Lost Girl: Season 4, Episode 05, Let the Dark Times Roll
The episode picks up exactly where we left off, in the Circle Jerk of Doooooooooom.
Written by Jeremy Boxen (“Faetal Attraction,” “Scream a Little Dream,” “Raging Fae,” and more) and directed by Ron Murphy (Only “Fae-de To Black” and “Those Who Wander,” ’til now), it pulls no punches and wastes little time. Some of the scenes, especially those between Lauren and Bo, knowingly tease the audience a bit, and the editing (by Paul Day, who I believe edits much of the show) and intercutting heighten that feeling that legitimate character beats are being artificially postponed. The editing gets particularly taunting when it cuts from a Bo/Lauren kiss to the Just Married limo with them emerging, and then just a split second later, the audio of the tagalong kicks in. Great work.
Other than some teasing and that one slo-mo shot, the episode is tight and fantastically constructed. It embraces the crazy, has really great pacing and for all the information it dumps, doesn’t devolve into clunky exposition. And what a load of information it is. Lots more fae-story. We’ve heard some more about Lauren, now it’s Trick and Vex’s turns. All this backstory is adding texture and context. And all, note, without flashbacks. That’s a good decision.
Knowing Vex isn’t just the last mesmer, but someone who watched other mesmers get brutally disfigured and stripped of their powers, is a gut-punch. If losing your hand doesn’t sound like the worst thing, consider how so much was made last season of his lack of power being fae-rectile disfunction . . . so his hand is tied to . . . oh and he’s cutting off his . . . Oh. Fae eunuch.
The way our society acts – wrongly or not – towards masculinity and virility is how the fae act about their powers. It’s going to make him not just powerless, but a total outcast, a less-than. Contrast this scene with the fantastic scene where we were introduced to him, as he waved his hands about with a flourish, and it becomes all the more powerful what he’s lost. Sure, he was using it for evil. But we can still pity him, and being able to play with the audience’s connection to this character is fantastic. Kenzi, as usual the audience surrogate, flat-out voices that tension when expressing how she and Vex were mascara buddies. They were friends, they had a connection, and we can have tenuous friendships and strong feelings for bad people. Though Bo’s right Vex came to the gym because he thinks of Dyson and the Scoobies as his family, that’s the instinct of a dying animal, not a loving friend. Vex has embraced his badness, and he can only be ‘redeemed’ so far. And it’s not very far.
Next, we get our second real insight into Trick which is not directly colored by Trick. Before, we saw everything through Trick’s eyes or tales, or, once, through the Garuda, who had a vested interest in coloring events and shaping a particular story to suit his needs. Now, we hear from the Una Mens how Trick betrayed a group by not holding up his end of the bargain, and Trick doesn’t contradict it. Then the Una Mens offer Trick power. It’s their best play. We don’t hear his answer, leaving him ambiguous as ever, until that scene with Bo where he admits he’s acting Ash, certainly another piece in the Light/Dark revolution puzzle. He turns on the charm and seems all accepting, which only makes me distrust him even more. The more magnanimous Trick is, the more he’s up to no good, and this again is a very nice play with character.
It seems everyone is back in character. Kenzi adapts and quips. Dyson is off tracking things. Bruce gratuitously flexes his pecs and his fae verse degree. Tamsin is her new, juvenile self (which Skarsten actually pulls off even better than the dark drama). Lauren is competent and pragmatic. Bo is . . . ah, Bo.
Time for another SCENE TRANSLATION
Bo: I’m going to say I want to talk, but talking really not so much my thing, so please accept this gesture and then forget I made it.
Lauren: Oh God, how I missed supernatural sex. Also wait, you’re Dark?
Bo: Um, yeah. Let’s focus on that and NOT on how I’m also with Dyson. I can totes get rid of the pesky Dark thing, because I’m Bo Dennis. How’s your week been?
Lauren: Oh, emotional trauma, fleeing for my life, being dumped on by the writers, the usual. Hey, uh, we both have things we want to avoid talking about. Maybe you should run away again! You like that, right?
Bo: I’ll show you what I like.
Evony: I’m the voice of the audience’s id. So, scissor already.
Bo: I’m down with public/voyeuristic sex, but on my terms.
Evony: I’m down with watching other people have sex, but it better be good.
Lauren: (Zoie Palmer does acting in the background)
Evony: Obviously I want more than a peep show. Bo, bring me Vex. Lauren, make me a fae roofie. Here’s a third wheel to tag along. Her juvenile acts covers how she’s actually a malicious psychopath.
Thus, Evony’s Angels embark on a mercifully short journey through Toronto’s alleys, along the way coming across a random extra and her physicality, a bloody body, and other perfectly timed impediments to The Relationship conversation. And boy, do they need to have that conversation. Bo, love. You get feisty when Vex doesn’t use Lauren’s name, you get all googlyeyed and say you’re back together and it was just a break, but you didn’t actually talk. You’re conflating sex with stable relationship and that . . . is not healthy.
Speaking of not healthy, Vex’s hand! (Sorry, this review is going to have a lot of terrible segues. Roll with it.) The scene does a nice job of seeming to build towards Bo saving Vex’s hand, typical stuff, then subverting that at the last moment and having him cut it off. It all rang a weird bell when it was announced Rainer(?) was Bo’s Dark sponsor. The hand reminded me of this episode, and the surname of this one, and I’m not sure if it’s intentional, intentional misdirect, or complete coincidence. Anyone? Bueller?
Bo and Vex chat about how they can beat The Morrigan at her own game, then go to a car which was far, far cheaper for production to rent for show than it would be for them to actually drive, and then Bo goes back and takes another big stand against Evony.
Bo still doesn’t like cooperation. She clings to defiance for the sake of it, with little understanding. Yes, Dyson mostly cites tradition for his defiance, but tradition is deeply imbedded in his character. Kenzi has grasped the Dark as as bad as the Light, just have more fun with it. Lauren chooses the dark as “her cage,” fully comprehending what’s going on. Even Tamsin accidentally kills someone here, and has spent time considering what it means to be Dark but do good. Bo just knee-jerks: towards the Una Mens, towards Kenzi, towards Lauren, towards the Dark. Towards The Morrigan.
When Bo starts the episode by saying ‘funny, you’d think I remember betraying everything I’ve ever stood for,’ you could take it as ‘I believe in being unaligned.’ It’s the more obvious answer, and probably what she means. It could, however, also be taken as ‘I won’t betray the Light/Good,’ and I do think she’s come to internalize that mindset. Sure, she’s being entirely too simplistic, but in context of Bo’s background, that makes perfect sense. Bo’s opinions are simplistic and fairly binary (ironic, for someone who doesn’t fit a binary gay/straight sexuality, no?) because to actually get into the weeds is hard. Look how she grew up. Her world was very binary. Us v them, dark v light, good v bad. There are no gray areas in fundamentalism.
Let’s get personal for a minute. I’ve talked a bit before about my fundamentalist upbringing, but if you’re new here, just know it makes catholic school look like hedonism day camp.
In high school and college, I was trying to figure out what I thought about . . . everything. Literally, all of the things. Rock music, bikinis, beer, masturbation; I mean, I’d been told for a long time wearing pants was a sin. You name it, I had to completely reexamine it, because I had to come to terms with the fact everything I had been told was a lie. Even if I believed the text these rules were based upon (and that’s a whole different story), the rules themselves were fabricated as tools to control a set population. Over the years, these rules had actually come to make peoples’ lives easier. You say, ‘how is it easier to follow rules about how many inches your hair can be from your collar and what kind of material your shirt can be made out of?’ Because it eliminates all the guesswork. It eliminates subversion. It eliminates contention. It eliminates DOUBT. And when you eliminate contention and doubt, your actual lived experience may be deprived of a lot of really great things like equal partnership in marriage and The Beatles, but since you never actually experienced them – and you certainly never experienced them without this artificially instilled nagging guilt – you don’t quite know what you’re missing.
In return for this, you are given absolute belief. Belief your spouse will never leave you, even if he doesn’t respect you. Belief you’re going to heaven because you aren’t like those people next door who have a glass of wine with dinner. Belief you are doing the right thing not simply in spite of, but because the majority of people are doing something differently.
This is how Bo was raised. For so many years she had concrete options. This is right, that is wrong.
I had a lot of friends in high school and college who made small jumps around the same time I did. Some before me, some with me, some after me. They’d sneak around and listen to the radio. They had a champagne toast at a wedding. They decided to talk to their older brother ‘even though he’s gay.’ But just doing those actions isn’t enough. At some point, one has to examine all the underpinnings of what decrees those actions ‘wrong’ and why you now believe they are acceptable. If you still believe the text you were raised with, you have to completely reexamine it, in context. If you don’t, then you have to walk away and find out what else is out there, and whether any of it is any better or if it’s just appealing because it’s different. Either way, you have to reject everything which once informed your ideas of morality and family and society and worldview, and start from scratch. And that . . . that, friends, is fucking difficult.
So, Bo got out into the world. With no support system, she lived life on the run, dogged by guilt from her past and self-loathing. Finally, she found a society to accept her. And her one, her first conscious act of rebellion was to be unaligned. To say, ‘I just don’t know, I want to have some of both.’ But really, she chose a side. Deep in her heart, because she didn’t want to address her underlying issues, because she didn’t want to admit two sides can both contain good and bad, she decided Light was right.
We got out a little, dabbled in things, then started to have to examine the big questions. The whys. The hows. The gray areas. The very fact gray areas exist. And this is where we all got scared. Terrified, actually. And though a few went to a ‘liberal extreme’ and a few became moderate, most decided to run back to the safety of certainty. Most of them now are living a structured life of rules and passing those rules on as gospel, because it doesn’t require them to dig any more. They – most of them, at least – didn’t go back to orthodoxy because they believed it was the right solution. They went back to orthodoxy because it is black and white and simple.
Bo doesn’t exactly have that choice. She can’t go running back, because she has an internal succubus force which is driving her, and because she’s in a TV show which is constructing a maze, throwing up barriers which force her to confront the fact there are gray areas in the world. She’s got to face it.
I think it’s going to end with Bo blowing the whole system to kingdom come and erasing the ideas of a Light/Dark fae system. (How I wish there were a way to apply that part to my little personal story.) But right now, Bo’s still running as hard as she can. She’s still alienating people who don’t make the same binary choices she’s making. She’s still clinging to hope that it’s all as simple as she was told it could be.
I’m bringing it in for a landing, I swear.
Now, because Bo believes she’s choosing not just ‘correctly’ but actually choosing what is Right, she thinks those like Lauren who don’t agree with her are Wrong. Losing Lauren is a price she’s paying. Walking away from Lauren even when it hurts her (her, Bo, because it’s all about Bo right now) gets twisted into a gesture of nobility, instead of a damn shitty thing to do.
And Lauren, Lauren gets what Evony (and Kenzi) have been saying. There’s no difference between Light and Dark except the Dark are honest about what they are. The Dark revel in it instead of hiding it in the shadows. The Light are as corrupt as the Dark, just more hypocritical about it . . . which, perversely, ends up making them perhaps even worse. It’s pointed out the Dark are making Lauren an indentured servant, but nobody claims they’re ‘doing it for her own good.’ The sexual buffet on display at the party is similar to the models Bo was offered before her Dawning, only The Morrigan doesn’t pretend they’re part of a noble calling. Bo offers to claim Lauren, as if being claimed makes it all OK. In fact, Lauren objects on the grounds she wants no direct ownership, and if Bo weren’t so blinded she’d understand. Just a few scenes earlier Evony refers to Kenzi as Bo’s pet. Whether or not Bo and Kenzi see their relationship that way, that’s how it functions in the fae world, that’s how everyone else sees it, and that matters a great deal to Lauren, and should to Bo. Unfortunately, Bo’s still got some thinking to do.
The way they’re going to keep this triangle going indefinitely is not incredibly subtle. Then again, the show’s strong suit is not subtlety. Just look at how hard they rung that “69” bit. While we’re at it, can we talk about how much Freud there is in this episode? Not just Vex and his self-amputation, and Vex’s finger (on ice), but also Trick not swallowing his seed, Tamsin going for the dragon rolls, two ‘very large’ knives and giant needle which were flourished and used as threats.
More flourishes abound in the . . . dance off? I swear, this show. Also, Tamsin, sweetie, look at that woman’s body. You’d have better luck choosing pistols than dance.
The dance scene has its fun – Skarsten embracing the crazy, Solo thankfully getting a few moments on the dance floor, the extra bringing the house down – then neatly flips it into a use of Tamsin’s power. All’s fair in love and dance war.
Then, back in Kenzi’s room, Kenzi and Bruce have a heartwarming moment then the camera makes a nice move to catch Tamsin listening. It’s a good use of Tamsin’s adolescence and naivete. Like the various backstories, it could be too much if overplayed, but like this episode, it’s doled out just right.
I called the fundamentalism-growth-stunting I talked about for all those paragraphs up there.
Dale called the idea of Wanderer versus Una Mens.
Not much other than SHOWDOWN!
Trick is on the phone to Wai Lin, and her truth-telling-ness may come into play. I’d like to see a few other characters pop back up; Val, Meyer, etc.
‘Una Mens’ is bastard latin for ‘one mind.’ In addition to seeming to be of one mind in their actions and singleminded in their pursuits, I’m guessing the key to defeat them will be to defeat them all at once, or kill one kill all.
– ‘Double DDs’ definitely a reference to pregnancy boobs.
– That thing Trick had to swallow looks basically like Mexican Jumping Poop.
– Bo spun Lauren around pretty quickly. She’s been taking sex moves from Dyson.
– My favorite bit of the whole thing may be the revelation Vex named his hands Fred and Ginger. Also, anything with Bruce.
– So Lost Girl shouted out to Xena, which shouted out to Buffy, which shouted out to . . . I have an idea, someone make a chart of this. Pretty please?
– Never tell a woman she needs to smile. NEVER.
– They have a thing for burying people in moss.