Lost Girl: Season 1, Episode 5, Dead Lucky
Editor’s note: You know the drill. Possible spoilers through 03.13. All reviews here. This week’s post is courtesy friend Dale, one of the two people who introduced me to Lost Girl. Comments may be responded to by either or both of us.
Open to Bo & Dyson fucking.
Pretty fun-looking sex, too, which leads to Dyson stumbling to catch himself on a desk immediately post-orgasm. While the pair have great chemistry with their clothes off, the rest of their relationship is annoying and childish, as we’re reminded as soon as Bo mentions breakfast. Dyson balks, because CLEARLY eating breakfast separately will prevent anyone from catching the feels. This is stupid high schooler bullshit, and Bo explicitly calls it out as such. As Mel previously mentioned in her review of 1.03, Bo’s relationship with Dyson is very high-school-crush-turned-first-love. Great at the sexy times, terrible at real relationship stuff. This makes sense in the scope of Bo’s character development, since it’s the first time Bo’s been able to have sex without hiding a body.
Regardless, the two of them decide to make some “rules,” which include no breakfasts, no talking about the arrangement with others, no “sad goodbyes,” and independence (with openness) for cases. Bo makes certain to show Dyson these rules cut both ways by refusing his escort to the car, saying “I can take care of myself”. And, according to the universal code of screenwriting, she then immediately walks into a kidnapping.
Of course, this is Lost Girl, so while Bo can’t get away from three attackers (how would the plot move forward?!?), she does give the first guy a pretty solid nut shot. Which is immediately pointed out in the dialogue, thank you very much.
After the title, we get a quick scene showing Kenzi trying to hustle some cash from a woman who is convinced her cat is possessed. Then we get back to Bo, making comments about the Dim Sum (ooooh, so it’s a Chinese restaurant!) and trying to escape by—obviously—kicking the same guy in the nuts again. Hey, I wonder if the writers are trying to tell us something about that guy? Or maybe they just couldn’t decide on which line was more clever so they decided, “Fuck it, let’s have her kick him in the balls twice.” (But seriously, how has Bo not yet realized that there are two other henchman who presumably also have testicles to kick? Or maybe point a gun at, or in any way account for when trying to escape?)
Of course, she can’t actually escape, because we have a monster-of-the-week plot to get through. Thus, we are introduced to Mayer.
There are several really interesting choices being made with the Mayer storyline. First, I generally like how Lost Girl deals with race. The show does a great job of seamlessly incorporating non-Northern European mythologies into the Fae world, there are non-token, significant black characters, yet the writers still have plenty of opportunities to talk about race using fae/human story lines. But I’m actually pretty confused about what they are doing here. The Mayer story is obviously a play on a Crime Family/Godfather type trope, and generally, those stories tend to be very ethnically specific. Mayer is a white character who occasionally swears in Yiddish and owns a Chinese restaurant, and that would probably be fine, but his niece Cassie blatantly calls attention to race.
Not only is the niece played by an actress with (apparently) Asian heritage (Vanessa Matsui), but the wardrobe for Cassie makes her look like a J-Pop backup dancer and she is summoned by a gong. How do you go from a gong to Yiddish? There might be a Christmas day joke in there somewhere, but mostly, I’m just confused.
To be clear, I don’t necessarily think there is anything wrong with the casting/writing for this episode, but it does start to give me the same type squicky feeling of the Asian makeup in Cloud Atlas, albeit a much smaller dose.
Kenzi’s plot line is moving along the predictable route. Bo is detained, so Kenzi’s attempts to close with “paranoid Puss-in-boots” become increasingly desperate. These early scenes with Kenzi are basically one-liner setup for the real character development which comes later.
Cassie’s demonstration gets Bo’s attention by revisiting her first time/first kill, and the flashback again shows how good Lost Girl is at communicating storyline through sex scenes. While Cassie is narrating the tender romance and boyfriend’s persistence, young Bo is level with Kyle and, while maybe not passive, young Bo is certainly not the aggressor. But as Cassie describes the hunger in young Bo, her body language makes a distinct shift towards sexual aggression.
Cassie continues describing Bo’s confusion and guilt, explicitly using the slut-shaming language from Bo’s upbringing. This connection between sexual agency and slut-shaming is no accident. This is one of the basic ways female agency is policed in popular culture, and Lost Girl does a fantastic job of highlighting it here.
Bo collects Kenzi (with some tension about money/responsibility) and gets some help tracking down her suspect from Dyson. Kenzi calls out Dyson’s asshattery and makes a Twilight joke before she and Bo find themselves at an Irish wake. This event gives them key information—that the human who ripped off Mayer was actually dead.
They return to the Dal, where Trick appears long enough to pass on Fae knowledge and Fae cultural taboos against wearing dead humans. Dyson and Hale are also at the Dal, shooting pool. Hale comments on Dyson’s fatigue, Dyson brags about Bo’s sexual prowess, it all feels a little Brotastic. Dyson knows a hsien, so Bo & Dyson leave to check him out while Hale continues being douchelord of the sirens with Kenzi.
The opening of the morgue scene is fantastic. Eddie, the morgue attendant/hsien, dances around in a sexy blonde corpse until Dyson makes him stop, and then he calls Bo “the dame.” Bo responds, “Did someone from 1932 follow us in?” Eddie passes along that there’s another more evil hsien in town, and the plot moves right along.
Mayer is displeased with the way the case is developing. He, too, shares Trick’s distaste for hsien, as well as the general dismissal of the human (Kenzi). Another interesting part of this episode is how over-the-top Mayer’s lines are, and yet how well he pulls them off. Neither Cassie nor Seymour even come close to pulling off the campiness, but Mayer absolutely nails it.
Kenzi and Bo head to the rival poker game. Kenzi focuses on this as chance to be in a world where she knows the rules and the requisite skills, unlike the Fae world. Once there, Bo looks to head to the back room with the boss and Kenzi decides to take over the poker game.
Speaking of campy, this poker table. It’s a smorgasbord of overblown poker stereotypes, taken to their absurdist limit. Kenzi uses the moment to explain the concept of a “tell” to Bo, which is conveniently demonstrated by one of cliches sitting at the table. The Law of Plot Economy suggests we will hear about ‘tells’ more later, and (spoiler alert) we do.
The camera briefly checks in with Kenzi just long enough to hear “Mighty Mario” call her “hotbox” and to see her pointing out everyone’s tell.
In the back room, Bo looks to be making progress, but finds her magic succu-compulsion isn’t working and Jesper already knew she was coming from an inside source.
They struggle, but Jesper grows two large icicles from his thumbs and jabs them into Bo’s chest. Non-consensual penetration seems to be this guy’s thing. As he mentioned in the flirty, pre-making-out convo with Bo, he’s not above using force if necessary. And it’s apparently very necessary for him to jab his two phallic pieces of ice into her.
Kenzi creates a cartoonishly improbable conflict that allows her to distract Jesper, help Bo impale him on a sundial, and then drag Bo out of the back room casino. Kenzi rushes her to the Dal, where Dyson provides some noisy sexual healing, and Trick slams a tray of dishes down in disapproval.
Lucas (the evil hsien) has waited for Bo and Dyson to exhaust themselves sexually before he attacks Eddie (the good hsien). How convenient! Back to the morgue!
Kenzi continues to focus on actually solving the Mayer case by figuring out who the mole is, and discovers something interesting before being shoved into the same trunk.
By the time Bo and Dyson get back to the morgue, the evil hsien has taken over the good hsien, and Dyson promptly gets locked out of the fight. After Bo easily dispatches the first body, Lucas travels all the way down to a big huge pro-wrestler looking guy. Pro-wrestler guy pins Bo and starts choking her, and for the second time this episode, somebody (Dyson this time) rescues her from this position.
Dyson and Bo head back to the Chinese restaurant for the big reveal, and this brings up another aspect of Mayer’s storyline that I find fascinating—how ridiculously cliche it is. A family crime business, based out of the back of a restaurant with a screw-up young male who is always getting picked on? Obvious to everyone who has watched TV before. But using this cliche as a frame allows the episode to focus on world-building and character development. This becomes a regular technique for the show. Many episodes (1.09, 1.12, 2.07, 2.10, 2.16, 3.01, 3.04, 3.11) rely on some degree of a cliched plot or character to serve as the vehicle for world-building, character development, or social commentary.
Dyson discovers Kenzi in the trunk of the car, which leads to a moment for the two of them. Kenzi, feeling insecure and outgunned in the fae world, asks Dyson to keep quiet about rescuing her. She also shows how much more observant she is than Bo. While this scene isn’t exactly a love fest, it is a truce between Dyson and Kenzi. Kenzi’s one useful skill in the fae world is her ability to read people, and Dyson’s betrayal undercut her credibility. The rest of her time in the fae world is spent being picked on or treated like meat.
In the end, I think this episode works fairly well. The monster-of-the-week plot is cliche, but it requires a lot of action, and Mayer’s character is fantastic. We see Bo and Kenzi outside the usual Clubhouse-Dal sets, which is even more refreshing after finishing season 3. The episode focuses on developing Dyson and Kenzi’s relationships with Bo and each other. Dyson shows he’s not as giant of a dickbag as he’s tried to portray himself the last few episodes. His sacrifice of energy ensures that Bo is as well fed and powerful as possible. Kenzi notices and appreciates this, and by the end of the episode is more confident about her role in Bo’s life.
Bonus, there’s still time for random subversions of gender/sexual stereotypes: Mayer calling his nephew “the boob that you kicked in the kishkas” (interesting juxtaposition of “boob” and a Yiddish testicle slur); the teenage girl is the one who “loses control” during sex; the body-jumping morgue attendant adds a quick little splash of genderfuck when he’s dancing for Dyson in the dead blonde girl; and Bo’s would be rapist/killer gets impaled on a big pointy phallic object. And we’re introduced to the fact Bo’s mother will be part of this season’s endgame.
- Kenzi calls herself “une petit hustler.” For some reason, I’m really into that. Also, let’s all take a moment to be grateful that the writers room figured out how to make Hale less of an asshole. Mostly.
- It’s great to see Kenzi working the old guy at the table; a glimpse of how she used to survive on the streets, and the men are happy to pet their laps and fawn over how ‘cute’ she is while she grins and bears it and hustles their asses. In the end, though, she subverts it by refusing Mayer’s job offer, because she doesn’t *need* to live that way any more.
- Just to be explicit, the Jesper scene is extremely rape-y. Jesper never sees Bo as anything more than a sexual object that he will toy with when- and how- ever he wants. It can get lost in the campiness and the fantasy, but this is a sexual assault, completely regardless of the fact Bo started with the intent to seduce Jesper. Kenzi doesn’t say, ‘But Bo, you’re wearing a really low-cut dress,’ she sees a dude attacking Bo and hits him with a crowbar, with never a pang of conscience.
- Is wearing the body of someone who committed suicide (as the blonde obviously did) more tacky than wearing the body of a murdered person, or is it all kind of equally tasteless?
- The name “Cassie” is a not-so-subtle nod to the Greek myth of Cassandra, an oracle who was cursed with never having anyone believe her predictions.