Lost Girl: Season 3, Episode 6, The Kenzi Scale
While movies and TV have many similar conventions, episodic television has one great difference: commercials and episode breaks allow you to ‘cheat’ your timeline. Instead of showing how a character gets from Point A to Point B (whether literally showing or giving him/her a line about getting a phone call, etc), there are built-in fade-to-blacks which allow you to skip ahead. Even watched on DVD without commercials, the audience expects, understands, and excuses these narrative gaps.
The 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 missed date with Lauren, we don’t need a reason for Dyson and Tamsin leaving the investigation to go play pool. We just accept these and move on.
What I don’t accept, however, is Bo not mentioning Kenzi’s peanut consumption. Since it’s what ultimately confirmed her suspicions, it should be the first thing she uses to convince Trick, Dyson, and Tamsin of Kenzi’s Fauxness. I’m not saying it would actually do her any good, but its not too much to ask writers who have Tamsin reference a bear trap, then have Real Kenzi stuck in a bear trap, mention the peanut allergy.
Though Trick should have put *both* Bo and Kenzi in holding, I’ll say it’s consistent with Trick’s characteristic of being the least consistent. He’s supposed to be a somewhat mysterious entity, so we overlook his occasionally uneven tonal changes and the fact the first three episodes were setting him up to be a far different character.
While Bo is in lockup, Tamsin tries to argue Dyson and Trick into letting her take Bo to face dark fae justice. Trick brings back some unresolved Season 1 issues and tells Dyson he messed up, but I’m far more interested in where Tamsin’s story is going. Tamsin, like Dyson, is a good cop, but much of her identity gets wrapped up in the job. There’s plenty of latent dissatisfaction with her position in the group as an Outsider, which drives her understanding of the situation and her decisions throughout this episode. The way she watches Bo, Real Kenzi, and Dyson reunite, she obviously has family issues, and the Morrígan makes several blatant references to her history. I sense backstory coming.
Ksenia Solo knocks Faux Kenzi out of the park again with that creepy, juuuuust off portrayal of Kenzi, including vulnerable, sassy, and adorable. Fake Kenzi prances off to play Real Kenzi just like Fake Kensi plays everyone else, with subtle doubt.
Lauren shows up and does the best she knows how to help: suspecting the worst, and using science to cope. Bo’s fear and hurt make her lash out “I will never forgive you for this.” I know the relationship needs roadblocks to amp up the tension and make it sustainable over several seasons, but this is just too soon. That stress and everyone questioning her wears on Lauren, who snaps ‘Of course science is exact,’ when Trick challenges her. She also, adorably, insists ‘I know the biochemical anatomy of my girlfriend!’
What this episode does well is give a series of character studies while letting everyone get angry and flustered for reasons consistent with their personalities. It’s a hard line to walk, reflecting reality of people being terrified or angry setting everyone else on edge, without making the whole episode one big downer. The tension is cut with 1) black humor via Kenzi, 2) Lauren’s cool-headed-ness, 3) just a little bit of sexy time.
Speaking of sexy times. This episode does help resolve Kenzi’s abandonment issues and further the Bo-as-monster storyline, but mostly it puts the right caveats in place and wish-fulfills the audience’s hearts out.
Bo and Tamsin lock lips again, as their grown selves, all in the name of healing. Copubbus shippers, eat your hearts out. “I said feed off of me, not suck me dry.” “Glad you’re sufficiently juiced.” This isn’t even close to being a metaphor, it’s just plain gold.
Dyson and Kenzi‘s relationship would never function in a sexual level, but Faux Kenzi making a play for Confused Dyson still gives that little fan subsection a couple heart-thuds. I applaud the writers their ploys, and thank them for knowing how far they could actually push it. Faux Kenzi’s play tips off Dyson because Real Kenzi is a sister, not a lover, but there’s something else subtle here. Faux Kenzi’s come-on is coy, full of stereotypical ‘feminine’ manipulation, and submissive; she actually says “I can be your slave.” Coy, stereotypically feminine, and submissive are things none of the female characters are otherwise.
As soon as Dyson catches on, he freaks out, and his first call is to Lauren. It’s interesting to watch Dyson and Lauren’s relationship evolve from delicious subtle insults to each others’ faces and to Bo (“as your physician, I’d prefer you be with someone who had less . . . history,” “she’ll never love you,” “you can do better”) to a grudging appreciation, to a panicked hug.
Tamsin openly decries her lack of friends to Bo, and while this is not particularly female narrative, expressing it like she does is a particularly feminine thing. She’s another facet of complicated femininity: a woman in a thoroughly man’s world, both in the police force and mythologically. Valkyries are psychopomp (sorters of the dead), females in battlefields filled with men, just as she’s a woman in a traditionally man’s profession.. She copes by being intimidating (Trick’s word) and playing on doubts, without and with her powers. These personality traits set her up as what society loves to scorn as an abrasive woman. Is she overcompensating? Is it a coping mechanism? Is her personality simply that brash? This show loves all aspects of humanity and female agency, even some harder-to-process ones.
Finally the Real Kenzi is back where she belongs, and its time to deal with the aftermath. When Lauren and Bo are talking things out, there’s a clock loudly ticking in the background. It’s either a poor boom op or an unsubtle foreshadow; I suppose which you hope for depends on what you think about the Bo/Lauren situation.
Much as this episode focuses on all the other characters, it finally brings Bo’s fear to the forefront. Her question of ‘what is happening to me,’ gets partially answered at the end, setting up the main tension for the rest of Season 3. Fae apparently have two coming-of-age ceremonies, which could stand in for puberty and sex, adolescence and adulthood, or writers needing more roadblocks. It’s talked about in terms of a ‘moment of choice, a ‘dawning’ . . . so. much. feminist. undercurrent. Interestingly, Trick mentions acute sense of smell is a sign of DE-evolution? If physicality is part of her power, is it going to be used against her, made inaccessible unless she gives up something else? And how much a part in this will Lauren play, since we’ve seen much of Bo’s erratic habits in the context of Lauren being threatened/trying to help Bo via injections etc.
Ultimately, the episode requires some mental gymnastics to believe everyone sided with Faux Kenzi against Bo, but in the end it was in service of character development and setting up a season endgame. This episode also: concludes the small Kenzi arc that has run over three episodes but started last season; starts a Tamsin arc; introduces the potential climax of the Bo-as-murderess arc. Well played.
- Actually, I’m not sure Dyson and Tamsin are playing pool. This show often has characters standing halfway into a room and cuts to them a split second before they start walking towards the action. I’m not sure whether it’s a directorial lack-of-choice or a systemic editing oversight.
- The ‘holding’ set looks suspiciously like a cross between Bo’s apartment and Trick’s study. Yay, thrift! Remember my complaint last week about sets and budgets? The set dressers dressed FOUR sets with scraps, trash, and a couple things recycled from other episodes. That’s damn fine work.
- Kenzi is a Star Wars fan. Of course she is.
- Coconut ice cream is the least believable as a favorite ice cream.
- When Tamsin says ‘little window of time,’ she’s definitely poking fun at Dyson.
- ‘Underfae’ was a regrettable choice of terms for a word that was going to be used so often.
- BRING ME MORE HALE.
- Dale: [waxes eloquent about the background and function of kitsune] ‘You’d judge me if you knew how I knew this.’ Me: ‘Porn?’ Dale: ‘Worse. Lowbrow fiction.’
- Whoever edits those promos for Sci-Fi should be beat with a wet noodle. We know they’re intentionally misleading, yet we can’t stop speculating.