Lost Girl: Season 2, Episode 16, School’s Out
You know the drill. Possible spoilers through 03.13. All reviews here.
Immediately upon discovering the premise for this episode, I groaned. Adults undercover, school dance, hot for teacher, Romeo and Juliet; I love episodes which play on tropes, but the back-to-high-school thing is ohmygosh so overdone.
And indeed, all the big things are fairly predictable. It’s obvious who the (accidental) culprit is soon after we meet him. The principal, gym teacher, parent, are all caricatures with moments of screen time designed not to shed light, but move the plot forward. The classroom and stretchy attempts to tie literature lessons directly to the hero’s life follow expected courses. None of those things break ground. Instead, it’s the multiple small things this episode does, with acting, with carrying its theme through, with character analysis, which make it work. Really well.
Kenzi gets entirely rejected by the in crowd, and instead of getting back at them or getting in with them or getting made-over by them, she drops back to fit with her natural crowd, the freaks and geeks.
Not only the teenage boys, but also the teenage girls, appreciate Bo’s presence in the classroom with her (borderline inappropriate for a sub teacher, ye gods and little fishes) outfit.
We get more insight into how the fae grow up: kids are often integrated into human public schools, undetectable by other fae until they hit puberty hits between 11 and 16, which helps explain how Bo escaped notice, since she was apparently a Big Deal in the fae world.
The mashups of ideas students spew are hilarious and reminiscent of some theories I’ve heard put forth in seriousness. And though the pushy parents and neuron overload catalyst are standard, the Flowers for Algernon twist they lead to at the end is surprising and a far lesser used high school literature tie-in than Romeo and Juliet.
Everything high school brings out in the characters works, too. When Bo says ‘I cannot do Jane Austen again’ and Dyson replies ‘That’s what I said when I left England,’ Bo doesn’t get the joke, but studious Lauren appreciates it plenty. Bo doesn’t know anything about Jane Austen, she’s simply name-dropping literature hotshots. Later, Bo doesn’t name the Capulet and Montague houses ‘Juliet’ and ‘Romeo’ for simplicity (or to let the writers sneak in that Freudian Ryan slip), she does it because that’s all she knows about the story. She switches the class talkback to werewolves not only because Dyson’s on her mind, but because she knows enough to fake talk of supernatural wolves, and realizes her students will talk circles around her Shakespeare knowledge. Bo is less educated than all of her friends, and insecure about it; though it doesn’t often show and won’t come out full-force until “Fae-de to Black,” it glimmers here.
As befitting the theme, the best moments in the episode are the awkward ones. Bo struggles with her feelings for Lauren now Lauren is in another relationship; how very high school of her. For her part, Nadia spends most of her screen time marking her territory and being possessive (again, so high school). Lauren tries to walk the line by apologizing to Bo but not actively rebuffing Nadia, because she feels guilty about hiding so much. And straightforward Lauren has a delightfully hard time processing when Bo jokingly suggests a lobster dinner and backrub for ‘extra credit;’ she’s obviously got some mental pictures going on.
Upping the awkward ante, Nadia is aggressively canoodling Lauren in Bo’s living room when who should show up but Dyson, to whom Lauren and Bo simultaneously, suspiciously insist he’s not interrupting. Hearing his pitch to Bo, Lauren arranges to drop Nadia off and make pretenses so she can research the mysterious fae disease. Nadia feels she’s being lied to – because she is – and this leads to her insecurity about Lauren and Bo’s friendship. I don’t recall us ever getting a crystal clear explanation of how the Garuda was able to possess Nadia, though ‘being in a coma for a while and waking up perfectly fine opens up lots of other possibilities!’, but since the Garuda feeds on rage and conflict, this right here, Nadia angry over Lauren hiding something, would create a perfect opening.
Lauren isn’t the only one with guilt over her secrets. Because Bo is so conflicted over her own lies about Ryan, and also plenty jealous of Nadia, she shuts Lauren down when Lauren tries to ask for advice in the school hallway. I’ve said before Bo’s relationship with Ryan is the usual college phase people with quasi-normal development patterns go through, but this episode shows the few lingering high school elements she’s working through. Hiding your boyfriend in the bubble bath? Super mature.
Dyson as school counselor is the highlight performance as Kris Holden-Ried delivers droll advice which shows exactly how learned yet out of his depth a centuries-old wolfcop can be. His interactions with the Girl Eating Marshmallows also let him speak some truth about himself: it’s the guy’s fault; ‘you gotta find another mate for your soul.’
Last, though the decision to have the gym be empty for Bo’s big prom dance was probably assisted by lack of budget, it’s more than fitting that this girl who internally was conflicted more than most, then was outcast, and is finally growing into a woman after years of arrested development, has her homecoming dance on an empty floor. It’s a nice moment for Ryan, probably his nicest, and it fits with the grand gestures Ryan loves while showing he does have some grasp of Bo’s real emotional issues.
– You slept in! How me of you.
– Lots of whispering and off-screen comments in the audio mixing in this episode.
– Nadia’s established love of photography is put to great use here, as the photoshoot-as-foreplay works on its own but adds a whole new layer when the last shot shows it was a pretext to get a closer look at Lauren’s necklace without arousing Lauren’s suspicion. Brilliant.