Lost Girl: Season 2, Episode 22, Flesh and Blood

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

For scenes where Bo's eye change from brown to blue, that's some frame-by-frame hand coloring. I don't envy that colorist.

Besides not being a pun, I’m speculating last episode’s title is supposed to signify not just facing the dark, and not just a shaky alliance with Dark fae, but Bo’s literal start of transformation Into The Dark. As Lauren notes, Bo is more powerful than anyone, including Trick. Her turning dark, not as in Dark fae but as in, The Dark, could be cataclysmic.

But first, before we explore that, we must stave off the Garuda’s pending doom! Dooooooom!

And now the end is near
And so I face the final curtain
My friend I’ll say it clear
I’ll state my case of which I’m certain

The season two finale. Bo has finally reached the point in her bildungsroman where she takes charge. She’s going to step up and lead the fight to save all faemanity (even if the stakes feel they should be set lower).

Meanwhile, Bo’s facing an two interesting feelings: mortality, and responsibility. The episode opens on Kenzi, who all along has been the in the midst of the same life-threatening danger as Bo et all, while being the most vulnerable and mortal. Kenzi’s laying out her teddy bear and brass knuckles and phallic dagger with the “broken . . . tip.”

At the start of Lost Girl, Bo was completely irresponsible and often unthoughtful, no cares in the world other than hiding the sexual predators she sucked dry. She quickly came to enjoy her quasi-immortality. But now, not only is she facing possible death, the weight of leading her friends into battle and their possible demise is heavy on her shoulders.

Meanwhile, Kenzi has faced her own truncation so many times its becoming routine, and she continues to cope in the most Kenzi of ways – with double entendres and Ziggy the teddy bear.

Kenzi is the poster girl for ultimate preparedness.

I’ve lived a life that’s full
I traveled each and every highway
And more, much more than this
I did it my way

Everyone else’s coping mechanisms come as no surprise. Vex is blasé and self-concerned. Dyson now has his love back, so he’s torn between valiantly giving his life as per his chivalrous code of conduct, and seeing how this new lease on living thing feels. Trick is intent on ignoring any indications he could be the bad guy, which now includes the past as well as the present. Lauren is throwing herself into the science, and eventually in Bo’s arms; the former because it’s how the deals, the latter because the end of the world/life brings out the horny in all of us. Speaking of, the Kenzi/Hale bond is teased, mentioned, then finally brought to the forefront with Hale’s desperate whistle-suturing. 

The episode themes break down into regrets, responsibilities, and joie de vivre/grasping for love, with everyone either trying to do what they wanted to ages ago, or facing old events they’d tried to hide, or some of both.

Regrets I’ve had a few
But then again too few to mention
I did what I had to do
And saw it through without exemption

Forget the archaic sorting ceremony passed at the beginning of this crazy journey, definitely forget the Dawning, this is where Bo establishes what kind of leader she can be. She recognizes the power of her blood, and uses it to create unity. She tells people to sit down and shut up. She chooses when and how and with whom to fight. She struggles with the emerging Dark Bo, she takes on the Garuda sword to sword, she decides when to use the venom, and finally, she makes the call to give Trick the antidote rather than herself.

This scene uses some of the same framing as Lachlan's battle, including the peephole angle (albeit with less character motivation).

I planned each charted course
Each careful step along the byway
And more, much more than this
I did it my way

Along the way there’s plenty of improvisation and general helplessness, but Bo rarely shows her doubt and weaknesses to those she’s leading. That’s not what the ragged band she’s leading needs; they need someone who projects certainty.

For their parts, Lauren and Dyson help Bo project said certainty. Lauren gives Bo permission to venture forward, even forces her to when Bo waves about leaving Lauren alone. Dyson wordlessly backs up her every order, ignoring his instinctual bluster and bravado which was on display in “Lachlan’s Gambit” . . . until he gets in the heat of battle and insists on shifting to attack mode. (And they say women are driven by hormones!)

The Garuda gets conquered, as we assumed he would. The better to not be carried over to Season 3, my dear.

Yes there were times I’m sure you knew
When I bit off more than I could chew
But through it all when there was doubt
I ate it up and spit it out, I faced it all
And I stood tall and did it my way

Bo is the youngest to the fae, barely in control in her powers, and also dealing with the weight of destiny versus self-determination (she has the Nain Rouge’s vision of herself stabbing Trick looping in the back of her mind). This would seem to hobble her, but she manage to sidestep her inexperience to take control, ignore her succubus powers altogether, and use the vision to her advantage, instead.

It’s a clever bit of storytelling to use a damning prophesy as guidance for a solution, rather than make it either something which in its avoidance brings about its occurrence, or something which turns out to be a false prophesy.

The dead mounted animals: cheap, yet effectively hella creepy.

Another clever bit is to use past truth (via flashbacks) to obfuscate Trick’s present course of action, and point out clearly how his supposedly noble act may have had good consequences, but was entirely self-serving. In doing so, it weakens Trick to the point it can skirt around the part where he must use his blood ‘of his own free will.’

Don’t get me wrong, the dialogue is sketchy this episode, but the conclusion works, and the themes pull ideas from the whole season.

I’ve loved, I’ve laughed and cried
I’ve had my fill, my share of losing
And now as tears subside
I find it all so amusing

This season we’ve gotten a girlfriend in a coma, several boy toys come and gone, familial relation revelations, possessed stabbings of a paramour’s girlfriend, class tensions, literal lost and found love, a fairy princess, body-swapping, a WMD that looks like your grandma, sexual tension galore, and Kenzi’s commentary on all of the above.

It may play like a drama, but it’s at its best when it incorporates some camp, the recognition of absurdity, general or obscure mythology, an acceptance of shortcomings, embracing of the metaphors, sexual agency, and female leads unlike anything else on television. 

To think I did all that
And may I say not in a shy way
Oh no, oh no, not me
I did it my way

I love how they all stand just-so and gape at it.

Some of that did get back-burnered the back half, and some of what we got could have been better developed. Though it fits with a loss of love and being a wolf, Dyson should have been given more and deeper ways to express himself than ‘brooding and growling.’ We barely met Nadia, and weren’t given enough reason for Bo to off her as quickly as she did. Hale doesn’t get very fleshed out, even with meeting his family, and Val even less so. Other than liking exhibitionism and ‘bad boys,’ we don’t know much about Val at all; perhaps they brought her in as prelude to expanding her arc in Season 3, and the actress’ contract didn’t work out, but this feels mostly like they needed a warm body. They could have used at least a dozen more, really.

Shortcomings aside, there are enough really interesting things being done, we decide to embrace the attributes listed above and just enjoy the hell out of whatever comes.

For what is a man what has he got
If not himself then he has not
To say the things he truly feels
And not the words of one who kneels

Back at the Dal, we get the romantic setup for S3, which Dyson seems unwilling to fully accept, but Vex is more than happy to point out.* It’s been two seasons coming, but most of the roadblocks have been removed (some unceremoniously), and it’s fairly apparent Bo and the good doctor are going for it. Bo’s last-minute-kiss-of-desperation mirrors that of S1’s finale, when Lauren kissed Bo, and it’s going to become a theme, as with any show which deals a lot with these life-or-world-ending scenarios. Don’t act like you don’t eat this shit up.

We also see a flash of blue, hungry eyes when Bo looks in the mirror. This first establishes we were wrong when we thought this side of Bo was conquered – whether because she gave the antidote to Trick, or because it’s simply her nature to have an uncontrolled side. Second, it sets up a long arc for S3, with Bo’s reflexive murderous feeding, her nightmares, the Dawning, her various struggles to control herself. Last and more immediately, it gives the first couple minutes of “Caged Fae” its believability. Long game, short game, personality game, all in one shot in the last thirty seconds.

Despite how it may have bobbled a few balls in the back half of this season, the ability to play these sorts of games simultaneously is part of what makes Lost Girl a joy to watch, even when it can’t match the production levels of similar shows.

The record shows I took the blows
And did it my way

Opening picture, closing picture. I can do some parallels, too.

Stray Observations

– *There’s an initial reaction to compare Vex to Spike, but he actually works out to be more like Faith. Sometimes, his perviness emerges as noticing things other people don’t, such as when he calls out that Bo and Lauren are finally going to hook up for real (akin to Faith picking up on the Willow/Tara relationship before the other, more goody-two-shoes, and also closer-to-the-situation Scoobies do).

– “Well you better get comfortable because I’m going to shove this arm so far down your throat you’ll be mesmerizing your own bowel movements.” “Oooooggh, when you put it like that . . .” 

– Hale can cure hangovers, small wounds, and neck cramps, as well as has perfect pitch, and he’s obviously not lacking in other skills . . . where can I find myself one of these sirens?

Comments
One Response to “Lost Girl: Season 2, Episode 22, Flesh and Blood”
  1. vexundorma says:

    I too think it was actually a good episode. Surprisingly so, considering it was a one time thing by a stranger to the show’s writing staff – though not the show itself as he was consulting producer for the back nine episodes, whatever that meant in those frantic times. As an outsider with a large experience in genre series (Sanctuary, the Stargate franchise) his perspective on the show is what I find really interesting.
    From 1.01 to 2.13 there was a progression in the story told, with ups and downs, as Bo went from an unwelcomed nuisance to champion of the Light Fae. Then the story got muddled and disconnected and it was here, in the finale, that finally returned to track with Bo’s triumph over the Garuda.
    His take on Trick (the first real look at the character in the entire run of the show) is significant: the Garuda may have stoked the fires of war, but there was a pervasive discontent with the Blood King and his rule even without it, and he resorted to make use of his blood as much to defeat the Garuda as to keep his throne. Incidentally, later on he won’t have any qualms either in delivering his daughter to the Dark King to maintain his peace solution. He’s painted as the fellow who proclaims the best intentions, all the while leaving behind a trail of countless bodies.
    It is also interesting how this ‘outsider’ sees the other main characters: Dyson as a slightly more menacing and less funny version of Joxer, Kenzi as a fearless fighter for those she loves, Lauren as the quiet force that surfaces in the most dire moments (she rises to the occasion once again, like in the S1 finale), Hale as the silent partner that stays in the background and goes mostly unnoticed but everybody counts on.
    He does also a good job at laying down the foundation for the next stage of these lost girls’ journey in S3. By the end of the episode Bo has become in a real sense the champion of all fae with channels open to the Light and the Dark, making it all too clear that she’s probably the most powerful fae alive. The opportunity to make a real difference and change the archaic ways of that world is laid open, as are her choices: will she promote a new relationship with humanity based on mutual respect, will she just soften the more harsh aspects of the actual relationship or will she left things the way they are; will she seize absolute power and become Queen of the fae, will she go for a “benevolent” kind of dictatorship (“this is not a democracy”) or will she just be an influent player in the corridors of fae power?
    The last instants of the finale are important key notes for a new dawn after the Garuda event, pointing a direction for the new season: a politic turmoil in the fae world and the fae-human entente, Bo dealing with her power and the temptations of her dual nature, a different standing for Kenzi and Lauren (the two humans that were instrumental in Bo’s victory) among the fae, the presence of Vex in Bo’s inner circle and a new agreement with the Dark, a formal alliance with the powerful Zamora clan and a major role for Val (the only justifiable reason for her presence in the final battle). After the back nine awfulness those were good indicators to a return to form by the show. Hélas, it was just a mirage.
    And that is what’s maddening with this show: it has a fantastic premise, a potential gold mine in the characters, a natural drama flowing from the world it built, scattered gems of absolute brilliance that attest the capability of making fabulous TV, and yet it never goes beyond the ‘tremendous potential’ stage. It is noteworthy that most times it is the viewers that have been “discovering”, in forums, in sites and in personal blogs, the meanings, the arcs and the stories behind the scenes showed in the episodes, and that is not exactly a credit to the show’s production and writing.

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