Lost Girl: Season 04, Episode 3, Lovers. Apart.

I’ve mentioned everyone has been thrown at least somewhat out of character for this season. I’ve mentioned the sexism. I’ve mentioned the disjointedness and shooting around the lead’s schedule. And now it all comes to a head in . . . a rather mixed bag. Some of that mixed bag is great, and some is awful, and some is I don’t know yet because a lot of this is setup for the rest of the season. Three eps of setup means I’m really looking forward to next week, cuz shit better hit the fan.

Incidentally, this writer’s work is a bit of a mixed bag – some good episodes which turned great but were given a boost of fantastic direction, and some run-of-the-mill episodes.

Two-for-One, sexism and infantalization!

There are technically five stories/plots going on here: Dyson and Clio; Bo and the family; Lauren/Amber and Crystal; the Morrigan and Mossimo; Bo and the family and Dyson and Clio. All of them are shot in different styles – the Bo/Family storyline has a horrorish feel to the set and camera movement, the Lauren/Crystal scenes could have come out of a country western song, the Morrigan/Mossimo scenes have a modern-supernatural vibe. The lighting and framing and even acting are really disparate – note, whoever keeps telling Kris Holden-Ried to act more over-the-top, please stop. The audio for this episode is really fantastic, even with an unusual amount of ADR and/or pulling stray lines from other takes and laying them over a character whose back is turned. Don’t discount the editing and sound mixing in this episode, as it really drives home the feel for each of the five storylines. The music in the restaurant when Crystal is talking about dreams which will swallow you whole? Perfect. Then, the way the stories are intercut make the whole seem much more interesting and connected than the sum of its parts.

In above-listed order of the stories, then.

Mia's perfect for Chloe's kind of freaky. She plays it straight while acknowledging it's an absurd thing to do.

Dyson and Clio

Fairly straightforward, this plot serves to give us tidbits of information about the others. Oh, jumping on and off the train can give one transcendental sickness, leading to disorientation and cramps and death. Oh, elementals can do such-and-such. Oh, going to ground is a ritualistic/important device.

It also somewhat makes up for Dyson wriggling out of a kiss last episode, in that he gets his toes sucked this one. (But really, thanks for not showing that.)

Overall, though, this plot does something else really interesting. I doubt the show will explicitly point this out, because they love to hedge their bets against future plots (a lot of writers feel closing in a world’s rules limit their writing, while generally it’s a strength). But it confirms alternate realities totally mess with Dyson. Not only can he not understand or handle them, they legitimately screw with his mind, and bring out the absolute worst in him. He doesn’t like change, he needs to be grounded, and when he’s not firmly in a reality he can understand or combat with brute force, he loses all the marbles. ALL the marbles. More on the marble-loss under Bo and the family and Dyson and Clio.

Also, apparently alternate realities bring out Dyson’s Batman voice. And the yelling. Yeah, Dyson. Yelling at your partner and/or a subject of questioning doesn’t disorient them at alllllll. They must have taught you that in police academy.

The family that crochets together, stays together?

Bo and the Family

This plot highlights two of the three biggest problems in the episode (the other is lack-of-Kenzi, and we’ll talk about that). Rampant sexism and an unclear metaphor meet in a perfect marriage of whaaaaa?

4.01 had some fairly clear hints at sexism, and 4.02 was awash in sexist buffoonery, and this caps it all off. If there were charts, this mini-trilogy would be off of them. The Man of the Family is domineering and controlling, Dyson gets possessive and controlling and saves all the days, the diner boss orders Amber and Crystal around with obvious disdain, in our flashback it’s men using brute force to expose a woman and tear her away from her beloved, everything’s awash in the sexist tropes we heard versed last episode. The clear acceleration and blatant displays confirm it’s intentional . . . but why? Are we to believe the world without Bo is the height of possible misogynists worlds?

Of additional interest is Clio’s use of the innocuous phrase “find your girl.” It’s not just that Dyson doesn’t correct Clio, even though just last episode he was still making token ‘she’s not with me, I’m just in love with her’ motions, it’s that phrasing which denotes possession. Ok, but if Clio were talking to Bo, would she call Dyson ‘your man’? Probably. And if she did, what would that say? Everyone says ‘your girl’ to men and ‘your man’ to women. It’s just the way the phrases are, and it highlights the infantilization of women and its entrenchment in our language. Language is important. Word choice matters. I have to think a writer used that turn of phrase intentionally.

Then the metaphor.

When the family first appeared, there are the usual speculations. Are they going to be werewolves? Is it going to be a story of teenage rebellion and parental issues? Right off I got excited because it seemed it was taking a turn towards explicit fundamentalist themes: secluding/locking away the family, specifically daughter, under guise of protection; using vague threats to keep one’s family group locked away from the outside world; a reprobate/unbelieving member who would find out some of the threats were true, but there are actually better ways to deal with them; a matriarchal figure who has been suppressed until she comes to believe and take on a role of oppressor, etc. Great stuff, and following a theme the show has touched on.

Then the story seemed to drift towards general abuse. Then it dumped in a ghost backstory with very little explanation. Then it added the idea of cyclical abuse with the husband having been possessed. Then it conflated the family haunting with a family history of mental illness, but finally flipped that into a fairly plain suggestion of demonic possession. And in splitting all the differences, it weakened any metaphors we could have drawn out, then really went off the rails when it all came to a head.

Had Lauren never showed, I wonder how late Crystal would have stayed up, lounging in her underwear and drinking her wine.

Lauren/Amber and Crystal

Lauren’s flirting is always so awkward and science-y, and she gets OCD when she’s trying too hard. Yet it also always works. Maybe we should be taking notes.

The story which works on the surface as ‘girl on the run trusts someone, gets screwed,’ but brings in some extra layers for anyone who’s watched the show. First, Lauren isn’t being her usual cautious, analytical self. Sure, every so often Lauren let her emotions bubble over, but she had still studied a situation from every angle. Here, she trusts and confides in Crystal. Even after she knows someone’s been calling the diner asking for her and offering a reward, she goes back to Crystal before she leaves. The same Crystal who was just talking about how she wanted money to buy a little farm, and could not have waved a larger red flag if she’d tried.

That’s just not in keeping with the rest of what we know about Lauren, though the placement of baking powder is. What gives? Is Lauren so frustrated she’s almost asking to be brought back into the fae world, where at least she can confront her problems? Has the somewhat alternate universe skewed her mental capacities? I dunno. Your guess is as good as mine. Lauren stating she wants to ‘erase everything’ is interesting, though, and I feel that must come into play later.

Most fascinating to me is the spybang flip. [I don’t actually love the term, as it suggests the thing which happens in every other romantic comedy – having sex/romancytimes with someone under somewhat false pretenses but not really cuz you really like them and have a good heart and all – is somehow more nefarious when it’s girl-on-girl. After all, doesn’t Dyson also sleep with Bo while keeping information from her for her own good? That said, my problem is more with the selective and uneven application of the term than anything else; it’s fairly accurate, descriptive shorthand, and if you’re reading this blog you more than likely know what I mean by it.]

A small part of how effective the reversal is revolves around How Much Did Crystal Know and When Did She Know It, but in most scenarios I feel Crystal could make the same argument Lauren did. ‘I really did like and want to sleep with you, we were headed there anyway, it doesn’t mean the other kinda shitty thing I did was directly related.’ Also, depending on how this shakes out, Crystal could either have been convinced it was for Lauren’s good [we don’t know her well enough to know if she’s the brightest bulb in the marquee], or have been threatened with being flayed alive. But none of that is likely to make Lauren immediately feel better about the whole situation, and in that case, she’s going to know how Bo felt.

Also interesting: though Lauren took most of the leads in a relationship  – with a succubus, no less – Crystal takes most of them here. Brazen flirting is brazen, but answering the door in her skivvies? POWER MOVE, YO.

In the end, though, all thoughts of ‘shouldn’t she have hit the road by now’ and ‘was Crystal being blackmailed or planning to turn Amber in for a reward before or after or regardless of the sex’ and ‘can Lauren ever trust anyone again’ aside, good on Lauren for getting some. She’s mentioned sex as catharsis before, and if Lauren doesn’t need some catharsis right now, nobody does.

The actual sex scene is essentially one bit of blocking, and the rest all camera movement and angle. It also has very specific 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 on. With this framing/blocking, they know people will be thinking it.

[Note: I got asked a few times what I meant by this. It’s not that I’m saying Amber/Crystal or anyone must have any adds in the bedroom. It’s that I think with this blocking, directors are aware they’re creating that suggestion; they’re aware their choices can be indicative of a certain thing, without even having to be that thing. In scenes like this on TV – especially scenes where there are already so many layers of you can show this inch but not that, and this motion but not that, etc etc – suggestion is important. Suggestion has always been the key to both censorship and subversion; it wasn’t that having a king-sized bed or toilet were considered ‘bad’ or even sexy, but they used to be censored merely because of what they suggested. Subverting those rules came in the form of strategic couch placement or cutting away at the right moment or elevator floor indicators. Suggestion is why the wet hand in 3.04 was interesting, and on one level suggestion is what I think is going on here. Positioning overall matters, too. TV sex positions and motions often have loaded power dynamics which are shorthanded by tops and bottoms – I’ve mentioned before how I like this show not establishing anyone as a constant top or bottom, and here Lauren’s on the bottom and it’s been established she can be both thus this doesn’t have to mean anything other than we’re seeing her face, not Crystal’s – and it’s significant that this show plays with that. These decisions are conscious on set. All that said . . . Yeah, I’m parsing motive of blocking and motion and hand location of a person who is literally hidden beneath a sheet. No, there’s likely no actual paraphernalia here (no strap, though that’s not a sure thing). And yes, there could be other reasons for the hip position/movement, even such as ‘if the camera is here there’s not enough going on in the lower third, so how about you move your butt up into frame.’ But the thought the director knows this alternate suggestion is plenty viable was enough for me to make an offhand comment. More than probably anything else in this review, I’m willing to say ‘hey all speculative, don’t actually care.’  It somehow ended up being a thing, so I thought I’d put the answer out there for anyone else wondering why I said that, since all the asks I got were private.] 

I’d be much more excited about the possible flaunting of network standards if I didn’t have a sneaking suspicion the subdued climax was due to the lady/lady dynamic. I’ve mentioned it before, and this is not helping my conspiracy theorism.

As for the kidnapping, I speculated in last week’s comments about why the Una Mens are after Lauren (and the Wanderer, too, either for the same reasons or because the Wanderer is in opposition to the Una Mens). I wish they’d make Lauren useful for something other than leveraging or having others leveraged against her. I mean, it’s not like she has years and years of medical experimentation and knowledge about a superhuman race hiding in plain sight. I mean, I could be wrong about the leverage thing, but . . . I don’t think I am.

Thanks for not showing more of this, too.

The Morrigan and Mossimo, AKA The Pirate and the Smarmbag

New Morrigan power display, right off the bat. So far as I remember her life/soul/art sucking was contract-based, not touch-based. Anyone care to correct me?

The interesting part here is Mossimo, and his being human. It touches a little on the cycle of abuse – he’s looking for shelter from the anti-human factions, but willing to exploit Kenzi’s humanity without a conscience – but most of all it adds to the world building.

Historically, druids were basically a priest caste. Mossimo’s got knowledge of magic potions and dark medicine and things one could learn living in a secluded monastery with old books – while of course developing sketchy taste in clothing and a propensity for brewing beer and masturbating. It’s fairly common in modern paranormal fiction to make druids players in the supernatural world without them actually being supernatural; often they have just tapped into some religious/mystical power source.

Up until this point, Lost Girl hasn’t explicitly defined the possibility for any non-supernatural to play. Not just ‘has talents we can use’ like Lauren, or ‘fake it and squirm around the system’ like Kenzi, but an actual mover and shaker. Here they’re stating: “human” doesn’t completely mean “a non-supernatural player.” Mossimo actually has the magic in him, or whatever you want to call it. He has supernatural ‘abilities’ or knowledge, and gets treated approximately like another fae.

Then, even being a player with some ‘abilities’ of his own, he angles for protection from the Morrigan. He’s acknowledging that with Bo gone, she’s the most powerful player in town. The whole scene is a great use of show don’t tell.

YES, CHLOE. THAT IS THE CORRECT FACIAL EXPRESSION.

Bo and the family and Dyson and Clio

Off the rails we go!

Some of my sample notes:

So the daughter kills parents/abusers/oppressors/sources of mental illness/passers down of possession . . . IF I KNEW WHAT THE METAPHOR WAS, THIS MIGHT MAKE SENSE.

Bo thinks it’s all her fault. Naturally.

Man Saves Day! Ugh.

Possession of a power that kills and has a Jersey accent. Of course Jersey accent.

Dyson, throwing ppl to the ground. It’s how he operates.
WHAT IS THIS, TRUE BLOOD!?
Who is this?
oh this is the demon fae thing
wait, so is this actually a ghost?
The woman is punished for something she and man are both complicit in. natch.
Elemental.
so she was an elemental and . . . I DON’T KNOW
it had to have been about slavery/interracial marriage
bad CGI blood
bad bad GCI blood
what is any of this scene
Motive?
no. NONONONONONONONONON
‘they weren’t married’ !? Oooooooh, fuck this
that’s some freaky wish fulfilment. both for Dyson and the fans
heartbeats in the audio mix tho
why can’t the elemental see the ghosts?

Now we’ve got eight kinds of problems. First, for such a progressive show to have such a backwards idea about commitment and marriage is a bit upsetting. The couple was obviously ‘bonded’ and being buried apart was symbolic. Not having officially said vows and placing a ring on each others’ fingers shouldn’t diminish the nature of their relationship, but here it does. Why would two souls have to be given some sort of contract to be sealed in death? It’s a weird Mormon / puritanical idea, and it’s forced on every level, just because – and this is key –  plot says Dyson and Bo get to have a weird creepy quasi-marriage. And it doesn’t land, both because it’s forced and because Dyson is super weird about it, just like the Dawning.

Dyson versus Lauren again. Some bullshit ‘competition.’ Ugh. Kill it with fire.

Is Dyson really forgetting the train? Once he’s out of that realm, even in another still-whacked realm, has his memory of it left him like Bo’s did? If so, are the Una Mens, the Wanderer, or the ‘Conductor’ behind the forgetfulness? Is it just a nature of the nether realm that you can’t remember? Or does he remember, and he’s actively trying to get Bo to forget so she’ll stay with him; another echo of the Dawning. He is fairly prominently wearing the wedding band, ie using that hand to steer so it’s obvious in the shot. Is it another fakeout like the Dawning marriage? I’ve no answers at this point, and I don’t think we’re meant to. We’re meant to keep coming back to find answers. But you can only play that game so long . . .

Set dressers love them some candles.

Bo’s a jumby?
Bo’s taken on elements of the jumby?
she has all the jumby’s memories?
“she’s your worst nightmare” – just no

I was/am confused exactly what took place mostly because of the eyes. Julia’s eyes went dark when possessed, Clio’s didn’t (elemental?), Bo’s clouded, but then at the gravesite when she faux-married Dyson, they were clear. Suggesting Bo wasn’t under the influence? Suggesting putting the bones together was half the battle and the ghost wasn’t possessing but wandering freely? Suggesting Bad/BlueEyed Bo could fight or turn the eyes? I’m left with the same answer as for a half dozen questions this episode: who the hell knows, and who the hell knows if they’ll ever tell us. But actually, if you know, I’m all ears, and the comment section eagerly awaits you.

One more note on Clio: elementals are typically more powerful in non-European mythologies. This feature of European mythologies can be traced back to Gnosticism and further back to Plato’s dualist metaphysics, though I don’t really  have the spare time to research a cross-disciplinary Master’s Thesis to adequately prove it.

Southern European mythologies typically don’t involve a ton on elemental power players (other than sea gods) because the weather was liveable. Scandinavian and Northern European myths involve more elementals because nature was scarier. [Dale: “But then we need a conversation about the mechanics of how Norse and Pagan mythologies evolved into the European regional folk mythologies that are the large basis for Lost Girl.”] For instance, Germanic myths are centered around “the forest” as the center of scary shit, because Germanic forests are scary shit, and instilling the fear of nasty icky death into your children so they would stay out of those forests made perfect sense. Functionality is always huge in the origin/propagation of myths.

But with the spread of Rome/Christianity/Latinate writing and the general progression of scholasticism and understanding of how elements/nature worked, the essence of natural baddies became less pure “nature is scary” and more “nature is a tool that powerful beings use for evil,” thus leading elementals in European mythology to be mostly sprites and sidekicks. [Dale: “There’s also a cross-disciplinary Master’s project about how societal power is constructed in a mythological climate of patriarchal gods constantly at war with “nature.”]

All of which explains Clio’s versatile yet not incredibly powerful powers, and why she was so easy to beat down. Also, can we just note that crazy Jenny Schecter got offed . . . by a bisexual woman. Yep. They did that.

- Foot / shoe shots are some of my favorite things! Feet are transitory, driving, carrying, emblematic of the type of person you are.

The WrapUp

The show loads most of the audience empathy into Bo, Lauren, and Kenzi. Missing any one of them automatically pushes an episode towards imbalance, and here Bo couldn’t pull much empathy, as she was “confused” or being possessed for way too much of the episode. Without Kensi’s snark and wit to balance Bo’s heavy Morality Choices About Protection Humans, the show lands too heavily. It’s camp on a budget, it shouldn’t veer too much towards taking itself seriously.

Really, the show misses Ksenia Solo’s charisma from top to bottom. They tried pushing the Julia chick as a substitute, but not only were they trying too hard – if she were really like her, we wouldn’t have to be told so eight times – but it just didn’t work. At all.

They kept switching the trope/metaphor for the Bo’s Mystery of the Week family, from vacationers to abusers to weird to fundy metaphors to mental illness to possession/demons to slavery to whatever else. It could have been great, instead it ended up as an excuse to ‘marry’ Bo and Dyson. 

It’s not that this episode itself was a monstrosity. But the only way it’s good is if all the pieces it puts into place lead to sensical, fireworks-filled, sensical-plot-laden episodes soon.

Very, very soon.

They used a bit of rack focus this episode, but the play to the phone and back was my favorite.

What Did We Get Right

We really got no closer to confirming or denying any of our guesses.

Stray Observations

– Very special thanks to Dale for helping get all the druid and elemental mythology spelled out.

– I did enjoy that little shout out to Anna Silk giving birth.

– Eyes come into play a lot this episode, but give Emmanuelle Vaugier some major props for that talent.

– What is that demon mask in the background at the family’s bunker?

– Whether Dyson and Lauren like it or not, Bo’s angling for both of them. She wants to have her beefcake and eat Lauren too.

– Oh come on. I’m proud of that one.

– “Forget that wedding dress and combat boots that I wore all the way through Freshman year as a statement.”

– “(To Dyson) Come on, you’ve been around for 1,00 years and you’ve never read a romance novel? (to Bo): Lucky girl.”

Comments
23 Responses to “Lost Girl: Season 04, Episode 3, Lovers. Apart.”
  1. Good insights into the episode. Just a note on Evony — she feeds off talent, so when she feeds from a talent-less person they simply turn to goo. If you recall, we saw this towards the end of Season 2 (I believe it was S2) when she reduced a member of the Red Hats to silly putty for ingesting her ‘goose barnacle’. I don’t really remember how her contracts play into it all — but I don’t think they’re necessary for ooey gooey goodness.

    Also, I think “The Pirate and The Smarmbag” would make for an interesting children’s book title.

    • Melanie says:

      Ah-ha! Brilliant. Thank you!

      The note about the contracts is a nod to the fact she’s able to feed off the talent of her artists without touching them – I presumed through some sort of Faustian agreement – but of course also being able to use touch in addition to contractual harvesting makes perfect sense.

      I would buy that book.

  2. keets says:

    Okay, this is my favorite. You hit every nail on the head. Thanks for the brief, but succinct lesson on the mythology of, well, I have to go back and read it again because I didn’t retain it. LOL. But it made sense to me. I so want this Show to just buck up and leap off the effing fence. Move on and tell Bo’s story, but they have mired themselves in fan service and it is leaking profusely because of it. Damn, I don’t care if they marry Bo and Dyson already. That would be stupid and boring to watch but go for it. While you’re at it, give Lauren a break once in awhile and I’ll be happy to watch.
    Thank you. Everything was brilliant. Jenny Schecter has always been my favorite L Word gal; I know that’s an unpopular opinion so I choose to believe that she still lives. Bo did not kill her. :0
    Mia Kirshner was fantastic and I will always fangirl her.

    I was disappointed they didn’t go all the way and make a true parallel to the Lovers.Apart title with Bo and Lauren. It was there, subtly, but got mired in the mud with the Dybo marriage. Mucky, muck. Dyson and Bo got married in a cemetery. LOL.

    I missed Kenzi and agree the surrogate was a poor replacement. I do, however, still disagree with you that Kenzi can carry the show. Bo was sorely missed in the first two eps. Bo and Kenzi’s dynamic together is the awesome sauce. I actually thought the writers did a good job of showing us this in the first ep. because it felt so off without Bo there. Kenzi said ‘my heart hurts…this isn’t right’ or something like that, and that was when I realized: Yes! I’m enjoying Ksenia Solo, her performance is really good, but I don’t see Kenzi, not without her Bobo to define her.

    Thank you, this re-cap was so good.

    • Melanie says:

      I don’t think Kenzi could carry the _show_ . . . it’s Bo’s story, it wouldn’t work without her as lynchpin. But I do think Solo can and did carry 4.01, and is needed when Bo/Silk is somewhat out of commission. (Also, the Jenny character would have been improved if they hadn’t tried to make her live up to Kenzi; she suffered more via the comparison than anything.) I’ll be more than happy when they’re back together again. They’re the best partnership in the whole thing.

      Thanks for the comment!

      Oh, incidentally, Jenny Schecter was fairly universally hated, but I think that’s a kudos to Mia Kirschner. Schecter was never boring; even in later seasons where they gave her the most absurd situations, she held up better than most of the characters.

  3. cshieyiez says:

    Nice insight!especially on kenzi being missing,any episode without Kenzi really bored me!And from what i see the biggest fan base are from Bo,Lauren & Kenzi so every time one of them is missing,.aghh you know what will happened..

    • Melanie says:

      I wonder how much of that is the fan composite, how much characters (it’s kind of unfair to compare anyone to Kenzi, she’s such a brilliantly constructed and executed character; built on tropes but never defined by them, as much an example of the title as Bo), how much the actors, and how much the general chemistry. But it’s a sign of a good ensemble show to miss anyone, even if only for an episode.

  4. vexundorma says:

    The showrunner’s urge to comment/explain/facesave after each episode airs spotlights the main problem with the show: the subpar writing and less than stellar execution (to put it kindly); which makes the whole thing entirely incomprehensible, because if she’s aware of the problem it was her job to deal with it in the first place.
    Three episodes on to the season (and ten since 3.06, the last one before the wtf began) the bizarre acting keeps going on, the mythology is shot to pieces, the retconning is in full force, there’s no resolution to any storyline before others are added, and the characters are tortured to fit plots that seem evermore inexistent. Even worse, the show seems to start taking itself seriously.
    It has now become, for me, a kind of serialized “Plan 9 from Outer Space” with which I’m having perhaps too much fun looking for the constant plot holes and the absurd retcons.
    As for the misogynist Bo-less world, that was not the fae world as per S1 and S2 and with good reason: the nice lady at your side could well be a spit-fireball dragon that would fry the head of any guy crossing the line (remember Velma, the Mongolian Death Worm?). The misogynist flavor to the show (that started at the back half of season 3) is entirely the work and responsibility of the current showrunner and her writing staff.

    • Melanie says:

      “Even worse, the show seems to start taking itself seriously.”

      Bingo. That’s the key.

      It’s just not That Kind of Show, and shouldn’t have to be, and really isn’t built to be, what with the budget and subject matter and even most of the cast. And without being so, they were able to address rape culture, child trafficking, polygamy, free will versus fate, stripping, etc etc. There’s no need for change, so if they continue this serious bent it’ll be a shame. They can do dark without being sooooooo serious, and at the least I think bringing it back around to the tone of 4.01 is in order.

      The jumby was a retributive woman who murdered a whole family and posed them as life-sized dolls around a table because some guys crossed her; so saying strong woman villains/antagonists/guest characters make the show means they’re still doing it. And in fact, they’re still killing off (or semi-redeeming, in the case of this episode) jackass misogynists. Also, all of the writers and at least most of the directors so far in S4 and the back half of 3 have been on board since the start of the show, and Andras was consulting producer, and showrunner for all of 3, not just the back half. It’s obviously far deeper than one person, and that’s why I feel there’s some sort of weird purpose, and/or the intent to take the show ‘darker’ [which does not have to be confused with ‘more serious,’ but may be being so at the moment] may result in a more, shall we say, representative-of-reality feel.

  5. Rachel says:

    You clarified and illuminated yet another episode of Lost Girl! (Including clarifying what was confusing 😛 )

    After watching, and then reading your post and the comments, I’m wondering…

    – Lost Girl has always been a show that pushes boundaries and takes risks — from the pilot being ep 8 (creative risks) to Bo/Lauren (political/social/cultural risks). Last season, what were the creative risks?

    – What are the risks being taken in s4 so far… creatively? politically? What were the risks being taken in this episode? disclaimer: I feel there are risks being taken even if I’m not exactly sure what, and I believe thoughtful risk-taking is neat and valuable.

    – Are the risks being taken laudable? Or just confusing and to what extent should viewers like me who appreciate this aspect of LG, be willing to tolerate confusion?

    – What might change if plot was shaped just a bit more by characters’ decisions?

    – Maybe shaping characters around plot can make characters ooc, or stock-like?

    – Stray observations… Dyson is becoming even more like what we’ve already discussed about him (stereotypical, misogynistic, brute force guy… and why is Bo angling for this? and why does Dyson love Bo? and, yes, why can the misogynistic world only be addressed by Bo? Is that a savior thing?).

    – Do you think there could be any connection between the quasi-Bo Dyson-marriage and the stereotype/misogyny/chivalry lens Dyson sees the world through? And, loved your ‘want your beefcake’ comment 🙂

    – Loved your observation about how traveling dimensions ungrounds Dyson.

    • Melanie says:

      Last season, the major creative risks were: new character, major breakup 3 episodes after hookup, and The Dawning (which will only pay off with a major retcon now, and I really wish they’d just let it go because it’d be as easy to make it worse, though I could be proven wrong). They also took some risks with a serial killer and an outlawing of humans, the first of which was pleasantly understated and the second of which was too rushed in actual coming about, but which has repercussions still ongoing and that I think will come to a head late this season, and this I like.

      This season’s whole first episode was a gamble, albeit a necessary one with Bo gone, and it paid off. This episode, the risk was ‘going more serious,’ and it’s just not working. Embrace it or not, camp is part of this show’s lifeblood. Take it out, the whole thing starts collapsing.

      The thing with tolerating confusion is that’s all a personal level. I am willing to bear with quite a lot so long as the resolution makes sense . . . though I’m of the opinion much of 4.02 at least was completely jettisonable no matter what comes. Nearly every show has these. Preferably, one can just marathon the show and they become less noticeable.

      If plot were shaped more by characters’ decisions the world would be a better place. Specific to Lost Girl . . . I think mostly they’ve done a decent job of character driving plot, but they continually wriggle out of two things: character growth, and *consequences* for their plots/character specifics, or at least tying consequences to action and attitude.
      As to the first:
      – Growth doesn’t stick. Dyson’s character is essentially the same as first season, even though he had a season of lost love to teach him a lesson, every time he ‘learns’ something, he forgets it, because the plot calls for him to. This pretty much goes for everyone. Bo’s the one with the most growth, but otherwise most are stagnant. And only Kenzi really gets away with it.
      As to the second:
      – Dyson keeps thing from Bo, she gets angry, but she then right turns around and says he’s among the people she trusts most in the world. There’s no regaining of trust, it just materializes when needed.
      – Bo ignores communication and lies to Lauren, but the breakup isn’t tied to that, it’s this idea of space and some people seem to be under the impression it’s because of Bo’s feeding; even Bo seems unaware what she may have done or not done here.

      Specific to S4, so far I’ve mentioned the weird OOC-ness, which I think is excused by memory loss and driven by the need to have these plots drive the story and thus intentional ignorance of established character.It’s an interesting workaround.

      “Do you think there could be any connection between the quasi-Bo Dyson-marriage and the stereotype/misogyny/chivalry lens Dyson sees the world through?” Meh? In The Dawning, absolutely; he was trying to manipulate an alternate reality to get what he wanted, no matter how noble his intent going in, or how ungrounded he became, that’s inexcusable. Here, it was just a weird plot contrivance the character was forced to perform. If Dyson continually believes that as married partners he has a ‘right’ to define Bo, tell her what to do, assume patriarchal authority over her, then sure. But the marriage itself was made a necessity by the plot. There’s your example of plot-versus-character driven. It’s a fine line, but there.

  6. Maigray says:

    Just a note about the eye thing; Julia’s eyes went black, then cleared as well. It must have been a deliberate choice. I assume it was to highlight the differences among each character as they were possessed: Julia a human, Bo a succubus and Clio an elemental.

    As to the marriage, you might say the same about same sex marriage in current times; having rings and marriage vows does not diminish the nature of the relationship. Despite the fact marriage is steeped in patriarchy and sexist tradition, it retains a potent symbolism in our society, as well as conferring concrete rights and privileges. How many couples longed to marry yet never could?

    If the title as pun has one meaning for the ghost and her partner, the other set of lovers apart in this episode are Lauren and Bo. My mind immediately rolls through the metaphor.

    • Melanie says:

      Hmmm. Yes, I went back and looked closely – not that I didn’t believe you, I just wanted to see if there was a key moment which led to it – and they do as you say, but there doesn’t seem to be a clear action which makes them switch back. It was either intentional or just too much work in post to keep them dark/clouded and they won’t address it. Either way, at least Bo and Julia’s eyes were consistent. Thanks for the catch.

      Sure! And as more and more people, same or opposite, monogamous or polygamous, reject marriage as defining their relationship – ether because they think it’s steeped in patriarchy and sexism, or because they don’t think it’s the government’s job to relegate relationship categories, or because they’re unable to marry due to laws, or a myriad of reasons – it’s frustrating to see a storyline which does use marriage to define something, all as a stretch for plot.The bones being buried together made sense. The only thing I could say is they should have stressed with her in the white dress, like ‘it’s their wedding day,’ especially as marriage in that time was held as a much more important token in the eyes of society. That may have helped. But it still plays as only an excuse to have Dyson and Bo go through the weird ceremony. And I don’t know how most people read that, but in my eyes this schtick is not helping Dyson’s sympathy as a character. At all.

      [I’m going to reply to Rachel below here about the parallels in title and other characters.]

  7. Rachel says:

    Also, do you see parallels between the ghost lovers apart, and Bo and Lauren or Bo and Dyson?

    • Melanie says:

      IF one is going to draw parallels between either side of the triangle and the ghost lovers apart, the parallel must be Bo and Lauren. A fae or ‘Other’ and a human; forbidden love in general, societally disapproved love in particular; the human not caring about the supernatural or social ramifications of said love; intentionally torn asunder by ulterior/sinister forces, etc etc.

  8. tgflux says:

    I’m not good at euphemisms when it comes to sex: you’re saying that, in the Crystal/Lauren sex scene, it’s implied Crystal was wearing a strap-on? [Cuz that’s what I got, too]. NOT because of that, but I found the scene very unsexy. Ali Liebert’s got a very nice back, but the expression that Lauren had on her face (which I will assume ZP intended) was more “what the f#ck/Bo has ruined human sex for me/but let’s humor the dear human girl” than anything else. While I agree w/ those who say that “Lauren has a post-coital spring in her step the next day”, I think it’s more that she found the evening very diverting&flattering (ala “I’ve still got it!”) than that she REALLY got her rocks off [Paging Bo, STAT! Time to tire out that muscle the Good Doc mentioned in 3.05 again!]

    One more thing:

    “The interesting part here is Mossimo, and his being human.” This is the second time I’ve heard this theory, re this ep, and I’m wondering if it comes, again, from Evony saying to Mossimo, “not bad for a human.” I really do NOT think she’s referring to Mossimo (who I believe is, indeed, Fae), but to the *new eyeball* he procured for her!

    • Melanie says:

      K, parsing time.

      Also, welcome to the comments section! Fun one to start with.

      I’m not saying they are wearing a strap-on; certainly they aren’t as actresses, and possibly-to-likely they aren’t as characters. I mean, this isn’t ShowTime. I’m saying I got a strong suggestive vibe of strap-on, and I believe it’s intentional, and I believe it’s both a jab at standards/doublestandards and a bit of sexy fun. Is this splitting a really fine hair? Yeah. But like I said above, I’m not being dogmatic about it, so I’m fine with hair splitting.

      There’s a scene in Weeds, I believe either Season 1 or 2, in which Nancy uses a vibrator. Never seen, only heard. Why is there a vibrator? Shouldn’t Nancy lying on her back and concentrating, with a little motion under the sheets, and then her clear orgasm/release of tension, tell the audience enough? Why the humming noise? There’s music going on (I’m 95% sure it’s actually something she’s listening to, on the radio or headphones or some such. It’s been a while) so it’s not to fill silence. Surely no-one believes she *needs* a vibrator. The viewer never sees it, anyways. Why suggest it?

      Well, it does make an opportunity for a batteries joke. But mostly, it’s a chance to be specific (the more specificity in TV the better, generally), touch on something still somewhat taboo to talk of in ‘polite society,’ give a wink/nudge to the idea people like many things.

      A better question becomes, then, is why NOT suggest toys of some sort? Lost Girl had a magic bullet in 3.01, Kenzi and Bo mention batteries at least once. There are plenty of sex scenes sans any sort of additional accoutrements, so why not nod the the fact you can do both? Again, they aren’t going to actually have any ‘items’ on a network show. But why not point out the characters could, if they wanted?

      I love the theory about it being the new eyeball which is human! And that may be true. But in 4.04 (no explicit spoilers in case you haven’t seen it), it does get confirmed that Mossimo is human. And it hadn’t clicked with me until this episode, but him being a druid and working with potions, not powers, has kind of hinted at this all along.

  9. overainbows says:

    I don’t think the Morrigan needs to touch to feed. I remember the scene with the Red Hats (was it their names?) she just put her hand in the direction of the victim, like she’s channeling her powers. She did the same to the choir singer. And I don’t remember she needed a contract to feed. She has an agency. She signed talented artists so she could be around her food? She fed from being in their presence. She boosted their creativity and eventually drove them crazy. When they became successful and later died the contracts guaranteed her profits. I guess that’s it.

    • Melanie says:

      Thanks! geeknasty [above] also point out the Redcaps connection, and the channeling and agency and guaranteed posthumous profits all make sense. I didn’t remember it being explicitly clarified before, probably to give more leeway for stuff like this. I just remembered everyone seemed to have been under contract and come into contact with her in some way before death (since I’d forgotten about the Redcaps), so that’s what stuck with me.

      Since I’m the constant advocate of show don’t tell, I can’t have it both ways with wanting it to have been spelled out before! This all makes plenty of sense, which is . . . nice.

  10. Valentina Castillo says:

    i’m pretty sure the mask in the corner was the jumby mask, same as the one used to acquire the cursing nail to release Nadia.

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