“The L Word” Recaps: Episode 6.05 “Litmus Test”

Alice admits that she and Tasha have been fighting a “little bit.”

Tina: And then you meet a new person, and you start hanging out all the time, the three of you, doing everything together. And you know what? It’s just great. And this new person starts to revitalize the relationship, pouring all this energy and excitement into it. And this syndrome, it can last weeks, months, or even … [to Bette, gasping] oh, remember Sally?

Bette and Tina assure Alice that the third-wheel thing is fine, “just as long as it doesn’t tip.” And “tipping” is “when one member of the couple falls in love with the third wheel and decides to act on it.” Bette has the key to preventing this:

Bette: So you just check yaself before you wreck yaself.

And at that moment, Kit sits down, looking flummoxed. She’s obviously thinking, “Whuh? Dat’s my line! I get the black lines!”

I wish Brooke Shields were here to help Bette embrace her newfound thugitude. “What did I just say? Check yourself before you wreck yourself!” (If you haven’t seen the Brooke Shields thing, really, do yourself the favor of clicking that link.)

They all (including Helena, who sneaked in at some point) laugh and tease Alice about her third-wheel crush.

Kit: That’s dangerous business. Uh-huh. And speaking of dangerous business…
Helena: [sighing] I could do without the segue, Kit.

And what’s Helena’s dangerous business? No, it’s not a Ponzi scheme with Dawn Denbo and her ex-lover Cindi. (Wouldn’t that be fun?) Instead, Helena is having dinner with Dylan on Saturday night. Bette, Tina and Alice find this unbelievable, I guess because they haven’t been clued in to how foreshadowing works on this show. They probably also think Bette has thwarted the third-wheel tipping stuff by warning Alice about it.

Helena: I can’t help myself. Dylan has colonized my thoughts.
Alice: Wow. That’s deep.

It’s also a lot like that line from “Mystery” by Indigo Girls: “You set up your place in my thoughts, moved in and made my thinking crowded.” And you know, I really could go crazy on a night like tonight.

Helena says she’s tired of trying not to think about Dylan. Her friends decide she should make an effort to “know” that Dylan isn’t going to f— her over again.

Helena: What’re you gonna do, Alice? You gonna make Dylan fill out a questionnaire?

They concoct a test that will “prove once and for all” whether Dylan is a gold-digging opportunist or just someone who got involved with the wrong, scheming guy. The camera dances around the table as everyone proposes a way of testing Dylan. As Dorothy Snarker noted, this is a lot like the Lara Perkins mission, only less fun. Hey, uh, L Word people? When we said we wanted scenes like the Soup Chef Caper, we didn’t mean we wanted you to lift scenes wholesale and plop them into episodes artificially. That’s exactly how this one feels: copied and pasted with no respect for the existing structure.

They decide to test Dylan with a starlet who’s looking for a filmmaker. Will Dylan take the starlet and the money and run, or will she stay true to her ethics and her fair Helena? And who, oh who, will the starlet be?

Bette: Niki Stevens.

Bette adds that the whole thing is “incredibly juvenile and ill-advised,” and she punctuates that by opening and closing her laptop. She’s been doing that a lot in this scene. I don’t know what it means, but I do know that I hope I’m a laptop lid in my next life.

So the plan is for Niki to pretend she wants Dylan to make her next movie.

Alice: And then we can have Niki hit on her and see if she sells Helena out for the big time.

She and Tina give this idea a double high-five. Why isn’t it more fun? Is it me?

Helena reluctantly agrees to this scheme. Everyone else agrees that tonight is the night to put the plan into action. But who will call Niki and get her to participate?

Tina: We have to bring in Shane and Jenny on this one.
Alice: I’m not talking to them right now. Especially not Jenny.
Tina: Fine. I’ll do it.
Bette: Doesn’t Jenny hate Niki?
Tina: Yeah, but she loves intrigue. And she doesn’t have to have any contact with Niki. All she has to do is impersonate her manager.

What? Jenny loves intrigue? Since when? She loves drama and grandstanding and sacrificing dogs in order to get revenge on humorless critics, but when did we start calling those things “intrigue”?

The superspies proceed to hatch their plot. Helena is already regretting the whole thing.