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.

'Have decaying doorframes? Just add some candles and they're good as new!'

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.

Also, the boobs card. Dyson responds well to both.

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.

AND the hat-which-will-come-into-play-later displayed on the table. Bases = covered.

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.

They're such an adorable little family.

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.

Dressed in mostly white as befits virgins to the swinger lifestyle.

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?

Mitch is definitely checking out the chef. Is he in character, or was the dude just typecast?

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 presented by him as analogous to Bo being 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 through years of practice, and still indulges in them occasionally. Perhaps we are only to 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. I’d like to see the show explore more about whether Bo’s refusal to choose a side, and/or her surrounding herself with humans, is what enables change and growth.

Despite the inappropriately 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.”

That's the first sensible thing you've said all conversation. Does not compute.

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.

I'd be willing to bet money that branch is held onto the tree 'just so' with gaffe tape.

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. 

With struts like that, I was half expecting a fireball, too.

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 (and to be clear, his territorialism wasn’t cool). 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. [His later apology will be addressed in that ep.]

While there is plenty of interest, sadly, the penultimate episode of Lost Girl relies too much on lying and subterfuge and ‘big dark secrets’ to drive its plots and set up the finale.

Well, they rely a bit on shirtless Dyson and low-cut tops, too, but I don't hear many complaints about that.

Stray Observations

– It’s too bad Dyson is so uptight, because Kris Holden-Reid was playing his comedy cards well in that bathtub.

And poolside.

And couchside. 

– It’s also sad Dyson’s not the type to rock a suit more often. 

– Kenzi’s 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.

The CGI pop-up leaves are fun though.

27 Responses to “Lost Girl: Season 1, Episode 12, (Dis)Members Only”
  1. cleop527 says:

    When I first saw this episode, I thought, Oh my god, this is turning into something I don’t really want to watch. The sex positive, badass, succubus is now becoming Dyson’s girlfriend. No of course, there is nothing wrong with being someone’s girlfriend or wife, but to set up a *succubus* as the hero of a fantasy monster show a la Buffy, and then … to do this, was a bit jarring. Upon rewatch, and in rethinking the episode, I wonder how much of it works as a critique of heteronormativity, specifically as privilege. “Dismembers Only” presents heteronormativity very clearly in its fundamental connection with economic and white privilege. Blake and the illegal immigrant workers, in conjunction with Bo and Dyson’s performances as an undercover upper-middle class hetero married white couple, drive this critique home. Simultaneously Bo and Dyson are also shown to be grappling with some of the same issues in their relationship. Seems obvious that the undercover performance is a kind of acting out of what’s actually going on in the relationship. This also makes me think of “Food for Thought” earlier in the season, when at the very end Lauren says to Bo something like: “No worries, I know we’re not undercover any more. This is the real world.” Ha. Nothing could be further from the truth, as it turns out.

    • Melanie says:

      Nailed it.

      The only thing I’d add is, Kenzi works not just because she pretends to be illegal, but because she’s poor and disenfranchised as well. It’s hard to remember because she’s capable, generally finagles what she wants, and lives/pals with people much older and established than she, but she’s one chance meeting away from being Portia from last episode: homeless, desperate, a young girl who can easily be taken advantage of without anyone raising an eyebrow.

      And like “(Dis)Members Only,” many episodes in which Bo and Kenzi – with occasional company of Lauren or Dyson – go undercover examine a specific subset: rich suburban housewives, sororities, pharmaceutical companies, teenage delinquents and those in charge of them, etc. These are some of my favorite types of episodes, because I like seeing how they play with the subsets as well as TV tropes, and also how the interactions shape the characters’ stories. Thankfully, Lost Girl usually doesn’t get too blatant, hit-you-over-the-head with the comparisons. We don’t get a lot of characters playing Mr Exposition, a la Psycho’s famous last anticlimactic scene.

      • cleop527 says:

        Yes, great point about Kenzi. She disrupts explanatory frameworks just enough to make things even more interesting. Kenzi brings viewers inside the sociological complexity, instead of leaving them to observe it with analytical detachment. Those types of episodes you mention, I am realizing, are all awesome Kenzi episodes, and made excellent thanks to Kenzi. This was definitely missing from S3.

  2. Melanie says:

    When we did the podcast last week, @ImageFeeder called in and left a comment about Dyson’s calling Bo’s motives ‘sleazy’ in this episode. You can read the whole thing here, at the bottom of the podcast summary.

    After my review, she, I, and @kedrie had the following conversation via Twitter. (posted with permission)

    @ImageFeeder: loved your review as always. Not sure you completely convinced me re “Sleazy” though, but interesting take.

    @mehlsbells: that the club members were sleazy? Or that Dyson was personally/specifically shaming rather than broadly?

    @ImageFeeder: that while I agree that scene shifted greatly, his initial impulse was to use a loaded term to control her with shame.

    I did appreciate his later comments. He shifted, perhaps at war with himself..

    @mehlsbells: yep. Agree. Just think since he doesn’t generally shame for sexuality, it’s him using societal ‘ideals’ as specific power play.

    @ImageFeeder: okay, I can see that. It does seem like he has those traditional alpha impulses. Do you think part of Bo responds to them?

    @mehlsbells: yep! she responds mostly negative (disppntd she doesn’t call out possessive language). But she kinda likes him alpha-ing Mitch.

    @kedrie: Lmao. I think its 50/50.

    @ImageFeeder: where is the division?

    @kedrie: On my screen. Every god damn episode. It’s like Bo is socially bipolar. 🙂

    @mehlsbells: perfect way to describe it. I’m chalking it up to the fundamentalism (try to contain your surprise at my assessment).

    @ImageFeeder: I get the same split feeling. No wonder the two teams seem to be watching two different shows

    • Melanie says:

      I do want to follow up in more than 140 characters. It makes perfect sense for Bo to have trouble navigating societal waters, especially those she can’t sex her way out of, such as relationship issues with both Dyson and Lauren. At this point, she’s only a few months removed from years of being on the run and not getting close – romantically, platonically, or physically – with anyone. All this came after years of fundamentalist shaming, which led to self-shaming. As we see in “There’s Bo Place Like Home,” it’s not like she lived on an isolated farm with no friends but the woodland creatures. Still, a small community with extremely rules about behavior, sex, relationships, religion, self-identity, the list goes on, is no preparation for dealing with reality. Especially in the first season, but even now, Bo is coming into herself as a confident, capable, sexual woman. Because of her stymied development, I’ve always approached this show as a twist on a bildungsroman; confusion, stumbles, and emotional swings are part of that parcel.

  3. cleop527 says:

    Bo totally has that alpha thing going herself (obviously), so that when Dyson behaves that way toward Mitch, she’s fine with it – She and Dyson are a team, and in this instance he’s like an extension of herself, not her competitor for who’s in charge. But when Dyson’s alphaness and all the gender stuff that goes with it is directed at her, Bo bristles. Is that what she means when she says that she and Dyson are “a lot of work?” With Lauren, she doesn’t have the same problems. The division of labor is accepted by both parties. They have other problems though, and these are significant – especially for Lauren? Thus far, it’s been true: socially bipolar Bo is a great way to put it.

    • Melanie says:

      It’s not that Lauren can’t be alpha in some ways – she takes charge in several places – but yes, there’s more division of labor, ie Lauren takes charge in things she knows, steps back during others. (Interestingly, she sometimes, very deliberately, takes charge by putting the other person in charge, example sometime between S2 and S3 when she, after so far being the relationship initiator, tells Bo it’s Bo’s turn to decide when it’s time.)

      Dyson’s “nature,” which this episode is so concerned with, is very literally alpha wolf: he has a hard time knowing when to step back; in the wolf pack, the alpha doesn’t have to do such a thing. He struggles sharing a relationship with Bo while dealing with her being alpha, too. It’s an interesting position, for a Fae so predisposed – and supposedly reinforced by the Fae world – to have to compromise with a partner. By the time Ciara comes around, he has learned from Bo, and is more willing to give and take: whether said learning stretches into the long run, or whether he regresses, we’ll have to see. I hope it’s the former, despite a couple backslide moments, but I can be a bit of an optimist that way.

      • cleop527 says:

        True, true. And nice point about S3 ep. 1. But in Lauren’s case I think of it more as “agency.” She’s totally the brains behind the let’s get Bo into bed operation, and then throws the ball back to Bo at the opportune moment. Dyson and Bo is more the obvious brawn-in-action macho protective stuff (which has some endearing aspects to a point). I think one may say that Dyson’s “I have learned so much from you, Bo” includes the stuff you’re talking about. Damn, why did they have to dispose of Ciara so soon?

        • Melanie says:

          The macho protector stuff works for me (like you say, to a point) because Bo is also the macho protector. It’s not one-sided, either by gender or by individual. But it does get egregious.

          As for Ciara,

          1) I know they thought they needed someone to die to give the episode / Garuda ‘weight.’ But it’s always the most recent additions! RIP, Ciara and [several Whedon characters whom I won’t name because, spoilers.]

          2) They also thought this would lend Dyson more gravitas, having made the false decision to be the champion. But Dyson is already so damned mopey! Still, the way it gave he and Lauren a point of connection plays nicely.

          3) And of course Ciara’s death, along with Nadia’s, conveniently cleared the path between Dyson and Bo, and Bo and Lauren, again. I’d much prefer this to Dyson actually dumping her. Also, Ciara’s last sexcapades while Bo is comforting Lauren, literally intercutting the different ways people address fear and grieving, was beautiful.

          But even with all that, I’m with you. WHY, SHOW GODS, WHYYYY!?

          • Rachel says:

            *Jumping in* (late… lots going on in my world, but I’m catching up slowly! 🙂 ) Does Bo and Dyson’s relationship (at least in S1 & 2) represent the tension between fundamentalism and Bo’s succubus nature and desire to be an independent woman? In a lot of ways, he would be an ideal mate for the fundamentalist part of her — chivalrous (a cornerstone of a Christian society, albeit a very different society than fundamentalist society today), monogamous, traditional gender roles, patriarchal… a modern day prince. Which, on the one hand, she’s not into yet, on the other hand, she is. Like, there’s a part of her that seems to resonate with the fairy tale ideal of being a princess and finding the prince that will rescue her, sweep her off her feet and into happily ever after. Like, she forgives him really quickly and easily (by 1×4, for example, and other times). He sacrifices his love to save her. There’s a pattern with them of Bo saying, ‘you asshole!’ and then melting before his charms and giving up a part of her independence/individuality to be with him (like in 2×1, and in the dawning she calls him an asshole, and then looks to him for ‘what happens now?’ and doesn’t resist his kiss, and then later chi sucks everyone to save him).

            I agree that Bo can be a ‘macho protector’ but not to the degree/stereotype Dyson is, and she can be submissive to this aspect of him. And at some level, this pattern is also playing out in Bo and Tamsin’s relationship.


            • Melanie says:

              There’s certainly an element of Bo’s conditioning which leads her to be interested in Dyson. Not to say that automatically makes Dyson a bad partner, but Bo would certainly have been expected to find a manly, monogamous guy who fits into the masculine ideal. Though Dyson doesn’t try to enforce a women’s role on Bo – he does try to protect her from certain situations, but based on her inexperience in the Fae world and his ideas of protecting his partner; chivalry, but not explicitly misogyny – they do naturally fall into those patterns when they’re together. [I don’t want in any way to intimate people who do fall into or enjoy stereotypical gender roles within their relationship are wrong: not at all, so long as they’re not founded on patriarchal, sexist ideals.] They do fly in the face of fundamentalism with the sex-before-marriage/commitment and even more so when they’re trying the friends-with-benefits arrangement, but their relationship roughly fits the fundamentalist model.

              The other result I see inherent with saying Bo is with Dyson as a result of her fundamentalist upbringing is that Bo is with Lauren as a knee-jerk reaction to said mores. Told not just sex before marriage but explicitly sex with a woman is wrong, she goes for this relationship, which defies all those fundamentalist strictures.

              It gets a little sticky, because in both situations there would certainly be an element of Bo’s thought process – conscious and not – which enjoys the situation as either reinforcement [Dyson] or subversion [Lauren] of her upbringing.

              (And then in this case, we would say Ryan is the least fundy-influenced relationship she’s had, which incidentally fits nicely with my theory about him being her college fling . . . but I’m getting off track.)

              To say she falls into her relationships strictly for those reasons, instead of in spite of them or without comprehension of their influence, undermines her agency and comprehension. But to deny there’s some sort of influence is naive, and also ignoring how fact everyone is influenced in their choices of partner through childhood, for positive or negative.

              As for both submissive and dominant traits, I think this dualism plays out in all Bo’s relationships, in the bedroom as well as in all other aspects and I really (*really*) like that.

  4. vexundorma says:

    Interesting review of a pretty weird episode. And on quite a different page we’re here.
    Regardless of the concurring plots, and you touched them all, the main purpose was to maximize the shock potential of the following episode as season finale, but they went so overboard with it that we’re left with the feeling we must have missed a couple of episodes after 1.11 because the Bo-Dyson scenes are otherwise incomprehensible.
    Curiously enough, in their effort to build this powerful shock effect the writers ended up bringing to the forefront the “Dyson Enigma”. It is rather obvious to me (I could be wrong of course) that the show wants to present him as an heroic and noble character, but then it goes on portraying him in a really odd way. He’s a foot-soldier, a hit-man if need be, always at the orders of figures of authority but thinking himself a pack leader; he has all the experience that comes from a centuries-long life and yet still thinks that every problem can be solved with a growl and a punch; he has the smarts that his wolf senses allow him but brains are not his forte (the way the Norn plays him like a child is pitiful); he’s touted as a great warrior but is beaten more often than not and is successively saved by Bo, Kenzi and Lauren; he has seen first hand the raise of the human technical civilization but still considers himself, and the fae, above the human rabble; he knows what a succubus is, and has possibly met one or two in his past, but expects Bo to accept monogamy because she’s the one for him; he has so great an ego that believes himself the champion that nobody else sees and almost causes the triumph of the Garuda; he deems himself a noble spirit by patiently waiting in the aisles for Lauren’s death while toasting with Trick the shortness of her life, never occurring to him that Bo might not be interested in returning to his arms.
    And I’m not even talking about the absurd “wolves mate for life” line. I get that on paper it might appear as a great way to express the opposition of biological imperatives as the foundation stone for a deeply-moving love story. But in practice what the viewers see is a guy imagining his biological imperative motive enough for a girl to fight her biological imperative, because for some reason his is more important, or cooler, or something. Organically the Bo-Dyson love story ends with that line, because there’s no coming back from such absurdity, but worse still the line strangles almost every possible development for his character. He has no arc in S2, he has no arc in S3, he turns into a stalkerish figure that constantly intrudes Bo’s life and choices, he tellingly has the best moments whenever isn’t around Bo, and he ends up running around shirtless for most of S3, without any conceivable intent.
    Usually these traits would define a secondary character, capable of an heroic act (often its last before death) but far from being hero material; yet in Lost Girl they portray a main character. If the show wanted to turn the usual trope of the male hero on its head then this might make a strange kind of sense, but I don’t really believe that that ever was or is the intention. Which brings me back to the abovementioned enigma – what kind of character is Dyson supposed to be? what is really the point of such a character? – to which I haven’t found a satisfying answer.
    A couple other things. Kenzie’s Nickname: it won’t crop up ever again, even with its comic-awkward potential. It’s a style of black-hole forgetfulness that happens over and over again and is irksome in a genre show, where a big chunk of the audience pays a lot of attention to details. Dyson’s Rape: a lot could be written about that scene, but let’s just focus on the fact that it has no consequences or repercussions. At all. For anyone. Apparently it’s a no biggie.
    Wow, long and boring. Time to “over and out”.

    • Melanie says:

      No, I agree almost the entire point of Dyson’s diatribe was to maximize shock potential. I should have probably expounded on that more than one half sentence “yet serious enough to lend some weight to what Dyson is about to do in the next episode,” but apparently I used all my extra words analyzing shot angles by the pool.

      I think, hope, and pray the show recognizes him as it recognizes all the guest characters in the ‘trope’ episodes: ie he sees himself as the heroic and noble character, but they recognize him as a archetype who takes himself too seriously. So many things happen which make me question giving that much benefit of the doubt, but then they immediately seem to confirm me again. For example the Dawning – my eyes almost rolled out of my head when he offered himself as Hand, then gave that cheesy speech, but then Bo slapped him, and all his selfish choices made in the Dawning were repudiated.

      (Until the end, that is, which still makes me burn every time I think of it. I know they need to put a limit on Bo’s ability to breathe chi into someone, otherwise she could just ened death. And I know they wanted their dramatic beat of him paying for his combination chivalry/asshattery with his life. But holy balls, was that ending bad).

      The way the show has women come to his rescue often because he rushes in, strength first, also serves as repudiation for the ‘type’ who is all brawn and ideals and no brain or cooperation. It’s not that Dyson doesn’t *have* a brain, he’s obviously meant to be a decent cop. But he refuses to use it in battle, because, I dunno, it’s harder than ripping his shirt off and charging in abs-first. This is what gets him continually beaten and in need of salvation. When he uses his strength in concurrence with others, or when he uses his strength at the right places, it’s an asset. Otherwise, it’s almost a hinderance to him. A funny flip side to this is Bruce, who is obviously hired for all brawn but uses his brains, and has a degree in ‘the arts,’ and poetry at that.

      All that is compounded by the fact nothing he learns sticks. He claims he learns from Bo, then forgets it by next episode. He grows from his mistakes, until it’s convenient for him not to have grown. It’s frustrating.

      Yep, despite how it looked on paper, the writers put themselves in a corner with that ‘wolves mate for life’ bit, and every time they try to wriggle out of that corner, it bites them in the ass. They had a chance with Ciara, and had Dyson not been snapped to that awful admission of ‘I can’t love her,’ there would have been a great moment for him to realize ‘wolves mate for life IS THE DUMBEST, and I can choose whom I love,’ before she died, but no. Once that was established, I think they lost any chance to redeem this awful storyline.

  5. Here’s what confuses me a bit about the Fae – I’d think that living for thousands of years would afford them a little more flexibility, wisdom and perspective. Or a lot more. But they seem just as fallible and prone to human emotions that aren’t informed by taking the long view as, well, humans.

    I’d expect such old beings to have periods of ennui and withdrawl from the world (witness Lauren’s saying that Vex’s loss of mesmer powers are typical for a Fae his age), but to eventually have a ton of perspective about human nature and other Fae. I mean, someone who has been around the block as much as Dyson and has seen civilizations spring up and die around him would get perspective from that, to say the least.

    Melanie, you made a point on the Drinks at the Dal blog that in our own society, people seem to calcify with age rather than to mellow out and have a broader perspective, and while that’s true, I’d think that the difference between 80 years and 2,000 years would afford some additional development. But then again, maybe not, as you point out, since the Fae are hugely insular.

    Then again, a TV show with regular humans and incredibly wise, patient supernatural beings who really seem to have all the answers would be pretty boring.

    • vexundorma says:

      That’s a good point – how to depict beings that live for centuries. It is not easy, as a careful perusal of many shows that have attempted it will substantiate.
      It seems clear, to me, that in S1 and S2A (eps 2.01-2.13) Lost Girl went for the “age as a learning road to knowledge” option, as the gravitas of the first Ash and the idea that they were in the interstices of human power politics and wealth seemed to confirm. Episode 2.21, written by the current showrunner, radically changed that perspective – the fae are now no more than empty-headed grown-up brats, unwilling to make the slightest effort to fight for their survival. And at the end of S3 we again see this infantile pack mentality in action during the attempted Morrigan coup, reaffirming that view of the fae.
      This depicted devolution is a choice that I don’t get, at all, because it deflates the potential drama of any threat to their survival – why should a viewer care if such powerful but irresponsible childish beings might go the way of the dinosaurs? – and more than anything it erases a lot of development possibilities for the show.

      • Melanie says:

        It may be a reach, but I and viewers should care because somewhat irresponsible beings are more like humans. We can’t care about immortal, impeccable beings because we don’t get them. Shows who depict humans as a group unwilling to fight for their own survival (Buffy Season 2) or doing it in entirely the wrong fashion (BSG) and who have subgroups of heroes, can and do resonate . . . mostly because we see ourselves as the heroes, but ‘other humanity’ as the rest.

        I’ve only seen the second season once, so I may be entirely wrong and may stand corrected once I get there. But I didn’t get the idea the Fae were unwilling to fight for their survival, simply that they were in denial over the Garuda, as humans have been in denial about plenty of despots. (It’s also, of course, a story mechanism to keep battle scenes small. #pragmatism) In Season 3 part of the problem with giving up to the Morrigan so quickly was the storyline was *so rushed,* but it was also a parable about how many governments – including our own, with Japanese internment camps – have acted.

        It does, as you note, trade off for some the narrative opportunities. Parts of S1 which were so dark will probably never work again.

        • cleop527 says:

          A bit of a facile Morrigan as Hitler thing, always with the affectionate and ironic references to the cinematic genealogy of wwii propaganda, cold war,and general bad guy films and their visual/thematic tropes. But works I guess. To me the problem is too much is done on the quick in LG in general. As you say, Melanie, how believable is it really that the fae (who’ve been turned into complete sheep) give it up so quickly to the Morrigan’s fascist scare tactics? It’s a shortcut and a parable which we’ve seen before. I’m of two minds about it. What I think is worse is that as soon as this (campy) parable is presented, it’s immediately discarded. I.e. the disturbing silliness about Vex having the Morrigan at his mercy at the end of S3 13? or (12?).

        • Melanie says:

          Certainly, it not only cheats the story, it robs the plot point/parallels of real heft. While it’s not an excuse entirely, I do wonder if they were intending the storyline to cover the back half of the season – which never materialized – then rushed it because they needed certain pieces in place (Hale not as Ash, Kenzi on the run and investigating becoming Fae, The Morrigan and Vex at odds, etc) to carry through whatever is coming in 4.

    • Melanie says:

      It’s the insular thing which I’m really convinced by. This also helps explain their species-ism; insular communities will tend to convince themselves they are superior to any others, and make it a point to Other anyone who tries to come in, or disturb their way of living, etc. Ultimately, though, creating a several-thousand-year-old-group has the advantage of nobody concretely being able to determine how they ‘should’ be. Writers win!

  6. overainbows says:

    About the Fae age and their lack of maturity, it never really bothered me much in terms of inconsistency, in part because of Melanie’s take on people getting more blockheaded as they age, a consequence of our tendency to hold on to old values, even more so when we see ourselves as superior and benefit from this system as the Fae certainly do. I agree the perspective would be very different for someone who lives that long but it’s just not so obvious that it implies more maturity/knowledge (as we see it anyway, what do we consider “mature” and “wise”?). Because it might as well make you more cynicall and less worried as you see so many die, so many changes and the frailty of life (even for Fae) and systems in the big picture of centuries. That too is the result of knowledge and maturity, though not the one we’re told to aspire to. Another factor is that time is perceived differently by someone who knows they could live that much, it’s like when we allow ourselves to be reckless because we’re just 20 yo and that’s too young to worry, only we’d be 500 yo. We already have an idea of what might be stupid and how we should behave but we don’t do much about it because deep down we don’t believe we have to and postpone because it’s not easy either, no matter your life span.

    Also, being somewhat familiar with African-american deities who despite being thousands of years old still display very childish, materialist, small minded behaviors, doesn’t make it too odd for me that Fae could be the same. It’s a lot like Greek gods who regardless of being immortals are very much like humans when it comes to emotions, relationships, etc. They are not that much wiser. On the contrary, the fact that they have so much power + life perspective and yet are subject to the same emotions and motivations of humans strike us as a lot more immature especially when often times they mess up the course of nature and the existence of humankind just because of things we deem petty (when they’re the ones doing it). The irony. lol

    Now, I don’t remember much of season 2, the details of the leaders reactions to an impeding war and destruction of the Fae race, but I do remember the ep in which the Morrigan doesn’t give a damn about starting a war because of Fae viagra and that’s what I had in mind. It makes much sense to me they are not so wise and IMO makes more interesting tv in the long run.

    • Melanie says:

      Hahaha, I had completely forgotten the Morrigan being willing to start a war for Fae viagra! That does tie in, and everything you say here – about cynicism, superiority complexes, the telescopic effect of having a longer life and how that delays Fae stages of development, childlike deities (greek gods, amiright!?) – is really interesting, and makes a lot of sense. Great stuff.

      • cleop527 says:

        Great parallels with those deities – whether Greek, African-American, or W. African, or all folk creatures! What also fits in with these models is the relationship to humans. Fae are dependent on humans, whom they also despise as inferior. This to me is pure disavowal. But in their hubris the fae do not realize that it’s actually the other way around; humans are capable of adapting and moving forward. The fae can’t evolve beyond stagnant models and poor leadership – exceptions being Hale, and of course Bo, whose destiny is to change all that.. maybe. At the same time there is a whole fae discourse glorifying tradition, as well as a critique of human materialism and greed, which lead to… global warming and world destruction. (LG is always jumping in and out of metaphor, which sometimes seems inconsistent or chaotic.) The thing I first loved about the show is it’s anti-materialism, and clear anti-mainstream stance. No product placements! Wow. Bo and Kenzi live in a squat, etc. The only exception are Bo and Kenzi’s fondness of iphones, and Lauren’s (of course!!) choice of a Blackberry. It’s funny because this modern technological age is the age of the fae’s decline – they are decadent like the Roman empire, lol – just as the old mythical era was their golden age. I agree, we care about the fae because they are so flawed, and ultimately kind of vulnerable and a little pathetic, and also because some things they say are true.

        • Melanie says:

          I did a semester on Greco-Roman mythology, but I’m sadly not well up on African deities or major myths (American or otherwise). If either of you are thinking any specifics, I’d love to hear them, and I’ll make sure to educate myself on them.

          I really hope they address how Hale – though certainly the most adaptive and moving forward – still has his prejudices and drawbacks. They’ve shown them, but he’s had no consequences or acknowledgements of them yet.

  7. Shaun H says:

    This was one of the most bulljive, to say it nicely, episodes in all of LG.

    I get they needed to be a couple for the case because Bo lacked confidence in herself in getting what they needed. But was she still on the case in the clubhouse when Dyson slut shamed her?!! They should have named it Lost Cave Girl, and I would have been out. I mean this “I’m all you need”, scenario failed when we all know she’s a Succubus. A Succubus that was draining the wolf when she slept with him.

    Nothing adorable about Bo at all in season 1. I always felt like I was watching a very horrible Sweet Valley High movie.

    Only Zoie Palmer kept me hooked on this show. That woman could nail any script they gave her.

Check out what others are saying...
  1. […] not going to become a despot like Trick/her father/etc. The fact this scene clearly parallels the scene in Season 1 where Dyson gets down on his knees and says ‘I understand you’re a succubus but I never […]

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