#LostGirl: Season 05, Episode 04, When God Opens a Window

Two weeks ago I somewhat snarkily made the twitter tagline for my review ‘now with more incest!’

I apparently spoke way too soon.

This week we get even MORE incest! Two events, actually; Lauren’s explanation makes it pretty clear the brother/sister parasites operate by being attracted to each other, and Bo has sex with Dyson’s son. No. No, no, no, no. Even more so when Dyson tells Bo thanks for looking out for Mark like a ‘big sis.’ Just . . . 

This. This reaction right here.

There are plenty of Mark/Bo parallels off the bat: no money or resources (Bo: “There’s something familiar about him . . . ” Tamsin: “He’s broke?”), on the run, confused, unaware of his powers, plays a con when he needs, a survivor by any means necessary. Mark looks a lot like the Bo of a few years ago. For a while it seemed unsure whether we the audience are supposed to sympathize with him as we did Bo when we first met her, or whether we’re supposed to see all these things as reason for Bo’s total blind spot where he’s concerned. With all this, we’ve plenty of things to explain why Bo was so empathic to Mark, without him having a blood connection to her loverboy. Why then did they need to make it incestuous? I have my doubts there’s a long-game reason which is really necessary. The episode’s writing was pretty spot-on in terms of character, etc. (and we’ll get to that); it’s the long arc I’m very unsure of. Especially since it seems it will involve growing amounts of incest, gods, suddenly appearing kids, and murder.

And mysterious Fae who need to be kept plugged in, or else.

Tamsin has one way of responding to all this: with snark and eye rolling and no little amusement. She mostly exists this episode to respond to things, to counter Bo’s reactions, to give a little healing, and to provide some PI services. I really like it seems they’re going to bring back some of Season 1 & 2’s amateur-investigations-as-story-introducing-device, though of course losing Kenzi as partner and undercover disguisee extraordinaire is a blow.

Nobody can replicate or replace Kenzi, but they’re going to try and fill her shoes. Last episode Tamsin tried to make dinner (and was exasperated at the results); Bo took more time to put together a painting outfit than paint; Lauren provided the booze; Dyson tried to lighten the mood. This episode Tamsin steps into Kenzi’s very high-heeled boots as the other half of the PI team, making the clubhouse a very typical The Odd Couple setup, and providing a healthy dose of skepticism and snark to Bo’s more believing and accepting responses. Honestly, it’s amazing Bo survived on her own as long as she did. Granted, she’s got some pretty unique and deadly self-defense skills. But still.

While those two investigate the hunted kid, Dyson and Lauren were mostly partnered off together. When not sniffing out heirs or dealing with distraught one-night-stands, they’re investigating dead bodies with peculiar markings. The scene where they talk about everything from carbon dating to cult rituals to ancient sacrifices showcases how well their fields of expertise compliment each other.

The colored lighting in every angle of the lab when Dyson, Lauren and Vex are together: really outstanding

My guess at how the rest of the season will play out involves a lot of the main foursome paired off in various iterations, because the show likes to shoot that way rather than lots of ensemble scenes. Thus, it’s well and good that all potential pairings can work. Of course, that includes pairing each of the four off with secondary and guest stars – Bo with Mark, Lauren with Evony, Dyson with Vex – and the success is always going to come down to the writing and acting. This episode has a lot of good one-liners, continuing character work, and then it’s up to the actors to carry it, and they do. So far, so good.Then we have three other main things going on in this episode: bringing back past characters/arcs, Mark’s storyline, and the mysterious murders. In that order, then.

Evony has become a gold-digging, helmet-wearing, lab-funding trophy wife. She’s been bribing, and is now threatening, Lauren to restore her powers. I’m all down with letting Emmanuelle Vaugier chew some scenery here.

I’m usually also down for Paul Amos chewing said scenery, but some of the props they gave him were just distracting. The mummy-like head wrap while he and Dyson were having a serious/threatening conversation was way too absurdist, and undermines what should have been an emotional exchange. I do like what happened with the rest of Dyson and Vex, and not just because Vex flirting with Dyson is my favorite thing.

Exposed brick walls, be still my heart.

Dyson’s uber-angry reaction seems sudden as it’s built on past events and characterization, but if you’re watching the show at Season 5, you should probably be with the program. I also really, really like that we’re getting to see a guy being emotional to the point of irrational over his friend’s death. Often, this is a girl’s role, (and even more often, it’s specifically the role of a queer character who has lost her partner, a word Dyson uses in relation to Hale; they weren’t romantic, but more than friends, more than work partners, they really operated as a bonded pair, albeit one who didn’t talk about their feelings.)

Weird and out of nowhere as last season’s revelation about Massimo and Vex’s relationship was, it allows for some interesting table-turning here. Dyson refuses to acknowledge Vex’s torn loyalties over helping his quasi-son, but then Dyson gets a kid of his own, and has all sorts of Loyalties and Feels and Internal Conflict over it.

Pictured: Internal Conflict

The other part of the episode which is ‘doubled’ is springing a trap; Bo and Mark (and Tamsin and Lauren-with-a-tranq-gun, which is the best) set a trap for our hunter, and later Dyson and Vex do as well. The latter couple cue the audience into the fact it’s a trap because Dyson is acting quite out-of-character; he’s not the kind of guy who’s going to do the “go ahead and kill me” routine for real. This scene also underscores that while Dyson has changed or matured somewhat – talking Mark into seeing the flip side of his thirst for revenge earlier – he certainly hasn’t lost his shifter nature entirely.

That shifter nature seems to play into Mark’s story as well. He comes across as Fae nearly right off the bat, and that’s pretty confirmed after Bo gets an extra boost after kissing him, exclaiming “Wow” – not incidentally the same as her reaction to kissing Dyson for the first time. (Again. Ew.) The way the hunter say “tore them apart and feasted” sounds animalistic, and Mark’s story is vague enough he could easily be leaving something out, like he’s not saying “when he shot my mom, she was a wolf/bear/pillar of fire.” Though he wasn’t operating like the incubus we met, there was a slight vibe he could have been incubus-y. He quickly charmed Maggie on the bus, even though she seemed put out at first, and he seemed to attract Bo against her better judgement, even though he seemed way too young for her (which Tamsin was quick to point out). But Bo shrugged it off with her trademark “sex is totes the answer” and . . . well, there we have it. Like father, like son.

At least Bo didn’t get walked in on that time, unlike when Tamsin started macking on her. Poor Lauren walks in on a LOT of sex/foreplay/healing, and covers for her embarrassment with talking. “So much blood and kissing!”

The episode didn’t give Lauren a lot to do – she was mostly expositing, doctoring, or playing foil to other characters – but we did get another tidbit: President of PETA in high school. They do love giving Lauren flashes of information about her past (then mostly ignoring them), but, they’re a lot of fun. The in-joke with this one is she’s protecting Mark, ie a dog. She’s also obviously still into Bo, who seems . . . oblivious isn’t the right word. Passive. Very passive about the whole thing. 

What happened to Bo letting all the light into the clubhouse!?

Despite last episode’s moment of connection, Lauren and Tamsin are still a little feisty with each other when it comes to Bo. Lauren gave a decidedly disparaging “Well, Tamsin” when Bo mentioned her attempts at healing, and here Tamsin kisses Bo and then looks pointedly at Lauren to gauge her response, getting a little territorial after Lauren’s flirting with Bo. Not that Tamsin even has anything concrete to be territorial over, but it’s not going to stop her. Lauren’s a big girl, and she can obviously hold her own in love and war, but what I really don’t want to see is this devolve into one giant catfight. 

Maybe Lauren and Tamsin could use some of the techniques Bo and Tamsin use while disagreeing. The two of them pausing their good cop / bad cop routine with Mark to have a very respectful, very therapy-buzzword-laden conversation about their feelings and conflict resolution, while Mark looks confusedly on while sporting Dyson’s old Hale-centric shirt (the one he got into a fight with Ciarra over), is all kinds of genius. There are several of those little moments in this episode, which possibly make it feel a lot quicker and better than it’s actually constructed as when you break it down.

Really. So perfect. Including the 180 shot from behind the chainlink fence.

I feel about this episode a lot like I did about the last couple episodes. Fun dialogue, the main actors make it work, though not really advancing much season arc yet, which only worries me because of how plot-crowded the ends of seasons 3 & 4 tried to be. Balancing character growth with character consistency can be tricky but is essential, and Lost Girl doesn’t always do it well, but seems to be focusing there (and doing fine) these first few episodes. The episodic plots are more of a means to an end of character and introducing some new faces, and I’m still worried where they’re going with the overall arc, but surely (fingers crossed) the ritualistic murders, the Triskelion, and our mystery blonde goddess are all connected and that’ll start shaping up soon. I’m going to somewhat-patiently wait to see how it pans out.

Just one more thought: stahp it with the incest. Seriously. To paraphrase Tropic Thunder, here’s a tip (and this goes for all genre shows):

Never go full Greek Tragedy.

Pictured: Greek tragedy

Stray Observations

– Great. Now I’m hungry for Chinese food.

– Bus drivers like this guy are bus drivers who will make you pay again if your ticket is one minute expired, or make you return a day pass they accidentally issued. Seriously, screw those kinds of bus drivers.

– “She banged into some low hanging fruit and now she sucks.”

– Downton Abbey joke, good. Perpetuating that Catherine the Great lie, bad.

– Tamsin’s idea of sex: sharing is caring. Tamsin’s idea of being drunk: telling herself jokes.

– I kind of wanted Bo to go with, “Dyson, I think you have a little hunter in your beard,” but the sympathizing worked, too.

– Lining up the pictures, cool. Making them magically sizzle? No.

– I confess I am a total sucker for the thing where they have a character upside-down, and then show their POV.

Screen Shot 2014-12-29 at 7.27.55 PM

Comments
9 Responses to “#LostGirl: Season 05, Episode 04, When God Opens a Window”
  1. Boat Owner says:

    Hi there – first time poster, long time reader (sorry I felt like that was required). 😛

    I wanted to ask you about the closer and whether you have any views on the Triskelion, which also turns up in Tamsin’s diary from 5.01.

    I’m sure there’s lots to be said about the Greek and Celtic symbolism of the Triskelion and I’ll leave that to others better with mythology to discuss and share (go for it if you like). One thing is sticking with me however and that’s Lauren and her connection to the Triskelion. Namely, maybe Lauren’s serum plot isn’t a ‘B plot’ to Bo’s discovery of who or what her father is.

    One of the things that the Triskelion represents is ‘change’ and more specifically the symbol for human advancement. On it’s own, you might say there’s something in that, as Lauren’s genius and advancement in Fae biology is spectacular. Is she to be responsible for the next wave of ‘advancement’ for human kind?

    But that’s not what caught my interest. You might recall last season (Ep 4.06) Lauren and Evony spitballing in her apartment about bioethics et al. As they’re packing boxes Lauren talks about her Star Trek nerdiness and specifically her Khan collectables. That may not have stood out to me, except for the fact Emily Andras corrected those who thought Lauren said Con Collectables instead of Khan Collectables. The Khan reference is deliberate, but to what end?

    If you’re still with my ramblings (apologies – this is kinda how my brain does it’s thing), then we know Khan is a superhuman – both mentally and physically more powerful than the average joe. He’s also a quoter of Nietzsche (“mankind is something to be surpassed”).

    So, what does all that mean? Does it mean anything? Where does Lauren and her role fit into all of this and how will that play out in terms of her relationship with Bo? No idea. I’m just brain dumping. Interested in whether you have a view.

    Thanks for these reviews, the time you put in and your general awesomeness.

    • Melanie says:

      Welcome to the comments!

      The fact it turns up in Tamsin’s diary along with lots of demonic faces may suggest Tamsin has visions/nightmares/trances which picture this god showdown which is coming, and which seems to involves the triskelion. I’m stabbing a little here, but especially since the little purple lightening zaps went around the symbol rising from the pictures and the dead guys’ lips, it seems the two are connected.

      Since I have to hazard a guess (I mean, you asked on my blog, so I’m contractually obligated), what I think is happening is they’re weaving in threads of the themes throughout. Writers, props department, directors, are all touching on those themes of change, superhumans, humanity v godhood (and Fae as a really interesting half-step between the two), advancement and chance. Looked at this way, the Khan reference is highly intentional and significant, but it doesn’t necessarily foreshadow a particular character or big bad, just a Big Idea we’re going to see repeated. Khan, Nietzsche, Greek and Celtic symbolism, these are all touchstones, more than something we’re going to see have significant meaning as far as endgame.

      This is just a theory, and it’s also arguable whether (if I’m right that the details are more referential one-offs towards main themes and not significant foreshadowing of specific plot arcs) this style of writing is better/worse/easier/etc than the sort of writing which does make all of its details tie into specific things to come. Of course, shows which do the latter can sometimes get swallowed up in their own mythology (prime examples: Heroes, LOST, ALIAS, basically anything JJ Abrams touches) and if you muff execution it can negate some or all of the impressive scope of having so very much detail in the dozens of little references. It’s a high-risk / high-reward thing to write with so many specifics bearing weight on the endgame, and I think Lost Girl is hedging its bets a little (probably for the best) by touching on themes. It could be argued S4 tried to have items with way too much significance on the Rainer plot, and that fell flat, even if the details worked in their individual episodes.

      Genre shows tend to have to write thematic elements and/or specifically foreshadowing elements into the show. Buffy is one of the better genre shows to walk the line of having easter eggs without making it so absurd they got up the arse of their own mythological foreshadowing. Whedon is one of the masters of long-arc planning, and that makes the little things easier to do. Doctor Who has seasons and episodes which do it well (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doctor_Who_(series_5)), and seasons which . . . manage to pretend they do it well, while actually not doing it well. Battlestar Galactica does a lot of referencing, and it also loses control of it somewhat (specifically in Baltar’s story; I think it’s season 4 where one moment he’s essentially Hitler writing Mein Kampf, the next he’s pictured as a Christ figure). Xena – which bastardizes mythology with the best of them – gets away with playing more fast and loose, especially since it’s more campy and its longer arcs don’t rely on foreshadowing.

      I think that last part – go more camp even if you get heavy sometimes, incorporate mythology and symbolism but don’t make it a crucial hinge of your season – is what Lost Girl is veering towards this season, and IMHO, that’s the right call.

      I think my answer to your question “What does it mean? Does it mean anything?” is . . . well, maybe, but kind of in a broad way. Except I took a few hundred words to say that.

      As far as Lauren fitting, though, the humanity of Lauren and Kenzi operating in a Fae world has always been one of the most interesting aspects of the show, able to mirror real-life sociology and injustices without being too literal (something genre shows are practically built for) and I hope they do that justice.

  2. I know you pay a lot of attention to lighting and colors, so I’m wondering why you think Lost Girl just gets darker and darker? Even Lauren’s hospital is dark – a place that should be brightly lit.

    Lauren certainly brightened up the episode with her jokes and her tranquillizer gun. Lauren has been painted as socially inept in a lot of ways, but she talked down two potential murders in this episode. She showed an excellent understanding of human nature as she did it.

    • Melanie says:

      I like what they did using all the colored lights in the lab, and if the rest of the show hadn’t also gotten so very, very dark, I’d say something like they were just trying to get across the idea Lauren was working in the hospital lab carrying on her own work and investigations after-hours. But, the rest of the show IS so dark. So, so dark. Especially the last two seasons. Even with Bo having supposedly lightened up the clubhouse by tearing boards off windows and painting. It’s too dark.

      It’s got to be the lighting on-set; you can darken things in post, but you can’t lighten them much in post or things get ‘noisy,’ ie you see a lot of grain and crap on the screen. Either it’s a stylistic choice carried too far, or they’re trying to cut costs . . . which, really, most cinematographers should be able to make things look like they’re not shot in a cave, even on a budget. It has to be some sort of ‘this show is dark. literally.’ thing. Well, they can stop any time now.

      The thing with Kenzi being gone is, I expected them to write Tamsin into handling all the previously-Kenzi-assigned humorous interjections. But mostly Tamsin gets the snark and a couple spit-takes, Dyson gets the dry humor, and Lauren has the ‘energetic’ humor, involving a little verbal spazzing, most of the physical humor (as with the gun), and many slightly exaggerated facial expressions. The potential for Lauren as more than a fleeting bright spot has always been there, I’m glad they’re really showcasing it in Solo’s absence.

  3. Maigray says:

    I actually like the “incest” angle they have going. But I think the show is playing with ideas about sex and sexuality that forces great ideas and conversations.

    I’ll offer that there is no consanguinity in the relationship between Mark and Bo, or Persephone and Bo. I do realized the taboo can – and should – be extended to non-consanguineous family members. But that is usually done when raising children. If the incest label is being liberally applied, then anyone Bo considers “faemily” becomes a potential problem.

    The show has presented similar scenarios before, like when Aife raped Dyson. Bo and Mark and Persephone were all consenting adults. Bo and Mark gave each other full disclosure, as much as they were aware of at the time. Mark is presented as young, presumably younger than Bo. I did not pick up by how much, but I would present the canon of the show as a way to make it a challenge.

    Dyson had a picture of the mother I would have picked out from the 60s. Do the (fake) IDs cut it? Bo looked at them. Persephone is 2000+ years old. Dyson is 1500+ years old. Tamsin and Hale are/were gawd knows how old.

    Bo should be 33 years old. She was in the same position as Mark when she and Dyson shacked up, which is an approximately 1472 year age gap. Kenzi should have been 24 years old when she and Hale shacked up. She would have been 19 when they were flirting back in S1.

    Narratively, it can feel like Bo, as a queer woman, bears the brunt of sexual misadventures when she initiates them. The show acknowledges the hook ups as a problem, then gives Bo guilt about it – even though she took care to obtain both consent, and full disclosure in both cases, even when pressured, and in pain. This acts like punishment for being sexually powerful and for using it for herself. Those same judgments are withheld when they are perpetuated by men, or visited upon men by sexually powerful women.

    • Melanie says:

      You’re absolutely right in that there is no consanguinity in any of these,* and that includes Aife and Dyson, and even the far-flung theory of Lauren and Hades.

      *so far as we know – I mean, if Bo is revealed to mystically be Persephone’s daughter, the show and I are going to have words.

      You’re also right about the ages, though there’s always that weird mental hitch where because the actors are actually approximate ages, and because there’s no real-world cognitive parallel for what it’d actually be like to be with someone THOUSANDS of years older than you, the audience’s brain tends to glaze over it. Is it weird that I’d find a 15-year age gap with a young participant creepier than a 1472 year age gap with both being older? There’s something just . . . a little weird about someone so young being involved with someone so much older, but once the younger participant is, I dunno, in their mid-20s and maybe knowing more about themselves, it becomes

      And that’s it, right? It feels a bit squicky. Just like the sleeping-with-people-very-closely-related-to-people-you’re-sleeping-with feels squicky. Especially with it’s a generational gap and not a lateral move (ie a brother). It’s just a feeling. But when you cognitively break it down, there’s nothing truly ‘wrong’ with it. It’s just the fact it’s somewhat of a social taboo. And the extension of non-consanguineous family members does (and should) apply when there’s extended contact because of the power dynamic, but it’s not as if Bo’s stepmother raised her and slept with her; they just met up. Of course, Persephone’s having knowledge of who Bo was, and keeping that from Bo when initiating things, that does muddy the waters some.

      Though to be fair, even if you take the social taboo out, (and even if you disregard that Aife’s encounter with Dyson was rape), having so many sexual encounters with family members is, well, it’s a lot, at this point. Way more than could be assumed to be coincidence or happenstance. It’s very Grecian, indeed. It’s also definitely venturing into sexual territory as only genre shows can do, and it’s definitely . . . fascinating.

      As for your point about Bo being the one to bear the brunt: yes. But I don’t read it as the show punishing her as a woman, or a queer woman. I think there are two main aspects: the one is, she’s the main character, she’s going to get all the Big Feels. And the show does recognize (and points out quite often, especially in the first season) it’s a sexist world. Bo’s guilt isn’t manifested as ‘a way things should be,’ it’s manifested as a product of a religious upbringing, of a women-having-sex-shaming society, of a society where men still hold and wield their power. The show’s been pretty clear in the past it’s depicting that aspect of society without condoning it.

      • Maigray says:

        Oh, I don’t think it’s weird at all for you to feel that way. Past a certain point into adulthood – however you want to define it – there is the rationalization? expectation? undefined cultural understanding? that adults are adults. Thus, a 30 year old and a 50 year old, although non-traditional, are more “okay” than, say, a 20 year old and a 50 year old. It’s not really rational.

        There is absolutely a “squick” factor, and I feel it and the show acknowledges it and I think they are playing with it. It feels like they are working right on that line between being uncomfortable and just being wrong. Right in the gray area. The power dynamic between Persephone and Bo was definitely skewed towards Persephone in that encounter. I really liked the character, but she held all the cards in that encounter.

        I don’t think the show is consciously using the narrative as punishment either. But like so many things in life, unconscious bias tends to build up. I guess I just rely on the show to be a more sex positive environment, particularly in supporting the sexual empowerment of their lead. Lately, it doesn’t feel like that has been happening.

        It’s beginning to bother me that Bo keeps trying to be herself, exercise her natural powers, just for the bare essentials of healing and feeding, and it keeps bouncing back on her. Without taking advantages of humans or putting herself on the line with Fae she doesn’t know and can’t trust, the walls begin closing in. Among the inner circle, she has exactly two options: Dyson or Tamsin. But they can’t just be available “on demand,” either, like sex machines. Dyson needed to be alone at the end of this episode; Tamsin has complicated feelings she is hiding from Bo. She has to juggle all of their egos and feelings too, work Lauren into the mix, etc.

        Oh and you’re gonna love this. Someone on Twitter (I don’t know who, I’m sorry!) tweeted an image of a lineage chart for Bo. It assumes her father is Hades from Greek mythology. Following that course, Zeus and Hades are brothers. Zeus also fathered Persephone. That means Bo and Persephone could be first cousins.

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