Lost Girl: Season 4, Episode 04, Turn to Stone
Here’s the thing. I spent most of this episode a saying things a couple beats before they occurred. Things like . . .
Between this and Trick’s comment about the deathtrap, they’re definitely getting a break-in.
Tamsin’s gonna get wings.
mIt has to be the end of Tamsin’s life cycle; I’mma bet Valkyries only get a set numbers of resurrections. there’s got to be actual stakes. Also, explains wings.
Hale is not the man behind the curtain.
DARK. DARK BLOOD.
This episode is fairly predictable and the foreshadowing anything but subtle. Heck, the very lyrics of the Spice Girls song at the Dal point out Kenzi and Bo’s rift will be short.
But that does not make it a subpar episode. It’s remarkably much better and more effective than 4.02 and 4.03, both of which kept trying to yank the rug out from under our feet and change the plot’s directional course every 10 seconds. In a lot of ways, it’s better precisely because it’s not trying to surprise us.
Here’s a secret about television writing: It doesn’t have to be surprising. It doesn’t have to be shocking. It doesn’t have to reinvent the wheel or cloud its metaphors in veils of smoke and mirrors. Most of the time, if something on a TV show truly surprises you, examine it, because either you missed something, or it was born of flawed logic and is a shocking swerve, a deux ex machina, a diabolus ex nihilo.
On the last season of Big Love, the ultimate ending was foreshadowed in at least three different ways, multiple times, one way so often I got a little annoyed with how obvious Chekov’s Gun was being waved around. Every Sopranos twist may take you by surprise as the action begins, but .5 seconds later you realize of course, that’s where it was heading all along, that’s where it had to be heading.
Or take Doctor Who, which is relevant to this episode in more ways than one. You know how a typical episode is going to end – world saved, Doctor cavorting, characters either redeemed or dead – the fun is getting there. And sure the solution is occasionally a new facet of the Doctor which fits inside what we know of him already, or a surprise revelation by a guest character, but mostly it’s something which has been well introduced, even in that very episode. Oh, he was killed in a way which would stop his heart? Well just this very episode, our med school student was listening to two sides of his chest and got a puzzled look on her face. VOILA! Two hearts. Two hearts is also a stunt Lost Girl pulled, though they went a step further and made it genetic and then made the mother the subject of the long game, and that, ladies and gentlemen, is how it’s done.
All these examples are television examples because surprises come cheaper and easier in movies, both because of the nature of a short story, and because you’re not as familiar with the world or characters, and plots function slightly differently, etc. That’s really a different essay. Point being, for a television episode to be good, it just has to have a legible plot/mystery/device, interesting characters, and narrative arcs which continue those which came before and extend into those coming after. It should do this while servicing the audience . . . and boy, does this episode ever; along with some helpful exposition.
Audience Servicing / Acknowledgement / Answering (feel free to add in the comments)
- Shout-out to Geraldine!
- Kenzi notes how unsexy ‘Karen’ looks.
- Tamsin “used to bang hydra’s at lunch.”
- Lauren hair and conditioner mentioned. I’m surprised Kenzi didn’t outright say hairporn.
- A resolution to ‘did the runeglass work or why did it fail’ (which was discussed at length in this blog’s comments and I assume all over the interwebs).
- Actual use of the word spybang, and Lauren’s acknowledgement Crystal’s moves are a near mirror for her own (which I discussed last week). Lauren’s always been the most self-aware, just rarely speaks it. This quasi-apologetic and terminology incorporation, coupled with the knowing smile, is a new kind of fan acknowledgement.
- Dyson’s amused we’re finally seeing Kenzi’s room, “the inner sanctum.”
This episode was also chock-full of blatant answers and setup, and also set recycling and sexiness, starting with the very first scene. That boxing gym gets quite a workout.
While Bo and Dyson’s romping is much more relaxed than in “Vexed,” the blocking and shadowing are similar. The whole thing feels just a bit weird, though. Bo’s still most in character, denying what she doesn’t want to face, punctuating her hate of rules and rituals with jabs and jibes, but this season is just a different show. Dyson actually comments that Bo is different, underscoring my belief the ‘off’-ness of all characters is important and going somewhere. They’re having cake and eating it. A lot of it. It can’t be netting much new audience; it wouldn’t make as much sense to newcomers. So where’s it going?
In addition to the character vibes, memory comes and goes as convenient. Bo remembers Lauren, though there’s some artificial distance placed there. Neither Bo nor Dyson mention the train. Tamsin’s selective knowledge of her powers and past lives and allegiances is ‘whateverisconvenient.’ Kenzi mentions macking on Dyson, but neglects the part where that was in essentially a parallel, Bo-less universe; perhaps she remembers the events without remembering her then-lack of memory.
Let’s talk about all of the parts where Bo and Kenzi are together again, hurray. Starting with their general banter, building through the Dal scene where they enjoy themselves and the killer soundtrack and some attractive extras, tackling Massimo together, then the scene at Lauren’s, rife with emotions and tension, and finally the ultimate declaration ‘we’re family, forever the end.’ It was beautiful to have this key part of the team back together, and also, it simply works. Kenzi’s romantic reveal was better than it would have been with anyone else on the cast, and Solo’s heartbreak with just a touch of attitude and flourish in the right places lands.
Kenzi does mention to Bo how she’s “always alone/human,” something which is and will be crucial to Kenzi’s storyline, and Bo is properly conciliatory and all, until she’s not. Dayum, Bo, that’s a cold way to respond to your best friend kissing your not-even-boyfriend, especially considering how willing Lauren was to fogive you for full-out ex-sex. This reads as more evidence of Dark/OOC Bo.
Everything, in fact, is not just out of character but darker. Tamsin is the Harbinger of Doom, which just feels like it should be capitalized. Lauren examines the files of a fae who’s been feeding off his siblings: ‘Course of treatment? Oh, I dunno, maybe lay off the incest a little bit.’ We get a load of Dark Bo hints; the guard against malicious fae works on her, she says “I’m the new Bo,” she smiles at Massimo’s demise. Yes, make no mistake, she knew he’d go in for the hair. Indirect killing is her pattern. She’s done it with Slenderman, with the Land Wight, she kicks the food out of the Lich‘s reach, and plenty more . . . only now she’s graduated to enjoying it. Also, Massimo’s ‘mommy’ is clearly The Morrigan, who really attracts the beings with mommy issues.
Then Lauren is chained in a dungeon with Crystal (though if she comes to trust Crystal, that fairly seals the deal Crystal won’t doublecross again. Storytelling pragmatism). The way much of the footage is shown through the spy camera, the idea of torture and threatening to kill Crystal, the odd disjointed angles on some of the shots, we’re clearly meant to feel this is Very Bad.
Speaking of bad, Lauren’s a badass. I mean, she’s always a badass, she’s just not often this blatant about it. But all their characterizations are just a touch off this season (spoken of somewhat above), and looks like we’re seeing some of Lauren’s past personality emerge. It still feels weird, though. I’ll give you her yanking her restraints off and throwing the folder feels like when she snapped at Lachlan. But she’s usually smarter than to provoke someone, especially when she’s got no power to leverage. This is all showing off and antagonization. And she’d be smart enough to know the person behind the curtain might not be Hale. After all, she’s not been hiding from Hale in the middle of nowhere.
All that aside, I like this backstory gives Lauren a secondary explanation for staying under the Ash’s thumb for so long, a better reason for not just taking Nadia and running long ago. She needed to get off the human grid, she wanted to atone, and what better way to do both those things than living in a supernatural compound and helping heal legions of sick?
The rest of the backstory could be pulled out of thin air, but it’s also consistent with her resourcefulness; helping Kenzi concoct things out of condiments, living in a jungle for months, etc. Now, though, we have a mysterious brother in the mix. A brother whose whereabout or demise she carefully avoids. Cue the soap opera music!
This episode ends with Bo echoing things said at the beginning of the episode, and the series: she doesn’t play by their rules. But then the Una Mens declare her blood has betrayed her a pick a side.
That side is Dark.
Soap opera music swells, aaaaaand CUT TO BLACK.
Still feel the Morrigan and/or Una Mens snatched Lauren and Crystal, but the voice could possibly be Trick. He wasn’t the one who opened the door, though.
Bo’s new clan could lend nuance to idea of Dark. Though we’ve seen some Light fae be nefarious and awful, hopefully we also get some Dark fae (besides Tamsin) who are presented as complicated or wanting to do ‘right.’
Tamsin mentioned it’s not exactly fair that her former-life-self is who chose the Dark, but I don’t agree with Dyson she’ll get to re-choose. Instead, I think she’ll join with Bo/Hale/Lauren to . . . do some form of eradicating the Light/Dark system. Challenging all the systems, including binary systems, is what this show is about. It’s perfect.
Definitely going darker.
Heavier weight class of fae, whom Bo tackles
head-on boobs-on in this episode.
I mentioned the runeglass may have worked, though that wasn’t my theory; it was one presented in my comments which made sense. Massimo revealed it was to ‘mark’ Bo for another plane.
Tamsin needs and wants peace, love, and understanding. Not necessarily Bo-mance.
– ‘It is like occupied France in here.’
– Rock music equals bacchanalia? Huh. That’s what the preacher always told me.
– ‘If you’re good, you can go in all the stores.’ That’s the cleanest way I’ve ever heard to refer to that.
– Also, Kenzi gets her hand all up in Lauren’s bush.
– Kenzi stole the Twig of Zamora. Hale is of Clan Zamora. Man, I should have done a whole section on double entendres.
– ‘She just got her wings. You know what that means?’ ‘Monthly cramps. Bloating.’
– ‘Ambiguously fae duo.’ ALL OF THE COOKIES TO THAT WRITER.
– Speaking of, a lot of the writing was fairly agile, but nothing so nimble as landing Massimo’s murderous bit on Bo’s line about not giving women forced haircuts. Sheeeeeeeet.
– Weeping Angel feels of Dr Who’s ‘Blink,’ down to the stingers.
– I can’t tell if Kenzi’s room is Bo’s room redressed and shot from a low angle, or if they built a new room with similar parts.
– No way they ‘planted’ that Lauren plant wall two seasons ago. Nice bit of retconning.
– Friend-of-Blog Emily says: “I liked Lauren’s green wall better when the lighting on it was poor enough that it just looked like the portal to some fuzzy black Muppet dimension.”