Lost Girl: Season 3, Episode 04, “Fae-de To Black”
You know the drill. Possible spoilers through 03.13. All reviews here.
When a show opens with breathily drawn-out
you definitely expect the next word to be
And it wouldn’t be unwarranted.
I shot a film last week where we had a limited budget and amount of time and crew. When we originally sat down to plot out the shoot, the first thing we cut was number of locations. To one.
The second thing we ditched was audio. We were in some tighter spaces, we didn’t have a dedicated audio person available, the environment we’d be in wasn’t totally controllable, and good ADR would be difficult to access. Silent film. Bam. Since the final script called for about thirteen costume changes, this was an added bonus; re-mic’ing with all these changes would have taken quite a chunk of time. In fact, knowing in advance we’d have no audio is what allowed me to feel comfortable calling for so many wardrobe changes. Sometimes limitations expand other options.
Third, we determined to cut down the number of camera setups; once the script was written and shotlist made, we ended up with five. Well, my first script called for nine, but we strategically pared it down.
My film worked from a place of necessary limitations, but imposing other limitations can create really beautiful work, too. This scene is a testament to how creative shooting and editing can be as or more effective than a traditional sex scene, which so far most of Lost Girl‘s romps would qualify as. Not only was it certainly quicker and easier to shoot (no mics, no real worries about continuity, lots of closeups which require specific lighting but which don’t require as much creative positioning, etc), but they somehow – quite possibly because of the lack of audio, lack of clear on-screen orgasm, and the historical inconsistency of review boards – manage to get away with insinuating things network shows aren’t supposed to be able to insinuate, including tribbing and an insinuation of fisting which leaves no room for doubt. Outside of thickly veiled jokes, this is probably a first for US network TV or ‘lite’ cable channels, at least assuming this aired unedited on SyFy.
I know I said just two posts ago this isn’t The Kind of Blog which delves into explicit sexual . . . anything, but I’m just in awe of getting this sort of thing to screen. I want to know what the writers/director/producer went back and forth over. I want to know if it got toned down, or if this was the version they wanted. I want to know if they rather expected to have to trim a couple frames, or even an entire cut, but somehow they got waved through.
Because of the cutting insinuating time lapses and no clear progression of events, there’s not a ‘started with clothes on here, climaxed here, finished here’ sort of arc; instead, it’s meant to feel like a training montage, something which happens over a long period of time. It could have taken an hour or all night, but either way, at the end, Lauren is exhausted and Bo isn’t feeling so hot.
Meanwhile, across town, Lloyd the Magnificent is preparing to walk the high rope. The main plot revolves around adults trying to recapture the impossible dreams of youth, and crashing and dying in a the attempt. Lesson! Dyson finds himself the empathetic half of the crimefighting duo, while Tamsin is obviously playing along with the cop thing but has no real motivation to help people, only flex her badge and get her hands/blades dirty fighting big bads. Real-world parallels! Finally, the stereotypical hero who dreams himself impervious to the failings of lesser men – or in this case, lesser beings – falls prey to the same attacker, and is only saved by his compatriots, as Dyson has been before and will be again. Another lesson! All of the lessons!
In the course of figuring out the mystery of the week, Bo gets progressively weaker until she ends up Dyson’s right, that Bo needs to feed now. It’s not like Bo is going to sit and call Lauren and have the ‘hey honey what about taking a quick break? Or else.’ conversation over the phone. Finding a random meal in her state and without Kenzi’s help is a little more difficult. So sure, I can understand how her options suck. Dyson gives Bo another option, but he has to know she won’t want to take it. Is it coercion, or even rape?
If you’re going to have the conversation about coercive sex, you have to pull in “Vexed,” where a nearly reverse situation occurs. Bo pounds on Dyson’s door, wanting insta-healing. She wheedles and pushes until Dyson concedes. Both proceed to throw themselves into it and at least at points enjoy themselves, although Dyson registers physical discomfort at times during, and shows obvious emotional discomfort immediately before and after, just as here in 3.04 Bo actively pulls Dyson into her and seems to be enjoying herself, even though she’s got some internal bleeding and a nagging conscience. The situations are roughly equivalent displays of Not Good Relationship Patterns, in many ways propelled by selfishness, but they don’t equate with abuse. And yes, Dyson says there are no feelings, when clearly there are. Is he kidding himself with the whole ‘lie for the [Bo’s] greater good?’ Are they falling into early S1 patterns of failing miserably at Friends With Benefits? Probably some of both.
As for how they themselves see it: Bo consents of her own free will to someone she did and does have a close relationships with, and later presents it as potentially cheating; Dyson has self-deluded enough to truly believe he’s doing this for Bo, though he’s not hating his ability to act as opportunist. It’s two people with an intense emotional and sexual history falling back into an easy thing, necessitated by biology. None of this excuses any/everything, especially the lie, or makes it healthy in the context of their relationship or their relationships with others, but they know damn well what they’re doing. They simply decide to go ahead with it. This is a show which allows its characters to do unwise, messy, human things.
Within the universe,this problem is only made possible because the show hasn’t established exactly how Bo’s sex v feeding works. Can she have sex without feeding? It seems so, and it seems that’s how she and Lauren operate. Can she feed without sex? Yes, we’ve seen it, but can it possibly be enough? Does she have to have both to fully recharge? Again, I would argue yes, but the show has seemingly enjoyed its lack of hard-and-fast rules so long, it’s going to keep it that way . . . the better to enable things like this.
The patients aren’t veiled in their depictions of similar problems to Bo and Lauren (or obsession with size of submarines), none of the guest character are subtle, and the plot of who’s driving people to kill themselves is serviceable but scant. We get the insinuations, we know who the culprit is early on, and that’s fine, because this episode is much more concerned with when the characters will figure it out, and turning the burner up on character relationships. Tamsin and Dyson butt heads some more; Kenzi tries without success to have a heart-to-heart with Bo, then goes to Hale with similar results; Bo and Lauren . . . well, wow. They go from ‘epic’ sex in the opener, to a fight about Bo’s methods and Lauren’s work, to a wrenching conversation about cheating and forgiveness.
The argument, coming from that pitfall of so many couples, sharing work environment, is perfectly pitched. Both are more irritable than usual since they’re exhausted, Lauren from intensive sex, and Bo from . . . not enough sex or not being able to feed during sex. See above note on murkiness. Bo gets angry Lauren is [rightly] deeming her laisse faire ways untenable when dealing with peoples’ psyche, and Lauren’s frustration at everyone continually underestimating the work she’s done to get to this point – specifically, that Fae esteem brawn and powers over brain and schooling – boils over when Bo casually dismisses doctors. When Lauren leverages her extensive schooling to shame Bo’s lack thereof is when she, too, crosses the line. It’s short, terrible, and magnificent.
Though they kissed and made up, this fight makes the penultimate scene of Bo’s confession that much more fraught. There’s some She’s definitely thinking about that one lesson she learned about cheating and open relationships and honesty, and though her background urges her to lie, lie, lie, she decides to tell the truth instead. This honesty-as-best-policy will change in the next several episodes, and watch her relationship disintegrate as it does.
Why does Lauren accept this so quickly? Surely it’s been in the back of her mind, yes, especially since she jumps at the opportunity to introduce groundrules and establish the exclusion of Dyson. Of course Lauren didn’t want it to play out as cheating, but she had to have concluded the relationship would open or break. Lauren understands Bo’s not into her as a partner solely for sex, but for plenty of other reasons, too. There’s a good foundation to go on (and when they break up later, it’s not about sex and that’s important), but while she cognitively understands that, Lauren’s unsure she is emotionally equipped to jump into this. Hey, you have to start somewhere. She clearly runs the gamut of emotions, as does Bo, and the writing, acting, and overall handling of this scene is a little more obvious than the Lauren/Bo moments generally are (the only other episode directed by Ron Murphy is “Those Who Wander,” which is fairly over-the-top) but still nearly impeccable.
Now that last scene. Bo was distracted when Kenzi came to her, but Hale and Kenzi could have definitely solved their problem by doing the Bo/Lauren thing and truly talking and listening t each other. I know adults don’t always do this in real life, either, that people are dumb and we have avoidance tactics and often that bites us in the ass, or in this case, sucks us behind a dumpster into . . . an otherworldly portal? A sepulcher? A cave full of trinkets? Again, remarkably effective with simple shots. That’s the theme of this episode. Even the Fae extermination gets creative to get its idea across. Makeup and prosthetics won’t do? No money for a giant monster nor a decent looking CGI counterpart? Believe the perspective trick went out in the 90s? Use an amalgamation of leftover props and PAs to create a giant shadow, pop the camera on a crane for some perspective, VOILA!
– Man, the decorations and vibes in that clinic are spot-on.
– Look, Lauren’s 100% right about ethics and psychology and all that, but let’s not pretend a succubus therapist wouldn’t be awesome, or that most of us wouldn’t get into a relationship just so we could have couples problems for said therapist to solve.
– I’ll buy the Kenzi/Hale lack of communication, but Kenzi’s actions this episode are plenty out of character. She can be blunt, but she’s a quick study of the fae world and usually respects the needs of her friends. We’ll have to chalk this up to the infection.
– In TV world two women having a nooner must be clad in matching, modest underwear. But in Fae world, the same women can leave their apartment door open for the neighbors to enjoy the show.