Guest Blogger Series: “Episode 411: End of a Line” by Mahlers5th and Valksy

Enjoy Mahlers5th and Valksy‘s analysis of episode 4.11.

       “Is life not a hundred times too short for us to stifle ourselves?”

 [Friedrich Nietzsche]

Mahlers5th

“Someone you love very much will soon be dead”

We were certainly given plenty of time to brace for the worst. Even before season four began, the title of the opening episode (“In Memoriam”) hinted that one of the core group might not have survived the season three finale. In Episode 403 (“Lovers. Apart”) the death of the star-crossed lovers – the Fae bodyjumper and her human lover – highlighted the obstacles faced by cross-species romances and seemed to presage a violent end to one of our cherished ships. In episode 406 (“Of All the Gin Joints”), the subplot involving Ianka and Marcus, the aria from La Boheme, and the many references to Casablanca  all suggested that before the season was over, someone dear to us might sacrifice himself or herself for the greater good. Hale was already bleeding from his ear by the end of that episode – never a good sign – but surely the writers wouldn’t rob Kenzi of her first real shot at happiness…would they? Flora’s murder near the end of “La Fae Epoque” (episode 407) left us fretting whether Lauren was long for this world. The Leviathan’s warning in “Destiny’s Child” (episode 409) was unmistakable — someone Bo loved “very much” would soon be dead, and even though her fate had already been written and sealed by the writers, I still prayed, “Dear God, please don’t let it be Lauren.” Tamsin was on her last life anyway, right? She seemed like a logical choice. But my real money was on Rainer. I wanted him dead anyway, and since Bo had been at least brain-washed into believing that she loved him “very much,” he passed the Leviathan test.  Like Cinderella’s older sister, I was desperately trying to make the shoe fit somebody, anybody, other than Lauren.

“You and I know dead doesn’t always mean dead.”

So I should have felt at least a flickering of relief that Lauren made the first cut. But when it came, Hale’s death was shattering. And why not? For one thing, he was Fae — they of the long-lived life. He should have outlived Kenzi by centuries. Nothing else in the episode prepared us for the finality of his death.

In this urban supernatural world, death is always a flexible and relative state. We have come to expect that characters who may seem to be dead (like Massimo) or are presumed dead (like Acacia) can suddenly reappear, rise again, and live on. In episode 411 alone, there are numerous reminders of this trope familiar to fans of the genre. We are introduced to the revenants – Fae corpses reanimated to enact revenge. The voodoo priestess, with her wardrobe choice of corpses and her power of resurrection, treats mortality as nothing more than a temporary and transient inconvenience. A disturbed man (the only one who seems truly affected by the notion of  walking dead) rants about a sole surviving sister who could raise the deceased. Tamsin and Acacia are both Fae Valkyries who die and are reborn many times, and when not tracking down Bo for the Wanderer, they are charged with gathering the souls of dead warriors fallen in battle and taking them to Valhalla where they live on to fight again. Massimo has been granted immortality thanks to the twig of Zamora. The beheadings and deaths that occurred in the episode seemed cartoonish, unreal, or inconsequential. And of course, since the end of the ceremony in episode 309, we have known that Bo has the power in her to revive a lifeless corpse just as she revived Dyson. Like Kenzi, to the very end, we assumed Bo would be able to save Hale.  It took emphatic and definitive statements from an interview with the show runner to make it really real to us (she must have known we would need that splash of cold water to wake up from our dream). And still, some fans wanted to believe that “dead doesn’t always mean dead,” not even for Hale. Folks, the cast threw a going-away party for K.C. Collins. Tears were shed. He’s gone.

“We have all the time in the world.”

As soon as Kenzi uttered these fateful words to Hale, we knew she was in trouble.  Oh Kenzi, gather ye marriage proposals while ye may! The truth is that no character in Lost Girl has all the time in the world. The Fae just arrive later in life at an unshakable truth humans have always known – we all die in the end. You never know when an old nemesis like Rainer or Pyrippus might appear to settle an old score. Even Valkyries arrive at their final resting place eventually. Tamsin’s wish to “get it right” in her one and only remaining lifetime is poignant and so human. The inevitability of death is what drives us to make something meaningful out of our brief flash of life and precious relationships.

This is one of the underlying themes of season four and — as trite as it may sound — it is a piece of wisdom that tends to be lost on the young and others who experience themselves as invulnerable or quasi-immortal (like the Fae).  It is a powerful experience to witness a dying person drop all surface pretense to get to the heart of the matter in their final moments, as Hale did when he told Kenzi, “I love you.” Our collective heart broke when Kenzi sobbed to Bo, “I was going to say, ‘Yes.’” We know, Kenzi. We believe you. And we wish you had. But what you said was, “I just think we need to slow things down. We have all the time in the world.” That – more than giving Massimo the twig of Zamora – is what you will probably regret the most. One word spoken or left unsaid can sometimes make or mar a destiny.  I was reminded by a fellow tweeter of a line from Emilie Autumn’s The Asylum for Wayward Victorian Girls that seemed apropos here:  “You,” he said, “are a terribly real thing in a terribly false world, and that, I believe, is why you are in so much pain.”

Valksy

While the main focus of the episode helpfully tangled the metaplot a little more, the secondary B story played out one of the most painful, layered and well-written sequences that Lost Girl has done so far.  Kenzi and Hale make an appealing enough couple, but I found that to be very much a sidebar to the painful revelations of Kenzi’s past.  A huge round of applause should go to Ksenia Solo in particular for her delicate, sensitive and heartbreaking performance, as Kenzi hides behind her shields of mistrust, tentatively glimpses hope, reveals agonizing truths, only to be betrayed again.

I think that the show did the right thing by not spelling out the exact reason that Kenzi running away.  Inviting us to draw our own conclusions is perhaps the most appropriate and least triggering option.  The fact Kenzi tried to tell her mother, was blamed for her defiance, then forced to run and fend for herself, reinforced something we have known about her for a while — Kenzi has the heart of a lion.  Her confession of regret and shame about things she did in the past echoed Lauren’s confessions in episode 404 (“Turned to Stone”) as did her beating at the hands of a frustrated human male who felt impotent because he was not Fae (in episode 310, Lauren was assaulted by the Tikbalang’s human mate).  Hale’s death (while tragic in itself) was also very reminiscent of Nadia dying by the blade.  With Dyson likely to be immersed in mourning his best friend, and Bo apparently unable to handle Kenzi’s grief (she surrenders her own humanity and resorts to Fae powers to soothe her), will Kenzi reach out to Lauren for comfort and understanding? I hope so.

Seeing Kenzi call Bo out was long overdue.  That Bo breaks down with her, hand pressed over her heart, is the most “human” and emotional we have seen Bo since the latter part of season 3.  I hope that the time has come for Bo’s descent into darkness to reach rock bottom, I miss this strength in her and long for her to find it again.

Mahlers5th

For nearly two seasons we have been rooting for Bo to take up the reins of her life again and live the life she chooses. The ever-present reality of death should have lent a special urgency and importance to the choices she has been making in season four. Whether because she has been in the Wanderer’s thrall or has simply forgotten the painful truth that neither she nor those she loves the most have all the time in the world, Bo has been meandering through a dream for much of the past season and a half. We know she has a heart capable of feeling deeply, a powerful sense of moral obligation to defend the helpless and right their injustices, as well as the defiance, strength, and courage required to stand up to the oppressors. But lately she has not been living up to her potential. We can only hope that Hale’s death may have shocked her back to some semblance of reality.

Valksy

The group is almost completely fragmented now — Dyson is distant and brooding; Kenzi will be either mired in grief and self-blame or driven to vengeance; Hale is gone; Tamsin is scared and confused; Trick is plotting privately in his den (didn’t his “I see the good in you” speech to Vex seem similar to the one he gave Dyson in 407?  Recruiting again?); Lauren remains a distant afterthought for Bo, mentioned only in a flash of jealousy, almost as if Bo still doesn’t really remember the depth of her love for Lauren.  Is Bo being systematically estranged from her family piece by piece for a reason?   She seems to be kept furthest from Lauren.  Is that because Lauren is the keystone? It was she who bought Bo back from the dark in episode 305 (“Faes Wide Shut”) when she tells Bo she loved her from the moment they met. She was the hair of “love” in Massimo’s rune potion, and she practically glowed when Bo saw her in 404.

As we were reminded in the episode preamble, Trick accused Rainer of wanting the consolidated seed and warned Bo that he would ask her to kill the Una Mens.  In the opening scene of episode 411, Bo’s description of her relationship with Redshirt Rainer (come on, we know he’s going to die, right?) sounds almost Stepford Wife in nature: “I finally feel that I’ve provided something to a relationship, I broke his curse.  We want the same things, it’s bigger than love.”  That sounds more like it serves Rainer more than Bo herself, and what she means by the “same things” remains a secret.  It is Kenzi who again suggests Bo is brainwashed (she did the same by invoking the name of Patty Hearst in episode 410) and it is Kenzi who sees her connection to Bo completely shattered.

As for Rainer?  He had the power of foresight, but the trap that Trick laid for him (turning his own army against him) was inescapable.  Might someone like Rainer have devised a contingency given that his power could have forewarned him?  Acacia clearly indicates that there are degrees of “dead” and the only reason we have to think that Rainer/Wanderer (confirmed again as the same thing) is not Tamsin’s boss is that she did not recognize him from his picture — so what face was he wearing when she was denied his soul and how did Trick manage to recognize him if his appearance had changed?  And then there’s Vex, who seems to be changing sides from Dark to Light, and Massimo who might have the seed (if it’s for himself, why hasn’t he used it by now?) and does have connections to everyone else and….I think I need a flow chart and another mind-bending debate!

Mahlers5th

We’ve heard that line – “It’s bigger than love” — or something similar at least twice before. The first time was at the beginning of episode 310 (“The Delinquents”), when Bo is gushing to a worried Lauren how different she feels since emerging from the temple: “I feel reborn, Lauren, like I had this moment of realization that I am part of something bigger than myself”.  In episode 406 (“Of All the Gin Joints”), the terrorist Marcus says the same thing to Ianka by way of explaining why he is prepared to blow her to smithereens unless she goes along with his murderous plot.  That “something bigger” that trumps love is the thirst for power, domination, and revenge cloaked as something nobler — like justice, freedom, peace.

This seems like the appropriate moment to insert the latest installment of “What the F***?!” — my season-long attempt to make sense of the over-arching storyline, to prognosticate about what will unfold, who shall emerge as the Biggest Bad of them all, who shall die, and when we can expect Bo and Lauren to get back to epic lovemaking. [Note to writers: That off-screen quickie in episode 405 didn’t count; it was a mini quiche to the Babette’s Feast we’ve learned to expect from these two].

In the commentary Valksy and I wrote about episode 409 (“Destiny’s Child”), I predicted that Rainer, the Wanderer, Bo’s Father, and maybe even Odin would turn out to be one and the same character. I avoided the specter of incest by suggesting that Bo’s father simply wanted his daughter to rule by his side – as she promised she would after emerging from the temple in episode 309: “I will reign as he did, for I am his daughter.”  Never mind that she seemed to be speaking automaton-like in unison with Darth Vadar.

Then my recantations began. I couldn’t figure out how or when Rainer the Wanderer could have escaped from the train of damned souls, rushed over to the Dark King’s castle, and raped and impregnated Aife, only to return willingly to the train. By last week, prodded by the Unaligned law firm of Sneech & Heaven, I’d arrived at a compromise solution: “Rainer is the Wanderer but is Odin’s warrior now.  They both want Trick punished for having put a curse on him – Odin because he was robbed of a soul; Rainer because he had to switch from the much cooler Defiant to the wimpier Wanderer. They both want Bo, but for different reasons.  Rainer needs her to reanimate him. Odin needs her because she is his daughter – the One meant to rule by his side – but she needs to do so willingly…She was not seduced by his offer of power (the crown inscribed with her name) but is seduced by the power of reanimation and is induced to fall in love, not with Odin but the younger, sexier Rainer. If the ruse works, maybe Rainer gets to be King with Isabeau as his Queen BUT Odin will possess/inhabit his body NOT to have sex, but to achieve his dream of having his daughter fight be his side.”

Then someone in the writers’ room had an idea. A most wonderful, awful idea: “Let’s introduce a brand new Big Bad – and let’s do it with only two episodes left for the fans to pull it all together! Mwa-ha-ha-ha!”  It took me a full week just to learn how to spell this Big Bad’s name correctly. In fairness to the writers, Pyrippus is not strictly speaking a new character.  Way back at the end of episode 309 (“Ceremony”), Trick uncovers a parchment drawing of a bat-winged fire-breathing horse, and exclaims “Not him?!” just as the Wanderer’s signature song starts to play and the credits roll.

So, uh, wait. Pyrippus is the Wanderer? But…but Trick…you said Rainer was the Wanderer. I’m getting a migraine. After hours of cogitating this conundrum, here’s what I came up with, and this is my final answer:

1. Rainer is the Wanderer (here I supply only additional corroborating evidence from episode 411, not already covered in our commentary to episode 409)

  • Acacia tells Bo that the Wanderer had his crows cut her hand off because her protégé (Tamsin) “didn’t deliver you as quickly as he wanted.” Bo suggests that Huginn and Muninn betrayed Rainer (“They could have been acting alone”) to which Acacia responds acidly, “Oh, you two on a first name basis now?”
  • When Acacia asks Tamsin, “So help me here – the Wanderer gets off the train and he suddenly starts playing house…? Tamsin replies that she has been remembering things since he returned and, “I may have given his soul to the Blood King after the Great Rebellion. I didn’t take him to Valhalla.
  • When Acacia exclaims, “You put [Rainer] on that train?! Tamsin replies, “I…helped make him the Wanderer.”

2. Rainer the Wanderer may NOT be the evil Big Bad we thought he was

  • When Acacia tries to enlist Tamsin’s help in killing the Wanderer, (“You know the things he’s capable of, you know the things he’s done,”) Tamsin replies enigmatically, “He’s not a killer anymore.” (Disregarding the death of the Una Mens at Bo’s hands, but with his encouragement).
  • When Vex asks Trick, “He was evil, right?” (referring to Rainer) Trick answers, “Just defiant…like my granddaughter” and distinguishes him from other “real evil” like the Garuda.
  • When Rainer is written back into history, and his face materializes in one of Trick’s books, Tamsin doesn’t seem to recognize him (“Who is this dark little hottie?”). Bo says, “What do you mean?! That’s Rainer. That’s your boss,” to which Tamsin replies, “That’s not my boss.”

3. Pyrippus is the third Big Bad and is the “evil” that hired Tamsin to collect Bo

  • Trick was clearly terrified when he uncovered the picture of the Pyrippus in episode 309.
  • After telling Vex that Rainer is more defiant than evil, Trick goes on to say, “There’s a real evil in the world, Vex.  Real terrors…The Pyrippus – that’s real evil.”
  • Vex refers to the Pyrippus as a “bat-winged horse.” In Greek mythology, the Pyrippus — literally “fire horse” – was a bat-winged fire-breathing horse referred to as the Demon Steed.
    • Laveau, the voodoo priestess tells Bo, “The Devil’s Horse, the Pyrippus, is coming and I need something to protect myself.” She is clearly frightened.
    • In “Groundhog Fae,” an intoxicated Trick tells Bo that he is “terrified” of the Wanderer (yet he seemed calm about the merely-defiant-but-not-really-evil Rainer). Who is the real Wanderer?
    • Tamsin seems to shudder in fear and disgust when she remembers meeting “that evil,” “that thing” who ordered her to bring Bo to him (but describes Rainer as “a little hottie”).
    • The handprint on Bo that we’ve been led to assume is Rainer’s mark was something the Leviathan claimed was taken from her six centuries ago, suggesting whoever took the mark is connected to the Underworld.
    • In Greek mythology, the Pyrippus was said to be responsible for driving the  chariot of Hades in the Underworld  http://www.elfwood.com/~aleister/Gryphon.2500834.html
  • In the early days of locomotion, trains were known as “iron horses.” Has the Pyrippus been driving the train of damned souls? The train where Bo is first imprisoned shakes violently whenever her name is mentioned by Dyson and again when Bo tells Rainer that if he turns out to be a monster, she will kill him.

4. Pyrippus is Bo’s father

  • In the preamble to “End of a Line,” we are offered a flashback to “Groundhog Fae” in which Bo asks Tamsin,”That evil that you met, could he be my father?” Without confirming or denying that he is Bo’s father, Tamsin suggests: “That thing would have done anything to claim his ideal mate, even if it meant creating her himself.”

5. Is the Pyrippus capable of assuming other forms?

Shapeshifting is a common trait of a number of Fae we have  encountered, and the recording of a fantastic creature in mythos does not preclude an appearance as a humanoid entity (The Garuda, the Mongolian Death Worm, Lachlan the Naga).

The hellish horse is a common TV trope and is often depicted as capable of assuming human form

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/HellishHorse

If the Pyrippus is capable of assuming other forms, why not:

  • As the Dark King to sire Bo
  • As the evil figure who forces Tamsin and Acacia to collect Bo
  • As a figure from the Wanderer tarot card in the season three finale
  • As Rainer to enthrall Bo after she rejected the crown and the power it implied

Valksy  

We saw Bo rejecting a personally inscribed crown at the start of the season.  If we can theorize that she did that for love of her family, then Rainer is not just there to be relieved of his curse, but to relieve Bo of everyone standing in the way of “something bigger”.  This might well support an argument of some great puppeteer in the background, controlling everything with a far graver purpose in mind.  Rainer is no more or less morally grey than many of the Fae that we have encountered across seasons and he certainly does not seem the monstrous evil that everyone seems to dread.  There is still a missing piece, as Bo’s estrangement continues, that is the key to this mystery.  Is that piece the Pyrippus?

My admitted sense of confusion with the plot, although it does provoke intense curiosity in me, is something I hesitate to comment on without seeing the final act.  And it was not this confusion that I found particularly jarring about the episode.  Although there were parts that I found interesting, and all of the sequences with Kenzi were both story-valid and exquisitely loaded with character and nuance, I felt uneasy about several scenes in this episode.  On reflection, to try and understand my sense of disquiet, I reviewed them again in terms of sex and violence, and the conflating of the two.

Bo herself is a character who epitomizes sex and violence together.  Bo’s species evolved to be the equivalent of a sexual pitcher plant — She is beautiful and sensual to attract her prey, and gifted with the combat prowess and rapid regeneration needed to help her take and feed upon her victim.  Bo was born to kill, and sexuality is one of the weapons at her disposal, and yet viewers seem to accept this without question and very little sign of any particular judgement or moral panic.  Are we able to disregard Bo’s violent legacy because it is simply a modern fiction and therefore does not matter in any meaningful way?

[Sidebar - I admit that I am happy that the mainstream media seems largely disinterested in the show, as creating a moral panic over it would be far too easy and the need to defend the show is something that many fans have done for years, to the point of being exhausted by it].

If viewers can comfortably ignore Bo’s decade long succubus kill streak — an elephant in the room that we rarely talk about — should we do the same with all scenes of gender-based or sexualized aggression or violence in this episode?  We have spoken in past weeks about violent acts against women and I fear that the point has been raised again.  The attack on Kenzi, while harrowing to watch, was plot-relevant and therefore not motivated by sex/gender.  I don’t think that the same argument stands for the following:

  • Although arguably the most minor point, hostile language affects every woman and some instances of “bitch” were noted:   Dyson says “the traffic was a bitch”, Harvey calls Laveau the “hottest bitch”, Massimo refers to Bo as the “stupid bitch succubus.”  None of these would count as “ownership” or “reclaiming” usage as all were said by men to or about women.
  • Sexual menace.  Harvey will accept a sex act as penance for a wrong that he feels Bo has perpetrated against him (“Spit and elbow grease”).  This suggests sex as a bargaining chip to avoid more severe repercussions, which would raise a question mark over legitimate consent.
  • Bo and Acacia fight.  Harvey goads them with the suggestion: “Boring!  Rip her shirt open!”  This sexualizes the fight by making it seem about his personal gratification, objectifying both women and contaminating the imagery of a genre great going toe to toe with our hero.
  • Harvey is seen in a subsequent scene filming the fight between Bo and Acacia, he holds the camera with both hands at his crotch in a way highly suggestive of a symbolic penis.  The fight is definitely to service his male gaze at this point.  He calls out the instruction: “Punch her in the tits.”

Fans here at doccubus.com have praised the show for being reasonably woman positive.  I find that hard to reconcile with the scenes in question and wonder why the decision was made to resort to what could be regarded as degrading sexism?  Perhaps I am part of a minority who felt alerted to this phenomenon and happened to notice it, and it does pain me to focus on this aspect of an episode I otherwise enjoyed watching.  I am very much reminded of the scene between Dr Taft and Lauren where he waves his bone in her face to taunt her.  I suspect that the use of implied sexual menace by Taft was to make viewers more comfortable with Dyson butchering him, particularly as Taft had a legitimate grievance.  I don’t think the same excuse works for a MOTW character as there was no reason to incite loathing for him, or to establish approval for any retaliatory actions that Bo might take.

The writing room at Lost Girl unsurprisingly loves to play with language — this episode is seeded with clues, wise cracks, moments of exquisite pathos, and enough red herrings to open a sushi bar.  I am at a loss to explain why there was also a sordid underbelly of anti-woman animus.  This show has a great many female fans — heterosexual, LGBT and all points in between — because female heroes are rare enough to bring us back and offer us a haven.  I would appeal for more sensitivity and relief from unnecessary acts of sexual intimidation (this is not the first time this season) and the the drip feed of terms like “bitch” that grants common usage credibility.

At this point I feel obliged to mention a scene regarding an ever-hapless Dyson that I was tempted to add to my list.  As amusing as it was to see his attempt at heroism scuppered yet again — as he growled and adopted a “hero” pose, just to watch Bo outsmart the MOTW with ease and without him — I felt that he was generally poorly treated.  My concern is not for the rebuff by Bo, as I think that detachment is part of the story, but for how Tamsin would then go on to treat him.  Since neither characters are my favorite to discuss, let me simply offer this thought experiment to make my point:

Imagine Dyson approaching Tamsin in a state of apparent drunkenness or confusion.  Picture him disregarding any notion of her bodily autonomy or personal space by grabbing her, mounting her and starting to kiss her while demanding that she “come on”.

Are you OK with Dyson doing that?  I don’t think that I would be and am at a loss to understand why anyone would find that appropriate, let alone romantic.  As convenient as it would be to have Tamsin slot neatly into a relationship with Dyson, a part of me wanted him to push her away.  Ownership of sexuality is a good thing, but without the biological imperative that we have been coached to accept in Bo, reversing the genders in that scene made me squirm.  This door must surely swing both ways (no pun intended).

I appreciate that my comments on this season have often seemed critical, but I find that I still believe in Lost Girl and think that there should always be a place for debate.

Observing social media, I am well aware that there is concern about the plot — not necessarily in terms of direction, as that won’t be fully revealed until the end titles of 413 crawl — but because it is winding itself into a gleeful and spectacular Gordian Knot.  Although bearing no specific narrative similarities, I find myself thinking of shows I have enjoyed in the past like Twin Peaks, Carnivale and Battlestar Galactica (I never watched it, but you could probably include Lost with this group).  Each of these shows had lengthy and often convoluted serialized plots as well as phases of character or story confusion, frustrating trips up blind alleys, and occasional moments of complete bafflement.  I loved those shows because of those things, not in spite of them, so why am I having trouble handling exactly the same storytelling techniques in Lost Girl?

If I am brutally honest with myself it is because of my personal investment in Doccubus, and my current sense of grief for the absence of something that was so beautiful and rare that it brought together a huge and diverse international community of people.  My expectations, my wishes, on this matter are all deeply subjective and don’t necessarily delegitimize the actual story being told (especially as it is still a book with a missing chapter).  As I reasoned in last week’s blog, objective viewer is a privileged position that I don’t think I will ever have, but I’m still wary of making the bad acts of past media the responsibility of media now.  I am also reminded of Mahlers5th’s  and my debate in the blog on 403 ( http://doccubus.com/2013/11/27/guest-blogger-series-episode-403-lovers-kept-apart-by-mahlers5th-and-valksy/_ ) in which it was reasoned that, to escape the ghetto of LGBT niche viewing, we need uncompromising characters and stories.

This is Bo’s tale first and foremost, and it is one that is still being told.  For her to merely be reduced to a fairly standard always-victorious heroic paragon would reduce her to a one-note comic book character.  The Bo that we saw in the first two seasons tended to be rash and impulsive, short on facing consequences and arguably close to monochromatic (shades of grey were added largely by Lauren and Trick).  This journey into darkness and loss (if that is what it is) adds so much more depth to Bo, and expands the palette of the choices that she must eventually make.  Transformative suffering tends to be part of heroic tales, and I am still waiting eagerly for Bo’s phoenix moment.

Mahlers5th

As this is being posted, we still don’t know if Showcase has renewed Lost Girl for a fifth season. After viewing “End of a Line,” it occurred to me that television shows have lives and deaths, too. We want them to go on forever while knowing that sooner or later they must end. Could we be watching the final episodes of a ground-breaking series that has come to mean so much to millions of viewers around the world? Could the series really close without a reunion of Doccubus, their marriage, the births of Ethan and Charlotte – lives we have already imagined and mapped out for the writers? It would feel like a death – and not just for die-hard Doccubus fans. I’ll wager that when the series finale airs (many seasons from now) some of its harshest critics may find they miss it, too.

38 Responses to Guest Blogger Series: “Episode 411: End of a Line” by Mahlers5th and Valksy

  1. Mahlers5th says:

    Newsflash! Spolier alert!

    @creativeg33k deciphered the page Lauren is reading in the promo to ep 412:

    Bi-healde the daemon beest of Evil pur,
    Gast of fanged toothe and horned forheedis
    Nefor to be traysted, Hem they call Rainer,
    Whan a thousynde yeeris schal be ended,
    He schall be [unboundun?]
    To wreken torment bionde comparisonn,
    And bi-traeye the Fay.

    Thoughts?

  2. Mahlers5th says:

    Here’s her rough translation:

    “Behold the demon beast of pure evil,
    a fanged tooth ghost with a horned forehead,
    never to be trusted. Him they call Rainer.
    When a thousand years shall be ended,
    he shall be [unbound?], to wreak torment
    beyond comparison, and betray the Fae”

  3. WIP says:

    I do love your posts. I always look forward to them. I can’t believe I am actually able to respond in a timely manner this week. Please forgive me. I don’t have much time to write a response that really flows so I am going to jump from topic to topic.

    What are your thoughts on each of the doomed couples from earlier in this season representing different pairings that will result in a deaths near the end of the season. In other words, Ianka and Marcus represents Bo and Rainer with Bo having to kill someone she “loves” for the greater good. The human and the Fae Bodyjumper pointed toward Kenzi and Hale’s storyline. Dyson and Flora…Well, they could point to Lauren and Bo, but that one is a little murkier so it is too hard to say with any certainty.

    I loved how you pointed out the different ways that LG made light of the “anyone can come back from the dead” troupe, only to have Hale’s death be final. I noticed a couple of the instances upon first viewing, but I did not see all of the ones you listed. Many of us have been complaining that there have been no real consequences for the gang and that the Fae fail to see that anyone can die before their time. (I wonder how old Hale was?) I guess we got what we wanted in a way.

    I agree with you on the idea that the show did the right thing by not explaining how Kenzi was abused.  Some of us may come up with much worse than what the writers might be imagining, which could only lead to complaints.  Others will construct something less painful because they don’t want to deal with something much worse.  Besides, Kenzi needs to put the past behind her and start focusing on the present.

    Excluding 4.1, there are have been many scenes repeated this season that call back to previous seasons. You mention a couple in this episode alone (ie Tikalabang/Massimo beating up other humans because of their own insecurities and desire for revenge) In many cases, it is different people going through these experiences than those who participated in them originally. Do you guys have any thoughts on why?

    You mentioned about how Bo was apparently unable to handle Kenzi’s grief because she surrenders her own humanity and resorts to Fae powers to soothe her. Bo did that in season 1 with the human who was grieving for her lover in season one (threesome part 1) and that is why the human became infatuated with Bo. Bo still doesn’t know how to handle it when other people are in pain. It is as if she ignores it or tries to make it better with her powers.

    From the promo, it would appear that Bo still hasn’t reached rock bottom.  She may not reach it until something else big happens.

    I did not put together Trick’s speech to Vex and his speech to Dyson as being similiar. Great catch. Plus, we also know that Trick’s recruiting technique was the inspiration for Luke Skywalker’s speech to his father in Return of the Jedi.

    Redshirt Rainer. Ha…Ha…That one made me laugh outloud.

    Is the Pyrippus a new evil character or is he simply an evil beast controlled by an evil master?

    In one part, you say that Tamsin replies enigmatically, “He’s not a killer anymore.” I thought she said that she was not a killer any more which is why she didn’t want to just attack Rainer without any evidence first. I’ll have to watch that part again.

    In “Groundhog Fae,” an intoxicated Trick tells Bo that he is “terrified” of the Wanderer because he knows that he wiped his own memory and sometimes, not knowing is more terrifying that knowing. He probably figured the dude had to be massively evil if he erased his own memories.

    Excellent point about iron horses, you definitely provide a good theory with that one.

    At one point, you ask: Are we able to disregard Bo’s violent legacy because it is simply a modern fiction and therefore does not matter in any meaningful way? I think it is because she did not know how to control herself and wants to make amends. Once she learned about herself and how to control her powers, we don’t see her killing the innocent and we don’t know if she actually uses her powers to get someone into bed who doesn’t want to have sex with her already.

    Clearly, we are meant to hate Harvey with all that he did in this episode. You postulate that it is meant to establish approval for any retaliatory actions that Bo might take. Why, then, didn’t she kill him? She killed the woman and then let him live. I’m not advocating for killing someone when there is no danger, but did they just let him go? Sometimes, in moments like these, I wonder if it is done because his behavior as a sexist pig is seen as funny by some.

    I’ve become kind of numb to the word bitch unless it is said with a certain tone like that provided by Massimo. I think that says something about today’s society. Bitch was used many times in previous seasons as well.

    I was disturbed by the Dyson and Tamsin scene as well, but I kind of set it aside. I’m really glad you brought it up in this blog. It was really wrong and letters would have been written to the network if genders were different. Perhaps, that was partly the point behind it.

    I might go back and look at some of your previous blogs, but I really don’t remember an instance in which I thought your opinions were shaped by your shipping preferences. In my opinion, you do a very nice job of staying objective. I would be careful about painting your opinions as being influenced by your Doccubus preference with such a broad brush. I find that many valid, honest critiques are often ignored or dismissed as the ramblings of a shipper, when sometimes, they are just a person’s attempt at great discourse.

    I love the idea of puzzle pieces being put together this season as long as they form a picture that makes sense.  I can see some potential for great character growth, if they capitalize upon it.  I severely miss Doccubus.

    Enough of my rambling…Thanks for the blog.

    • Valksy says:

      The season has been dropping trails of breadcrumbs for a while – but part of the game is also one of misdirection, that’s how we’ve got so close to the end with the mystery still mostly intact, so am cautious of making bold connections between the pairings as it could just as easily be a writer’s trick rather than a foreshadowing (and could also be confirmation bias!). Are we being primed to think in terms of love and loss, probably, yes. Is the whole season one huge metaphor of…itself? Maybe.

      Honestly, I would love to have been a fly on the wall for some of the writing meetings, to discover if this … sense of interpretation being so wildly divergent amongst the viewership… was actually intended or if it’s just a huge fluke. How much of what we talk about is projection, how much has been seeded in the show and how much is supposed to just drift over the head of the casual viewer? I’m not sure. I think I understand what they have attempted with this season and still regard it as a bloody bold experiment. I mentioned a number of other shows – all of which would see me at the end of an episode with thoughts of “but what did it *mean*”. Lost Girl is perhaps the first show I’ve seen where 5 different people might come up with 5 radically different answers to that question.

      In that regard, yes I suppose I write with bias. We are at doccubus.com and TPTB do know we’re here, but it’s not up to me to think that they assume everything that is ever said is with an agenda in mind and, if brutally honest, I don’t have much concern for how other fan groups might regard these opinions. Nobody has a neutral voice, after all – some fans might like to think they do, but only because they believe themselves to represent a majority demographic (and yet again insist on thinking that only LGBT people are doccubus fans, an opinion that has no basis whatsoever in actual truth).

      I have to concede though that I do have a bias – I think it only reasonable to do so, I recognise it in myself and am aware of it as my filter. As I mentioned in a prior blog, it’s not going to be possible in my lifetime for LGBT viewers to ever view any show (movie, book, manga etc) from a completely objective point of view. We are hopelessly under represented and none of us grew up exposed to media that reflected anything resembling the world that we recognise.

      [Sidebar: In fairness, this is a truism for many demographic groups - if Western civilisation was to vanish, leaving only our TV behind, any imaginary spacefaring species who should find it would assume that the culture was overwhelmingly white, male, heterosexual and of a certain body type/appearance. All of which would be utter bollocks. This is a problem of privilege that is persistently ignored, to my never ending frustration]

      With awareness of that filter in mind, and accepting that there is still a final chapter in play, I can accept feeling some sadness and a portion of frustration that this may not be the story *I* wanted them to tell. That doesn’t make it a “bad” story per se, and I am sure that there are several hats still containing several rabbits in the last 88 or so minutes to come (short feature length, I guess). As an LGBT viewer, I wanted a chance to have what my heterosexual peers routinely take for granted. I don’t have a lot of choice. I wanted these actors. I wanted this pairing. I can say that most comfortably.

      (it might be nice if those who insist on portraying Lauren as the love child of Vlad the Impaler and the great eye of Sauron would be so open and honest about what influences their point of view, but I don’t think they’ve got the guts….)

      Thing is – all viewers are bringing baggage to the table. The baggage of other “ships” (good grief how that word grates one me now) is no more or less credible because they speak from a stance of privilege.

      I liked KC in this episode and wish him very best in future endeavours. Would have preferred a little less awkward, a lot more cool. Watching him fight Massimo, could buy him as a strong and graceful warrior, shame we never saw that any other time. There was a minor problem with the character of Hale, which could have gone on to be a major one I guess – Hale’s power was occasionally a get out of jail free card – someone is bleeding? Hale. Someone needs their memory wiped? Hale. Incapacitate a rogue succubus? Whistle. And so on. He was like Dr Who’s Sonic Screwdriver – an easy way out with a power that seemed awfully convenient as and when needed. I still find his power more interesting than Dyson’s, perhaps because it was novel and different.

      I maintain that there are some subjects that don’t belong in light entertainment programming – after all, they get the heavy stuff wrong sometimes. Giving Kenzi’s backstory details a wide berth was a sensible choice. Question might be why Hale felt he should invite her folks into Kenzi’s space, did he not know she was a runaway and think about why that might be?

      If it had been a Fae ritual (asking Mom rather than – forgive me but – the patriarchal hogwash of asking a father for his daughter’s hand) then it might have made sense. I suppose I didn’t really understand this, other than to draw a parallel between Kenzi and Bo with regards to actual family and proxy family, gaining and losing them both.

      Bo using her powers is another of those perception events (I find this phenomenon generally fascinating). I initially saw it as her not being able to cope with Kenzi’s grief and so using her powers to “cheat”. On reflection, I had to recognise this was a human projection onto someone who is not. I was seeing it as trickery, Bo may well see using her powers as natural to her as breathing. If she could relieve the pain, then why not do it? It is both a cheat or a solution? A moment of cowardice or a moment of compassion? Is it Bo’s failure to be “human” or Bo’s gift of her own very nature?

      However people may perceive this, and I don’t know there’s a right or wrong, I thought it was a beautiful piece of acting by both women.

      Thinking of Bo pressing her hand over her chest – She has called Kenzi her heart and her heart is breaking? Perhaps it is something else – What part in the rune potion did Kenzi’s kiss play again?

      Lauren was love – Think of the spoiler
      Dyson was trust – Gone now? (He won’t help her if Rainer turns out to be bad).
      Bo herself
      Kenzi

      Maybe the hand over her chest was more than heartbreak – the mark on her? The potion that weakened her beginning to lose its potency? If Bo is being separated from her proxy family for a reason, what might the consequence of that be?

      Yes, bitch has been used before. And this was also a point raised for ep 313 – which included bitch, slut and pussy (as well as the notion of “being a girl” was synonymous with being weak and helpless). Immune to it? Well. No. The fact that it is such a norm that there a sense of immunity is surely a bad thing? Over the years have I heard plenty of – dyke, queer, homo, lezbo, bender etc etc etc. It may not register the same way now, but that doesn’t make it OK and doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have a psychological impact. I maintain “bitch” should not be a norm for women and it was overused in this episode.

    • Mahlers5th says:

      Thanks for reading & glad you enjoyed it!
      I don’t share Valksy’s reservations about making bold predictions, so
      let me address one of your questions that invites wild speculation:

      “What are your thoughts on each of the doomed couples from earlier in this season representing different pairings that will result in a deaths near the end of the season?”

      We may never know what the writers’ intentions were, but if they had specific pairings in mind when they “dropped their breadcrumbs,” your suggestions (bodyjumper/fiance = Hale/Kenzi, Marcus/Ianca= Rainer/Bo) fit nicely. It hadn’t occurred to me, for example, that the body jumper & her lover were ENGAGED but not married, and that like Ianca, Bo may have been drawn into a terrorist’s plot by her own lover. That leaves (gulp) Flora and Dyson — embodied in that episode by Lauren and Bo. In the story-within-the-story, Flora steals the helshoes which send her on a murderous rampage and is later shot, as Dyson stands by helplessly per usual, by a man who was with the Prince/Vex but later turns out to be one of the Una Mens. He was after those Hell shoes. When Bo and Lauren later emerge from Dyson’s memory (Lauren went in to save Bo, per usual), Bo revives Lauren with True Love’s Kiss. I don’t recall any exchange of chi, but it was a Succubus’ kiss, so you never know.
      Possible parallel to events yet to transpire in episode 412 or more likely 413? Like Flora, Lauren was drawn into a plan that — through no direct fault of her own — resulted in the deaths of eleven people. The Una Mens are all dead so we can’t work them in here, but perhaps Lauren is killed by the Dark Fae and is revived by Bo? Like you, I’m a little uneasy about Bo’s declaration at the end of 411 that if forced to choose between two dead loved ones, “I’ll always choose you.” Kenzi (as the barmaid/angel at the Cabaret du Ciel) was somehow connected to the missing Hell shoe(s), if memory serves — that was one loose end that hasn’t been tied back in yet. Perhaps she and Kauren track down the shoes together, both are killed in the process by the Dark Fae, and Bo is forced to make her choice. Oh no, Lauren! But in a final plot twist, it turns out that with the Morrigan’s DNA (another hanging chad in the story), Lauren has temporarily acquired some protective Fae power and comes back to life! I say “temporarily” because I know Valksy would be upset if Lauren resorted to anything other than her human strengths and assets (namely, her brain) to get out of a scrape.

    • Mahlers5th says:

      Forgot to respond to this observation:

      “In one part, you say that Tamsin replies enigmatically, “He’s not a killer anymore.” I thought she said that she was not a killer any more which is why she didn’t want to just attack Rainer without any evidence first. I’ll have to watch that part again.”

      I’ll have to go back and listen with my hearing aids in this time. Kidding, no hearing aids, but I have been known to misconstrue dialogue before. I was positive that in episode 408, Huminn told Bo, “The Wanderer is your father” until Valksy pointed out he’d said “He is our father – a father to many,” or something like that.

      Tamsin saying she’s not a killer anymore would make more sense but my point still stands that Trick seemed to be downplaying Rainer’s capacity for pure evil in this episode (though the page translated above from next week’s episode suggests otherwise!).

      • WIP says:

        I’m with you Mahlers5th. I think guessing what might happen is part of the fun. Sure, I may be wrong 50% of the time, but I enjoy trying to figure out what is a red herring and what might be the actual truth. Right or wrong, fun is had.

        I must admit that I thought the Faebody jumper couple was Bo and Lauren at first because of the Fae/Human dynamic. It wasn’t until Hale started bleeding from the ear that I re-considered my stance. The third couple being Lauren and Bo is still a question mark for me. It may be that the third couple was a distraction and means nothing.

        I can’t think of another couple, though, on the show that could fit the bill. Maybe, if Trick was still dating Stella, then I could consider them. Dyson and Tamsin doesn’t really work out well either. I don’t see it being Evony and Lauren because there was more to Flora and Dyson than there would be with the two of them. By process of elimination, I think it needs to be Bo and Lauren. The question is, who will be be playing the role of Flora and who will be Dyson. Bo is the obvious answer as Flora, which makes me reluctant to pick her.

        I’m with you on being worried about Bo’s statement to Kenzi about always choosing her. My hope is that she will choose Kenzi over Rainer.

        I agree that Trick totally downplayed Rainer. Did he do that for Vex’s benefit to make Vex see that he has changed just as he is asking Vex to change? Was Rainer only defiant in the past, but now, he will turn into a real monster? I kind of wonder if Rainer may consume the seed that he obtains from Massimo, thereby betraying the Fae.

  4. doccuho says:

    Thanks, guys! I look forward to this every week : ) Valksy, I always appreciate your analysis as well as your criticism. I see your point about their use of the word “bitch,” though I wasn’t really offended by it on first viewing, and I think you’ve hit the nail on the head with regard to the whole Tamsin-jumping-Dyson scene. That was uncomfortable as-is and would certainly be more so if you flipped their genders. However, I think you’re being a little hard on the Bo-Acacia fight scene, as filmed by Harvey. To me, everything about that sequence was clearly meant to denigrate people like Harvey and the media that cater to them. Consider:

    1. Harvey is presented immediately and consistently as quite the unsavory character. He’s a redneck, he swills zombie blood, and is quick to objectify Bo and brag about all the things he would do to her–not with her, but TO her. Blech.

    2. The fight scene between Bo and Acacia, which given their respective “warrior” roles in fae society, should be epic, is comically lame — a stereotypical “catfight” usually played for titillation, and starkly different from any other fight we have seen Bo in on the show.

    3. After Harvey films and exploits their fight for the male gaze with his sexual suggestions, he is clearly called out and punished by Bo, who righteously crushes his phallic camera.

    Given all of that, I’m certain that what the show was at least attempting to do was mock and subvert this type of male gaze so commonly found in other media. And it worked for me, particularly because, as many of us and even Anna Silk have commented, Lost Girl, the story of the “bisexual super-succubus that fights crime and needs sex to survive,” could have so easily been just another one of those shows. That this scene felt, instead, so out of place on this show only highlighted for me, once again, how much better Lost Girl is, warts and all.

    Now, you could argue that merely portraying this type of thing is to perpetuate it. Lost Girl loves to confront prevailing gender issues and turn them on their head, and I think a lot of criticisms about the show have arisen precisely when they do just that, depending on how well they pull it off. The discomfort many of us felt about Dyson’s earlier violence towards Clio comes to mind. To me, though, this scene in particular worked because, like Endymion getting hit by a train mid misogynistic rant, Harvey’s transgression and resulting punishment was presented quite clearly and with little nuance for the general audience to have to unpack.

    Similarly, though it was more subtle, Taft also got his after threatening Lauren with the bone in season 3. And I actually LIKED that scene. Well, I didn’t like that he did that to our Lauren, but I liked that the show got us so riled up about it and used this one, small, mostly symbolic but infinitely gross thing to definitively mark him as a villain. Sexual menace and violence towards women (be they straight, lesbian, whatever) is obviously a very real issue, especially in the human world that both Taft and Lauren (not to mention Massimo and Kenzi) at least partially occupy, and it seems like portraying that in ways that are not celebratory is more valuable (and interesting) than presenting some utopian version of society or otherwise glossing over it. Though Lost Girl presents the fae world as generally much more progressive on issues of sex, gender, and race than the world we know, (1) it’s made clear in episodes like “Adventures in Fae-bysitting” and others that the human world on the series is not, and (2) these issues are nevertheless frequently addressed in the fae world through metaphor. I think, though, that Lost Girl has with these few exceptions left this particular issue mostly in the background because the more interesting lens to examine it through (and I’m hoping they do this in future seasons, Showcase willing) would be the nature of Bo’s own powers and the issues of consent they raise. Is Bo herself a sexual menace to women (and men)? As has been previously discussed, they’ve mostly danced around this issue. But, in typical Lost Girl fashion, it’s a great chance to turn gender issues and stereotypes on their head and generate some really great discussion-and a healthy dose of criticism.

    PS–Maybe the assurance of one shipper to another is meaningless, but I don’t think your analysis is unduly influenced by shipper goggles. The absence of any schadenfreude here at Bo’s friendzone speech to Dyson is all the proof you need.

    • Valksy says:

      Regret, I really didn’t see anything much subversive about the sexism in this particular episode, so I don’t think we’re going to agree doccuho. To see one of the true genre greats (Sigourney Weaver/Ripley may be a little greater, but not by much) reduced to nothing much more than a hair-pulling slap-fight, while some scumbag of the week strokes his proxy cock over it and mocks them, lacked the subversive element to see it turned on its head. Those of us aware of, or have experience of, this kind of behaviour just got another dose of it. Where was the instructive element to those who are oblivious?

      Comparing this to – say – Dyson taking up a fighting stance against a roomful and then kind of going a big limp when they all fell to the ground – preventing him being a hero yet again (I laughed pretty hard at this, but the I’ve started to hum “Joxer the Mighty” from Xena every time he strikes his pose). This is subversive since his macho heroism has been almost universally useless despite all the bombastic grandiosity and strutting. I snicker every time Dyson is comment on as being heroic or makes a statement about “saving” people, either in the show or outside it, because that simply isn’t what is taking place, it’s a complete illusion.

      Keeping in mind that Harvey is not seen getting his comeuppance in any meaningful way. Indeed, he is standing behind Bo when she gives the command to stop, the revenants drop, the camera comes back to her and he is no longer at her shoulder. Does that mean he was a re-animated corpse too? If so, his ending was a benign enough one – Bo wished them peace. Or did he simply tuck tail and run? One shot he was there, the next he was not. I didn’t see much in the way of consequence and am uneasy that the women were played for sleazy laughs.

      Yes, I agree that they have danced around the subject of consent for Bo and – if brutally honest – good. I don’t think the show should touch this without significant consultation so they don’t make (another) very nasty mistake. (You know, I don’t always like doing this since it sometimes really isn’t just, but for the sake of brevity – gender flip Aife and Dyson in the scene tail end of S1 and feel a bit queasy – did they not realise what they were doing? Or did they realise and swore to never go back there again).

      The first time we meet Bo she kills without sex. But we do know that sex is an intrinsic part of her feeding pattern – do we know for sure that she uses persuasion? Thinking of the last time she took human prey – I think it was a gas station of convenience store, and she later goes on to tell Lauren that she didn’t heal all the way because she thought she should let the guy live (I forget the ep, recall the scene). Did the man that she screwed have a choice? Not to not be fed upon, but to not have sex with her. She offered, he was willing. You could argue a somewhat puritanical allegory in play in that – since sex with Bo used to be a fatal event – but we never knew how or why she chose the people she did before she had a choice to not kill. After that choice was granted, it was perhaps whoever was prepared to screw a stranger.

      These are subjects the show – for their own reasons – have elected to not touch. Now, my tastes run dark. I would have welcomed an exploration of this. But I’m also not surprised that they didn’t do it. Would TPTB have liked to get gritty? No way to know, I don’t suppose they would ever tell us – maybe at some future time we will hear about the Lost Girl that was and the Lost Girl that might have been.

    • Mahlers5th says:

      Hi Doccuho!
      I just wanted to chime in that — as Valksy knows since we discussed it — I’m with you: I didn’t have the same response to the Bo/Acacia fight scene. In fact, I thought having Harvey film it — and egging them on to sexualize it — was a wry commentary on and explicit denunciation of the kind of sexist pornography/sexualized violence/f-on-f cat fights for which our society seems to have such a thirst. This may be more controversial, but I think one reason (among many others) that Bo is a popular and fascinating character — or used to be! — is that she reverses the social reality of sexualized aggression against women.

      • Valksy says:

        Thing is though – where was the commentary? Sexualised violence against women is as old as storytelling itself – I didn’t see anything much added to the conversation, no consequence, no insight, nothing revelatory, nothing but yet another example of the self same thing that has become a repellent and accepted staple of media for far far too long.

        Harvey was a vile pig – and may still be a vile pig as we don’t really definitively know what, if anything, happened to him – for no reason whatsoever other than scoring cheap laughs at his behaviour towards our hero.

        As for Bo. This is one of those things I don’t really understand from other viewers. Personally, I thought Anna Silk over-acted the reaction to meeting the welder and having the mark on her body activated. But the notion that something significant – far more so than the Dawning – had just happened to her, and that something really was no longer right for her, seems to be widely disregarded (and I find the concept that Evony – a gleefully sociopathic mass murderer, rather than Bo’s deeply remorseful and resistant reluctant killer – is a better match for our morally grounded and altogether decent Doctor to be literally mind boggling)

        Bo started that scene full of her impulsive swagger – he grabs her, the marks are illuminated and she gets (and I love Anna Silk, so apologise) the goofiest look on her face. I thought it was very much over-sold. Perhaps not though?

        Bo isn’t human, her upbringing, adolescence and adulthood were like nothing we could imagine, and her world is a distinctly fantastical one. She has never really defined how her powers make her feel and – to be honest – can or should she? I suppose she has a baseline, since her Fae power did not manifest until well beyond puberty, but she was still Fae before that. Thinking about it, she was latently Fae, her Faeness then came to full bloom and scared her, she ran scared from her Faeness, then with help from a community she learned to accept her Fae. But she always was, at some level, consciously or not, Fae.

        (sheesh, that’s a tortured analogy ;) )

        Thing is – treating her like she’s human, projecting ourselves onto her, is something that tends to fail and judgements against her tend, to me, to seem deeply unjust personal projections that she can never live up to since her truth is not ours and never can be. Bo is Fae, she has choices there. But she is a succubus too, and that is not a mutable thing. And if she does happen to be a victim of some Big Bad, then judging her for what it has done to her seems very wrong indeed.

  5. WIP says:

    I understand what you are saying. We all have personal biases that shape how we view and respond to issues.  Even though the news is supposed to be unbiased (except for certain networks) they still reflect preferences based on what they choose to report and how they go about it.

    The first step in overcoming your predispositions is to acknowledge that you have a problem.  I can tell in your blog responses that you know what your biases are and it appears like you strive to rise above them.  Sure, you may make a mistake here or there, but I personally, think your criticisms have merit.

    I too would love to sit down with the writers for an informal discussion.  There are things about all of the seasons that I would like to ask, just to satisfy my own curiosity.  I imagine we would have to be careful about what we ask because sometimes what we fantasize to be the answer is not always the one given.  I’m reminded of Sally who asked EA about an underlying meaning to “It’s time.” from season 3 and how there really wasn’t any.  I wonder if Sally wishes that she had not asked it.

    I kind of saw Hale being awkward as cute.  It was as if being in a relationship with Kenzi made him so flustered that he couldn’t keep up appearances.  That is my personal bias talking, though.

    You are right that accepting “bitch” as just a part of normal vernacular is not right.  I just hear it all the time and while certain insults still cause me to cringe, I don’t blink twice when it is said unless there is a violent undertone to it.  Heck, I’ve had people give me a friendly hello that included that word because they thought it was funny.  I bet, though, that if I lived in another country, it would make my hair stand on end.

    I think the acting was superb by everyone in this episode.  You can tell that they really put a lot into it.  I, like you, wish LH an AS could have participated in a real fight between warriors.  That aside, I thought LH was very entertaining.  I’m happy that she came back.

    • Valksy says:

      Thing is though, I don’t know I consider my biases a problem, nor something to necessarily be overcome. I do consider it honest and authentic to recognise that they are there and have influence over me, but don’t feel any particular urge to change. I have a life time under my belt of accommodating and tolerating characters and situations I may not recognise and rarely identify with – with no sign on the horizon of representative treatment for women in general, let alone LGBT – I don’t know my bias is the issue at all.

    • Sally says:

      WIP wrote: I’m reminded of Sally who asked EA about an underlying meaning to “It’s time.” from season 3 and how there really wasn’t any. I wonder if Sally wishes that she had not asked it.

      I admit that hearing that there wasn’t any underlying meaning to “It’s time” threw me for a loop, because I was so sure that there was. It caused me to reevaluate what I brought to how I watch the show. (I still believe that Doccubus is the best and that the storyline supports them as true loves.)

      Ultimately I think it was for the best, because hearing this combined with how Season 4 has gone so far, I consciously decided to watch the show a little differently in a way that I think has been better for my enjoyment. Paying more attention to the plot, the double meanings, the clues, and so on. Not that I didn’t pay attention before, but I definitely viewed things through a shipper POV.

      So anyway, WIP, even though the answer was not what I expected, and it threw me a bit, I don’t regret asking. I would rather know the true intention (or the lack thereof) rather than going on about my merry way with an incorrect assumption that caused me to view the show through a certain lens.

  6. mangababe says:

    As always, thank you for another thought provoking analysis. As we near the end of S4, I still struggle to make sense of the overall story arc, and have found that the less I care about the characters, the more I enjoy the MoW’s and B-plots. Sad really. But sanity-saving when I’ve had little space in my head for things other than work or life drama.

    Observing social media, I am well aware that there is concern about the plot — not necessarily in terms of direction, as that won’t be fully revealed until the end titles of 413 crawl — but because it is winding itself into a gleeful and spectacular Gordian Knot.  Although bearing no specific narrative similarities, I find myself thinking of shows I have enjoyed in the past like Twin Peaks, Carnivale and Battlestar Galactica (I never watched it, but you could probably include Lost with this group).  Each of these shows had lengthy and often convoluted serialized plots as well as phases of character or story confusion, frustrating trips up blind alleys, and occasional moments of complete bafflement.  I loved those shows because of those things, not in spite of them, so why am I having trouble handling exactly the same storytelling techniques in Lost Girl?

    Gordian Knot…how appropriate! I’d add Babylon 5 to this list of shows and I think you’ve hit upon the issue that seems to have infected a large majority of LG fans, both new and old, including myself.

    If I am brutally honest with myself it is because of my personal investment in Doccubus, and my current sense of grief for the absence of something that was so beautiful and rare that it brought together a huge and diverse international community of people. 

    You’re spot on here, Valksy, and I’d only add the factor that seems to enhance our grief is something that we’ve discussed at length…that this show provided certain things we’ve never before been able to call our own: a female protagonist who is defined by the sexual nature of her being (fae/succubus), yet refuses to be constrained by the description (light/dark, straight/gay, virgin/whore); and a f/f relationship that is shown in all it’s glory (and pain), on par with and holding equal weight of the heterosexual pairings on the show.

    It is this combination of personal investment and ground-breaking characters and depictions that gives extra weight to the convolutions of plot and character as played out in S4. To the casual viewer, certain images *cough* 407 *cough* or lines of dialogue might have no more effect than any other; but for those of us who have spent our lives starved for appropriate images of ourselves in popular media – it intensifies the pain we feel.

    • Mahlers5th says:

      Wow, beautifully put, mangbabe.

      I do have a bone to pick — not so much with you, but your comment stimulated these feelings to the surface:

      Yes, some choices were made that were less than totally sensitive to LGBT viewers — episode 407 being the most glaring example — but it’s not like there were dozens and dozens of examples. Just a few really. And yet it seemed to me some people REALLY started piling on with their criticism of the show, to a degree that seemed way out of proportion to the perceived misstep. A kind of hypervigilance seemed to take hold whereby every little example of possible LGBT insensitivity was seized upon and dominated reactions to the episode.

      With so many shows airing that are truly offensive to LGBT viewers, why vilify the people who brought you the best depiction of two women in love that I’ve ever seen — and made one of them the star protagonist? I thought somewhere along the way this season, anger about “LGBT insensivity” got lumped together with disappointment that Bo and Lauren have been ships passing in the S4 story arc (so far) or dislike of Bo’s character under the influence.

      So much negativity about a show that has made the best effort so far at providing appropriate LGBT images on TV — without making a big deal about the characters’ sexuality.
      I’ve wanted to say, Choose your battles, people.

      End of rant *and ducking*

  7. kedrie says:

    I dislike revisiting this, but if you are going to rant about 4.07 and some of our reactions Mahler, I’m going to reply. I think there is a strong difference in what you are suggesting.

    Being unaware of a misstep to a minority? Sure. Understandable. Shit happens.

    VS

    Being aware of what fallout would come of an image, not caring, and including it anyway as a joke? Something that was clarified by the showrunner an hour after the episode aired in a Huffpost.ca article.

    Mentioning it right after, knowing what grief it would cause your audience, calling them babies, and premeditating the shoot for it? It completely floored me and colored my trust level with the cowboy nature on social hot buttons and gender/sexual inequalities. I get they thought it was funny. I get that some people saw it that way. But that the response was clearly not shared by all, they knew it, and it felt like a kick in the face to a decent amount of us. It blew apart what should have been a ZP performance focus, and put a bitter spin on a finely acted episode.

    Hypervigilance? No. Personally, I failed to care about anything else at that point. It was the final nail in the coffin on a show that had walked away from everything that was powerful in it. It’s a personal choice when to turn off the station for a time or for forever. I think as an audience, many of us had invested a decent amount of time and effort to try to rally things around this show, things we thought LG cared about. Female empowerment, sexual orientation no labels, strong message of non-tolerance for women bashing and violence.

    What we got was Bo being unempowered, Lauren and Kenzi completely deconstructed, labels for Lauren (I mean Lawrence), and a strong feeling of anti-woman animus; from their language to the physical violence perpetuated in 4.01 and 4.02, to this latest episode of Bo being unable to fight her fights physically, having sexual predators predate and nothing comes of it but a smashed camera….

    There’s not a lot of positive storytelling here anymore.

    The built in sexism that Valksy discussed with courteous sincerity, is also a problem the show encourages but does nothing to counter. In the case of 4.11, the MOTW porn f/f catfight show failed to enhance plot, the women viewed as struggling weaklings, and nothing was actually done the dude (besides chopping off his undead lover’s head). There was no counter. He simply fades into the background after his vile needs were stated.

    We were hard on the show because it had so much promise and backpedaled. It felt like a bait and switch. In the end Andras, wanted us to sit back and enjoy it because it’s just TV.

    But it wasn’t just TV.

    To many of us it was hope.

    Now there are other shows doing it better, even if the emotional//sexual quality isn’t quite the same. But I’ll take someone treating women and characters with more decency and respect than what is being spoonfed by Lost Girl. I used to hold out for them. But it’s been far to long with zero closure or fixes on the male domination issues that Andras said would be addressed.

    Where’s the show we used to love? I have no idea.

    • Mahlers5th says:

      “Now there are other shows doing it better, even if the emotional//sexual quality isn’t quite the same.”

      I’m honestly not trying to argue here, just curious to know what other shows you are referring to?

      • kedrie says:

        Not to put too fine a point on it, but someone saw the light on the green wall and captured an f/f relationship with protagonists without disregard and disrespect to them with The Fosters. No love triangles, there’s some social drama, but that’s to be expected. It’s 7th Heaven for a more open minded generation.

        Is it genre? No. Is it edgy? No, it’s tame. Maybe edgy in a way that treats f/f as easy and mainstream and POWERFUL as a relationship…without the need to screw it up constantly via a dude. They keep the kids hetero eye candy separate and that’s what makes it a winning number. Both demos… no fighting.

        I’d take Sleepy Hollow over Lost Girl any day of the week for equality on a racial and gender basis. The male protagonist is just that, however his partner in crime is sincerely empowered without the need for him to be saving her 90% of the time. It’s genre, it’s not f/f, but it’s one of the most fabulous racially equal casts I’ve ever seen.

        Lost Girl will always be groundbreaking by challenging the tried m/f/m triangle and giving sexuality a free voice without too much consternation. However, the backpedaling they’ve done since the deconstruction of Bo and Lauren after 3.05 speaks to the issues they still struggle with in regards to equality, screentime and story.

  8. Valksy says:

    I lean personally towards live and learn, make space to talk it out. Just as this is a forum to make space and talk out any number of issues arising from the show. The show and everyone involved in it are part of the communications triumvirate of sender/message/receiver. The receiver part has never been so strong as it is in the modern era of instant feedback – whether this is a good thing or not remains to be seen – but if they are open to receiving then let’s message back.

    I didn’t always feel this way but, my apparently notorious temper in my own space aside (considering twitter is often a safety valve for my own personal mental pressure cooker), I don’t think it useful to be a firebrand to those we hope to influence because it plain doesn’t work. Communicating concerns and offering feedback is a necessary and valid endeavour. If I didn’t think that, I wouldn’t be here.

    But I don’t think we will ever see anything like that again and while I would hope forgiveness from Ms Andras for speaking on behalf of – frankly – a total bloody stranger, I don’t for a moment believe she or anyone in the crew saw it in terms of the sexual menace undertones some (not all) of us identified — and if she/they had realised this interpretation, I don’t think it would have happened quite the same way.

    With regards to the sexism that seemed to me (if not others) to feature too strongly in the episode. Thinking about it, in terms of hokey special effects methods, characterisation of guest stars, general tone – were they going for an exploitation era look/feel? I’m thinking late 70s/early 80s schlock. If that was what the design team/writers were going for, it would have worked a lot better with a contemporary scream queen star like Jamie Lee Curtis, since Linda Hamilton was not a part of that genre. That doesn’t explain why Bo had to be a wimp, or why there was no answer for behaviour – but in terms of the artistic interpretation of the episode itself, I wonder if it was meant to be homage (it has been a long time since I watched a Romero film admittedly…). Doesn’t mean I had to like that aspect of the ep, I didn’t, but at least that would make more sense to me than obliviousness or carelessness.

    Concur with Mangababe – get on a lot better with the story if I let go of my pairing for a while. I’m pissed off it doesn’t feature, but it wouldn’t work with the plot they are trying to work through. Which should come first? I know what I want, but can’t answer that beyond myself. But I like the three lead women actors and like the characters they are playing (yes, even Bo) and am still not prepared to give up on them.

  9. Mahlers5th says:

    If it’s OK to plug another blog’s guest author:

    A MUST read from UNALIGNED
    http://t.co/VIaLKaYtJZ
    “The Genre Elements of Lost Girl”
    by MaigrayBell

  10. RH says:

    Thanks for the translation of the prophecy. If the translation is true & Bo stops being ignorant to the idea that Rainer has an evil agenda it changes everything. Ive been leaning towards the idea that Bos father the pyrippus has a hand in whats going on this season. Since we have no idea the kind of powers he might possess all we can do is speculate, Its not outside the realm of possibility that in addition to Bos fathers power over life & death that he could have a power over the living by taking over or shape shifting into another physical form. If he has this power than certain questions of Bos conception could be answered in a way that makes sense. We are missing pieces to the puzzle so Im not sure how correct I am but at this point knowing what we know its a possibility

  11. SBSneech says:

    Hello again ladies – I’d like to weigh in on the commentary regarding our individual or collective biases.

    There has been a tremendous amount of focus on the depiction of sexism on this show. Some of it I see and most of it I don’t. I honestly have similar reactions to those of Mahler and Doccuho and I’m well aware those reactions are based on personal experiences. Which is why I’ve waited to comment on this sensitive subject and make an observation about the depiction of race this season.

    The depiction of African American characters this season has been appalling and I don’t use that term lightly.

    It wasn’t enough to make the body jumper black and a slave. She was killed for being a “witch”, a symbol of an evildoer who makes pacts with the devil. To exacerbate the issue she torments several innocent members of a white family as revenge.

    Marcus kidnaps a white woman, betrays her then threatens to kill her if she doesn’t sing the death note. Why? To kill a whole race of Fae. Terrorist anyone?

    Then there was the African American woman who owned Bruce. Bruce makes it a point to mention how mean she is. Humiliating him, forcing him to be a make shift table for sushi. She dies a violent death.

    Finally we get to the piece de resistance. Two Blacks die in this last episode. Levieux, the voodoo priestess reanimates corpses, corrupting spirits to do her bidding. Her motivation is to acquire the Una Mens Seed as protection against the Pyrippus but we all know that’s not the only reason she wants it. She get’s her head cut off.

    Hale, the only minority character on the show gets stabbed in the chest and also dies a violent death. A positive male character that respected both humans and women alike.

    All of these characters, except for Hale, were used in one way or another to illustrate evil, oppression and darkness. In some instances with stark contrasting images of goodness represented by white people and white clothing. Wasn’t it enough to dress Marcus in black clothing? Or did the general audience need him to be black also to make sure we understood the symbolism?

    How would we all feel if women portrayed these same characters? How about gay women? Lesbians portrayed as evil and meeting violent deaths. Would it grab our attention then?

    I’ve had conflicting feelings regarding this subject for a couple of weeks now. I’ve sat back and waited for someone somewhere to comment on this. And I don’t mean just here on Doccubus.com but on any other forum or blog that discusses Lost Girl. I’ve seen nothing on twitter.

    I think, surely they see it. Yet nothing. Not a word. Why is that?

    I’ve been angry. Mostly because I see so many intelligent people who are already sensitive to the issue of discrimination that don’t even notice. Or do they notice and it just isn’t as important as sexism on the show? Or maybe because it doesn’t affect our ship?

    I’ve been sad and disappointed. Believing in the illusion that there’s some sort of solidarity among all minority groups. If you’ve experienced discrimination or bias then surely you see it when it involves another group.

    Yet after all the emotions regarding this subject I can only come to one conclusion: no one’s commented on the blatant racism because they don’t identify with it. They don’t see it.

    That’s the truth.

    It’s not because everyone here doesn’t understand racism. It’s not because it’s not important enough to discuss. It’s not what the people of this forum focus on. I get it.

    I make this point because we’ve had heated discussions about sexism. We as women have vastly differing opinions about what is intolerable and what isn’t and those opinions are based on our individual past experiences. Our past experiences taint our perception of what we see in the media. And yes I mean taint in a bad way.

    I’m a woman, Latina and a lesbian. I grew up in a less than perfect environment to less than perfect parents. I have bi-racial children. All these things color how I view EVERYTHING.

    Racism sets my soul on fire. My emotions are out front and center and I can’t have a rational discussion about it. To quote Valksy “I lean personally towards live and learn, make space to talk it out”. Ha! Not me! Not when it comes to racism. For me, talking it out means I’m right, I just need to beat you into submission.

    Sexism and discrimination toward the LGBT community are regularly discussed here and in other forums I frequent that identify with that aspect of the show. I love it. I’ve learned a lot. But I think there are moments when we criticize this show unjustly.

    Hypervigilance? Yes. I have to agree with Mahler. I’m just as guilty of it but I know when it’s happening and I know how it feels.

    If I’m watching and I have a visceral reaction to what’s on screen I know I may be overreacting based on my beliefs.

    I literally stopped breathing during the notorious 4×07 scene. I did. I had to pause my computer. My first thought was “I don’t know if I can watch this show anymore”.

    And this past episode when the voodoo priestess walked out of the trailer I yelled “You’ve got to be kidding me”!

    The kicker was Hale. Sure kill the black guy. The only minority on the show. Why not? I didn’t really appreciate Ksenia Solo’s performance till I watched the third time.

    I am certain there is cause for concern over the depiction of African Americans this season. It’s blatant whether it made a blip on our collective radar or not. I’m disappointed this hasn’t been discussed at all. Am I slinging a little mud? Yes I think I am.

    If we watch this show and all we see is how men treat women and keep score of how many times a man does something offensive and doesn’t have a consequence then in my not so humble opinion we’ve lost perspective. You miss things along the way. Like 5 African Americans being violently killed in 7 episodes.

    If we want to watch this show through the sole prism of women rights and LGBT representations and it’s failings then that’s our prerogative. But we can’t be offended when we point out these failings to the writers or members of the general audience and they don’t see it.

    Because apparently it’s all about perspective isn’t it?

    I don’t know what I want to do about what I’ve seen this season on Lost Girl. I want to be heard so I’ll contact the showrunner in some form or another. I’ll have to think about it a bit.

    All I know is if The Wanderer turns out to be a black man dressed as a pimp that resides in Compton, I’m never watching this show again.

    • Valksy says:

      SNSneech – I speak with grave caution, I know very well that the colour of my skin grants me an automatic privilege in the Western world (just as my gender does not and my orientation does not, if I get pinged or asked or give up any kind of tell at all).

      I’ve referenced, in the past, that I concede fully that I may not realise or recognise variant degrees of racism, it’s not my reality and I don’t know I trust my own judgement and do not know how to navigate this. It’s not necessarily an issue of no-awareness, I just fear a misstep, grounded in my acknowledged privilege, causing even more offence (call me coward if you wish, I am reminded of the 301 debacle and the need then to be deeply cautious of transgender viewers offended and hurt – over-riding someone else’s 1st hand experience is just wrong and couching a positive argument made me uneasy, I won’t be doing that again)

      In terms of “live and learn” though – I see a lot of people responding to issue the show is raising with regards to orientation and gender with aggression and hostility. I’m not sure how that changes anything though. I still believe in the philosophical statement of “be the change you want to see in the world”.

      Starting from a position of not making assumptions about the orientations or life experiences of anyone in the decision-making tier of the crew – although statistically speaking it is more likely than not that they will be heterosexual

      [Sidebar: I'm not obliging anyone to say, would never do that. And don't believe in assuming anything about anyone since current r/ships, what we know about them - which is none of our business really - isn't conclusive of anything anyway. But in terms of couching this in terms of logic, the odds are very much straight]

      If that is so, then can or do they understand how LGBT women (since that’s my focus) experience and view the world? Especially given that our view/experience is not universal. Is it just as offending if someone outside either the internal, external or both LGBT experience says “I understand”, because I don’t know they can or do. It’s a gut feeling inside us, of complex notions of personal identity as well as socio-political influence – it’s about what we live every day. But arguably, if they don’t know – if they can’t know – how does that ever change if no one tells them?

      Equally I would never say I truly understood racism because I think that, even if it is a target of a life time of study, it would still be entirely wrongful to subvert the experiences of others. I then perceive a problem them it is also not for me to ask that someone who does experience that to instruct me – but how do I not fuck up if no one should say “erm, you’re fucking up”?

      I want to be told. If I inadvertently (you can argue intent here, that’s also a quagmire) – because it would be inadvertent – did or said something racist then I want to be corrected. I wouldn’t dream of behaving that way by intent but I also have a background and life experience of privilege that I cannot necessarily see myself (those in privilege rarely identify it, since to do so would then open the door to obliging they damned well do something about it).

      If they don’t know better – and it seems that, by intent or not, there is a perception that they do not – then should we tell them? Or should we not? And if we’re going to at least try, it has to be in terms that will be listened to, since no one will hear if it is screamed. Even if it feels there is justice in screaming?

      It may well be that TPTB would recoil in horror at the thought that Hale’s death was perceived as an act of racism. I strenuously doubt that there was any deliberate intent. It may be as simple as KC’s career taking off and him moving on to bigger and better (power to him), it may be that he was seen as the least important character and therefore disposable – the question here would be why. If it is audience perception – why does the audience think that way? What about the original casting choices? Why was he a sidekick and not the heroic lead? There are a score of “whys” that might well be revelatory of industry-level racism (rather than deliberate individual acts) or of social-level racism, which TV merely reflects (it can influence, if it wanted, so why not? Because there is less money in it? If so, why)

      SBSneech, I’m not trying to influence your understanding here, or argue you away from it. That would be way out of line on my part. But as TV does not and cannot exist in a vacuum, as it both influences and reflects at will, as it is both an artistic product as well as a commercial one, I think the conversation is valid, and I don’t know how things change if we don’t have it.

  12. WIP says:

    Sbsneech,

    You raise an excellent point.

    Personally speaking, I don’t always notice things that I should because I have a tendency to take things at face value.  I’m not saying that is right or that I am proud of it. Below is an explanation of what ran through my mind for each of your scenarios.

    For the first couple, I saw the bodyjumper as a Fae who was mistaken for a witch and like anyone seen as a witch during that time period, she was attacked. (Although many perceived witches were actually nothing of the sort or were just healers who were one with nature, but that is beside the point.) I saw her as being in love with a man who didn’t care about what she may or may not be. He just knew he loved her and wanted to protect her. I don’t think it was ever stated that she was a slave and it is technically possible for her to not have been one. Now, yes, she did torment several innocent people. I did not see it as anything more than a person who was heartbroken over her lover’s death and it led to a mental break.

    For the second couple, I didn’t really notice that they were an interracial couple. Feel free to judge me harshly. I saw it as a man who one loved a woman very much, but he allowed his anger over their poor treatment by a tribe to consume him entirely. In hindsight, I can see this as symbolic of the very real anger that interracial couples must feel when, in real life, they are treated poorly by society. In this case, his love for this woman was not able to save him from his all consuming rage. In fact, Ianka may have recognized near the end of the show that the man she had loved all that long ago was already dead, replaced by a man obsessed with his need for revenge. It was a wake up call for Bo because she didn’t want her rage to change her into someone she could no longer recognize.

    When it comes to the woman who owned Bruce, what caught my attention most about her was that she was an exceptional dancer. In retrospect, I kind of wonder if they wanted her to be African American. They like to take stereotypes and flip them around. Historically, caucasian people are often times the ones to own people in the western world and most of the time, the person being owned is of color. Looking back on it, I wonder if they flipped the roles intentionally to get people to notice the dynamic and made a statement about slavery by ending the owner’s life.

    Levieux, I know was based on an actual historical figure who was very powerful in New Orleans during her time and who was known to be an expert on voodoo. What I noticed from that episode is that she got her head chopped off, but her partner in crime faced no obvious consequences. I was upset by it, but I can’t say if it was because she was a woman and he was a man, she was African American and he was white or she was power hungry and he was an offensive, evil wanker.

    Hale’s death hurt. I thought his character had a lot of potential and KC seems like such a great guy. His character was the most expendable of the group because he did not get a lot of development. Why is that? Was it because of his race? I kind of thought it had to do with the actor’s availability. They started to delve into his character in season 2, but it went nowhere in three and I kind of thought it had something to do with his other work. Why wasn’t KC given the Dyson role? In my opinion, it was because he was perfect as Hale. I’m sure he would have done a great job being moody/broody. I just think he was ideal as Hale. I can’t imagine anyone doing a better job. That is when you know you have picked the perfect person for a role. He is Hale to me and anyone else would be a sad substitute (my personal opinion of course). Would I have liked to have seen Hale become a more important character? Hell, yes.

    You bring up the white clothing and that is great point.  I never notice clothing, except for when it makes someone look really good or really bad.  I don’t really have a theater background so I don’t notice some of the great things that others do.

    Would I have noticed if these characters were women? Well, many of them were women and I didn’t notice that as being an issue. (Only a couple were men.) I don’t think I would have seen it as a women are evil issue because there is positive representation of women as being heroes on the show itself.  

    Would I have noticed if these characters were lesbians?  If they had been gay, I’m not sure I would have then either because I still would have looked at the character’s motivations first and foremost. I would have become aware of it because of the people on this board who are more observant like yourself.

    What catches my attention, first and for most, is language selection, unwarranted/unexpected violence and direct/indirect references to someone being inferior. I also notice when a show is lacking in diversity, which is a problem now for LG. I’ll be interested to see if they introduce a new character next season to fill the void of Hale and if so, will that person be something other than white.

    Would I have noticed if one of these characters was Lauren or Bo? Perhaps, because we have gotten to know their characters and I don’t think either of them are in an expendable position yet (please don’t let that happen). If Hale had been given the same screen time as Dyson and they had killed him off, I would have been very, very upset. If KC did not have a role on another TV show and they were neglecting his character for no reason, I would have been upset.

    Bear in mind, I saw the transgender person in 301 as just someone who impregnated women without their consent. I did find it odd that Bo wouldn’t try to tell the guards to allow justice deal with her, but I never saw any of it as offensive. Once someone brought it up, then it got me to thinking.

    When people raised the issue of albinos as always being treated as the classic villain in movies, it never dawned on me that this happened. I am more aware of it now because it has been discussed in reaction to certain movies.

    Some of the things noted as sexist on this board are not things that caught my attention at first because I thought they were intended as commentary.

    I guess what I am trying to say Sbneech is that boards like this one and people like you help others to think differently. I can see why you would be offended. I’ll probably be more observant in the future because of your post and consider alternative interpretation of events.  

    Boy, I never thought of myself as being so naive. I guess I am, though.

    • Valksy says:

      Keeping in mind, WIP, that the Lidurc in 301 was never transgender, but there was a perception by some viewers that was attached to that character due to the method of revealing the truth. The Warden was only ever a magical shapeshifter – if the revelation had been a magical one (eg something causing them to shapeshift a couple times so even the most casual of dip-in viewers would get the point) then it might well have been perceived very differently. It was the crotch grab that was the heart of the problem because that can and does happen to people and the outcome can be a dangerous, if not outright deadly, one.

      Thing is – I *knew* they were in trouble when the did this. I don’t claim to know better than the trans community, that would be an act of usurping knowledge, but have been in various degrees of activism and take all my letters of LGBT very seriously and have sought to educate myself for the 20+ years I’ve been part of community (and am still learning all the time). I can see how the thought might never ever cross the mind for someone who had no experience at all of that (not that I know the crew, or their lives or experiences, but someone with some insight would have had alarm bells a-ringing I’m sure).

      They didn’t know, so someone explained and educated and I hope that there is more awareness – both now and for future creative projects

      To do that took action, it took voices. Maybe I am hopelessly naive and a little bit of a pollyanna, but words are my soul and I think they can help make things better.

      • doccuho says:

        Wow, Sneech, thanks for speaking up on this issue. I definitely thought the Laveau character was offensively stereotyped, and I have also been dismayed that Hale, as the only main cast person of color, has never been as fully realized or utilized as the rest, and now won’t be there at all. With respect to the rest of the characters you mention, I had thoughts very similar to WIP: individually, I either didn’t notice or simply rationalized the race issue. But in combination, it doesn’t all add up to a very good picture, does it? If the show did this with 5 obvious lesbians in 7 episodes, I would absolutely be pissed–I think nearly all of us would. So, yeah, while I think some of the complaints about the show have come on a little too thick this season, this is not one of them, and it absolutely should be respectfully communicated to the powers that be. I can’t imagine that this bad aggregate portrayal was intentional on their part, but they should certainly be aware going forward.

  13. Cleo527 says:

    I have known from the beginning that Lost Girl was a pretty undiverse show; that’s not exactly a revelation. Other than Hale all the main characters have been white. The woman who is the travel agent in S2 and then shows up again, I think, this season as that fae who has no mouth, was a complete stereotype – differently in both cases. The OCD Indian with the funny accent is a staple of comedy. The African “shaman;” the person of color as “wise” were the usual sorts of thing. Congo as the “Heart of Darkness”… But I chose to put those things mentally aside for the sake of what I think has been amazing about the show. And we’ve talked about that plenty.

    Regarding Hale, well I’ve never been impressed with him as a character. Perhaps it was the writing, or maybe it was the actor. I thought he was a bit of a lightweight. That’s my opinion. I know he was loved by many, and from my perspective he could have been a better character. When Tamsin was introduced in S3, I understood that she came in to take Hale’s place eventually, or at least while KCC honored his other engagements. If Lost Girl (JF) had been truly bold and smart about race, instead if casting Rachel Skarsten as a blah literal interpretation of the Valkyrie, they might have chosen a woman of color. A black or Latina Valkyrie, that would have been cool. But no, alas.

    We can take each case and make a separate argument for each, and each will make sense. If I take for instance, the African-American dancer in 4×05, I could say that she was skilled at breakdancing and great to watch. Maybe casting an Asian breakdancer would have been cooler. You know, like venture away from the predictable stuff a bit.

    I know Lost Girl has been trying to be bold – bold about gender, sexuality, sex itself. And this season bold about race, difference, and prejudice. I think they do a good job on the gender/sex stuff, avoiding the most boring aspects of identity politics. I don’t think they have done as well regarding race.

    As for Sneech’s point, if I understand it correctly, not seeing, not knowing, is the point, the problem. Let’s maybe open our eyes to, you know, not just what concerns us. Or what we think just concerns us.

  14. doppleganger says:

    I have been loving all the theories, and have my own of course. Personally, I think two major character deaths are coming, and Bo will finally have to CHOOSE someone with her hellshoes against Levi. Season 3 is most certainly my favorite, and Season 4 has been frustrating to WATCH, but the story they are telling is compelling.

    What I really don’t understand about the fandom of this snarky, witty, inclusive series is the ship bashing. I have enjoyed all the *actual* and *potential* ships. Currently hoping to ship on Valkubus, but I also still love Doccubus … and was able to get behind Dybo until this season (where poor Dyson became a shell of a man and lover). The whole point to me is that Bo can sail any ship she wants.

    I, personally, like to see her trying out the sails. What I DO NOT like is all that shipping happening off-screen (um, hello Rainer) or treating the people she LOVES (stated time and again to no end) like crap. I signed on to supporting a character who has her faults and gets into hilarious scrapes, but is loyal and looks out for the little guy. Dude, where did she go? Mostly, right now, I want to slap Bo in the face and keep her away from the Doc, Tam-Tam, and Dyson … and Kenzi for that matter.

    • Valksy says:

      With regards to Bo, I still think that there is an argument that something is not quite right with her. I think that this was most evident when the welder activated the mark on her body.

      If there is a chance that Bo has been tampered with – if it is magic or alchemy or mind control – is there justice in, essentially, victim blaming her for this? From the very beginning people (Trick) have whispered in corners about prophecy. Bo was not a wanted child, not even an accident, she is a creation for a purpose and she is perhaps a participant in prophecy (per the translation above) rather than the actual target of it. She is a tool? A weapon? She is a horcrux of sorts perhaps (Bocrux? ;) ) My question would be – can we be sure that she is operating from free will? And if not, can she be blamed for her actions?

      If there is no actual “magic” operator (for want of a better word) then is it also possible that Bo is being tricked by someone who does not have her best interests in mind? Are we in agreement at least that Rainer is a bad guy? If so, given her naivete (fundamentalist upbringing, decade of being a fugitive etc making her emotionally immature) might she be to blame for this too? It makes me uneasy – if he is charismatic, persuasive, giving her the boiling a frog technique (in that they don’t know they’re being cooked if you put them in cold water and then slowly turn up the heat so they don’t notice) then is she also a victim? I think caution in asking this – sometimes a person doesn’t see the bad even if right in front of them.

      Until the story has concluded (this phase at least, I think it will cliffhang into S5) I admit to being very uneasy about blaming Bo. I think that the estrangement from her family and loved ones is quite on purpose. The Bo we knew would never want to rule anyone – she wanted love and family and picket fences. We saw a Bo on the train rejecting a crown. I am wondering what stopped her, and what the Big Bad might try to get her away from those who are her home, heart and hope.

  15. SBSneech says:

    First thing I want to say is I never intended for anyone to feel that I was implying they were racist. That was and is not my intention. If I made any of you feel that way, I sincerely apologize.

    I’ve said this before, but I’ll repeat how much I enjoy this forum. There is always interesting commentary regarding a myriad of topics related to LG. I have grown to have a great deal of affection for quite a few people here and have made a few friends along the way.

    I’m not thrilled about the arc this season. I have a list of things I didn’t/don’t like. I have an opinion on how it could be better. Some of it may have merit. Some of it is my own personal desire to see the story told to my liking. If I’m being honest, I know I can’t be objective and because of that, I’m very careful to not criticize the story or the storytellers.

    I’ve made that mistake before, joining in a conversation about how I agreed with several others that the creator of the show (Jay Firestone) didn’t want Lauren as Bo’s love interest, total speculation on my/our part. Don’t remember who it was but someone came forward and gave us a “what for” and rightfully so. We had no business presuming to know what JF’s ideas or intentions were.

    It served to be a great lesson for me then and this issue of race has been another wonderful opportunity for me to learn something about myself again.

    This show has captured my imagination like no other has. It’s given me the courage to tackle my biggest fear, my lack of writing skills and I’ve chosen to do it in a public forum because my love for the show trumps my fear and so I feel a sense of responsibility to give something back.

    I’ve chosen to wait and watch till the end of the season to address the issue of race. I think the creators and writers of the show deserve the benefit of the doubt. The fact that no one here or anywhere else is talking about it just reinforces my belief that it was unintentional.

    I’m going to try to tie this all together. I could easily explain all this much better over a couple of beers but seeing as I don’t have that luxury, I’ll have to struggle through putting it in print and hope nothing gets lost in translation.

    I didn’t mean to imply that the creators of LG or any of you here are racist for not seeing the negative depictions of African Americans on the show. I just wanted to make the point that our individual views have a great deal to do with how we experience this show. Sometimes we are so invested in our own perspective, we don’t realize we may not be seeing the whole picture. I am just asking for us to take a moment, zoom out and consider the possibility that TPTB are not functioning with malicious intent, but simply posses a different perspective.

    A couple of you have politely said “I think you point is…” which tells me my first post was convoluted as hell. Sorry. It made perfect sense in my head.

    If I still don’t make sense please ask me to elaborate and politely endure the roller coaster ride ☺

  16. Sally says:

    Good heavens, I missed the twitter announcement that this blog post was up and it’s been 5 days!

    I have no idea who the winged horse is supposed to be, nor what will happen in the remaining two episodes, but I’m excited for the ride.

    As with several other male-female interactions in Lost Girl, if we switch the genders then the behavior is disturbing (like when Bo hits Dyson – if Dyson hit Bo like that, I think many people would have a problem). So the Dyson/Tamsin interaction – especially when he tells her that he’s so drunk that he can hardly make any decisions – if the genders were flipped, then it would clearly be an issue of a drunk Tamsin unable to give consent. As, we might argue, Dyson was unable to give consent.

    sneech, your points about the fates and treatment of the African-American characters is well-taken, as well as how we are all viewing the show through our collective biases. I was about to say “I hope after S4 has run its course you will consider writing an essay about it” but then, that sort of misses the point, doesn’t it? I hope after S4 has run its course, that we will all write an essay about it from our individual perspectives. I’ll sign up for that.

  17. WIP says:

    SBSneech…I did not get that from your post. You asked why none of us were talking about it as an issue and wondered if it could be due to perspective. That’s why I outlined my interpretation of these episodes. I think you have really shined a light on something that should be discussed more on this forum and I’m glad that you brought it up. We are all going to notice different things and have various interpretations of the material based on our own experiences. I’m glad that you are on this board to bring an important topic like this one to light.

    Valksy – Thanks for providing more clarity on the 301 issue. I completely agree that we need to calm down on the Bo bashing. We really don’t know what is going on in her head right now.

  18. kedrie says:

    Sneech. You are totally right. And I’m glad you made a point of it, this helps us be more well rounded in our ideas and critiques as human beings in seeing where our biases might lie.

    The race issue has annoyed me as well, and I made a point of it in S2 and S3 threads, when they were one offing racial stereotypes left and right. It seemed like it would never end and ethnic folks would continue to be extras used as fodder or a stereotype cultural role. This has continued in S4. Killing Hale off was probably more actor driven and about his other job, but you cannot help but see some disturbing patterns. The voodoo priestess was yet another point. Her head gets cut off, but the white male that just wants to see women naked and catfighting walks off stage unscathed with any form of retribution.

    Thanks for the zoom out focus. Wish they had some kind of gatekeeper that would look at the cultural//racial//sexual issue ramifications and have their 2 cents matter.

  19. JCF says:

    I hope you guys are going to do a blog post for 4.12 and (esp) 4.13.

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