Lost Girl: Season 2, Episode 12, “Masks”
You know the drill. Possible spoilers through 03.13. All reviews here.
When in the course of television events it becomes necessary for various actors to develop bodies which surpass those of the general populace and to assume the form of models and demigods, obtaining a higher station than their TV characters’ jobs entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of audiencekind requires that the story should declare and demonstrate the causes which impel them towards such glorious forms.
Thus the episode opens with Bo telling Kenzi she’s going for a run, and later mentions she does it every day. Poof! Believability.
There’s a lot going on here: Kenzi planning Bo’s first adult birthday party; Bo and Dyson completing an Impossible Task; Bo freeing Nadia; Lachlan manipulating everyone; Dyson struggling with talking about his emotions; Kenzi getting an honest-to-goodness love interest. It’s also a great balance of grim and hilarious, most of the former contributed by Lachlan and the Shaman, the latter by Kenzi and Hale (“You got the cake!”) and the travel agent (“Safe is such a relative term”).
Lauren is brought before the Ash. She apparently hasn’t been allowed to wash her face in the dungeon, but she did manage to do her hair and change her shirt, and has swapped fear and frustration for anger and snark. Lachlan’s power play, which began last episode, continues. He’s going to get Lauren to recommit to him, remove Bo’s big distraction, and get one step closer to having his Champion, all in one fell swoop.
We didn’t get to know the last Ash too well, but – as Lachlan tells Lauren – he was willing to put a woman in a coma to enslave said woman’s doctor lover, when it would give him leverage to save his people. All this even though he could have just asked nicely, paid handsomely, and Lauren would have almost certainly done it anyways. But as the shaman says, “The Light do not mind compromise when they feel the end justifies the means.”
Which came first, the Machiavellian tendencies or the Ashhood? Does one need that sort of ruthlessness to pass the rituals and gain the office, or does the office imbue the holder with ruthlessness and pragmatism? Perhaps both. Still, Lachlan’s got more than your average Naga. The timing of Chambey’s illness seems a little too convenient; I’d wager Lachlan wanted him gone so no-one but Bo and himself would ever know who truly freed Nadia, and somehow managed to slip him some poison. Lachlan didn’t know Chambey would make Bo get him a healing mask.
Despite Lachlans’ maneuverings being what brings it to pass, this episode is where Bo carries through the discoveries she made about love and herself in “Death Didn’t Become Him.” Having realized to love Lauren is to do what’s best for Lauren / what makes Lauren happy, she selflessly takes the curse off Nadia, agreeing ahead of time she’ll never tell Lauren or take credit for the act.
Lachlan’s spiel about selfless love and unspoken act being necessary to pull the nail seems to be nullified when Bo removes other nails, right? But a tiny plot hole isn’t enough to make Bo risk it; telling Lauren equaling bringing some harm to Nadi is still within the realm of possibilities, so her lips are sealed
Removing other nails from the beam, then deciding to halt but pour sand on the remaining cursing nails, is the closest Bo has gotten to blatantly playing God so far. Even with her ability to suck life from people one by one, up to and including killing them, this is a drastic step. These are strangers, completely unknown good and bad entities, and she determines their fates without even looking them in the eyes; the intensely personal action usually required if she’s going to seduce, kill, or change someones fate. Being willing to pull the nails is a baby step towards where she may be headed in season four.
Before Bo sets out, she enlists Dyson to help. It’s key Dyson doesn’t know exactly what he’s helping do. He’s not in this to help keep Lauren away from Bo. He’s in it for the thrill, and to keep from facing the reality of another step towards commitment with Ciara. He does it because he hasn’t had an adrenaline rush in a couple weeks, and because he enjoys Bo’s company, and because he knows his going will help keep Bo safe. His observations about the cloth, as well as his quick thinking to throw treasures at the Preta once Bo’s knife disintegrates, just as later he steps up without question to introduce himself to Nadia, is clutch.
The impossible task (most associated with Hercules and Psyche, the latter the subject of love- and task- related mythology as well as “Till We Have Faces”) Bo and Dyson must complete is to steal from a Preta (Hindu), who fits the description of Tantalus (Greek). It all ties together and hits a broad spectrum of mythology, including some Snow White action when Nadia awakes with nary a negative symptom.
Lost Girl creates a lot of parallels within itself, but this is one of their more subtle and, I think, most powerful. Bo walks in and sees Lauren and Nadia embracing, in the same she she walked in and found Dyson embracing the waitress in “Oh Kappa My Kappa.”
Bo walks in to see her lover embracing another woman sitting, slightly and symbolically elevated. Yes, Bo knew it was coming with Lauren, but that doesn’t make a gut-punch hurt any less, and the psychic echoes the picture must conjure of her only other serious lover magnify the pain. She blindly gropes her way out – a nice touch, to have her holding on to the doorframe as she leaves. Lauren and Nadia don’t even notice her presence.
It’s Bo’s terrible, horrible, no good very bad day, because instead of putting on her baggiest sweats and climbing into bed with spoonable food of choice and her bestie, she gets to have a surprise birthday party where she gets all weapon gifts, nothing too personal!
Though Kenzi is mostly comic relief in this episode to us a break from the God complexes and heartbreak, her determination to throw Bo the best birthday ever – including calling in favors, berating family members, hitting up friends for money and beer, and making up elaborate stories about her family’s reunions – is endearing, and it gives a counterpoint to the isolation Bo feels at the end. Though Bo’s romantic love life isn’t exactly going smoothly, her general love cup runneth over. The surprise party doesn’t follow the usual sitcom pitfalls of people not showing up, or forgetting to give the money, or spilling the beans. Everyone is invested in making Bo’s party a success, even those, like Hale, who’ve had a thousand birthdays and don’t quite grasp why Kenzi is so intent on making this one uberspecial.
Not that Bo wouldn’t, under normal circumstances, love her first grown-up birthday party. She appreciates the sentiment, and the next morning when Kenzi brings her coffee neither of them mention how forlorn Bo was. Seeing both exes and their currents has to hurt; Dyson a dull pain, Lauren a sharp sting. Yet Bo maintains a shaky smile throughout.
I love the episode title. “Masks” is simple and to the point, yet encapsulates how all the episode’s main players have disguises, literal and figurative, which they’re hiding emotions and intents behind. Still, I can’t help but think they missed some great punning opportunities. I suggest “Till We Have Fae-ces,” but I want to hear your suggestions in the comments (or via Twitter, if you’re allergic to blog commenting).
The closing scenes of the party, as Bo sits on the couch and looks around to see her friends all happy and paired off, everything shot to make the room feel bigger than it usually is, finally fading to a wide shot in which Bo sits alone as the sad singer-songwriter music swells and we realize in many ways Bo is still a Lost Girl, are so by-the-numbers as to have absolutely no right to be as effective as they are. And yet.
– Seriously, what would you name this episode? I have nothing to offer but internet cool points, but if there’s a large response perhaps I will do something bigger before S4 premieres.
– The Preta’s comments about things being “his nature” and “his fate” don’t bode well for Bo. Or, they mark her as even more special, to kick at the traces which enslave so many other fae.
– If I had a dollar for all the film job listings which said “Very exclusive gig. High profile, low pay” . . .
-“I should have known an organic fae bakery would use worms.”
– Comedy, pathos, sexiness, fighting, pulling off any fashion, drumming . . . If there’s something Ksenia Solo can’t do, she covers it well.
– Anyone who hated how quickly Dyson went from bang buddy to ‘I give you my one love’ must have fainted at how Nate zoomed past ‘Are you dating?’ to ‘I haven’t found my soulmate yet.’
– Yes, Bo thinks it’s lame that no-one but Kenzi comes up with any gift except weapons, but Lauren sums it up: they love her, thus want to keep her safe. The one person who seems to bring something impractical to the party has ulterior motives. And also, the thing turns out to be weapons-related. And so it goes.