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

Dylan’s song — Niki and Dylan are discussing Niki’s fake next film. Dylan thinks it should be less like Atonement and more like Down to the Bone. As it happens, Down to the Bone screened at Sundance in 2004, which is the same year that a little film called D.E.B.S. made its debut. And guess who directed this episode?

Niki likes the idea of doing a “riveting” and “real” film.

Niki: I mean, if you think about it, if you really wanna win an Oscar, I mean, you’ve gotta either play ugly, retarded or a lesbian.

Up in the control room, Alice and Shane declare this “totally right.” See why you two have to keep the friendship going?

Niki lists several “ugly, retarded or lesbian” roles that support her theory. Her list isn’t entirely accurate. (Nicole Kidman may have been ugly in The Hours, but she didn’t play “a lesbian” or “a bisexual”; she played Virginia freaking Woolf. And Hilary Swank didn’t play a lesbian in Boys Don’t Cry — just ask Max.) But never mind. Niki’s not exactly known for her keen critical insight.

At command central, Jenny is appalled by the idea of Niki being “real,” while Helena thinks Dylan is being “completely appropriate.” I think that must be British for “totally hot.”

Shane warns Helena not to give Dylan too much credit, because Niki is about to make her move. First she asks Dylan whether there’s anyone special. There is, says Dylan, but before they can be together, Dylan has to make up for the “really f—ed up” thing she did. Just as the scene on the monitors starts to get more intimate, Alice clumsily places her bowl of popcorn on a keyboard and all the screens go black. Much spazzing ensues, until what-is-a-text-message Kit punches some buttons and fixes everything.

And then it’s the moment of truth.

Dylan: I might be out of line here, but I can’t get involved with you.
Niki: Why not?
Dylan: Well, for one, it’s unethical. And it’s not really a good idea for the director to get involved with the star of the movie.

Alice couldn’t ask for a better setup.

Alice: Guess you didn’t get that memo, huh?
Jenny: F— off.

Dylan also points out that she’s in love with someone, but Niki keeps pushing.

Niki: If you want to direct this film, then you’re going to have to come home with me. Tonight.
Dylan: [after a dramatic pause] Then I guess I’m not gonna be directing this movie.

The control room applauds, except for Helena, who’s trying not to get her hopes up. You can keep your doubts if you must, Helena, but please — go get that cute, principled Dylan!

As everyone files out of the Big Brother room, Alice sees Tasha and Jamie on the dance floor. And that’s all the incentive she needs to get down there and get her boogie on.

Reunited — Helena finds Dylan. That curtained spot is starting to feel like a confessional.

Helena: Tina told me what you said to her.
Dylan: Yeah. Um. Well, it’s all true. I came back to L.A. after all this time because I could never stop thinking about you. Never. I’m madly in love with you, Helena.

OK, if you won’t go home with her, I will! But Dylan knows it’s not easy for Helena, what with their history of betrayal and extortion and all.

Or maybe it’s easier than it seems.

Helena: Let’s go somewhere we can talk.

Yay! Talk, yes! Talk with your eyes and your hands and whatever other body parts you feel can be useful.