To love and support (for better and for worse)
After 8 long episodes of waiting, nail-biting, begging and almost dying with expectation, this was it. This was finally the episode to get Tina back, and to get tibette back, or at least soon?! The tibette fandom was ecstatic as soon as the preview and the stills came out. They left no doubt in their minds; a scene in which Tina bluntly asks Bette if she’s still in love with her? Where else could it go then to a tibette reunion? Surely Bette wasn’t going to lie about it?? Although the answer to that still remains to be seen in episode 10 (and even if we should consider a possible “no” a lie at all?), this episode for me held all the reasons why such a reunion would not only be undesirable, but even disastrous, for the both of them. Granted, it was lovely to see Laurel/Tina back on our screens, and there were some moments between them that gave us that familiar feeling. Like briefly in Bette’s kitchen when Angie says “no, I don’t need anything from either of you”. The look they share between them is one of familiarity. Co-parents that know each other and their daughter all too well. Or much later, when Bette says “I think we should go back” (by the fans hopefully interpreted as “back to be together”). Their faces light up when they’re on the same page. But therein lie the keywords: when they’re on the same page. And let’s just be brutally honest here, they are hardly ever on the same page at all anymore. Their reality is quite the opposite, actually. We see a Tina that mostly addresses Bette harshly, resentfully, offensive and jealous. One moment she nods at Bette to be the one to talk to Marcus’ wife, where she might just as easily have chosen to do so herself. The next she bites her head off for not having fought hard enough to make him see Angie. Bette’s trying to reassure a very upset Jordi about Angie’s attendance at their prom, explaining to Tina that she didn’t want to bring her down, gets countered by a rather bitchy and uncalled for “that’s funny, ‘cause you have no problem bringing everybody else down”. She is clearly convinced that Bette said or did something awful to Carrie, and just runs with that narrative. Despite both Alice and Shane saying nothing happened, which may or may not be a questionable decision, since at least Shane knows that Carrie felt miserable, and Alice didn’t go out of her way to spend too much time with her either. But the fact is, Bette didn’t do or say anything awful to Carrie, not even when provoked to a point where I would have gladly escorted her drunken ass out! Then, after having met and been in awe of Pippa, an apparent jealous Tina witnesses their closeness, and approaches Bette fiercely about their relationship, almost as an interrogation. So, yes, I see her jealousy, when confronted with someone who is stunning, warm and fits right into Bette’s world. But I don’t see the love. I don’t feel the chemistry anymore. Their connection lies in their coparenting and in their shared past. In the reality of the here and now, Bette seems to find her heart-to-heart / mind-to-mind connection in her relationship with Pippa. The moment where she’s finally able to let herself go and break down in her arms, Pippa whispering “it’s ok, I got you, I got you”, shows us she’s finally found her safe haven again. It was reminiscent of the She-bar break down, and I had tears rolling down my cheeks just like I had back then. Bette voicing to Alice that she feels she wants Angie to meet Pippa only confirms how powerful this connection is and what it means to her. Episode 10 may well give the true tibette fans the reunion they’ve been craving this whole season, but I truly believe, in the depth of my heart, that that would ultimately only benefit the fans, not Bette, nor Tina. Their worlds and what they want in life just have grown too far apart.
Alright, I realize I haven’t been making any tibette friends here, so let’s see what I can salvage in terms of other relationships 😉. Shane and Tess are together! Alice wasn’t sure Shane knew, or if Tess knew even, but she knew. We knew. And when they walk in hand in hand, back from Vegas, Alice elatedly shouts out “Oh, they know! You know (to Shane, and then turns to Tina who had asked about them), she knows!” meanwhile Shane and Alice present themselves as the prom-hating and prom-loving uncle and aunt bringing the booze to liven things up. Bette’s disapproving “they’re teenagers!” of course does not impress them at all.
Gini definitely seem steady. Gigi is clearly the elder of the two, and more used to communicating about things, but Dani is open to that, and catching on fast. When Gigi tells her that she’s pretty prickly when she’s sad, she simply agrees, head resting on Gigi’s shoulder: “yeah…” Gigi’s “You don’t have to be scared, and if you don’t push me away, I will always hold you” makes us root for this couple even more than we already did.
During a family dinner at Sophie and Maribel’s parents’, Maribel and Micah come out with their relationship. Forced, I might add, as Sophie spills the beans out of spite that Maribel told their parents that Finley is missing. Except for the relationship itself, and the somewhat hesitant, but still, acceptance of it by the family, the entire get-together was quite messy. Can these two sisters just stay out of each other’s business and shut the f*ck up?!
Alice, in the meantime, is struggling with whether or not to tell the world she’s in a relationship with a man now. “You people are the problem”, she slightly kiddingly says to Bette. “Lesbians, capital L’s over here. You just don’t believe bisexuals are real. Bi now, gay later! If I bring a man into this world, it’s going to change everything!”. She goes on to consult Angie: “should I tell people I’m dating Tom?” Angie, still in an awful mood because she couldn’t meet her donor earlier that day, simply and flatly replies “nobody cares!”. I have to say, I love how the writers put this little conversation in here, as the topic seems very actual, again. Biphobia is still a thing, sadly, and the definitions of bisexuality become as broad or narrow as people choose it to be, oftentimes to fit their own narrow views on life. There is still a lot of terrain to be won, and I praise The L Word for addressing these issues time and again. And we can all but hope that Angie will be right, sooner rather than later!