This editorial is reply to Clairefisher's "The
Evolution of Bette" editorial
Has S4 Bette changed?
I really don't think so. It's an Evolution indeed, a journey through
self-discovery as well as a revealer for her true nature. Because
for me, through all the seasons, we learned more and more about
the TRUE Bette. Not the one who thought to be perfect, with pretty
"Melvinesque" manichaeism about life rules, apparently
unbreakable, all mighty and a tower of strength. But the one who
more and more realized how much more complex things can be - something
that makes her half-blood condition something highly symbolic: the
strongest believes and moral ethics can clash against events and,
yes, fragility is human and unexpected vulnerability can bring someone
to succumb to temptation, for example, as the fateful Candace's
accident showed to her. Because she failed, all the house of cards
collapsed and so did our Bette's facade...
One after one, all her strong convictions surrendered in front
of realities : Melvin was far to be perfect and so she was; yes,
one can cheat on his/her true love when circumstances weaken one's
resistance (all the disastrous therapy group sessions, Tina's miscarriage
and Fay Buckley's vicious attacks added to the strong carpenter's
obvious desire, at the very same time Tina kept off).
For someone like Bette, failures were unforgettable. Just remember
her intransigence towards Kit during S1, as well as - as you so
rightly pointed - her shocked reaction against the Marina-Jenny
affair. At this time, yes, Bette would have inform her sister about
Angus' fling. But the S4 Bette has now learned so much about human
fragilities and complexity. The world isn't black or white anymore,
there's blurriness on the picture : our dear Arts lover discovered
what a palette means, with infinite lights and shades - and shadow
And because she was able to waste the most precious thing of her
life - her committed relationship - for a moment of weakness, because
her foolish fling made so difficult to get her wife back and, ultimately,
because the obvious impossibility for Tina to really forgive her
finally broke the second chance she thought to get, she now fully
realize how much anyone deserve a true second chance. Remember her
so moving toast during S2 ? "I lift my glass to caring and
kindness and trust and longevity and... respect... to all the things
that you'll need to keep your love alive. I wish you... happiness.
And I hope that you forever spare each other pain. And if you find
that isn't possible, then I wish you forgiveness."
This forgiveness, Tina wasn't able to give her and so, apparently
(but of course my huge Tibette's heart will NEVER stop to wish a
happy end !) Bette definitely lost her beloved - and for a man into
the bargain... (the ultimate rejection).
On the way to her own tolerance about life's rules, we don't have
to forgot how the S2 Bette reacted facing Kit's adultery affair
with Benjamin : "I just know the situation, and no matter what,
I mean, there's always someone who gets hurt. And I just don't want
it to be you." See ? No strong blame, as the highly moral S1
Bette would have done, the way she did with Marina. Now she certainly
don't want to see Kit hurt once more. And for me, I must confess
my deep annoyance with Tina in the S4 scene you pointed : how great
to play the perfect moral woman, forgetting how contemptible she
acted when she screwed Henry in Bette's bed ! Now she can talk about
morality indeed... So I fully understand Bette's irritated reaction
! As well as I can understand how much one can refuse to be the
messenger of cruel news, above all for a deeply loved sister ...
For me, Bette didn't excuse Angus but simply allows him this priceless
second chance she never really had after her own meaningless fling
with the carpenter. Is it so blameworthy? I don't think so. Anybody
can make a mistake, anybody deserves a chance to make amends.
I even suspect Tina of putting so strongly the blame on Angus
as a way to just hurt Bette with the cruel cheating's similitude,
much more than a sincere want to protect Kit. I call that hypocrisy.
So, is Bette still the same Bette we met at the beginning ? Of course
she is. Simply, the facade doesn't work anymore.
The S1 Bette seemed the epitome of alphaness - only seemed. As
we slowly but surely discovered, there was a deeply vulnerable woman
behind this strong mask : the little child who lost her mother and
desperately wanted her father's affection and approbation, the passionate
Arts' lover who endlessly had to fight against her superiors' stupidity
and lack of imagination and was so much more made to stay the independent
gallery's owner she was at the tim e Tina came in her life, the
always-worried woman who became more and more terrified by her future
responsibilities supporting a family, the hopeless daddy's girl
who faced her half-sister's weaknesses with an inculcated intolerance,
During S2, we discovered a facet one couldn't easily guess at
first : the deeply powerless, inconsolable woman who lost the love
of her life. The strong alpha who took everything for granted now
totally melted facing the life-altering consequences of a moment
of weakness. And, yes, she even was able to beg. But was this new
behavior so surprising ? The strongest one was always Tina. And
the most passionate was always Bette. Simply, the first one allowed
her wife to take care of everything and the second one wasn't able
to express her feelings and thoughts. Remember this so sweet S1
scene, when Bette realized that Tina was pregnant ? In only few
minutes, we simply witnessed how the alpha facade suddenly disappear
to let the t rue highly sensitive Bette show who she really was.
That fully explains why S2 Bette - and, of course, this so desperate
and lost S3 Bette - emotionally collapsed. Tina's loss, Tina's new
relationship, Melvin's death... All her own world disappeared. And
then, the worst happened : S3's false hopes. Tina's disaffection
and even disinterest, then Tina's "feelings" for men (much
more attraction for a so-called normality, in fact), and finally
All this chain of events since Candace's affair until Tina's ultimate
rejection, added to a new feeling our Bette discovered on the road,
motherly love, all of that forged the Bette we see now in S4 : a
still emotionally bruised woman who slowly came to life again. A
new parenting situation, a new job - but a big empty love life.
It's no more the S1 Bette who enjoyed a powerful professional
status in addition to all her personal achievement as a loved wife.
Now it's a Bette who takes refuge in a new successful career in
the pursuit of self-balance and sentimental oblivion. The apparent
"Ice Queen", as Jodie's translator so rightly said, is
in fact more vulnerable than ever.
She has to continually face her ex-wife's apparent happiness with
a man, never stopping to hope each time she has to speak with her.
It was moving to see Bette's face before and after her phone talk
with Tina in "Lassoed", her brave attempt to appear unconcerned
and calm at Tina's awful "mixed" party - and believe me,
one needs a lot of courage and force for this kind of make believe
(no wonder she gave up to Nadia's continual seductive behavior,
the same day she had to witness Tina's so-called straight paradise
!) - , and finally her so obvious disillusion realizing why Tina
wanted to see her ("Lez girls").
During S2 and S3, Bette would have successfully resist to any
Nadia or Jodie, as well as she resisted to all this "meat-tagged"
stuff at the Planet or, later, to the Senator. Simply because she
still hoped to have Tina back. Even being the sexy goddess she is,
attracting women without looking for them, even being the so obvious
very physical woman she is, Bette is truly and deeply a one-woman
woman. Someone who needs love in a relationship, not only a way
to satisfy physical needs. An only sex affair, like Nadia's one,
will always let her feel frustrated, for there will always be the
emotionally vulnerable woman and lone child in her. That's why Tina
was just the right one for her, with her motherly nature and her
But having lose her, missing her wife the way she never stopped
to (and certainly wouldn't confess now), Bette is more than ever
vulnerable behind her all mighty-Dean-Porter attitude in front of
students ("if you are going to be a TA for me, you shouldn't
expect to have a life") and her usual cool mask.
In the pursuit of her balance, the acceptance of Tina's (apparently)
definitive loss and a salutary oblivion, she's so obviously without
many defenses currently. That's why she was so weak with Nadia at
first - before so clearly sit her on her place - and that's also
why she was obviously happy to let the mask fall enjoying smoking
the pot with Jodie!
But even that welcomed moment of lightness was revealing, for
Bette didn't stop to talk about Tina through funny shared memories
So, no, for me, S4 Bette is still the same Bette - the one we
love and care for. Still hurt, unhappy, desperately but gracefully
trying to get together and compose with what life lets her : a life
where the only true love she can enjoy is the motherly one. And
god knows how much I'd be delighted to comfort her (... one can
dream, no ? ^_^ ), but I'm still hoping for the Tibette reunion
I sigh for since SO long. Now call me naive or cockeyed optimist
! You know what ? I'm proud to be!
And thanks to all these marvelous and so talented fanfic authors
here, my hopelessly Tibette's heart can find appeasement and comfort,
waiting for the happy end I'm craving for. (... crossing fingers
and toes for a S5 !)
From the deepest of my heart, thank you SO much for this daily
Go Back to Fan Editorials Archive Pages
Leave Comment (pop up window)
2007-02-20, 15:56:54 PM
Comments: Great words and wonderful way of see life. At the end of the day, all of us are here to face the truth and try to be a better person. Betty is trying to find her way and deeply inside she knows what she needs.
2007-02-20, 16:12:39 PM
Comments: Thank you so much, Brazil2005, your words mean much more than you could think and I'm truly touched.
2007-02-21, 12:57:38 PM
Comments: wow you couldn't have expressed my feelings about Bette more elegantly then that! beautiful and totally on point editorial. :)
2007-02-24, 15:32:44 PM
Comments: I'm just impressed that you chose your pseudonym from the Price of Salt. Good choice!
2007-02-25, 02:27:56 AM
Comments: Gigi88, thanks a lot !! I'm delighted to know we share the same point of view on Bette. And, well, you pretty made me blush too... ^_^ TalesofJennifer, you just made my day noticing that ! ^_^ This marvellous Highsmith's novel helped me so much on the must essential period of my life, years ago, not only because it's such a subtle, delicate and intelligent book, but also because I share so much with Therese. Ladies, you're wonderful ! Many thanks to all of you !
2007-02-26, 12:21:47 PM
Comments: Yes... This journey is so complex :)That´s why we hope IC just don´t turn this road, again, instead to paradise, to hell... Like your words a lot :)
2007-03-13, 19:11:03 PM
Comments: Wow I'm speechless. Great words and I would said that was an excellent review (I can't help myself read it over and over again). You totally understood Bette character so deeply. But what about Tina, is Tina playing trick in S4 so that she could win bette back or maybe just want to hurt Bette back? Remember Tina says in S1 episode 12, that Bette is her "First, Last and Forever" and "God, am I going to go to my grave and Bette will be the only woman that I've ever slept with?". I mean what happens with Tina (is this call growing), first she's make out with helena and secondly she's back to her heterosex life with Henry and in S4 she's back to be a Lesbian again. Did she miss something? I remember watch S4 episode 11 preview where Tina said that "she will save Bette better than a boring man she's date with?" Is that a hope for Bette or what I don't know?
2007-03-14, 12:00:55 PM
Comments: I think it was true for Tina, First Last & forever. I think IC has gone down this road, and made them to go through all of this, to find there way back to each other, with no regrets between them. Yes at the end of this Season Bette chases Jodi, and Tina helps her do it, but I think Season 5 will be these two realizing they love each other and will begin to court again. I men come on, how can they waste that chemistry with jennifer 7 lauren. Even when they are not talking to each other, its always there.
2007-03-20, 13:44:34 PM
Comments: Dear Therese... What a question indeed isn't it? Has S4 Bette changed? Doesn't everybody evolve? And, in this case, is it possible to evolve into yourself? Because I think, as a contrast to especially S3, Bette could be herself again... She could throw the immens guilt of her shoulders, or at least pretend to throw it off, because this time everyone failed not her, but Tina for the dimise of the perfect relationship... It is this what gave us a glimpse of 'The real Bette' again... A glimpse of the knight in shining armour, as if she came and saved Princess Tina when Jenny attacked her at the Planet... I am one of those (rare?) Tina defenders though... And I think that in her evolution Bette has lost track of one thing... Her true love for Tina... Because when Bette had made the huge mistake of sleeping with Candace, she fought so hard to win back the love of her life... Was that just because she wanted to right her wrong? Or was it because, as she stated so passionatly, Tina is the only woman she is in love with? Tina is the love of her life? Ppl make mistakes, and Tina's aren't any bigger then Bette's... She told bette about her feelings for men, and I suspect her of hoping to be stopped, but this time it was BETTE who showed, what could be interpretated as, indifference... Telling her she should explore her feelings... Its very hard when you are crying for bounderies and someone just lays down and allows you to walk over them... And frankly that was what Bette did in S3, right? She was so guiltridden that she allowed Tina to walk all over her... It was the S3 Bette that was truely 'out-of-character', partly causing (in my opinion) Tina's doubt... I think you are right, Therese... Tina craved normality... Tina got scared of the immensity of her feelings for Bette... Tina had experienced how the brunette could hurt her, and she was to afraid to take that risk again, causing her back away from her 'first, last and forever'...BUT... But, Tina is coming to her senses, slowly but surely, only to find Bette has moved on... causing me to think: Has Bette lied? Can someone ever truely get over 'the love of her life'? Is Bette a sun in a universe, and Tina her moon? Can Bette light any random object and bring it to life, but is Bette the only light in Tina's universe? Will Bette find the last piece of herself? The last step of her evolution? The step that will lead her to the love of her life?I love your words, Therese, they swirl off of the screen right into my heart.. I love ow you describe Bette as vulnurable, finding all the right words to do so... Thank you for this, my dear Therese... It allows us and amazing insight, amazingly put in words by a magician... YOU... Thank you, JLBT
2007-04-23, 23:59:14 PM
Comments: Wow! You really dissected Bette's character well. There was a scene in S4 that made me wonder. It was that scene when Bette first approached Jodi to tell her "You scare me!" And when Jodi invited her to "You want to tie it?" and they made love the first time. I wondered why Bette broke down and cried. More so when Jodi whispered, "It's ok." It seemed that Bette opened her vulnerability to Jodi, which Jodi seemed to understand without so many words. I think that scene has many layers...more so for Bette. It's more like a turning point especially since now, she opened herself to love again. At this point, I don't care really who Bette will end up with. I am just allowing myself to be surprised. But one thing I really love seeing is the evolution of Bette, especially the now Bette with such a deep and mature character.Thanks for your editorial. It was really insightful. I just became a member of L-word.com and I love reading the works and comments of people here.