Lost Girl: Season 01, Episode 08, Vexed (as canon)
You know the drill. Possible spoilers through 03.13. All reviews here.
As this episode functions not only as the season lynchpin, but also the series pilot, I’m doing my first-ever double-review. ‘Vexed: The Pilot’ is coming Thursday.
This episode opens with physical violence, Dyson striking his punching bag as a bloodied Bo staggering down a long hallway. The cuts suggest the emotional pounding Bo is taking, but the scene quickly segues into Bo coercing Dyson into rough, healing sex. Excuse me: rough, extremely hot, female-instigated, wall-shaking, healing sex.
The awakening from post-coital bliss is almost as rough, with an almost instant argument about Lauren. “She’s never gonna love you,” Dyson pouts. “Who said anything about love?” Bo asks. Dyson finally puts his foot down, for realsies this time, that he’s done being used for sex, er, healing.
Bo goes to Kenzi to complain, multitasking it with breaking into a abandoned building. Kenzi mentions Dyson is taking the stereotypical girl role in the relationship, and also brings up the fact Bo can’t keep stringing both Dyson and ‘Doctor Hotpants’ along. Bo mentions – for the sake of those watching the episode as a pilot – she’s still not sure she can sex Lauren without killing her, but Kenzi is one of those Love Conquers All believers, and doesn’t seem too concerned. ‘I thought she cured you?’
Kind of, but the whole conversation is cut short with the discovery of a hanging Siegfried the vampire, the Fae they came to meet. Bo’s disappointment last only as long as the credit sequence, as the vampire hops down and explains he’s not that easily disposed of. (Get it, disposed of?)
Bo has brought a bag of blood to exchange for information about her mother. The information is more of an arrow vaguely pointing in the direction of a ‘baby killer’ death row inmate named Lou Ann, but Bo is desperate. She’s desperate not only because she was adopted, but because her adopted family rejected her for what she was, and she’s hoping to find a family who won’t. It’s much later she realizes she had found that family, but she’s still drawn to discover her biological parents.
Next, Bo goes to see Lauren about her cravings. No office visit upcharge for the flirting and sexual tension.
Bo: Nice necklace, and so conveniently located.
Lauren: Are you ready to have sex with me yet?
Bo: I’m mostly scared we’ll actually get emotionally involved, so I’m going to fall back on the legitimate excuse about the potential for me to kill you, perhaps we should take it slow and relationship-y, ohjeezmaybeIdon’thaveanyideawhattheheckIwant.
Lauren: You do have to have sex to live. May as well have it with a pretty blonde thing.
Bo: I kinda am, er, was doing that. With the Unkillable Wolf.
Lauren: I see. If you ever want to lower your risk for STDs, I’m right here.
Bo takes this back to Kenzi while they’re getting into prison with fake Ids and a little succu-touching. Because Bo’s not the jealous type, and she hasn’t had true relationships before, she doesn’t exactly grasp why Dyson and Lauren are both so jealous. Kenzi’s suggestion to solve it all is, again, have sex. Maybe with both of them at the same time.
Face-to-face with Lou Ann, Bo is momentarily speechless. She recognizes Lou Ann is Fae, and decides to cut right to the chase. “I’m looking for my mother. I was told you might know who she is.” Lou Ann denies any knowledge of Bo’s mother or Siegfried, but there’s recognition and fear in her face, so Bo decides to go coerce someone not protected by security guards.
Someone gets to Siegfried first, however. The vampire drops the needle onto a record of Habanera from Carmen to start the scene (more on this technique in the pilot review). Siegfried barely appears in the show, but we learn a lot about him in the short time we see him. He’s pragmatic; ‘You think I’d give you your mom’s name for 20 bags of blood?’ He has a taste for the flamboyant and a snarky sense of humor. Most importantly, he enjoys life to the fullest, from his food to his opera. Vex catches, tortures, then kills Siegfried in the middle of dancing around the kitchen in a dressing gown whilst sipping a martini and chopping his fresh vegetables for dinner. Since we know Siegfried is a fairly ‘harmless’ vampire, who simply wants to ‘squeeze the most out of life,’ this serves to make us sad but also highlight how ruthless Vex is. The scene also explains what Vex’ power is without any exposition at all: a prime example of ‘show don’t tell.’
Bo arrives just before the body bag, and her consolation prize is Dyson agreeing to give her both Siegfried’s rushed autopsy report and Lou Ann’s police file. She and Kenzi look over them – while Kenzi eats pretzels and salsa, a nod to her casual relationship with violence – but while they figure out the kill must have been Fae, as there were no defensive wounds, they’re unsure exactly what that means.
Bo visits Lou Ann again, and confronts her with the fact she didn’t kill her own children, someone was controlling her. There’s a nod here to the idea women accused of drowning their own children must be ‘controlled’ by something else; demons, mental illness, something powerful.
Bo still doesn’t understand how Lou Ann ended up in this situation: a murderess, behind bars, alone. Lou Ann’s gut-punch of an answer: “I fell in love with a human. I knew the rules. And I ignored them.” Bo tries to convince Lou Ann and herself “It’s not that crazy,” just as she tried to convince Dyson earlier she’s not interested in love. Then she overreaches and promises she can get Lou Ann out, and goes through Lauren to get an audience with the Ash. Being more skeptical – some would say realistic – about the Fae system, Lauren agrees, but tries to warn Bo to be respectful, brief, and not forthcoming, and not to get her hopes up.
The Ash knows the situation and has no intention of asserting his power, as Lou Ann is Dark Fae. It doesn’t matter whether her punishment is fair or not, he won’t protect her since she’s not of his clan. This should serve to highlight to Bo how precarious her position as unaligned in, but mostly it makes her angry at the injustice of the system.
Having exhausted her Light resources, Bo goes to Mayer, who says he’ll ‘look into it,’ after reminding Bo that the case is high-profile in the human world, and they Fae are willing to kill if it will keep their existence a secret. Not joining doesn’t make Bo immune to the rules.
Bo goes back to the clubhouse – where Kenzi is “saving the world from robot hookers. You’re welcome.” – to take a bath and de-stress. In a cute little fake-out, we see an out-of-focus monster slowly walking behind Kenzi, but when Kenzi turns to look, it has walked past her and is headed up the stairs Bo just walked up. (The camera angles for both shots are the same, because those seeing this as a pilot wouldn’t be as familiar with the house layout as viewers seeing it as an eighth episode.) Bo feels something creepy, as evidenced by the music, and has hidden a knife under her kimono, the better to stab the monster . . . wait she’s not . . . ATTACK FROM BEHIND THE SHOWER CURTAIN!
The creature doesn’t come into focus until she’s holding a swaddled Bo under bathwater, and when we finally see her face, it’s a close-up designed to surprise and frighten the viewer as much as it does Bo. Their struggle is intercut with Kenzi’s videogame, the sound of which covers the banging upstairs just as Siegfried’s record player covered the sound of his encounter with the garbage disposal. Falling ceiling plaster is what gets Kenzi’s attention. The last time that happened, Bo was having an energetic threesome, and Kenzi knows no-one else is supposed to be up there right now. (Insert joke about the sort of battery-powered novelty it would take to make this sort of ruckus.) Kenzi draws her sword and runs upstairs, and while she doesn’t actually get a swing in, she distracts the monster enough for Bo to impale then electrocute her.
Dyson comes by and informs Bo it wasn’t an official hit; not that it being unofficial would be much consolation, had it succeeded. For at least the fourth time this episode, someone hammers home Bo’s unaligned status means not only heightened profile, but utter lack of protection. Dyson means well, but Bo considers him brainwashed by his centuries in the system, and his use of the word ‘fealty’ doesn’t helps. Dyson makes a last-ditch effort to help by offering his healing, and Bo could believe he was swallowing his pride by recanting his earlier ‘no more’ stance if he left off the ‘you need more help than Lauren’s needles can give you.’ Even Kenzi, still adamantly Team Dyson, can’t look at him after that move.
Bo will turn to Lauren, as soon as she asks Trick about the Morag assassin. Trick also gives her siricon, which will hurt all Fae while protecting the bearer from corruption. Bo watches, mouth agape, as it grows. “At a certain point it’s not about losing control any more,” Trick tells her. “It’s about taking it.” This is the Trick who ruled nations and armies.
Bo also finds another necklace like Lauren’s, and discovers it is worn but humans who are owned and protected by Fae – the very thing Bo is actively rejecting.
As Bo is discovering this, Lauren is being coerced by the Ash to use her influence on Bo to steer Bo away from Vex. It’s likely the Ash let this go on so he could use Lauren for an occasion such as this.
The Ash’s whole setup is framed as both a way for Lauren to get out of the trouble she’d be in for helping an unaligned Fae right under the Ash’s nose, and Lauren saving Bo’s life.
Bo and Lauren convene at the clubhouse for the most depressing foreplay talk ever. Lou Ann has dropped her appeal, so she’s scheduled to die shortly. Bo feels an affinity for Lou Ann because Lou Ann represents hope for a normal life – Bo’s not sure yet she want the picket fence and the kids, but she damn sure wants to know she could have it.
Bo prizes, above all else, the ability to make her own choices. She was told as a teenager she couldn’t do what she wanted, and it seemed to be confirmed when she made a choice to have sex . . . and ended up a murderer. This is what the whole system of Light/Dark and Fae customs represents to her now: taking away her ability to ‘live the life I choose.’ If there’s anyone who understands this, it’s Lauren, though we won’t know exactly how or why for a little while. And despite her assertion at the beginning of this episode that she’s not in it for love, Bo thinks she could love Lauren, and possibly have the normal human life together.
That idea is shortly going to be shattered in a million pieces, but first there is softly-lit, candle-surrounded sex. Excuse me: softly-lit, extremely hot, female-instigated, passionate, candle-surrounded sex.
It’s uncertain exactly when Lauren made up her mind, but Bo’s talk convinced her it was worth 1) saving her 2) sexing her. From the moment she grabbed Bo’s arm, she was all in. She ay not know exactly what the consequences are going to be, but Lauren definitely knows what she’s doing; her shirt is unbuttoned before Bo has a chance to protest. After apparently taking a break to light a few dozen candles, Bo and Lauren end up in bed, where Bo optimistically – or naively – rips Lauren’s necklace off and throws it on the floor. While Lauren thinks she’s saving Bo, Bo thinks she can save Lauren.
After sex, Bo has blown out most of the candles and laced up her boots when there’s a nice little rack focus to Lauren, rolling over to see Bo dressed and ready to leave.
The following few minutes are densely written and perfectly acted. Bo learns Lauren knew of Vex, though Lauren – still hoping to keep Bo from harm – refuses to divulge how to find him. We discover Lauren may try and get around hurting people, but won’t lie when asked a point-blank question, such as ‘were you sent here?’ If the wine-on-the-couch scene wasn’t clear enough, we and Lauren learn Bo truly had feelings for Lauren, and not just the tingly kind. Though Lauren is wrapped in a sheet as much for network standards as for the Grecian Goddess effect, her nakedness contrasted with Bo’s being fully dressed highlights Lauren’s vulnerability. Seeing this, Bo can’t resist hurting as she’s been hurt, so – after pausing a moment to overcome conscience pangs – Bo throws Lauren’s necklace at her feet, snarling ‘don’t forget your dog collar.’
Their fight leaves them both emotionally devastated. Lauren goes to Dyson for help, her desire to help Bo and salvage the situation bigger than her pride or pain. Of course, Dyson (and Kenzi, to an extent) wanted Bo to not-shag Lauren for selfish and personal reasons, but when Lauren comes to him with high-level knowledge of Vex, he feels justified in his mistrust.
Bo goes for broke. She goes first to Mayer and calls in her favor. Mayer grudgingly acquiesces with Vex’s address. She arms up and heads straight for Vex. The scene of Bo arming herself is cut with the scene of Lou Ann being prepared for lethal injection; closeups of knives being strapped on correspond with arms being strapped down.
Bo is physically confronting her demons while Lou Ann is literally helpless, but the cuts serve to remind us Bo is fighting so she doesn’t wind up like Lou Ann, a pawn in the system because of who she is and who she loves.
When Bo finally confronts Vex, he proves to be as good playing with minds as he is manipulating bodies. He taunts Bo with her love for humans before making her stab herself, but worse than all this is the fact she throws it all away and is willing to kill the helpless Vex for pure revenge; not only for Lou Ann, but for herself and what she’s lost.
Dyson and Kenzi arrive in time to stop her. Dyson isn’t physically saving her from anyone, merely stopping her from a sure death sentence at the hands of the Elders. Bo threatens him for his trouble, but Dyson declares he’s not doing this out of a demmed sense of noblese oblige, but because he cares about her. There’s the admission she’s been waiting for, and there’s Kenzi snapping her out of her rage once again. Kenzi takes Bo home, but the closing shot is Trick waking Lou Ann up in the morgue, declaring ‘we need to talk.’ We all know no conversation starting with those four words, in that tone of voice, bodes well.
– Shirtless Workout Dyson flexes his muscles, then put on a shirt to answer to door, solely so Bo can rip it off. And they say you can’t have cake and eat it too.
– ‘Hanging’ out with a better class of people. Get it?
– Monitoring whether injections work apparently involves extended lymph node fondling.
– “Sweetheart, you’re not so good with subtlety” could be the show’s tagline.
– Does Lauren truly ‘spy-bang’ Bo; that is, did she do it for the Ash, or for herself/Bo with a pragmatically necessitated timing? Definitively the latter. As Lauren will point out soon, the attraction was real; they were headed there on their own. It’s true there’s a suggestion from the Ash Lauren would be dead if she doesn’t sleep with Bo, so perhaps she did it sooner thinking she may as well go out – like Dyson thought he might the first time he slept with Bo – with a smile on her face. But she had been the one pushing it from the get-go, and though a lack-of-Lauren in the next few episodes suggests the writers were going to ease her out for a while, there was a strong enough foundation she and Bo would finally come to grips with what happened.
– Dyson could be saying what he truly thinks when he claims Vex, Siegfried, and Lou Ann don’t truly know about Bo’s mother, but his follow-up ‘nobody does’ is an obvious lie, only this one takes Bo much longer to unravel.