Lost Girl: Season 3, Episode 7, There’s Bo Place Like Home
Editor’s Note: thanks for waiting on the late review. In the past week I’ve loaded a truck with all various goods and bads and driven three days cross-country to my latest place of residence, so it’s been a little crazy and internet-less. Also, I’ve made the font bigger, hopefully that helps.
Edit: composing this mostly on my phone d/t travel means I missed actually linking to the essay on doors (second paragraph). That has been added. It was also pointed out ‘demise’ (paragraph four) could insinuate Aife, Bo’s mother, had died, so it’s been changed to ‘downfall.’
We open on Bo trying to literally walk through a doorway.
Doorways, of course, are universal literature and visual media references, but I can think of several instances of invisible doorways from a ‘real’ world to another world in sci-fi, specifically in The Chronicles of Narnia and Buffy (great talk about Buffy‘s metaphorical doors here, but they also use them as supernatural passageways). Here the doorway doesn’t seeminly serve much of a purpose, and the scene is the excuse to force Bo to face her past.
Trick’s comment about Bo almost being ‘something I need to keep in a cage’ is harsh and unnecessary, but it’s the same note he hits all episode: he has no idea what to do with his burgeoning female progeny hitting Fae puberty and possible deevolution. When next we see him, he has called on Stella to help him deal with Bo; using women as backups is a technique often used when father figures are at a loss. Later, Trick becomes even more egregious; he has obviously gone from wanting Dyson to keep his paws off his granddaughter to deciding he favors Dyson.
Trick’s scenes with Dyson creepily suggest he’s conspiring to choose his granddaughter/surrogate daughter’s sexual partners; when he encourages Dyson to hold out hope because Lauren ‘can’t be enough’ for Bo, we are to assume he means sexually, as well as that Lauren won’t live long compared to Fae. There is certainly a problematic trope of parents trying to choose their children’s partners, but it also lays bare Trick’s prejudice against humans. From Trick saying Kenzi ‘isn’t truly one of us’ to his obvious dissuasion of the Bo/Lauren relationship, he’s obviously OK with humans . . . so long as they aren’t intimate with his kind. This is fairly blatant ‘racism.’ It’s important to remember just because he’s a sage and father figure he’s not supposed to be flawless, and these attitudes can be condemned while perpetuated. Throughout the episode, we see the oldest generation clinging to their prejudices, but the prejudices themselves are roundly condemned.
Dyson is trapped in an arc about eternal flame for Bo, and it’s turning him into a mopey cop who doubts Bo’s personal and physical abilities without his assistance, but – thankfully, so far – manages to restrain himself. Dyson’s and Trick’s belief they need to hide things from Bo to ‘protect’ her is among the worst stereotypical male responses. Again, the writers portrayal shouldn’t necessarily be taken as endorsing this approach, but the sad-sack Dyson is getting old. He’s an archetype which has served its purpose in Bo’s story. They need to write him out of that ‘mate for life = can’t love anyone else’ thing and let Tamsin wingman him into some drunken sprees. As for Tamsin, I hope they keep her as a side snack / tease for Bo and she becomes the buddy to Dyson, (maybe even hate-bangs him), then goes on to get the guest-of-the-week and be the real non-relationshippy one of the bunch.
But back to the episode.
In a parallel to The Wizard of Oz, a car crushes someone else just trying ‘to go home.’ Lost Girl does thematic episodes in a way only Psych and Community are currently doing, with a smattering of pop culture for good measure.
Meanwhile, Bo’s failure to go through The Doorway leads to her desire to return home and confront not just her own past, but her parents’ rejection of her Fae-ness. All the terminology tossed around is definitely familiar to LGBTA and religious viewers, and clearly meant to represent rejection of Bo’s bisexuality, sexual agency, and – though no specific religion is are mentioned – abhorrence at her deviance from religious mores.
Bo’s conversation with Lauren about her past is somewhat problematic because Bo couches everything in the terms her parents used, without acknowledging that the parents use of ‘deviant’ 1) isn’t valid as a label for anyone, let alone Bo 2) isn’t what Bo thinks/should think of herself. I believe they chose to have Bo adopt her parents’ term because Bo has inwardly bought into the idea she’s a mutant, a monster, and a ‘deviant’ in all its modern, negative connotation, just like plenty of out and open and sexually active people still have hangups from being called names and told they were going to hell as a teenager. Bo subconsciously subscribes to her parents idea of a ‘norm,’ even though everyone surrounding her constantly tries to convince her isn’t so. That could definitely have been made clearer, but one of the show’s high points is it doesn’t always spell things out for the audience. Still, creating someone who is substantially different from our reality and using her as a stand-in for sexual women and gay people of all kinds isn’t a perfect connection; that’s the drawback to using supernatural as metaphors.
To cap off the adorable couple chat (albeit about a less-than-adorable topic), Lauren breaks out the giant spy suitcase and hands Bo . . . three small injectors. The show loves its oversized items and mini reveals. Lauren will stay behind to do more of her ubiquitous research, but also because she’s a good girlfriend who understands her partner’s need for space and nurturing of her other close friendship.
It’s been a little while since we’ve had this kind of Kenzi-Bo alone time, which used to cap every episode. Yes, female friendship can be put under strain by romantic entanglements, but it’s hardly fatal, and no-one here acts like a little neglect while in the throes of a new relationship is a dramatic event. It’s addressed properly, voila. And they’re off to the hometown complete with wise gas station attendant, laundry hanging outside farmhouses, and the cherry festival. As in, cherry popping. Oh, writers!
Suddenly, two and a half seasons in, we meet Bo’s adoptive mother. Mommy and daddy issues are always present in stories like this, though so far we’ve only seen the maternal issues, and I think that’s for the better, as often the mothers’ role is understated unless she was a total ‘witch.’ Instead, Bo’s mother is humanized and confused. Dementia was probably the best way to go to enable this sort of catharsis, including her addled yet practical insistence that Bo wearing her old – ie, Beth’s – clothes (often similar sights and smells are triggers for memory).
Bo and Kenzi, all tricked out in appropriate clothing, traipse down to the cherry festival where Bo runs into her old classmate Jessica, who calls Bo a ‘tease’ and expounds on her own sexual frustration. Turns out, the car’s victim was also one of Bo’s classmates, and it becomes clear an ancient nursery rhyme creeper named Lady Polly has surfaced again and is after adults with identity crises.
And Bo’s crisis is in full swing. Her mother’s reversal of adoption trope with the angry phrase ‘you were never my daughter,’ pushes Bo completely over the edge (though not without humor, as Bo swings a ho at Lady Polly while her mother slut-shames her).
Bo’s sexual guilt and terror that she’s “always been a monster” is palpable, and she tries, like Dorothy, to run from her problems (with a throwaway Dukes of Hazard shout-out). Instead, Bo also realizes she has to face them, in one form or another. With Jessica gone (literally death by cherry, reinforcing the idea that loss of virginity leads to death), only Bo and Doug can stop Lady Polly. They end up in a field, against Kenzi’s better judgement, where Kenzi uses the last of Bo’s calming juice on Lady Polly, and together they throw her down a well. Voila. The physical vanquishing of the monster-of-the-week is not nearly as important as the getting there and processing afterwards.
What a processing. Anna Silk killed this episode (including her 4th grade picture), and the final dinner table conversation is absolutely perfect, as are its conclusions that often loved ones think what they are doing is right, but are hindered by their surroundings, their upbringing, their lack of knowledge, and yes, their prejudices. Kenzi walking up just in time may have been a little much, but Bo’s verbalization of having found a family who accepted her for what she was struck all the right chords.
Back at ‘real home,’ the stage is set for the next step in Bo’s coming-of-age. The sound editors love them some ticking clocks. Last episode I mentioned it seemed like a reference to Bo and Lauren, but with it happening again, and faster, I think they’re using it to underscore Bo’s situation as a ‘ticking time bomb.’
The insistence on leaving one’s old persona behind, and the parallels of mistakes, guilt, and redemption, show a lot more in common with Bo and Doug (and audience and Doug) than was suggested at first. There’s an emphasis on the importance of names and changing of onesself. In addition, Jessica’s dislike of Kenzi (using the paste-eating as example, when that was her), reflects the reality of disliking and harboring irrational prejudice towards people who are like we were/are/could be. The layering and addressing identity issues in this episode is not just great, but more than most TV is attempting, sci-fi/fantasy or otherwise.
- Very little Lauren and Dyson, no Hale or Tamsin this week. That plus so many exterior scenes saved money, which they obviously spent on cherry festival extras.
- While Lauren’s reactions to all these situations would have been amusing, Kenzi’s expressions regarding the pie-off, double-dutch, etc., are priceless.
- Bo’s flashbacks to her first sex/kill include scenes of her bloody and more literally feeding, possibly in a cave. I’m not sure if these are supposed to be nightmares she had as a teenager, nightmares she is currently having about becoming an underfae, or an alternate flash to something we’ll see later, but it definitely underscores her seeing herself as a monster.
- ‘Why deny your fear?’ ‘Because it’s scary.’
- Crickets as background noise cover a multitude of audio sins.
- Friend E pointed out the ’80s song which namechecks cherry wine has the line “We don’t have to take our clothes off to have a good time.” Coincidence? We think not.
- When Lady Polly shows up in the field, Bo snarks “Look who just BLUE in.” Get it!? Because that color transitions was . . . Abrupt.
- Their set dressers absolutely nail the little background details.
- First the Chris Martin call-out, now Kenzi makes a direct boobs reference. Gotta love that sort of acknowledgement.
- The way Buffy and Lost Girl portray the father figures (Giles and Trick, respectively) being sexual beings is really similar. I try not to constantly compare them to each other, but it’s really difficult.