Lost Girl: Season 4, Episode 01, In Memoriam

This is probably a terrible episode to start with if you’re watching the show for the first time. It’s an episode full of fakeouts, callbacks, fanservice, fanteasing, and beautiful new sets, carried entirely on the lovely shoulders of Ksenia Solo. If you’re just jumping in, you’re probably still confused.

This review is not going to help with that feeling.

I don't know what mark KHR is looking at for most of this scene, but it's the wrong one.

Shooting without Anna Silk meant some writearounds, and taking it . . . wherever they’re going to take it this season, meant resetting some things and establishing new groundrules. The episode also pulls several fakeouts along the lines of “Caged Fae” as opener (though none quite as successfully as that ep making Bo rogue).

Doing all this with mixed-and-matched romances on top could have been schmatlzy and/or terrible, but spotlighting Kenzi/Solo was the perfect move. Kenzi has fantastic chemistry with every other character. She easily slips into the role of Dyson’s investigative partner, and I would definitely watch a spinoff which is just the two of them tracking down fae petty crimes. She also sells being Kenziana Jones (alternate name: Double-O Kenzi), snarky sidekick, damsel in distress, and oh yes how did it take them until season 4 to write her onto a dance floor? Though we have no idea what happened with her quest with Bruce [where Bruce? MOAR BRUCE!] to get fae powers, here Kenzi’s finally lashing out against the anti-human aspect of the fae system. Rage, baby, rage.

Along with humor, physicality, and rage, Solo deftly navigates the more subtle emotional beats, too: the weird romance with Dyson; the vulnerability when Massimo is sexually and monetarily taking advantage of her, another glimpse into an alternate timeline where Kenzi never met Bo; the chemistry with Hale; the acceptance and verbalization of BFF status with Dyson; and finally, the way she misses her best friend even when she can’t actually remember Bo’s existence.

I/they are subtly saying Kenzi lights up all over this show.

The plot here is fairly simple: Kenzi/Dyson/Hale/Vex/Trick/Aife have forced-lost their memories back until at least the point Bo came into their lives. They all still met, probably because Dyson picked up Kenzi for running a P.I. scam. For purposes of plot simplicity, certain things have not been erased, such as memories of Tamsin and Stella. They need to get a compass to set things right. George Takei is a snake who has said artifact. What’s interesting is what the characters – and visuals – do along the way, so I’m just going to break it down in list form.

First, have some samples of notes I took during the episode:

Um, it’s creepy his wolfnose is COUNTING HER THONGS
Oh.
He can SEE the thongs.
Thought he was smelling them.
Nevermind.
wait, what?
NO NO NO NO NO NO NO
this is also a fakeout, right?
All the nope.
Did they switch bodies again?
THIS IS WRONG
nopity nopity nope nope
they’re trying too hard to psyche us out.
[much later] ooooh. there it is.

Visuals

– Warehouses again! Warehouse for the party set, too, just with fancier screens and fewer boxes.

– I love this restaurant set. Those poles really do it for me.

– Orange and teal! But also every other color. They use a lot of colored lights, playing them across fog and curtains and faces, etc.

– Takei’s picture just hanging out in the background before we see him is great.

– That dance scene uses people, costumes, and lights to full effect.

CHECK OUT THAT SHADOWPLAY! UUUUUUUNF

– They splurged on lots of well-dressed extras. [In the US, at least, extras list whether they own ‘formal wear’ on their resumes. Actors get an extra few bucks for the clothes every day they’re on set, and a cleaning stipend every full week they have to wear the item.]

– George Takei coming around the corner is gold. It’s better in motion, so no picture, but I’m sure there’s already a .gif of it somewhere. 

– This bit with Vex is so fucking fantastic, the heels, the codpiece, the tophat, but Paul Amos throwing himself into it is what really makes it land.

Stage lights as on-camera lights, again. Make the most of 'em!

Character Personality Throughlines

This is something the episode excels at, because it’s able to bring traits out and really show them off, even having characters mostly-unknowingly exposit about themselves. The episode can show character details explicitly because it decontextualizes their behaviors. We see the essences of their personalities operating outside familiar contextual structures, and it crystalizes what’s been going on below the surface for four seasons.

Kenzi
Her loyalty and love have never really been subtle, and they’re what this episode uses to bring her to a realization of Bo’s loss.

Dyson
He has a hatred for change. He’d rather keep an OK thing than explore other possibilities, like he did when he and Bo were together. He never recognizes the bad, he just pushes it off, and he’s always trying to get back to some ideal moment which is only ideal in his head.

Vex
His anger at being left out of the inner circle drives him to constantly perform. He didn’t make the Morrigan play for the power, he did it for the attention.

Hale
He is never as smooth with the ladies as he thinks he is. It’s great to have this rich, suave playboy character who isn’t actually so suave, but who is loved anyways.

Lauren
She, like Kenzi, is a survivor. And owner of many wigs.

 Aife
“All that’s kept me alive is my hate.” If they play their cards right, she’s not going to be a redeemed character, but a true lost girl.

That grasp on the knife isn't super threatening. The hat, on the other hand . . .

Callbacks

– Kenzi wearing the ubiquitous kimono.

– Aife touching the waitress. Bringing back a flash of Bo from 1.01 is a questionable editing move, but I get in addition to triggering Kenzi, they’re trying to introduce new viewers to the fact the two and their powers are related. However, this is a terrible episode for any new viewers.

– Aife downplays her rape of Dyson again/still, and though it’s a part of her personality, it’d leave new viewers thinking she and he had a regular sexual history. [Also, has Aife always had that tattoo on her wrist?]

– Aife’s photo of Bo is the one Dyson had in his drawer.

– The best part of the restaurant scene is its extended callback reminiscent of Kenzi’s cat lady client in “Dead Lucky.”

– I love Kenzi’s klepto tendencies, and they’re never not funny. But in Trick’s lair, it kind of takes away from what she just said. They barely pass it off because she has a different memory/personality.

– Dyson has subconscious hots for Vex! Waving that scroll around, having a ‘Mexican standoff’ which excites them both . . . oh yes. (Of course, he also pictures Hale when making out. “That’s very open-minded of you.”)

– “I’m . . . well-endowed” is a callback to Vex’s ‘performance issues’ last season. He neatly ties the two together here, using his powers while talking about his package.

– We still get a triangle, just a totally different configuration.

– Aife has a thing for Fleet Week (also carried through on at the end of the episode). 

– Is “wouldn’t you shut up and let me lead for once” a call back, too? It felt familiar.

– Vex and Kenzi’s mascara tips.

– ‘You fought by my/our side’ from Hale to Vex, where before it was Lauren to Hale.

– Is Terrible Ginger Lauren a callback to Karen Beattie’s terrible hair? 

Nothing against gingers. Or Zoie Palmer.She's also a master of shrinking herself, apparently. Five two!?

Stray Observations

– Apparently if I go on a ‘cheese, popcorn, and vodka’ diet, I’ll look like that. Done.

-The holding of the “s” sound is overdone, and misses several starting Ses. Cut it.

– Not one but two mentions of a stuffed unicorn.

– See what they’re going for, but don’t like use of ‘asexual hobo.’ It comes across as ‘an asexual person’ being an insult, instead of reading as ‘a person in clothing with is ragtag and without discernible sexuality.’

– Kenzi:  ‘Suede in this weather? You beautiful badass.’

– Dyson: ‘She’s beautiful.’ Kenzi: ‘Yeah if you’re into faces and bodies. Whatever.”

– Kenzi: “I could be a Kardashian.” Dyson: “You could be shy.”
I hope Dyson keeps this personality after the amnesia wears off. Kris Holden-Ried should be this well-used always. 

But, he can keep the part of his personality which had him constantly losing the shirt.

What Did We Get Right/Wrong

Dale noted this season was going to pull in regional authorities, Melanie noted ‘authority figures galore.’ Kenzi’s conversations with Trick suggest that’s accurate.

It’s also possible-to-likely we were right about at least Tamsin getting yanked to another place/dimension, since Dyson can’t sniff her out.

Other than that, this episode gave us nothing.

Further Predictions

Bo is not in the box. Other than a ‘dick in the box’ joke, I’ve really got no alternative suggestion for what is.

Trick ran off with Stella, so are we to assume whoever messed with his memory brought him back? I expect flashbacks to resolve this.

Massimo’s quasi-rape-y scene plays up his total douchiness, but also, if Lost Girl keeps up its record, Kenzi will get to pay him back with some sort of fitting punishment.

That Clio-being-like-Kenzi foreshadows the nymph will be used to double Kenzi at some point, or possibly Kenzi will pass herself off as Cleo . . . maybe [here’s the stretch] because the nymph is a member of the una mens?

Priiiiiivate eyes, are WAAAAATching you . . .

Comments
18 Responses to “Lost Girl: Season 4, Episode 01, In Memoriam”
  1. cleop527 says:

    I really love the playfulness of LG.

    Did you not also feel that the gang (other than absent characters like Lauren and Tamsin) were just a little bit soulless without Bo? She makes them all better people. Well it’s the obvious ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ plot device and morality tale. I wonder if it will snow when they find Bo. I loved how the ep. reset the relationships, and I have to say I adore the new grown-up Kenzi. The teenage act had kind of reached its expiration date. I also appreciated how the ep. ended on a Lauren/Bo note; very Sleeping Beauty woken up by true love (sans kiss for now).

    So ep. 2 Sleeping Beauty School will hopefully follow-up (at least *I* and a horde of like-minded fans hope so) on the above-mentioned love theme. But Cleo, the MK character, is a nymph (water spirit) and is, I’m pretty sure, the “elemental” fae that Dyson seeks out in his search for Bo. Beyond that, I know nothing Jon Snow.

    • Melanie says:

      Bo is the driving force which brings / brought everyone together, and nobody is complete without her (nor is the gang), and it’s certainly not the same show without her. They cover well, but it wouldn’t be too interesting long-term.

      I have reservations about her making them all better. She makes Trick a better person for sure; she makes Tamsin want to be a better person; she and Kenzi react upon each other fairly equally; she makes Dyson a better person sometimes, but their romantic relationship started off so juvenilely it occasionally-to-often had the opposite effect on him; mostly Lauren makes her a better person but not the other way around, which is a small part of why I felt the break was not just justified but called for; Vex . . . ah, Vex, I hope he stays deliciously terrible.

      Having talked it out, maybe I like the word ‘fulfills,’ Bo fulfills everyone, makes their lives better, and to some extent or the other makes them better people.

      I didn’t know what the next episode was called, actually, but that’s curious . . . besides the theme you mention, the idea that ‘real’ or ‘good’ or ‘whatever you want to call the Bo we know’ is who/what is actually sleeping, within the bright, blue-eyed Bo. They’ve certainly given us enough to lead up to the idea. Then The Wanderer could be Maleficent, and what a way to totally gender-flip/queer that story.

      If, of course, that’s even in the parking lot of the ballpark of what happens at all.

      • cleop527 says:

        Ha! That would be truly awesome! And truly, the person who has shown she can bring Bo we Know back from the depths of Eerie Blue-Eyed Bo is Lauren.

        The next episode is called “Sleeping Beauty School.”

        Bo doesn’t make them better but is the necessary ingredient of the unique alchemical melange that is LG’s Scooby Gang. She’s the binding element in this fae-human motley crew of orphans. Yet of course, she doesn’t exist without them.

  2. Rachel says:

    Do you think show writers are in tune with, and intentional with, the ins and outs of each character and his/her flaws and strong points? Neat observations, by the way, about all of them. Including your observation that Bo doesn’t make all the other characters better people. That’s interesting — adds nuance to her as a heroine and definitely moves beyond the more simplistic ‘hero’ stereotype I think Dyson and Tamsin sometimes see her as. Although I’d argue that Bo has inadvertently made Lauren a better person in that she’s inadvertently pushed Lauren to take a stand.

    Also, as I was watching 4×1 I was assuming nothing had been erased in their memories except memories of Bo.

    Where is Bo? Where is Lauren?

    • Melanie says:

      Most show writers [especially shows which aren’t baseline procedurals where character motivations materialize to serve plot and then vaporize, especially shows which last past the first season or two, especially shows with a large, established ensemble and/or points of character growth] MUST be in tune and intentional with the characters. Missteps or stretches happen, of course, and sometimes you can tell when writers or directors see a character somewhat differently from each other, ie one writer things a character is generally sincere, but another thinks the character is just saying what s/he needs to look good. But overall a key rule is: when they’re on the page, they can’t all sound the same. One character’s actions or dialogue can’t be interchangeable with any old other character, the actions must make sense for the one making them. Motivations and verbiage and flaws/strengths are unique to each character.

      Losing Anna Silk doesn’t just mean they lose out on the succubus, the character who could touch or kiss the compass from the collector, but also the person who’d be most likely to charge into the snake sanctum and demand the compass because hey you have no right to that, anyways.

      I see what you’re saying about just memories of Bo, but something maneuvered Trick into coming back, and he either doesn’t remember what or doesn’t want to talk about it. And anything involving Bo and _anyone_ would have be different in history, so for example Tamsin never saved Dyson from the roof, or did she do it differently, etc. I don’t know if we’ll get these answers, and we don’t need to for the episode to work, but it’s interesting to think about.

      Oh, and as for Lauren, you are correct. Before, if she took stands [and she doesn’t in 1.01] they’d be more subdued and politically neutral. Bo pushed her to be more vocal and demonstrative, and between finding out about Nadia’s induced coma and Lachlan pushing all her buttons, she acted on it, but with very mixed results. Society doesn’t take kindly to strong women, and the fae to strong humans.

      • Rachel says:

        So, like, when does a character move from being superficial/stereotypical/stock character, to being more than that? Like, I actually feel that Bo hasn’t been a “stock” character ever but it’s more because I think Anna Silk brings aspects of herself to Bo and I don’t know exactly what I mean by that. Otherwise there’s the “stock” badass/warrior princess/hero thing. But when she is the heroine yet also doesn’t necessarily make other characters better people, and reacts out of a fundamentalist upbringing, stuff that feels human and interesting, to me it moves her out of a stock-ish character. Even when Dyson and Tamsin still see her in that way.

        Or, maybe the mind eraser implanted explanations in their brains so they never questioned Bo’s absence….

        Lauren also took a stand with Bo when she broke up with her.

        • Melanie says:

          It’s a gradual progression. You introduce ‘blonde boy-band cop and his partner black cop’ and ‘snarky sidekick’ and ‘geeky somewhat socially awkward doctor’ and they’re all flat & stereotypical, that’s just the nature of the game. They’re an amalgamation of descriptives and careers. Though a culmination of actions help with that progression, writing dialogue which is unique to the characters, getting actors who will assign and convey proper motivations, and directors who are going to show their interpersonal interactions to best effect (as in that couch scene – http://bit.ly/17SKQnE), frame actors properly (literally, as well as somewhat metaphorically), and tease out their nuances, all this helps.

          Different things like amount of screen time and actors can fast-forward the process or bring it to a halt; it was evident really early, for instance, that Kenzi was going to be a breakout character. But it’s good, often subtle, writing and acting over time which does it.

          Of course, Bo being a woman who literally needs sex to live puts her in a fairly unique category of characters, which is awesome, and which helps distract from the fact mommy issues are easily cliched. As I cannot stop mentioning, the fundementalist upbringing is the perfect, most fascinating twist on this premise, and all that puts her ahead of the stock curve. Silk imbuing Bo with a lust for life and infectious enthusiasm – rather than bitterness at her past or pent-up frustration at her arrested sexual/social development, an easy way to take it in the wrong hands – is gold.

          Mmmm, Lauren did. I guess we don’t really have any other framework for how she reacted in interpersonal and apolitical situations until that point, though, other than a few jabs at Dyson. She was walking on eggshells because of Nadia’s sickness, then in-fae-ction (too much?), so that’s not exactly representative, and that’s all we’ve really got to go on.

          Nadia. Girlfriend In A Coma. Now there’s a stock character. I would have liked to have seen more of her.

        • Melanie says:

          Also, I’ve been really into this essay the past couple days, and while the whole thing is magnificent, the section on ‘character is king’ (under “A “HOW TO” ON CHARACTER & DRAMA” about 1/5 down) is relevant to this question. http://bit.ly/1hGckAO

          • Rachel says:

            Really interesting and relevant. So to understand a character, pay attention to his/her choices?

            For me, 4×1 grounded Dyson, especially, as a character beyond a one-dimensional ‘noble, chivalrous wolf/prince charming’ (which I wasn’t buying anyway… though I think he may believe it (as do some viewers)). His willingness/choice to have an affair with his best friend’s girlfriend, to me, exemplifies a tension between his stereotypical chivalry, his true chivalry (Lauren breakup bar shots scene), his intuition, and his selfishness, though he may be blind to the reality of that selfishness. To me this makes him much more interesting (and potentially sets him up to grow). Do you think writers were intentional with this?

            What does Kenzi’s decision to have an affair say about her and Hale’s relationship?

            How do you think Lost Girl does with shaping the show around their characters’ decisions?

            It would also follow that characters seem ooc when their decisions aren’t thought through by writers. Or, their ooc-ness may actually really just be thoughtful info.

            • Melanie says:

              Wait, best friend’s girlfriend? I didn’t get the impression Hale and Kenzi were dating, just Hale was an obviously interested party. And it’s not like Dyson had to convince or coerce Kenzi; she was as into it/complicit as he.

              LG doesn’t shape the show around anyone’s decisions, except sometimes Bo’s. The characters and their choices get shaped around the plot. Which is . . . not ideal for most kinds of shows, but when you’re camp you can get away with a bit more.

              • Rachel says:

                Oh, you’re probably right! I was jumping to conclusions after 3×13… they professed their love for each other didn’t they? And yep, Kenzi was totally complicit. Which is confusing after 3×13.

                And, hmmm. I’m wondering what shaping choices around plot does to character development.

          • Rachel says:

            “Of course, Bo being a woman who literally needs sex to live puts her in a fairly unique category of characters, which is awesome, and which helps distract from the fact mommy issues are easily cliched. As I cannot stop mentioning, the fundementalist upbringing is the perfect, most fascinating twist on this premise, and all that puts her ahead of the stock curve. Silk imbuing Bo with a lust for life and infectious enthusiasm – rather than bitterness at her past or pent-up frustration at her arrested sexual/social development, an easy way to take it in the wrong hands – is gold.”

            Agree!

  3. Anina says:

    I found it to be VERY over the top at first, but I think it’s one of these episodes that get better and better with every re-watch (wonder how many re-watchs it will take to not have to cover my eyes at the D/K kiss – that was incest, pure and simple)

    My favorite line was Dyson’s “You could be shy” Cracked me up!

    They managed to set up a lot of plotlines with this ep. I think we’re in for quite a ride this season!

    The dance scene was great – KS was a real treat to watch. So were the guys – considering they had never done that before. Wonder if it was already in the script that Kris Holden-Ried had the bigger part, or if they had him do it because he turned out to be the better dancer?

    Excellent review, thank you, Mel !!!

    • Melanie says:

      It definitely reveled in its camp, and I loved it. I know the campiness is why the SSSSSSSSes were pulled out, and I mentioned that bugged me, but eh, nobody’s perfect.

      I, too, wondered how much of the scene was written around confirmed dancing ability. Probably Andras would have known before she wrote it; that scene took a lot of blocking and rehearsal, so it wasn’t likely a last-minute swap, and it toys with the triangle idea so who gets the bulk of time is important for more than just looks. Of course, it’s fun that the ladies man can’t dance, so maybe K.C. Collins is a good dancer in real life, and they mysteriously downplay him here, a la Ginger Rogers in R&H’s Cinderell (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0057950).

      Thanks for the comment and welcome, new commentor!

  4. overainbows says:

    I had mixed feelings about the ep. I expected no Bo in the first eps and I thought I wouldn’t miss her much. The last season really made me take her for granted. By the end of s03 I thought she was a little washed out, Idk. There was something lacking in Bo for her to be the lead. This ep made me value her more and yearn for her return (and the following eps really brought the lively Bo back, Idk what happened last season but it’s over).

    I guess it’ll grow on me as I rewatch though. I loved the campness and the playfulness with the fandoms. I always thought I wouldn’t care if Dyson and Kenzi stayed together so the boring triangle would be gone. But damn did it feel WRONG! I thought people overeacted. Nope, I see what they meant now. lol

    • Melanie says:

      I feel like Dyson/Kenzi like I feel about Bo/Kenzi. They’re attractive people, they have fantastic chemistry, but the characters simply can’t work romantically.

      Chemistry comes in so many forms, and there’s a problem in TV when it’s always ‘intimate friendships’ for f/f m/m parings, and always ‘romance’ (usually drawn out for severall will-they-won’t-they-OH-THEY-DID! seasons) in m/f pairings, but Lost Girl covers its romance bases in a way which uniquely positions it to pull off intimate platonic naturally, ie without seeming like they’re ‘just afraid to go there.’ I loathe how TV overall thinks opposite-genedered chemistry has to lead to romance and/or sex. Similarly, the way queer shows think everyone must hook up with everyone similarly oriented. Thank heavens the few times chemistry on TV does just lead to intimate friendships, simply because it’s against the norm and also because IT TOTALLY HAPPENS IN REAL LIFE, YO. Denying that sort of beautiful relationship is sad and terrible.

      Ahem. Off soapbox. Lost Girl audaciously walks a line many shows don’t dare. The fanservice of using prison/testing and amulet/weird memory warp to give otherwise platonic and intense relationships some makeout time, then pull it back entirely, is cheeky as hell. I’m so glad the writers realize it’s just passing wish fulfillment, and don’t prolong it. Because . . . oof, NO.

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