The text in this section was written by HeartofArtemis, and edited by Miznoone.
The eight episode Season Six of the L Word was a disappointment to many fans, because the “who killed Jenny” plot distorted not only the characters, but the time allotted to Tina and Bette and their ultimately triumphant love story.
It is no wonder that Laurel still considers Season Five as her favorite, because she was not given the same opportunity by the writers to use the full range of her talents as an actress in the last season. That being said, she still managed to give us a number of unforgettable moments.
Due to limitations of time and space, I will focus on several of my favorite Laurel scenes: four of which involved Bette, three that did not, and the Interrogation Tape.
Scenes with Bette
One of the best things about season six, even with TiBette’s reduced screen time, is the authenticity and depth of the love that is portrayed by Laurel and her screen partner.
Four small scenes that are indelibly engraved in my memory are:
1) Episode 601 in the backseat of their car, after taking Angelica to the hospital, Bette apologizes for mis-reading their digital thermometer. Tina says,
“One of the things I love about you is that to most of the world you appear to be so alpha and in control, but I know how hard it is for you to cover up the panic that you feel inside.”
The look in Tina’s eyes and the kiss she gives Bette are so tender and masterfully played, that there can be no doubt that Tina sees and loves Bette for who she is.
2) In episode 602, after Tina and Bette enter the Planet and see their divided friends, they begin to play ‘Rock, Paper, Scissors’ to see who gets to sit with the “cheaters” and who gets to sit with the “martyrs.” Bette asks why she always loses and Tina responds with a twinkle, “Because you are always ROCK.” They kiss after saying, “Good luck with the MARTYRS” and “Good luck with the CHEATERS” and go to their respective tables. TiBette in this scene reminded at least one fan of Nick and Nora Charles as the ultimate loving power couple.
3) In episode 604, which has a number of great Tina and Bette scenes, I especially loved the way Tina wakes Bette up in their motel near Las Vegas. The night before Marci had come to their room to apologize for her parents’ bigotry and to say that she wants her son to be with them.
Laurel’s performance in all their scenes is brilliant, but especially moving is how she uses her hands and facial expressions when waking Bette up and checking in with her to see she how she feels about the adoption. After Bette tells her, “It was just a momentary thing,” she turns to Tina with a smile as she says, “We’re going to have a baby!” Without any words, Tina’s gaze at, and then embrace of, Bette … are magical.
4) In episode 607, after their hot samba at the dance marathon, Tina and Bette drive to the bus station to pick up Marci. After their sweet discussion while still in their car about whether they should move to New York where Tina has been offered a great job, and their happy embrace after deciding to do so, Tina’s look of sudden recognition that they have to start applying to schools for Angelica, “Like right now” … was endearing.
Then, as they wait for the bus from Las Vegas that will bring Marci, Tina (with flowers) and Bette, who look so hopeful, before realizing that Marci is not on the bus. Laurel’s expression as Tina got off the empty bus, where she had gone to make sure Marci hadn’t fallen asleep on it, and as the bus slowly backed away, was unbelievably touching. Without using any words, Laurel is able to convey an encyclopedic range of emotions using only her eyes and her body to tell a story that is heartbreaking. They have lost a second son.
Sex, Lies … and the Videotape Tina Never Saw
Laurel’s character, Tina, has had the greatest arc and shown the most growth of any character on TLW. While there are moments that take us back to season one, we now see Tina as a woman who has emerged from her chrysalis like a monarch butterfly and has claimed her own power. She knows herself.
As tiresome as Ilene Chaiken’s formula of drama-via-cheating has become, we had to endure one more test of Bette via her college roommate, Kelly Wentworth, who opens a new gallery in LA after receiving 89 million dollars in a divorce settlement.
The scene in episode 602 in which Bette and Tina meet the brassy blond “bombshell” that Bette at first doesn’t recognize was excruciating, and Bette seemed to forget Tina was there as she fawned over and flirted with her school girl crush. Laurel, however, was brilliant in that scene. As Fablu pointed out in one of her thoughtful comments about this episode;
“If you watch what Laurel does in that scene, she gives a lesson in comedy that is priceless. The way she weaves, how she inserts herself in their seeming cocoon-like funnel. The faces she makes. Laurel makes us feel Tina’s annoyance at Bette and Kelly and is mocking KW to Bette at the same time. This is not an easy thing to do: to make the audience feel all of these emotions in a character who comes alive on the screen, as Laurel does in that scene.”
Now we come to the scene in their bedroom after returning home from the gallery show. Again, according to Fablu,
“This was a mutual seduction dance between these two women as the scene began. They used what happened at the Exhibit with KW to enhance their lovemaking in the bedroom scene later on. Tina was mocking KW all throughout that scene in the bedroom. But it went beyond that. When Tina ridiculed KW, Bette started the sex dance between them. When Tina said (quoting KW): Look at your body. Are you still a runner? Bette wiggled her bottom and Tina was turned on. So was Bette. Their conversation all throughout that scene was undertowed, meaning there was something going on in that scene besides Tina’s jealousy and Bette’s denial of flirting with her co-ed crush.”
The short but hot sex scene that followed, left most of us wondering where the rest of the scene was. Laurel, as usual in TiBette love scenes, was so good that it made the passion between them seem real.
The saving grace in the last episode (608) was the tender, funny and magical love scene between Tina and Bette. In all of Tibette’s love scenes throughout the series, it is Laurel’s fearless commitment to the scenes that helps make them believable, and insanely hot.
In spite of all the screen time spent setting up a potential Kelly trap for Bette, it was clear to those of us who belong to the TiBette nation that nothing and no one was going to stop this love story from enduring … regardless of sex, lies and videotapes.
Bette not telling Tina about KW’s rebuffed pass at her is another example of a storyline set up so that Bette could be seen as a potential murderer of Jenny. This is an injustice to Bette’s character … and something that has often happened in the past to Tina. Even more so than in other seasons, the plot took precedence over the characters.
Next: Season 6 scenes with other characters.