Lost Girl: Season 2, Episode 10, Raging Fae
You know the drill. Possible spoilers through 03.13. All reviews here.
After a wham-bam-thank-you-ma’am and walk-and-talk rundown, we get a shot framed to suggest covert surveillance, and then the obvious camera shutter visuals and sound in case you missed it. Mysterious Woman Photog tails Bo and Kenzi as they go meet Lauren, who is starting to look like the flip side of Bo – a human who works outside the system to help Fae when they get out of bounds or in danger. Meeting a dude in a back lot to treat his wounds isn’t sanctioned by the Fae, and Oscar the Ogre seems to have called Lauren directly. She’s got a reputation.
Oscar is part of an underground MMA ring fighting for cash, run by a gym owner named Ferraro. Oscar got his ass handed to him by a human, and he wants to know what gives.
Ferraro is, of course, a “well-connected pillar of the community type.” He gives to charity, he helps immigrants, he’s on the board of the hospital, he knowingly pits superpowered beings against humans, to the bodily endangerment of the humans and the potential exposure risk of the Fae. This being the Fae world, it’ll be allowing humans access to Fae powers which dooms him. But he’s making a pretty penny at the moment, letting the Ash win at golf and bribing officials left and right. Everybody knows his name.
Bo herself has become a kind of respected icon. She’s helping the downtrodden, a liaison between both sides, the first person Lauren calls when there are people being pummeled by The System. Yet her storyline here reminds us she’s got things in her past she’d like to forget. Mel, the sister of Bo’s first boyfriend, was the photog. She comes calling to convince Kenzi of Bo’s dark side, and the first thing she calls Bo is a “monster.” Is she? Her friends say no. But was she? And more relevant, really, does Bo herself think she is?
Bo and Ferraro converge in the gym. It’s full of testosterone and misogyny. Cocky, damaging machismo – from toughing out symptoms which should warn of concussions or worse, to Ferraro buffeting his fighters and insulting them, to roid rage – runs rampant to the detriment of common sense and safety.
Look, I’m not a ‘prude’ about violence in sports. I enjoy MMA, two of my favorite sports are football and fútball. I get for psychology’s sake, the names are going to be symbols of brutality (‘Thrasher’) or objectification (‘Boom Boom’) or both. But when we use language and touch to demean anyone who seems not tough enough, when it is insisted a ‘real man’ (whatever the hell that means) ignore warning signs, when athletes are pushed to perform whether it leads to steroids or blackouts or personal problems, when the biggest league in the US is discouraging use of safer helmets to turn a larger profit, when brute force is the be-all end all, what we have is a systemic problem.
Ferraro’s gym, along with his general derision of women, is a microcosm of that problem. Is this an intentional move on the part of the writer, or it is a natural outcome of the slightest of caricaturization of any boxing gym in America? Don’t know, don’t think it matters. Seeing and writing a hyper-masculinized place through a female-positive lens is necessarily going to portray flaws in the place and its culture. (If you want a more subtle, ongoing examination of how culture and boxing create hyper-masculinized centers, Ray Donovan is on Showtime.) Again, I like these sports. I don’t like the culture which fosters the glorification of them to the detriment of anything even perceived as feminine or in need of assistance.
Dyson, meanwhile, gets momentarily concerned about Bo, but switches subjects to ask Bo to follow up with the cage fight, anyways. That’s clunky, as is the scene at the cop shop where everyone converges. It feels as contrived as it is to have them all meet like that – Mel doesn’t put two and two together when Bo is past the secure cop checkpoint and chumming it up with a lead detective? Kenzi yells “Bo” then doesn’t run after her? – but both serve to forward the plot quickly, to the point where Bo defaults to her old solution: run.
Kenzi follows up, saying she was trying to protect Bo, to which Bo responds, “everything bad that has happened in my life has been because someone has been trying to protect me.” Specifically, lying or hiding truth to protect her. Dyson (while sleeping with Bo) and Trick lied about Aife. Trick lied about Lou Ann and is still lying about Aphrodite knows what. Lauren (while sleeping with Bo) hid the truth about Vex. Bo’s adoptive parents hid the fact of her fae nature.
Her parents chose to deal with the unknown by lying and laying strict rules. It wasn’t only that Bo wasn’t supposed to have sex, Bo wasn’t even allowed to date. (While parents set varying guidelines for their children dating, it’s common in fundamentalist circles to disallow dating through high school and sometimes college.) So Bo isn’t just guilty she let the sex get out of control, she’s thinking if she had ‘followed the rules’ then she wouldn’t have been in the back seat with Kyle to begin with.
Is the show advocating that rules should be able to be broken with no repercussions or life lessons? No, instead advocating parents/Ashes/authority figures not simply set up laws with no explanation, treating adults or teenagers like puppies. If Bo had known about her powers, if she’d been given a reason not to date, she could have at least made an informed choice. Instead, subterfuge. Which is bad. And which has led us here.
While Bo’s story applies both to her powers and general teenage sexual desire (puberty sets them both off, you feel out of control, sex being evil, etc), the rhetoric is certainly that used about sex to shame girls, even more specifically within religious circles, all the way to the escalation of a woman with sexual desires being of the devil. The way the flashbacks are filmed, with Bo and Kyle starting about equal, and and Bo slowly growing more insistent and ultimately topping him, is both symbolic of her power taking control, and the way ‘woman being dominant in sexual matters = disaster’ would have been portrayed in Bo’s upbringing.
Bo is sick of it. Want it or not, she’s a sexual being. She’s a succubus. She’s bisexual. And she feels guilty as hell about all of it. “Screw my biology!” she snaps when Lauren tells her she should feed. Lauren and Dyson and Kenzi all try to be helpful, but they can’t truly comprehend. Dyson was never taught to hate himself or his nature (this works, does it ever, as applied to boys not being taught their sexuality is bad). Lauren doesn’t have a Fae nature, or an imperative to feed. Kenzi has always eschewed what others think, and has a much more blasé approach to doing what she needs to survive.
Interestingly, after each of them try and fail to convince Bo killing Kyle wasn’t her fault, all of them separately land on the same thing to reinforce to Bo: love. Dyson, who’s been getting along platonically, reminds her everyone at some point hurts his or her loved ones, and it’s possible to forgive and move on. Kenzi shrugs and insists if Bo runs, she runs, too; she’s all in, and loves Bo despite what she’s done or how she may treat Kenzi in her moments of anger. Lauren expresses ‘I absolutely love (you)’ in an outburst of emotion, and reminds Bo that she, Dyson, Kenzi and Hale care deeply for Bo, thus them knowing about her past shouldn’t be a point of shame, but an opportunity for Bo to share her burden.
Much of this review is me rambling deep into the woods. Partly because that’s what I love to do. Partly because the episode is so easy, the solutions so predictable and spelled out – of course it’s the kid; Bo was a victim of her powers just as the toad kid their adopted parents were unable to help them; Yeah, we get that Bo’s guilt over killing Kyle makes her think it’s plausible she could kill Trick; parallels abound! – subtext is much more interesting.
But mostly, the episode itself is not much more than a vehicle for the backstory. Unlike, say, the Lich, Oscar and Ferraro are superfluous; they serve as stage dressing for the important parts, which remind us of how Bo and Dyson, and Bo and Kenzi, and Bo and Lauren, and Bo and Hale, all work. Whether the writers found out there’d be a back end of the season in time to restructure a little, or whether it was always planned, this episode and the next* are a bit of a breather to solve some cream puff cases, give a little Bo backstory, and remind us of what all these characters – her family – mean to Bo before she takes the next steps in her journey.
– *You could argue other S2-back-half episodes do the same thing, filling time until the Garuda, but most of them either make a much stronger play off tropes (high school!), flesh out secondary characters (Kenzi and Hale), or show Bo change through her relationship with Ryan.
– How much do I love the awful, cheesy WordArt motion graphics on the split screens (main recap pic)? SO MUCH.
– There’s a little hint of Kenzi guilt here. Mel got her break in the case in what we know as 1.01, when Bo killed Kenzi’s would-be rapist.
– Trick continues his pattern of doing helpful things for selfish reasons; lying to Mel to keep the Fae hidden, but also buy him into the knowledge of the Nain Rouge’s prophesy.
– We also get the next piece of the Lachlan puzzle, and it’s a nice little endcap.
– “’Bo.’ That’s not a name. Boom-Boom, that’s a name.”
– What exactly makes Bo think it’s OK to say ‘Rodger Dodger’?
– The line “Bo, keep your guard up,” is simple but perfect, especially since Kenzi’s the one yelling it. Also, we get the feeling Kenzi is not a stranger to being in a cage fight audience.