THIS WEEK'S L WORD VOCABULARY:
Donuts: Nothing says "I'm ready to be with a woman" like a dozen from Dunkin'.
Déjà vu: What you might get when Tina looks at Bette.
Downward: Kit's spiral, with stops along the way at drinking and dancing.
THIS WEEK'S GUEST-BIANS: Kristanna Loken teaches Shane how to kill time; Sandrine Holt teaches Helena how to put on a show.
A fantasy land — Jenny is sleeping. Well, I guess that's Jenny. She looks more like some sort of fairy tale character, with her curly locks, lacy nightie and the golden sun kissing her face. There's even a fairy tale flute in the background.
She wakes and glides peacefully through the shimmering sunlight, cradling a bouquet of flowers, caressed by a gentle breeze. It's a happy land. Oh, but where is she taking the flowers? Her posy is for a pooch: She's placing the flowers on Sounder's grave. She's also dusting off the stone that says R.I.P. Sounder.
Jenny: Oh, Sounder. Am I gonna rot in hell?
As she lovingly lays the nosegay on the soft soil, an answer comes to her — in the form of a ragged paw, springing forth from the loamy earth and clawing at her delicate wrist! Run, Jenny! Flee from the foul hound of hell!
Clearly that canine should have been named Carrie.
Jenny, I do feel for you. Your dreams are coming true: one book published, a second book excerpted in The New Yorker, movie studios battling to make you a star. And yet you're racked with guilt, haunted by a sad little dog named Sounder and a mean little critic named Stacey. You're Sue Snell in Carrie: pretty and popular but unable to ignore the ones who seem to suffer for no reason and crushed by the knowledge that you may have contributed to their pain. What will become of you, Jenny/Debbie/Sue, JDS, Jennifer Diane Schecter? How will you navigate this brave new world?
Jenny wakes with a start, checking her arm for scrapes and scratches. She's intact. Externally, anyway.
The hottest tea party in town — Tina and Bette are having tea at Bette's house. Yeah, I know that's hard to believe, but that's really what they're doing. In a friendly way, even. And Bette's wearing a tank top, which just makes it that much friendlier.
Bette says she's heard about the battle for the Schecter movie rights. Tina says it's not a lot of fun for her, but she has to do it because Lez Girls is the "hottest property in town."
Tina: That's what I hate about the movie business.
Bette: Well, she's not very kind to you.
Tina: I have to kiss her ass because every studio in town is blowing smoke up it, and all I really want to do is wring her neck. And that character, Nina — is that really what people think of me?
Bette: No. Tina! Come on, Jenny's a fiction writer. I mean, her story is funny and it's over the top; that's why people are loving it.
Tina: You said some of those things.
Bette: In pain and anger. I mean, I know our relationship was real. I know you loved me and it wasn't just some trivial experiment to you.
Tina watches Bette sip her tea as if she's watching the sun come up or beholding some other stunning, revelatory thing. 'Cause she is.
Tina: I still love you, you know.
Bette: [simply] I love you, too.
To paraphrase one of Laurel Holloman's costars in The Incredibly True Adventure of Two Girls in Love, what are we supposed to do with this information? I guess we should do what they're doing, or at least what Bette is doing: recognize it, accept it, sit with it, live with it. Tina, however, may be embarking on some other course of action:
Tina: It's so hard, Bette. I miss you so much sometimes. I miss our life.
Bette takes a deep breath and puts down her tea. I never knew the placing of a cup could be so profound. It's like J. Alfred Prufrock is singing to me all of a sudden.
Tina: I miss the way we communicated subtly … I miss the way that we worked together to make everything around us so beautiful. I miss being surrounded by women and feeling part of something so secret and special.
Bette: Come here.