Lost Girl: Season 1, Episode 12, (Dis)Members Only
Editor’s note: You know the drill. Possible spoilers through 03.13. All reviews here.
The episode opens on Hale and Dyson planning an uber-‘masculine’ activity: not just a hunting trip, a BEAR hunting trip, in which Dyson will be sure and stay away from hunters and all their ‘rifle action.’ On cue, Bo comes in to make a comment about Dyson’s ass, and confirm his status as Man With Hot Girlfriend. Bo suggests they go on a date weekend, instead.
It’s no fluke this scene is so relationship-y and hetero. Not that there’s anything whatsoever wrong with being in a relationship or hunting bears, but Dyson is about to take his concept of relationships, monogamy, and stereotypical heteronormativity to new heights.
Meanwhile, Hale and Kenzi are in the corner taking bets and making gag reflex gesture, while a gardener is getting hit over the head with a rock and eaten by vines. Just another day on Lost Girl.
Dyson and Bo are planning their weekend retreat in the bathtub – no generic kitchen-table-covered-in-brochures scene for them! – when Kenzi bursts in and informs them she has a case. The case involves an old friend named Hector, whose cousin Thumper was eaten in the opener. Thumper was a groundskeeper at a country club, where he was hired due to his illegal status. The country club is a shady business on multiple fronts, so how better to figure out what’s going on than to go undercover!? Bo and Kenzi double-team Dyson in the tub, which I’ve mentioned as a place of vulnerability. It’s also worth noting the uber-masculine wolf didn’t get out of the tub when his girlfriend did. He continued to soak, because maybe he just likes the way the bubbles feel, ok?
As Bo notes, her cover will work better with a husband. Just as she will acquiesce to the heternormativity of having a male partner when undercover in Season 3, she knows a single lady at the country club may get hit on, but won’t get respected or invited into the dark inner sanctums where the really creepy shit goes down. She’s all for female empowerment, but she’s pragmatic about the way the world works, when she wants to be. To cap it all, she plays the ‘we saved your life last week’ card.
Part of Bo’s pragmatism means she accepts she’ll accept sleazy come-ons from Mitch, the country club owner, to get what she wants. Often Bo gets angry and fights The System, but some parts of it – especially those related to her own powers of sexual attraction – she has enured herself to. Dyson, on the other hand, is not so accepting, and it shows in his intense discomfort in the country club office.
Right before that, however, Dyson is playing with his fake wedding ring – as people tend to do with a new bauble – and it obviously gets him thinking. This, combined with his idea about actually being married to Bo would help stop 1) other people from coming on to her 2) her desire to go after other people, lead up to his feelings spurt in Bo’s bedroom. But more on that later.
Meanwhile, Kenzi is in the kitchen, plying another of her outrageous accents and getting warned against snacking on the job and a laundry list of other things. Three strikes, she’s dead. It takes about ten minutes for her to get her first strike, spilling a goblet of water on Chloe, Mitch’s wife.
This scene is unusual in that it coordinates two events in one shot: Kenzi getting a strike while Bo and Dyson pump Blake for information.
As Dyson and Bo talk to Blake, Blake mentions Chloe, and we immediately get a medium shot of Chloe motioning to Kenzi, and Kenzi taking an order. Then it’s back to the Dyson/Bo/Blake table, with a depth of focus deep enough so you can see what’s going on across the pool, but not so deep you are overly distracted by it. Kenzi walks away, and the camera reverse-angles to Blake, positioned between Bo and Dyson, about where Kenzi and Chloe will be positioned in a minute: this preps the audience for where to look.
Next, we have close-ups of Dyson and Blake; these changes and momentarily leaving the wide shots gives enough time for the viewer’s brain to assume ‘sure, Kenzi could have made it to the kitchen and back.’
When we switch mack to the two-shot of Bo and Dyson, we see Kenzi enter in the distance from the left, walk through the frame, and – right between Dyson and Bo, where our attention is and where Blake recently was – spill the water, while Bo is still talking. Chloe reacts and jumps up before we cut to a medium shot of the fallout.
It’s somewhat unusual because it’s more difficult to make sure all the timing is right for the scene to cut together properly in post. It’d be much easier to have the waterspillage happen offscreen, use the audio as a cue, have Bo/Dyson/Blake turn to look, then cut to the fallout. The audience easily realizes what happened, and it’s less work on the continuity end. The technique used here is more likely to happen in a movie than a low-budget TV show, but it’s something small which I really appreciate.
Blake just laughs at Kenzi’s dousing Chloe with water. Bo’s instincts are confirmed: Blake is among the most interesting and grounded of the country club guests, but she also doesn’t play by the unwritten rules, including having a man. For this she is ostracized, scorned, and then killed and fertilized.
As Kenzi is panicking over her gaffe, she gets paid a visit by a creepy groundskeeper, complete with eerie music. He warns her something bad is about to happen, and he doesn’t mean having to take public transit home, though that, too, happens. Kenzi crashes on the couch and opines about her imminent doom while Dyson rubs her STILL IN NYLONS feet. As someone who has worn nylons plenty often, and won’t touch her own feet after walking around in them all day, I say he earns approximately one zillion karma points here. He’ll spend them pretty quickly, though.
After Kenzi’s nap, Hale shows up with a folder, and everyone gets ready to go back to the country club; Bo and Dyson all dressed up, Hale and Kenzi in dark colors so they can snoop around. Hale makes a pointed remark about having spent all afternoon doing research on the country club, and it’s obvious his and Kenzi’s status as sidekicks is rankling them a bit. Objectively, Kenzi and Hale would admit it’s more thrilling to break into an office and dig through peoples’ personal files than go to a hot tub party with a bunch of stuck-up, pushy swingers, and Dyson would probably pay money to trade places with them. It’s not having a choice in the matter, however, which really gets their knickers in a knot.
Meanwhile, Saskia shows up, mostly to keep her storyline fresh in the audience’s mind and to let her get a glimpse of Dyson, so the final scene will make sense.
Saskia may have preferred to tag along, as Dyson and Bo are ushered into a clothing-optional hot tub party. Dyson’s look goes from smug I-told-you-so to uncomfortable pretty quickly, while Bo’s goes from uncomfortable to this-may-not-be-so-bad in the same amount of time. By the time they get propositioned, Bo is seriously considering the offer, and Dyson has to make an excuse to leave. They head home for a fight.
Last week I was a guest on a podcast talking about slut-shaming (amid a myriad of other topics) on Lost Girl, and someone suggested we missed this scene as an example, because Dyson tells Bo they should “find a less sleazy way of getting information.” It’s true Dyson shames her, but it’s not indicative of his feelings towards sexually active women. Bo throws her shoes not because she hates sexy heels in general, but because she’s pissed and feels like blaming and hurting. In the same way, Dyson is pushing Bo’s buttons in retribution for how he feels. He’s lashing out not specifically against Bo sleeping around or liking sex, but against her doing so while dating him, and being so amenable to the idea of them having group sex. His language is very possessive, and I’m surprised Bo doesn’t react strongly to that, since it’s usually one of her triggers.
Dyson is also knee-jerk responding to these particular swingers: they were predatory, they made him uncomfortable, yet Bo was considering joining them while she was supposed to be with him; which to Dyson, equals with only him. Even in the first interaction with Mitch, Dyson felt cuckolded when he tried to alpha-posture Mitch into speeding up the application, but Bo cut him off to sex-touch Mitch into submission. Dyson felt Bo was using her sexual powers even when it wasn’t necessary, and that threatened him. Does Bo think he really can’t manage on his own? Does Bo think he’s not good enough, or tough enough, or alpha enough? Was Bo going to accept Mitch’s ignorance of him, and is this going to become a regular occurence? He snaps at all this instead of addressing what’s making him uncomfortable, because he’s not so good with the words and communicating. Who needs that in a relationship, really?
Well, Bo does, as she snaps ‘spit it out already . . . you talk to me.’ And Dyson does manage to verbally convey his thoughts about Bo’s succubus nature and his monogamous nature, though barely. “I don’t want to share you, Bo. [But] you’re a succubus. It’s not in your nature to be monogamous.”
Dyson’s admission to being territorial is akin to his accepting Bo is sexually driven. He believes his territoriality is as much a part of his wolf nature as Bo’s need to feed is part of her succubus nature. Bo mentions Dyson doesn’t howl at the moon and chase rabbits all day, but neither of them mention he suppresses those tendencies out of necessity, after years of practice, and still indulges in them occasionally. Perhaps we can only expect Fae to work on their natures so much. Beside a general human resistance to change, being supernatural creatures does give Fae a different set of rules or standards when it comes to ‘working on things,’ and this is where Bo is – so far – unique. She’s held on to much of her humanity, and she’s quickly learning how to change and evolve. Most of this ability comes with the help of Kenzi’s coaching, and with a human upbringing where her ‘unchangeable nature’ wasn’t enforced. I’ll argue even being unaligned contributes, as she manages to live outside a the environment which determines who and how you are by what you are.
Despite the angry, possessive way in which he presents it, Dyson gets it right when he says “Lying about who you are, and trying to change the person you care about, never ends well.”
Technically, Dyson is still hiding a few things, but his “No secrets, I promise” is him mentally preparing to finally tell Bo the whole truth, after giving Trick the chance to do so first. Television convention demands the secret come back to bite him before he can confess, and it will do just that in about 12 minutes.
So he’s honest, even if he’s conflicted and muleheaded. Bo makes no pledges, but they end the conversation on the note of keep communication open,’ 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 weight to what Dyson is about to do in the next episode.
First, the monster of the week must be dealt with. Dyson and Bo stroll through the woods to search for Blake, and along the way find a winning lottery ticket, almost too much adorable to handle, and finally, underground crockpot of humanity in which Blake’s hat is stewing.
Having said his piece earlier, Dyson doesn’t object when Bo chi-sucks the truth out of Mitch. Mitch doesn’t really know how it works, he just knows they have to kill people to get rich. Survival of the richest. Bo goes off to figure out the particulars while Dyson arrests Mitch.
Trick pops into the episode to announce a land wight would eat people and produce prosperity for anyone eating food raised in the ‘Fae poop.’ Kenzi and Bo find the fertilized garden, and Kenzi’s first thought is to rejoice, because at least this time she wasn’t the indirect cannibal. Second, Kenzi remembers she’s still in danger, and when they see the creepy groundskeeper, she heads back to the kitchen as Bo confronts him. Anyone who has blatantly creepy music insinuating guilt, though, has to be innocent. Bo realizes it’s the chef, and grabs some hedgeclippers to save a be-vined Kenzi. The chef/land wight is confused: why would a Fae side with a human?
While the land wight has nothing but disdain for the country club members, she also could care less about immigrants, the poor, or anyone weaker than she. Her diatribe against those who obtain power through “connections and luck, [not] talent or brains” isn’t really admirable when you realize her idea of ‘good’ is killing anyone who can’t keep up, then using her talent to prep and feed the carcases to those with connections and luck, all to boost her standing and perpetuate the cycle for her benefit. Ayn Rand would approve.
The way Bo finally deals with the land wight follows the theme of the last couple episodes, but is the most blatant: when asked outright if she’s going to be a party to murder, Bo replies “Actually no, I’m not. This is between you and your prey.” Then she and Kenzi strut out of the house, followed by the land wight’s screams.
Just a few loose ends to tie up: Bo gives her lottery ticket to Hector, Mitch’s memory is being erased (likely by Seebeck from last episode), the country club members will likely be getting poorer quickly, and Dyson calls Bo to meet so he can confess all his lies. Bo decides to bring him dinner, and the conversation pointedly mentions she’ll let herself in by puttifying the desk sergeant, so we understand how Saskia lets herself in. Saskia surprises and confronts Dyson, “I’m the one you’ve been looking for,” then forcefully chi-sucks him while commanding in full creepy fashion, “say my name, bitch!” The scene fades to black, and comes back with Saskia in the middle of raping Dyson, cackling “say my name” again. He gasps “Aife,” right as Bo walks down the hall with dinner.
Aife ties all the episode’s threads together. She demeans Dyson by saying he didn’t put up much of a fight, meaning it as a slur against his ‘manhood’ even though it was because he was being chivalrous towards a strange woman. She sneers that Bo letting Dyson ‘own’ her is very un-succubus; this plays into any fear Bo had over Dyson being so territorial. She brings up Bo’s nature as a succubus, tying it to her own and suggesting it’s inevitable Bo will turn out similarly. Finally, she guilts Bo about stabbing her with a chair leg by leveraging the word ‘friend’ and insisting she’s trying to help Bo.
As Aife runs away, Bo turns towards Dyson and manages to do something she learned watching Saskia; breathe chi back into someone. Dyson’s first words are an apology, because – while the assault wasn’t his fault – he realizes lying all along is what led them to this point. Sadly, Lost Girl relies too much on lying and subterfuge and ‘big dark secrets’ to drive its plots.
– It’s too bad Dyson is so uptight, because Kris Holden-Reid was playing his comedy cards well in that bathtub.
– It’s also sad Dyson’s not the type to rock a suit more often.
– Kenzi’ street name was Meow Meow, as Bo is delighted to discover.
– Blake managed to avoid eating the food by subsisting entirely on wine. Perhaps not the best plan, but it’s got its good points.
– “What do you want, Saskia?” “A 24/7 international orgy, but I’ll settle for a night on the town.”
– Someone writing this episode isn’t entirely sold on organic produce or salads for dinner.