At least one major storyline got wrapped up (at least partially) this week with an unexpected twist and turn. While the rest of the ladies were creating tangled relationship plotlines, Tasha and Alice were having some big life defining moments.
Tasha’s trial for conduct unbecoming a soldier started in full force. Everyone dressed to the nines in full military dress uniforms and prosecuting counsel Colonel Davis (played by Kelly McGillis) is loaded for bear. With Alice being called as the prosecutions’ main witness, you just had to know things were going to get intense and a bit out of the tight control of those in command.
First I have to say I just about spit out my tea as I listened closely to the language used as trial was brought into session, specifically “court is not bound by the rules of formal evidence”. Gotta love that. In the military we make our own rules and then make up how we conduct the justice process as well. So much for due process. As the Church Lady on Saturday Night Live used to say “Now, isn’t that CONVENIENT?” All I know is that with each passing episode’s glance behind the military veil I get just that much more compassion for our LGBT brothers and sisters who have served or are serving our country. It is like the additional “something extra” burden all gays and lesbians face in the workplace and society plus a little something more because of the inherent design and infrastructure of the highly hierarchical (and hypocritical) armed services.
From day one we knew something was “off” with Col. Davis. People who are fully comfortable with themselves are just not that uptight and righteous. In this episode we catch her stealing glances at the ladies in the gym and locker room. Straight women just don’t look and linger like that when checking out another woman. And, true to form, Alice catches Davis’ subtle glances. Remember this is the same Alice who taught Dana about gaydar in Season 1.
To cut to the chase, Alice calls Davis on her sexuality while on the stand. Totally blows the place out of the water as she speaks her truth and wonders aloud how you can condemn someone, a decorated and dedicated soldier, for simply having lesbian friends. All hell breaks loose as Davis calls a recess to have her witness “compose herself” and then bargains with Alice. Threatened by her own vulnerability Davis tells Alice to inform Tasha that if she sticks with her “I’ve been setup” story the charges will be dropped. How’s that for an about face? I have to say I was personally surprised by the turn of events. I mean I knew Alice couldn’t sit there and lie, but my what a powerful display of how fear can turn an alpha dog (Davis) into a quick about face.
What happened next is what I have to believe is one of the most poignant messages the show has ever driven home. Tasha gets on the stand and tells her story but then has her moment of truth. I must say as I watch this scene multiple times it never fails to bring tears to my eyes. Tasha tells the truth about what is expected in the military:
One of the things that is asked of us when we go to the front lines is to be separated from those we love; we ask that of them too. So we can fight for their freedom not knowing if we’ll ever come home. And when we do come home we feel blessed. It feels so wrong now to have my personal freedom denied to me within my own country. It seems wrong to see the person that I love be interrogated like a criminal when she did nothing wrong.
Needless to say, Tasha outs herself right on the stand in perhaps the most powerful moment on television this year. She immediately finds Alice as she is leaving the base and is full of smiles. Alice asks her “What happened in there? Did you win?” And Tasha replies “I won” and then tells Alice that she told all of them that she loves her.
“I won” I think that is the clearest way to describe what happens when you own and speak your truth. Whether it is about your sexuality or about how you wish to live your life through career choices, relationships, etc. When you respect and honor yourself for who you really are and live in alignment with that – you win, everyone around you wins, and the world at large benefits. And I stand firm in that despite Col. Davis’ little addendum about how personal freedom is honorable, but personal sacrifice is the nobler cause. While I believe in giving freely and joyfully making sacrifices for a grander plan, I don’t believe sacrificing who you are is ever a nobler cause. If you are willing to toss out the essence of who you are as some silly collateral damage, we all lose – we all are robbed of the benefits of seeing you share your unique gifts with the world.
Whether you shout it to the mountaintops or simply speak softly within yourself, getting clear on who you are, embracing that, and living in integrity (aligned with that) is what it is all about.
The most powerful moment on TV was followed up by a most beautiful and captivating scene as Tasha embraces Alice and plants a big kiss on her right in the middle of the military base for all to see. I can’t help but know that the contrast of Alice’s red purse against her sexy black dress and Army green was not an afterthought. I bet it was a carefully laid plan by Ilene Chaiken and company to give the lesbian community our own military moment reminiscent of all the great Life Magazine photos. Sweet.