Lost Girl: Season 4, Episode 06, Of All The Gin Joints
Exactly how linked to the Dawning it was I don’t know, but Lost Girl made an interesting move about halfway through last season. The show is taking their central figure and slowly making her more and more unsympathetic. Bo has gone from being a lost soul taken advantage of but standing up for herself and fighting the powers that be to almost an anti-hero. She’s self-absorbed enough to brush aside Kenzi’s jealousy because she, Bo, wants something from Ianka; Bois so focused she doesn’t even notice when Kenzi goes missing mid-concert. Bo is taking sex from Dyson with no regard for his feelings (and he has a lot of them). Bo ditched Lauren because Lauren has chosen to fraternize with a group Bo doesn’t like, even though Bo recently made a decision to be part of that very group. It’s ok, though, Bo rationalizes, because Bo knows what she’s doing! Bo does no wrong! Bo knows what’s going on, and if people won’t listen to Bo, that’s their problem.
The reason the change works is twofold. First, Anna Silk still gives us moments of the Bo from first season; exuberant and carefree, a la her dance in “Turn to Stone” and Bo’s dishing with Kenzi here. Second and most importantly, the show is able to shift the burden of sympathy to other characters, generally women: most often to Lauren and Kenzi; here, even the Morrigan starts to present a softer side for the audience to glom onto, perhaps even start thinking of her more as Evony and less as The Morrigan; and even guest characters like Crystal (speaking of which, where the hell is Crystal!?) and Ianka.
Ianka’s white/black dualism, Romeo/Juliet/Hatfields/McCoys, forbidden love story doesn’t fully work as a self-contained A-plot. It has too many clichés, convenient holes (somehow Bo isn’t affected, but human Kenzi is?), and verbalizing. What Ianka’s story does do, brilliantly, is work in the overall arc of the series to reveal Bo’s hypocrisy, add more enslaved-woman-fighting-for-freedom parallels, and refute the idea women are merely pawns to bolster men in war and inspire men to fight.
When Bamber first shows up at the Dal, he’s looking for “my poor thing,” he’s a self-deluded benevolent owner. In fact, both Ianka’s ‘owners’ think they are doing well by her, but are simple being selfish. Last episode, Bo stuck to her oversimplified version of the world, then offered to own Lauren, as if that would poof! solve Lauren’s problems, now she comes face-to-face with the logical outcome of such a move. Bo rails against Ianka being owned, even though (plot twist!) Ianka and Marcus are in love. At least, they started that way. Marcus ended up being twisted into someone who would kill his own partner, corrupted by both his literal ownership of the woman he purported to love and his strict concept of sides, Us v Them, binary ideology with no middle ground. Lost Girl often gives glimpses into alternate timelines, and this is a clear picture of what Bo and Lauren could become should Bo follow through on her selfish whims.
The episode does make a couple of the same stumbles “Lovers. Apart.” makes. Both verbalize too much plot and motivation: example, Bo tells Hale ‘get the woman you love out of here.’ All writers everywhere, please stop using your characters to spell out the most obvious of things. It doesn’t play like a slip of the tongue – who slips with such a formal phrase? – but awkward exposition.
Both eps also set up a great metaphor then ditch it in favor of convolution. In fact, this episode perfectly establishes Ianka to be the titular character in the crane wife / crane maiden fairy tale, down to her dress being full of actual feathers, the way she presents as an unattainable object, the fact she offers a gift, how she asks for nothing but freedom, the fact she says “you promise me my wings but then you pluck my feathers” . . . It doesn’t feel so much like a missed opportunity as a jettisoned one, and I can’t figure out why.
Some of the other episode machinations make sense. The set department has found some work-arounds, too. More exteriors, more small businesses, more playing up existing walls with lights and of course fire! Tamsin is the MIA character, written out with a quick and acronym-filled letter. Last episode, Dyson was tracking. Before this, we’ve had episodes without Hale, Lauren, Evony, Kenzi, Trick, even Bo. (Hopefully they’ve learned their lesson about removing Kenzi. We/they/every show like this needs a hilarious audience proxy with impeccable timing and great physicality. Her righteous indignant delivery of “TOLL, for being not-helpful doucheballs” had me laughing out loud, mere moments after being unsurprised but angry no one else in the bar was reacting to the woman in distress.) The solution to having a large ensemble cast and revolving guest characters – you’ve seen Ianka as the moral-less journalist on the Canadian-heavy Hannibal, you’re welcome – is to write one or two out each episode, and that’s working pretty well to keep things less crowded, though the downside is character arcs take breaks, which in a 13-episode season can really stymie things.
Dyson hasn’t really gotten much development this season, and his response is always ‘we can fix this,’ where Bo’s response is SEX! Forbidden sex is hot, and also . . . Bo’s being dark means lots of sex from behind, apparently.
I mentioned last episode Bo spun Lauren around pretty quickly, and now she turns Dyson, too, and then at the end she refuses to look him in the eye. It’s a slow build, but Bo is not just changing, she’s becoming ashamed of herself. Will she actually admit that? Will she blame it all on external forces? Will she manage to change back, with or without help or supernatural intervention? No idea. But surely this are some of the questions in need of answers.
Meanwhile in the B-plot, Lauren and The Morrigan are revealing more about the light/dark and human/fae machinations than the A plot.
When The Morrigan – excuse me, Evony – shows up with pizza and beer, we sense a theme. Amber showed up to Crystal’s with the same, and we know where that led. The episode keeps teasing the chemistry, the attraction, the way both of them are on some level looking for a connection, while unfolding some dark layers. Slowly, they relax, sitting down, getting more intimate, opening up in body language and getting down to brass tacks. We get outright mentions of humans being inhuman in their experiments ‘for science;’ by the way, besides injecting patients with TB and a hundred other things, Doctor Robert Knox was was famously involved with murderers who asphyxiated citizens to sell for medical learning. History is grim, but medical history is gory. Evony tempts Lauren with the idea of such learning, and again one must wonder what’s happened or is happening to Crystal. Perhaps we’re about to find out, because Evony gives Lauren access to a new lab, and I can only imagine Lauren is packing up her apartment so it can be revamped as a new dark lab set.
I heart this whole B plot because the two of them together is fun. It’s also remarkably forthright, despite the games both are playing, and it starts laying the cards on the table. Against my expectations they were just teasing, it really does deliver on the sexual tension and gradually opening body language and levels of intoxication, and then it flips that delivery the same as last episode flipped the dance-off and “Sleeping Beauty School” flipped the tracheotomy.
My money says Lauren is working on the downfall of the whole Fae order, whether on her own or with someone else – the voice on Taft’s phone, perhaps? It’s an interesting twist to make so quickly after she voices her regret over the unintentional consequences of her terrorism; obviously, this time she’s going to take a different tack (if it’s done right). When Evony says lauren is ‘team dark,’ maybe what she’s tasting is Lauren’s pragmatic desire to use subterfuge and do what it takes to accomplish what she wants.
I love the Casablanca hat-tip, “I think this might be the beginning of a beautiful . . . something.” It obviously works in the scene, and it works on the level that in Casablanca it was Rick the stalwart yet sneaky barowner who was more than met the eye and Renalt the brazenly corrupt police captain who were involved. It’s also possible it’s meant to work on the level of queering the relationship between Rick and Renalt, but perhaps I’m stretching. Perhaps.
Kenzi walking through the always-open door and in on the love/dark fest gets a strong vibe that nefariousness is going down. She’s much more sympathetic to Lauren now, but she has a hard time side with anyone Bo is siding against, and she really isn’t thrilled with Evony’s recent ordering her tortured and killed. It’s an interesting way to reintroduce conflict between Kenzi and Lauren, but withit it being so acrimonious. They still work together and acknowledge their friendship, giving hope the two humans will be standing together against the whole of Faedom quite soon. The two of them work together well in any capacity, and I’m still holding out for much more of it.
Speaking of, finally, we get a declaration of love between Hale and Kenzi! . . . and Hale immediately lies. He was hurt, and his ear is bleeding. It is supposed to be significant Hale is lying? I’m not sure. I do think it’s plausible they’re setting him up to be long-term injured or at least weakened because like Vex, Hale’s power is too versatile – and by that I mean, neither of them have to be touching or even close to someone to incapacitate him or her, and they can do multiple things besides simply maim or kill. Rather than continually have them offscreen or winning victories, the writers will cripple their powers so the playing field is more level.
Speaking of powers. I thought the Una Mens reflected or ‘bounced’ Bo’s chi-suck, but it seems here they can also copy powers? Their response to Dyson seems more mimicry, and their faces shifted. Definitely seems different than what they’ve previously done. Their appearance was nicely understated, too, without the usual creepy music one hears before *gasp!* the bad guys appear in a mirror. One moment we see the glowing handprint on Bo for the second time this episode, the next moment, in a scene straight out of 1984, bam, they’re there, and they’re aware forbidden sexytimes are happening, and they’re going to haul someone off to torture.
– Since they’re not using the fae puns in the titles any more, they have to work them into the actual scripts.
– Assuming Alex Zarowney is the same person as Alexandra Zarowney and their parents didn’t have a terrible sense of humor and twins, this episode is written by the writer of “Brotherfae of the Wolves,” “Fae Gone Wild,” “Sleeping Beauty School,” etc. It also lists Alexandra Zarowney and Steve Cochrane as supervising producers, possibly because they collaborated and – as Emily Andras has said – each writer is on set to supervise the episodes s/he writes. The episode is directed by a newbie-to-Lost-Girl Mairzee Almas.
– “Balls of minotaur” is my new swear.
– Bo knowingly plays on male grandeur/delusion when she croons to Bamber, “people speak of your generosity, your benevolence.” Well done.
– If you want to make your way into my heart, the best way is to show up with beer, pizza, and books. I’M JUST SAYING.
– When Hale is talking to Ianka and Bo is on the stairs in the background, we only clearly hear Bo’s shoes when we see her in screen. It’s a nice way to let the viewer know Hale doesn’t notice her.
– wanderer=father has long been an assumption, but here we get it verbalized.
– “Little men and their little toys.” Ah, they SO enjoy weapons as impotent phallic symbols.
– They beat the death=freedom drum a lot, for such a theoretically positive show. Ianka here feels and looks a lot like Lisa the Duppy.