Last night like many of you we watched the Season Four Finale of The L Word with friends. From a personal opinion standpoint I think it was the best finale the series has served up thus far. As I got to thinking about the different storylines on the way home, the theme that most stood out for me was that of being willing to be vulnerable and taking a risk for what you really believe in. Here’s how I saw this theme playing out. (if you haven’t seen the episode yet, bookmark this post because it’ll spoil it for you)
The characters that most exemplified this for me were the scenes with Bette and Jodi and those with Alice and Tasha. First let me delve in to the Bette (Jennifer Beals) and Jodi (Marlee Matlin) story. We all know by now that Bette is a control freak and has to be right in every situation. What I noticed last night, though was her real willingness to take a risk, be vulnerable, and see herself truthfully maybe for the first time. When she asks Tina what she does so wrong in relationships, Tina truthfully and lovingly tells her. For the first time we see Bette allow the armor that surrounds her persona to drop and let this information in. She even opens to the point of allowing Tina to email Jodi this honest truthfulness of how Bette behaves when she’s scared, uncertain, or getting close to someone. Do you have the courage to open to new awareness about yourself? Are you willing to claim it, own it, and march headlong into your life and relationships with your eyes wide open?
As if this wasn’t enough personal stretching for one episode, Bette goes one step further and takes a huge risk by taking massive action to get Jodi back. In true “get it done at any cost” fashion she steals a gigantic metal sign that Jodi had her sights on, hightails it to New York, and turns into “farmer Bette” to surprise Jodi with this very specific gift from the heart. Bette opens to the thing that scares her most – Jodi’s ability to see right through her and match her strong personality. In a less overt way, Jodi does the same thing, opening to truly love another person exclusively.
You can call me simply a sucker for Marlee Matlin or watching such powerful women actors sink their teeth into a meaty story, but the truth is I think this storyline does a great job of illustrating the power of strong relationships to help us see ourselves more clearly. People are our mirrors and teachers. Sometimes this can be a little painful, shocking, or surprising, but through our relationships with others, we get to see ourselves as we really are.
The Alice (Leisha Haley) and Tasha (Rose Rollins) storyline is a big one and talked about often for its take on the “Don’t Ask; Don’t Tell” military situation as well as the controversial war in Iraq. I think they’ve done an awesome job of this, but the nuance of the story that I want to tie into here is that of vulnerability and uncertainty. Loving anyone or anything is a total risk. We risk our hearts, our feelings, and our very souls when we love another deeply. The good news is being loved and loving well are perhaps the most important measures of a life well lived. We get great joy, connection, and meaning from the relationships in our lives (and for the animal lovers among us that includes our furried and feathered ones). The catch is, we can never really know. We never really know how long someone will be in our life. We can never know the depth of their love. Everything can change in an instant and tomorrow is promised to no one. And, loss brings intense grief and sadness. In spite of it all, are we willing to love anyway?
This is the question posed by the imminent departure of Tasha for Iraq now that Alice and she have become attached. Having just lost Dana last year, Alice is desperate to not lose someone she loves again. While I’m not a big fan of flashbacks or dead characters re-appearing (often it is so soap-opera-ish), last night’s interlude with Dana was just awesome. Just as Alice is ready to hide from the whole going away party for Tasha, Dana appears to give her a kick in the pants. Perhaps Dana’s best point was (referring to the fact that Alice loved and then lost Dana to breast cancer) “would you have preferred never to have known me because you had to lose me”? It sort of says it all, but it is a great question for all of us to consider — knowing that you might lose someone are you willing to love with your heart wide open anyway?
What about you? What life lessons did you see in the season finale? How can you use the power of fictional stories to create more meaning in your life? Share in the comments….