Lost Girl: Season 3, Episode 02, SubterFaenean

Gotta love those posters.

After ending on both the release of two seasons of will-they-won’t-they tension between Bo and Lauren, then Bo chi-sucking a guy and leaving him for dead, this episode opens with . . . Kenzi, Kenzi’s friend, and Vex going down into the sewers for a magic show. It makes you wait almost two minutes, and then it – rather suddenly – continues only one of those stories.

But what a continuation.

Back In The Day under the Hayes code, movie kisses could last no longer than three seconds. In one of my favorite films, Notorious, Hitchcock has his stars – the inimitable Cary Grant as Devlin and Ingrid Bergman as Alicia – intertwine for 2.5 minutes, but unlock their lips after every three seconds to whisper quips and talk about Devlin’s job. Always embracing and intermittently kissing as the camera follows on a dolly, they have a conversation about Alicia’s lack of cooking skills, (“We can eat here tonight.” “I thought you didn’t like to cook.” “I don’t like to cook. But I have a chicken in the icebox, and you’re eating it.” “What about the washing up afterwards?” “We’ll eat it with our fingers.”), they travel across an entire room, Devlin makes a phone call, and finally Alicia ushers him out the door for his meeting and to pick up a bottle of wine.

Now I need to watch this movie. For the 30th time. Screen Shot 2013-10-24 at 5.26.53 PM

That is what this scene reminds me of, down to comments about dehydration, veiled intimations about doing dirty things (if you think Alicia is only talking about chicken, or Bo is kissing Lauren’s fingers for no reason . . . then I’d like to help you, but I’m not sure this is that kind of blog) the interrupting phone call/text, and the way the ‘taboo’ of long kissing and female relations are broken up or edited to make there be nothing for a censor board to complain about.

Of course, the comment about dehydration, Lauren’s exhaustion after she knocks water off the bedside table, Bo’s eating an orange, and especially Bo’s unwillingness to confide in Lauren about her nightmares, all serve to foreshadow some future problems between Bo and Lauren.

Other previews are here, too. Dyson can’t hide the fact he’s got his lurve back. Hale doesn’t communicate effectively with those under his leadership. When Vex gets startled in the sewers, he’s unable to use his powers. And then, Tamsin.

This really gives them a chance to show off colors. All the colors.

I don’t know if there’s a more cloying way to introduce a character than having her strut into a boxing gym (TV shorthand for Manly Center of Manliness), act and talk like one of the guys, then knock out one of the guys . . . who she later kisses. It’s all pretty obviously screaming, ‘This character is badass. And sexy. Like her!’ Cloying, and effective. Her love/hate relationship with Bo gets off to a flying start, as well, with Tamsin immediately disliking and ambushing Bo, but grudgingly respecting Bo’s use of powers (specifically to manipulate men). The rest of Tamsin’s scenes establish her callous exterior, passive-aggressive interpersonal style, and oh, she’s Dark fae.

This is something I wish the show would outwardly address more. Kenzi and Dyson may have had other reasons to dislike Ryan, but his status as Dark is what they often cited. Not to mention Dyson’s frustration with so much as fraternizing with the Dark. So now, Dyson’s partner is Dark. We could get a real examination into prejudice in the face of interpersonal experience, or a change of heart, or a real showdown between Tamsin and Dyson. Instead of fireworks, Dyson’s dislike kind of fizzles.

As partners, both of them display a willingness to toss the book and do things unconventionally: Dyson especially when it comes to Bo, Tamsin especially when she doesn’t like things. And the case is somewhat unconventional . . . but then, fae. Every episode is a chance for the unconventional, and the show usually does well with the Cases of the Week. It’s when they get away from that format, as in the last half of Season 3, people start getting antsy. Part of that is sometimes jarring incorporation of long and short arcs, part of that is audience resistance to change, and part of that is splitting Bo and Kenzi only works for so long. They work better as a pair. Bo and Kenzi only got one scene solo last episode, but here they split off from the rest of the gang to investigate the sewers, with good results. Banter, some winks at subtext, sticky situations, bravado, effortless teamwork, and sympathy for other outcasts, all good.

Silk and Solo walk a fine line in their expressions, leading us to believe that's some sexy music in their heads.

Besides being a modern take on the Pied Piper (and Slenderman, which is something I’d never heard of until this, and thus I don’t know how the episode plays on that, but I’d love to be enlightened in the comments, hint wink nudge), the episode addresses how societies act towards Others; immigrants, sure, but also the homeless, the poor, the ugly, those who’ve lost so deeply we’re uncomfortable so we push them towards the shadows. Those who have had things ripped from their lives by the system, and so to cover their crimes, to bury their sins, the system and the people composing it run the undesirables underground; in this case, literally.

“Shoving all the poor, huddled masses yearning to breathe free down here was just a bit like sweeping the dirt under the rug. No-one actually got sick until after we were shut inside this cavern.”

'Hey Art PAs. Make something childish and creepy.'

Once there, these people are framed for enough awful things they end up doing some of them, they end up changing. Any evil (up to and including human snatching, as this case) which results – as Lost Girl is so fond of pointing out, with Aife and Isaac and the Warden etc – is also the fault of those who wronged them in the first place. The cyclical nature of violence continues to be a running theme in this season, really stronger than the other two seasons.

Though there’s not time to flesh it out, there’s a hint at the way bureaucracy thinks relocating is a good and helpful idea, ‘and not just because we have to put a new subway line in,’ and thus how someone like Hale can be easily manipulated by those with ulterior motives. Last, there’s yet another example of Bo toying with the grey area where she can stand back and allow another fae to execute those she doesn’t like. Except here, she doesn’t simply allow or suggest it. She savors knocking down the walls to enable and then hide the act.

It's the singular blood dribble which is most disturbing.

It’s an enjoyable episode. It’s a creepy episode. It’s got social and character commentary. It’s got a case of the week, which Bo and Kenzi tackle together. It introduces a new long-term character, and a couple interesting guest characters. It foreshadows a couple of the minor arcs for the season. It includes several lighter moments, like Dyson walking in on and enjoying a good pillow-beating. What more can you want?

Stray Observations

– The C-plot involves Trick staving off attentions of a lush woman in his bar, and other than the convenient ability to capture nightmare, it’s really only worthwhile as yet more foreshadowing for the way this season is going to pay attention to Trick’s sex life.

– Tamsin and Dyson spend a lot of time in their scenes (not just this episode) looming over each other, coming down to each others’ level, knocking the other down, etc. 

And the shot lands here with the customary silhouette on 1/3 of the screen, horizontal lines everywhere pointing to it. Framing, framing, framing.

3 Responses to “Lost Girl: Season 3, Episode 02, SubterFaenean”
  1. Maigray says:

    From what I understand, the Slender Man was created by Victor Surge in a 2009 paranormal photoshop contest on the Something Awful forums. He is largely considered the first modern Internet myth. His evolution can be tracked from his original thread (which may still be active) through various online chat communities, forums, vlogs, fan art, indie projects, and AIGs; all of which appropriated the character for their own use, and have grown and added to the meme. Notable among them is the Marble Hornets Project, and a Kickstarter project which released an online film, The Slender Man. Derivative characters have since been said to appear in mainstream media sources; nevertheless, Lost Girl may be the first such source to directly cite The Slender Man. The myth has much in common with earlier figures, mainly the Germanic myths, just as Lost Girl named them: the Pied Piper of Hamelin, etc. There is also a possible precursor to The Slender Man, called the Tall Man.

  2. Little Bad Wolf says:

    It was interesting to me that we get the one scene with Lauren and then she disappears from the rest of the episode. Though it almost feels petty to complain because it was quite the scene. I love your reference to Notorious because Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman sizzle and it was interesting to learn about the three-second rule. Now I’ll have to unofficially time TV kisses…for science…

    One question about Vex: When exactly did Vex lose his Mesmer powers? I thought maybe is was due to breaking his arm in 222 but 1) wouldn’t that only affect the broken arm (see 405 “I’ll still have Ginger”) and 2) he uses his Mesmer power on Kenzi during the cold open scene in the Dal.

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  1. […] she knew he’d go in for it. Indirect killing is her pattern. She’s done it with Slenderman, with the Land Wight, she kicks the food out of the Lich‘s reach, and plenty more . . . only […]

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