Lost Girl: Season 3, Episode 12, Hail, Hale
Last week I talked about how the episode raised more issues than the show could fully address, and how I was OK with that; it doesn’t have to deeply psychoanalyze the harmful effects of children absorbing gender stereotypes from their parents, it can introduce it as a well-turned joke and move on.
This episode, though, crams so many plotlines into 43 minutes, the pacing and the plots suffer. I’m not advocating for a 22-episode season again, and as all the character development has led to this point, there’s not much to jettison from the first 11 episodes. I’m just saying, if you’re going to kidnap not one but two exes, frame not one ex but all humans, start a race war, hold a coronation for the new Ash, have Tamsin unravel while Bo discovers what she’s been up to, put Kenzi in danger, and introduce Isaac as the Big Bad . . . we need a little more development. Fourteen episodes, maybe.
But I’m jumping ahead of myself. This episode picks right up where we last left off, and it’s my guess the final three of the season are really one long, extended episode. Last episode was the set-up, this leads us to the climax, and then I don’t see a way around a cliffhanger next episode, especially as Season 4 is confirmed, but we shall see.
Bo is hopefully taking her own speech to heart and concentrating on what Lauren needs, more than just herself. Worried about Lauren’s safety, she brings Dyson to Lauren’s apartment to help sniff around. Dyson is curiously lackadaisical for someone who has been bonding with Lauren recently. His later conversations with Hale show maybe he guesses at Lauren’s rebellion, and is unwilling to help someone who has rejected her Fae protectors. While that fits with his archetype of ‘loyal wolf detective,’ I can’t help but feel Dyson’s growth as a person – some brought through his love of Bo, who bucks both sides of The System – and the growth of Dyson and Lauren’s friendship is being undermined here to serve the story. It won’t be the only growth stunted in service of story.
Hale is being instituted as the new Ash, and characters are falling over each other remarking on how he’s going to “make real change.” Besides being a not-so-veiled Obama reference, it ominously reminds us not all change is good. Hale’s mysterious ass-hattery continues, whether because the power is going to his head really quickly, or because the Morrigan has a whole army of tiny Fae-flies and has been spreading jam on the Ash complex doorways.
The one good thing Hale brings back is the Hale/Dyson dynamic, two partners who are completely comfortable with each other and have their own shorthand know all the deep dark secrets there are to know about each other and are willing to say ‘I miss you, man.’ Dyson gives Hale a gift from his father which is supposed to protect him, and the Law of Economy of Props says it will come into play soon.
Just like the mysterious antidote Lauren is working on. Heart disease is a good cover for genetic experiments, and genetic experiments get even more interesting when we think about the possibility of Fae/human hybrids.
I actually thought Massimo’s propositioning Kenzi at the Dal was going to lead up to him offering to transform her into Fae. Instead, it just led to her kissing a royal douchebag, who turned out to be a druid, who turned out to be . . . I’m jumping ahead again, aren’t I? And right over this scene:
First, Rachel Skarsten enjoyed this scene to the last drop, as well she should have. She gets to play the detective on the brink, drinking away the angst at ‘what she has to do’ and the horrors she has seen and her anger at a crooked, rotten world. Tamsin would make a great noir detective. (Blonde female noir detective? Where have I heard that before . . . )
Second, this scene helps Bo and Tamsin bond while they share information, and shows not just Tamsin’s inner turmoil, but all the issues she has with Bo as an unaligned entity and as a person – ok, Fae, you get my meaning. ‘Where do you get off being so perfect?’ she asks. And she doesn’t ask in a socially-appropriate way, she asks while leaning over a naked (shorthand for ‘vulnerable’) Bo, after jumping fully clothed into a tub she wasn’t invited into. Then, while keeping her hands conspicuously out of the water, she elicits the same response from Bo that Lauren did so long ago – ‘What are you doing?’ – spills her guts, extolls Bo’s virtues, conveniently leaves out the part where she’s jealous of Bo’s deep friendships, displays her confusion over Bo’s succubus nature . . . and does the honorable thing by leaving without sexing or killing Bo.
Bo recovers pretty quickly, throws on a fantastic dress, and goes to the Ash party, where Kenzi is busy getting hit on by smarmy dudes with ulterior motives. If this plotline seems familiar, it’s because it just happened last episode. Dudes be getting creepily into the personal lives of the women they’re chatting up. Isaac with Lauren, Massimo with Kenzi. If Lost Girl put out a PSA saying ‘when strangers know this much about you, and are plying you with the information, it is not adorable, it is not admirable, do not work with them, and definitely do not kiss them,’ it couldn’t get the message across any clearer.
Of course, they both have their reasons. Lauren was running from an emotionally abusive captive situation, and looking to fill a lack of science and success that Bo didn’t even recognize as an issue. Lauren found a sympathetic ear and resources in Isaac, and is doing something for good in the world. She acknowledges it can be used in plenty of ways, and has thought through the ramifications, as she displays in a really good walk-and-talk with Isaac which shows her intelligence and Isaac’s creepiness to good purpose.
This talk felt somewhat rushed, all sorts of revelations on top of each other, including the obvious intimation that Isaac is Gabriel (more on the Biblical ramifications of this later), but Lauren decides to really look under the surface of Isaac’s lab.
While Lauren is trying to puzzle things out, the bartender arrives late to the party. Let’s see, he was called out as late, he has a line, he’s a guest star (Anna Silk’s real-life husband), he must play a significant . . . oh, there it is. He poisons Dyson, and we get a weird-but-useful callback to “Caged Fae,” which experience gave Bo all the knowledge she needs to figure out the paramedics are human, and they just kidnapped Dyson. When she tries to figure out why, though, (inexplicably without trying to touch him into compliance), the bartender uses poison on himself. Poison conveniently labelled with Dr. Lauren Lewis’s name.
All hell is breaking loose, fairly simultaneously:
Bo, whilst trying to figure out why Lauren’s name is on the vial, discovers Tamsin at Lauren’s house. Earlier, I tried not to read into the fact Tamsin shares the tub which Bo once shared with Dyson. They get a lot of mileage out of the few sets they have, and the bathtub was the perfect place for Bo to be vulnerable. Now, though, when Tamsin comes down the stairs wearing Lauren’s bathrobe, it’s clear she is embodying aspects of Bo’s two serious lovers (sorry, Ryan, I enjoyed you, but you were never gonna be a real partner), who happen to be the two other people whose hairs are in the rune glass. I’m uncertain whether this is supposed to mean Tamsin is actually affecting or being affected by the rune glass (a la kissing Bo in “Fae-ge Against The Machine” after Trick and Stella interacted with the machine), or if this is Bo’s psychological projection going on (a la Hitchock’s Vertigo), but I really, really like Bo’s past relationships being thrown in her face via the Valkyrie.
A Valkyrie, by the way, who still acknowledges Lauren is Bo’s Lauren, even when Bo is fornlornly agreeing it’s more a break-up than break. Like most noir detectives, Tamsin really was a romantic under that hardboiled heart. It’s also worth noting the undercurrent of tensions between Tamsin and Bo is heightened because Tamsin is highly protective of Dyson, and thinks Bo’s girlfriend may have helped put Dyson in danger. What a tangled web, etc., etc.
The Morrigan is busy using the poison vial to help push her agenda of “one true race.” I like what they’re doing with the fascist parallels, I see a lot of potential for the Fae/human war to speak to racism, classism, homophobia, what have you, but it needs more room to develop and breathe. A real race war should be boiling under the surface for several episodes. Well, maybe this is going to be the main plot for Season 4; it certainly has enough foundation.
Either way, it seems The Morrigan has either 1) been working with Isaac or 2) is well aware of what he’s doing, as the vial with Lauren’s name is the tipping point for most of the assembled Fae. The Morrigan is always looking for an angle, and seems to have dirt on everyone, (including Tamsin), so it’s possible she’s just being an opportunist.
Dyson gets in a cage match with another incredibly muscular Fae. The punching sound effects are more realistic than the actual punching, but I like the use of falls and stickyhands. There’s not much else to say about this scene, so there’s no excuse for watching it as many times as I did, but really, that’s what it’s there for.
Hale tells Kenzi to make a break for it, and in the next breath admits he’s always had a ‘more than friends’ thing for her. And now, a rabbit trail and peeve in one! Dear Writers, please stop retconning love. First Lauren in “Faes Wide Shut,” now Hale. Lost Girl has nurtured relationships (and their chemistry) along, having people grow to love each other. Instant sparks? Hells yes. Then, the attraction and sexual tension build, the friendships evolve, trust is formed; all this is integral to a solid relationship. We don’t need to hear it was epic fairytale love at first sight, because we have something better. Don’t cheapen it with these ‘timely revelations.’
< end rabbit trail / pet peeve >
Bo and Tamsin take Tamsin’s truck by the police station for a phone trace which is so magical it’s instantaneous, and which leads them to Isaac’s compound. Tamsin says lots of cryptic things about this being familiar, and bad news, and BANG. I knew Tamsin getting shot was coming (thanks, promo interviews and Tumblr), but it still smarts. As a viewer, I want to keep this wonderful character. As a writer, I understand she’d be the perfect mark. *gulp* Sure, Bo should have sex-touched the bartender into confession, but I’ll buy that Bo doesn’t really know how to heal yet, at least not with sucking chi from other people first. She’s going to have to find another way.
Lachlin worked through leveraging Nadia, and saw Lauren as his property. Isaac works through flattery and knowledge, and sees Lauren as his Relationship. Isaac has been plotting his dastardly scheme for a while, but Lauren has proved she can think on her feet; it would be fun to watch them match wits. But due to time crunch, Isaac jumped straight to imprisonment.
I like the way Lauren was manipulated into this position, it felt fairly organic, but I don’t like them making her quite so much of a patsy. And while I think Dyson’s admonition to stay with the light Fae is his way of telling Lauren to stay where she’d be more safe, and is – again – in keeping with his archetypal Machismo Protector and Blindly Loyal Subject of the Light, I wish he’d show a little more understanding and growth. You see what I meant about sacrificing character for story.
Oh, and then, BAM, Aife. End credits.
- ‘Dad’s on a ski trip’ is code for ‘the actor was busy this date,’ or ‘we couldn’t afford him.’
- ‘A little less All About Eve a little more Steel Magnolias.’
- I’m pretty convinced the bathroom set is the same as the front door set.
- Speaking of sets, the marble-esque set where Isaac and Lauren argue is reminiscent of the Ash set from Season 1. Which begs the question, if they had access to something like this, why was Hale working out of Trick’s basement?
- Last set note: whether it’s was an intentional style choice, whether the clean glass was too reflective, or whether they couldn’t get the class clean enough and so smeared it more to cover it up, I really like the intimation of those smeared prison walls.
- ‘Ever heard of Jimmy Hoffa?’ Trick gets the best throwaway lines.
- ‘I’ve never been fighty-er in my life.’
- ‘Friends. Nobleman. Shut the hell up.’
- Trick humming is an example of good-adorable. Trick’s hat is an example of NOOOOOOOOO.
- If they really expect us to believe both the Light and Dark are equally good and bad, just in different ways, this is not the way to do it.
- Lauren’s outburst towards Dyson/The Light tells a lot about her idea of morality. In her eyes, you don’t lie to your friends. She forgave Bo quickly when Bo was honest. She hasn’t, if you notice, ever lied to a point-blank question, and she won’t tolerate it being done to her in the name of protection, control, or anything else. Dyson lying to her, especially as they’ve developed a friendship, is the pinnacle of betrayal, and a good enough reason for her to justify her leaving.
- I wondered if Isaac was an intentional Bibilical reference, but ‘Gabriel’ sealed it. Besides being the avenging angel, he could also be ‘the angel of the Lord’ who intervened to save Isaac from being a human sacrifice. Whether this is commentary on the dualistic nature of Dr. Taft or something more remains to be seen.