleida realized her ability to do nails is a marketable skill, but was disappointed to find out that the salon is mainly used as a front to deal heroine.

Best Moment: Piper’s phone call with Cal.

4. Orange is the New Black: “Toast Can’t Never Be Bread”

This finale gave Poussey one last quietly beautiful story through flashbacks. In the present timeline, the prisoners dealt with their anger and suffocating helplessness.

Best Moment: The last shot of Poussey smiling was manipulative as hell, but obviously it worked in terms of producing emotion.

3. Orange is the New Black: “Work That Body for Me” 

This season premiere was fantastic. Alex and Lolly’s story had a perfect darkly humorous tone that the rest of the season never quite achieved. Suzanne and Maureen’s trip to the woods was also great.

Best Moment: The montage set to “Last Resort” really does show that we’re in the golden age of television.

2. Orange is the New Black: “People Persons”

This episode revealed why Suzanne is in prison and her crime is more upsetting than I ever imagined. The scenes of her being happy and succeeding as a superstore greeter are both sweet and hard to watch knowing what happens.

Best Moment: Suzanne’s last scene with Dylan.

1. Orange is the New Black: “Piece of Shit”

This episode gave us a lot of Nicky, including a heartbreaking N.A. meeting and an unfortunate backslide at the end.

Best Moment: A guard taking Nicky’s sober chip away from her was heartbreaking.

 

 

The Best LGBT-Inclusive TV Episodes of the Week: June 11-June 18

The 10 Best LGBT-Inclusive TV Episodes of the Week: June 5-June 11

This week TV gave us Felix Dawkins scrambling to explain previously unmentioned identical triplets from different countries, Game of Thrones‘ first lesbian character, the return of UnREAL, and more. Here are my choices for the 10 best LGBT-inclusive TV episodes of the week.

10. Mistresses: “Mistaken Identity” 

This week Joss received a visit from Harry’s sister Kate. She was put in an awkward position when she found out that Kate wanted her help to have a one night stand before her wedding and this led to her fighting out that everyone thinks her engagement to Harry is weird.

Best Moment: Joss reminding everyone that not judging anyone is her whole thing.

9. Game of Thrones: “The Broken Man” 

This episode had some nice stuff from the Sansa and Jon storyline, which has definitely been the most interesting part of this season. There was also a good scene between Margaery and Olenna.

Best Moment: When Yara took a couple seconds to quit being a horn dog and concentrate on caring about her brother, there was a nice earnest quality to the relationship.

8. Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta: “Final Goodbye” 

This was another slightly more somber episode, with Scrapp saying goodbye to his family before serving his prison sentence. But, as a subplot, we got D. Smith and Tammy Rivera using an anti-bullying panel to deal with their personal grievances and this was both horrifying and one of the most fun things I’ve seen in a while.

Best Moment: D. Smith standing up for herself after Tammy tried to say that she’s fine with trans people, she just doesn’t want to explain it to her kids.

7. Scream: “Psycho” 

This show continues to just be the best at balancing emotional resonance and ironic detachment in a way that makes it look easy.

Best Moment: Audrey threatening the hotel manager. Damn.

6. Penny Dreadful: “No Beast So Fierce” 

I’m always down for a good version of Dracula and Renfield. And whatever’s happening between Lily and Dorian sure is something.

Best Moment: The whole Lily almost slitting Dorian’s throat thing.

5. Veep: “Congressional Ball” 

Despite a sloppy and confusing plot for Jonah (that was slightly redeemed by Richard’s cheerful incompetence), this was a mostly solid episode with some good moments from Selina, Mike and Gary.

Best Moment: Selina ditching an LGBT-advocate with Catherine and Marjorie (who looked amazing dressed up for the ball).

4. Young & Hungry: “Young & Hurricane”

This episode acknowledged that Gabi and Josh really haven’t had fun together since they first met, they’ve mostly just been fighting and breaking each other’s hearts for the past two years. This was pretty bold on the show’s part and they followed through and didn’t take it all back with a make up scene.

Best Moment: Elliot getting mad at Alan specifically because now he has to be nice to Yolanda.

3. UnREAL: “War”

I’m just so glad this show is back and I can once again watch Rachel and Quinn have weird, dark, hilarious conversations every week. Rachel screaming “I’m changing the world” while Romeo does her from behind is everything I want from television.

Best Moment: “Like, without question, he tans his balls.”

2. Person of Interest: “Synecdoche”

After the heartbreak of last week’s episode, this week gave us a very angry Shaw. I think it’s safe to say we’re all right there with her.

Best Moment: Shaw screaming, “This simulation sucks.”

1. Orphan Black: “The Mitigation of Competition” 

This episode was intense and showed what a formidable villain Evie is. But, it also found room for lots of character-driven scenes even as the large-scale sci-fi plot intensified.

Best Moment: Felix trying and failing to explain everything to Adele was a well-crafted scene and an example of this show handling tone perfectly. They get genuine laughs from the almost farcical nature of it all, but then seamlessly move into dealing with the emotional reality.

The 10 Best LGBT-Inclusive TV Episodes of the Week: June 5-June 11

The 10 Best LGBT-Inclusive TV Episodes of the Week: May 29-June 4

This week TV gave us a look at Angela Montenegro’s hopes and dreams, Roger Smith in a schoolgirl uniform, some truly emotional scenes between Root Groves and Sameen Shaw, and more! Here are my choices for the 10 best LGBT-inclusive TV episodes of the week.

10. Bones: “The Movie in the Making” 

This episode didn’t do much with the documentary format, but since this is season 11, it was nice seeing an episode that was a little different. There were some nice moments in the episode, especially with the romance between Vaziri and Saroyan.

Best Moment: Angela talking about how she thought she’d be an artist in Paris some day but ended up in the lab struck a really nice tone.

9. Penny Dreadful: “This World is Our Hell”

As the title implies, this episode was rough. Stuff is just not going Ethan’s way at all.

Best Moment: Ethan sharing his story with Hecate.

8. American Dad!: “Mine Struggle”

This was a nice feel-good episode that did some fun things with the premise of “the family finds some salt in their backyard.” There were a couple nice twists and the mention of The Cleveland Show made me happy.

Best Moment: I’m a simple man with simple needs and I loved “I’m also the downstairs toilet.”

7. Containment: “Inferno”

This show started off a bit slow for my taste– the stakes were high and yet I didn’t feel personally invested. However, now that most of the major characters are in a central location, it’s really working dramatically.

Best Moment: The tense elevator scene was extremely well-done.

6. Scream: “I Know What You Did Last Summer”

I missed this show so much and the premiere completely reminded me why. It captures the feeling of being young so well. While most teen drama characters wear their hearts on their sleeves, these kids are numb and jaded but hide a storm of emotions underneath. Things  like a very earnest delivery of “I’ve never listened to your podcast” or a text from the killer that says “I know what you did last summer… get it?” are just silly enough without undercutting the reality of the situation and the characters.

Best Moment: Audrey panicking as she sees all those letters.

5. Veep: “C**tgate”

On a lesser sitcom, the twist that almost every staffer called Selina the c-word would be overplayed as a huge set piece, but this episode works because it’s so underplayed, right down to the anti-climactic ending of Selina simply asking Amy, “It was everyone, wasn’t it?” The b-plot with Jonah was fantastic, from him storming out and asking a focus group how they don’t understand double-sided mirrors to him assuring Dan that the glasses he gave him are “dope.”

Best Moment: Catherine and Marjorie telling each other how happy they are in a monotone immediately sold me on that couple.

4. Orphan Black: “The Redesign of Natural Objects”

This episode had all the tension you expect from an episode of Orphan Black, plus a Jesus Christ Superstar number.

Best Moment: Felix getting annoyed at the micro-managing of his spy outfit.

3. Steven Universe: “Hit the Diamond”

The actual plot of this episode is that Ruby and Sapphire can’t even get through a game of baseball without getting distracted flirting with each other. We’re really in the golden age of television.

Best Moment: There were so many, but I’ll go with Garnet’s innocent “whoops” after Ruby and Sapphire can’t help but fuse.

2. Person of Interest: “The Day The World Went Away”

Obviously, I’m very upset about one big event in this episode, but it’s made all the more frustrating by the fact that aside from that one thing, this was a great episode with some fantastic scenes of Root and Shaw.

Best Moment: Root and Shaw’s mid-shootout heart-to-heart showed off everything I love about that couple.

1. Archer: “Deadly Velvet, Part 2”

Part two of this murder mystery managed to be surprising and interesting, while also playing with the fact that Veronica Dean was very very obviously the killer. There were some truly stand out moments from Lana and, of course, that ending.

Best Moment: Pam thinking that the first rule of robotics is that killing a robot doesn’t count as murder.

 

The 10 Best LGBT-Inclusive TV Episodes of the Week: May 29-June 4