Lost Girl: Season 2, Episode 17, The Girl Who Fae’d With Fire

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

I surrender to the symbol of my own manhood, wielded by my girlfriend!

One of Lost Girl‘s running sight gags is Bo pulling her knife on guys. Specifically Lachlan, when he’s waving his Ashhood about.

This episode starts with two girls crossing swords, and almost stabbing an alarmed Nate with one. It’s more about their bluster and Kenzi’s attempted preparedness than phallic imagery, but it’s still amusing.

Of course, because Nate is clueless about the whole fae world, Bo and Kenzi have to make up a reason they’re playing with their swords in the middle of the day. ‘Sword Pilates.’ ‘Blade Aerobics.’ Later Kenzi tries to explain what she and Bo do without divulging the existence of the fae, and by the time she gets to ‘we almost have our own cooking show,’ Nate knows he’s being lied to.

I love how effortlessly Kenzi goes from punk in skull beanie to Formalwear Barbie. Ksenia Solo can pull off any look.

Lies and prejudice, prejudice and lies, that’s what this episode is all about.

Hale gets rankled when Dyson pretends to be his superior because the servant has biases against clan Zimmora. Hale doesn’t want to play by the family/clan rules, or bow to those who do. The episode reveals much more about how the fae think about class, and their double standards are even more revealing. It’s rich to have Lachlan of all people call others “conservative, prejudiced snobs,” since he’s exactly that way towards humans, Bo, and anyone whom he doesn’t like or need or see as equal.

While often the fae/human animosity stands for racism, and Hale’s family is black fae while Kenzi is very much white human, creating a reverse Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, here the dynamic works more on the class divide than the racial one. Hale is fighting the idea of superior and inferior clans and species and Others not based mostly on class. The old families have old money, high positions, and power, and aren’t willing to let rabble or other types in. They may say it’s because Kenzi is human – and some of it is – but they also consider each other and Kenzi (‘cheap, inbred,’ ‘perhaps you’d prefer a wine cooler?’) trash. It’s all about arbitrarily creating groups based on negligible and/or superficial differing characteristics, Othering them, and using that as a basis for discriminatory practices.

Sound familiar?

In addition, there’s implicit shaming of ‘the weaker sex,’ or at least any male having any traits seen to be associated with femininity. Note how when Hale’s father, Sturgess, sneers ‘my only son, a siren’ during a break in all the Kenzi-bashing he and Hale’s sister Val are engaging in. 

Hale’s not blameless in all this. He’s leveraging Kenzi, using her to try and force modernity on his family. He neither warns Kenzi about the response she’ll get, nor strongly rebukes his dad or sister for their behavior.

I like how Hale and Kenzi's positions change so much. They walk in as equals, Hale temporarily puts himself below her, but for the most part he towers over her. Interesting power dynamics.

Still, up to and including KC Collins’ straightfaced delivery of ‘It’s just like Nona used to wear,’ I love the Kenzi/Hale interactions. The romance angle gets shoehorned in a little here; not that there have never been hints, sparks, and teases towards it, but nothing here precipitates the sudden large swing towards love triangle, especially since Kenzi is historically loyal and has a boyfriend. 

There’s a stunning lack of timely communication with said boyfriend here: all Kenzi had to do is tell Nate ahead of time she’s faking being a socialite girlfriend so Hale can impress his parents and not shame the family name amongst a group of snobs. We understand Kenzi must hide the fae world from Nate for his own safety, but fae doesn’t have to factor in this at all. Of course one could argue she wants to hide what’s happening because she has some latent feelings for Hale, but mostly it’s a plot device so Nate can show up and complicate the whole shebang.

Even more forced is the Val / Dyson pairing, mostly to provoke a reaction from Hale. Yes, Dyson’s sans-love behavior is fittingly growing increasingly erratic and selfish, and later it comes out that the Garuda is exacerbating anger and stirring up strife. Still, you’d think after centuries of friendship Hale would accept his friend and his sister may bump naughty bits, and also his sister is, gasp, as much or more into casual sex as Hale himself! This complete 180 of Hale’s attitude – all for modernity until it comes to weird chivalrous double standards! – could be fantastic and provide more fodder and character growth, but falls by the wayside during the whole Garuda plotline.

Meanwhile, Kenzi and Lauren are having the same problem: lie about one aspect of your life, everything else follows. Nadia knows something is up with Lauren and Bo, and this leads to to investigate Bo and find an arsenal. Even during a rewatch after the reveal of Garuda possession, works on two levels: that of checking out one’s mortal enemy, and that of wonder what the hell one’s girlfriend’s paramour is doing with a case full of serial killer accoutrements.

Between all the weapons and the 8,000 candles Bo has around, Nadia may be justified in thinking her girlfriend was dating anything from fangirl to weapons enthusiast to cult member.

Speaking of lying, turns out Sturgess has spent centuries covering up a little pact he and the other clans made with the Cherufe. Rather than face the music, he locks Bo in his secret lair behind the wine rack (second in coolness only to the secret lair behind a library bookshelf), and heads out to his party. Better to let everyone burn out than to lose face!

That idea doesn’t sit well with Kenzi, who exclaims ‘Your peeps can’t just put their heads in the sand and hope their money and power will save them!’ But they can, and they have, and they will. The families choose willful ignorance in hope the other rabble and lower classes will be exterminated. This will save the production plenty in extras and large-scale battles budget.

Perhaps any civilization which won’t pay heed to the warnings of their art, their tales, and their bards, no matter what ‘class’ the warning comes from, doesn’t deserve to continue at all.

It's a great prop, and Anna Silk totally sells Bo's enjoyment of flourishing it.

Stray Observations

– It’s a little thing, but when you’re in an imposing mansion and a maidservant is leading you to see The Don, you expect it to be a man. Yet all the pictures, and Miss Carmody, are instead powerful ruling women. The fae may be anti-human classist bigots, but they’re way ahead of us poor sods in terms of gender equality.

– Why would a fae quit smoking if there are no health detriments? I’d probably take it up just because I could!

– ‘No smooching, no groping, and no magical fae impregnations!’

– ‘You’re crushing my fingering hand.’

– Kenzi and Lauren both also drop the ‘I love you’ bomb as a half-accident in the heat of the moment. They’re more alike than they’d care to admit.

– It’s a very singular color scheme this episode.

– Regarding the Cherufe: look, it’s not the highest quality CGI monster any of us ever seen. But the literal monsters aren’t the point. It’s the metaphors, the character relationships, the pushing-network-lines sexytimes, the metaphors, the tropey episodes, the way mythology is incorporated, the metaphors, the reflection of multiple aspects of our own society, the wonderous abs and arms and various assorted bodies, and did I mention the metaphors? we come for.

3 Responses to “Lost Girl: Season 2, Episode 17, The Girl Who Fae’d With Fire”
  1. Maigray says:

    My favorite thing about this episode was the reference to Yeats when Bo was exhorting the crowd.

  2. Little Bad Wolf says:

    It was really interesting to see Hale’s family, and I’ve always wondered about his mother and what type of Fae she was. Both Hale and his sister have voice related Fae powers while Sturgis appears to have super speed. It seems that Fae don’t always have children with the same powers but rather related. In 113 Aife tells Bo that one or both of Bo’s patents were likely a type of chi eater in order for Bo to be a succubus. it’s funny to me that Sturgis is embarrassed to have a son who is a siren yet Hale has all kind of mad skills while his sister can only steal voices (though a natural counterbalance to a siren).

    Also Lost Girl relies an awful lot on people keeping secrets and telling lies to create drama and awkward situations. Not that people IRL don’t lie and keep secrets, but using that as a mainstay in the storytelling begins to feel a bit contrived, particularly in cases such as Kenzi’s where lying about the existence of the Fae to Nate makes sense but lying about what she is doing with Hale doesn’t.

    *s5 spoiler*
    I’m a bit confused why Sturgis sneers at Hale being a male Siren when Hale’s grandfather, Heathcliff Santiago is also a Siren. Is Healthcliff not Sturgis’s father? Do they have a rocky relationship? Or did Sturgis marry into the Santiago family and take their name? I could better understand if this was Hale’s maternal grandfather though it is still a bit odd to me.
    *end spoiler*

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