'The L Word' recap: Seeing red

Lword_511_lI’m back, Popwatchers. I apologize for deserting you without fair warning, but if you’re willing to forgive me, and if somebody could just dim the lights, we can get started. We’ll just pretend that I never went away (to a magical place called Australia) for a short while (okay, two-plus weeks) during one of the more dismal three-episode stretches (look! they can ride bikes!) in recent memory.

So… yeah, last night’s episode wasn’t exactly a thriller, either. We’ve been building all season to Adele’s big moment, but at best, it was a tepid retread of too many other blackmail scenes from too many mediocre boardroom-barracuda scenes in too many bad movies. I don’t know about you, but watching Adele vamp through her big reveal last night just made me want to go back and watch The Temp or something. I’ve had my issues with this whole sex-tape situation since things started to get messy in Jenny and Niki’s Arabian Nights tent last week; if Adele can ostensibly take control of an entire movie shoot right under the director and producers’ noses, couldn’t she have come up with a better blackmail scheme than this? And weren’t we already here in season 2, when Jenny, Shane, and Carmen all learned that Mark had been secretly taping their sexy time via hidden cameras? There’s something rather anticlimactic about the way this storyline has played out. Come on, L Word! If you’re going to subject us to a laughable third-tier "storyline" like Kit’s Adventures With Firearms (for the love of Pete, what was that?), then you owe us some serious fireworks on the Les Girls front. Because I was disappointed in Adele’s quietly detonated bomb; in my head, I was building up the big confrontation to look something like this, or perhaps this.

addCredit(“The L Word: Paul Michaud”)

And how about Niki’s betrayal of Jenny? Did anybody really expect her toagree to walk off the set when Jenny had her JerryMaguiremoment? I didn’t; Nikki was never more than a sounding boardfor Jenny’s ego, and while the two of them had palpable chemistry — MiaKirshner was positively glowing during all of this season’s big rompswith costar Kate French — Niki never seemed like the loyal type in thefirst place. What about you? Do you think Niki did the right thing?Here’s what I think: Yes, she did… and if you were paying anyattention to those Jenny/Shane bonding scenes last night, you probablypicked up on what I’m now predicting will be the show’s banner couplingin next year’s sixth and final season.

The Bette/Jodi saga seems, mercifully, to have ended. No JenniferBeals driving a tractor for this year’s season finale, kids! I’ve beenpretty hard on Jodi (Marlee Matlin, pictured) in this space for thebetter part of nearly two years, and if Jodi isn’t back next season, Ican’t say I’ll miss her too much. I did feel for her tonight, though:Bette threw so much horse-puckey at her, and Jodi… well, Jodi may notbe an awkward late bloomer like Phyllis, but she can be so desperatelyall over the map that it’s off-putting. Last night was a prime example:First she told Bette that she wanted to talk, then she tried to guiltBette into going to work, then she went home with Bette and tried toseduce her, then she lost it when Bette wanted to stop and get going towork, then she calmed down enough to have a civilized are-we-breaking-up-like-NOW!? conversation, then she threatened to never let Bette go, then she followed Bette back to the school (did everybody playing The L Worddrinking game at home take a shot when Bette’s little-seen assistantJames popped up?), then she tried strong-arming Bette into couples’therapy ("You owe it to me!"), then she threatened to kill herself, andthen she gave Bette an expensive gift before giving in to Bette andwalking out anyway. Manic!

We’ll meet back here one last time to discuss the season finale nextMonday, and I’d like you to share your answers to a few more questions:Are you happy with this season of The L Word? What have beenyour favorite and least favorite story arcs? Are Alice and Tashadoomed? Should Shane and Jenny finally give in and become more thanjust friends? Will Bette and Tina finally reunite? Have we seen thelast of Jodi? And do Dawn Bimbo and Lover Cindi — the Boris and Natashaof this series, God bless ‘em — have one final blowup in store for us?

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  • lol

    WELCOME BACK nicholas we missed you!!!!!! We missed missed missed you!
    L word has been weak the last few episodes, but you know what? I still watched it. And i savoured (almost) every scene, in expectation that next week there’ll be some jolly/not so jolly jaw-dropping moments.
    you mentioned jodi was a psychomaniac, and i don’t disagree, but come on – bette was so indirect, giving mixed messages. i almost yelled at the screen for her not to take the bday gift. sigh. and who didn’t cringe when they made out?
    BTW – jennifer beals and laurel holloman can speak with their eyes. amazing. they are underappreciated by non l word viewers

  • junior

    I kinda disagreed with everything Nicholas said (sorry Nicholas)! First of all, Adele’s takeover was always so loosely hinted at and at some points non-existent that this was the perfect way for her to officially take over. Nothing Adele did was ever big. It felt real instead of over-the-top, which “L Word” can do but they don’t have to. Kit with the gun was THE BEST, are you kidding me? She was being irrational and learned the value of what she has when Baby Girl (who has a name and I can’t remember it) picked up the gun. I loved Bette’s line on the phone with Tina in reference to breaking up with Jodi, “I’m doing my best,” that was kinda the point. Breaking up is hard. And you didn’t even talk about the hotness of Alice’s new love interest (who played sapphic with Kate Winslet before)! This episode was great!

  • Anonymous

    ok, here’s my two cents. 1st off, I love jodi and i really hope they keep her next season…just NOT with Bette. I’d like to see her play some funny antagonistic games – she showed she knows how to do some toying/manipulating, could be fun!(maybe im wishing for some of those alice stalking dana moments of old…for some reasson i can see jodi schemeing too)And bette and tina better be together forever – maybe show them work their way back together and have a wedding. as for shane and jenny – ew, i would HATE for them to hook up.

  • j

    ok…anti-climatic? yes. but still a good ep. First off, Marlee Matlin cracks me up. When she answered bette’s “where are you going” question with “to kill myself” i laughed right out loud. And the whole bette telling Tina, “I’m doing my best” was also pretty funny…while i think bette is totally the person who keeps screwing up others lives, i cant help but feel a little bad for her. it IS possible to love to people. and it’s hard to find the right thing to say to someone you deeply care about and don’t want to hurt. Props to bette for telling jodi “i don’t want to do this with you” while jodi was trying to get in her pants (although, it took a few too many kisses for me).
    Also, i know that we’re supposed to feel like we are seeing these stories from jennys point of view (aka lez girls)…but i’ve always sort of felt like we see these people from shane’s perspective…that she is the real observer of the group…

  • fantasmic

    Hilarious recap of the Bette/Jodie breakup! Without your unique take on “the longest breakup ever”, I still would be blaming Bette for unintentionally leading Jodie throughout the episode (with nuggets such as “I’m going to fight for this relationship”) rather than focusing on how totally unhinged poor Jodie had become. Phyllis still takes the cake for the campy-est breakup breakdown ever.

  • Michael

    I hope to hell we’ve seen the last of Jodi. In fact if I ever see Marlee Matlin again anywhere it’ll be way too soon.

  • jes

    As a whole, I’ve absolutely loved this season. Even the past couple eps that people seem to think were boring. But I should’ve known that last night’s show wasn’t going to cut the mustard for me as soon as Bette told James to tell Phyllis that she couldn’t make a meeting due to “wicked cramps”. WICKED??!? Really. From Bette? I don’t think so! And I love Bette but I was pretty disappointed by the mixed messages she was throwing at Jodi. Granted, they might not have seemed mixed to her but I could see how Jodi could’ve misinterpreted them. But, WHATEVER!! Just get my Bette and Tina back together already. Luv ya, Marlee and I’ll root for you on DWTS but I’m ready for you to sashay right off the L Word.
    The Adele storyline WAS very anticlimactic…maybe there’ll be more fallout next week that’ll make it more exciting. Fingers crossed.
    And I can totally see Lover Cindi switching alliances by the time this things over. She seemed pretty sympathetic when she saw Kit through the beads.

  • jes

    Oh…why were Bette and Jodi in matching outfits last night? Grey suit with red blouse. Is there some underlying significance I’m missing?

  • jenn

    Yeah – totally agree on the matching outfits comment. not a fan of that. i think next week’s episode shows alice and clea in matching outfits too.
    Love this season so far. some weak spots but in general it’s been strong. always love the scenes when the girls are all together (i thought the cast party at jenny’s was classic, until DD and her lover cindy came in). especially love the interactions between jenny/shane and tibette…good reminder of what we all saw in season 1. can dana come back? :( and i miss the shane/alice moments. heck, i miss old alice.

  • Mel

    Yea Nicholas is back! Hate to say it but we all kinda revolted last week after you didn’t come back. I am sincerely hoping that Marlee Matlin enjoys some kind of dancing with the stars fame and is not wanted back at the L Word! I don’t understand why Tasha doesn’t get a job in private security and actually make some money. That would be perfect for her. My least favorite storyline this year was definitely Max and Tom? the translator sleeping together. I did not need to see that! Overall I am anxious to see the finale and I am hoping for Helena to pop back in and let us know whats been going on.

  • Belle

    I agree w/Nicholas about the Adele showdown, I thought it would be more explosive than that. It needed a tad more All About Eve claws. I never thought Jodi was so desperate. She started off so independent & now she is trying to cling to something she knows it not working. What happened last night is so out of character for her. I called it last post that I thought Alice & Tasha were heading towards trouble. Now she is out of the military what is she going to do w/spare time? Unfortunately no couple on L Word can be happy. I rather not see Shane & Jenny as a couple (GAG). As for Kit, well, heavens knows I am vocal on my criticism of Kit/Pam Grier acting on this show but I did feel sorry for her. I have a funny feeling, Lover Cindy is going to find that gun in the dumpster and will shoot Dawn Bimbo because she has had enough of her bullying but Kit will be blamed for the crime because her prints are on the gun. Oh Baby Girl name is Angelica/Angie. She is sooo flippin Adorable!

  • claire

    The Bette/Jodi here to infinity breakup was not fun to watch. It was not only poorly written, but Marlee was so hamfisted in her acting, I actually lol at the crying scenes. I hope this is the last we see of Marlee. What a hamfisted actor she is that one. She needs to get lessons from Beals on how to cry and make it look real. Beals is the gold standard on that. Never bought her hysteria for one moment. Like Michael, if I never see Marlee in anything else it won’t be too soon. What a waste of two years having her interact with Beals.

  • Anonymous

    jodi told bette not to break her heart…she was never in a long-term monogamous relationship before…of course we were gonna see jodi be desperate and go to pieces…did anyone really think she’d jsut say ok then, see you later? i thought marlee matlin did a decent job…humorous at times, but decent nonetheless

  • don’t know much about the movie business….

    but has jenny actually done anything wrong here? Get your contract lawyers in that!! (p.s. im not defending jenny. she drives me crazy and i would not miss her if she left. however, i detest adele.

  • Maria

    If The L Word writers wish to perpetuate the stereotype that all gay people sleep together, then by all means they should put Shane and Jenny together. If a straight man and woman can’t be friends, why should two gay women be able to? Give me a break.
    Then again no one’s ever accused the L Word of being realistic. In what world is every female in a family gay? Let’s see — Dana and her mother (and her brother!), Helena and her mother, and now Phyllis and her daughter.

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