Lost Girl: Season 2, Episode 14, “Midnight Lamp”

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

Did they ever explain the inscription? I don't remember.

The opening shot (not counting the cutaway to a closer shot so we can see Bo’s befudlement) is classic Lost Girl: wide shot with deep depth of field, lots of objects in the foreground, subject and camera moving at the same time, camera landing, and then a few seconds after, cutting to something the character is doing. I’m not going to slight the camera op by saying ‘simple,’ but it’s fairly straightforward, there’s no rack focusing, the lighting is broad because there’s so much movement, voila. Movement is a good way to keep things interesting. Not the movement in the opening shots at the Dal, Ryan’s workspace,

It’s also adorably typical that after (an unspecified amount of time, but long enough to have gone through some serious relationship and mommy issues, become best friends, defeat several bad guys, make life-long enemies, etc) Bo has no idea how many scoops the coffeemaker takes. While she’s leaving that voicemail, she throws in the part where she’s waffling on becoming Lachlan’s chamption. Again, simple but effective way of showing how Bo depends on Kenzi for everything, including emotional support.

This episode is pretty simplistic. It’s dealing with a lack of two main characters, so it’s not so much about plot as introducing a new character. As for sets, it uses some established sets, a bar, a palatial house, what I presume to be some of Lost Girl’s own back lot and lights, and a workspace ingeniously devised to suggest Tony Stark on a tighter budget.

Screen Shot 2013-09-05 at 12.55.39 PM

I like Ryan the same way I like Logan from Gilmore Girls. He’s smart, quick-witted, interesting, handsome with a veneer of smarmy, a touch manic, and he gives Bo / Rory a fun distraction and a lot of living packed into a short period of time. He talks openly about sex, and He’s obviously a great lay, and he owns pretty shirts, cars, etc. Though he’s in fact a slave to a giant corporation, he’s a vocal fan of the idea of ‘No Gods, No Masters.’

It’s not to say I like all Ryan’s characteristics, of course. He’s more than a bit of an ass. But he’s an interesting ass. Ultimately, he’s not right for Bo. He’s nigh without scruples, he doesn’t respect her or her wishes as she deserves, and he makes no moves to truly understand her friends, her desires, or her world. He’s a nice fling, but I knew he couldn’t last, so I enjoyed what I got.

The B plot’s main purpose is to give us introduction to Ryan, and have Hale save the day since, well, we’re missing Lauren and Kenzi and the saving requires not-so-much brute strength. But it also riffs on celebrity culture. Fans who insist on comparing their real-life girlfriends to a fictional character, the real girls always found wanting. The sexual obsession with celebrities. The celebrities drunk on their own power. The general facade of the whole thing. The way even Bo, generally more immune to the flash and glam than Kenzi, recently scoffing at Ryan’s offer of a private jet and Parisian breakfast, and certainly the master of touch and not subject to it, falls temporarily under Sadie’s spell.

There’s not much to psychoanalyze in Ryan and Bo trying to find their way out of a maze, and the whole plot is wrapped up with a hickey. Which, ok, that’s interesting. Ryan uses his brain, Hale his powers, Trick his vast store of knowledge, Dyson is fairly helpless because nothing requires brute force, but all this combined only gets them so far. It’s Bo’s quick thinking and nature which lead her to the answer being sexual in nature.

In a similar way, I like the discussion of the music box. “The whole lamp thing, it’s a metaphor.” “You’ve got to think of it in a way that’s not three-dimensional.” Right off it describes some basic historical/mythological shortcomings of the whole lamp theory, and the solution is not to solve for them, but simply run with them.

Problem solved, Djinn delivered, Ryan introduced, Bo and Ryan get right down to it.

What does she see in him? Well he has the love for danger of Dyson, the smarts of Lauren, a fancy wardrobe, no strings attached, and plenty of mechanical and presumably manual skills. As I laid out before, Bo has had the deep intense high school relationship, she’s ready for a no-rules, collegiate bad boy fling.

Of course, she’s not ready for him to be Dark Fae. Surprise! Maybe she should have asked that before. Along with his latest STD screening.

Because this is certainly not his first hundredth rodeo.

Stray Observations

– The episode is called “Midnight Lamp,” and most of the shots are darker and goldtoned, some are blue, and several are gold with blue tinges and accents.

– Lachlan knows how to make good coffee, as every person who thinks him/herself cultured should.

– He also tells Bo Ryan is ‘very good with his hands,’ before implying he set the two of them up so he can have his way with Ryan via proxy.

– I completely glazed over the Dyson/Norn thing because we finally get a kind-of answer: “You have no love left to give.” Though this raises two MORE questions – is love not a renewable resource in the Fae world? Once Kenzi gives Dyson his love back, could he theoretically transfer it from Bo to someone else? – it sort of puts to rest the other questions I’ve been asking through the first half of the season.

– Jocasta shout-out!

– ‘I don’t set foot in a lamp for less than a million dollars!’

9 Responses to “Lost Girl: Season 2, Episode 14, “Midnight Lamp””
  1. vexundorma says:

    This was a taste of things to come: basically filler and a potentially very interesting new character that was used as a plot device for more filler.
    S2A and S2B are so different and disconnected in concept and scope that I wonder if bad timing, scheduling difficulties or budget problems are able to explain it (sudden flashes of the Robert Wolfe-Andromeda debacle).

    • Melanie says:

      In regards to this and your comment on the last episode (“the order for 9 extra episodes came when they were already shooting this season, and even if there was some rewriting on the last episodes I doubt it altered in any major way the overall plan for the initial 13 episode run), allow me to spitball a little.

      This is all conjecture, but educated conjecture. I’ll also overexplain a little, assuming people who are uber-familiar with the show and not-as-uber-familiar-with-it will be reading the comments.

      Upon getting an order for a back nine, the producers would immediately get schedules for all the main actors. Obviously, Anna Silk would be most important. Next would probably be Vincent Walsh (Lachlan) and Rick Howland (Trick). They’re going to be more central to where the story is going – and if they weren’t before, they’re going to be now! because obviously some of the other actors have conflicts. Zoie Palmer and Ksenia Solo certainly did, and I believe Kris Holden-Ried did as well. Typically, anything else they were under contract for would have trumped this shoot, as season extensions were almost certainly not in their contracts. Lauren and Dyson are both easy to write out at this point – they just leave town with Nadia and Ciara. Losing Kenzi hurts, because she’s the comic relief, confidante, and audience surrogate rolled into one, but thankfully she’s back soon.

      Then they make a schedule of days people are available, and the numbers. Though the show typically shoots an episode at a time, with scenes out of order but everything (except possibly establishing shots and pickups) within that week, they may have decided to shoot the back half more out of order, to keep the ideas of Lauren and Kenzi fresh. So for example, Zoie Palmer and Ksenia Solo may have left to do their other shows, come back, and shot all their scenes for 2.13-2.17 all at once, even if the rest of the cast had shot through 2.17 already. Though many shows already operate like this (when I worked on Battleground, a typical day would shoot scenes from 3-4 different episodes), shooting episodically is ideal for the actors and for wardrobe/set continuity. Changing the structure midseason hurts every department, and a lot more things start happening of necessity rather than preference. It makes a grueling day when actors are shooting scenes from several different episodes and trying to keep their emotions ‘in order,’ as well as lighting, clothing, and set dressing continuity.

      Now writers look at the overall time they’ll have actors available, add some side characters like Ryan and Val and Nate, and start to tweak the last couple end episodes. You’re almost certainly right the overall plan didn’t change much, but they probably tweaked it, and they also needed to start integrating Nate and Ryan quickly.

      Writers Room:
      “So, we’re already having a birthday party. Ryan should just show up there.”
      “Ok, but why?”
      “He’s bringing a gift! A bracelet.”
      “And it’s a magical bracelet!”
      “What does it do?”
      “I don’t know, we’ll figure that out in episode 14.”

      Then they dig out their S3 arc and rework it for 9 episodes.

      Location scouting, set design, wardrobe, props, everyone goes into the mode of producing another full season, but with less time and – I’m guessing – less budget. The PAs and props and such are likely easy to get to stay on, but maybe an editor has a conflict with another show. Maybe the audio guy is flying to the US to shoot a pilot during the Episode 15 shoot. Since they use rotating directors, everyone’s schedule has to be consulted and locked down. The production manager is on the phone trying to find a Key PA (local – no way they pay travel, per diem, and lodging for this position) because their current key PA had figured those months off were perfect for having a baby, and she’s 6 months along. Extras casting is putting out calls. Catering and hotel rooms and union drivers have to be booked. The equipment house has to be called, and if some of the bigger light kits are rented on certain days, you have to either reschedule that shoot (um, no.) or call around to different equipment houses for that special gear. Hope that shoot is on a weekend, because weekend rates are one-day rates so long as you get the gear back first thing Monday. Otherwise, your shoot HAS to run on time, because you’re really strapped for budget.

      On the one hand, these are the sorts of things every movie/show deals with on a daily basis. On the other, they’re dealing with it on the fly in a shortened window. The writers are trying to write around the fact they don’t have certain actors, the location they wrote isn’t available so they need to create a plausible reason for it to happen in this other location a producer sounds and swears is awesome and really cheap, and their B-plot is actually going to get more screen time now than usual.

      I like how the back half of the season pulls back some (partly of necessity) and digs into emotional motivations. We get some Hale backstory, and see how he wants change but doesn’t recognize some of his own shortcomings. We see Kenzi playing the fae game and the relationship game. We get more Morrigan. We see Bo going through her next natural relationship phase in her bildungsroman. They snag some pretty sweet sets, and make the most of them, even when, for example, they make a fae mansion and an industrial kitchen work as the same house in the same episode. They get creative, like using existing back sides and equipment by making a character a movie star in this episode. I really like some episodes in the back half, including the upcoming School’s Out, and even episodes I’m more ambivalent about have really interesting components – Ryan’s rush into marriage, for example.

      But long story short, yes, there are plenty of technical reasons for the disconnect you feel.

      • vexundorma says:

        If I had to guess I’d say you’re right on the money about the technical rigmarole following the extra nine episodes order and its impact on the writing. But I think the order also unleashed a mess of its own among the writing team: it is rather interesting that the producers brought a writer that never wrote another episode for the show, before or after, to pen the season finale, arguably the most important episode of a season.
        I agree that the technical aspects you expanded upon can explain a lot of what happened in S2B or the disconnect I feel between S2A and S2B; but not all of it. By chance or by choice the writers terminated the new opened venues (for instance Ciara and Naida, Michelle Lovretta’s creations, were used as simple plot devices and clumsily dispatched) and changed the direction of the show. After an expansion of the fae world view there was a reduction of that observation window (not even a single mention of the High Council or the Old Country in a moment of global menace to the fae) and what’s more, the fae were now depicted as a pathetic and unruly bunch of grownup children – we went from a portrait of the fae in 301-302 where they are a force to be reckoned to the sad joke presented in 321-322.
        The back nine order was not kind to the show by any stretch of the imagination, and left quite a few dents on its wake. In my case it cast a doubt on the writers ability to bring to fruition the potential of the show premise, a doubt that S3 was unable to allay.

      • vexundorma says:

        Wow, now I can join the ranks of the sad jokers. I meant 201-202 and 211-222, of course.

      • Melanie says:

        Indeed, more than just technical problems went into it, but as you know by now (and I believe my response supports on its own) I can get quite verbose, so I limited myself to your particular question. I don’t know how much writers’ schedules went into having to bring on new writers, but I agree it’s very odd to throw a finale to a newcomer to the writer’s room.

        Nadia was always brought in to be dispatched, but I would have much rather seen it happen over 13 episodes, especially since Zoie Palmer (and thus Lauren, and thus Nadia) wasn’t available the entire back nine for shooting, so their appearances were even shorter. The whole thing wasn’t given enough time to organically develop, and thus Bo’s decision when she stabs Nadia bears little emotional weight. She barely exchanges words with Nadia before that, and even Nadia’s significant interactions with Lauren can be counted on one hand, thus her death, her intimacy with / betrayal of Lauren doesn’t cut as deep, and the only real thing they’re able to salvage is the wrench it throws into the Bo/Lauren relationship, not actually Bo’s guilt over killing Nadia even though she was possessed. Even then, the tension between Lauren and Bo has to be rushed to a resolution, because they need them to show signs in 2.22 which will foreshadow them getting together in 3.01. It’s interesting because I’m actually in the middle of writing an essay which argues shows need shorter seasons, and TV overall will be better. But this whole thing would have been better served over 13, or at the least the actresses available every shooting day for the nine.

        What bothers me about Ciara is that, unlike Nadia, she wasn’t brought in to be dispatched . . . until she is. She was an interesting character whose very job and nature as fairy means she could have come in and out of the show, even had she broken it off with Dyson, but they had to end her entirely. And she’s dispatched yes because thus the triangle is clearer, but also because the writers wanted/needed a death with emotional heft to lend credence to the Garuda storyline, but must leave the original four (Bo, Kenzi, Dyson, Lauren) untouched, they couldn’t kill Hale (pragmatically, partially, because killing off their only main minority character would be bad, but also because his backstory and position as royal family has great potential), Trick brings a lot of not just exposition but deviousness to the whole thing, so it boils down to: kill Ciara.

        [BUFFY SPOILERS] This is kind of why and how Anya gets offed at the end of Season 7, though her death has far less emotional impact on the rest of the Scooby gang than Ciara’s does. Ciara’s wake and reactions of those who knew her is something I appreciate in Lost Girl, because I will always, always be driven to tears and rage over how Anya gets ignominiously killed then shrugged off [END BUFFY SPOILERS].

        What’s interesting about S4’s potential, as we sit right now, is there are three huge possibilities:

        1. after the first episode or two (which would seem to have to deal with whereever Bo and possibly Dyson and Tamsin have been taken, which doesn’t seem to be in our so far tiny little patch of city), continue fairly as normal
        2. expand that observation window you mention
        3. take us into an entirely different aspect of the fae world with the Wanderer, continue that for a while, maybe peeking in on whatever the hell Kenzi/Bruce and Lauren are doing, or maybe finding a way to incorporate them.

        Perhaps they’ll try for all three, but that’s a large chunk to bite off. I’m left at the infuriating response I’m always left with when I watch TV as its airing instead of waiting for the thing to end and the DVDs to come out: waiting and seeing.

  2. Maigray says:

    Thanks for the detailed explanation!

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  2. […] My theory on all the different music boxes on the mantle is they contain souls, kind of like it seems the jack-in-the-box contains Hades. Play the tune to completion, souls are released. Also could be a callback to “Midnight Lamp.” […]

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