Lost Girl: Season 01, Episode 03, Oh Kappa, My Kappa
Editor’s note: after reviewing Lost Girl episodes 03.05-03.13, I’m starting from the top. Rather than ignore everything that’s transpired, I intend to comment how recurring events, shot selection, etc., play into the show so far. I’ll be careful, but there may be spoilers through Season 3. You can find all reviews here.
The cold open is the same tracking shot gracing the credits, of Bo lying on her side, only this is moving Right to Left. While this shot’s direction doesn’t necessarily mean anything significant, it’s common for tracking shots moving left to signify moving into the past. Thus, it makes sense the show would want their credits to reverse this shot, signifying they’re a dynamic, forward-thinking show.
Bo immediately whirls over – not to make sure the handsome wolfman is still in her bed, but to make sure he’s still breathing. As she admits to Dyson, this is a first. Here we get a hint of the dark side of Bo’s past; she often fed/killed unscrupulous predators like the businessman who drugged Kenzi, but sometimes she slept with interested lovers knowing fully well they would almost certainly not survive it.
This admission also sets up what will be an ongoing theme for Bo: struggling to navigate relationships. [Lots of exposition thereof at the bottom if this review.] Now Bo has found someone who can have sex without dying – and whom she implicitly trusts, and who has a wry sense of humor and scruffy face to boot – she’s going to make up for lost time. In a lovely bit of editing, she and Dyson roll around and off the bed, cutting directly into a young girl also falling to the ground. The girl is being chased by an unseen some-thing/one, and her disappearance will be the Mystery of the Week.
To expedite these mysteries, Kenzi has founded Bo’s Private Investigation Services. Kenzi informs Bo of their newest venture and its hundreds of flyers after walking in on Dyson searching for the toothpaste (in the foot locker, as Lauren and Vex later discover). The conversation switches seamlessly from Kenzi’s excited prying to Bo’s incredulity to what it means to operate outside the social norm. Human norm being 9-5 jobs and incessant mundane interaction and walled apartments, Fae norm being pledged to one side and letting them take care of the rest. “I’m a thief, and you’re not even human. I know you’d rather be normal, but you’re not. You’re a freak. And I dig that about you. . . . You have skills that can help people. People that have nowhere else to turn. People with shiny shiny money.”
Of course, most people drawn to amateur detectives living in condemned property have no money. Bo helps them to get information on her own origins, or out of the goodness of her heart. Because Bo is, above all, a generous and protective sort, as is Kenzi, though with much more eye rolling and opportunism along the way.
Nobody in this show always Does The Right Thing, though it’s probably the thief who comes closest. But our main characters are either trying to do the right thing, or trying to figure out what said thing even is, and isn’t that the crux of humanity?
It doesn’t hurt when the right thing involves playing dressup and going undercover, two spy/fantasy/girlpower genre staples. Bo gets to play security guard and seduce the authority figure – she went there pretty quickly, perhaps following through on some of her own high school hots for principal? – while Kenzi gets to infiltrate a sorority in all pink, providing a little intel and a lot of laughs.
First, though, Bo has to go ‘girl officer’ Dyson into giving her the pertinent spooky files. Turns out the last girl who disappeared from the college and was found had her insides sucked out. Several other students have disappeared, too, but their tracks have been carefully covered.
It’s not too hard to cover tracks of people who routinely skip class and sleep in random dorm rooms. Bo even tells Kenzi ‘maybe Gina is just playing hooky and this whole thing will be over soon.’ Even as she speaks, we get a Blue Velvet camera move, down from the pink clothes and sunshine and manicured grass through the ground and into the sewers where Gina is being kept. Dark underworlds masked by pretty suburbs and especially sororities and prestigious colleges: check.
Once Gina scrambles out of the creature’s reach, it’s confirmed she’ll make it to the end, through a combination of our now caring for this fighter of a character and the episodic nature of the show not having time to establish someone else. This isn’t a police procedural which kills guests solely to give the main character visible angst. There’s more than enough angst without that.
By the same shorthand, the security guard who talks a lot and tears down Gina’s missing poster must either be A) in on the bad guy’s scheme or 2) a cowboy who’ll die in pursuit and/or become helpful just in the nick of time.
HINT: It’s A.
A few twists and turns must be maneuvered before then – what does the Dean know and when did she know it? How do you kill the monster? What is in the sorority basement? – but whodunnit isn’t so much the point as the fact that anybody could have done it, and nobody would have much noticed or cared. As Dyson points out, colleges are transient by nature; people come and go. The Dean needs stats to look good for the brochure. Gina’s family is poor. Gina is a minority. Four strikes says nobody is going to be reporting her disappearance on the local news.
It’s the way of things, and it’s awful and horrible and ridiculous, and if this were a superhero movie Bo would be investigating because someone gave her a With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility speech. Instead, she does it out of a mixture of general goodness, need to survive, gratitude for others having helped her, and plot contrivance. Not that we won’t see speeches made and homilies abided by and the seasons go by, but mostly people and Fae just do what they do because it’s their way of life, not out of a demmed sense of noblesse oblige.
Like Dyson kissing Bo. Not out of noblesse oblige. (It’s getting harder to segue out of rabbit trails, guys.) Trick not only notices, he notes how both parties enjoy it. He pulls Dyson aside to scold him about staying objective and keeping his eyes open, the better to betray Bo with, my dear. Both are aware Bo will be unhappy if/when she discovers their deceit, but Dyson bristles when Trick chides him for ‘letting’ Bo develop feelings. Bo, after all, has been pushing as much as he (and will push harder in the next few episodes).
Knowing nothing of the alpha males discussing her love life, Bo marches through the woods following blueprints to a grated stone doorway – this is not the last we’ve seen of these woods or this doorway. As night instantaneously falls, she calls Kenzi, who has been robed and hooded and marched down to the basement of doom for . . . a pledge induction party. Being distracted by her conversation helps explain how the lead security guard manages to taze her. Don’t talk and walk, kids.
Kenzi calls Dyson in a panic, and they go into the woods together. If it weren’t for the fact her best friend and meal ticket was being held in an underground stanklair by a security guard with a midlife crisis and a teapot-headed gollum, Kenzi might enjoy these ten minutes. First she gets an excuse to ditch the sorority party, then Dyson throws his shirt at her, then she gets to watch him shift into a wolf.
Dyson finds his way into the lair, where Bo is grappling with the surprisingly well-toned monster. The monster vanquishes themselves are often somewhat anticlimactic; the leadup and the makeup are much more exciting. The failed tazer and lip-vuvuzela are short and sweet, and it’s fun to watch brown sludge come out of the kappa’s brain cavity and to hear Kenzi (often the Watson) explain ‘Fae voodoo’ was used to convince Gina it was one human who held her captive. But it’s not the highlight of the episode, nor should it be.
With those few loose ends tied up, the characters pick up where they left off. Bo waltzes into the Dal’s storeroom to tell Dyson of her lurve, only to see Dyson is banging the waitress who has been flirting with him all episode. It’s impossible he could have known Bo would walk in, so perhaps his plan was to sex the waitress up and down town until Bo saw them. Regardless, see them she has, and she angrily storms out, ignoring Dyson’s halfhearted attempts to call her back.
Because Bo is new to the Fae and because she has so far been unable to get close to people without killing them, she’s ‘coming of age’ in both worlds, dealing with issues most people have processed as teens. Her succubus tendencies coupled with a strict religious upbringing have left her unsure how to handle things like crushes, partnerships, and breakups (though Kenzi will prove more than adept at helping her through the latter). As I mentioned last review, this makes Lost Girl an unusual bildungsroman. Bo is 28 here, and as the series goes on she must work through teenage and adult problems simultaneously. Her entry into the Fae world follows the classical bildungsroman development, but there’s the plenty of adult/inexperience tension in her regular life as she realizes she can interact with other people ‘normally’ and tries to figure out what that means.
Silk is perfect for straddling this role. She has experience to lend gravitas to Bo, who must hold her own in relationships with century-old Fae and more experienced humans alike. She has the youthfulness to inhabit a character who is coming-of-age, and an abandon which makes it entirely plausible her best friend is a young runaway. She is sexy as hell, but doesn’t play it too edgy. All this creates a fully realized Bo, who can be brash and confident one moment and vulnerable the next (especially when it comes to her past or her loved ones); often thoughtless and immature, but still intelligent and fiercely protective.
[MAJOR SPOILERS through 03.02] Bo’s relationships progress in a typical adolescent-coming-of-age way. Dyson is the high school crush turned first love. Sure the sex is incredibly adult, no complaints there, but while they’re experienced in sex they’re inexperienced at relationships. In the penultimate scene of this episode, Bo comes right out and says “I feel like a teenager” and asks Kenzi what to do next. The emotions are quite juvenile; both Dyson and Bo get overly wrapped up in each other to the exclusion of friends and the deterioration of work, then they pledge their troths really, really quickly. It fizzles due to some natural causes and some meddling of the father figure, then is officially kiboshed by a poorly-worded Norn trade.
Next, Bo moves to college-esque with Ryan. Ryan is Bo’s first steady ‘casual’ affair, as all the Bo/Dyson attempts at friends-with-benefits were just that, attempts. This fling progresses – granted, via supernatural means – too quickly to ‘let’s get married;’ interestingly, also a pitfall common to those raised in hyper-religious environments. When Bo and Ryan realize they’re in over their heads and the whole relationship collapses, there’s too much baggage for them to remain friends.
Ryan and plenty of random peeps in limos have killed time while Lauren was unavailable. Finally, the will-they-won’t-they culminates in a kiss in the most adult of places and movie sets: a women’s prison. Lauren and Bo are much more of an adult relationship, which lands about where Bo should’ve naturally progressed by age 30. Lauren is the only one of Bo’s serious squeezes to have had a long-term stable partner in the past, and this helps immensely in selling the whole relationship as an adult one. Of course, it immediately jumps into trickier, open waters, but that’s a discussion for another time.
I’m not trying to say high school loves or casual dating can’t turn into something stable and/or permanent, but Dyson and Ryan, and especially Bo, weren’t in that place before. Now, no matter where or with whom Bo goes, she has experienced the various types of relationships one goes through when approaching and entering adulthood, and can use them as a rubric approaching her future sexcapades / partnerships.
- Kenzi’s faces this episode alone could make a great collage.
- I recently re-watched Veronica Mars. It struck me how mature her high school relationships were (discussing big issues, dealing with teenage rape and pregnancy) and how often high-school her college relationships were (Piz being incredibly awkward and puppy-ish, fistfights, etc). And while there was plenty of on-again/off-again in both settings, they tended to be caused by things like murder and classism in high school, and kissing other girls in college. What I’m saying is, this episode reminded me a lot of the VM sorority episodes, and that made me think about how both shows play with relationship narratives.
- “Yeah, it’s part of Kenzi’s grand plan to commodify my freakhood.” Your challenge for the week is to use the phrase ‘commodify my freakhood’ in conversation, at least three times.