Lost Girl: Season 3, Episode 9, The Ceremony
This episode has two cold opens. The second one, after the credits, which continues Bo’s search for various temple-requires talismans.
The first, all orange and teal and nicely-segmented thirds, is sure to send a large percentage of the fandom into a tizzy. It goes out of its way to establish Bo is married – with virginal wedding-dress-like lingerie, and Dyson calling himself her husband – and pregnant. For someone who doesn’t follow societal norms (30 minutes later Bo says: “I’ve never been big on rules. That is who I am”), this strikes all the wrong chords. It’s obviously a dream, or alternate reality, or weird projection. Then we get a second cold open, where suddenly Bo is back pursuing the last few talismans she will need to enter the temple. Kenzi is along for the ride, spouting all sorts of wisdom, including the fact Lauren has many legitimate reasons to be taking some space right now. It’s one thing to have an open relationship. It’s another to lie about your gallivanting around town with a hot Valkyrie, miss your partner’s big night, then bring the Valkyrie back to your partner’s super-fly apartment to celebrate with champagne.
When we and Dyson go to see Lauren, however, she isn’t angry. She’s terrified. Lauren doesn’t believe Bo will necessarily be fine – because she can’t prove it – and Dyson is all positive and touchy-feely. This sets up a nice, short little Faith vs Science chat between the two triangle corners, who have grown in the past two-and-a-half seasons, shifting from constantly needling each other to legitimately respecting each other. Both, adult-like, understand they each love Bo and can work to help her without constantly being petty and whiny.
Boy, are they going to have to work to help Bo. She’s really in for . . . a giant orgy, complete with models?
Eventually, they turn this scene into commentary on Bo’s empathy for humans, and that part is fine. But the shortcut they take to get there – acting like Bo can’t feed off humans without killing them – contradicts something we’ve spent a lot of time establishing. As far as it playing into Bo’s desire to be faithful to Lauren, they could just remind the audience Bo and Lauren’s relationship is open, Lauren is accepting of Bo feeding of others and explicitly doesn’t want to know the details. Later, when talking to Trick, Bo uses the term ‘full feed,’ which would mean it’s akin to what the Lich asked her to do to Lauren in in 02.06. But neither Stella nor anyone else specified she had to fully drain the humans, so she has no story-consistent reason not to. Now, it’s of course possible Bo isn’t a fan of random hookups with models, or she opposes being manipulated into having sex with people of Fae choosing. This is also possibly a reaction to the criticism of the end scene of 02.15, where Ryan ‘brings’ Bo a girl to have sex with. It can definitely be read as coercive and patriarchal and sex-slave-y, and there are plenty of grounds for refusal, but Bo never names one.
Last, this continues to skirt the issue of whether Bo has sex with Lauren AND sucks her chi, while seeming to suggest it’s only the former, (which also explains why Bo heals with Lauren, but not as well/fully as she could otherwise). If Stella were asking Bo to suck the humans’ chi, and Bo were to qualify she’d have sex to amp her powers but wouldn’t risk the chi-suck, that, too, would make some sort of sense . . . until the last scene of this episode. But I’m jumping way ahead now.
After eschewing the model buffet, Kenzi and Bo go back to their apartment and talk about the potential for their relationship to reverse from Kenzi the cat to end like Shawn of the Dead, with Kenzi keeping Bo as a pet. This has been a constant thread (especially with Loughlin referring to Lauren as ‘chattel’ and Kenzi as Bo’s pet), and Trick and Kenzi’s later conversation continues the analogy. It’s a great theme to keep as an undercurrent. Trick’s sudden about-face of total support for Kenzi is counter how he’s been acting the past few episodes, but he does like Kenzi, and I think it’s his way of comforting her in the face of Impending Doom.
The Doomness of which Trick tries, one last time, to impress upon Bo. With a small smirk and commentary on the white wedding/lingerie dress, Bo says the purity ship has sailed. But she’s still committed to the ritual, like it or not. Right before she makes the leap, Dyson shows up to offer his ‘services’ and Lauren gives him her blessing, and Bo another world-is-ending kiss. The kiss is a Season 2 finale mirror, down to the framing and Dyson’s knowing look. I love me some shot symmetry.
That shot was very intentional, and so is one right after, though the second reasoning isn’t as clear. Usually, when a character looks over her shoulder as Bo does before entering the portal, it’s used as a transition to a POV shot, one last look at the friends left behind. Here, we get a 180 to the whole room from behind the portal as Bo and Dyson step into it and leave the Dal . . . for the Dal.
Way to get around needing to build an elaborate temple set! Bo even comments on it: “What, the dawning couldn’t have sprung for a different bar?’ Translation: the set decorators are angry they get no budget, and the writers are on their side. The following Dawning sequence sets reuse everything from Bo’s apartment to the police station boxing ring. The only new thing we have is Dyson and Bo’s house, which is a suggestive-yet-economical sterile and bland.
The first person they meet in said recycled world is The Caretaker. His inability to remember his mother’s name – rather than his father’s – suggests the Fae world puts more stock on the mother and her bloodline than the father. This is suggestive for both Bo’s personal story and the show’s worldview at large: it’s not always about daddy issues. The Caretaker cryptically tells them to find a key, and they run off to do so.
Dyson’s personality has undergone a total makeover, and he’s obviously enjoying himself playing hero in this dangerous situation. Though for a hero, his/their choices of when to fight and when to fly are a bit unfathomable. The second the meet The Guardian he he draws blood, they run to a locker room. Here Dyson confesses he loves Bo, and hey, in 100 years he’ll still be around . . . insinuating Lauren won’t.
This is hardly the time or place, and Bo notes Dyson isn’t going to be much help so long as he’s pining away and waving his false sense of male machismo. To which he responds “I’m just a wolf, standing in front of a succubus,” and thankfully before I could throw something, Bo reacts appropriately with a smack and a cry of “ASSHOLE.”
Then, they split up, which as all horror movies and dreams have taught us, is a Bad Thing. Dyson meets with The Caretaker to get talked into indulging his deepest fantasies, while Bo turns up in uniform, Lauren’s partner on the police force.
It’s about here this dream sequence really gets interesting, cross-projecting Lauren’s and Dyson’s personalities and roles. Lauren wears a lot of uniforms, actually, including the white coat in her earliest scene. I’d rather she lose the coat unless she’s dealing with sick patients or doing something that potentially splatters, but in this episode and in general, she (and by inference, Dyson) are using it and her (their) abilities (researching, policing) to deflect.
Lauren and Bo’s convseration gets real meta real fast, very much intentionally speaking to the audience; from Bo’s “I never needed saving” to Lauren’s “You don’t have to read into everything I do or say.” The last knife twist is:
‘I was in it for the long haul.’
‘It wasn’t my fault.’
‘But you still gave your love away.’
Did Lauren get mentally seduced by Dr. Smarmy? Will there develop some other obscure meaning for ‘love’? It’s intentionally left obscure, the better to tease the audience and referenced later. These sorts of episodes work best when they serve as Alternate Reality Signposts, warning characters what changes to make, and where things could lead, should they go unchecked.
Next to show up in the dream is Kenzi, wearing a significant necklace with a recurring symbol. Several things reoccur throughout The Dawning, from Bo’s pills to the pictures of the model / Aife (whether intentional or not, I can’t always tell who the pictures are supposed to be of). Kenzi’s necklace is possibly meant to suggest in the alternate reality she belongs to the Ash or another Fae. It’s not Trick, because Trick shows up and reminds Bo it’s a Cop vs Street Rat world. Or, a Human vs Fae one.
The temple has turned into wish AND nightmare fulfillment, as such things are wont to do. Bo is transported to a Lynchian suburb where Tamsin cuts flowers and bakes cookies, and Dyson is a doctor. In order, my thoughts on Dyson’s scrubs were these:
Bo is now projecting Lauren tendencies onto Dyson.
Well, it seems to be Bo’s dream, but maybe Dyson is projecting Lauren onto himself.
Or, maybe the costume designers had scrubs lying around.
No it’s intentional and intentionally a mindgame. Didn’t you hear Lauren? Stop overanalyzing.
But, but it’s mean to be overanaylzed.
At that point, I proceeded to analyze until thought train derailed and I caught back up to Bo walking through the hallways, to find a child who is obviously her. We never see daddy, (so he can be cast as anyone, at any time!) but we do get a custody battle in the realest sense of the term, which soft fades back to the opener. Bo is again celebrating her pregnancy with the sound of herself as a baby crying echoing in her own ears (wow, these sorts of episodes are also the hardest to recap) when she gasps in pain and Dyson suddenly realizes, “I’m not a doctor. I can’t help you.”
Yay, layers! First, brute strength isn’t what Bo needs to survive her Dawning. Second, Lauren is better for Bo than Dyson is, in her ability to help heal, and as a person. It’s a stunning, painful revelation, but Dyson realizes he can give himself for Bo, which of course he intended all along. Perhaps that helps explain both his giddiness (may as well have a beer if you’re about to die!) and his willingness to indulge in What If games. Now it’s real, though. Or rather, not. Dyson screams, “NONE OF THIS IS REAL,” as much to himself as Bo, and then uses Bo’s maternal instincts to make her stab him. Relying on maternal instincts can be an eye-roller, but here they are used to delineate that Bo is not her mother. Bo’s love for others above self also separates her from Aife, and she mourns Dyson’s death and insists on saving him. To do so, she writes the symbol in Dyson’s blood, and poof! They’re back in the Dal.
It’s at this point the episode doesn’t work for me. The payoff is anticlimactic. If Bo has been ‘saved’ from de-evolution, there’s no sign of it. To top it off, Bad Bo immediately chi-sucks the whole room save Dyson. Everyone miraculously, immediately recovers, (unlike in 02.06), and we’re left seemingly to infer Bo can only breathe chi back in after taking it. This is one of the few times I’d like them to be more clear: we still need some basic world-building.
I feel Bo’s revelations here could have reached the same conclusion organically, over time and a few well-metaphor-ed monsters. This was more a lesson for Dyson and the audience than Bo. Ultimately, these sorts of episodes are for the audience: to ponder, to deconstruct, to argue, and to read into. So what else did everyone get out of it? To the comments!
- Kenzie’s slight allusions to the wedding as “The Most Important Ceremony Of Your Life!” is actually a but delightful bait-and-switch: possible death instead of commitment, yay!
- ‘Please let me live to regret this.’
- I feel like they have had to do some accommodating for Zoie Palmer’s movie schedule. She has a conspicuous number of phone calls and scenes with only one other cast member.
- Thankfully, Lost Girl has already been renewed for Season 4, but I’m curious whether the writers had a contingency plan to City of Angels Bo and Lauren’s love story. Several things in this season could have led into a finale with that.
- Dear Writers: I try not to constantly make Buffy comparisons, but you make it too easy. This stabbing scene is straight out of “Becoming, Part Two.”
- These sorts of episodes are full of wish fulfillment, weird psyches working themselves out, and indirect symbolism that can mean 42 different things. Best used sparingly, they serve to keep things interesting, can accurately make one feel like one is in a dream state, and are a staple of the genre.
- This actually would have been a perfect way for Dyson to go out, if he had to. But being a dream-like episode, it couldn’t happen that way, so I was never really worried.