The L Word Recaps 4.12 “Long Time Coming”

I’d swap places with her if I could — Alice is sprawled on her couch. She’s moping. She says “F— you, Tasha.” A voice from somewhere says, “Well, f— you, too.”

And then Dana appears in the doorway to the kitchen, swilling Pepsi and stomping on my heart.

There is no circumstance under which this would be OK with me. Don’t bring her back: She’s dead. Remember when you killed her off so senselessly, Mama Chaiken? And now you’re taunting us with it. Seeing her again just makes me angry all over again, and I think Alice agrees with me.

Dana tries to convince Alice to go to the party. She offers some platitudes about how it’s no less painful to lose someone to a misunderstanding than it is to lose them to a heart attack.

Dana: Anyway, don’t argue with my superior wisdom, OK? Go get dressed! Go on. I wanna see you in that f—in’ party dress.
Alice: Ugh. God. You really curse a lot more now.
Dana: [flopping back onto the couch after Alice leaves the room] Yeah, well, you’d curse a lot too.

I don’t know if that was Dana or Erin offering up the last line. But I know I’ll be swearing if she shows up again in Season 5. Alice doesn’t need a friendly ghost hanging around to give her advice; this is not Slings and Arrows or Dead Like Me or Six Feet Under, and nobody expects it to be. Let the woman rest in peace!

Tasha’s going-away party — Everybody’s getting mellow on the beach. And by “getting mellow,” I mean ambling around, not really talking, just sort of aimlessly wandering by the sea. It’s like a lesbian Wuthering Heights, only it’s missing all the thrill and romance. What’s left? Brooding.

Shane says hi to Jenny and gets an earful:

Jenny: They fired me from the movie.
Shane: Shut up.
Jenny: Yeah, they did. I think I’ve been judged a lot. And, I dunno, people here just think that I’m, like, this pariah.
Shane: You’re not a pariah. You know that.

Are you sure, Shane?

Toshi, the street musician from the opening scene, is there. Apparently Kit knows her, so I guess she’s the Porter family oracle, rather than Bette’s personal musical guide. As Toshi sings (still that same ungrammatical song), Angus plays the bongos. Yes, that’s right: Angus plays the bongos. I guess I was wrong when I thought nothing could annoy me more than a Pepsi-sipping drive-by from dead Dana.

There’s one funny moment, though. When Kit introduces Toshi to Tasha, it’s like that Oprah-Uma moment when David Letterman hosted the Oscars.

Oh, there are two funny moments: Jenny stares into the sunset, cuddling her new pup. It looks like some sort of late-night commercial.

Imagine the voice-over: “Do you sometimes feel like you just don’t fit in? Do you wonder what your purpose is? Do you need a special furry friend to show you how to love again? Call 1-800-DOG-USER today and open your heart to a four-footed pal. Cute veterinarian operators are standing by.”

Yet another bet — Catherine finds Helena and asks if she’s having a good time. She is, as it happens. Catherine still can’t do anything but gamble: She wants to wager on Paige and Shane’s chances of success as a couple.

They go inside the house, where Catherine gets some cash out of the safe while continuing to make her wager. If Shane and Paige break up, Helena gets a cool million. If Shane and Paige last, Catherine wins, and Helena has to be her servant and sex slave for a year. And that would be different how, exactly?

Helena: [as Catherine leaves] Have a great poker game. [after Catherine is out of earshot] Go f— yourself.

The triangle — Tina and Kate hold hands as they walk along the beach. They might as well be walking 10 feet apart — these two have zero chemistry. And just to prove that, Tina’s cell phone buzzes: It’s Bette.

Bette: Just tell me what to say when I give her the sign.
Tina: OK. Um … “I never should have let you go. I would do anything for another chance. I’m not afraid to make a fool out of myself.”

Kate, of course, thinks Tina is telling Bette how she feels. I think maybe she sorta is. I’m not sure whether Bette knows it, though, but I do know her eyes are shining.

Plot points — Inside the house, Helena opens the safe and takes all the cash. I’m sure Catherine owes her at least that much, but somehow I doubt she’ll see it that way. Run, Helena, run!

And it seems Jenny does indeed need her furry friend; she takes Sounder out in a boat because nobody else wants to go with her. “It’s just you and the pariah, Sounder.” Poor Jenny.

Alice arrives at the party, looking sweet and trying to smile even though she has to say goodbye. Tasha gives her a serious look that seems to communicate how important it is to her to say goodbye to Alice properly.

She should have named him Lassie — Suddenly the party gets a little life: Sounder starts barking at Shane. Look at that little dog hop and yip! That’s the perfect pup for Jenny; he’s a whiny drama queen just like she is. But oh, whatever can the yipping mean?

Shane: Sounder? What are you doing? Were you getting bored at the party? Where’s your mother?

Say it, Shane! You know you want to. “What’s that, girl? Did Jenny fall in the well?” And that turns out to be true — almost. Jenny has drifted out to sea. She seems to be alone on the open water, calmly awaiting the sharks (or maybe the manatees), but with my luck, she’s probably about four feet from shore.

A sign of her affection — Bette is delivering the sign to Jodi. This time her mode of transport is not a van; it’s a tractor. Farmer Porter, your grand gesture is pretty awesome.

Jodi is amazed. She tells Bette, “You’d better not break my heart.” They embrace and kiss to the strains of Pink’s “Dear Mr. President,” which makes absolutely no sense to me. Maybe a little Joan Armatrading would have been in order? Or, I don’t know, Peter Gabriel’s “In Your Eyes?” It worked for Lloyd Dobler.

Let’s take a moment to acknowledge, not to mention mock, something. Remember when Bette said she and her first love liked to talk about semiotics? Well, what are we to make of this giant sign and the way Bette has dismantled, moved and reassembled it, as if she wants her signifiers to match Jodi’s signifieds and will do everything she can to communicate with her? Yeah, there’s no way this show is that deep, but I bet we’re supposed to be impressed. Roland Barthes, Julia Kristeva and Ilene Chaiken: masters of semiology and social psychology. Ugh.

Back at the beach — Tasha and Alice hold each other. I guess this is what’s left of the party; everyone else must be searching for Jenny, but these two have their priorities right. Good luck, Tasha. You’ll be missed. Oh, and now the Pink song makes sense.

Here’s to a great — or at least better-than-the-last-one — season. Hasta luego!

Hear more of Scribe Grrrl’s thoughts on the episode in her weekly podcast Talking to Manatees. Find multiple download options available here, or subscribe through iTunes.