Lost Girl: Season 03, Episode 11, Adventures in Fae-bysitting
While Lost Girl – as a good supernatural drama should – raises and addresses issues from child trafficking to drug abuse, this episode raises at least a half dozen distinct issues it can probably never fully address. Still, bringing them into consciousness and allowing the fan base to dissect them is better than most shows will do. In this episode alone we have (some as continuations of prior references): voyeurism; absolute power corrupting; patronizing treatment of women by male authority figures; stalking; PTSD; societal defaults to male heroes and heteronormative couples; Lynchian suburbs where pretty facades hide horrible goings-on; the absurdity yet effectiveness of horror films.
Feel free to mention in the comments anything I may have missed, but the point is, more than being just a throw-away episode which moves a couple pieces closer to the Big Finale, the secondary story here ties things into the main story while serving up its own social commentary.
The commentary starts with Bo and Kenzi on a couch, eating popcorn and making fun of the girl walking into the woods in a babydoll dress. This nicely segues into a scene of babysitter Lisa getting a creepy phone call, a la When A Stranger Calls (1979, don’t you dare mention the remake). Pay attention to the shots of Lisa on the phone, going to the door, and what Tim/Mr Parker is saying to her on the phone; the shots and language will be intentionally echoed later.
Instead of the payoff we expect – Man Comes Up Behind Babysitter With Rope/Knife/Chloroform-Soaked-Rag – Lisa turns to find a man dangling from the staircase. Suddenly, she’s being shaken awake by Mrs. Parker, who insists the whole thing was just a dream. Somehow, it was real enough to drive Lisa to search for help, and she finds one of Kenzi’s old flyers in a coffeeshop, ‘under a poster for meditation classes.’ It’s all in the details, and these details are good.
Lisa insists this isn’t the first time something bizzare has happened in Shady Grove. Rather than suggest they just rename the suburb, Bo and Kenzi decide to infiltrate the place and snoop around, because what better way to distract yourself from your lack-of-love-life than some spine-tingling chases around a Lynchian paradise-gone-wrong?
While they slip into something less leather and more housewife, Dyson gets a visitor at the station. The visitor looks like that chick Bo banged a while back. She claims she felt pain when her traveling identical twin has gone missing, then provides Dyson with a (rather unnecessary, no?) picture of her identical twin. Dyson acts disturbed and says he’ll look into it, because that’s his job. For the department, and for the Ash.
Cut to a For Sale sign of a Realtor radiating pep. Pan to the actual Realtor, overselling the neighborhood to Kenzi and Bo, and insinuating that Bo must have a husband who should approve of the high ceilings. The dual suggestion – that Bo needs to be be heterosexually bonded and the neighborhood eats husbands – is perfectly delivered. Kenzi responds with a snide jab about antidepressants (the suburban wife’s drug of choice) which flies over the Realtor’s head, and Bo mentions she and her partner Laur . . . ence are ‘on a break.’
About this time they notice ‘Vic Voyeur’ peeping in the windows at them, leading me to clap my heads for some Rear Window antics. Indeed, Bo and Kenzi immediately respond by becoming the voyeurs and jumping to conclusions. They rush in to save some shrieking ladies and find a book club determined to fulfill all the suburban tropes in one scene. As quickly as they convened, the women split off, and Bo and Kenzi (after a throwaway line about reviving the old Angel Investigations . . . I mean, Bo’s Private Investigation Services) continue their sneaking about.
While Bo takes a field trip with Lisa to find a carousel playing a wondrously horrific, tinny version of The Wanderer, and Mr. Smarmy is busy offering Lauren things (not just science-y things like a particle accelerator, but human things, like the adulation of the scientific community, and freedom from the Ash), Kenzi goes to Trick and his musty books. They discover Lisa is a Duppy, who is dead, and who is serving a very specific purpose. The discover comes as Lisa is busy killing the woman who wanted to ‘take a break’ from the book club. After the kill, she blacks out, and is taken to Trick’s basement. Because that’s not creepy, waking up in the cellar with three strangers staring down at you. Turns out, Lisa, being dead and all, doesn’t have her own chi, she’s “running on the energy of those who invoke her to kill.” Somehow, enough of Lisa remains to ask for help, and Bo and Kenzi are determined to give it to her.
Bo goes to investigate Sam as Kenzi takes Lisa’s place babysitting for the holy terror Ethan. When Kenzi can’t keep Ethan in line through traditional means, she resorts to creepy stories, reminding us of the psychological havoc Baba Yaga stories wreaked on her. Kenzi realizes she’s turning into her mother, and decides to tell a superhero story about ‘SuperKenz’ instead. Ethan immediately asks why ‘he’ is a superhero.
The scenes of Kenzi babysitting don’t further the plot (other than a technically unnecessary red herring of Sam having a notebook with names of those killed), but they serve to remind us of Kenzi’s lost childhood. More subtly and more importantly, though, they add a level of commentary about the way children absorb stereotypical gender roles from a young age. The women have fancy dresses and drink cocktails and babysit. The boys kill things and take karate lessons and assume heroes are all male. They may be throw-away bits from a plot perspective, but they are loaded throw-away bits.
Bo is having similar success chatting up Sam. ‘So you stab them into deliciousness?’ She isn’t great at the small talk flirting. When you can touch people into infatuation, you don’t have to be. There’s something here about Bo not having to work at relationships, which is part of what led to her and Lauren’s break. Mostly, it’s enjoyable to watch her and Sam fumble for who’s more socially awkward, while both are really after the same thing: figuring out who’s killing people. They’re getting too close for Caroline’s comfort, because she swoops in and steals Bo away to the creepy field. If she’s gonna beat you, ask her to join you, right?
Caroline begins a ritual to summon a power to wreak revenge. The suburb witches stumbled on this method almost by accident; some probably thought it was all in fun, something to play with when their husbands were traveling, but it’s become ‘using what the universe gave us to rid us of negative forces.’ Well, the third witch admits she just wants to kill misogynists. Vengeance plus women power plus rationalization equals dead people. Or, to put it another way, reversing patriarchal feelings of entitlement and thus women taking it personally when men turn them down equals one sex brutalizing the other for crappy reasons. Bo joins in because if you join them, maybe you can beat them, right?
While Bo is untangling the witchspell, Tamsin and Dyson have discovered the Fae kills can’t be Bo’s, based on the simple deduction that Bo doesn’t have six fingers. Tamsin manages to look amazing and like death warmed over all at the same time, which is quite a skill, and somehow Dyson only notices the latter. They go to the field where the latest kill was found, and Dyson’s nose and Tamsin’s nausea tell them the field is a serial killer’s burial ground. This story is rapidly progressing to be the climactic season-ender, and my guess is it’s going to intersect with Isaac’s ulterior motives, Tamsin’s hunt for Bo, Possessed Bo, Bo’s dad, and Hale’s reign as Ash.
Speaking of Hale, he’s busy going all Lachlan at Lauren. While Lachlan eventually admitted it was mostly a play for Bo, he enjoyed the power trip for its own merits, too. Here Hale is also wielding the power trip under the guise of ‘protecting’ the human, woman doctor. Men/authority figures protecting grown-ass women by treating them like children is not the way to go about things. If they’re actually going to go into the Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely, that’s going to be interesting. But right now I’m more interested in how the power trip is affecting Lauren.
She’s admitted she’s tired of the Fae. Hale’s douchebag move has sparked PTSD from her imprisonment days and possibly her Afghanistan days (something else I’d be interested to see them tease out). This leaves her emotionally open to Isaac’s promises of freedom. Isaac refuses to take no for an answer, incessantly calls despite being told not to, runs background checks, comes to Lauren’s home, all classic stalker, to get what he wants. The director actively points it out: Isaac talking to Lauren on the phone as she goes to the door mirrors our seeing Lisa go to the door while talking to a creepy, mouth-breathing Tim in the cold open. This behavior is distinctly Not Ok, and while Lauren is emotionally broken (or just playing her own endgame) enough to be temporarily blinded to it, the viewer is not supposed to take this as acceptable behavior. The viewer is supposed to want Lauren to flee, high-heeled boots be damned. Instead, Lauren lets Isaac in and closes the door behind him.
I’ve long been suspicious Lauren’s door remains open for logistical filming purposes. Maybe it being closed ruins the room acoustics, maybe it interrupts the image transmission to Video Village, I don’t know. Last episode Tamsin and Lauren’s conversation had a little tease where they acknowledged the door being open, and Lauren started to say why, then shook her head and moved on. But this episode confirms it, because Lauren closes the door behind Isaac, yet it’s open in all the shots of her talking to him. I know Lost Girl‘s strongest suit isn’t shot continuity (in this episode, they also miss blood on the murder weapon), but this must be intentional, and wanting to know why is driving me nuts.
Ahem. Back to the episode. Lauren has decided to go with Isaac, and of course she has done the practical stuff: put cable on hold, give her cat food . . . wait, Lauren doesn’t have a cat. Which means the writers have taken this serious moment to reference Zoie’s real-life cat Cloverblob, of the infamous Twitter account. If that wasn’t mindblowing enough, Isaac hands Lauren a file which seems to prove Lauren has an alias named Karen, an activist with a much less flattering haircut. The rap sheet tells us almost nothing – she apparently organized anti-government protests – but being wanted by INTERPOL suggests it’s a Big Deal. Part of me thinks they’re intentionally teasing us, part of my thinks they haven’t decided what she should be ‘wanted’ for and are hedging their bets.
As we’re trying to process this, Lauren takes off her necklace which has been conspicuously sitting on top of her shirt telegraphing she’s going to make a Dramatic Gesture with it, leaves her phone on the desk, dims the lights, and exits.
While Lauren is trying to come to grips with her human side and its tantalizing backstory, the B-plot of this episode has taken a long way around to get Bo to acknowledge her everlasting-ness. Lisa mourns the fact she’ll never really have a life of her own, but will always be an outward shell of an 18-year-old, summonable every 100 years, and 100 years after that, etc., and forced to kill. Bo finally verbalizes “I’ll be around in a hundred years, and a hundred years after that . . . that is the first time I have ever said that out loud.” It’s a small comfort to Lisa, who doesn’t want to be Fae, doesn’t want to be special, just human. But she can’t be.
Initially, when Trick mentioned the Duppy didn’t have her own chi, I thought Bo was going to have to sex-heal her. Instead (I think) what happens is Bo sucks the life-force the witches imbued Lisa with, the chi which animates her, but isn’t really her own. (It’s not well-described, but that explanation works. Sometimes the writers play fast and loose and the audience is supposed to read between the lines or just glaze over, as when Trick is called Bo’s closest human relative in 03.08). It’s a sweet scene, and shows Bo continuing to learn to use her powers to heal.
With all the possible places to end this episode, especially that shot of Lauren’s cell phone vibrating and echoing on the table, they end it in the burial field with Dyson and Tamsin and a watchful, voyeuristic camera eye, a nice symbol of modern technology meeting ancient Fae mythology. Is the person/Fae watching Isaac, or Bo’s father, or the killer, or all of the above? Is Tamsin’s weakness going to come back to bite her? Is Lauren really the one playing Isaac? Is Bo going to manifest her power to save her friends? Are the publicity shots spoiling things, or just toying with us?
Two episodes left, and though they can hardly answer all the questions, they can surely make a dent. Feel free to ask more anguished hypotheticals in the comments.
That reminds me, we need to get more batteries.
Kenzi speculates the neighborhood could be “built on an ancient burial ground, portal to hell,” and the writers could only make a clearer Buffy call-out by bringing on a character named Spike. Also, a Glee slam and the Cloverblob reference. I can barely handle the meta.
How did I never catch the obvious double entendre in Bo’s Private Investigation Services before?
I’m 99% sure Trick just suggested all centaurs are gay.
Bo has a thigh holster for her knife, but has to stuff her phone in her bra?
When Bo says, “I’m so much better with weapons,” she means, “I’m good at fighting and sex. Not so much this talking stuff.” THIS is why she can’t have nice relationships.
I know we’ll still see Lauren, but with that shot of her bidding adieu to her apartment . . . please tell us we’ll see this set again!?
I don’t know where that field is, but it gets a lot of use.
Huh, they put the EP credit up top, so as not to detract from the bottom third. Interesting move.