Lost Girl: Season 05, Episode 10, “Like Father, Like Daughter”
Lost Girl often takes advantage of the ability to make a narrative switch at an episode break, as they do here. Sometimes TV shows use the episode break as a cheap way to put off answering the audiences’ questions and prolong the tensions, but here it also allows us to see how the characters themselves aren’t sure what happened. Over the first several scenes we get pieces which reveal Bo and Dyson think Bo has ‘leveled up’ and may be able to put chi into someone without sucking it out of others first, while Lauren thinks maybe her virus tinkering has made her part succubus but she isn’t sure how that works. Nobody knows exactly what’s going on until partway through the show executes something it’s not done well recently: it shows-instead-of-tells a cohesive, clearly understandable answer: Lauren is a conduit. Well, and maybe a Fae. A Faeduit. She’s not sure yet. But this is understandable enough: audience and characters are all on the same page.
The ‘reveal’ scene itself involves physical humor and Vex’s juvenile brand of sexual innuendo, and it’s fun to watch Palmer and Amos play off each other. It’s lovely for a show which has dragged mysteries out for entire seasons only to give them convoluted and anticlimactic endings to deliver on this twist quickly; now we can get down to exploring the ramifications, several of which come up within this very episode.
Growing up, lots of teenagers think their dads are the devil. Bo didn’t get to have that experience; instead, her parents thought she was the Evil Incarnate. Now she is finally grappling with her literal evil parentage, and she’s not exactly happy about it.
Also grappling is Persephone, who shows up here again. Persephone is the daughter of Zeus and Demeter [name-dropped here], and she was abducted by Hades. While in the underworld she ate some pomegranate seeds, and Hades holds that over her to force her to return to the underworld four months a year.* Z seems to victim-blame Persephone for eating the seeds, and manipulates her, but Persephone’s tortured loyalty still causes her to reveal the ‘trap’ to Z. Bo might find it hard to blame her, since she’s having trouble getting rid of her evil patron as well. One of the truest notes this show hits is how not only do we form intense non-blood families as a necessary part of our development, but every iteration of family, no matter how we love or hate them, involves loyalty and potential heartbreak and can be really really fucking complicated.
Poor Tamsin’s look is the most forlorn of all the looks when Kenzi unwittingly reminds her she’s not even a candidate to be ‘crawled up on.’ Since we don’t see Tamsin for the rest of the episode, her entire purpose in this scene is to remind us of her lack of romantic candidacy. Kenzi also notes that Dyson isn’t a romantic candidate any more, and his banter with Bo during their stakeout is very best-friend-ly. Thank heavens, because Tortured Forlorn Broody Puppy Dyson served a purpose for a little while, but overall is not his best look. As he says to Alicia, “I’m not very good at this” relationship thing. Well no, Wolfman. You’re not. But it’s endearing when you admit it.
Dyson is always finding himself in the position of convincing himself he has to lie and keep secrets in relationships. He did it with Bo, and he did it with Alicia, and in both cases he dragged his feet coming clean until his hand was forced. Here he uses the same excuse as with Bo, “I had to keep you safe,” but Alicia isn’t take it. “You had to keep yourself safe,” she accuses him. She’s absolutely right, and Mark [who is projecting his own situation pretty hard] stands with her. “You don’t know what she can handle, she deserves to know the truth and make her own decisions.”
This is the most I have liked Mark since his first appearance; he’s actually learning things from his experiences, and he’s standing up for the right of people to make their own fully informed decisions, and it’s great. He and Alicia have more than a few parallels, both wear their hearts painted in neon on their sleeves, and he stands up for her.
A lot of framing in this episode places one character squarely between two others; it’s not that they’re ‘dividing’ anyone, but the interpersonal relationships are shifting, and everyone is being heard in the decisionmaking processes. It’s a nice little framing choice.
When first we saw the tray of glass bottles in the corner of the screen, I assumed they’re easy set dressing, something to make things visually interesting and keep a bit of color in the gallery scenes. Glass is always a quick and easy way to add beauty to a shot, and other than candles it’s probably the trick Lost Girl uses most often; just look at Lauren’s Season 2 apartment. They actually come into play, though, as the curator is a stickler for grammar and cleanliness, and so touch-averse Bo never manages to touch her. Unlike Tamsin being able to verbally manipulate her marks when her Fae powers don’t work, Bo isn’t so great at making people do her bidding with just words, so she has to find another way.
The way of Catherine Zeta Jones. In addition to Entrapment,this episode makes reference to Hannibal, The X-Files, Pretty Woman, Bonnie and Clyde, ABBA, Prince, The Odyssey, ‘raising the roof,’ and probably other things I missed [feel free to drop things in the comments]. All the pop culture and fashion fits a little better since this is an episode with Kenzi.
Oh yes. Kenzi. I practically did a happy dance when she appeared on screen, starting of course with a fabulous pair of shoes. There was a nod to the “Santiago money” as excuse for the entrance, and later the very Pride and Prejudice reason for having been taught to read music (and presumably she took up needlepoint and painting, as well), but we don’t care the reason for the Kenzi flare, we just love that it’s back. Kenzi also ushers in our detective case of a missing painting, albeit one tied into the main season arc.
The mystery itself involves some ludicrous scenarios and a bit of amateur hour with faking Art Babble, but no matter the absurd situations she’s thrown into or eye-rolling lines she’s asked to deliver, both Kenzi and Solo always manage to land it.
Lauren’s response to ultimate power is matter-of-fact and in character, full of curiosity and worst case scenario. ‘That could be bad. What are the side effects?’ This episode uses her powers entirely predictably: there’s no reason for Lauren to be in this scene other than to be set up as the one who uses the siren’s power, which we see coming from the get-go, and Bo would have generally protested on the basis of her being at risk, but she doesn’t because 44 minute runtime and expediency and stuff.
It also skims over explaining things like how Bo knows exactly where the staff goes on the painting, and Persephone’s intense loyalties, etc. But the payoff is seeing the human defeat the god, albeit with some supernatural elements. The whole arc reminds me a bit of Jason (of Jason and the Argonauts), and that’s never a bad thing in my book.
As we wrap up (at least mostly) the arc of the three Ancients, we set up a showdown with daddy, an exploration of Lauren’s humanity and her relationship with Bo, Tamsin’s last life, and Dyson the lone wolf possibly figuring out how to have a permanent relationship/family. This episode is fairly formulaic in plot and has some odd tonal shifts [though nothing as stark as “The Zeppo,” which makes meta commentary on tonal shifts of modern apocalyptic/sci-fi shows], but it has some really great interpersonal moments which make good on characters we’ve come to know and love, and overall this is the point in all Season 5 where I start to have real hope that they’re going to wrap everything up effectively and in keeping with the nature of the show.
Lost Girl occupies a really interesting place for me. It’s the first thing I’ve reviewed which has gotten consistent feedback and interaction (in agreement and disagreement both), the first show I’ve reviewed start to finish while it’s airing, etc. It’s led to some interesting opportunities, from guesting on lovely podcasts to . . . well, it’s led directly to a couple very long stories, which you should let me buy you a drink and tell you sometime.
Because of the reviewing, I’ve watched a couple of these episodes more than I’ve seen any other episodes of any other shows. It’s one of the most absurd, sometimes-great, sometimes-impossibly-bad, long-running UltraLowBudget shows on television right now. Is it possible to mean sometimes-impossibly-bad in a complimentary way, because that’s how I mean it. At least Lost Girl goes for things. At least it’s exploring a world with not just “strong female characters” but messy, different, geeky, headstrong, quiet, funny, troubled, problematic, flamboyant, treacherous, manipulative, loving, meek, loyal, women, some of whom have intense friendships or animosity, and one lovely case of animosity-turned-respect-and-love.
This week’s episode included a reference to Hannibal, which is hands down the most gorgeous, audacious show on American network television right now. [The best show I’ve seen in the past three years would be Orphan Black, but that’s not American. I digress.] But Hannibal is simply not something I can plop down on the couch with some popcorn for. It requires a different level of engagement, a different sort of mental preparation. Lost Girl has its layers, but it doesn’t require that sort of fortitude. This is in no way a knock. It just occupies a difference place.
Everyone needs different types of shows in their lives, and Lost Girl for the past few years has been an enjoyable part of mine. So this morning at 3am, after a day of reading all the news of: billionaires running for President disparaging poor people; cops throwing yet another black guy to the ground for absolutely no reason; government officials denying people basic rights and getting put on a pedestal for it; machinations to oust government leaders who have shown no respect for the will or needs of the people; and on and on and on, I settled into the couch and – even knowing that it was going to involve some hours of writing and handwringing and wondering “Does that sentence convey what I want it to? Does it even make SENSE to other human beings!?” – I clicked the play button on this episode for the first time, and I had a huge smile on my face.
– *Persephone’s underworld residence results in winter, as Demeter mourns. To my knowledge, the concept of it being winter in some parts of the world while summer in others doesn’t factor in any iterations of this myth.
– Salty snacks are actually terrible for stakeouts, because they make you want to drink water, and that makes you have to use the restroom. We do, however, get a Beefcake eating Beef Jerky, and that’s worth a little lack of realism.
– Bo’s outfit at the art gallery is on point. Both of them, actually.
– I’m guessing production got to shoot in the gallery after close, in return for a small fee and some free publicity for the gallery/artist. It definitely added some nice pops of color.
– They get a lot of great mileage out of that vending machine as dress setting in the clubhouse.
– A lot of the time we see only one character in frame, they’re quite far to one third or the other, a growing trend in use of the 16:9 format.
– Their use of pronouns seems careful and respectful. When Dyson says ‘he’ it could be read as referring to Hera or Kevin, or both. Hades calls Zee brother even in that particular body. It’s all pretty fluid.
– He may be the devil, but Bo’s daddy dearest plays on Lauren without preference or reference to her being a woman or in a f/f relationship with his daughter. Proving that most politicians are even more gross and terrible than the Lord of Darkness.
– There wasn’t a really good flow-y place to talk about it in this review, but the Bo/Lauren discussion about Lauren’s nature and their relationship was lovely, and also a good sign since one of the biggest problems in their prior relationship was all most foundational relationship talks were offscreen and then referred to later as summations. The conversation was short and sweet, but there was a lot going on in this episode. I’m hoping this is just the first we of it, and they address it more as it becomes clearer how Lauren will be affected long-term.