Lost Girl: Season 2, Episode 02, I Fought the Fae (and the Fae Won)

You know the drill. Possible spoilers through 03.13. All reviews here.

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After a bad breakup, everybody needs a Kenzi. Girl knows how to treat emotional trauma.

Girl is a little less sure how to deal with shock and outright denial. Bo is convinced she and Dyson aren’t really broken up, Dyson’s just a little broken, and as soon as she can ‘fix’ him, they’ll be back together. If she just wears the right dress and pushes the right buttons, Dyson will magically find his love.

*facepalm*

Too many problems are inherent in this storyline as it plays out this whole season, but I’ll get all the major ones out of the way here.

When it comes to Love 

It’s really difficult to deal with something as intangible as ‘losing one’s love’ in a fantastical storyline, because love is already somewhat fantastical, philosophical, and problematic. To address how ‘losing one’s love’ works, there should be groundwork established: is love a choice? Is love a feeling? Is love an etherial essence which can be stored in a jar? (Later, we learn it’s apparently the latter, but we don’t know that at this point.) Can it be restored, and if so, can it be restored via external means, or only by the lover? [Edit: commentor N. has and sparked more thoughts on this in the comments, and I clarify and expound on this point.]

When it comes to Dyson

First, props to Dyson for saying he doesn’t regret what he did, but Bo needs to stop pushing him. It’s not fair to him, and would ultimately end with her – as she shows flashes of in this episode – going to a bad place.

Does taking a wolf’s love for one person inherently include removing an ‘ability to love’? What about introducing another character for Dyson? Will she be able to be loved? Or love ‘the same,’ because, does this removal only include romantic love? Can one still have plutonic love? If Dyson’s ‘love’ is gone, can he still ‘love’ Bo/Hale/Kenzi as a friend? (I believe absolutely, but the narrative never addresses it, and uses ‘love’ in sweeping generalizations).

If his love is gone, why is there still this weird yearning, other than to force the love triangle while giving it arbitrary limitations? Is he yearning for the thing he knows he should have? Can you miss an absence of something?

What does this “wolves mate for life” say about Dyson’s weird ideas of monogamy? If he and Bo got married, and she died, would he howl at the moon in solidarity for another thousand years?

When it comes to Bo

I get why Bo thinks the whole thing is ridiculous and she can defeat the Norn’s spell with her supernatural boobs and charm. But ‘I’ll make him love me with wiles / displays of my own affection / cleavage’ and a refusal to take no for an answer because ‘he used to love me’ are terrible things to promote on a TV show. Thankfully, these ploys don’t work, but it still sets up a cycle of hope and disappointment which is frustrating to watch, and she keeps using words like ‘desperate.’

Having a guy who wants to love you, but can’t through no fault of his own, and telling him you’ll keep trying / stay true to the idea of him, then giving up in a few episodes, is pretty cold. And the giving up doesn’t happen in the context of ‘I can love multiple people at once,’ (in which case I would be fine with it, because that seems to be where Bo is headed), but ‘well, that didn’t work, ok Next!’ Which isn’t really fair to anyone but Bo.

In a brutal combination of all of the above, this plot becomes a quicksand. The more the writers try to struggle out of it, the worse it gets. 

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Just to buoy Bo’s false hopes, the main plot of the week revolves around a star-crossed love and a guy who claims not to love a girl any more. Of course the guy will be lying, and of course the love will turn out to not be so doomed.

The not-Juliet of this story is Sabine, referring to the story of women robbed of their agency, then kind of given agency, then fought over as a prize standing for the rule of a kingdom, then taking matters into their own hands. Sabine is to be stag in a hunt, the winner of which becomes the new Ash. Of course, the fact they’re hunting their own kind – ‘convict’ and with her own powers though she may be – really underscores the type of society we’re dealing with here. Also, women may be allowed to run for Ash, but it’s obvious men are still the powerheads in this society, from the Blackthorn to the forerunners in the hunt. The main forerunner and ultimate winner is Lachlan, a deliciously Machiavellian, utilitarian type.

Just look at that deliciously Machiavellian, utilitarian face.

At first, Bo wants to stay out of the whole political game, citing Aife as a pretty damn good reason. She soon realizes it’s not that simple. Politics impact, change, and thwart everyone’s life, involved or not. When Sabine knocks on her door, she agrees to help, and the drama and gorgeous gowns don’t hurt.

It’s also refreshing to hear her respond to Sabine’s “Don’t be scared” with a snappy “How ’bout violent!?” Not that violence should always be a default answer. But women, especially living alone, especially when their space is being infringed upon, etc., are expected to cower by default. Instead, the women in this series, especially Bo, step forward and take the offensive. This is also the tack Sabine takes: she’s not content to just fight for her life in the arena, she’s going to escape and attempt to make the odds a little more even beforehand, too.

Speaking of even odds, the knife the guard draws when he runs into the clubhouse is about 6 inches, the same length as Kenzi and Bo's knives. Lost Girl, you and your phallic weapon imagery!

Sabine thinks her life is only worth living if she can be with Hamish. Kenzi asks hesitantly if Hamish is human, thinking of some other Fae/Human relations, but no, he’s Dark Fae. Sabine and Hamish were caught in a 20’s period piece (at night, which beautifully covers any stylistic hiccups) and have been separated ever since; Sabine in jail, Hamish theoretically free, since men tend to be given the benefit of the doubt. She tempted him, she misled him, she coerced him, whatever. Mostly, she has a vagina, end of story.

The unstated question in all this is: would Bo be willing to wait 80 years for Dyson, still being faithful and not knowing if he would ever love her back? The answer, as we’ll discover in a mere 4 episodes, is no. Later the question will get flipped around: Would Dyson be willing to wait 80 years for Bo? The answer is an ambiguous ‘maybe but not really happy about it.’

Part of why Bo is so determined to make the Sabine/Hamish thing work out is she wants to convince herself love doesn’t die, if one just wants it badly enough. But Hamish doesn’t, which pisses Bo off. It seems pretty straightforward. Sabine wants Hamish. Hamish doesn’t want her. Despite a lot of blather about how she has a chance, the game is entirely rigged against her. There’s a lot of justification of objectification, execution, and election via manipulation. It’s ritual and honor, you see. Just like we’ve always governed this way, or worn these things, or held everyone to this specific societal standard. Traditiooooooon tradition!

I feel like this is a cap from Ever After.

Bo’s voiceover-as-plan-is-deployed is a out of the norm for the show, but really adds to the Epic Heist feel of the thing. Dyson makes a great (and suave – they should find excuses for dressing him up more often) bodyguard as Trick plies his wiles and Bo sexes the pants and dresses off the voters.

In the midst of all this, an invisible Hamish arrives, and this sets in motion a plot which is not pre-explained to the viewers. It works as well or better, because all the elements (Hamish’s invisibility, Dyson’s ability to have people instinctively trust him, Bo and Kenzi’s penchant for sneakiness within the letter of the law, Lauren’s magical syringes) are well established within the show and the episode.

I miss these plots, with the core team being all nefarious and adorable together.

Slightly buried in all this is the affect the Ash will have on Lauren’s position. It’s mostly foreshadowed here, and Lauren – as usual – plays her cards close to her vest. She may be helping Sabine because she’s a hopeless romantic, or because it’s the ‘right thing,’ or because she wants to be the one who saves the day for Bo (as some glances near the end intimate). But she also has a vested interest in there being a new Ash, and here she learns about said Ash while doing the first blatantly subversive thing against him. (Giving Bo the key and map, while keeping quite about Aife, was certainly subversive, but in the midst of the trauma and chaos she figured it would go unnoticed, and had plausible deniability if it someone did realize Bo broke into the trophy room.) Lauren does love her work, but she’s still got one eye on the door. She isn’t so naïve as to believe Bo’s comment ‘I guess science kicks the crap out of tradition’ will come to pass without her taking action on her own behalf as Sabine did, and the immediate cut to Lachlan’s coronation underscores that.

We also get the start of Hale’s backstory: his family is ‘old, as in stuffy and judgmental and generally disapproving of any non-traditional life I want to make for myself.’

In short, the first two episodes of this season are doing really well at having their own plots, and gradually establishing the main character arcs for the season, along with some of the story arcs.

Stray Observations

– Where did that swing come from, and why hasn’t it been used more often!?

– Sometimes Dark Fae aren’t allowed in the Dal, sometimes they are (as in this episode, they’re the ones not bowing). Can’t keep track.

– “Have fun storming the castle.” #PrincessBrideCallout

– Survivor: Fae Island. I would tune in.

– But, Ksenia Solo’s delivery of ‘I wish I knew how to quit you.’

I *love* the shallow focus which causes the extreme blur on the street lights in the background. Perfect choice here.

Comments
8 Responses to “Lost Girl: Season 2, Episode 02, I Fought the Fae (and the Fae Won)”
  1. N. says:

    First thank you for your thoughtful analysis, It’s always a pleasure to read them!

    Second, I have questions question concerning this:

    “It’s really difficult to deal with something as intangible as ‘losing one’s love’ in a fantastical storyline, because love is already somewhat fantastical, philosophical, and problematic. To address how ‘losing one’s love’ works, there should be groundwork established: is love a choice? Is love a feeling? Is love an etherial essence which can be stored in a jar? (Later, we learn it’s apparently the latter, but we don’t know that at this point.) Can it be restored, and if so, can it be restored via external means, or only by the lover?”

    I’m not sure I understand correctly, do you imply this kind of storyline could be done in a non fantastical storyline? I was under the impression that losing one’s love because of external forces could only be a fantastical storyline. On the other hand, except for the jar question, does a writer needs to establish the same groundwork – except for the jar question – when dealing with lost love in any kind of story?

    • Melanie says:

      Thank you for reading, and commenting! Always great to have another voice in the comments.

      To answer your last question first: the usual ‘lost love’ story, when not based in an alternate universe with alternate rules, can usually safely assume the audience is familiar with love and its loss, and proceed accordingly, though often laying the groundwork of a particular story through: the tale itself, flashback, voiceover, or having characters refer to ‘our first date’ or something like.

      Losing one’s love due to external forces is possible in non-fantastical settings – Othello loses his love for Desdemona due to Iago’s whisperings; love is ‘lost’ due to one’s partner cheating, and/or becoming more enamored with another person; or one may discover a deep dark hidden secret the person has been keeping, etc. It’s not so obvious or sudden, though, as yanking it out and putting it in a jar. This type of losing one’s love due to external forces is only possible in a fantastical world, and thus needs even more/different groundwork.

      I don’t expect the gang to sit around a table and theorize about the nature of love, storge vs eros vs phileo vs agape, or for Trick to recount the times in Fae lore where it’s happened (though I would totally tune in for all that). But by not nailing down how it works at any point, just throwing a couple pieces out there when absolutely necessary, it’s too much like the writers are pretzling the story to suit the needs of any particular episode or situation, so they can best have the cake of Dyson losing his love, but eat the cake of Dyson being fully operational part of the love triangle, complete with yearning. The weirdest function of this cake having/eating is Dyson having a weird intense desire for Bo even though his love is gone. The most egregious function is leading the audience on with an expectation Dyson could love Ciara, then having him discover despite his feelings and actions, he ‘can’t’ love her, like it would cheapen Dyson’s Bo-love had he loved Ciara in the meantime!

      Ultimately it’s a conflation of the Mate For Life with Love Lost which leads to this whole mess of quicksand, and devolves the storyline so quickly.

      You bring up good points. I would probably edit my original paragraph thus:

      It’s even more difficult to deal with something as intangible as ‘losing one’s love’ in a fantastical storyline, because you’re already playing with a concept of love unfamiliar to your audience. In ‘reality,’ love cannot be ripped from one’s chest by a woman in a threadbare dressing gown. Love can’t be stored in a jar, and love isn’t somehow finite, or given to one person and then tied only to them forever and ever amen. Since the writers are thus toying with the very foundations of ‘love’ – already a somewhat fantastical, philosophical, and problematic thing – they must also establish exactly how ‘love’ works in the Lost Girl universe, and more satisfactorily than the tap dance we get. What are its similarities and differences to how the audience understands love? Can it be ripped from any Fae’s chest? Does Dyson losing his love for Bo mean he has also lost the ability to love at all only because he said the magic words ‘Mate For Life’ in 01.13? Do all wolf Fae work this way, this concept of ‘one love,’ and what happens when their partners die? Etc Etc.

      Or the writers can not answer the questions. Which means the storylines have more open possibilities, BUT, the audience is going to be really skeptical of how you got there. It’s a tradeoff, and I think the answer is the same as when telling any good lie or story. ALWAYS BE SPECIFIC.

      I think that answered your questions, but feel free to prod some more!

      • N. says:

        Thank you!

        And sorry for the lack of edit in the first comment (bluhsing right now…).

        • Melanie says:

          Any time. I *love* when I get prodded to expound upon things.

          As for your comment, not only do I understand how easily typos and such creep in (the lovely advantage to this being my blog is I can fix my comments in ‘post,’ and even then I don’t catch everything), but I didn’t notice any lack of edit whatsoever, so please cool your burning cheeks.

      • vexundorma says:

        “I will take from you that which you value the most. I will take your love of her! I leave you with the memories of what you have lost, but you will never feel passion for her again!”, those were the exact words that the Norn said to Dyson in 1.13. She doesn’t even mention ‘love’ but ‘passion’ which gives the sentence a very precise meaning. It was, in a way, a gracious exit offered to his character – a noble gesture that costs his passion for Bo – because the way he was written in S1 clearly underscored how way out of his league she was. In S2 there was a frantic retcon by the writers, probably because the introduction of Ciara and her presence, her history with Dyson and their chemistry together showed he was still capable of love, and someone higher up in the production food chain must have decided the ‘triangle’ should come before story or characters. What they got in the end was a mighty mess they haven’t been able to clean up.
        In a show about long-lived creatures and a succubus, love should be one of the main themes, and it is but in a disappointing pedestrian way. The show, for instance, ignores that the notion of romantic love as the ideal to be attained in one’s life comes from a time when it was fashionable to die from consumption (read tuberculosis), preferably young and full of promise, and inevitable tragedy was regarded as the natural outcome for the perfect relationship. I cannot envision Dyson, born and raised a few years after the Roman withdrawal from Britain and living most of his young adult age as the Western Roman Empire collapsed and the waves of ‘barbarian’ tribes crossed Europe, embracing such a notion – I don’t think he would even understand the concept; most likely he would snark off to Trick about a similar craziness at the time of knights, tournaments and chivalry tales made up by jesters. How much more interesting such a Dyson would be.
        The diverse approaches to love, life and relationships that people with such long experience of life in different times and cultures would permit to explore has remained untouched. Which is a pity because the writers have a wealth of historical knowledge, folk tales and myths to draw from in this particular subject.
        And if we talk about love in Lost Girl we have to talk about Bo, the succubus who wants to love but is unsure if she can. That is one of the most interesting issues in the show, but addressing it would make for a very long post.
        As for the philosophical discussion about the nature of love you mentioned I think the show kind of did it with the narrative; look how Bo relates to each person around her – Lauren, Kenzi, Dyson, Trick and Hale.

        • Melanie says:

          But Dyson does *appear* to still feel passion, just not love. Which is why it feels like what the Norn says is her interpretation of things, but not how it plays out. Everything they show contradicts the one thing they say.

          And then, it feels like Dyson operates under the same general strictures with Bo as Ciara; he can’t ‘love’ Ciara, but he can exhibit what looks like it. Which is funny, because he acts like he loves Ciara as much or more as he acted it with Bo; thus why I think they’re leading the audience on. It’s more like he can’t commit to Ciara, whereas he committed to Bo. So are they saying love is commitment, or an indescribable feeling? It looks like it must be one of the two.

          The fact Dyson’s Mate For Life contradicts centuries of nurture and experience is indeed weird and ignores what should be his experience. But the historical part of him (and Hale, even more so) often falls by the wayside.

          I wouldn’t say ‘untouched,’ as we do see how Olivia and Samir, Ryan, Trick, and The Morrigan cope with it – open relationship, playboy, serial monogamist except apparently also a swinger whether that was with or sans wife, playgirl, respectively. We kind of see the difference in Dyson and Caden’s approaches, as well. But they could certainly mine it for more, so much more.

          Yes, (though I meant in relation to this particular instance), the show does well touch on the nature of Bo’s kinds of love, and even voice it (to varying degrees) in Bo Place Like Home, The Kenzi Scale, Death Didn’t Become Him, Raging Fae, and probably a few other places.

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