Lost Girl: Season 3, Episode 8, Fae-ge Against the Machine
I’d bet money the writers have a contest to see who can make up the most absurd challenges for their various Fae rituals. The Zambian cricket of good fortune may come into play later, but that doesn’t change how delightfully over-the-top it is. The absurdity and intricateness of the preparation are as important as the actual test, though, and if we’re going to tie the entire thing into a coming-of-age ritual . . . well, humans have some pretty absurd ceremonies and processes, too.
Trick isn’t a fan of human rituals, though, and claims ‘humans taint this part of the [Fae] process.’ It’s more anti-human prejudice, but it’s also interesting because Bo hasn’t fully embraced her non-humanity. At one point she states, ‘your world, your rules,’ verbally rejecting that it’s her world, too. She still doesn’t embrace the supernatural/duality of the Fae, just as she won’t pick a side, though as roughneck so kindly points, out she’s essentially chosen the Light. Maybe this ritual is going to be what it takes to fully acknowledge her Fae nature.
Finally Bo is done for the day, and she calls her sweetie. Tired or not, we know where popcorn and a movie are going to lead. But then Lauren shows up all atwitter (Zoie Palmer does frenetic like nobody’s business) and informs Bo there will be a fancy dinner to celebrate Lauren’s almighty smartness!She’s been checking all the message boards to find out whose cheating at science, she knows she deserves it, and declares ‘we should both wear dresses at the same time!’ as she flies back out to write an acceptance speech.
Tamsin is watching this little exchange with a smirk. She has appeared to inform Bo the list of people – Trick, Hale, Dyson – assuring Bo she’ll be fine are wrong. It’s actually a huge effing deal. Just minutes before, Trick was laughing about Hale and Dyson’s challenges. Bo gets threats about her life and Dyson gets . . . fleas. This accurately reflects puberty all right: we can excuse ‘male’ behaviors and blame it on boys being boys, but we strike fear into the hearts of women about the terrors of the world and their burgeoning sexual prowess. The particular travails of female adolescence are going to get major attention in this episode.
I do so enjoy Tamsin. Bisexual, alcoholic, badass-overcompensating-for-insecurities Tamsin, who uses the phrase ‘times infinity’ which makes me think that her dawning involved that sorority house and some twee blondes. Ugh, speaking of female-particular travails.
While Tamsin and Bo are slurping bloodys and ill-advisedly shaking hands with Balsac (I know the character-wholly-new-to-the-world is perfect for story purposes, but somebody teach Bo better than to shake with strange Fae, already!), Trick and Stella have found the machine-invitation whirring at the Dal. Other than the fact Trick is NOT Bo’s closest blood relative, he’s the only real option to operate it, and so he starts his mad guessing game while Bo starts down the rabbit hole.
Down the rabbit hole are lots more sets! Most are easy and cheap: some outsides, lots of plastic tubing and colored water, and a fantastic trailer park furnished with whatever didn’t do in the Kitsune cave a couple episodes back. Well done again. I love the use of fluorescents in the tunnel, and more graffiti walls like in 1.01, 2.06, and 2.18.
Then Lauren calls, and what is she wearing but a callback to her high school prom seafoam green dress. Except this one is less tragic and more wowsa. That’s the best part of this scene. Bo immediately lies to Lauren about her whereabouts, which is not only counter to precedent since this relationship became official – Bo came clean about cheating, and Lauren has never lied to a direct question – but completely unnecessary. Lauren understands how the Fae world works, there is no reason to lie here, yet Bo does.
Maybe it’s the stress which causes it. I mean, she is armed with nothing but a fortune cookie and headed into “a dark and lawless territory where the fringes of society, lost souls, and the criminally inclined go to live AND DIE.” No biggie.
In the dark and lawless territory she is presented with a deck of tarot cards, out of which she picks The Wanderer. There’s so much to unpack here, along with the signs appearing to Trick and Stella in the machine, but mostly we get the idea Bo is a soul inbetween, trying to start a new life. Even the death symbolism ties into this. Mors Janua Vitae, Death Is The Gateway to Life.
It’s hard to juggle all this and relationship, too. Lauren calls, on her second bottle of champagne, and vents some frustration. Lauren’s deepest feeling come out under stress, alcohol, and skunk-ape hormones, and she’s stung that Bo is seemingly blowing off her awards ceremony as a ‘stupid human thing.’ I by no means think this is going to be the Doccubus-ending issue, but I love that they’re addressing it in such realistic ways, spelled out in fights not monologues.
Bo’s insecurities come out, too, under Trick’s elderberry drink, and for a moment she’s mooning over Dyson’s mooning. For someone who never was able to hold a steady relationship, she’s getting all the puberty feels and drama at once. It doesn’t help that she has to crack open the cookie for its fortune, which reads, “You will always get what you want through your charm and personality.” Um, hello, wondersnatch. Blessing and curse.
Finally, Bo and Tamsin seem to have found the goose at the end of the wild chase: a squonk named Hannah. Young girls’ tears are a hot commodity in the underbelly. Said tears are obtained by using threats of the outside world, and telling girls they are “weirdos” and make people uncomfortable. The parallels to sex trafficking are unmistakable.
I can’t explain how happy I am it’s Tamsin and not Dyson accompanying Bo here, providing us with a woman as the strong-partner-on-journey role that would usually be fulfilled by a man, especially if the hero is already a heroine. Since we’re obviously talking about sex trafficking via metaphor, it’s superb to simultaneously portray women as powerful, heroic, and rescuers. Even young Hannah, importantly, makes the decision for herself that she is not worthless, that she can leave.
They leave as soon as Bo makes an ‘impulse buy,’ (Oh, women shopping jokes, will you ever get old? No seriously, will you?) but immediately run into some angry men. Bo gets REALLY feisty when men call women their property, and this scene and its language echo Laughlin exercising his power over Lauren in season two. This time, Bo gets to fight it out with what she’s got. Story of her life.
Cue the Western-style shots and sound effects. Dear Sound Editors: nailed it.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Trick and Stella are still wresting with the machine, which is somehow going to impact the outcome of the battle, along with Bo’s earlier cricket training. Everything in life is multifactoral, and it’s interesting to see Trick’s machinations, Bo’s training, and her general resourcefulness all come into play at the showdown, but the machine invitation bit has gotten a little old by now.
Tamsin plays like she’s just in for the adventure, but she really likes/respects/is fascinated by Bo, and their congratulatory embrace creates a love-square. [editor’s note: show creator pointed out it was Trick and Stella interacting with the machine which helped ‘spark’ that kiss.]
I tentatively don’t hate the way that happened; it feels organic, of course Bo has some powerful hormones, and to Tamsin’s credit, she doesn’t push the issue later, even when Bo is vulnerable and slugging champagne out of the bottle. We’ll see how long this lasts, especially since Tamsin still has plenty of ulterior motives. Complicated characters are the best.
Speaking of which, someone shows up at Lauren’s apartment. We know it’s not Bo, because the someone knocks. Lauren, on the verge of tears, opens the door to find Dr. Taft, who immediately turns on the schmooze and appeals to Lauren by recognizing and praising her mind. This is where Bo often – especially this episode – comes up short. In no way is Lauren sexually aroused, but she’s definitely mentally stimulated, and Dr. Taft is after something. He’s gonna be bad news.
The rest of the gang is back at the Dal, finishing Bo’s invitation via Hannah’s tears. It’s telling that they continue to speak in terms of life and death, even though the likely outcome of the dawning is just de-evolution. When people go through puberty/Big Life Changes, they don’t often physically die from it, but can end up mentally, emotionally, and sexually stunted. This is the real fear, that it’d be worse than death.
And finally, Tamsin knows what something else there is to fear. After her little anti-pep-talk to Bo, she walks out into a rain of Wanderer cards. (They made a lot of double-faced tarot cards for that last scene to end with so many face-up; the whole thing is really well done, and really curious.)
Here’s to your dawning. May you not die.
- Hale gets a shout-out this episode, in the same breath as speakeasies. There’s an idea.
- ‘In order to enter the temple.’ I’m honestly not sure whether it’s my innate ability to Biblicize/sexualize things or whether they mean it, but I think two things: holy of holies, and vagina.
- Please tell me ‘who are you all sparkly for’ is meant as a Twilight jab.
- Dark bars and light bars are the same. Fae are just fae, errybody just should hug and get along!
- Opening champagne with pliers is enough to make anyone testy. I may be speaking from experience.
- “Self talk. I’m powerful, I’m brave.” That sarcastic inner teenage Tamsin is too cute.
- There’s a PA whose sole job it is to sew thigh pockets onto all of Bo’s pants.
- Bo’s least favorite drink is something with an umbrella, natch.
- Hells yes, Tamsin drives a pickup truck.
- All senses are specifically engaged here: hearing (Bo of the cricket and the sheriff) sight (though mostly as not to be trusted), smell (of whatever’s on that handkerchief), touch (of Trick and Stella, the apothecary of Tamsin’s hair), taste (Bo of the drink Trick pours).