Time. Does it exist? Does it slip through our fingers like sand through an hourglass? Does it heal all pain? Does it make fools of us all? Well, there are many ways to answer these questions but watching The L Word franchise is not one of those ways. Season Two of The L Word Generation Q has had its ups (the first seven episodes) and downs (the final three episodes) and it has remained consistent in one way: absolutely forgoing any traditional notions of time or what can be accomplished in a calendar day. Some of these situations are typical movie magic, like Alice re-writing her entire book in less than two weeks.
But a haywire timeline often made the story difficult to follow and analyze. Kayla Kumari addressed this recently in her review of episode 209 on The AV Club:
The very condensed and often confusing timeline of this show doesn’t do it any favors in terms of convincing character work. We’re burning through so many of these relationships so fast to the point where it’s getting dizzying…. Sometimes Generation Q’s super-fast approach to relationship writing can be fun. Other times, it just perplexes, characters moving so fast that their interactions seem off, the stakes manipulated awkwardly instead of unfolding organically.
We rarely sense that situations have changed or conversations have been had in our absence, as if these characters cease to exist and lose cell-phone service when we’re not watching. Generation Q is also far more rooted in realism than the original series, or similarly campy shows like Glee or Pretty Little Liars that are so profoundly divorced from reality that time inconsistencies are smoother to bear.
As I’ve been tasked with analyzing the show in a lengthy recap and a podcast, my inability to understand its timeline inspired me to begin tracking it. There’s no way to build a timeline for this season that fits with everything characters say and every date we’re shown, so I had to choose my anchor, and I chose the actual calendar days we’re given throughout the season as the hard facts around which everything else conforms or doesn’t. This means some of what the characters do and say will be inconsistent with a coherent timeline.
Whenever I refer to things happening on the same day without citing specific evidence, you can assume that evidence is: its positioning between scenes with clear timestamps, outfits worn, or references to previous or subsequent events of the day.
The Complete Timeline of The L Word Generation Q Season 2
Right out of the gate, danger and mystery lurks behind the curtain!!!!!!
Our first event of the story is Shane and Tess attending Eddie’s poker game for the first time, which takes place on, seemingly, Wednesday April 7th, because it occurs 15 hours before the rehearsal dinner evening — I’ll get to why this exact date exists in a minute.
So, April 8th is a big day for everybody, so much is accomplished:
- Nat and Alice do a drop-off, almost have sex, Gigi steals Alice’s gum
- Carrie brings Groupon Buns to Bette
- Dani finalizes the seating chart
- Micah pretends to be at the gym when he’s really banging Jose’s (9:46 AM)
- Alice goes to work in a new outfit
- Jordi and Angie ponder a DNA test
- Alice changes back into her outfit from earlier for lunch with Shane and Bette
- Bette interviews for a new job and takes it
- Alice calls Finley to return to L.A
Questions this raises include: Why did Alice ask for soup of the day when she already had lunch plans? Does Alice eat BREAKFAST SOUP?
We get our first timestamp when Chloe texts Shane on her way to Poker Night #2:
“Can you believe we’re getting married tomorrow?” asks Dani at the rehearsal dinner. I simply cannot!
On the night of April 8th:
- Gigi and Bette’s blind date coincides with Carrie and Tina’s established date
- Shane and Tess return to Eddie’s for Poker Night 2, get the heave-ho
- Rehearsal Dinner of Deep Breathing Experience
- Sophie and Dani go out dancing and go home for a boozy bang
Episode 201 ends with the wedding on Friday April 9th, and Episode 202 opens there: punches are thrown, Sophie returns to her Mom’s house for some tough love and leftovers.
Night falls, the sun rises, and Dani wakes up groggy in her bed to more phone calls from Sophie (who is dropping off a casserole as Dani wakes, wearing the same shirt she wears to work a few scenes later) — and somehow it is still Friday April 9th. Everybody had such a nice time on the first April 9th that they decided to do it again!
Initially I thought Episode 202 was mostly placed a few days after the wedding, ’cause weddings generally occur on weekends, but I learned quickly to abandon matching events like “work” or “weddings” or “school” to which days of the week usually host those events.
Friday April 9th #2 is a busy day for our friends:
- Bette drops off Tartine for Dani en route to her first day of work (she was hired on Thursday)
- Micah gets a call from Jose at 9:38 AM while sorting through wedding gifts with Mari
- Finley returns to the Aloce Show with accurate coffee
- Shane proposes a poker night to Tess, who resists
- Bette attempts to woo a new artist who hates her boss
- Alice does another mid-day outfit change (perhaps one is for taping and one isn’t)
- Finley and Sophie squabble at work and Finley volunteers to quit because drama
- Alice meets Tom
On the night of Friday April 9th #2, Bette bangs Gigi, and Finley goes to Dana’s and talks to Shane and Tess about her predicament. During this conversation she says, “I knew the wedding was that day but I thought it was later, like at night,” even though the wedding was… yesterday.
Alice goes home, describes the day I just described to Nat, Finley ices her eye at home as Drivers License begins and we segue back into daylight, where Dani is running.
So now it’s, seemingly Saturday April 10: Tess says Shane did great with Finley yesterday and they make firm plans for a dry run of poker night. After a sunset montage, we return to The Aloce Show set, where she’s back in her Friday April 9 #2 Morning Outfit, but Sophie has changed clothes and they’re off to Poker Night. Working the weekend!
So the night of Saturday April 10:
- Poker in the Rear Night!
- Micah visits Dani (the casserole from Sophie is still on the counter, 36 hours later)
- Alice goes home to Nat and they fight incoherently about non-monogamy
- Sophie goes over to Dani’s to plead for forgiveness and instead they break up for real
That concludes Episode 202.
We don’t get another specific date until Episode 204, and that date is Saturday April 17th, and working backwards from that date, I’ve determined 202 opens on Thursday April 15th. It opens with Angie getting her DNA results at 7:15 AM (where is she running home from at 7:15 AM?)…
…and then we move into another big day. On Thursday April 15th:
- Sophie and Finley do a little housecleaner
- Alice angry washes dishes, Nat returns from her sex date with Marissa
- Sophie and Alice go to work, Alice gets a 9:31 AM text from Nat asking if she can go out with Marissa tomorrow night too
- Bette calls Gigi her “girlfriend” to Rodolfo
- Micah gets a new gig at the LGBTQIA+ Center
- Dani signs for a penthouse in the sky
- Gigi and Bette and Bette’s sleeves go to an Orgasmic Art Show
- Micah and Maribel squabble in the kitchen and Finley apologizes for being white
A B-Roll montage moves us into the next day, Friday April 16th, which we know is the next day because Gigi refers to Bette calling her her girlfriend “yesterday.”
On Friday April 16th (possibly the longest day of the season):
- Alice talks to Tom about her book, make plans for dinner that night
- Angie gets out of drama club early and fights with Mama B about her desire to meet Kayla
- Micah talks to Nat about seeing non-trans clients
- Sophie goes home and is like, “where is the table”
- Micah and Maribel do sunset pony play
- Bette + Shane + Alice accompany Angie to meet Kayla
- Dani picks up her new keys, trashes her old keys, and goes out for wine with Gigi
- Alice spies Marissa + Nat on her date while having din-din with Tom
- Sophie returns home to find Finley has done an Extreme Home Makeover in mere hours
- Alice and Nat break up
- Dani’s Dad is arrested for some reason
Episode 203 ends.
Episode 204 is when the timeline goes truly haywire.
Episode 204, like most of the episodes this season, all takes place in one day — it’s the Lake-free Lake House Day where Sophie tracks down Dani, Alice wakes up at Bette’s after breaking up with Nat, Finley prepares for her ultimately thwarted date with Sophie, Tess drives to and from Vegas, Angie goes to see Micah at the LGBT Center, Bette tracks down Pippa, and Tess and Shane kiss but then Tess says she’s seeing someone — and that day is Saturday April 17th. We learn this certainty by texts received later that day by Shane….
…and by Micah.
We know that yesterday was Friday because Alice wakes up at Bette’s house after having broken up with Nat the night before, and this is the most specific mention of relative time in the episode. But it’s confusing because when Finley comes home from her new soccer gig on Saturday morning, Sophie asks Finley if it was a late night at the bar, and Finley wasn’t at the bar on Friday night, she was at home replacing furniture and being lightly held by Sophie.
The biggest problem in this episode, however, is that at the top of the episode, Sophie tells Micah — who is in a panic having not been able to get ahold of Dani — that she hasn’t talked to Dani “in weeks” but the wedding was literally 8 days ago.
Episode 205 is, once again, a one-day episode — same outfits throughout, evening plans mentioned in the morning eventually take place at the ending, etc. We learn later in the episode that the day in question is Wednesday, April 21.
At 205’s open, Sophie asks Finley if she’s alright because she hasn’t seen her “in a couple days.” This tracks. But other things don’t.
I’d read Gigi waking up to find Bette in her loft on her laptop as being the morning after their post-Pippa-dinner sex scene, which would’ve been the 18th. Bette tells Gigi that she found Pippa, information she absolutely would’ve disclosed sooner than four days later.
Fitting with the absolutely unhinged Tess/Cherie timeline we’ve addressed at length on the recap; Tess tells Shane she met Cherie “this past weekend,” so that means she met Cherie on Friday, April 16, since she went to Vegas on the 17th, so on the 17th she told Shane she was seeing someone she met the night before.
Another GIANT DAY lies ahead for our friends on April 21:
- Bette wakes up at Gigi’s, Gigi says she’s seeing Dani later
- SURPRISE Cherie Jaffe shows up at Dana’s
- Alice has finished all of her book edits (IN TWELVE DAYS) and gives Tom a farewell gift
- Dani visits her Dad in the clinker
- Gigi picks up Dani for a long afternoon/evening of emotional conversations
- Bette, Carrie, Angie and Tina have disaster family therapy
- Sophie pitches her segment
- Shane and Tess enjoy awkward drinks at Dana’s with Cherie and invite her to poker night that night
- Sophie interviews her segment subjects
As we move into the post-work hours, Alice does an outfit change here that I thought could be a new day, but it isn’t because we’re still explicitly on the same day for Dani/Gigi, Jordi/Angie, Micah/Maribel and Cherie/Tess. Tom gets a text from Alice (this is how we know what day it is):
Alice and Tom bring lobsters to the beach to set them free, Jordi and Angie talk about the prom queen announcement, Finley meets a new human at Dana’s and goes home to hook up, Maribel comes to Micah’s and they have sex, Cherie fucks Tess at Poker Night, Angie’s parents change her mind about Marcus, Bette texts Gigi to hang out and Gigi turns her down…
We then reach 206, the best episode of the season! It’s also got the seasons’ clearest timeline, as everybody has been corralled to the same space at the same time for Karaoke night.
We open with Dani and Micah going on a run. He says he’s not spoken to Maribel in a week, and later at Dana’s, Sophie says Finley’s been ignoring her for a week.
So let’s say then that this is Wednesday, April 28th. Everything tracks with that except why Cherie would wait a week after Shane told her to back off Tess to “break up” with Tess.
207 plunges us back into a soupy time warp. We open with a Sinley sex-a-thon that implies a passage of time — YAY!!!! — before leaping into our traditional entire-episode-in-one-day narrative. How much time has passed? Well, due to a date reveal in episode 209, we can conclude that it is either May 11th or May 12th when 209 opens. I think it’s May 12th.
The episode begins with Alice and Bette having lunch at the same restaurant where Gigi and Nat are having lunch:
This leads into Nat and Alice boning in the car, and the scene right after that one is Shane dropping Tess off at AA., at which point, Tess says this:
The charity event closes the episode, so this should mean that everything going forward is on that same day, but in the very next scene, Jordi asks Angie if she’s still gonna hang out at the park “tomorrow night,” for a scene that eventually takes place the same night as the charity event:
The next scene is Bette giving Pippa the CAC offer, and she’s wearing the same dress she wore to lunch, which is what places Alice/Bette Lunch Scene on the same day as the rest of the events of the episode:
Carrie calls Bette (we find out later that she’s asking about attending the MS Benefit, presumably that same night), Sophie’s segment premieres, Sophie bangs Finley and Barry wants to meet Sophie but she’s banging Finley.
For once, time has passed and that passage of time makes sense, until we cut to Dani and Gigi having … Gigi’s second lunch? Gigi talks about seeing Alice banging Nat in the car like it happened that same day. But more concerning is that it has been nearly two weeks since Gigi told Dani she had feelings for her and they’re just now discussing it?!?!
Fixing this immense inconsistency would require the writers to place this scene at the top rather than the sex-a-thon, which is an objectively perfect open — so the only other option would be Dani and Gigi’s scenes this week reflecting that their relationship had changed, evolved and been discussed in our absence. That kind of thing rarely happened this season!
Anyhow back to this day: Angie talks to Kayla about breaking up with Jordi, Finley and Sophie go home, talk about Finley’s ambitions, bang again, and then we cut straight to the benefit.
But, at the benefit, Barry tells Sophie that he’s sorry he missed her “the other day”…
… and Nat tells Dani that she had lunch with Gigi “the other day.” Furthermore the sexual relationship between Nat and Alice — from car-bang through breakup at the benefit — is now entirely confined to the length of one day on the Tess timeline, or two days on the Jordi timeline. What a whirlwind!
Anyhow: Bette and Carrie fight, Tess and Shane take Carrie home, Dani and Gigi make out in the rain, Shane and Tess kiss, and Finley gets pulled over for a DUI. This all happens on May 12.
208 opens on the day after DUI day, and seems to remain there, as Sophie later says she felt like she had to “baby-sit Finley all day” and Finley discusses the DUI throughout like it happened last night. That said, the jail pickup is the only scene that could’ve happened on a different day than the rest of the episode, because directly afterwards, we launch into the Dani/Bette/Gigi and Claudia/Micah storylines that explicitly and clearly roll out over the course of a single day.
Due to the exact date reveal in episode 209, we know that the Book Launch Party in Episode 208 took place on Thursday May 13th.
208 closes with Bette and Pippa reconciling, Shane and Tess banging in Vegas, and Finley and Sophie fighting.
In Episode 209, Sophie meets up with Alice at her hotel after a book interview, and asks if she’s seen Finley — and Alice says she saw Finley at the book party last night.
Bette and Tina take Angie to the hospital to meet Marcus and are rebuffed. So this is Friday May 14th.
Then we do a time jump to the next morning, and the protest is on the front page of The Los Angeles Times for Saturday May 15. Dani picks up the paper and declares:
It’s Prom Day and Nana’s birthday day! This date is consistent with Sophie telling the cops Finley’s been gone for 36 hours later that afternoon, and with the date on her phone at Dana’s later that night:
- Bette signs Pippa to the gallery and has sex with her on the 12th
- Bette uses Pippa as a bargaining tool in her in a battle with the CAC on the morning of the 13th
- Bette wins Pippa back on the evening of the 13th, at which time Pippa’s art has already been installed and removed
- They organize and hold a protest on the 14th
- CAC refuses the endowment on the 15th
- Bette tells Alice she’s ready for Pippa to meet Angie on the 15th
It’s impossible to figure out when 210 opens — Finley’s getting an intervention, but it seems like not much has transpired for any of these characters since 209, particularly for Finley and Sophie — I know this entire storyline was horrifically bungled, so the fact that no new info about Finley’s drinking exists as we enter this episode isn’t a good barometer of time passing. Nor do events like gallery openings or school correspond with the days on which those activities are traditionally practiced — but we do have Alice going away on her book tour, Marcus’s funeral and the CAC opening, so we can figure it’s been about a week?
So let’s say we’re at May 22nd.
After the intervention scene, our next scene finds Bette and Pippa in bed, talking about Alice’s Goodbye Party happening “tomorrow night.” In a subsequent scene, Alice refers to the intervention as a little situation they had “this week,” but in a scene shortly thereafter, Finley refers to the intervention as happening “last night”!
Anyhow, there should be a day change between Finley saying the intervention happened last night and when Alice’s party takes place, but I’m not sure where that is.
But somehow we must get there: the goodbye party is May 23nd.
We transition from the Goodbye Party to Finley at some sort of rave that same night, which she emerges from in daylight to almost get hit by a car — May 24th. On the 24th:
- Dani meets Gigi’s family
- Bette shows Angie the painting from Marcus
- Alice boards a plane with Tom
- Sophie drops off Finley at rehab
- Dani is arrested
- Pippa goes to the opening without Bette
- Tina comes to Bette’s door
So in conclusion, the entire season transpires over the course of seven weeks. This tracks pretty neatly with the stories told within it, with a few exceptions: Tess and Shane’s 12 day relationship, Pippa and Bette’s 11 day relationship, Nat and Alice’s whirlwind reunion, the speed with which the Angie and Marcus storyline begins and the glacial pace at which it ends. And as someone currently writing a novel with a lot of characters, I know keeping everybody on the same timeline is actually a lot harder than it looks!
But Tess is a great example of why a fuzzy timeline can do character development a disservice: either the timing of her stories is unintentional and we’re not supposed to apply them to our understanding of her character, or she is a bit bananas about relationships: refusing Shane’s kiss ’cause she’s “seeing someone” she met the night before? Saying Cherie broke up with her when they’d been dating for a week? Asking Shane to move to Vegas with her after a ten day relationship? Like, that behavior is an entire personality, but I’m not certain if we’re supposed to consider it hers.
In conclusion Part #2, if this post, which I believe is relatively unhinged and likely would not be published on any other website in the universe besides this one, has radically changed the quality of your life — and I’m pretty sure it has — please contribute to our fundraiser!