As the first half of this season of Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll has taught us, Gigi is undoubtedly her father’s daughter: They both have a vanity that sometimes gets in the way of their considerable talents, and they are both quite stubborn. But what about Gigi’s mother, who has been talked about a bunch but has never appeared until now?
During a conversation about tattoos, Gigi’s mother Kat appears out of nowhere. She’s got two goals that actually might be complementary: She wants to protect her daughter from the dangers of the rock and roll lifestyle, but she also sort of wants to bang Flash (who is, of course, Gigi’s girlfriend and twice her age). Kat creates a series of complications with a number of the relationships in the SDRR universe. Not only does she get in between Gigi and Flash, she also makes things complicated for Johnny and Ava.
Though the schism between Gigi and her mother drives the episode, it’s the relationship between Kat and Ava that is most revelatory. Ava goes to the mat in defense of Gigi, who she thinks of as a surrogate child. Kat’s response—that she’s an actual mother, and that Ava will never know what that is like until she gives birth herself—is genuinely intense. Ava looks very hurt, and in that moment you can see just how maternal she feels.
But the running gag that fuels “Tattoo You” involves body ink. In the opening scene, Gigi shows off her new tat, which pays tribute to her father. In this universe, a tattoo is a representation of commitment: Flash has a Heathens tat, Kat has “Gigi” inked on her wrist (she’s also got Flash’s lightning bolt symbol on her hip), and Ava has Johnny’s name on her butt. (“Holy s—, your ass is still totally perfect,” notes Kat when Ava reveals it.) Johnny has no tattoos to speak of, partially because he’s afraid of needles (he claims an allergy), but once again it’s a representation of his unwillingness to tie himself down to anything at all.
The end of the episode escalates brilliantly. Johnny gets one tat on each butt cheek—one devoted to Ava, the other to Gigi. Then Flash tries to do him one better by showing off the “Gigi” he now has on his posterior—though Bam Bam quickly points out that it’s merely “Gaga” with a little bit of erasing. Of course, both Johnny and Flash have egg on their faces, because Gigi’s tattoo is a smudge-able henna job. But though Johnny can’t sit down, he is comforted by the fact that Gigi now fully believes that their relationship is forever.
- Considering how often she’s brought up on this show, shouldn’t Lady Gaga be forced to make an appearance on this show? Or should we just pretend that American Horror Story: Hotel is an extension of Sex&Drugs?
- There were a lot of butt shots in this episode. Rate it B, for “Butts.”
- Johnny thinks the whole idea of tattoos has been diluted. “Now every skinny white dips— you see out there has a razor wire on his pink freckled arm.”
- He’s also frustrated by the fact that he can’t figure out what is tattooed on LeBron James’ right shoulder. It’s the head of a lion, Johnny!
- The conversation between Kat and Gigi about Flash really pushes the boundaries of language on basic cable. I had no idea that you could say “muff cuff” on FX, but I’m really glad I know now.
- Ava knows who Andrew Ridgeley is. Don’t ask how she knows that.
- Rehab is barely in this one, but the look he shoots Bam Bam when the drummer says “I love tomatoes” is priceless.
- Flash got a procedure he calls a “sack jack.” “I’m 50, but my balls are 17,” he says.
- Kat is banging the UPS guy. “He’s got really sexy knees. I must be Amazon’s top customer this past three months.”
- Johnny accidentally quotes Coldplay while trying to make Gigi feel better. “You know what’s more depressing? It really touched me,” says Gigi.