Lost Girl: Season 01, Episode 11, Faetal Justice
Possible spoilers through 03.13. All reviews here.
The episode opens in Vex’s bar with so much testosterone, it’s almost tangible. Threats, pushing, literal growling. Dyson snarls, thanks Vex sarcastically for the drink, and leaves. Jump to an ominous shot by the light of a flickering streetlamp outside the clubhouse. Turns out it’s not just predicting Dyson’s dangerous situation, it’s shuddering at the though of Kenzi and Bo inside, working over a disastrous pot of chili and foreshadowing ‘I wish I knew Dyson’s deep dark secrets’ before we cut back to the rather vampire-ish-ly titled Carpe Noctum.
‘A wolf and a bouncer walked out of a bar . . . SPLAT!’ Arterial spray decorates the alley walls. Aaaaand roll theme, then fade up on a bloody, disoriented Dyson and the body of a dead Ba’al.
Dyson runs immediately to the Dal, where Bo and Kenzi have conveniently moved their conversation about wanting to know more of Dyson’s past. He invokes sanctuary, right before Hale calls and confirms it’s as bad as he thought – cops and Fae are looking for him. Bo jumps into savior mode, and Dyson predictably balks, but not simply for chivalrous reasons, but because Ba’al is in league with Vex. Oh yes, Vex is back. Bo angrily demands why Dyson kept this information from her, and the way Trick steps in and distracts her suggests it was Trick’s idea.
Six minutes in, we have a few intriguing setups. The ‘past rival ends up dead,’ the ‘did he actually do it?’ the ‘innocent man in hiding,’ the ‘man of action forced to sit by,’ and shortly, the ‘past partner is investigating current partner.’ Were this a Hitchcock film or Tom Cruise vehicle, Dyson would be prowling the streets for his own justice. Instead, he allows Bo (and Kenzi) to go as his surrogates.
Hale isn’t happy with ‘the girls’ poking around, but admits their ability to go into dark Fae territory is useful. He runs down the facts and point out the three witnesses out of the hundred or so people in the bar, who will of course and of necessity all turn out to be involved.
Bo and Kenzi go to question them. First the bartender, who simply states it’s obvious Dyson did it. Then Vex arrives. It’s obvious he likes verbally toying with people as much as he likes physically manipulating them, and he pushes all Bo’s buttons, especially when he points out he and Dyson likely have about the same amount of deaths on their score card. To top it off, he suggests Bo sleep with if not him, any or all of the hundreds of club patrons.
Kenzi sticks around the club to find Portia, which she does, only after getting hit on by ‘tall, dark and gruesome,’ who informs Kenzi Portia is a ‘thrall’ of Vex. Kenzi and Portia connect instantly, and though Portia’s story seems to confirm Dyson is the killer, Kenzi is still drawn to Portia, in part because she sees herself in Portia. Portia doesn’t want to be anybody’s ‘project,’ she’s obviously alone and independent, trying to project an image to match the confidence she’s desperate to actually obtain. Kenzi instinctually takes Portia under her wing, and offers the clubhouse’s couch. That couch gets a real workout.
Bo, meanwhile, takes Dyson some clothes and attempt to get stories of his past. Dyson never claims he wouldn’t kill Ba’al, just that he wouldn’t do it like this: publicly, with a direct tie to himself. Bo never blinks that she’s dating a guy who would kill, because it fits both their ideas of justice; just as she would have killed Vex at the club when the Fae let him get away with murdering Lou Ann’s children, Dyson would kill Ba’al as restitution for the couple he slaughtered. Redcaps come to function similarly to vampires in Buffy or zombies in The Walking Dead; soulless and harmful, they’re disposable and don’t come with much baggage for killing them. Other than the pesky little issue of their clans wanting to avenge them. Bo promises they’ll fix it . . . and the Morrigan golf claps into the scene.
“So noble. Such a heroic call to arms. So adorably goofy.” She tries to claim Dyson by the force of her goons, but Trick enforces sanctuary with a shotgun, and the Morrigan leaves to take more official routes.
The Ash isn’t far behind, and he and Trick engage in a gravelly pissing match. The Ash, too, wants Dyson to give himself up. The better to set up a mock trial and avoid war between the sides, my dear.
Bo runs back to Hale, who – while being firmly on Dyson’s side – isn’t convinced Dyson is innocent. Hale knows Dyson’s past better than anyone but Trick, and he knows this is Dyson’s kill signature, and hardly outside Dyson’s nature. He also knows Dyson has plenty of enemies, mostly made after killing other Fae, so he’s diplomatically reserving judgement. The way he plays it safe is perfect for his future career in politics.
While they’re talking, Lauren arrives with Ba’al’s autopsy report, and things get awkward quickly, to Hale’s confusion and slight bemusement. Lauren points out the bites aren’t inconsistent with Dyson’s wolf-shape-teeth, and says Dyson will have to turn himself in and get an impression made for more conclusive analysis.
1. I can’t believe the Fae don’t already have this sort of thing on file. Dyson’s fingerprints are on record, why not his wolf-shape-identifier?
2. Since they somehow don’t, this is the perfect place to send Lauren to the Dal and have her to collect blood or dental impression while squaring off with Dyson. Scenes with the two of them together are too few and far between; a scene where they spar while Lauren tries to convince him she is really there to help, and he comments about her motives – which are still murky – would be rife for dramatic tension, and even more amusing if Bo were there to awkwardly watch the verbal tennis match.
Instead, Lauren goes off to wait in the wings some more, and Bo goes back to Carpe Noctum and tries to get Silas the bartender to admit Vex could have killed Ba’al. Silas hedges, we learn nothing, Bo turns to leave, it seems a bit redundant.
The scene gets justified a moment later when Bo begins dancing and touching herself at the behest of a grinning Vex. Silk sells Bo as simultaneously sexy, repulsed, and controlled-via-Vex, and the scene also convinces us Vex – again, exactly like Dyson – is too smart to commit murder in public, or where it would endanger himself or the club.
Speaking of Dyson, his insistence at not remembering anything is no act, and Trick has called in a Kirin named Seebeck to retrieve Dyson’s memory. All Seebeck discovers is Dyson’s brain has been seared of all relevant events, save receiving a phone call at the end of his cop shift. “What, like a Fae roofie?” Dyson asks. ‘Yeah, just like that.’
The bartender spiking drinks for people – specifically girls to lure them into sex slavery – is hardly a new storyline. But here, it’s used against the most machismo of characters: it’s Dyson who gets drugged, then later lured into the sex dungeon of doom, and he is never scolded or mocked for ‘falling for’ an old trick.
To follow the show’s MO and double-down on the not-blaming, the episode gives us Portia. Portia lays out her options to Kenzi: sleeping in parks, or working at a burger chain where she’s sexually harassed by the manager. She’s prefers the former, and Kenzi completely understands.
Portia is never shamed by any of the main characters for having been dragged into Carpe Noctum’s basement sex/pain scheme. She’s never told any of what happened is her fault; though Kenzi does tell her Vex should be avoided, Portia’s trust in Silas (and thus proximity to Vex, entrapment, memory roofies, etc) are never used to explain Portia ‘deserving’ anything, or ‘taking her consequences.’ When Kenzi sees Portia’s bloodied back, it’s not ‘what did you get yourself into?’ but ‘what happened?’ with ‘how do we get whoever did it’ implied. When Portia freaks and runs to Silas, it’s decidedly Not Good, but it doesn’t let Silas off the hook because it’s his actions which are wrong, entirely regardless of whether Portia goes back to him or not.
It’s true many of Lost Girl‘s episodes don’t fully realize the dark, twisted show that was Vexed as the show’s pilot, but this episode and the previous The Mourning After are pretty damn dark, despite Portia actually surviving. Many young kids wind up on the streets: for guys, often the ‘solution’ is dealing drugs and doing others’ bidding, which for all we know is how Silas started. For girls, it’s often some form of sex, from being coerced into stripping, to being ‘played with,’ raped, and whipped by rich VIPs.
When Bo finds Lyle, one of those VIPs, she angrily confronts him as abuser of girls and accessory to murder, then chi-sucks him. For a moment, I thought the show was going to have her execute him the same way Saskia killed Bertram in The Mourning After. Instead, she settles for (hopefully) scaring him out of doing it again.
Bo calls Hale with the description of a girl Lyle gave her, and Hale confirms it’s a light Fae girl. Now it’s an issue of Light v Dark instead of ‘simply’ hurting innocent girls, the two sides will agree punishment needs to be meted out. They don’t care whether Portia dies in the process or not, they just need to make sure tracks are covered. This is one of the keys for how brilliantly the episode deals with the whole issue: girls are trafficked, coerced, raped, abused, and drugged every day. Most of the Powers That Be won’t move against powerful club owners, political players, or dangerous men unless there’s a distinct political advantage to doing so. That pisses Bo off, and it should piss us all off.
Bo, though, has supernatural powers to do something about it. Though she can’t completely abolish the systems, we like seeing her as proxy: saving Portia, getting the bad guys, holding a (obviously CGI’d) poker to the Morrigan’s throat, and finally revealing Silas to the Dark, then leaving him with Vex and the Morrigan in the torture chamber.
The denouement is quite brilliant, actually. In addition to the flashback sequence to help us keep it all straight while showcasing the dark alley in the rain and the lit sign, it acknowledges some unpleasant realities. People who do dirty nasty things can still be motivated for ‘love’ to try and help a particular girl, even if they’ve no problem with a systematically abusing girls. Girls who have been abused will protect their abusers, often to their own detriment. It coolly shows-not-tells these realities, ties all the threads up, acquits Dyson while satisfying all the interested parties, and gives the Dark their murderer/victim. After they’ve revealed the truth, Bo and Kenzi cut down Dyson and leave.
Again with the dark edge, Bo, Dyson, and Kenzi don’t have a problem walking away with some plausible deniability while the bad guy gets vigilante justice performed. This does clash with Bo’s protest after Saskia killed Bertram, but, um, plot convenience.
Also, assuming the Morrigan would be the one to decide Silas’s fate anyways, we can draw a very thin line of distinction between this and Saskia’s vigilante justice. There’s something here about our definition of justice being distinguished not by its inherent rightness or morality, but by the power figures who mete it out, but I think I’ve read enough into this scenario for now. Feel free to add in the comments.
– I love the idea of bar as church and Trick as high priest, what with all the ceremonies and sanctuary going down at the Dal.
– The way episodes eight/ten/eleven are so tightly packed makes me wish Vex had been brought up as a more significant possibility in the bathtub murder in The Mourning After. I know I’ve linked to that review a lot, but the themes are quite similar.
– A black orgasm sounds disgusting, but I admit anything with peach schnapps makes me shudder.
– Trick telling Dyson ‘I’m still running you a tab’ is his way of saying ‘Don’t worry, you’re going to make it.’ The words of comfort, they are not Trick’s strong suit.
– Hale directly foreshadows Dyson giving up everything for Bo, while admitting his initial assessment of Bo being bad for Dyson has changed. It’s true, Bo mostly has a positive influence on Dyson, not in small part because she often calls his asshattery (as when he didn’t want her investigating in the beginning of this episode, or during the Dawning when he pulled out all the worst rom-com stops), and in large part because she has Kenzi to help mediate.
– How does Kenzi never get carded? I know the drinking age in Canada is lower, but are they also this much laxer?
– Hale, the angel: