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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
– 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.’