Lost Girl: Season 4, Episode 12, Origin

Screen Shot 2014-02-10 at 4.42.25 PM

Lost Girl has finally snapped my mind like a twig. I have no words.

Which of course means I will continue to ramble for several thousand words. Thanks for coming along for the ride. Air sickness bags are in the back of the seat in front of you, just in case.

Wardrobe was hit or miss this episode, but Kenzi's fascinator is PERFECT.

Let’s start with the episode structure. This is written by Alexandra Zarowny, who wrote “Sleeping Beauty School” (which was directed by Steve DiMarco, who directed this episode) and “Fae-ge Against The Machine” (directed by George Mihalka). In my review of the former – of which you can refresh your memory by clicking the handy hyperlink – I explained why that episode simply did not work, even though on the surface it had much the same structure as “Fae-ge.” In short, “Fae-ge” worked because it clearly delineated how the B-plot was having a direct influence on the A-plot, and the absurdities of the A-plot were supposed to be just that, absurd, as part of the Dawning-hoops devised by maniacal powers-that-be and shaped by a couple outside-the-system fae weirdos.

Zarowny’s problem seems to be she attempts to copy the structure and absurdity of “Fae-ge” without understanding what truly works about it, and thus we get two more episodes which are theoretically similar – people following a string of supernatural and obfuscated clues to a destiny/discovery/person! Lots of random, arbitrary happenings to ‘lead’ us somewhere! Random nefarious character who serves as a turncoat! – but which structurally do not work on almost any level. Some of the individual beats and scenes still work, and some of the characters work, but the overall arc Does. Not. Work.

(It should be noted whenever she gets away from this structure she has more success: one episode which could be better with more hair extension budget, one episode which deals well with body image and girls forced into stripping and/or prostitution, and one of the better episodes of Season 3 which had a smooth give-and-take between the mystery plot and the characters working through personal issues.)

Maybe if you stare hard enough, it will spontaneously combust.

To some extent, the amount of plot that had to fit into this episode isn’t any one person’s fault. The past season and a half have had several four-episode subplots jammed into one episode, and some one-episode subplots dragged out over 11 episodes. The show is stronger individually than with its overarching plots, and their reluctance to reveal things and how that harms them rather than help is really well demonstrated by how three plots play out: Rainer/Bo, Lauren/Evony, and Vex/Massimo.

Dragged Out: The Rainer Is My Destiny (RIMD) plot needed to be dropped up-front of the season. We’d had some lead-up in Season 3, but they spent most of this season postponing the actual reveal. Giving us the flashbacks to Bo and Rainer on the train in 4.02 along with Bo’s friends searching for her would have worked better, but they wanted to draaaaag out the reveal, and ultimately it didn’t pack the necessary wallop. Now they waited so long, we don’t have sufficient time for the rest of the arc.

Foreshadowed, Quick Delivery: In this episode, Lauren tells Bo – and by extension the audience – she’s got ulterior motives for aligning with the Dark (more on that later), and we also know last time she kissed Evony she did it to gain something. When Lauren shows up in Evony’s bed, we already know it’s not all what it seems. We know there’s a twist, and yet that does nothing to diminish the twist when it comes (heh, comes) only a few scenes later. “Oh, Lauren is playing the Dark? Oh, Lauren is bedding Evony? Ok, something is going on, we’re in on half the joke, let’s see what the rest is.” Being fairly transparent with what was up doesn’t weaken the specific reveal.

Out of Nowhere: Then the Vex/Massimo plot comes out of absolutely nowhere, dropped in because it’s convenient and Kenzi needs to feel betrayed by everyone in her life. We get no hint Vex even knows Massimo, let alone has dedicated such a large portion of his life to protecting the human (and if Vex owns/claimed him, can’t Vex kill him?), until SURPRISE! Vex turns on Kenzi. In fact, Massimo feels poorly planned this whole back half. None of his scenes work this episode, other than on the most basic level of creeping out the audience. His shift from sleazy dealer druid to insane oedipal madman is completely unearned, and while he worked as the former, he doesn’t the latter. Making him ‘resurrect’ is not enough to initiate a whole personality and plot shift. Yeah, we get Massimo is a twisted shithead who went to crazytown. But you don’t get to just do that because. You have to create causal chains for character development. Instead we get shortcuts and deus ex machina.

In a nutshell, that’s the Papa Bear, Mama Bear, Baby Bear of plots. One is too quick, the other too coy, one is juuuuuust right. But we’re at the end of the season, and everything’s gotta fit, even if you have to cram the foot into the slipper. (If they can mix fairy tales, so can I.)

"bi-traeye the fae." BI. HAHAHAHAHAHA.

To facilitate all this, we get plots of convenience like the Vex/Massimo connection and a second curse that takes effect within seven days of Rainer’s escape from the train, and story machinations like Most Specific Prophesy Evar. ‘The valkyrie shall be reborn! The blood of Zamora shall be shed! The warrior shall . . .’ yep, check, check, and check.

We hit some recurring themes, to varying degrees. The idea of humans and fae and dependence, being claimed versus free, is strong in both Lauren and Kenzi’s story; it feels like that’s where they wanted Massimo to fit, but again his plot was too quick. The idea of blood being so important is there. Bo’s being pulled between biological and chosen family. “Everlasting life.”

We also hit familiar character beats. It’s good we know these characters well by now, because we don’t get much of anyone; a downside of actually having all your main and recurring guest characters in an episode for, I believe, the first time this season. And a plot-point-crammed episode at that.

Bo mostly goes through the motions needed to get her next foe aboveground. Her relationship with Rainer remains about her trying to control something and save someone. She continues to fly by the seat of her leather pants and get bit in the ass by prophesies she ignores. She ends up passively engaging in her destiny, rather than making a decisive move. When she state she is ‘finally facing my destiny,’ it should be a bigger moment. It’s a super important marker, and the season has been leading here! Instead, it’s anticlimactic and doesn’t cause a shift within the episode. She tries to verbally affirm her friendship with Kenzi.

Kenzi doesn’t accept Bo’s verbal overtures anymore, which is good because it would be beyond absurd for her to do so. Her reaction to a knight showing up and pledging fealty (code for vagina?) to Bo is the most perfect thing.

Lauren fights and wins with science.

Tamsin is the one least affected by Hale’s death, so she’s the one who gets bitchy at outsiders, protecting her friends who are deeply grieving. It’s a great touch, and though she’s not in the episode much she works well. She also shares a drink and knowing look with Dyson, though any repercussions of their barside sex are nowhere to be found.

Dyson, aside from another installment of the running homoeroticism injoke and serving as a beautiful eulogy-giver and muscle against Massimo, doesn’t have much to do. And speaking of that scene . . .

Awkwardly blocked all around. Mostly closeups of Kenzi's face threatening Massimo

Dyson’s turn from wanting to rip Massimo’s heart out and eat it in front of him (awesome) to taking him to lockup went too fast. Still, Dyson is more bound by tradition and has lost many brothers to violence over the years, so his restraint is at least more believable than Kenzi’s. The Kenzi we know would have stabbed Massimo with Geraldine. She obviously knows he’s still invincible, but that just means she gets to do it over and over. That’s what this scene should be; I can’t buy that she turns away not once but twice. She should have to be physically stopped by a frantic Bo. The scene could and should have worked, but the restraint of everyone except Massimo killed it. 

Since we’re going scenically:

The spat between Bo and Lauren is typical ex fighting, where two people know each others’ weaknesses and have no reason to hold back. Neither are being totally honest, and it’s definitely the first time they’ve been this catty with each other. Drudging up ex drama works, and the actresses sell the idea that these are somewhat unfair accusations that have been bubbling below the surface, and the two are saying what will paint them in the best light because that’s what you do in an argument with your ex.

Nice continuity, to ensure Bo has her knife in this scene.

But in a lot of ways, things they were saying didn’t actually make sense. A couple episodes ago Bo wasn’t able to choose between Lauren and Dyson, but now she ‘chose,’ past tense, Lauren? Since when? Lauren isn’t doing “everything” for Bo, there’s a healthy dose of self-preservation and her own agenda in there (more on that later). The conversational BS effectively prevents them from actually hashing out any useful information. (Which is, one must admit, handy for the writers.) It needs to be clearer Bo is specifically angry at Lauren for attacking Bo’s new beau, because that’s exactly what is happening. It needs to be clearer Lauren was upset about Bo’s blasé attitude towards the Light’s mistreatment of her, and that helped her decide to liaison with the Dark. It’s all there, kind of, but you have to know their history and work through the chatter to understand that because the lines are so clunky.

The scenes with Evony and Lauren on the other hand, are much clearer; Evony being her typically blunt self doesn’t hurt that. For all we know, this entire plot was so the show could be explicit that two women went down on each other. If you can’t show due to ‘netwerk stahndurds,’ tell.

So since we’re being all clear and obvious: Lauren used her vagina to make the Morrigan human. I repeat, Lauren used her vagina to make the Morrigan human.

Here’s the thing though. Including the fantastic absurdity of the sentence I just wrote, that scene works so much, and is on so many levels the best scene in the episode, even though it feels slightly out of place in an episode breaking its neck on a disjointed A-plot. The scale of the two stories is also disparate; life and death versus powers and position, interpersonal versus world- and clan- changing. This is exactly how these two flirting in Lauren’s apartment felt alongside its A-plot in “All The Gin Joints,” written by the same person; this episode’s plots are almost an extension of all the Gin Joints plots, in fact.

The stark black-and-white motif is nicely suggestive. The two involved do great work, have chemistry and give-and-take, and give us dialogue actually moving characters somewhere. 

Seriously, the black-and-white equating or reversing Light-and-Dark can be too much sometimes, but this is lovely.

Lauren’s bed-speech to Evony here operates similarly to her speech to Bo in “Those Who Wander.” Lauren speaks her truth, but words it craftily. In “Those Who Wander” she was cautious because Taft was in the room, and here she carefully manipulates Evony. But in both cases, Lauren airs things which are truly bothering her. Before, it was about her relationship with Bo (a conversation they needed to have long before), and here it’s about her life with the fae. I like when speeches can work on two or more levels, and these do.

We get Lauren involved in another (THIRD!) spy bang. We get Lauren being honest and clear about what it means to be human in the fae world (relevant also to Kenzi here), but it feels like a personal revelation to Evony and not straight exposition. There’s a slap parallel to the one she gave Tamsin, for insulting her and Bo. There’s sexiness, not for the mere sake of it, but Lauren using sex to get what she wants. She knows people overlook her brains/talents because she’s sexy, so she uses what is often an insult and disadvantage – hot woman with brains gets underestimated – to her advantage.

Which leads us back to Lauren telling Bo she ‘did everything for you,’ and seeing that’s just not so. Does taking out the woman who – along with Trick – wants Bo out of the picture help Bo? Of course. But Lauren is also doing it for herself. She can justify it because it’s for a good cause, or because she’s not actually siding with Taft, or because it helps Bo, etc., but she’s destroying the system which deems her inferior and holds her powerless. Simple as that. This season is the start of the fae power structure crumbling, not with a bang but with a lot of sexy whimpers.

Like the DNA collection, serum injection/ingestion could have happened a dozen other ways. Thus both Lauren wanted sex, and the writers wanted to have some more sexytimes. And again, they made sure to make a point that even though they can’t show anything, we’re well aware of what happened between the sheets.

The repercussions will be interesting. (Please God let there be repercussions.) Evony can stay Morrigan unless/until people discover her secret, so now Lauren has blackmail power, but Lauren has also made a powerful enemy. Plus, while what Lauren does is different than Taft in function – Taft was torturing and killing fae and looking to augment himself and possibly others without consent, Lauren is removing a threatening aspect of a known murderer – there’s a lot of gray moral ground in the implementation. Making people fae or human without their consent is dark shit. [Add: I talk more about moral ambiguity and issues of consent and agency here.]

This scene was good. Too bad what followed left me incredulous.

Speaking of dark, I know they’re not always brightly lit, but some scenes were darker than usual. In fact, this episode had a lot of campy and/or subpar framing and dialogue, like after the Morrigan announced the succubus should die, Lauren immediately risked giving away her position by loudly whispering “Bo!” 

No, we thought she meant the OTHER all-powerful succubus. We get it. The Morrigan meant Bo.

The fight scene in the temple – sorry, spiritual center – was awkward; I felt bad for Anna Silk, Rachel Skarsten, and Kris Holden-Ried sitting around the table trying to deliver the clunky dialogue about queen bees with a straight face; Bo’s method of figuring out which horse worked, but the poem recital and Epona’s convenient last words before death were unintentionally hilarious; the callback to Bo and Ryan in the cheesy Niagara hotel is perfectly delivered, but doesn’t save the fact this is the third quicky marriage-esque plot in just this season; lack of a reverse shot when Massimo comes into Evony’s bedroom makes it feel like they’re holding out his identity when we clearly know who it is, also, EEEWWWWW on the makeout with mommy; Rosette’s turncoating was clearly telegraphed, so I’m not sure how Bo was surprised (Rainer was surprised because he and Rosette used to be fuck-buddies), but then Rosette was surprised the essence of evil turned on her, and Bo and Rainer were shocked Pyrippus was rising – the very thing their marriage was supposed to bring about!?

The natural hair light is pretty great.

What else, what else. Have some episode notes, written in the moment, edited for brevity and clarity and to capitalize proper nouns.

Are they smoking Hale? Hmmm. “Beefcake jerky.” “Hale-be-que.”

Vex and Shakespeare getting high together. That’s an episode I want.

Bo here is all of her acknowledged faults, at the same time, turned up to 11. She kept promising Kenzi stuff and not delivering Maybe they thought that’s the only thing that would make Kenzi leave? And being catty with Lauren so the audience thinks she really went in for Evony? Brutal.

hahahahahanopeOMGwhatthefuckholyshitcontrivanceabsurditysexinessIgiveup

PUT THE WEDDINGS AWAY, WRITER’S ROOM. BURY THEM DEEP.
Geez, you think the warrior who’s been casting jealous looks at Bo all episode is going to be more than she seems!?
oh shit, all the spelling out
LITERALLY SPELLING OUT. HE LITERALLY SPELLED.
“He promised me everlasting life! And I have a great wicked cackle.”

How is Lauren now captive? Somehow we’re in the Una Men’s lair? Where’s Evony? Why isn’t this happening in The Morrigan’s bedroom? Ridiculous shortcut to get Lauren and Massimo with the seed.
HOW IS LAUREN JUST SITTING THERE FOR THIS BEGGING?
Here’s a theory: If we had even a hint that Lauren knew about the seed before, I would say she had tampered with it and her begging was to trick Massimo into taking it. But we have no mention that she knew of its existence. Still, could happen. It definitely didn’t seem to agree with Massimo, what with the bug eyes and twitching.

"Guys if I'm going to say Bo is 'literally' a queen bee, we're going to need to use real vodka."

The episode is full of cues which tell us how we should be responding to the story – dramatic music! Shadowy figures! – without building a coherent story around them. Meanwhile, there’s no discernible endgame, at least not without another season. This is, indeed, LOST with fae.

*cackles maniacally*

Stray Observations

- “Loved without bounds” is a nod to how complex actually exploring Kenzi-Hale would have been. I would have liked it more had they, y’know, explored it.

- Nice write-around for not being able to get all Hale’s family booked.

- Hale/Kenzi went from ‘just started dating’ to ‘almost husband’ to artificially inflate the ante.

- Oh yes, more Evil Trick Being Nefarious!

- Tamsin asks “attacked by whom?” and I have never adored her more.

- Lauren inserted the bloody end into the phone reader (which is an actual thing), but when they cut to the close-up it was blood-end out. 

- “Hel” can refer to the Norse goddess, but it seems they’re using Hel the location.

Epona was the priestess. Also, check this.

- It seems Pyrippus is the big bad Wanderer / father. He is probably (via handprint?) manipulating and/or casting a spell on Bo and Rainer. Rainer may have two manifestations: gorgeous and hideous.

- Pyrippus is Bo’s daddy; he gave her up but totes wants to meet her, which sounds like a great plan to Rainer because for someone with foresight, Rainer is terrible at reading interpersonal situations.

- The horse imagery is extra funny/awesome when you consider in adolescent lit, horses are a symbol of burgeoning sexuality.

Comments
30 Responses to “Lost Girl: Season 4, Episode 12, Origin”
  1. lbw8lrrh says:

    I really appreciate your thoughtful analysis of the episodes and I concur that this one is a hot mess! On first viewing I really wanted to like the episode, perhaps because it “felt” like things were starting to happen, but the plot devices to get there were convoluted (How does binding with Rainer save him, much less help Bo’s family? Were the horse women trying to raise the Pyrippus or keep him bound? etc.) or simply out of left field (Vex and Massimo? Really?). That’s before even addressing the continued lack of development of Rainer as a character; is the audience even meant to feel anything other than annoyed or ambivalent. I mean, one episode with Tamsin in Season 3 and the audience had all sorts of feels about her

    As you mentioned, the B-plot involving Lauren and Evony was the best part of the episode, with Lauren being all smirky and cocky (“Are you trying to melt me? That’s adorable!”). Also, we’ve seen Bo sweat so what is the deal with Evony reacting to sweating, itching, heart beating, and periods?

    In general I’ve enjoyed episodes this season and have not minded taking the risk on having Bo be less likable, etc. in the service of telling a complex story, but after a season of slowly revealing it felt like the writers were trying to quickly push the story forward for whatever finale they have in store for next week. The whole season feels like a buildup for season 5, which I really hope we get.

    As an aside, I have really enjoyed a lot of the music that is selected for lost girl and the song by Gossling “Heart Killer” that plays in the background during Lauren and Evony’s conversation in bed is no exception. I couldn’t find the song on iTunes but was able to purchase it directly on Gossling’s Facebook page.

    *Sorry for the long rant…this episode Was. So. Frustrating! If you’re going to have a long build-up the pay-off better be worth it.

    • Melanie says:

      Ha! You will never have to apologize for post length here.

      Presumably Evony’s clan or species does not sweat? I’m sure they would cover that discrepancy easily. Also, it does make sense someone who is physically ‘perfect’ would be in The Morrigan’s position, both in the fae world and the entertainment industry.

      I agree about Bo. I think it’s great to make you hero less ‘wonderful,’ and especially when you have 1) a universe specifically painted in shades of gray 2) an actress so inherently likable as Silk. It’s been established she’s generally self-unaware, and a lot of her actions are were the character we met in S1 could have logically gone. I’ll only be angry if the break with Kenzi doesn’t bring her to her senses in a Season 5 I’m rather assuming we’ll get.

      For a low-budget show with probably not a great deal to spend on music, they have done incredibly well overall! I’ve heard bands I like and discovered new ones, and the songs are often well-employed and mixed well into scenes. I’ll be going and buying that song too now.

      • lbw8lrrh says:

        Thanks for pointing out that it is Evony’s particular Fae-type that doesn’t sweat, itch, or have periods (and where can I sign up?). That makes a lot more sense than Fae in general not having these experiences, and also makes it that much more interesting for Evony, in particular, to go through this transformation.

        Btw, I really enjoyed the discussion on this blog re: the ethics around what Lauren did by de-Faeing Evony. Your sensible and well-constructed arguments re: consent and power dynamics were a joy to read, and I was really happy that you parsed “the sex” from “the transformation” b/c its easy to get tangled up. There is no doubt this is a moral quandry–and how delicious is that?! I know some people would rather be simply entertained–and that’s not a bad thing, and I believe Lost Girl does a great job–but at its heart I see this as a show about characters and their relationships. Like people IRL the characters are broken people who spend a lot of time in the gray area that falls between the slivers of black and white. Lauren tells Evony that she has given her courage and confidence, but it is really Bo who has done that.

        If you watch episodes from each of the seasons you can see how much Lauren has changed over time b/c of the relationships she has established. We get a glimpse of her underlying rage in S2 in “Original Skin” as Reynard leverages to try to cause chaos. The writers have been bringing this whole situation to a slow boil and I think we see Lauren really snap in 4×4 when she thinks she is dealing with “more Light-Fae shit.” She seems to finally understand that escaping the Fae is not really an option so she begins plotting how to take back her agency and find power in this structure where she is the oppressed. And when the oppressed get tired of being oppressed, shit usually hits the fan. That doesn’t mean what she did to Evony was morally “right” but it is totally in-line with the human psyche. Also, I think in 4×13 we see Lauren experiencing some cognitive dissonance re: her actions as she suddenly seems to remember taking the Hippocratic oath; I for one am interested to see what happens with this arc in S5 (hint, hint showcase).

        Overall, I can’t help but wonder how much of the twitter and blog chatter that I read that did not take as nuanced and thoughtful approach as your own is due to Lauren being a bit of a lightning-rod character: people seem to love her or hate her (I’ve actually seen tweets saying they wished she’d die, leave, etc., which is something I haven’t seen re: the other main characters). Other characters certainly do morally questionable activities and, in general, I haven’t seen much reaction. For example, Evony melts two people in 4×3 but there was no outrage from people, I guess b/c they expect it of her. With Lauren, “the lovers” quickly come to her defense that what she did was justified, while “the haters” use it as another reason that she is a horrible person who doesn’t deserve Bo. It’s an odd, fandom twist on the Madonna-whore syndrome.

        • Melanie says:

          I think the show revels in moral quandaries more than many network shows right now. There isn’t a ‘right’ answer given to the audience, and we don’t see Lauren or Tamsin agonizing over or justifying their decisions. In this way it’s much more an adult show than a coming-of-age show. It’s also much more like – wait for it! – LOST than a traditional fantasy/supernatural show.

          Something subtle in this latest episode was the fact Kenzi went looking for Lauren, nodding to how she was calling and concerned for Lauren in 4.01. I think in 5.01 Lauren joins the search for Kenzi, as well. The two humans butting heads and slowly bonding has been one of the best, most natural relationship developments – they weren’t competing romantically, but they did have competitive tension for Bo’s attention/love/protection, and that’s another dirty little facet of human nature it was great to see played out.

  2. So what do you think about issues around consent concerning Lauren’s liaison with The Morrigan?

    • Melanie says:

      Such a loaded question so early in the morning.

      There are several components. I think first we need to separate the serum administration from the sex. Then we need to talk about how Lauren was the initiator and Evony gladly consented (actually made the first ‘official move’). But there’s also the issue of power dynamics.

      Sex and Serum. Lauren having gained Evony’s trust means she could have administered this any time, but she chose to do it in a symbolic way. If we should have a problem with any part of that, it’s Lauren stripping Evony of her fae-ness without Evony’s consent. Coupling the dosing with a sexual act makes it seem so much more nefarious, but would people still have a problem if Lauren had slipped it into some of Evony’s Dark Belch, or laced her pizza with it? I don’t know if they would, but they should, because it’s the serum which is problematic on Lauren’s part. The method just kind of highlights the problem with the actual administration, makes sure the viewer acknowledges it.

      There’s an element of self-preservation and Bo-preservation and tearing-down-the-fae-hierarchy-which-has-led-to-her-situation, all present, and yes if you want to look at it as her ‘disarming’ a lethal opponent you can see it that way. Lauren says ‘welcome to my world,’ suggesting she’s just equalling the playing field with someone who wants to kill Bo/Kenzi/etc and has killed others. *But it’s still wildly problematic.* It still hints at Taft’s ideals, it still suggests stripping someone of a large part of her identity, it still presents moral quandaries. And that’s great, so long as people realize it and talk about it. Lost Girl paints in shades of gray; did so right from the start when they set up a Light/Dark component and within the first episode showed us how either side was fine manipulating, kidnapping, and putting an innocent woman into a mini-colosseum to die. The closest we’ve had to a ‘pure good’ character is Kenzi, and she steals, lies, and breaks and enters all over the place. This isn’t a show which gives us pristine heroes or heroines. Now Lauren’s done this once, is she going to threaten to do it to, say, Trick? Is she going to destroy the binary by simply making there be no more fae? Is she playing God? THIS IS TRICKY AND DARK AND PROBLEMATIC WITH POTENTIAL FOR MORE PROBLEMS AND SUPER AWESOME.

      Consent. I’ve seen a couple people talk about ‘Lauren raping Evony.’ There’s a lot of shock value in that word, but if anything, it’d be the other way around. (More on that below.) The show goes out of its way to make The Morrigan not just a passive participant but an eager initiator – Lauren talks, but Evony makes the first actual move, and the Morrigan is in complete and total control of the situation and herself. So no, the sexual acts are not Evony being raped.

      Power Dynamics and Can Lauren Consent I almost hesitate to go here, because I think the writers/director/producers really intentionally skirted this, meaning both they didn’t want it to greatly affect the story and there’s not a lot to go on in the episode’s text. There has not been much of Lauren within the Dark camp this whole season. The speech Lauren gives frames her as more of a free agent, and she points out she doesn’t have a dog collar like she did with the Light and harsh rules like she did while under Lachlan. But her speech – as I mentioned in the review – is also designed to present herself in a really specific light, and none of this changes the fact Lauren is still essentially an indentured servant, and in two ways disempowered. Lauren is operating in a system in which humans are inferior, *and* a situation in which the Morrigan has all control.

      As to humans being inferior, we’ve seen how the fae and the Morrigan treat even fae who step out of line – they kill them on a whim, turn them into sushi tables, drag them down into dungeons – and humans are far below that. The fae in general would never prosecute Lauren’s death by the Morrigan’s hand, or the hand of any fae, so long as the death were properly covered. (A slight aside, they didn’t address the issue with Kenzi and Hale since S3, but it’s not nearly such an issue since Hale has stated and acted upon his absolute opposition to the system of inequality. It would still be problematic if, say, he had ‘claimed’ Kenzi, but with Kenzi and Bo it was never an issue.)

      So it’s fae/human in a system which is pejorative against humans (thus a great deal of the point of Lauren turning Evony; not just to ‘disarm’ or ‘declaw’ her, but to put her on equal playing ground with the group she has so constantly oppressed), and it’s also a master/servant dynamic. There’s no equality here. Evony is in a position of power in an oppressive system. Lauren is an indentured servant who cannot leave the system without fear of retribution or death. The episode is careful to set up the fact Lauren has agency, and Lauren has fought for her agency throughout the series, but it cannot be denied that in the overarching scheme of things her agency has been curtailed. If you see this move (the sex and/or the serum) as an attempt to reclaim her agency, that may place it in a slightly better light for you.

      Lauren is gay, and Evony is the only female fae authority figure we’ve really seen, but for the sake of argument, if Lauren were not gay, and if Lauren had sex with Batman Ash, or Lachlan, or just that visiting Blackthorne, it’d be the same; a highly uneven power dynamic. It’s easy to see it being akin to a prisoner having sex with or seducing a guard (as happened in last year’s Orange is the New Black and prison shows since the beginning of time and kind of barely touched on in 3.01).

      The Morrigan is fae, and the Morrigan is a ruler of the system oppressing humans in general and Lauren specifically. Both of those things, within the bounds set up, mean she’s in control of Lauren’s life, Lauren’s livelihood, etc. If anyone’s, Lauren’s is the agency being curtailed, not Evony’s.

      Last, not that you asked but it’s related, I saw some people on Twitter saying “Well what if Laurence slapped Evony? That’s abuse” and then there was some thought that that strengthened the case it was rape. OK, if you want to make it Laurence, then make it Evan. Laurence slaps Evan for mocking Evan’s personhood and calling Evan’s girlfriend a whore / threatening to sleep with Evan’s girlfriend. That’s what the writers are doing; completely flipping the narrative. This is not a man slapping a woman – which can be inherently more problematic than a woman slapping a woman because of entrenched power dynamics and privilege and man I am not going into this whole thing but I think you get it. This the same as when Lauren slapped Tamsin the first time (which I talked about at length – http://mehlsbells.wordpress.com/2013/03/26/lost-girl-season-3-episode-10-deliquents/ ) and in fact is undeniably made parallel with the shots they use here. They’re taking two women and making them act the same way men are allowed to act. It doesn’t make it ‘right,’ but it’s equal. It’s a woman slapping a woman, for the same offense for which it is socially acceptable for a man to punch another man. Now that’s equality in writing.

      • Melanie says:

        I don’t know there’s enough space to fully deal with the issue of consent within the context of a four-season backstory about a thousands-year-old species which is used metaphorically for everything from patriarchy to racial slavery to anti-LGBT oppression (timely on the world stage at the moment), but I tried to hit the big notes.

        There’s another bit of speculation to throw out there. Nothing may come of it, but it does make sense. I have a theory that Lauren is doing this all to ‘save’ Crystal. We last saw them locked up in a basement, Crystal essentially being thrown into the worst of what Lauren has gone through over the past 5 years. Next we see Lauren, dressed up and walking freely amongst the Dark, helping and cooperating with them in general. I’ve said before it makes zero sense the fae would just let Crystal walk free after everything she’d seen. It’s possible whoever opened the door [Trick? Massimo? Evony? Unknown party?] offered Lauren a deal: play nice, Crystal lives. Having been in that position herself before, and having feelings for Crystal, and having guilt over not having ‘saved’ her brother and others in the past, Lauren has all the motivation in the world to play nice, or at least pretend to while making fae-serum. (So then does she offer Evony her fae-manity back in exchange for Crystal’s release? Oooooh! New theory!)

        This would actually make Lauren a little too self-sacrificing and heroic for my tastes; not every nefarious thing she does should be under duress or motivated by nobility. But it’s still a possibility.

      • I would also add The Morrigan referring to Lauren (humans) as “fun to play with” calls back to her remark in 4.05 when she calls Lauren a “new toy.” Lauren is not subject in The Morrigan’s world — she is object.

      • I don’t have much sympathy or Evony and am unconcerned with the consent question. There have been so many murders, betrayals, and executions among the Fae in general in this show. Lauren herself has been enslaved, tortured, and blackmailed. She took action against The Morrigan to free herself and to protect Bo and I think she was right to do it. As for Crystal, I was convinced several episodes ago that Lauren was trying to protect her, but her storyline has been dropped so completely I’m beginning to wonder if that was a misdirection from the writers.

        • Melanie says:

          But that’s exactly the thing. You don’t have to have sympathy for Evony to have problems with Lauren’s actions. It’s what’s so marvelous about it; Lauren did this to someone completely uninterested in redemption or good or others, someone who called for Kenzi’s head on a platter, someone who murders to get what she wants. If Lauren had done this to Dyson or Tamsin or Bo, it would be seen as ‘clearly a bad thing.’ But she did it to Evony, and this really forces us to look at the actions in and of themselves. Really, we are put in the place of looking at the action in context of ourselves, because Lauren, to a lesser extent than Kenzi, but especially because of her place as only one of two humans, is still a great audience surrogate. Is it ‘ok’ for me to rape or murder or slur or beat someone because s/he is a terrible person? When s/he is defenseless and not in the act of doing something harmful? Without judge or jury? What does that do to my humanity? And thus, what does it do to Lauren’s?

          What about Lauren’s protestations in “All of the Gin Joints” (http://mehlsbells.wordpress.com/2013/12/17/lost-girl-season-4-episode-06-of-all-the-gin-joints/) about medical experiments on humans without their consent? What about her speeches to Taft? Where she’s coming from is understandable, but how defensible is it? Somewhat, on some levels, at the moment, but it’s certainly, deliciously, in the gray.

          • I thought about that medical ethics discussion Lauren and Evony had in that episode, too. But here’s another thought. Lost Girl exists in a Fae world that follows certain rules. Are we expecting Lauren to live in that world but follow a different set of rules because she’s human? Should Kenzi follow a different set of rules as well? Is it okay for Bo or Dyson to kill someone because they’re Fae? Does being human put Lauren/Kenzi in a position of moral superiority or require them to follow a different moral standard from everyone else in the Lost Girl universe?

            Along those lines of thought, the best part of Bo (in seasons 1-3) was that she was human-like in her sense of justice, sense of family, and way of loving. Now, in season 4, she’s acting less human-like. Does that make her inferior or less admirable now BECAUSE she’s losing that human connection?

            • Melanie says:

              I’ve just pointed out where people are violating a standard or – in the case of fae law – trying to set their own. Just because said fae law is a double or arbitrary standard doesn’t mean I’m judging by it, just because many fae are living by it doesn’t mean I or most in-universe are condoning it. I’m certainly not holding Lauren to a higher standard; she (and Kenzi) should follow the same rules as everyone in-universe, which are the same general rules I expect us all to follow. It’s not ok for them to kill or strip someone of humanity/faemanity, the same as it wouldn’t be for Dyson or Bo. [Note: ‘Humanity’ may be shorthand for things like empathy and justice, but can’t be taken literally.]

              So far as the line of hurting others and violating personhood/agency/consent/etc, other than some characters firmly on the wrong side, everyone is in the middle. Lauren is hardly the first to operate in the gray. For just one examply, I’ve talked about Bo wandering into gray territory since the beginning, even discounting the nature of using her touch: by standing by and letting humans kill fae – starting with “(Dis)members Only” – and continuing on to let fae kill other fae; by passively killing Massimo; by chi-sucking without consent, by draining the stranger outside the Dal, etc. In-universe she’s not been punished, nor would she be if she discreetly killed a human. It’s still not ok. The fae make their own rules but that doesn’t make those rules right.

              Neither humanity nor faemanity is superior or inferior; the fact any side thinks/acts like it is is what makes that power structure a metaphor for so many things in life which are wrongly imbalanced.

          • Sally says:

            I’ve thought about that quite a bit, and came up with this analogy: I am opposed to killing people in cold blood, but if I went back in time (with all of my knowledge intact) and could kill Hitler in cold blood, then I would do it.

            • Melanie says:

              I was wondering who’d be the first to invoke Godwin’s Law. It was bound to happen.

              That’s not a flawless comparison for a few reasons, but also, we should talk about how Lauren operating in a gray moral area doesn’t automatically mean what she did was wrong. The brouhaha resulting after the episode, this entire comment thread, is a result of the how our feelings about what Lauren did and the cold hard fact of what Lauren did are diametrically opposed, leaving everything deliciously gray. Ethics is an attempt to negotiate between feeling right and doing so, balancing what we feel is right, and what by cold hard logic is just.

              This episode is a knotty moral quandary, it could almost be a hypothetical in an ethics class. It is the perfect ethical gray area, the perfect puzzle, the perfect thing.

              We as viewers don’t feel this is wrong [clarification; I’m talking about the de-fae-ing, not the use of sex], and we can give plenty of reasons for why this is great and there are a dozen different ways to justify what Lauren did. We know how completely depraved Evony is, and we feel great that she gets her comeuppance this way.

              On the flip side, stripping someone of such a central identity piece, when that person is not actively harming anyone (ie. it’s not an act of self-defense and defense of others as that is classically understood) is necessarily a huge problem. Lying, harming, intentionally – even joyfully – putting at risk of death, these are logically bad things, and must understood to be so in a humane society.

              There’s of course a huge element of the ‘greater good’ argument, do wrong to save the world. [This, if you’re familiar with Buffy, is akin to the moral quandary of “The Gift.” Buffy refused to murder Glory/Ben for the greater good, so Giles does it. Some more on that – http://slayageonline.com/essays/slayage9/Marshall.htm ]

              Just like the question ‘if you could only go back in time to 2-year-old-Hitler’s bedside, what would you do?’ you can argue greater good, you can argue justice for people who in your time had been murdered and tortured and treated inhumanely, but you’re still killing a 2-year-old. In Lauren’s case, she can argue greater good, or evening the playing field between Evony and herself, or protecting Bo, etc., but logically the event itself is still wrong, and the execution is still fundamentally problematic.

              If most of us had to choose, we’d probably also execute Hitler. We – heck, I; I don’t want to come across as above it all because I’m not – may have also decided to take Evony’s powers without her consent (though the method of delivery was something I don’t know many would have considered). But even if you/I/the majority of people would do it, that doesn’t make the action itself logically right, or morally un-gray, it doesn’t excuse anything, nor does it solve the problem of what this does to Lauren’s morality.

              In the context of her protestations about not running experiments on humans and her claimed angst about past terrorist actions and their unintended consequences, it looks like Lauren is really doing some mental and moral gymnastics to convince herself something is OK. This, this is the foundation of ethics. Coming to a conclusion after weighing pure reason (which Lauren is fairly notorious for) with feelings and foresight and a moral compass which we as humans are fairly unique in possessing.

              Now, Lauren has absolute power at her fingertips, and is unilaterally choosing to use it. She could make the same argument ‘they killed and threatened to kill people’ about Trick, Vex, Dyson, Tamsin, and even Bo. Where will this take her? I don’t know. But she’s definitely into the moral quicksand.

              Bottom line, this whole plotline is a quandary which could invite thesis, but it’s clearly meant to be gray, and I think it’s the best thing the episode did, to give us a quandary and force us to work through it.

  3. overainbows says:

    I can tolerate a lot as long as I can fill in the gaps by seeing some remote relevance to the story as a whole even if poorly executed. I can make sense of Evony sweating for the first time because she is a Leanan sídhe which is sort of a muse and muses are kind of perfect, if anything there’s lots of types of fae so she can be different from Bo, for example. Though out of the left field, I can appreciate that Vex has paternal feelings for Massimo (that’s why he didn’t kill him even though he’s claimed) which taps into the theme of surrogate family and Vex’s possible struggles with abandoning his own family, daddy issues and fragile situation as the last Mesmer leading to him trying to raise a powerless rejected human boy who is also the Morrigan’s child (which could be used for blackmail too), what could be used as redemption for Vex is still very twisted as he betrays Kenzi to help a psycho and keeping him in a grey area (which I like very much), so had they developed it better it could’ve been great. It didn’t bother me they couldn’t bring Hale’s family now, they still can bring them in the future maybe even more powerfully with Kenzi being unclaimed now.

    What I absolutely couldn’t stomach was the horrible dialogue. It was cringe worthy. Queen Bee, really!? OMG, couldn’t they just leave it at Queen since it does fit the Blood King / Dark Fae King / Tyranny themes? We’d get it! But no, they even had a Bee in the crest. Does Tamsin have to say how she had to memorize crests like it was the most difficult thing to do instead of just let her drop that she had seen it back in the days in the battlefield (no need to mention the soul taking because their duty is well-known and was reafirmed in the show previously), thus giving us the imagery of a Valkyrie in the war instead of a 15 yo in her bedroom memorizing crests for her test? The whole scene was God awful, with articulated lines like “The Queen doesn’t just mean The Queen” leading to the big reveal “it means you’re The One”. Then Rainer spells Hel. WHY!? Let people and Bo assume it’s Hell and then later in a more appropriate moment show / tell us the difference. It’s so poorly written. I hope they fix this for season 5 (if we get one). One of this show’s strength was how it showed things instead of literally spelling it. This season it got it so wrong on this aspect. I really disliked this season’s episodes by this writer for the same reasons but now it went overboard, and I assumed it couldn’t get worse than those. I still want to enjoy the show, but this episode crossed a line for me.

    – Rainer says about the Pyrippus “the one that’s been manipulating me”. Have we seen anything about this in any episode? Aside from fans speculating online based solely on the possibility that Rainer may not be bad, I can’t remember any connection being made in any episode.

    – Bo chose Lauren. Same as you. When?

    – About the women of the horse, I guess they wanted the Pyrippus to be back, but as they said, the daughter’s intentions are unclear and apparently Bo has the power to destroy him. So while they want him back, they don’t want Bo to do it before they’re sure she’s not against him. That’s what I got from it. The whole plot with Rosette and the women was confusing. I did like Rainer’s eyeroll though. It was the most expressive he’s ever been.

    – Massimo was possibly the best villain they ever had but now he’s too cartoonish. And what with all the maniacal laughter going on?

    – According to my English subtitles and max volume, apparently Massimo told Dyson he’s going to watch his friends die and do nothing about it.

    – Not to be too negative, the good in the episode was Lauren and The Morrigan, Kenzi’s storyline and as usual Ksenia’s acting.

    • Melanie says:

      Yup. I don’t have a problem with the concept of Vex having taken in Massimo because he saw a boy being abandoned by the Morrigan the same way he himself was abandoned by his father, I have a problem with the total lack of development. You rattled off several ways the depths of that relationship could have been explored or integrated or seen in Vex’s psyche, but we don’t get any of that. Instead, we get a ‘gotcha’ scene twist when he yanks Kenzi’s arm. The foreshadowing when Vex said he’d go alone to take care of it and instagram the results was a giant red flag to people who watch a lot of TV or read a lot of books, but there was absolutely zero foreshadowing as to the motives behind it. That was all disposed of in a couple sentences of dialogue after the fact. While I do like it keeps Vex in his own minefield of moral quandaries, and I like any time Vex and Kenzi get screentime together, the execution is lacking.

      We may see Val (I hope we do) but I don’t think we’ll see the rest of Hale’s family.

      There’s a drinking game just waiting to happen in that Bo/Dyson/Tamsin table scene.

      This is the first I remember hearing about the Pyrippus manipulating Rainer, though I did speculate in prior reviews that *someone* was manipulating both he and Bo.

      Hmmm. Massimo telling Dyson that doesn’t seem to be something which would spur Dyson to take him to Trick’s basement? Perhaps it was just mumbling so as viewers such as yourself wouldn’t get what was being said, so Dyson could announce it at the ‘appropriate’ time.

  4. I have to give you credit for seeing things that seem unseeable to me. I even mentioned some of your “gift of foresight” in my own recap of this episode (http://oldaintdead.com/recap-lost-girl-s4-e12/).

    I’m starting to feel like the writers of this show decided to do something crazy with season 4 as an experiment. Maybe because Bo would be absent the first few weeks due to maternity leave. The experiment hasn’t worked and they don’t quite know how to get out of the hole they’ve dug for themselves. About 50 loose threads have to be tied up in episode 13. And those threads have to be tied up in such a way that a season 5 is possible. I’m also beginning to wonder if the strange mess that is season 4 has ruined any chance for a season 5. If there is a season 5 (and I sincerely hope there is) I hope it will go back to the more straightforward action and character development we had in seasons 1-3.

    The actors have all been very good about keeping their agreements not to reveal plots or character changes in their interviews. Boy, would I like to hear some honest reaction from the actors about what they’ve been asked to do this season with their characters. The only person it’s been particularly good for is Ksenia Solo, who has been able to show much more depth and talent than before.

    There are so few shows populated mostly by awesome female characters that my fan heart wants them to be perfect forever, and we aren’t getting that this season from Lost Girl.

    • Melanie says:

      I agree 4.01 was definitely an experiment to cover Silk’s absence, and that worked really well. The season feels like Season 3 in structure and themes, however, just cranked up a notch.

      I’m betting the ratings and syndication are strong enough for the show to get a 5th season. Networks will order shows that get good ratings and/or critical attention, they don’t so much care about how the actual story is going.

      I’m convinced Ksenia Solo has no acting weaknesses, only slightly lesser strengths.

  5. anonymous says:

    You hit the nail on the head. Hot mess of an episode peppered with some really interesting Lauren and Doccubus stuff, for all the reasons mentioned. The only thing I might disagree with is I actually thought Laurrigan, while still enjoyable, didn’t exhibit quite as much sparkling chemistry as they did in 406. Though that may just be because the novelty factor wore off. Anyway, I respectfully suggest you make your response to Stephanie b a footnote to the mention of moral ambiguity in the main text, bc there seem to be a number of people that don’t see any issue at all here, and I think it’s an important discussion to have as it marks a fairly notable development in Lauren’s character.

    • Melanie says:

      Well, though judging chemistry is somewhat subjective, I tend to agree. They had already built a foundation of chemistry (while fully clothed and only somewhat buzzed) in 4.06, and this scene was definitely more about Lauren’s speech and getting to the – pardon my pun – climax of the story, so it didn’t feel the need to let it breathe and garner tensions so much.

      ‘Tis a good suggestion. Done, and thanks.

  6. Sally says:

    I liked this episode a lot; it’s interesting to read the reasons why you thought it didn’t work (and to read why some other fans of the show didn’t like it). It was one of my favorite episodes of the season. I’m not sure if that means that I’m an unsophisticated viewer of television, or that I’m a sucker for women who remind me of Xena, or what, but I just really loved it. Fast paced, we find out a lot of stuff, etc.

    I think that when Bo told Lauren “I chose you, and you broke my heart” she was referring to season three – when she chose to engage in a relationship with Lauren, when she tried to be monogamous but didn’t succeed and they established new ground rules, and then when Lauren intiated the break and then flew the coop for Taft’s.

    I share the confusion around Bo telling Dyson and Lauren that she loves them both, and dithering with the Leviathan about how to choose between them (because I thought it was made clear several times in Season 3 and also this season that she doesn’t love Dyson the same way as she loves Lauren). Thus far I’ve chalked that up to Bo probably having had her memory tampered with or being otherwise under the influence of something that is manipulating her emotions.

    • Melanie says:

      There’s of course a difference between ‘liking something’ and ‘saying something functions well on a storytelling and/or metaphorical and/or character etc. level.’ I like some things I simply can’t defend as coherent storytelling, and I don’t have to defend them to enjoy them; I only have to defend them if I’m trying to argue they’re inherently well-done. Same for music; I like plenty of music I know is lyrically simplistic or narratively inconsistent or musically trivial – though because of my biases I’ll be more inclined to like the latter than the former – but that’s different from my calling it a pop masterpiece or claiming it deserves a Grammy. I hope I can recognize the difference when I engage with art, and of course I hope the things I love and enjoy which are ‘best’ outnumber the things I love and enjoy which are ‘not,’ but there’s definitely a place for both.

      By the by, I liked that Bo/Tamsin/Dyson conversation in the bar for all the wrong reasons. So there’s that.

      If that’s what Bo was telling Lauren, then Bo should have said that. It gets to my frustration with that scene’s dialogue as a whole; you want to give your characters ‘profound lines’ but you don’t actually give anything else specific to imbue the lines with meaning. The lines need to reference events and feelings specific to context of the show, instead of existing as sentences which could be found on paperback summaries. Broad lines which can practically mean anything lead to misunderstanding, communication breakdown, or flat-out lack of communication, which was a great part of what led the two of them to split in the first place.

      Getting even more into the speculative realm; even if one assumes you’re correct, Bo doesn’t have to love Dyson and Lauren ‘the same way’ to want to be in an ongoing romantic relationship with both of them and/or other people. IE she can love them ‘differently’ and not have to choose. My friend Dale his the nail on the head when he said (http://mehlsbells.wordpress.com/2013/11/10/lost-girl-season-4-utterly-random-projections/) they all fulfill different roles in each others’ lives, specifically Bo’s life. That’s not a bad thing.

      I mean, if Bo wants to choose, then fine, but loving them in different ways does not automatically equal *having* to choose.

      • Sally says:

        Just my opinion – I think Bo did communicate what she intended to tell Lauren through the statement that she made – and it also seemed clear to me that Lauren understood what she was intending to communicate by saying “I chose you, and you broke my heart.” It would have felt weird and awkward to me as a viewer if Bo had gotten more specific about how and when Lauren broke her heart, since I think they both knew what she was talking about (though you are quite correct that misunderstandings are Bo and Lauren’s bread and butter).

        Which brings up another point – the necklace and the note that Lauren left for Bo in whatever episode that was, Turn to Stone? I hope they revisit that in the finale.

        Right, Bo doesn’t HAVE to choose between Lauren and Dyson, but she seems to think that she should, for some reason! At least when she was talking to the Leviathan.

        There’s a lot to say about engaging with art, and I am currently pretty subjective with what TV I watch. If a show starts to bore me, then I stop watching it. Lost Girl has been many things, but never boring. I realize you weren’t saying that you thought this episode was boring, just poorly structured, I’m just free associating. More to think about.

        • Melanie says:

          I tend to think that was mostly due to the actresses selling it and we as long-time close viewers knowing their history, and not as much to do with the lines themselves. Not that you should spell *everything* out for viewers, but when something happened two seasons ago, and you may have new viewers finding you via SyFy or other syndication, and there are multiple reasons the line could be too vague in context of Bo’s themes of ‘choice’ this season, wouldn’t you want your language to be clearer? You may think I’m being overly critical, but I say it’s being overly opaque.

          I’d forgotten about the necklace! At the time I said it was probably supposed to be a veiled message about Lauren being on Bo’s ‘side’ and the writers would pull it out later. (http://mehlsbells.wordpress.com/2013/12/03/lost-girl-season-4-episode-04-turn-to-stone/#comment-1516). If it happens in the finale, I plan to throw some confetti in the air in celebration of my being right.

          She does seem to think she has to choose, indeed. And meanwhile, she’s often acting non-succubus-y. Other than the bit in 4.05 where she and Kenzi visited the sex offices, and macking with Tamsin during Groundhog Fae (which was more about lack of consequences and attraction than supernatural hunger) Bo hasn’t ‘needed’ to feed like she did in Season 1 even before the shots supposedly started wearing off. I wonder if they’re going to re-reboot Bo in S5 with the easy explanation she was being controlled by someone(s) here.

          • Sally says:

            I think you’re being exactly the right amount of critical. I think the reason it doesn’t bother me is that I’m a close-watching, long-time viewer. I also can’t imagine someone watching Lost Girl who hasn’t been watching from the get-go (or heads back to start from the beginning after a couple of episodes), because it’s too confusing otherwise. My mother watched an episode during Season 3 since I was talking about LG so much, and she said “Sorry, Sal, I just couldn’t make heads or tails of it.” (Which was maybe for the best, heh.)

            The people demand a Vine or Instagram video of your throwing actual confetti, if it happens.

            I also wonder what will happen in Season 5. When is Showcase going to announce it, fercrissakes?

            • Melanie says:

              The people shall get it (though probably via YouTube).

              If there’s anything threatening a S5, it’s the fact new viewers can’t jump in without closely watching everything that came before. Oy.

  7. Maigray says:

    I did like this episode. But I tend to like the mythology heavy episodes. I know they can be a turn off for some of the reasons you mentioned. It is really tricky to get good exposition in them, just because so many things sound silly when you spell them out. It often sounds disappointing or ridiculous; e.g. The X-Files!

    By the time a genre show hits a certain point, I think it will usually become incomprehensible unless you have a history with it. For instance, I don’t think you can drop a new viewer in on a mythology heavy episode in the fourth season of Buffy, or Fringe, or Battlestar Galactica, etc., and have them be able to make sense of it. By that point, you are past writing for new viewers.

    So having a good grasp of the characters and their history is necessary, and that is why certain scenes worked for me; like the argument between Bo and Lauren. Bo chose Lauren in 301. It blew up in her face (e.g. 310). When they reunite, Bo is overjoyed but Lauren blows her off; e.g. 405.

    I thought that was very odd for Lauren, and her explanation about why she did it (choosing her own cage, etc.) never sat right with me. The show has been very, very consistent in making Lauren’s choices be about Bo. So when Lauren explains her actions, it suddenly made sense. Plus, we knew from 406 there was more to her joining the Dark anyway. Lauren was motivated by Evony’s threat against Bo in this episode. But the *way* she did it strongly suggested to me that it was the response of a jilted lover.

    As for Bo, I think feels like she has to choose between her two lovers because everyone has been telling her she must since day one; e.g. 108, 310, 313, etc. But when the lover you chose continually rejects you (e.g. 310, 313, 405, 407), and you continually fall back on someone else you love to fulfill your sexual/biological/emotional needs, and you are in a post-trauma amnesiac state, trying to re-make that choice seems like a bad idea.

    For my part, I also love the way they are working all the characters, especially Bo, Lauren and Kenzi, by taking them into morally ambiguous territory. I have no problem acknowledging what Lauren did was unethical. It only makes her more interesting to me and shows how far they have developed her character.

    The Vex/Massimo connection also worked for me because it did what I think a plot twist is supposed to do; be unexpected, but work with established characterizations. Vex and Massimo have never had scenes together, so there was no need to retcon anything. They were both connected through Evony, which makes their association plausible. It also sets up the family dynamic, which exploits the incest vibe and the mommy vibe, and the guilt complex Vex has about his own family, which the show took pains to establish (now we know why).

    I thought the restraint from everyone around Massimo was for two reasons; they know he has the Twig of Zamora, so really, there is nothing they can do to him. Kenzi verbalizes this when she threatens him to try and find it. To some extent, Dyson and Bo are humoring Kenzi. Massimo is completely fearless in confronting them. Bo has already seen him immolated once and come out of it alive. She and Dyson are basically stumped and are just letting Kenzi work out her fury.

    I did actually feel they spent a good amount of time on Massimo as a character. He and Rainier are, at a basic level, just plot devices. They are there to move our characters on the chessboard. As an audience member, we have been exposed to him since 312. He’s been in 6 more episodes since then, and one more with the finale. That’s a lot of time spent on a plot device. With each appearance, more and more of his character was revealed. So by the time Bo snaps him in 404, we have a pretty good idea of what we are working with and where it came from. It was pretty easy to guess Evony was his mother; and he was on the very, very short list of candidates for the seed.

    Likewise, with Rainier, they told us everything we need to know about him in 409. He is just there as a catalyst for Bo. She has already verbalized why she is with him; and now we know for certain she is not wholly in love with him. Unless Kyle Schmid is signing on as a regular recurring cast member, he has a very limited shelf life. He has served his purpose and now has a very limited shelf life.

    I found Rosette to be clunky as a character. But it was fun to see Casey Hudecki, the actress, get to show off opposite Anna Silk, because she is normally her stunt double. But why is a successful woman always assumed to be a man’s sex toy if she is working under him? Isn’t that really insulting? I have heard it repeated in other places, so you are definitely not the only one who thought about it.

    • Melanie says:

      X-Files is high on my list of Things I Need To Watch, so I can’t speak to that in any of the contexts you mentioned. I really need to get around to that . . .

      I like mythology heavy, too. Just not mythology scattershot.

      Not just ‘restraint in not knocking Massimo’s block off,’ but restraint in emotions/acting. I wish the director had really let them break loose. Four actors at fever pitch in one scene can be a bit much, but their being subdued also felt uncharacteristic and unrealistic. (Ask me sometime about my pet peeves with A Dark Knight and its frantic peaking and total calm in all the wrong places.) And you’re right, *that* Massimo was plenty developed for a character who mostly existed to facilitate plot and other characters, harass Tamsin and Kenzi, etc. But that Massimo is not the same at this Massimo. My point was they flipped a switch when he came back.

      If a viewer started watching Buffy at 4.1, then they should be able to keep up with the mythological episodes and character subtext in the middle of the season. I’m not sure the same could be said for LG 4? I’d have to put more thought into that.

      A plot twist can certainly be unexpected, but in retrospect, it must have been foreshadowed/suggested/consistent/sensical/etc, and if it is only for shock value or the sake of surprise, it fails. I talked about this to a greater extent here http://bit.ly/1bVroD3.

      I never suggested Rosette was Rainer’s sex toy – heck, I could suggest the other way around. She was his lead general, it’s not like she was his valet, and her working under him had nothing to do with my saying they were fuck buddies. Their familiarity and the way the two rush to each other and speak to and about each other and the way Rosette glares at Bo, it all suggests a chemistry and history. There’s of course strong precedent for people who are facing such deadly situations on a constant basis to go to each other for sex and comfort. For all these reasons it strongly vibed to me the show is suggesting their sexual history.

      I didn’t realize until after I wrote my review and went and poked around the internet a little that the actress was Casey Hudecki / Anna Silk’s stunt double. That’s pretty cool. Now I just wish her death had been a little more action-packed!

Trackbacks
Check out what others are saying...


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,040 other followers

%d bloggers like this: