SPOILER ALERT: This article includes details about Sunday night’s episode of The L Word: Generation Q.
We are a handful of episodes away from the season finale of The L Word: Generation Q, but in tonight’s episode appropriately titled “Loose Ends”, we see the ramifications of last week’s events. In particular, we see the Laurel Holloman reprise her role as Bette’s (Jennifer Beals) ex-wife Tina as she comes back at a very dire time as her mayoral campaign goes on a downward spiral. But before we get to this reunion, let’s catch up.
After a night of three-way fun, we see Alice (Leisha Hailey) attempt to navigate this newly formed thruple she is in with her girlfriend Nat (Stephanie Allynne) and her ex-wife Gigi (Sepideh Moafi) — and it is more complicated than she had hoped. Good ol’ earnest and well-meaning Finley (Jacqueline Toboni) continues to make some poor life choices but keeps a smile on her face as she deals with her one-night fling with Tess (Jamie Clayton) who has now fallen off the wagon after she found out Lena (Mercedes Maso) slept with Shane (Katherine Moennig) — who happens to be her new boss (we’ll get to Shane’s issues later). On top of dealing with her rift with priest Rebecca (Olivia Thirlby), Finley starts to get closer to Sophie (Rosanny Zayas) who continues to have a rocky road to the altar with her fiancée Dani (Arienne Mandi) who is wildly stressed out with her familial issues and trying to put out so many fires on Bette’s campaign to be mayor.
Meanwhile, it looks like Shane is back with Quiara (Lex Scott Davis) after signing divorce papers and the news that she’s preggers. While Bette deals with her campaign madness, Shane shows her maternal side to Angie (Jordan Hull) as she tells her BFF Kordi (Sophie Giannamore) that she’s in love with her — and gets her first kiss! As Quiara sees this, she and Shane strengthen this refreshed relationship and they decide to move in together — which makes Shane kick Finley out. Sophie offers Finley a bed at her place which makes them even closer and puts more of a rift between her and Dani.
There are a lot of plates spinning this season, but the biggest is Bette and her road to becoming mayor. After being called out on her affair with Felicity (Latarsha Rose) by her ex-husband Jeff (Tyler Adams), her campaign is kind of a mess. In the last episode, Jeff confronts Bette again and while doing so, pushes Angie, which caused Bette to push him — and he is down for the count. In tonight’s episode, she is trapped in her house trying to figure out her next move with Dani and Pierce (Brian Michael Smith) as the press is perched on her front porch like vultures waiting to attack.
She contemplates dropping out of the race, but gets a surprise visit from Tina, thanks to Angie. She knows Bette best and tries to console her during this time. Naturally, issues from their relationship surface and they unpack their complicated emotions about their split. Ultimately, Tina and Angie remind Bette why she is running. She realizes that the scandal is minuscule compared to the fuel for her campaign: the overdose and death of her sister Kit (Pam Grier) and how the system did her wrong. That said, she announces to the press that she is not dropping out of the race and ends the episode in an emotional embrace with Tina telling her not to leave.
Deadline talked to Beals about what Tina’s return means for Bette and if we can expect Holloman is here to stay. She also teases what we can expect at the end of Bette’s mayoral “crusade.”
DEADLINE: Did you know from the beginning that Tina would return?
JENNIFER BEALS: Oh yes — and frankly I would have loved for her to return sooner and for more episodes. But you know, Laurel Holloman has a really wonderful international career as a painter and she has obligations. As a painter, if you have a show, that could be a year out and you have, say 30 canvases or 25 canvases that you’ve got to paint to fulfill that show. So it’s a very different schedule [than an actor]. So I feel like we were lucky to get her for the amount of time that we did…but I think it’s crucial to the heart of the show to have Tina come back.
DEADLINE: It seemed like she was there the whole time from episode one of this new season.
BEALS: We worked really hard to make sure to fill that gap with phone calls and even tangential comments about Tina so she’s not absent.
DEADLINE: What was your reaction to her returning and how did it all come together?
BEALS: You only have her for a certain amount of time so that’s going to limit what kind of stories you can tell and what story might be meaningful. I think the story of a same-sex couple co-parenting after a divorce is an interesting and meaningful story that we’ve tried to tell with love and care — and will continue to try to count with love and care.
DEADLINE: Bette is currently on a very interesting journey. It’s very rocky, to say the least.
BEALS: To say the least! (laughs) But hold on, because it just gets crazy. If you have somebody who’s been divorced and who’s only sibling has died of an overdose — that’s two punches to the heart. The other shoe is about to drop and Bette’s way of coping with things is by working. It’s easier to work and ignore things. Things bubble up and she can’t help it — but it’s really like getting back on the treadmill and try to solve the problem.
She thinks that she is healing by running for mayor and trying to address the crisis that took her sister because her sister was healing from her addiction. She had faced her addiction and was trying to, and was successfully living a clean life, right? If that’s the correct term. It’s only because the intake system in the hospital failed her that she got back into this, into this terrible cycle. She kept it secret and nobody was able to help her. I think Bette feels that she is trying to deal with her emotions by trying to right this wrong, instead of really just sitting with the wound and trying to look at how she felt before she takes up the saber to go solve the problem — but she’s really like walking through room after room trailing blood, you know?
DEADLINE: Would you say that Tina’s return is helping or throwing a wrench into Bette’s journey?
BEALS: I think it’s really complicated. I think this is the person who is the love of her life and it is a comfort to have her there and it is also the mother of her child. It’s a comfort to have someone with whom she can discuss these issues about the well-being and safety of their child. But it’s also really complicated because Tina doesn’t want to be with her anymore. So it’s kind of scratching another wound, poking at another wound. It’s not an easy answer.
DEADLINE: At the end of the episode, it’s not 100 percent clear if Tina will be staying. Do you think we can expect her again in future episodes?
BEALS: Yes, definitely…as much as Laurel’s schedule will allow.
DEADLINE: So with Tina’s return, the scandal with Felicity and the confrontation with her husband, what is the trajectory of Bette’s mayoral campaign and how it affects her life?
BEALS: Well, I think it’s a perpetual question of how becoming mayor would affect Bette’s family and affect her relationship. Other than speaking with Angie, I don’t think she’s really considered it. It’s less of a campaign and more of a crusade. When she gets on the track, she gets on the track with blinders on, other than her child. I think she can stop a little bit. She can slow down a little bit for her child. But for everybody else it’s just the trains moving, you can get on or get off, but this is where we’re going.
DEADLINE: Without totally spoiling the end of the season, what can you tease about how Bette’s “crusade” will end?
BEALS: What can I tease? (long pause) I know that Showtime has forbidden me to say certain things. (laughs) I think it’s fair enough to say that you’ll start to see the ramifications of the crusade.