Lost Girl: Season 2, Episode 07, Fae Gone Wild
You know the drill. Possible spoilers through 03.13. All reviews here.
Open on The Box. The Box is tied with a pretty bow and taunting Bo with the possibility of worldwide pestilence, or the manifestation of Lauren’s secret girlfriend. Same difference. There’s the tiniest sneaking possibility the Morrigan is toying with Bo, but the likelihood is the box represents Lauren’s freedom. Bo finally refuses to open the box on the grounds it really belongs to Lauren. In other words, all Bo can think about is Lauren’s Box and its tantalizing, tempting, dangerous possibilities.
Subtle euphemisms are the best euphemisms.
Meanwhile, all it takes to incapacitate a roomful of cops is a couple strippers. Sometimes, subtlety isn’t required. In fact, for most of this episode, it takes a hiatus: the girls are all coerced into stripping, at least one after she ran away from home; the wall safe is behind the giant door-sized poster; the Hand of Glory presents some groan-worthy double entendres (take a shot every time you can make a that’s-what-she-said in reference to it); etc.
This is a basic filler episode which doesn’t do much to further any of our overarching plots – the love triangle, Bo’s past/future, Lauren’s plight, Lachlan’s insidious machinations – and has Kenzie determine because Zephyr is Russian her cousin will know him, then leads Dyson and Hale to the nightclub because they assume the widely-smiling officer on the security camera picture has met the strippers. OF COURSE HE’S SMILING WIDELY. HE’S GETTING UNDIVIDED ATTENTION FROM A STRIPPER.
It’s not complicated.
What it does do well is give a positive depiction of women.* Yes, we generally have this with Bo, Kenzi, and Lauren, and a handful of capable-if-nefarious supporting characters. But the selkies could be trapped in a story of victimhood, or require rescue by Bo or Dyson and Hale. Instead, they’ve already take it upon themselves to effect their own rescue and obtain their own pelts/freedom. The men in the story are all either perpetuating the problem or left incapacitated by the women’s plan.
Lost Girl also manages to deal with body image similarly to how they deal with sexuality: show don’t tell while equally admiring. None of the selkies dancing in the club look like anorexic skeletons. They’re obviously desired by the characters within the show, initiating happy approval from Kenzi. (A half shot for each squeaky noise.) Yes, they have some supernatural attractive powers going for them, but the point is they’re portrayed as attractive despite not all being size 0 or having washboard abs. It’s one thing to have attractive actresses who aren’t ‘industry standard,’ it’s another to showcase and adore them. Lest the cynic in you think casting couldn’t get ‘mannequin skinny,’ think of the Season 3 model buffet, as well as the general man-meat who parades through the show. No, they intentionally cast attractive regular (for the industries of stripping and TV) women.
The narrative also subverts the catty nature girls – and especially strippers, performers, and women in similar professions – are ‘supposed’ to have. Bo and Sherry help each other and have not a hint of competition despite their attractive powers, but more importantly Sherry and her fellow selkies all work together, all-for-one-one-for-all style. At the end, Sherry promises they’ll continue to stick together and look out for each other.
Another interesting thing this episode does is use mock newspapers and ‘security stills’ to progress the story. It’s a technique not often used in Lost Girl or the police procedurals this episode feels like, but it answers audience questions quickly without lengthy dialogues, and has a bit of fun while at it. The paper with a picture of Sherry mentions sexism as a potential contributing factor to the police failure, and the [above] paper which rules Zephyr’s death a suicide hawks an ‘Underwater Installation Art’ article.
On first viewing, I read the Dyson/Lauren cop shop scene thus: after Lauren told Dyson what Zephyr’s hand was going to be used for, Dyson – knowing their conversation could be recorded (though theoretically by the human cops and not Fae, which opens a whole new can of consistency worms) – slyly suggests Lauren to tell Bo about the Hand of Glory. This way, Bo is warned, and he doesn’t have to compromise the investigation or further annoy his partner who is already fed up with Bo’s interference. Whether Lauren gets that’s his intent or not, she follows through. Upon another viewing, I think that may be overthinking it. Upon another watch, it doesn’t play that way.
Dyson is pretty mellow this episode (theoretically thanks to Ciara, as supported by their later scene of happy frolicking), so he doesn’t push the issue of Lauren not telling Bo, just as he didn’t push Bo at the garage when he was pretty sure she had the contents of the van glove compartment. He’s not incredibly anxious to arrest a young girl for killing a cop-killer, nor does he feel like pushing Bo away more than he already has.
For Lauren’s part, all her time with the Fae has taught her politics well. In a position supposedly the least powerful of all the Scooby gang right now, she still manages to game the system, even if it does require Trick to buy a few beers or her to play innocent instead of speaking her mind. When Dyson asks her if she’s told anyone about the Hand of Glory, both know damn well he means Bo, but she lets her ‘like who?’ stand as a denial. She immediately leverages her helpless position (if one can leverage it, does that nullify its total helplessness?) to use the cop phone to call Bo and tell her about the Hand.
With all the female power and happiness going on, we need a cartoonish villain to jeer. Lewis treats the selkies the same as he treats his mounted fish, including the language he uses. The show continues its theme of punishing men who abuse women, including the handy little aside from Sherry about Zephyr beating her friend. Everyone agrees bad dudes deserve what they get, and when said bad dudes try and retaliate by verbally abusing or ghost-strangling, they promptly get shot down by Hale and a carton of half-and-half, respectively.
The way they scoot around the issue of Sherry and the girls getting away with Zephyr’s murder is as short-cutting is the whole procedural. Sherry reminds Dyson what it feels like to have a part of ‘who you are’ forcefully taken from you, Dyson’s soft spot for the ladies (Kenzi always; Bo when they’re not being asshats to each other; females in need of police assistance; Lauren in this episode and pretty much from now until the inexplicable end of S3) comes through and he agrees to fake another crime scene. One where, apparently, Zephyr gets pinned by a giant boulder and cuts his own hand off to escape then hangs himself from pain. Moving on.
Of course we get some heartstring tugging because of the way Sherry’s story relates to Bo and her mother(s) who hid Bo’s Fae nature, and Kenzi’s story as a teenage runaway. These empathy points are supposed to make the whole tale resonance with the audience, too, but even still it doesn’t fully earn the several minutes of parting selkie-into-the-sea at at the end.
Back for a moment to the short-cutting procedures to move the case along: it’s certainly no less egregious than what Law and Order has done for innumerable episodes now, and the ‘getting from Point A to Point B of the case-of-the-week’ isn’t the show’s core draw, anyways. It’s great when the cases are a little more complex, or when it manages to move both along parallel lines, like Food For Thought, Season 1’s sixth episode. But we’re not here for them, we’re here for Bo’s journey and that of her friends and lovers. They don’t go far this episode, until the very end.
For once, characters decide to talk before they plunge themselves into a whirlpool of emotions. Bo admits she got upset with Lauren before hearing her side, and that was unfair. But she reasonably states it was in reaction to Lauren’s unfairness, expecting Bo to be her friend and partner (though there was no stated presumption Bo was going to be her girlfriend while Lauren was trapped in the Ash’s compound, the implications were clear Lauren wanted more than one last romp between the sheets) while Lauren was still keeping such a large secret from her.
We can perhaps believe by her reactions on the phone and in the bar Lauren’s years of hiding Nadia have internalized her lies so much she doesn’t really see it as a legitimate barrier . . . but deep down we it’s a storytelling device, and the writers are counting on the acting to hang their lampshade. Still, you’ve gotta admire the chutzpah. You can only pull off a comatose girlfriend in soaps or sci-fan, and pull it off they do, and milk it for all it’s worth. As Bo notes, this could change everything.
dun dun DUUUUUUUUUUN.
– Hale’s little pantomime of his various interviews isn’t just amusing, it also saves a lot of time and money. They only have to light one setup instead of two (this and the reverse), and shooting a couple takes of one actor instead of several with two. Since the actor leaving the room doesn’t talk, he’s still an extra and on extra day-rate. This is also why Pantless Cop shrugs silently about his pants instead of saying ‘I don’t know.’
– *I get depicting all the selkies as being forced to strip against their will ignores that some women like stripping and do it like any other job. How can I argue in some places Lost Girl uses one girl to make deep overarching statements about child trafficking, and here argue a whole group of strippers isn’t meant to be representative of the larger picture? The episode makes no pretense of representing all strip clubs in the world, just one club owning bastard. While it’s true plenty of women are into stripping / prostitution / porn / etc of choice, plenty aren’t, and we shouldn’t ignore that fact. Since it’s a complex issue, we can safely say this represents one facet. Whereas when it comes to children, the only issue is: trafficking is disgusting, despicable, and horrible, and neither we nor the show make any pretense there’s any other kind.
– Who here would watch a spinoff called Dark Fae Nuns?
– If you answered yes, take a shot.
– A good part of what keeps this show working is how Anna Silk as Bo is so legitimately thrilled when something works. Both the Fae and helping people via investigation are new worlds, and she’s defying all the rules and navigating some tricky terrain. But when she manages to figure something out, beat the system, play the trump card, whatever, she’s just so damn exuberant. Her ability to radiate empathy and her overreactions of small things like the ‘What!?’ reply to Dyson at the garage don’t hurt, either.
– Take a shot for another instance of male homoeroticism!
– If you’re not highly inebriated, you missed the mouseovers.