Lost Girl: Season 3, Episode 5, Faes Wide Shut

First things first: the episode has too much going on, on too few sets (more on this later). Too much mystery, too many plotlines; which may be a side-effect of the writers coming off an extended season into another shorter one. There are essentially four investigations going: Bo/Lauren/Kenzi into the goop death, Dyson/Tamsin into the goop death, Dyson/Tamsin into the mysterious succubus death, and Bo/Audience into the faux Kenzi.

Composition in Threes

If you’ve been watching the show, the Kenzi thing is not a revelation, let alone a spoiler. The writers do well, though, to slowly reveal to the audience what we suspect, until the point where Kenzi asks Trick what she owes for her drink. At that point, she’s just jumping up and down with a neon sign. (Though Kenzi’s post-credit outfit was the most un-Kenzi outfit, the post-credit Kenzi/Lauren interactions were the most Kenzi interactions. I think the writers don’t want to tear apart too much of their tenuous appreciation for each other.) Ksenia Solo is having a ball with her character, which is only fair considering in “Original Skin,” Kris Holden-Ried got to have all her fun. But I digress.

Lost Girl has a habit of not resolving all an episode’s problems within the episode – this show is unusually good at bringing things back up later and making the characters honestly address them. Faux Kenzi playing Lauren and Dyson games and taking Bo’s phone, for instance; though it plays a pivitol role in confusing the issue in this episode (and from the look of the promos, the next), at some point I have faith it will serve a purpose in another good ol’ open-relationship but not the ex talk human/succubus/not-the-wolf talk.

I kept waiting for this conversation to be a bait-and-switch to something else. Pleasantly surprised.This habit of juggling storylines partially excuses Lauren being so mysterious over the phone at the end, but mostly it’s just baiting us. We’re already hooked, and Lauren already has two hiding-too-much strikes, so this seems unnecessary.  Yes, she has residual fear from what happened to Nadia, but Lauren works best when not being obscure. Three strikes is not going to look good even if it is, once again, ‘in Bo’s best interest.’ Let’s hope Lauren was calling Trick, especially because his reactions to everything world-shaking are so deliciously hilarious.

The multiple storylines can’t, however, cover up Dyson being an unusually terrible investigator. Yes, he’s a good, tenacious cop with the smarts to position himself near a reflective bowl of fruit.  But he also takes a body to Lauren, throws suspicion on Bo, then blames Lauren for a cover-up. Exactly what did he think would happen?!

The issue could be solved by, say, he and Tamsin having an argument about what to do with the body, bringing the decision to the Ash, then the Ash declaring a Light doctor having to be the one to examine the corpse, due to the disarray  on the Light side the only one available as Lauren, blah blah blah, problem not necessarily solved, but explained in 40 seconds of exposition. But the show runners didn’t want to have to pay K.C. Collins (Hale) for this episode, so they didn’t have him in it, and the whole world was saddened. Similarly, the show doesn’t have money for an Ash set, so Lauren gets to work from home and dissect near her kitchen. I think a great deal of the shortcomings in this episode are due to lack of budget, and that sucks. I do expect the writers to possibly ret-con this into some sort of Dyson Was Truly Just Hoping Lauren Could Save Bo’s Ass storyline, as they’re getting pretty good at workarounds (see Tamsin’s “You ever mix up the liver with the liver?”). But it would be nice for them not to have to write around at all. Speaking of nice to see, I NEED MORE HALE. Preferably, more of more of Hale. Give the show some dough, is what I’m saying. Take some out of the eyeshadow budget if you have to.

If you can't figure out where I want the story to go by the picture selections . . .

Quibbles aside, the show’s best level (as with many supernatural shows) is the metaphorical one. This episode is firing there. It makes at least three barely-veiled references to obsession with potency and size not equalling adequacy, and the main mystery is based on a metaphor for STDs. It also furthers the overarching metaphor, and that is Bo’s fear that she may be a monster. This fear has reared its ugly head since episode 1.

It’s important Lauren, the human, is the one to tell Bo ‘you are not a monster,’ explicitly in episode 1.01, 1.06, 2.10, and now here, 3.05. Dyson’s opinion doesn’t really count, since he is also a ‘monster’ to humans; and he half-buys the fae=monster theory. Kenzi’s enjoyment of the mythological side to Bo is played for humor in episode 1.01 (Alien, Demon, pick one), and later as a welcome blasé acceptance; something Bo needs, as well as a realistic depiction of many peoples’ coping mechanisms.

What does the ‘monster’ symbolize? Within the show’s universe, Bo is afraid of being a literal monster, killing those she loves, as she did in the past. But it works on another level, and that is: a woman who does what she wants, especially one who has a strong sexual appetite, is a monster. Female agency is a beautiful and powerful thing, and women are sexual creatures. But society condemns and shames these things at every turn, and the most confident and powerful of women have their dark nights of believing the lies, turning against their fellow women, or even taking it too far and becoming terrible creatures. Lost Girl gets a lot of comparisons to Buffy, but its departures are the key: it’s a show explicitly about adult struggles, and it internalizes many of the monsters.

If the episode hadn’t been so crowded, perhaps it could have done a better job with the many bacchanal/succubus parallels, or given Dyson and Tamsin more work in their investigation. Based on the promo for next week’s “The Kenzi Scale,” we’ll soon have a more focused episode dealing with the monster within and how it impacts all the rest of the characters. Also, the Morrígan!

Stray Observations 

I just love spiral staircase shots.

  • I’m honestly conflicted as to whether the episode titles are my least favorite thing about the show, or my most favorite thing about the show.
  • “Oh my lord, there’s choking.”
  • Bo wasn’t the only one appreciating Lauren’s walk down that staircase, ahem. Dyson was particularly impressed.
  • Places the budget should not be cut: the blouse/oxfords allotment. Or the coat/blazer budget, because I need my CoatPorn.
  • Blouse is such a weird word.
  • Friend Dale has a great theory about how we subconsciously accept Bo’s preternatural ability to do everything from swordfight to relationship counsel because her sexuality and culture give her privileged status. How that both works yet stands in conflict with her sexual appetite making her a monster is an essay unto itself.
  • I came for the girl power and Buffy parallels and stayed for the snark, adult metaphors, and female agency. I won’t have time in the next few weeks to do regular reviews (you only got this because I basically transcribed my half of a conversation with the aforementioned Dale), but I’m considering working through past episodes then staying current, a la my Luther reviews. Let me know if there’s any interest in this. Until then, here.
10 Responses to “Lost Girl: Season 3, Episode 5, Faes Wide Shut”
  1. I loved it! Especially this part ;

    “Lost Girl gets a lot of comparisons to Buffy, but its departures are the key: it’s a show explicitly about adult struggles, and it internalizes many of the monsters.”

    It’s actually my favorite thing about the show, aside from the awesomesauce that is Doccubus!

    I grew up with Buffy and during that time I identified with it so strongly, so to have a show like this in my 30s is actually a blessing from the skies (or Canadians to be precise).

    Hope you’ll find time to review the past episodes soon, because this one kicked ass!

    • Melanie says:

      Thanks, Berrak.

      You nailed it – Buffy is about how to become a strong adult/woman (not to negate its application to the whole of the human experience, but its focus is strong girls, specifically), Lost Girl picks up where it left off. Bless Canada, indeed.

      Both have a healthy understanding of and disdain for prevailing social attitudes towards gender and sexuality, and address them blatantly and metaphorically. As this – along with set design, writing for screen, cinematography, etc, – interests me deeply, I hope I can carve out time to start recapping in the next month or so. Especially as you’ve been so kind as to express interest.

      Until then!

  2. That Girl says:

    I really enjoyed this! You make a lot of interesting points and showed me different angles I hadn’t thought of before!

    Your insight here, especially about the reinforcement by Lauren that Bo isn’t a monster, and also just the quick exploration of the whole monster theme, was really enlightening.

    I find myself comparing this show to Buffy a lot, also. For all the ways these two shows are so similar, they are both also wildly different from each other. But, one of Buffy’s themes was to question if she’s a monster, or to question if she’s human, and where does she fit if she fits into neither world perfectly, among many others.

    Buffy wanted to hang on to her humanity, but wrestled with it to say the least. What is Bo’s identity? What is her humanity? Is her humanity completely tied up in her (seemingly unhappy) upbringing, where, coincidentally, she was brainwashed into believing she was a monster? Is she also destined to walk in two worlds and never fit into either?

    Interesting stuff!!! See, you made me think!!

    I hope you continue blogging the show with your insight. I’d love to read it!

    • Melanie says:

      I feel like the back half of this season is really going to dig into:

      1. the monster theme – though if they do it right, it will never be entirely resolved,

      2. Tamsin’s past, which is also relevant to the female/monster conundrum, and

      3. a strain on the Bo/Lauren relationship that will continue to tie in to Bo’s past, present, and future Fae developments. I think we’ll see them deal with, specifically, Lauren’s affect on Bo’s powers, directly as with the shots/calming her down and indirectly as Bo’s powers go haywire when Lauren is involved. (I’m waiting for someone to complain about the ‘haywire’ in the same way people complained about Willow going evil after Tara died. But I’m digressing quickly.)

      Great point how Buffy often questioned her ‘place in this world’ and whether she was turning into a human monster, or losing her humanity. Literalizing the Monster is a really interesting development; I can’t help comparing and contrasting Lost Girl and Buffy, and their different approaches to the same things.

      I love that you’re turning it over and over, and I love even more you’re commenting with said thoughts and in turn causing me to think more! My current plan is to blog each Season 3 episode as it happens (the next episode recap may be a few days late, as I’ll be moving cross-country), and then during the season break, starting to recap from Episode 1, catching up before Season 4 airs. I hope you follow along and continue to think out loud. 😉

  3. modernlover says:

    Love your analysis of the show and the cross-comparisons to Buffy. Any chance you might go more in-depth with the similarities and differences between LG & Buffy?

    • Melanie says:

      Thanks! I think when I ‘start over’ and review from the beginning, comparisons to Buffy’s world-building and production values will be inevitable. These shows are definitely different, but have much more in common than ‘strong woman fights monsters.’ They both set the rules in the first season, so that’s where many of the comparisons will come.

      I’d love to go through and compare and contrast them as a whole – how they both use monster-of-the-week and meta-arcs simultaneously, how they use their platform to confront sexism and modern social issues through metaphors, how Buffy often worked through more explicit explanations and Lost Girl tends to lay things out there and let the audience figure it out (sometimes for the good, sometimes to the muddying of the waters), how Giles and Trick function as similar guides but in wildly different ways, etc. But, I may cover some of that in specific episode reviews, so I’ll probably wait until after I catch up; so after I’ve done all the episodes, before S4 starts, is the goal.

  4. Julia says:

    Hi — I’m a latecomer to this post, but I just discovered this blog and I’m truly enjoying reading your summaries and thoughts. You mentioned “I’m considering working through past episodes then staying current, a la my Luther reviews. Let me know if there’s any interest in this.” Just wanted to chime in to say that yes, I would love to see more episode summaries.

    Lost Girl is one of my favorite shows currently, and I’m the only one I know who is watching it — so it’s great to see what other people are pondering!

    • Melanie says:

      Hey Julia, thanks for chiming in! I’ve decided to do it for sure, at some point soon after this season (and my reviews thereof) concludes. The goal is to be caught up entirely when Season 4 starts. I’m really looking forward to it, and I’m excited to know other people will be following along and giving their own opinions.

  5. Little Bad Wolf says:

    In 107 Dyson dings Lauren for calling in security on Bo due to the djienne; here, he doesn’t trust that Lauren won’t cover up a kill for Bo. Dude, make up your mind! 🙂

    The incredible awkwardness of not just Kenzi but Lauren walking in on Bo’s sexcapades. Given the way Lauren was looking at Riley when she walked into the Dal, we could have gone all female threesome with that scene. Just sayin’….

    I love that it is Dyson who first notices Lauren gliding down the stairs, the look on his face, and the way he says her name. It’s a mini-revelation to him. Heck, even Tamsin is begrudgingly impressed.

    I wish that phone call was the last secretive thing the writers dumped on Lauren but alas they can’t seem to help,themselves.

Check out what others are saying...
  1. […] cold open for “The Kenzi Scale” is theoretically minutes after the end of “Faes Wide Shut,” but we don’t have to see how Bo wrangled Faux Kenzi to the Dal, we never address her […]

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