I’m just going to say it: this was my favorite episode of my favorite show on television right now (I get to say that because Pretty Little Liars is on a break). I come at recapping from a pretty cynical place, both by training and by inclination, but I swear to god I felt my heart grow while watching this episode. And it’s a painful business, growing one’s heart; you stretch it with laughter and tears and terror and triumph, but it’s some of the best work a person can do, or a work of art can inspire. Let’s begin.
Jewel Box. Night. Betty McRae, white knight of our hearts, is in heaven. She is dancing with her best friend, she is a little drunk, and she has had a couple of weeks to build some really solid bedroom technique. Also the music is actually really good tonight, thank Jesus. Heaven, however, is a realm in which Betty dwells alone. Gladys, still mourning James, is firmly on Earth. Kate, watching Betty give all her attention to someone else, is a little lower. And even Teresa, seeing with the somewhat clearer eyes of a veteran lezzer, knows that discretion is the better part of romance. Seeing her like this — smiling with her whole face and body and being, maybe for the first time ever — and knowing she’s drawing suspicious eyes, gives you some idea of the heartbreak that lies ahead. ALSO, and this is very important, we learn that Betty taught herself to dance with A REFRIGERATOR DOOR. I feel like if that information were out before our Best Lesbian/Bi Character Ever March Madness tournament, she would still be in the running. She pulls Teresa close and earns a warning to be careful while the singer ominously croons that “you can’t fool all the people all the time.”
Meanwhile, Gladys gets a champagne cocktail from none other than Tahmoh Penikett. I was a little ambivalent about his inclusion in the cast, given how much I loved Helo in Battlestar Galactica, and loathed Paul Ballard in Dollhouse, and I think the jury’s still out. I mean, I really want to be a nice person and everything, but we have to talk about that accent. At first I thought he was doing a bad Jack Kennedy and then I realized it was actually a really bad posh British accent. On the other hand, the man can work a fedora and is very handsome in a rectangular sort of way.
Gladys isn’t immune to his charms but is still hesitant to get back in the dating pool, so she escapes to the powder room. While there, she is accosted by a redhead looking to engage in a little girl talk.
Gladys’ ears perk up and her mood lifts. A mission. At last.