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.

UPDATE: ‘How Vexed Works As The Perfect Pilot’ is here.

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 focus - of the scene and the camera - is on Bo's physical injuries, not Dyson's pain or pleasure.

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.

Screen Shot 2013-06-02 at 10.49.51 PM

Scene Translation:

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.’

Screen Shot 2013-06-03 at 11.47.05 AM

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.

No Smoking sign, rectangles, horizontal lines leading to eyes. All these things will continually appear.

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.

But maybe some smiling and flirting will?

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.

Shot through some slats to give it that extra touch of realism.

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.

Oh Lost Girl, you and your phallic weaponry!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.

Screen Shot 2013-06-03 at 2.18.58 PM

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.

I wonder if they intended to blow the candles out? You'd be amazed how much hotter candles make a room which already has giant lights raising the tempurature 10 degrees.

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.

The Christ-figure imagery is overused, but as Lou Ann is being unjustly 'sacrificed' to save the Fae secret, it really works here.

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.

Almost no conversation in this entire episode ends well.

Stray Observations

– 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.

Screen Shot 2013-06-03 at 3.14.30 PM

– 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.

21 Responses to “Lost Girl: Season 01, Episode 08, Vexed (as canon)”
  1. Izabell says:

    So if this was the pilot episode, the first one they filmed, then what do you think were the writers’ and producers’ (whoever is in charge) intentions with regard to Bo and Lauren? As you noted, the set-up is very obviously that this whole “spy bang” bullshit is only a bump in the road for them. This makes me conclude that they were going to have this relationship happen, and be huge, from the very beginning.

    • Melanie says:

      So many, many potentials, but these are what I’d probably have in mind, were I in the writer’s room. You always want options.

      1) They wanted the relationship to go approximately the way it has now. They knew Lauren being a human slave would have a big dark reason behind it (though I don’t know they intended from the beginning to have it be a Current Girlfriend In A Coma), and they could use that to artificially extend the tension at least one more season, while toying with the Fae/Human love tension and the love triangle. TaDa!

      2) They would have axed the relationship entirely, by

      2.a eliminating Lauren, as a love interest. Bo never recovers from the spybang, and Lauren stares longing at her from the other end of a stethoscope for the duration of the series. I don’t think this was ever a really viable option, but had the network freaked out at this particular storyline, or the lady sex (maybe I’m just projecting my US network standards onto them), the writers could have said ‘well we’ll tone their sex down and then look, she’s gone.’

      2.b – eliminating Lauren as a character. She *could* be written out entirely. She’s hardly present in the remaining S1 episodes, and though she plays a tiny, crucial role in 1.11 and 1.13, they could have sent her off.

      That said, though writers have shot themselves in the balls before and will continue to do so for unfathomable reasons, I can’t imagine these two as a possibility once casting was actually finished. All the main characters work really well together and have good chemistry and they wouldn’t want to rebuild that dynamic.

      3) Making Lauren bad, either using this or the Fae abuse as catalyst. The writers worked hard the first several episodes to keep her motives ambiguous, especially with Kenzi and Dyson not trusting her. Lauren could have gone to work for the Dark Fae, or left the Fae entirely and become a human counterpart to Bo – neutral, dangerous to the Fae and their secret. This way they could keep the sexual tension as they’d be apart, and the relationship would either be pt on hold or double-starcrossed.

      4) Keeping the tension between them for just long enough to teach Bo a lesson when Lauren dies, probably halfway through Season 2 at the hand of the Light, sending Bo to the dark, or something equally as Epic and Awful. The [*Buffy spoilers, please quit reading and skip to the next paragraph if you have not seen all of Buffy!*] backlash at the Tara killing in Buffy Season 6 makes this possibility far less likely, because unfortunately we haven’t gotten to a place where all relationships are presented widely, and so the few there are must be careful not to be one-dimentional stereotypes. Butm as Lost Girl has shown it can play out cliched instances while avoiding tropes (ie gruesomely killing two members of a threesome right after the threesome but NOT making it about them having non-normative sex), or cleverly, intentionally riff on tropes (Delinquents, Adventures in Fae-bysitting), they could have pulled this off.

      You or anyone else have any other suggestions?

      • Izabell says:

        So most of the scenarios you present all have Lauren being pushed aside or killed off one way or another?

        #1 seemed plausible. It could have woked if Dyson had not lost his love and as a result begun rejecting Bo. Spybang: she runs to Dyson because of feelings hurt and betrayed by Lauren; No heart Dyson: BO is still attracted to Lauren as ever, and wants to give it another shot. These two dramatic events precipitated a situation where each of the two sides of the triangle had its time in the sun. There will be arguments about which one was better. I know what my answer is, but not simply for personal preference. Bo and Dyson was rapidly becoming something conventional and tedious, which the show did not want. All of this pretending to be upper middle class husband and wife on various cases felt weird to Bo, which forced the succubus, here metaphorical, into a denying of her true self. I can’t wait to read your review of the episode with the murderous fea plant that eats clumsy illegal immigrants.

        I want to think that the writers were/are? so invested in their holy grail of a love triangle that they wanted to set Bo and Lauren as well as Bo and Dyson up for a lot of drama, craaazy test–tube cracking sexual tension for Bo and Lauren, and sometimes super hot consumation for both. I believe the first season went full speed ahead in creating a character who is The Bisexual Woman in the real world, as a political move. That was probably Lovretta’s thing. Hence the triangle as a prefect device. I’m glad they took bisexuality on, because who does after all. They wanted to “go there” from the first, to push the boundaries. Why else would they have auditioned Zoie three times, and made very sure she and Anna had good chemistry (turned out it was more than just good). The chemistry, the intensity of which was somewhat unexpected, created further avenues, and contexts. This is my understanding… but I don’t know what from. There are people who believe Lauren was going to be around for a few episodes and then be discarded in some way so that Bo could go back to Dyson. I don’t believe this would have made sense in terms of who Bo is, what the show LG has the ambition to be, and what the intentions of its creators really are, not to mention that they would be mad to waste such fantastic chemistry (EA said as much). This is Lost Girl, not a sordid movie from the 1950s. or even from the 1970s.

        so if the triangle is the most massive structure they’re going for on the show, then dismantling it early by sidelining Lauren made no sense.

        Lauren, Bo, and Dyson break up and get together around crises. But the big first crisis that sets Bo and Lauren into motion much faster was Dyson losing his love – huge crisis. Not saying they wouldn’t have gotten together, but there would have been a lot more regular dates. Not what this show wants to be about. In almost every case the monsters that they are after are also after them and leave serious scars sometimes. If Dyson hadn’t lost his love, he would probably have had to sit through Bo’ s lecture about how he shouldn’t think of himself as her only love interest… to the tune of “you don’t own me.”
        My take is that they wanted Bo and Lauren to come back to each other, through crises, and especially through Lauren’s steadfastness. They wanted to build them back up together, with yet another bump in the road, Girlfriend in a Coma/Garuda. (seriously!?) Super cheesy choice. And they did.

        Where now? Another crisis looms. This one is going to be brutal. And this may be the one where Dyson and Lauren must get together very seriously to help Bo. I’ll go with the idea that whatever they are going to do with the triangle, Lauren will have a key role to play in Bo’s destiny. Before that, Lauren might try to leave the fae and Bo, and go somewhere she can’t be found. The only one who knows where she is and is sworn to secrecy is Dyson. Should he tell Bo? But one day he’ll ask Lauren to come back, because of her unique set of skills, and her unique effect on Bo.

        Joss Whedon was notorious for killing people’s lovers and significant others, or separating soul mates forever. He would not let any of the core cast find happiness as long as they were on his show/fighting monsters. It was his thing in Buffy. Was that what he said in response to people shouting, You bastard, how dare you kill Tara, at him?

      • Melanie says:

        Well, I’m trying to present alternatives drastically different enough from where the show actually went. I don’t believe that was ever the game plan, but I really enjoy contingency planning.

        I don’t believe Lauren was ever meant to be a one-off; she was definitely meant to be part of the triangle, but I do think they rushed it and had Dyson lose his wolf a little early in the game. It could be that Zoie Palmer was not in much of the back half of S1 due to scheduling conflicts or contracts, but it feels more like they were cramming the Dyson/Bo relationship in, trying to establish it as A Serious Relationship quickly, both because it fits the High School model and because they knew they were about to rip it to shreds. Coming so soon on the heels of them finally being a ‘real’ item felt strange.

        I do think Lost Girl is going to have to keep Bo in relationship flux for most of the series. It doesn’t just make for more intriguing television, it’s a plausible side-effect of the way her life is playing out, just as it was plausible Buffy had so many issues because of her position as Slayer and the people she kept falling for. When you’re surrounded by people in a supernatural world, you’re going to sex and/or fall in love with them, and that creates a myriad of narrative possibilities outside of the typical ‘long-term dating, settle down’ ideal of many other shows.

        But while LG manages to have relationship triangle cake and eat it too, with Bo being able to have multiple ‘fresh meat’ partners (at least when she’s with Lauren), I think the triangle is going to be a constant presence.

        I agree Lauren and Dyson are going to have to join forces, whether with or against Tamsin, and I like they way their relationship has progressed; it’s a lovely dynamic. I hope they put Lauren truly at odds with the Fae, now she doesn’t have to worry about Nadia. However, she did re-pledge herself, so it’s going to be interesting to see what consequences that has.

        As for Whedon, he simply stated he was treating T like he would any hetero love interest, and he kills enough of those it’s believable. But it’s true the timing was poor, as far as playing into the ‘non-heteronormative sex leads to death,’ as it came literally minutes after the most (non-metaphorical) sexual scene between W &T. Then of course it led right into the ‘non-heteronormative partner loses her shit’ trope, in the most extreme way. The arc works. Really, really works. But I see how it made people upset.

        • Rachel says:

          Thank you both for your thinking on this!

          My hunch is that both Bo and Dyson and Bo and Lauren were meant to be serious relationships, and very different from each other. To some degree, I wonder if this difference was ‘shown’ in the sex scenes in this episode. The scenes were really different from each other — lots of contrast. Even in regards to who initiated sex — is Bo (the initiator) more the driver in the Bo and Dyson relationship, and is Lauren (the initiator) more the driver in the Bo and Lauren relationship? Are Bo and Dyson more at the same ‘developmental’ level when it comes to relationships and commitment (your High School observation) than Bo and Lauren are?

          If Bo and Lauren were meant to be a serious relationship, and the triangle was meant to help frame bisexuality and establish a non-heteronormative basis for the show, it just makes me think that the show, at least originally, intentionally took on heterosexism (and sexism, racism) as issues they purposely wanted to address and explore through Bo in particular, and through Bo and Lauren, as well as through creating a racially diverse world (as diverse as Toronto, perhaps!). I don’t know where they still stand with this after season 3, but I do think that originally it was intentional on LG’s part to take on our cultural prejudices by showing a very diverse world where that diversity is so accepted it’s not spoken of.

          If the triangle is always going to be present, it’s good that it’s started evolving because if it didn’t/doesn’t it could stunt the growth and integrity of the show. I also like Dyson and Lauren navigating friendship and respect, for example.

          And out of curiosity… in film, how do you know things like when physical violence suggests emotional violence (Bo at the beginning of this episode), or when a character and his/her actions are supposed to symbolize something bigger (like A Serious Relationship or Kenzi believes in Love Conquers All)? Are there archetypes to look for?

    • Rachel says:

      I don’t feel that Bo/Lauren was fully explored in season 3. In fact, seeds of their break up were telegraphed as early as 3×2, imo, and it seemed to me that they got them together to intentionally break them up. Albeit for reasons that expose important aspects of Bo (she lies easily, she’s not aware of other peoples’ feelings sometimes, she can’t be monogamous yet she is capable of emotional intimacy though it can really, really scare her and she can push people away, she’s (potentially) maturing as a partner in relationships) and Lauren. Bo/Dyson felt more explored… at least the Bo/Dyson of season 1. Their relationship as a romantic relationship felt much more simple to me, and didn’t bring up these aspects of Bo in the same way they got brought up through Lauren/Bo. Any thoughts or opinions about this? I’m not sure I totally understand it…

  2. Izabell says:

    I’m so glad you are saying all this. Because I AGREE! Thanks.

  3. vexundorma says:

    It is interesting that the producing/writing team thought it was necessary seven previous episodes to integrate “Vexed” in the season, and yet failed miserably because this pilot-that-became-a-non-pilot is still an outlier, even after 3 seasons, and feels like belonging to a different show, a more raw and mature show.
    The Motion comic promo of season 1 presented a Bo that comes to life in this episode: there’s no doubt in her mind that she’s a monster with hundreds of bodies weighting on her shoulders and an almost disgust at herself for not being able to go through to the end with the hunger strike she once attempted. She’s not seeking redemption because she’s convinced there’s no redemption for her, she’s just looking for some atonement by accepting cases and missions to help the weak and wronged by the injustice fae system, with no regard for danger because death might be the solution. She doesn’t have any esteem for the fae as a whole, she certainly doesn’t trusts them, but keeps contacts on both Dark and Light sides for utilitarian purposes, and the only meaningful relations we see are with two humans: Kenzi and Lauren; another clear line in the sand. Kenzi is the savior of her humanity, the keeper of her soul, as she sees it, and Lauren the person that touched her heart, and those two are the ones that can really hurt her. Dyson and Trick are singled out from the rest of the fae as ‘friendly’ because they seem less obnoxious and are rather useful, one as a energy recharger and the other as information source.
    And in this episode for once the villains are villains and not cartoonish ACME bad guys, intent on discussing makeup techniques, and the blood and guts of that world are shown: a fae makes a mother kill her children, but the real problem for everybody is Bo attempting to get justice for that woman.
    As a pilot episode it seems to point to a hero’s journey for Bo to change this brutish world around. Interestingly enough, or maybe not, 3 seasons later the writers are painting a similarly wronged human as a monster for trying to get revenge on the fae. How things change.

    • Melanie says:

      I’ve considered doing a review of the motion comics, as its own little series. But at the moment I pretend they don’t exist, because as you eloquently point out, they’re so . . . different.

      I do think allowing Bo to interact with Fae on a daily basis and submerse us more in ‘their’ world than ours is a great move. Additionally, if Fae prejudice of humans is bad, then human prejudice of Fae should also be bad (and this was touched on a bit in ‘Food for Thought,’ with Bo’s reaction to the Aswang), so Bo should gradually come to accept them. *Unless* we’re going to go the route of making the Fae be akin to the vampires in Buffy; all bad, with maybe one (Dyson) who struggles via falling in love with her and one (Trick) who helps her out of guilt for what he did to her mom and some sense of blood relation. That route would have made a different show entirely, and there’d be much more of a struggle with whether Bo herself is a monster. It would have, however, led to problems about one’s ‘nature.’ Since ‘being unable to change one’s nature, but it not making you a monster’ in this instance is clearly written to parallel Bo coping with her sexuality and bisexuality, we’d lose that entire bit, which I think is a great thorough-line not just for the LGBT population but for all girls who are attacked for liking/having sex.

      I agree with everything you say about this episode’s tone, and how dark it is compared to especially the rest of the season. For myself, I love the camp, I love it works in metaphors most of the time rather than being so blunt. Rape and slavery and child trafficking and destiny cloaked in ice-pick-hands and comatose girlfriends and squonks and trailer-park tarot readers are still dark. That’s not to say I don’t also love how gritty this episode is, because I do. But there’s a lot of dark and gritty going around. Buffy (man I just *can not* stop comparing the two) managed to do both really well, but it started camp and gradually filtered the dark in until it was a seamless blend of both, and LG has that potential.

      I do feel they’re about to jump back into the grit. Isaac’s storyline was pretty dark, and they drew parallels between both he and Aife doing horrible things because they were pushed that way via imprisonment and torture – one by humans, one by Fae. I believe – and perhaps this is my optimistic nature – the writers are setting Lauren up as being in the right, that this will be the catalyst for her to break free before she’s damaged any further. Bo would and has been be squarely on her side in this, but it will set Lauren in opposition to Dyson (who has just begun to be her friend) and Trick, and possibly Hale, though he’s quite the wild card. Tamsin doesn’t seem to care much for Fae authority and has to be blackmailed into playing by their rules, and she’s constantly encouraged Bo Lauren loves her, so she makes a great Unlikely Ally. Kenzi’s grumblings about harboring a fugitive got exhausted last time, plus Lauren stepped in for her, so she’ll be all about sticking it to the Fae. The more I talk about this arc the more I like it. I guess I have six or so more months to perfect it!

      All that to say, this could help get Bo back onto the ‘changing this brutish world’ track. As soon as she straightens out this Wanderer business. Or maybe, the Wanderer ends up being just as brutish, and that’s what puts her back on track.

      A girl can dream.

      • Izabell says:

        Yes, Kenzi will never side with authority; she’ll always defy “the heavies.” She did not think twice about lying for Lauren in S2 when Lachlan and his goons came for the doc, and she faced the imminent possibility of torture bravely at the end of S3, before she let some info slip out about Bo. That’s Kenzi, and it’s a huge part of why I love her. But do you think that maybe Lauren, rather than opposing the fae head-on, will just try to get away? Maybe to that same island where Sidney and her French Michael ended up in Alias? And then I was thinking that Dyson would help her get away, would protect her. Perhaps it would be self-serving for him (of course), but then a moral dilemma (Bo loves Lauren; Bo needs Lauren) and a series of choices to be made with regard to Bo would come up, and Dyson might have to show up on that beach for Lauren. The gang needs to be together, and this needs to include Lauren.

      • Melanie says:

        One of the things I’m noticing is how crucial Kenzi is to everything – Bo’s development, levity, progress in each episode – and yet how she does it all so seamlessly, she rarely gets her own chunk of review. I love the character, and Ksenia Solo knocks it out of the park. I don’t think you can overrate her importance.

        Yes, I think Lauren will likely try to get away, but the Fae – disorganized as they are right now – can’t just let a human – let alone a human with more knowledge of them then they often have about themselves – get away. I think Dyson will be torn; in 03.12 he spouted some BS which he truly believes (centuries of brainwash is a powerful thing) about ‘needing them to protect you,’ which is the same stuff he’s spouting in this episode to Bo! But ultimately Dyson would come around to helping Lauren, partly because he does respect her, partly because Bo and Kenzi have challenged his perceptions of Fae and human relations, partly for selfish reasons, and partly because he has to see the parallels to him leaving his own wolfpack.

        We can’t just leave the Fae world for an island permanently, because one can’t drop this delicious conflict and constant introduction to strange and fascinating creatures. But, they seem to be going *somewhere* for a while! If they do go on the run, it will still involve some Fae chasers, and ultimately – both because of story and because of established sets – they will come full circle back to the clubhouse, somehow.

      • vexundorma says:

        I understand what you’re saying and I agree with most of it. I was just trying to point out that the need to create 7 episodes before airing it is kind of a proxy for the distance between what this pilot (and the motion comics) intended the show to be and what it really came to be. Opting for a slightly camp version was probably the right decision, but I often miss the strong-willed don’t-give-me-crap street-smart Bo from this episode.
        As for the mutual prejudice I fail to see it. Most fae, once and again, are shown to consider humans little better than animals (in 217 the mere word “human” is presented as insulting) and the only reason suggested for the relative restraint on their interactions with humans is a deep fear instilled by the disparity in numbers. But I can’t recall a single episode where a human shows the same level of contempt or even hate towards the fae. Taft is the exception, but let’s not forget a fae killed his brother for sport and he was accused and condemned for it – business as usual among the fae.
        The fae, as portrayed by the writers, are basically human parasites, living in a feudal-like system frozen in time. Bo is fully aware of it In this episode, although in the show “proper” it’s in 221 that she fully realizes the absurdity of the fae social construct. That’s why I thought after seeing “Vexed” (which bears the original concept) that the obvious and natural path for Bo’s journey was to destroy that world and bring about a new fae order, because in the show’s universe it’s the fae that need to change. Now I’m not so sure.
        But it is true, we all can dream.

        • Melanie says:

          I see what you’re saying. The tonal shift is a downside to this decision to use 1.08 as a pilot, though I didn’t really touch on it in the post coming Thursday; maybe I’ll go add a link to your comment, because it’s a great point. It’s hard to know how much of the camp was originally intended, and how much was a nudge by the network. Or maybe they just left the camp out for fear the network wouldn’t bite!

          I meant ‘if they did this, there would have been mutual prejudice.’ There isn’t now, for all the reasons you mention.

          Your thought about the new Fae order may be onto something . . . In ‘Death Didn’t Become Him’ the creepy possessed Bo said ‘there will be no more dark, and no more light,’ and I assumed that to be a reference to the destruction of both ‘sides.’ Unless they have jettisoned it entirely. Which is possible, but I do wish she’d go back to really trying to destroy The System. It’s in shambles at the moment, and Hale would seem to be in on it now, too. So with Trick on vacation, the whole gang could be against the Fae.

  4. Rachel says:

    I love this blog, and the thoughtfulness of your reviews and the comments/discussions. Sigh.

    So, do you see a core foundation of Lost Girl (played out through Bo) as a tension between making your own choices and the influence that society and culture and family have on your choices? Like when you wrote earlier that Bo not joining a side (an example of her own pure choice/decision) doesn’t make her immune to the rules (she’s influence by society and culture). This episode (as well as Ep1) both continues establishing, and hinges, on this tension I think. And in this episode, as well as Ep1, she is mainly in charge of her choices even if she’s not immune to the rules.

    In Season 3 do you think this got reversed? Her biology began influencing her choices more intensely (i.e.: she couldn’t make the choice to be monogamous with Lauren without killing herself, choices she made while under the grip of devolution — like chi sucking that guy — were her biology’s not hers). Probably my favorite episode of the season (3×8) was all about her being ‘under the influence’ of others: of the game, of the Spriggan, of Trick controlling the game, of Trick being influenced by Stella and by tradition, even literally being under the influence of alcohol. Also, as much as she wants to have executive decision making control when it comes to her life, she can have trouble making decisions. Like picking a ‘Team’ in Vexed. And in 3×8, picking a fortune cookie (“which one?!?”).

    In general the writers are doing a great job of exploring this tension through Bo and this world, and interweaving it in complex, real ways that feel well explored.

  5. Thomas J says:

    I’ve never understood why Kenzi and Dyson’s thoughts about Lauren weighed so heavily on Bo’s relationship with her. They were new to Bo’s life, here, too. Kenzi was only with Bo because she was the toughest kid. Dyson was with Bo for sex. What was Lauren getting out of it? Shaming and humiliation. Dyson knew about Aife. Bo was mad for ten seconds and slept with him again. Lauren was treated like a human leper.

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  4. […] you’re going to have the conversation about coercive sex, you have to pull in “Vexed,” where a nearly reverse situation occurs. Bo pounds on Dyson’s door, wanting […]

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