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.

How much should we read into the bright EXIT sign hovering right above them?

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.

Christmas lights are a set decorator's second-best friend, right after candles. Check out Kenzi's restaurent scene; green Christmas lights all over the BG.

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.

Another EXIT sign! Take a shot!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.

Half expected him to start dancing with the skeleton.

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 sexual assault imagery of this scene goes even further than that in 03.13, but wasn't as controversial or highlighted. Thoughts?First, Bo heads to the back room with Jesper, Mayer’s rival. The first red flag pops up when Jesper “compliments” Bo by calling her the “finest piece” in the room.

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.

Kenzi's whole bit here, wig included, confirms to me someone on this show is an ALIAS fan.

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.

E'rybody hit your marks for the denouement! (Also, cleaning fingernails at the table? GROSS.)

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.

Role includes looking fabulous, being supportive, providing snark.

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.

   

Random thoughts:

  • 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.
Comments
35 Responses to “Lost Girl: Season 1, Episode 5, Dead Lucky”
  1. I have a fondness for this episode because I LOVE Mayer. I think he’s a great character, and Aron Tager plays him perfectly. I think he’s a good contrast to The Morrigan who is so clearly (and delightfully) evil. Mayer clearly occupies a position of power and Light Fae seem to be afraid of him, but when you meet him he doesn’t seem so bad. He could be your granddad or your uncle.

    Mayer is clearly a Crime Family/Godfather trope but Jewish instead of Italian, as you point out. Apparently, Jewish gangsters were a thing in the early 20th century, and Mayer might even be a direct reference to Meyer Lansky, who was instrumental in building Las Vegas.

    It totally makes sense to me that Mayer would have his operation based in a Chinese restaurant because he reads specifically as a New York Jew (makes sense because Aron Tager was apparently born in Brooklyn). There is a long history of contact between New York Jews and Chinese people because before Jews started moving into the middle-class boroughs they lived in the Lower East Side with Italian and Chinese immigrants. If Jews wanted to go out to eat, it was much easier to eat kosher at a Chinese restaurant than an Italian restaurant because Chinese food does not mix meat with dairy like Italian food does. So Chinese food is very much a part of Jewish culture, particularly New York Jewish culture. In fact, there are several kosher Chinese restaurants in New York and in other cities, such as Boston, where Emily Andras (the writer of this episode) is from.

    As for Cassie, I think she is supposed to be the odd duck — she’s the Robert Duvall character in The Godfather cranked to 11. I also think we’re supposed to read her as mixed race. Matsui is a Japanese last name, so it’s actually appropriate to have her character dressed in J-pop clothing. (I have a big pet peeve of actors of Chinese ancestry being cast to play Japanese characters and vice versa.) Though even if Cassie is supposed to be of Chinese descent, some people who enjoy Japanese pop culture have adopted J-pop wardrobe in the U.S. (I’m not sure about Canada). I also remember reading an article in the New York Times a while back about J-pop becoming very popular in China and influencing teens’ dress there.

    But like you say, the representation of race and ethnicity is complicated in this episode. Maybe they are trying to offer a presentation of a multiracial family that often isn’t portrayed on TV?

    I love Eddie dancing as blonde woman because he clearly just enjoys being in that woman’s body. It doesn’t come off as objectifying and creepy like when Hale gropes Ciara’s breasts in “Original Skin.” And until we know that it’s Eddie — when I first watched the episode it took seeing the blood on her negligee to realize the woman was dead — that scene reads like a woman enjoying her body for herself and not performing for a man or anyone else. (Though the fact that it’s occurring in the context of a TV show queers this point since she is, in fact, performing for us, the audience.) It’s always jarring and a little disturbing to me when Eddie drops her body to the floor like a toy he’s done playing with.

    • Hey, thanks for the fantastic comment.

      And, yes, Mayer is a magnificent character. Well written, fantastically executed. And, yes, Jewish gangsters were a thing, specifically in Las Vegas. The first two Godfather movies specifically reference Jewish mobsters in Vegas, with Moe Green (Bugsy Seigel) in the Part 1, and Hyman Roth (Meyer Lansky) in Part 2. I knew that, but for some reason, I didn’t really connect those dots in my head. As soon as I read your comment, I started kicking myself. I apologize.

      I didn’t know about the Jewish/Chinese restaurant thing, though. That’s fantastic info that makes the episode much more credible. Thank you.

      But I don’t think that really changes how problematic Cassie is. Like you pointed out, she has a Japanese last name (although I agree that she either is or looks like she could be mixed race**), is dressed in vaguely Japanese fashion (although—like you also mentioned—Tokyo’s impact on fashion is fairly extensive and thus J-pop fashion isn’t necessarily a defining characteristic), has Jewish family, and responds to a gong at the Chinese restaurant her family owns. That still isn’t very clear cut.

      I think that her wardrobe causes the problem for me. Her wardrobe is the filmmaking equivalent of a giant neon sign that reads “look at the super Asian character”. If it was intended to be just a regular multiracial family, the giant neon sign is unnecessary. If it was intended to just be a punkassed teenage niece who was really into J-pop, then why didn’t the cast a young Jewish actress?

      At some point, the choice was made to cast an actor with Asian heritage and to dress her in explicitly Asian clothes. It might be a small choice, it might not have been a consciously thought out choice, it might have been made for completely different, innocuous reasons. But art is built out of millions of little choices, and as a fan and a critic, those million little choices all have an impact. Especially when the choice involves a subject that Hollywood seems to have such a goddamned difficult time getting right. (http://www.racebending.com/v3/background/history-of-yellowface/).

      And like I said, I don’t necessarily think anybody specifically did anything wrong. But it’s awkward, and it stands out because Lost Girl generally does such a fantastic job of doing race and ethnicity correctly.

      ** I feel extremely uncomfortable labeling anyone as a specific race/races just based on a single episode and IMDB photos. Race and ethnicity are almost always complicated things, especially in a Western cultures which privilege whiteness to such a high degree.

      • It’s been years since I’ve seen the Godfather films, so I had forgotten the references to the Jewish gangsters. But when I went to the Wikipedia page on Jewish organized crime, there was a big picture of Meyer Lansky at the top of the page, which made me think, “Huh. Mayer might be called Meyer for a reason here…” 🙂

        Cassie is definitely puzzling for all the reasons you say, and I’d love to know why Emily Andras (maybe)/the casting director/the wardrobe department/the director made the choices that they did. I think you make a good point that they could have made her stand out by casting a Jewish actress in J-pop clothes, and an Asian actress in really bright, trendy (but not J-pop) clothing would have similarly been differentiated from Mayer and his henchmen. So why did they end up with the incarnation of Cassie that appears in the episode?

        ** And just to be clear, I did not intend to insinuate that Vanessa Matsui is mixed race. I meant to say that I think the audience is intended to read Cassie as mixed race, but I realize that the “she” in that sentence is unclear. I make no presumptions of the actress’s ethnicity, but I think the audience is encouraged to wonder about Cassie’s.

      • Rachel says:

        Also, just wondering — do you think s3 was less racially diverse than previous seasons?

        • I sadly lost track of this conversation, but I did feel compelled to respond to your question to say that I was disappointed that Lost Girl’s new cast member in season three was a blonde, blue-eyed white woman (nothing against Rachel Skarsten as an actor or a person), especially since the only cast member of color was M.I.A. for much of the season due to scheduling conflicts with shooting another TV series. While I think Lost Girl usually does an excellent job not making its recurring and regular characters who are people of color seem like token characters, I would love to see more diversity in its main cast. Yes, Canada is not the most diverse, but in a cast of seven surely it would be reasonable to have at least two cast members who are people of color.

    • Melanie says:

      Yes! Despite the moment of toying with Dyson’s (and the audience’s) presence, Eddie is simply enjoying that woman’s sexuality, not enjoying her sexually. Ultimately, that’s also why he drops her. He knows he is supposed to be ashamed of the enjoyment of the female body in that way – not as sexual gratification, but as a physical, sexual being. So he has to react in an ashamed manner to deny and distance himself from the unadulterated pleasure he was experiencing, just as women every day are shamed for enjoying their own bodies. It’s at once a genderfuck (as Dale points out this episode has in spades) and a commentary on how enjoyment of the self, for the self, is something women aren’t supposed to indulge in.

      Overall, including being dropped to the floor several times, a great bit of work by that extra.

      • That’s a really excellent analysis of Eddie’s motivations in that moment.

        • Melanie says:

          Why, thank you. His pushing her away immediately felt like a shame reaction, but I put it down to being caught with his essence in the cookie jar. It actually wasn’t until you addressed the woman’s performance I really put the pieces together.

  2. Rachel says:

    This episode cemented my love of Lost Girl as an off-beat, creative, daring, witty, thoughtful show that it is.

    And, thank you for posting! I lurve this blog — space to thoughtfully explore tv and Lost Girl. And you helped me see things I hadn’t seen before, happening in this episode 🙂

    I’m curious why you think LG does such a good job with race? Most of the main characters are white, no?

    This episode also intrigued me because it was the first time I really saw that Dark Fae were more complex than just ‘the bad guys.’ Like @7of12 said, Mayer (who I love, too) is different from the Morrigan, and in this circumstance he’s the victim, and he’s definitely not always a bad guy. Suddenly the Dark Fae… and the Light Fae… became quite interesting and the opportunities for storylines that explore (and explode) stereotypes of dark and light, good and evil, opened up in my world. As did complexity within Dark and Light Fae characters and relationships. Which all –> falling in love with LG ❤

    LG also intrigues me because on so many levels they play with and explode all kinds of stereotypes, and in other ways (it seems) they don't. Like, Dyson's being stuck in this 'wolves mate for life' thing… which to me seems traditional/stereotypical.

    Also… I grew up Jewish and you're so right about the connection with Chinese restaurants (though I don't know of Jews who own or run them). What else was ever open for business on Christmas? 🙂

    • I don’t know if Jewish folks own/run the kosher Chinese restaurants — I just know that there are several Chinese restaurants that advertise themselves as kosher. They may very well be run by Chinese folks. You should google Taam China, the kosher Chinese restaurant in the Boston area. It has an awesome graphic on its home page of a fortune cookie written in Hebrew. (I would post a link but I think WordPress might flag my comment as spam.)

      • Melanie says:

        Your Google keywords couldn’t be easier, but for future reference: Once a commentor is ‘approved’ s/he should be able to post at least one link; two or more in a comment will get it queued for me to manually approve. In theory.

      • Rachel says:

        I may just have to go check it out whenever I get to Boston. Fortune cookie fusion? 🙂

    • Melanie says:

      I too think Mayer was a great start to addressing misconceptions about Dark and Light. I wish they had carried through a little more. They hinted at it more in S1 than came to pass; note Olivia’s casual dismissal of murder in the last episode. Sure, the Ashes can be just as manipulative as the Morrigan, Ryan brought a moment’s doubt to Bo’s / the audience’s mind, but it didn’t last. I think Hale’s storyline was curtailed without really getting there. Tamsin was capable of addressing it more directly, but Dyson didn’t struggle with her being dark + his partner very much, and she still feels more like the token dark-but-still-struggling-to-be-good character than representative of more like her. The writers either acknowledged this or hinted more examination was to come with Bo’s visit to the dark bar and the thug’s comment about her being essentially light. I would love to get a few more monsters-of-the-week episodes next season, along with some more delving into how blurred the line really is between light and dark. I just hope they don’t choose to use ‘the humans’ to achieve said examination.

      • Rachel says:

        You’re right — Olivia was a great foray into the Dark/Light-not-really-being-so-dark-or-so-light exploration. Her casual dismissal of murder was awesome.

        It’s neat that the show goes here so quickly with the Ashes, Olivia, Mayer, etc. It sets up a major theme of the show to be about exploring and exploding stereotypes. And aren’t stereotypes the epitome of society and others determining your life for you? So, there’s also a set up here to explore self-determination.

        I wonder if Hale’s storyline as Ash truly over. If so, I concur with you — his desire to modernize wasn’t fully explored (nor the tension between fae traditions and superstitions and the modern human world), and neither was his response to gaining power as Ash.

        And why is Lucas so much more deplorable than Eddie? Because he uses his body jumping powers to commit crime, and he’s a murderer?

        Tamsin seemingly has a much stronger allegiance to Bo’s father than to the Morrigan. Though she’s Dark, that’s not as central to her (at least for s3) as her identity as a Valkyrie. Vex is another interesting character when it comes to dark and light, especially in season 2.

  3. Melanie says:

    So far as ‘Lost Girl generally doing a good job with race’ (I’m not speaking for Dale, but my own agreement with his statement): though Lost Girl, like most shows, could have a more diverse leading cast, I think it does fairly well with diversity in casting.

    1) Canada (according to their census numbers I found) is hardly the most diverse country around. The makeup of the cast somewhat follows the numbers.

    2) The only character who could conceivably be necessitated caucasian would be Dyson, as the show assumes history remains static, just with Fae, and his background in the feudal system would have been inaccessible to someone such as Hale, at that time. So anyone else could be any race, theoretically, yet all the leads are white. Which, chemistry and right for the role and all that, and I’m certainly not second-guessing the casting department who did a really good job so far as acting chops and fitting roles and all that.

    3) Hale may be the token minority in the main cast, but he and his family are obviously powerful Fae. Kenzi is . . . Well, I’m sometimes confused if she’s meant to be Russian, Latvian, or a mix of other European countries, but she’s definitively somewhat of an ‘other’ and retains ties to her family, who most ‘white people in Canada/the US’ would consider distinctly ‘foreign.’ This is semantics of the highest order, but my point is, they didn’t have to give her a background other than ‘white chick who ran away from home,’ but chose to include some of the ethnic complexities that are inherent in many peoples’ lives.

    4) The first Ash, Nadia, and many other secondary or recurring characters are of various backgrounds, and just like sexuality, no point is made of it. In fact, I’d say they go out of their way not to – the Morrigan antagonizes the first Ash based on his maleness, never his race – for two reasons: A) it’s not That Kind of Show, leave the realistic racial tensions to other shows, and B) they are doing really well at addressing racial inequality and repressed prejudices by examining the Fae/human dynamic.

    And that Fae/human dynamic reeks of racism, and is saturated so thoroughly and often subtly throughout the series, I love it. One of the more blatant occasions is when Kenzi goes to be Hale’s date and the family, including their servant, objects to her ‘humanity’ it’s an intentional pay on Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner. But, Kenzi and Lauren get it in plenty of other ways, too.

    To answer ‘do I think Season 3 is less racially diverse,’ I’d say, sure. Though the extras and bit parts were as diverse as ever (which is again, to say ‘predominately white but in a way which seems to follow general country makeup), and the Fae v Human storyline came abruptly to a head, many of the diverse character roles have gone, and Hale was almost a non-entity. I think it was more a side-effect of a cramped season and the focus on The Dawning.

    • Rachel says:

      I think it’s really neat that Lost Girl is beginning to explore what a post-homophobic and post-racist world might look like and feel like. And then dramatizes the devastating toll of prejudice in whole other realms (i.e. the human/fae dynamic). It’s a neat and relevant angle (and commentary?).

      I did feel that there was less exploration and inclusiveness this season, perhaps for the plot reasons you mention, and also because the diverse characters were gone and the new characters introduced were mainly white. And maybe also because the monster-of-the-week allowed for more diversity. If LG is actively trying to create a post-racist world on screen, then absence of diversity in s3 is important to pay attention to because it’s impossible to create a post-racist world if that world is mainly white. Just like, in the US, it’s impossible to create a Congress (and laws and a society) that is post-racist and post-sexist when there isn’t a deeply diverse representation of women and people of color in office.

      Race and sexuality and gender are so touchy, that it’s got to be tricky to navigate them when creating a TV show. Tricky, but important.

      And, I wonder what s4 holds for the fae/human storyline!

      Thoughts?

      • Sorry for not responding to your question, Rachel. And thanks for your perspective, Mel.

        I totally agree that the cast could be more ethnically diverse. But, between Canadian demographics and the general state of Western culture, I’m not holding my breath or anything.

        However, what I really appreciate is what Mel mentions in the third and fourth points of her comment. The people of color that are on the show never really feel like token characters. Hale could potentially feel that way, but (at least to me) he never does. The first Ash is cunning, powerful, and manipulative, and none of it is ever centered around his race. Hale’s family is rich, powerful, and so incredibly pretentious that you never doubt that they are old money. And I love how Hale subverts the normal “child of privilege” trope. Often the cop-who-is-actually-a-rich-kid would be the aggressive white partner, not the laid back black guy (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/NonIdleRich). So, I think that the people of color that do appear are not “token” characters, and they subvert standard tropes in the ways they have access to power.

        Also, I actually like the way they basically ignore race. Don’t get me wrong—I think that a “color blind” approach to race/racism is generally a very, very bad thing. But in the same way that Lost Girl subverts cultural bias against the LGBT community by simply ignoring the fact that a sex positive, bisexual female lead is unique, I think that they way they ignore race is itself a statement about race. Especially in the context of the way that people of color access political and economic power.

        • Rachel says:

          Hi Dale! Thanks again for guest blogging 🙂

          We’re soooo on the same page in most ways. I, too, think seasons 1 and 2 had lots of non-token diversity, including Hale’s family. So much diversity that, on some level, what was being ‘radioed’ to me was that Lost Girl was, as you say, about subverting racism by ‘ignoring’ race while simultaneously casting a very diverse (especially for Canada) cast. This is what I meant by ‘post-racism’ world. I love it! And it gives the show lots of energy and creativity… a vibe that is somewhat unique to Lost Girl.

          On the flip side, I do think season 3 was less diverse. I don’t mean that as a massive criticism/judgment of the show (and navigating the waters of race/racism is tough). I do mean that if Lost Girl is actively trying to create a diverse world where race and sexuality are purposely ignored because they’re so accepted and commonplace, they’ll have to continually create this world through cast, characters, plot. If not, the world becomes less diverse and that’s when it begins moving into a more Stephen Colbert kind of color-blind (have you seen him be ‘color blind?’ Hilarious!) and status quo, and stops radio-ing a post-racism world.

          Personally, I think a foundation of Lost Girl is risk-taking and thoughtfully, subtly breaking down binaries and stereotypes… naturally… in plot and character development.

          • Yeah, honestly, I have a lot of questions about season 3. I mean, they tried to do a lot of Really Big Things (Fake Kenzi, the Yawning, the relationship arc of Doccubus, Hale as Ash, Human vs Fae conflicts, Bo’s father), and I think there were some resulting consistency issues with characters and with overall tone of the show. One of those issues was that Hale disappeared for episodes at a time. And while I am in favor of Rachel Skarsten getting ALLOFTHESCREENTIMES, the unintended side effect of her character was that the only person of color on the main cast got pushed to the side.

            I hope they are able to either salvage the Hale as Ash storyline, or just dump it and return to the Hale-and-Dyson-buddy-cop thing. Because Hale was/is a great character with tons of narrative potential—he’s a child of privilege, his fae power/identity is a bit of a genderfuck, there’s a potential slow burn romance with Kenzi, his abs, the metaphorical weight of having a black man and white girl represent the opposite sides of a fae/human miscegnation plotline—and very little of that potential has been tapped.

            And I totally agree—the more racially similar the cast is, the show comes off as less “post-racial” and more “Stephen Colbert color blind”.

            • Rachel says:

              Haha… yes, Tamsin is a cool, interesting character (and I’m sure these are the only reasons you want her to have allofthescreentimes 😉 ) and I hope she grows a lot next season. The whole idea of your power being doubt is interesting! So many angles to potentially go with it.

              I’m not sure if I totally get season 3. If we look at it literally, then I agree — the Dawning, the Doccubus arc, and Hale the Ash, weren’t tapped like they could have been, by any means. They were all fairly ‘surface’ arcs I think. But I’m not sure that the season was, even mostly, literal.? However, if there’s a lot going on underneath the surface of s3, I have no idea how they’ll salvage and develop these arcs.

              I totally agree, Hale has tons of narrative potential. He’s not a ‘stock’ character but the potential to tap into it wasn’t explored in s3. One of the most interesting aspects of Hale is his fundamental difference from his family. It’s beyond rebellion, I think. He’s truly interested in modernizing, and creating peace. And that’s an interesting arc for the show. Do the long lives of the fae mean that they don’t progress as fast as humans because they become invested in their ‘old ways’? Does death help humans progress/evolve faster? How does fae tradition interact and mix with modern human society? How does human evolution (in technology, science, politics, thought) challenge and influence fae culture and fae evolution? At some level, I see Hale’s attempts at modernizing as a commentary on these questions. The Hale as Ash arc was beginning to explore these issues, but it didn’t ultimately explore them at all (thus far).

              I know that being corrupted by power is tested for him in s3. If they’re going here, though, that story is a bit played out unless it’s done particularly well and freshly.

              Again, thanks for your thoughts 🙂 And we don’t need to open up the “season3canofworms” here, though I’m game for it if you want to go there (since I often found s3 confusing).

  4. Foo says:

    I can see how people get the J-pop vibe from the over-the-topness of her clothes, but Cassie’s wardrobe seems like a Chinese version taken to the extreme. She’s got hair buns and is wearing vest patterned after a cheongsam.

    Whether this is purposeful to portray how over-the-top the family is with their Jewish-owned, Chinese restaurant or a by-product of latent racial stereotyping by the costume department is hard to say. I am personally happy to see Asian people on TV shows outside of a restaurant staff or martial artists, and especially happy to see fellow mixed-race Asians who aren’t Keanu Reeves.

Trackbacks
Check out what others are saying...
  1. […] punishment for being nosy, but also karmic payback for being so anti-Lauren. As Dale mentioned in his guest review of the previous episode, Kenzi is somewhat invested in Dyson’s relationship with Bo, because she encouraged it and in […]

  2. […] annoyed with Bo’s flirtation with Lauren, and Bo was annoyed at Kenzi’s annoyance. The episode before that, Bo had blatantly brushed Kenzi off, and there was also a small spat about […]

  3. […] their virginity. The guy who drugs then assault Kenzi to start the show is killed by Bo. The iceman who (metaphorically) rapes Bo gets repulsed by Bo with Kenzi’s help, and impaled via phallic object. Bertram puts his hands […]

  4. […] which is probably the smartest thing they’ve done yet, (certainly smarter than the ‘sex but no breakfast‘ game they were playing at the beginning of the season), yet serious enough to lend some […]

  5. […] acknowledge the metaphorical assaults; they expect the audience to recognize it. It’s true in Dead Lucky, Bo goes to recover from her assault with some backroom hanky-panky with Dyson. So why am I so […]

  6. […] Season 4 airs tonight, I and friend-of-blog Dale (who has guest-reviewed an episode, too) sat down and wildly speculated about what may go […]

  7. […] – The best part of the restaurant scene is its extended callback reminiscent of Kenzi’s cat lady client in “Dead Lucky.” […]

  8. […] I think they were making a weird statement with Cassie before, but I like her better this way. As in, less J-pop and juvenile. She thankfully kept her […]

  9. […] hold Bo is in. Only four episodes after Bo saves Kenzi from being literally raped and killed, Kenzi saves Bo from the same metaphorical fate. Dyson helps rescue Kenzi from a couple scrapes, she in turn rescues him from death and then […]

  10. […] is written by Dale and myself, cross-posted from […]

  11. […] incorrect. Dyson referred to a nymph named Daphne in a conversation with Hale at the beginning of Dead Lucky (LG 1.5), but there is no indication that Daphne and Cleo were one and the same. It is more likely […]

  12. […] I’d love a showdown in Vex’s club, for example. I’d not mind a visit back to Mayer’s restaurant (and the whole idea of him as a powerful Dark crime kingpin). Now Kenzi’s room has no use, […]

  13. […] he’s up to no good, and so we fear for Cassie. Cassie, who is way hotter dressed as not an over-the-top stereotype. (Just a fact. Aspiring wardrobe artists, take note.) She’s also at least a little bit gay. […]

  14. […] genderswapping and toying with the ideas of bodies being immaterial to basic gender in general (remember this?) and the characters work really well as both bickering humans “mommy and daddy are just […]



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: