The L Word Recaps 4.11 “Literary License to Kill”


A tense reunion — Jodi is meeting with a student who wants to paint instead of sculpt. Bette walks in; Jodi stops in her tracks for a moment, but turns her attention back to the student.

Jodi thinks it’s valuable for a student to discover something he wasn’t expecting, but Bette agrees with another gray-haired academic who’s also in the room: This is a sculpting studio, and there’s no room in it for a painting thesis. Bette thinks this is even more important because the student’s advisor — that would be Jodi — might be leaving mid-semester.

Jodi looks at Bette with eyes that say she might be leaving behind more than just half a semester.

Shane’s house — Paige and Jared drop by to see their favorite Fraggle. Shane says, "I have something for you." Paige seems to think "you" means her, but it means Jared. Shane has bought him a special edition El Panda toy, even though it’s not his birthday or anything.

Uh. OK, I’m way out of this El Panda loop. So is Paige, but in a self-pitying way: As Shane and Jared read the description on the box, Paige goes to the kitchen for a beer and mutters to herself.

Paige: It’s not a birthday present or anything. Because tomorrow’s not his birthday.

Shane says she wants to take Jared somewhere to see the "subservient chickens" tomorrow. You mean, like the one you can tell to watch TV and stuff? Shane, you’ve always been too cool for me, but at the moment you’re more confusing than cool. Paige agrees to it, so long as Shane agrees to drop Jared off at his violin lesson. Aww. Why don’t you two just buy a Subaru Forester already? It has side curtain airbags and serious dyke street cred. Plus, you know, windows that fog.

Another house of pain — Henry is clipping his toenails. He has his foot up on the coffeetable or some other sort of table — the toenail table, I guess — and he’s just clipping away while Tina is trying to work. She asks him to go to another room, but he doesn’t see why she can’t go somewhere else.

Yes, Tina: Go somewhere else. Run from the toenails, and run from the stereotype of the Gross Man. I mean, let’s think of something more disgusting for him to be doing. I guess he could be picking his nose at the same time, but other than that, this is about the worst possible light for him to be painted in. No, Henry, I’m not defending you; I’m just scolding the writers. Toenails? Really?

Tina’s cell phone rings: It’s Kate. They talk about Jenny’s abominable screenplay. Tina’s voice gets all flirty and giggly.

Don’t think Henry doesn’t notice through the haze of toenail fumes.

Freedom — Max and Grace are celebrating his departure from the space satellite factory. They toast "to freedom." Grace tells Max she’s proud of him and gives him a kiss. It gets very hot very quickly.

Max says he doesn’t want Grace to touch him; this isn’t his body. But Grace says his body was hot for her just then.

Grace: That was your body. It felt good.
Max: I don’t feel comfortable with it.
Grace: I do.

It might sound like Grace is pushing Max into something he doesn’t want to do, but it doesn’t turn out that way. She takes Max’s soft pack out of his underwear. He looks confused for a moment, but Grace proceeds to show him just how good his body can feel. Max watches her in the mirror that’s behind her, and then his eyes flutter and close.

Hot! I’ll be right back.

A different F word — Bette is in bed, angrily flipping the pages of Jenny’s book. Her comments are brief but vehement. (Imagine a violent page turn between each sentence.)

Bette: F— you, Jenny. That is complete and utter total f—ing bulls—. I wouldn’t say that. Never. That’s not even grammatically correct. You f—ing idiot. You’re dead meat. You’re just dead f—ing meat, Jenny Schecter.

I didn’t think I could love you more, Dean Porter. I was wrong. Nice specs, by the way!

I guess the toenails were the last straw — Henry is making breakfast. He’s cracking eggs into a pan. Remember when Tina fell apart while she was making eggs because they reminded her of her miscarriage? I don’t know; that’s a lot of symbolism to pack into a single comestible, even though the incredible edible egg is wondrous indeed.

Tina says they need to talk. She’s not happy. Henry leaps to conclusions.

Henry: Is there somebody else?
Tina: [not very convincingly] Wha? No. No.
Henry: Is it a woman?

Tina doesn’t really say yes, but she doesn’t really say no, either. She says it’s not about "her" anyway, but Henry’s going to be stuck on that little thinly veiled admission for a while.

Henry: I feel like an asshole, you know? I mean, I just, I knew this would happen.
Tina: What do you mean, you knew it?
Henry: Well, I mean, come on, Tina: Once a lesbian, always a lesbian.

That’s probably not really true, Henry, no matter how profound it may seem. And no matter how good Tina may look in her tank top.

Tina says she was attracted to him, but Henry says Tina was just getting what she wanted and is now moving on to something new, just like she did with him. Tina doesn’t really fight back. Henry throws the pan of eggs in the sink and marches out on his newly tidy feet.

See ya, Hank. Again, I’m sorry you got saddled with the whole toenail thing, but I can’t say you’ll be missed.

A gift — Remember when Alice was shopping for a watch for Tasha? It feels like a long time ago. Actually, I sorta wish Alice had bought the director a watch, because even though this episode is pretty, it seems to have no sense of time. Not that that’s a new thing, exactly.

Anyway, Alice is giving Tasha the watch, or rather, she’s arranging it on the table for Tasha to behold when she gets there. It’s an impressive presentation: The lights are low, there’s soft music playing ("Dream" by Bardi and Noemi), and the box is encircled by roses.

Alice hears Tasha entering the apartment and ducks behind a nearby doorjamb to watch Tasha open the box.

The watch is engraved: On the back, it says "TMW, WITH LOVE, A." The sentiment triggers another flashback. Tasha remembers a fellow soldier, Lisa, who had an engraved watch from her husband. In the flashback, Lisa is calling her husband a bastard and Tasha is assuring Lisa that no court will take her daughter away from her. And then there’s a weird shot of Tasha holding a lifeless Lisa and yelling "Medic! Medic!" in some sort of warped demonlike voice.

Whoa. It was horrible enough already; what’s with the scary Exorcist sound effects? Eek.

Tasha turns on her heels and leaves. Alice, who has been peering with anticipation, could not be more confused.

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