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

Oh.

My.

you definitely expect the next word to be

God.

And it wouldn’t be unwarranted.

Wonderful how you can leave something offscreen, but leave no doubt as to what just happened. I'm 100% against censorship, but I fear losing this sort of cheeky skill.

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.

Dyson *would* have a flip phone.

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?

I love the use of reflection here, though they both miss the opportunity to look in the mirror . . .

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. 

I wonder how intentional it was to have Husband #1 wearing a shirt almost identical to Lauren's?

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.

I also like to use props when I argue. Demonstration is the key to triumph!

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!

Look, use your imagination. If you want state-of-the-art graphics with no story or coherence, rent Transformers.

Stray Observations

– 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. 

Comments
12 Responses to “Lost Girl: Season 3, Episode 04, “Fae-de To Black””
  1. Maigray says:

    When I did a re-watch of the first season episodes, I went back carefully over the comments pertaining to Bo’s feeding. In 108, Lauren states that “A succubus needs a healthy sex life in order to be stable. And of course, when wounded, you still need to have sex in order to heal.” Dyson also tells her that her powers won’t work the same way on all of the Fae; and he has the same problem keeping up with her then as Lauren does in this season.

    • Melanie says:

      Thanks for the quote! Hadn’t connected that; and as that episode was among the first I reviewed, I wouldn’t’ve gotten back to it, either.

      Dyson had problems keeping up with her at the beginning before the shots, and now Lauren mentions the shots not working properly. They seem to be pushing towards the idea Bo can’t feed off of / have sex with exclusively one person, and obviously feeding alone won’t do the trick. Dun dun dun . . . MOAR SEX IN SEASON 4.

      [My predictions, coming tomorrow, include S4 going back towards a darker tone and pushing the sexy boundaries a bit.]

  2. I’ve been waiting for your review of this episode specifically because I wondered how you would react to the opening sex scene. Despite the various implications of the poses they put Bo and Lauren in, they simply felt like poses. There was no heat, no emotion, no acting. They could have been mannequins. I thought it was the least sexy sex scene in the history of ever. Maybe the only way the show could get away with implying what the different positions seemed to imply was to make them look like still photos instead of action. I thought the fully clothed kisses at the end of the episode had more energy.

    • Melanie says:

      It’s true there’s no progression or story. There’s no “Bo comes in, pushes Dyson against wall, Dyson takes down her underwear, they move to the bed” or “Making out, Bo pushes Lauren onto the bed, they take turns taking clothes off, there’s more making out and various forms of sex, in that order” The insinuation is this is going on for hours, and the cuts convey that.

      It’s not a typical sex scene, but it does push two of my [filmmaker] buttons
      – less is more visually, with closeups and brief flashes and leading the viewer to fill in the blanks rather than giving the answers
      – suggestion of things you can’t actually show on screen due to various ‘production standards.’

      As for what you say about poses, I think still pictures – which yes, these essentially are, snapshots with a little bit of motion and no audio – are capable of being erotic. You may be right about the kisses at the end having more energy [I personally say you are], but it’s a very different feel, a very different idea.

      I’m not saying either is better. I’m saying both accomplish what they’re going for, within the limitations of the medium/rules.

      • I’m actually happy to learn why you think this sort of scene is justified or needed from a storytelling perspective and from a filmmaker point of view. It’s been bugging me for nearly a year now. Thanks for replying.

  3. Little Bad Wolf says:

    Honestly, I think the first time I watched this episode I hit rewind on Netflix and re watched that opening scene once or twice. Perhaps it was simply because I had not (and still have not) seen anything like it between two women on a network TV show, but it worked for me. We’re led to believe they had *a lot” of sex yet Bo is far from sated and Lauren exhausted. Forget Gatorade, no wonder Dyson was chugging red bull.

    The whole chi vs sex thing is rather frustrating to me because the writers seem to go with whatever they feel like. Want to cause problems for Bo and Lauren? Bo needs sex to heal. Bo has broken ribs, collarbone, etc? Chi suck Tamsin, no sex needed (413). Almost kill yourself searching for a Hel shoe? Drain three human hillbillies (note that hicks are not particularly represented well in Lost Girl–I get it, I grew up in Southwest Missouri–but not all people with hick accents are bad) of their chi sans sex. Get bit by a Pucca? Sleep with your…well, anyway… Given there was no chi sucking in the pilot it was added to the character and story afterwards. It seemed that initially chi sucking was the result of a building hunger ultimately resulting in the need to feed rather than associated with injury. At the end of 102 Bo needs sex to heal the cut on her neck (do we see her pull chi too?). It’s hard to fit narrative on the topic from 108 into the framework because in some places it outright contradicts “earlier” episodes. A couple of times in 108 it is mentioned that Lauren’s shots are helping Bo’s healing but the first time we see Lauren give Bo a shot in 102 it is to help Bo control her hunger and Lauren explicitly states Bo will still need sex to heal. Clearly there was tinkering between the pilot and shooting of s1. What makes this more confusing is that Bo and Lauren are having sex yet Bo isn’t healing. What’s unclear is if Bo is feeding in Lauren’s China’s the only time we see Bo take her chi is in 309 to help save Dyson. So is it sex or chi or both?

    I really love all the emotions that flit across Zoie Palmer’s face during the discussion about Bo healing with Dyson. What breaks my heart here (and in the future) is Lauren’s inability to grasp that while she may not be able to sustain Bo’s Fae nature, she does sustain Bo in ways that others cannot. It also plays into the dangerous idea that romantic partners can be everything and fill all needs for each other, which is simply unrealistic and has doomed more than one relationship. Certainly Bo’s behavior from this point on doesn’t help assuage any of Lauren’s fears but some unrealistic expectations are also at play. People ding Lauren a lot for keeping secrets, though hers are typically of a private nature; Bo does an awful lot of outright lying and lying by omission re: things that could affect their relationship because she doesn’t want to deal with them.

    It’s interesting that Bo, who typically likes the third option, doesn’t think of the obvious when Dyson presents her with a binary set of options: yes Bo needs sex but it doesn’t have to be with Dyson. You’re at a police station full of people, including Tamsin who is Fae, yet Dyson only offers himself. Maybe I’d find this less irksome if he wasn’t lying about no feelings. He truly is offering for Bo but it sort of benefits him (and his savior complex that never goes quite right) in the process.

Trackbacks
Check out what others are saying...
  1. […] body placement / motions, and hips are up, which . . . ok look I decided I was mistaken about suggestion of additional paraphernalia in 3.04, but come […]

  2. […] (It should be noted whenever she gets away from this structure she has more success; one episode which could be better with more hair extension budget, one episode which deals well with body image and girls forced into stripping and/or prostitution, and one of the better episodes of Season 3 which had a smooth give-and-take between the mystery plot and the characters working through persona….) […]

  3. […] Heffern (Tabitha the Ixtab in Faede to Black) is Lisa and Christine Aziz (the maid in The Girl Who Fae’d With Fire) is Leslie, in the […]

  4. […] will be Ari Schnurr in the film LET’S RAP. Meghan Heffern (Tabitha the suicide fae from Fae-de to Black) is also in the cast. It’s a comedy about a brother and sister (played by Rachel Wilson and […]

  5. […] scenes in its pilot, for a show which had a threesome by the fourth episode, for a show which did this, for a show with a supposedly insatiable succubus . . . the last meaningful sex scenes came in the […]



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: