#LostGirl: Season 05, Episode 03, Big in Japan

KHR's comedic facial expressions do not get near enough workout. They're fantastic.

This episode has a plot as sort of a necessity, since that’s what episodes of television do. But mostly, it is concerned with character, theme, and arc housekeeping. In that order.

Of course, it also manages to sneak in double entendres, starting right off the bat with an obvious rollers-as-phallic-substitutes bit. (Some thoughts on the other things hidden within this scene here.)

The actual mystery is easy and paint-by-numbers, even when most of the painting happens off-screen and gets exposited by Tamsin. The four themes it touches on – being Chosen, family, honor, and how women are heroic but overlooked for men – are the important takeaways. (Of all shows to have a plot placing a premium on truth-telling, this is maybe not the one which can take the highest moral ground, but it makes for good fables.) In classic dude-in-fables manner, we get family infighting, a brother taking credit for something a lady did, and the naughty son receiving comeuppance. The actual exposition / explanation in the denouement is way too literal, but the concept is nice.

Did we LITERALLY bang? Did we conceptually bang? What is happening?

Outside of that, episode themes include everything we’ve come to expect, plus horror is an ongoing touchstone this season; of course the Shining homage, and here we have mirrors and jumpy moments, Lauren isolated in a dark medical facility, the gang choosing to watch a horror movie over burnt popcorn and Dark Belch, an innocuous janitor who may or may not turn out to be so innocuous.

We’ve also got stray echoes of the Dawning. There’s a theory Bo is still in the dawning, and this episode possibly bolsters that speculation. Bo’s miscarriage in the Dawning could be tied to her abdominal stabbing here. Bo and Dyson are together in the Dawning. Tamsin had blood on her hands, and here Bo does. There’s a creepy janitor. But that may all be the Dawning foreshadowing, or it may be coincidence.

The further we go from it, especially what with it having extended past Rainer, the more pissed I will be if they pull that card. “PSYCHE! The last two-and-a-half seasons are all a lie!” Not cool. Plus, so many character developments have happened sans Bo, or totally outside of her. Where is that coming from, if it’s her Dawning? Is she dreaming that Dyson and Lauren get together and practice throwing weapons in the gym? Does Hale’s death gets explained as her subconscious getting rid of the thing that is taking her best friend? Is Bo imagining Tamsin drinking with Acacia? How deep into philosophical theory are we going?

Technically, they can still make the Dawning anything they like. Personally, I will be spitting furious if they pull that. It’d be lazy, it’d undermine character growth, it’s too easy of a reset button while also not having [the above notes notwithstanding] enough of a throughline since said Dawning to actually back it up.

Yo writers, call be before you make a grave mistake.

And character growth, while still bumpy, seems to be leveling out after an upward journey.

Here we have a Dyson trueish to who we first met; trying to relate to other people on more than a surface level, to engage women outside of sexual conquests, but not being actually good at it. He’s learning, though.

Lauren’s character traits get a little confusing when it comes to defending herself; we know she’s not huge into hand-to-hand combat, but she’s generally ok under pressure, and was in Afghanistan, and yet freaks out at a gentle jab from someone she trusts? That rings a bit weird. Her perking up when Dyson asks exasperatedly if she wants a physics equation, on the other hand, is perfect.

Tamsin is settling into a mix of her snarky, sexual self from the life we met her in, and the softer, more loyal and family-oriented valkyrie we met after her rebirth last season.

Bo’s libido fix being emotional/psychological rather than mystical is not where I thought they’d take it, but I do like the solution, and there’s a second psychological breakthrough as well, tied into the Mystery of the Week: the idea that being Chosen doesn’t matter as much as what you do, that the Chosen One mythos is “bullshit.” 

Which is a great conclusion to come to and all, but it’s doubtful most fae and/or gods will concur. The episode’s end scene continues what will likely be the season’s big arc, with our mystery fae, or god/dess, or part-human, or SOMETHING, awakening in the morgue. Bo can say it’s bullshit, but she still has a target on her back. Incidentally, I think this actress is going to be a good Big Bad, with some physical chops and also a touch of camp. Maybe I simply can’t not see Buffy parallels now, but there’s a touch of Glory to her.

There is a lot of gazing into mirrors, especially by Bo (something reminiscent of 2.22)

There’s not a lot to break down in the side plot; it’s pretty straightforward. This is one of the more feel-good episodes in a while, even with some of Bo’s heavier things getting sorted. Her walking out of that restaurant at the end very much felt like an end to the super-angsty era, and maybe, just maybe, we’ll get a return to the Season 1 sort of vibe and mystery investigations, as Dyson and Tamsin’s conversation (complete with pamphlet!) hints at.

Fun and good, yes, but still rough in places. Some of the ways characters are brought together feels a little forced, and that’s probably a side effect of the show trying to integrate everyone quickly to cover for Kenzi’s absence. Quite honestly, it needs to do that quickly. Kenzi could have brought the faemily together more organically, but without her humor, street skills, and interplay, the need for camaraderie, cohesive teamwork, and wisecracking is even more pressing. Once everyone is together, they interact smoothly, and sometimes in surprising ways.

It’s clear Tamsin is really into Bo, in a major-crushing-not-positive-what-to-do-but-super-into-you phase. Bo gives Tamsin the sexy eyes and serious moves for the first time (though to be fair, she’s giving those moves to any warm body, hoping to end her drought), and Tamsin responds affirmatively but is obviously disappointed Bo’s drive seems purely sexual and not something more.

Purely sexual is what Bo is after. She’s still pretty raw, and her little speech shows she’s wary of giving into deeper emotion because that’s invariably led to pain in her life. The idea of rejecting love for fear of losing it in the end is hardly a healthy response, but it’s an understandable self-defense mechanism at the moment. This is why Bo chooses Dyson to heal; because Tamsin is yearning, because Lauren is obviously still in love with Bo, and because Dyson asserts there are “no strings attached.” What exactly that means is not entirely clear. It could be he’s not holding Bo to him at all, or he’s not holding Bo to solely to him, or that he doesn’t have any feelings (which I don’t buy), etc. He’s single, able to min . . . you get the point, but he’s also making himself pretty available. For, you know, rollering paint.

That works for Bo, who right now doesn’t want all the things or people that come with feelings/strings. This may change, but in the meantime, she doesn’t want to tangle with Tamsin and Lauren, because feelings. The two of them can comfort each other . . . Oh yeah. Come on. Lauren’s hand on Tamsin’s thigh, thumb gently moving, a show of real emotion, you thought it might be going there too.

Whether you thought it in anticipation or trepidation.

Lauren may snark over her romantic/sexual rivals, but she’s aware who her friends are, or at least can be. She’s making overtures to Tamsin. She and Dyson are continuing their trajectory of friendship, complete with Star Trek reference, weapons practice, and Lauren helping Dyson grasp what’s really going on with their and Bo’s guilt over losing Kenzi to the portal (like I said, D-man’s just not good at this shit).

She and Dyson even bond over Bo, though they’re still not quite comfortable talking about their respective sexytimes with her. Dyson will talk about his arrangement with Tamsin, though, who asks because she is clearly invested in Bo’s sex/love life.

What is fairly indisputable is everyone in the foursome is able to interact with everyone else, there’s some level of attraction between [for lack of an easier distinguishing phrase] everyone who is oriented towards being attracted to any other person, and we’re going to get a lot more of this particular gang in the coming episodes.

I’ll drink to that.

Pan down to the candle, lit. Jump-cut to the awakening in the morgue.

Stray Observations

– One scene Bo’s wearing Lauren’s necklace, the next she’s not. Whether this is intentional or not I’m not sure. She was wearing it at the end of last episode, but it was never clear how she got it back; I assumed Stacy dropped it during the Valkyrie off. The wearing/not wearing could be a continuity misstep; maybe Bo was never meant to have gotten it back at all? It’s remarkably easy to miss something like that when shooting scenes and episodes out of order. It’d be nice to get some resolution, though.

– The sign in the clinic from 5.01 was ‘Marquis’; is Lauren working in a Dark clinic? But after stripping the Morrigan, how could she continue to work in Dark territory? Maybe it’s a neutral clinic?

– I wonder if they classify that as on-screen suicide and Canada has laxer rules, or if they get away with it under some obscure ‘it’s a traditional thing’ argument.

– There’s a significant bump in the background audio mix when that scroll is revealed; all chatter gets louder. Another mixing bit jumps out when Lauren starts kissing Bo’s neck and a heart rate beep picks up. I didn’t hear a cricket anywhere, though, which would have been a Dawning tie-in.

– Dollars to donuts they re-used parts of Lauren’s apartment set for this clinic set.

– Skarsten is better at fangurl and adorable and snark and camp than threatening and tortured and darkly emotional; they play to her strengths here.

– How cute when warriors take turns showing off different weapons/skills. Bonus: face wrappings better allow for stunt people.

– Bo needs a better security system at the clubhouse. Or, they need more sets on which to stage attacks.

– Let’s call this the Ennui of the Chosen One, as popularized by Buffy. (TM: friend-of-blog Em.)

– Their actual mechanics have always been fuzzy and flexible, but I think Trick’s exposition is the first time they’ve established the ‘orgasm’ as being The Thing important to succubi. Which doesn’t fully jive: Bo feeds off sexual energy in general, and can heal based on just sucking chi with no orgasm. It would work to say she can heal somewhat off of energy, but orgasm is important for full wellness (real world parallels for the win) etc, but Bo’s problem here isn’t just orgasm, it’s feeding period. Again, some worldbuilding which will probably never be full solved.

– If you’re new here, or even if you just haven’t noticed before, I should point out I do hovertext on all post pictures.  

Now this is an appropriate use of some slo-mo.

Comments
6 Responses to “#LostGirl: Season 05, Episode 03, Big in Japan”
  1. chick666 says:

    I read this one. I’ve read previous ones. You’ve got a boner for Tamsin and if you’re going to continue to position yourself as a legit critic of this series, I suggest you keep your bone in check.

    • Melanie says:

      I’m a huge fan of all these characters, which is why I started writing about the show. For free. I believe in the Ebert school of thought, which is you should approach art and criticism from a place of enjoyment and love. If appreciating a character was incongruous with reviewing and critiquing a television series, I’d definitely be disqualified from this entire show. Thankfully, it isn’t.

      Especially since at some point I’ve been told conflicting things: I’m too much of a Doccubus shipper, or DyBo shipper; I’m too forgiving of Dyson’s faults; I’m reading too much into Bo’s motivations when she’s just shallow, etc. (The only one I’ve not been accused at some point of hating is Kenzi, actually; I’m obviously wild about Kenzi as a character, I’ve done multiple essays on why she works so well.) Ironically, last season I was mostly accused of hating Tamsin, even though she fulfills tropes which hit my narrative buttons.

      In mostly response to that, there’s this: https://mehlsbells.wordpress.com/2014/01/07/lost-girl-social-media-and-the-nature-of-bias/

      Thanks for stopping by. It’s interesting to know what people are reading into things, and I try to take all responses into account.

  2. Maigray says:

    Haven’t been on here in a while, but wanted to say thanks for the ever interesting recaps. I’m needing to break from some holiday cheer and still riding high from this episode, which I loved. Wanted to mention your comment about orgasms and chi feeding. My thought was that a chi feed did pull an orgasm from the one being fed upon. That is what her original feed in 108 looked like to me. The orgasm may not occur unless the feed is done to completion though; a kill, for a human. Fae would vary.

    • Melanie says:

      The orgasm being from the feedee as opposed to the feeder is an interesting angle. I personally hesitate to use 1.08 as a basis for canonical reference, since it was shot as a pilot and then mostly reused from there, but it does fit, and probably also gives us a good idea of where the show was originally headed.

      The idea of completion versus just, ah . . . ‘pulling out,’ as it may be, is also useful. Completion = kill for human, mileage varying for Fae, so far as I remember fits very well. Again, I wish it were more clearly established within the worldbuilding, but thanks for the insight!

      Good to see you around again.

  3. Maigray says:

    Whoops, wrong pilot! Meant 101. Also think feeding brings her to orgasm too, if allowed to complete. When Lauren was teaching her control, I think it meant controlling the rush to orgasm for both the feeder and the feedee. That would be what made it so difficult for either Bo or her victim to stop. Also explains why she tends to paralyze her feeds (with pleasure) and could probably make it painful if she “holds” or stimulates a feed without allowing release (e.g. the Morrigan).

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