Lost Girl: Season 4, Episode 10, Waves
Open with one ‘surprise’ opening scene and one fake-out, all before the credits roll. Ah, the credits, where Bo and Kenzi are still the Dynamic Duo to end them all. One day they will be reunited.
As with almost every episode this season, at least one cast member is missing; in this case, Tamsin, Hale, and basically Trick. We have two new pairings: Bo and Rainer, in present-day and flashback; Kenzi, Lauren, and Dyson.
The Kenzi/Lauren/Dyson (there’s got to be a portmanteau there somewhere) grouping is utterly delightful. The case serves as a counterbalance to the creepier vibe of the Bo/Rainer storyline, and we get to really see their friendship and family evolve without Bo having to referee everyone. Their interrelations (Lauren/Kenzi, Dyson/Lauren, and to a lesser extent Dyson/Kenzi) through the years have been up and down and slowly grown, and seeing them come together and work as a team, with their unique skills and now-friendly banter, feels natural at this point.
Kenzi takes the case because she desperately wants a distraction from what’s going on with Bo. She’s been feeling shut out for longer than the other two, and when she opines how when Rainer came along they all got ‘dumped,’ she’s also gently reminding them that at one point or another she’s been shunted aside for them. Equilibrium was regained, but she’s worried it won’t be this time, and now Dyson and Lauren are worried about it, too. So they agree to take the case.
It’s mentioned Kenzi is actively training to be a shadow thief, presumably so when she sneaks around here and pulls it out at a crucial juncture later, it won’t be technically out of nowhere. Having all the training be offscreen may be an obvious shortcut, but they cover it up with a bit about her stealing Lauren’s [I hate the P word, can we just say ‘lacy unmentionables’?]. It’s the writer’s MO. ‘Cover up discrepancies and shortcuts by being damn hilarious.’
And pretty much everything the trio does, does work.
They get the details right: no mail guy looks like Dyson, for the exact reason that it’s too distracting; the setting does look like a yogurt commercial; Tad would be ready to kill for his sugar daddy/merman.
They get the timing and editing right: and even scenes which shouldn’t really work as well as they do, such as much interaction happening solely over earpieces, really, really work. The actors look offscreen and deliver lines well, the cuts are nicely timed, the pacing of the poolside scene is snappy and tight.
They get the interplay right: it’s comfortable and funny, Kenzi even comments on it, and Dyson intones ‘flowers for my favorite doctor’ just to get that eye-rolly reaction from Lauren.
Perhaps most importantly, they do it while keeping everyone in character.
Kenzi is slightly trepidatious but her excitement wins out, and gets her into trouble. She brings the snark, and is also the one capable of charming the pants . . . er, shirt, off Tad the efficient receptionist. She also quickly offers up Lauren as bait, rather than herself; she didn’t survive on the streets as long as she did without learning how to deflect attention.
Dyson: solving things with his well-toned biceps since 1489. Dyson takes out Kenzi’s creeper, he drags the mermaid out of the pool (with no small amount of relish) and threatens to end her, he tries to physically protect Kenzi from having a double amputation. His sense of smell tells him Diana is fae, and also the pool is saltwater. He is the first to put all the ‘mermaid’ pieces together because of his long lifespan and experience.
Lauren does the sciencey bits: tracking things via ipad, analyzing the pearl, presumably picking or constructing the frequency emitter, deducing that tap water is the merpeoples’ kryptonite.
Once they actually catch the mermaid, the hilarious poolside scene underscores another fundamental difference between Lauren and Dyson. Lauren (human, short life) can be clinically detached when she needs to be, but thinks people can be reformed. Dyson (fae, long life) thinks some beings are simply irredeemable. Neither is necessarily a flaw or a strength, but having both on a team for balance can be a real boon.
It will turn out Dyson is correct. The merfamily are all coldblooded and without conscience. Diana thought her brother was double-crossing her, so she hired Kenzi and Co to get rid of him, and then when oops! it wasn’t him, she swung back to being on his side and being willing to kill for and with him. This mer-threesome and its backstabbing self-centeredness stand in opposition to the team which is Kenzi, Dyson, and Lauren. KDL even say it out loud while mopping up: ‘we work great as a team.’ YES. NOW, add Bo/Tamsin/Hale, and more of this, please!
The colors of this plot (it’s technically the B plot but feels like the A plot) really POP in contrast to the desaturated tones of Bo and Rainer’s story. A lot of vibrant blues and reds, even the boxing gym is lit brighter than usual (which isn’t saying much). They make the most of the random rented office set, and they even take Dyson going undercover as a chance to put some color in his wardrobe. Green pants and a fitted jean shirt really work for him.
The legs in tanks are a really nice visual, and that set is all lighting. It’s a pain, but not incredibly expensive to set up, then they light the hell out of it so it looks fancy and mad-science-y. Lights and water, more bang for your buck. The pool works on the same principle. (Random aside: Lauren not going swimming saves time shooting. If Zoie Palmer never had to get her hair wet, it never has to get dried between takes. Another money/time saver at the pool shows in the opener’s medium-closeup as Diana lifts herself out of the pool and then becomes stationary before we go back to the wide shot and see her legs are missing. This saves lots of CGI work.)
All this – the colors, the chemistry and quick witticism, the fairly straightforward devices, the self-contained plot – are in welcome relief and stark contrast to the Bo/Rainer plot.
If Bo’s Rainer obsession ends up being possession/spell/incubus/Stockholm, it’s super rapey. Which drives home how rapey Bo’s touching-to-sex can be, and reminds us no matter how we like Bo, this shit is dark. (Also, mermaids, dark. Well done, show.) Still, it will feel somewhat different with a guy doing it, because though women can and do commit rape, in our culture men are most often the privileged and powerful, the ones in a domineering position which makes rape not just easily ‘accessible’ but societally excusable. If it ends up that Bo was . . . glamoured, for lack of a better term, I’m curious to see how they handle the fact that she had sex while being so.
Bo was brought to the train for Rainer. It’s still a little unclear who decided Bo would be a good fit, but I got a vibe the handmaiden could pick women for the ravens to obtain. [Is there a fairytale in which the handmaid or a manservant obtains women? As sex objects or other? I mean, I feel like that comes up fairly often, but no specifics spring to mind.] Another possibility is Dad, maybe Odin, had her brought there. Whoever it was had to have known 1) she was powerful 2) she was a succubus 3) she was unaligned. Someone has a Big Plan.
Whatever the method, the whole storyline of tortured-soul-who-maybe-has-a-monstrous-side and captive-maiden-in-danger-of-her-life-falling-in-love is part Bluebeard, part Beauty and the Beast, a little bit of the One Thousand And One Nights frame tale, a smidge of Phantom of the Opera. All these original tales are sincerely dark.
It also continues to gel the concept of the train as purgatory. Rainer knows modern music, and he can see Kenzi and Dyson are about to find the compass. It’s the idea of purgatory where one can see what’s happening on earth, which adds to one’s mental anguish. (There’s a bit of that idea in the Bible, too.)
Of course, Bo’s solution to Rainer’s hostile moping is to take out her phallic knife and plunge it into an object directly in front of Rainer. No points for subtlety, but damn I love when Bo insists on being heard and paid attention to.
Turns out Rainer’s power used to be foresight, but he had “too much power for a rebel” and was stripped of his power and much of his memory (specifically, memories involving Trick, just as Tamsin was) and set on the train after he – wait for it – fought to end the concept of Light and Dark fae sides. Thus he is enamored of Bo – or possibly, sees how he can use her – because she is unaligned. As a bonus, he works as a cautionary tale for Bo. Being that it was Trick who cursed him makes Bo’s path all the more interesting. Trick’s not just going to look the other way because they’re related; he didn’t with Aife.
Ah, Aife. Aife, who led a small rebellion, but I don’t think we know when. Aife who says to Bo, “you hate the light/dark divide as much as I do.” Could Aife have been part of the same rebellion as Rainer? In which case, Trick ‘took care of’ Rainer himself, but couldn’t bring himself to actually do the deed to his own daughter, so he turned her over to the Dark elders? This would mean several of his sins are coming back to bite him at once. dun dun duuuuuuuuuun.
But back to what’s going down in this episode. Mournful Rainer, he of the constant hairlight and tortured soul, attracts Bo’s compassion, and then attracts her sexually, and then . . . has some sort of interaction with her after she flashes back to herself as a child with a butterfly (How is the butterfly connected to Rainer? How did he acquire it? Is it all going to be tied up with more exposition?) and then Bo runs out and immediately returns, kisses Rainer, asks ‘what am I doing,’ and then kisses him again. What?
I don’t buy much of this, maybe because the storyline is a jumble of other fairy tales, maybe because they’re drawing it out too long without just explaining it, maybe because I’m not sure what Kyle Schmid’s acting is supposed to be conveying. I’ve never seen him in anything else, so he could have been directed to act blank, since he’s been magically lobotomized. But either way, it’s not doing anything for me. And the story isn’t, either. They haven’t earned this emotion, nor the drastic steps Bo takes for a man she just met. So either it’s meant to portray how enchanted/enthralled Bo is, which would be hurried but still work, or it’s a shitty shortcut. Let’s hope the former.
Now for that drastic step. If the key is that ‘I wouldn’t align myself,’ why not sign a contract with the Light? Because deep down, Bo knows if she had to pick, she’d align as Light. Dark sends a stronger signal to her off-train self.
Then Rainer asks what I think may be the key: “What if I’m a monster?” I speculated that the Rainer/Bo plot may be a sort of play on the Cupid/Psyche myth, and this makes sense with something like that. [It could also still possibly fit with a couple other side theories, including one where Rainer or the train was used to store Trick’s evil half, which sprung from Trick using so much blood to rewrite to much history. This dark alternate psyche eventually grew into the Wanderer, or something Rainer could manifest.] Cupid alternatively manifests as gorgeous young man and monster, causes Psyche to fall in incredible love with him, and doesn’t let her see his face. Themes of love and trust and family are throughout the myth as well as its more modern retelling Til We Have Faces.
All that may be totally off base. For the moment, though, Rainer and Bo go to the Una Mens for a fairly anticlimactic fight scene with conveniently resurrected powers which destroys the Una Mens and OOPS! MY BAD GRAMPS! imbues the remaining seed with all the powers, so we can have an ultra baddie. Does this mean Bo’s been majorly conned? Or possibly, Odin conned both Rainer and Bo?
Yes, I said Odin. I may be wrong, but he’s a good candidate for that bandaged hand grasping for the power seed. Vex fits the hand, but not the type of person who will be the Ultimate Bad; he’s villainous, but foiled at every turn from being a real political player, and shown himself not to be entirely corrupted, but an odd part of the family. Odin makes most sense, and characters (including the ravens) have been talking about him as though he’s halfway in the grave. Death and resurrection, as well as power and memory, have been themes of the season, so a half-dead being tricking everyone into giving him the ultimate power works. Again I can do no more than say: we’ll see.
Ultimately, this is an episode that gets away with some thin plotting (including a few straight-up holes) and excessive Rainer expositioning by looking good, being nicely edited, and taking mad advantage of the cast’s humor and chemistry.
I’m somewhere between ambivalent and creeped out by the Bo/Rainer bit, but perhaps I’m supposed to be. I’m much more excited about getting the gang all back together again. There are three more episodes, and I want everyone in the same room at least once per episode. I don’t think that’s too much to ask.
– The merpeople continue the trend of minor genderfucking, as mermen are more rare – though certainly not unheard of – in mythology, as Hale being a male siren seems to inhabit a traditionally feminine role.
– Not sure I buy Lauren wearing frilly purple underoos. Purple, sure. Thong-esque, ok. Lacey? Unh-unh.
– “I’m at the gym because I want to be close to the action” is code for “they don’t have a Lauren’s Dark digs set yet.”
– “Can that sentence be mistaken for some other sentence?”
– I have to admit I laughed aloud once I caught the “part of your world” bit.
– Those are three nice sets of sticks.
– This episode makes it more clear we’re dealing with Irkalla, Babylonian underworld, as opposed to Acala, Asian underworld, as I first assumed.
– When the Una Mens were talking about destroying Bo’s loved ones, my thoughts went: “The Una Mens don’t name Tamsin in the list of Bo’s friends to round up! Do they think Tamsin actually died, and they don’t know about her regeneration? Is she going to be the one to slip under the radar, and when everyone is captured she’ll literally fly in and save the . . . oh, nope. ok then.”
– Latin is often chanted as shorthand for creepy. Friend Dale was kind enough to offer his rough translation of what the Una Mens are saying:
The first word isn’t clear enough. After that they say “venit” which is 3rd person singular of “to go,” then “lumen,” which is “light,” and then I think they say “un animus,” which roughly translates to “one soul.” Then “pax” and “malum.” I’m missing at least two words, so I’m not sure how it hangs together. But “un animus” is nominative, so that would have to be the subject. Lumen and pax could be nominative or accusative (accusative=direct object), malum is an accusative.