Lost Girl: Season 01, Episode 09, Fae Day
Possible spoilers through 03.13. All reviews here.
If you’re a succubus who is emotionally, sexually, and personally frustrated, how do you work it out? Pre-dawn calisthenics, of course. The sword-swinging is one of the few times we see Bo practicing weaponry skills, and it suggests she does this often, so her later fights will be believable.
Most of this episode is self-contained; that is, other than a little processing with Kenzi and talking to Dyson via having to work with him, Bo ignores the emotional pummeling which was last episode. That’s her coping mechanism. Kenzi’s mechanisms are much more progressive, including talking, eating, weapons sharp (Arrows! Throwing stars! Swords!) and blunt (Baseball bats! Staffs of righteousness!), but most importantly, drinking! And so they go to the Dal for ‘one drink.’ Ah, famous last words.
Other famous last words: ‘Dickhead. I don’t believe in fate – you make your own future, you fight for it.’ But we’ll get to that.
Bo and Kenzi arrive in the middle of La Shoshane, the most sacred day of the Fae year, and a free pass for Light and Dark to get freaky – sorry, ‘spiritual.’
Before Bo and Kenzi can get their cocktails to go (not actually legal), Chevonne, a harp-playing banshee, calmly stands up and screeches the prediction of death. A member of ‘the five families’ in the room will die before midnight. This is the first clear picture we get of the Fae ruling class, and if Bo had been paying better attention to Trick’s commentary, it may have served her well in 02.17, “The Girl Who Fae’d With Fire.”
The camera follows Trick walking to get information and lands on Dyson coming into the bar. Dyson wants to sort things out, Bo wants to ignore everything, and because Trick has no time for their little relationship processing right then, he interrupts with the banshee contact information. Bo wins this round. Dyson immediately wins the next, though, suggesting since Bo doesn’t know who her Fae-rents are, she could be the one wailed for. He really needs her, turns out, because Bo is ‘secular’ and not bound by La Shoshane’s rules about not using gifts or getting violent. Off they go to put aside their angst and figure out who will die. As ‘friends.’
Most of their interplay here feels like a legitimate friendship. It’s also part of a rapidly progressing relationship arc, the better to make you feel the weight of its loss in 01.13, a development which feels a bit quick. But at least here Dyson goes to Trick, admits he is emotionally involved and hates lying to Bo, and urges Trick to come clean, or at least allow Dyson to come clean. Trick, packing up the rest of Lou Ann’s things and tying her story in a tidy bow, doesn’t agree.
Now the aftermath of the last episode has been mostly acknowledged, the episode gets down to business figuring out who’s going to die, then killing him or her. First stop, the banshee’s agent, who is harboring an allergic Chevonne in the coat closet. Turns out she’s not only allergic to musty boas, but iron! So they strap her down and play good cop, force-feeding cop.
It’s important to note she’s a consensual party here. She’s not thrilled, but if she were unwilling and they tied her to a chair and shoved meat down her throat . . . well that’d be an essay in and of itself. Her compliance is key, though some persuasion is employed.
The tranced Chevonne reveals the doomed guy is one Sean Cavanaugh, and he has not until midnight, but sundown.
Cut back to Kenzi, who has been making friends with a young Fae. It’s obvious this is going to be the guy, but as she and he tease each other (and play a game I don’t recognize – anyone know if this is an actual thing?), the show teases us and has him reveal his job, his power, and his compassionate heart, but not his name. Until Dyson arrives and calls it out. The old man, who – in the human world, at least – would have lived a full life and been right to go, celebrates, as a young man who presumably has much life to live and be generous faces his fate.
Sean tries to accept his fate, quoting ‘death finds you no matter where you hide,’ but Kenzi is convinced the banshee wail is a Fae-ry tales he can wiggle out of somehow. Until then, he should make a bucket list and proceed to cross them all off. Kenzi can be quite persuasive, and before Sean knows it, he’s trying to reconcile with Liam, his dark Fae brother. He asks Bo to help him, and you know Kenzi really likes the guy when she doesn’t offer even a token objection to Bo doing this one as a freebie.
Bo takes Dyson – she drives, since he’s been doing shots in the background while everyone talks – to Liam’s office, where they find Liam’s minions shredding files and tossing out desperate clients. After asking Bo to dinner and telling Bo Sean is the one who should apologize, Liam clams up. Bo and Dyson do the natural thing: stalk him until he’s alone in a parking garage and sex-duce him into a confession. Pretty sure if Liam were a young woman and Bo a strapping incubus, this scene would play differently. But again, this is closer to the original myth of the succubus, something the show continually toys with. Learning Liam placed a hit on Sean (and Kenzi is with Sean), Bo and Dyson rush to find them at the clubhouse.
Sean and Kenzi are at the clubhouse after a few mini-adventures. Despite claiming he only has one regret, Sean has a few drinks, throws a few darts, dashes off a witty line about heartbeats that will surely come back around, and mentions to Kenzi he’s always fancied the waitress but never done anything about it. Nothing like death to bring one’s libido into focus. Despite being shot down – she probably gets fed a dying wish story once a week – Sean is glad he tried. Once that little hump is over, he’s emboldened to go to his childhood home and confront his father. This goes about as well as asking out the waitress – his father’s response is to get Sean’s will in order – but the point isn’t the result but the attempt: an overture is as good as a conquest.
Also at the clubhouse: goblin hit man! A wonderful dichotomy exists in this scene. Sean is trying to protect Kenzi not because he’s male, but because he believes he’s nothing to lose, while Kenzi does. Bo ends up protecting Dyson as he’s incapacitated by the goblin’s blow. Both express love through their actions, both come to realize what they value, but neither are conforming to the ‘man should protect woman because, man, and woman’ stricture. Dyson’s shooting the goblin is a bit of a cop-out, but it’s also not the display of physical prowess he usually relies on, and it’s interesting to consider his concession to La Shoshane – no powers, violence only to protect a life – as akin to the ways earlier-referred-to Amish or Mennonites bend their own rules. (Edit: as Rachel points out in the comments, there’s a far better analogy than Mennonite culture here.)
And then Bo and Kenzi learn a valuable lesson about not leaving dangerous weapons not laying around an unlocked . . . nah, but Sean does grab a loose crossbow and take off after Liam. Sean either fires a warning shot or has bad aim. Liam tries to run but is quite literally trapped by his greed and sins, manifested in the mountain of shredded paper blocking the fire escape.
Then, in the nick of time, Bo’s arrives and her obsessive reading comes in handy. She invokes Agallamh, or enforced peace talks. What her reading glazed over was the part where the invoker offers her life to be held in escrow, in case the talks fail. “It’s not violence, it’s sacrifice,” Dyson equivocates, pointing out another convoluted workaround in the Fae system.
The ceremony begins. Black sand is sprinkled on a line, the remainder handed to an extra, to be handed to a PA, to give to props, to save for use in “Original Skin.” Mysterious liquid is drunk. Wine, blood, who knows. A bird’s-eye shot is taken, for fire effects to be laid over later. A candle is blown out. Dyson offers to be Bo’s claymore, and kill her in case anything goes wrong. Heaven only knows why he decided that was a good idea; seems if she lives, that may come back to bite him. But it’s not the last time he’ll do something like this.
In arbi-fae-tion (too far?), a backstory emerges. Sean called the police and accused Liam of stealing their father’s money. Liam’s reputation was ruined, and he still insists he didn’t do it, while Sean maintains he did. “It’s in your character to steal” Sean snaps. Bad move. Liam claps his hands twice and calls the whole thing off. The same goblin appears, but we’re told it’s a different goblin. Ah, production on the cheap. Kenzi whispers to Bo: stall, stall! Dyson mysteriously forgets his whole super important spiel from earlier about how The Morrigan wouldn’t let a blatant Dark-on-Light attack stand, especially on a holy day. It seems kind of crucial, but perhaps it was all the shots. He does whisper to Trick ‘you could save her;’ perhaps the forgetfulness merely a writer’s ruse to introduce how powerful Trick is, in an episode which has referenced the Blood King at least thrice. Trick carefully keeps his hands folded behind his back when he re-emerges from his den. The better to keep us wondering, my dear.
Whether via Trick’s blood* or her heavy boots weighing down the gas pedal, Kenzi arrives in the nick of time with Sean and Liam’s father, who is forced to admit he stole the money himself to cover his gambling debts. Both sons apologize for their misdeeds and offer a sacrifice; Sean his birthright, Liam his stolen goods. The brother’s birthright rings the Jacob and Esau bell, and not for the last time.
The episode is self-contained enough that any new viewer could follow without having to have seen any other episodes. Yet it contains themes which run through the whole show: placing value on people versus rules; playing with the idea of light and dark, neither being blameless; those joining the Dark Fae often motivated by injustice and pain, and those joining the Light Fae usually motivated by guilt and attempted atonement. True, the idea of Light and Dark being equally culpable and pushed to sides through familial bonds and miscarriage of justice is stronger in Season 1 than the rest.
But how does the episode resolve its central plot?
These episodes are staples of the sci-fan genre, which has a vested interest in making sure the destiny declared at the beginning of the episode comes to pass by the end, even if it doesn’t usually come about in the way one thinks. This is because the hero of the series is usually either the possessor of a Grand Destiny (Charmed, Smallville, Angel) or at some point wonders what the heck their destiny is; to save the world, accept a gift, destroy mankind, etc (Buffy, Battlestar Galactica). My examples tend to break down via human and non-human lines, but Bo, being both Fae and aligned with humans, is going to have an even more convoluted struggle with her destiny.
The story works, too, to give everything a sense of urgency. When characters want to get their lives in order because they have cancer, that’s a mood-killer. When people get T-boned in cars, they have seconds of breath to gasp their last wish before they go limp on the pavement. The supernatural knowledge of time of death, however, gives one enough time to wrap one’s business by the end of the episode. Of course, the same supernatural allows it to be curable urgency, in case a main character is afflicted: see “Food for Thought.” But in matters of destiny, it’s in the show’s interest to allow the proclaimed Fate to run its course, no matter how convoluted, to truly stack the deck against the heroes. So, as it always has been and always shall be, the guest character, is send off with a tearful farewell brought about by a ‘twist’ – here, his own nobility and the misdeeds of others.
How does the whole thing tie into the main stories?
While it is Sean’s death and all, the character development is Kenzi’s. Being episodic television, the way you interest the widest audience is to quickly, personally tie the guest character to a permanent character, then have the guest die. Charmed ditches or kills a love-potential-interest every fourth episode; Kenzi should consider herself lucky to have only lost two so far.
You can say the Bo/Dyson relationship here proceeds on Dyson’s realization that he, too, can defy ‘the rules’ or fate for someone he cares about as much as Bo. True, Dyson is still lying to Bo, but he’s also actively struggling against centuries of indoctrination and a strong sense of fealty to Trick, telling Trick Bo’s need to know about her own self outweighs Trick’s unreadiness or fears. Bo’s swing back to Dyson, meanwhile, is certainly partly motivated by Bo’s sense of loss and betrayal over Lauren, but you don’t need to know that for this episode to work.
Just in case you missed it, the episode ends not on Kenzi and Bo, but Dyson’s toast ‘To the Blood King, and all you’ve sacrificed.’ The DUN DUN DUNs are implied.
– ‘I’m surprised you’re not taking the stairs, I thought you couldn’t use electricity on La Shoshane.’ ‘Wrong culture.’
– ‘Stand-up comedians, it’s like they want to be miserable or something.’
– ‘The whole idea when you’re dying is to break out of your shell, not throw on an extra coat of wax.’
– Kenzi’s knowledge of sports and betting make her cutting jab that much more believable. Damn, that’s good use of a character.
– Gravesites are un-visit-able by those of other clans or sides!? The Fae are absolutely Civil War -esque in their ideals. Brother against brother, indeed.
– *Trick confirms in a later scene he didn’t use his blood, but at the time Kenzi arrives we don’t know that. It hints destiny and powerful forces may have more to do with shaping success and luck than work and . . . luck.
– Fate and destiny are such powerful gimmicks in sci-fan. I wish reality-grounded dramas would seriously discuss them more, but it seems the words themselves initiate a little snobbery, so the serious topics are relegated to more ‘unrealistic’ realms. Sad, that.
– Does this whole thing mean Hale is to be presumed safe unless a banshee wails? Or at least, a character (likely Bo or Kenzi) makes reference to the fact a banshee hasn’t wailed, and someone corrects her with some exclusionary clause?
– My last-day food would have to include at least: Siphon-pot black-and-tan coffee. Centraal’s berry basil french toast (Willalby’s vegan french toast is better, but this has been my good-luck food since US/Brazil 2011). Roman Candle pestoral pizza (no tomatoes – an allergic reaction is a lame way to fulfill destiny). Spotted Cow kegstand. Simma’s cheesecake. A shot of tequila. And as Bo says, smoke ’em if you got ’em.