Guest Blogger Series: “Episodes 412 & 413: Endings and Beginnings” by Mahlers5th and Valksy

And here it is,  Mahlers5th and Valksy‘s analysis of the last 2 episodes of Season 4. We’d like to extend a big thank you to the both of them for their contributions throughout the season.  And we hope that you have all enjoyed their insightful pieces.

Architects of the world
I walk your streets and live in your towns temporarily
Architects of the world
You’ve served us well until now, but soon we’ll be on our own

(Nova Heart, lyrics by Gordon Deppe)

Sometimes the lights all shinin’ on me;
Other times I can barely see.
Lately it occurs to me what a long, strange trip it’s been.

(Truckin’, lyrics by Jerry Garcia)

Valksy

A long, strange trip indeed, as the writers placed us all on a mystery train that seemed to obscure boundaries of reality and invited us to accept a world more steeped in “magic” than ever before.  The first few seasons of Lost Girl introduced us to an alternate universe to our own where all myths had an organic biological grounding.  There was always a question whether the Fae created mythology to obscure their own existence and cloak themselves in the supernatural, or if stories were told by humans who had experienced the Fae for themselves and struggled to make sense of the encounter.  But the core of “magic” still had a rational explanation:  Yes, there are succubi.  Yes, there are brownies.  Yes it is all real. 

Season four changed the show’s paradigm by asking us to embrace a world where reality has become mutable, where there are different planes of existence, where destiny is not only functioning as an active and demonstrable force on people, but may even be an entity displaying consciousness of its own.  In a show very much about choice — who has the power or freedom to make choices, and what might the consequences be — the notion of pre-determined destiny seem like a significant and jarring divergence.  Some viewers were understandably unhappy about that.

Bo embraces the notion of choice as robustly as she does because it has largely been an illusion for her.  We learned from the beginning that she had been obliged by her biology to spend years as a fugitive on a killing spree.  She was also told in episode 101 that she could have been taught to feed without killing if she had been raised by her own clan or faction.  It is questionable whether such a lesson would actually have been imparted by her clan, since human life is repeatedly shown to have so little value to the Fae (the information that killing was not necessarily obligatory was given by a human –Lauren — did she have an additional motive of her own in doing so?  Perhaps a crisis of conscience of her own, or just a profound will to intervene so that Bo would do as little harm as was possible?).

We don’t know how many “innocent” lives Bo took by accident, or if she reconciled her need to kill by targeting victims based on their history of bad deeds, as we saw in episode 101 when she rescued Kenzi.  But when the option was offered to assert a facsimile of choice over her very nature, by accepting Lauren’s coaching, injections and experiments, Bo embraced it as a means to negotiate the moral crisis prompted by her very existence.  Just as Bo refused to choose faction in episode 101 (arguably she chose “human” at this point) Bo’s decision to at least try to control her succubus nature is a redemptive step that at least allows viewers to begin to forgive, and accept the shades of grey that typify her life and choices.

The problem with the Bo/Rainer storyline is that it is, or appears to be, one of completely abrogated choice — confounding everything that the show seems to have been about for three seasons.  We saw Bo taken to the train against her will, held against her will, and then connected to another person by the apparent whim of “destiny”.  The pairing of Bo with Rainer in this manner reeked of a quasi-arranged marriage as Bo cast her lot with a man who was a total stranger, but whom circumstance has connected her with anyway.  It is the antithesis of choice and makes Bo nothing more than a puppet who escaped her strings for a while.

Like many viewers I waited for a punch line to Rainer’s story that simply did not come.  Lauren’s research has led her to believe that Rainer is an evil entity, but by episode 413 this has apparently been disregarded and he is presented as nothing more than “a good man who made a mistake.” Were we supposed to be moved by his death? Were we supposed to think that it would be meaningful to Bo?  I doubt anyone watching ever believed their emotional connection was real, or anything more than fakery for a purpose – but a purpose that was never realized, or was hopelessly obscured.  Was Rainer meant to inspire Bo to be defiant of the status quo, as he was?  Bo was there already, and had been since episode101.  Was his death intended to galvanize her to action?  Losing Kenzi did that with infinitely greater effect.  Was he supposed to have been the love of her life?  I think most viewers would find that concept ludicrous, if not offensive.  So what was the point?  Rainer had significant screen time but the reasons for this are unclear.  Was he really nothing more than another beard to distract Bo?  An idealized would-be heroic bad boy whom women viewers were supposed to swoon over?  While I doubt anyone is lobbying strongly to have Rainer come back in season 5, many viewers would welcome it if his storyline turned out to have a legitimate and demonstrable purpose, other than having been Bo’s beard for a while.

The only explanation that I can come up is a return to the concept of destiny.  As viewers of Lost Girl, we should be quite comfortable by now with the concept of supernatural architects who can re-write the past, edit actions and shape the future.  Is the concept of destiny such an extraordinary one?  Trick writes laws in blood and erases conscious thought at will.  Is he unique?  With all the references to prophecies in play, I found myself wondering who wrote them and whether they merely predict events, or actually cause them to come to pass.  Is Rainer a pawn to be played and sacrificed at will by something more powerful than him, as other pieces are moved around Bo to orchestrate Bo’s menacing closing speech?

The concept of a prophetic divine architect or third-party puppet master controlling the action would provide a more palatable explanation for why Bo often seemed to act outside her own typical character parameters. The Bo we saw through most of season four was not particularly likable – it was hard to see her in the role of the “Chosen One,” someone to whom her re-constructed family would gladly swear fealty or sacrifice themselves to support and defend.  However, if season four turns out to be the first chapter in a larger story, with choice versus destiny as a central theme, it would potentially tie together a lot of the loose ends.  I would argue that it is OK, if not downright necessary, to see Bo making mistakes and bad choices; otherwise she would be a monochromatic comic book character. But I do think that the changes to Bo’s character in season 4 are in need of greater explanation.

If the writers of Lost Girl have elected to make this a multi-season chaptered story, this would be a very bold move, but without a commitment to reach a planned ending, we all run the risk of not seeing the story reach satisfying ending.  The show executive described herself as being “heartbroken” if the show was to end this way (http://www.theloop.ca/showbiz/tv-guide/news/article/-/a/3285936/-Lost-Girl-Talk-Emily-Andras-takes-fan-finale-Qs) and I really think fans would echo that sentiment.  I question the tactic of taking risks each season without being sure that it won’t be the heartbreaking and unwelcome punchline.

At the tail end of episode 413, there is a suggestion that Bo may well be moving deeper in the direction of Darkness – not necessarily possessed by her father or overcome by her super succubus element, but rather misled and manipulated from the outside (though from her point of view it may seem like she has been acting of her own free will).  This seems to be an intentionally darker Bo -“I am done crying, I am done being scared, no one else will die on my watch.  Whatever it takes, I will get you back.  They want me to be afraid?  It’s them who should be afraid of me.”  The obvious question is: Who should be afraid?  Who is Bo so angry at?  If she was simply referring to the Pyrippus, why wouldn’t she call it “he” as a single entity, rather than “them”?  This Bo seems to have been manoeuvred into a place where she will break the rules to get Kenzi back (“whatever it takes”) and will use fear if she needs to.  I find myself asking what Bo has become, and if it means that the Pyrippus has won the battle for her soul after all.  That’s not how anyone would want to see her story end.

Mahlers 5th

I’ve been mystified all season long by viewer perceptions of Bo as “unlikeable” – and that was the mildest adjective used (“vain,” “self-absorbed,” “whiney,” “selfish,” “obnoxious” and “loathsome” were some others) – as if the writers willfully ruined this beloved character for their own misguided reasons!

True, Bo was not herself throughout most of season four, by which I mean, she seemed perplexed about what she was supposed to be doing and not entirely in control of the choices she was making. The reasons for this are myriad.  At the risk of restating the obvious, let me review some of the contributing factors:

  1. The ties of blood: It has long been apparent, beginning as far back as episode 208 (“Death Didn’t Become Him”) that something dark, destructive, possibly evil lies within Bo – perhaps in the very fabric of her DNA (hmm…will Lauren ultimately change that?). In that episode, in an enraged fugue-like state, Bo demonstrated an ability to suck chi from a roomful of people to save Lauren – a power that scared the hell out of both of them. At that point, Bo wasn’t sure how she did it or what triggered her rage, nor did she understand anything much about her patrilineage. We now know that Bo has inherited her father’s ability to “draw life from many victims and to transfer that life force to someone other than [herself],” as Trick finally gets around to telling her in the season four finale — though he claims the true identity of her father still remains “shrouded” from him (Evony seems to know otherwise: “If your grand-slaughter’s Dad is who you’re too scared to say he is, we’re all gonna be Bo-be-que’d anyway”).  This darker, sinister, and more aggressive side of Bo makes a few brief appearances in the first half of season four (smirking when Massimo throws himself into the vat of lava in episode 404, coldly fucking Dyson in episode 406), but the super-succubus doesn’t really appear in all her evil glory until the end of the season finale, after the Pyrippus has “baited” Bo into chi-sucking three revenants (I’ll return later to this concept of Bo being “baited” or psychologically manipulated into certain choices, as opposed to being brainwashed, possessed, or simply expressing her own innate dark temperament).
  2. Erasure. Can you really know yourself without memory? From the moment Lauren said, “Bo, I remember!” at the end of episode 401 (“In Memoriam”) and Bo regained consciousness on the train, it became abundantly clear that her mind and memory had been tampered with in some manner during the month she was held in captivity. No sooner had she escaped from the train than she and Dyson both forgot they had ever been on it – until Ianka showed up in episode 406, half-way through the season, to help unlock Bo’s memories of the train. It was only then that Bo became aware she had been “marked” by the Wanderer (actually, by the Pyrippus). Without reviewing all of the references, there were frequent and repeated allusions to her memory impairment over the course of the season. Her struggle to clear her head, make sense of her experience, remember who she really is, and what she ought to be doing was a running theme from the season premiere through the finale.
  3. Mind control or “brainwashing: Every time the glowing hand mark appears on Bo’s chest – from her first recollection of it in “Of All the Gin Joints” through the finale – she experiences either a transient alteration of consciousness, apparent enthrallment, or a sudden weakening.  It is a constant reminder that something powerful outside of herself is directly influencing her mind and her behavior. We now know it is her father – the Pyrippus – and that the closer he gets, the more powerful is his Svengali-like influence: “My father’s close,” Bo tells Trick and Rainer in episode 413, “I can feel him. He’s trying to cross the bridge. He’s trying to bring [me] out.” Remember that last statement.  I’ll be returning to it later.
  4. Possession:  When Bo chi sucks the revenants at the entrance of the portal to the Underworld, the Pyrippus appears to inhabit her briefly:  “I am your Queen, whether you swear it or not fool,” she hisses at Dyson. “My true army cometh. I was bound by blood. Now we bathe in it. Human. Fae. All will bow before me.” We have seen Bo similarly possessed only a handful of times before – in episode 208 (when she goes all Carrie-like and expresses a will to rule before chi-sucking the crowd);  in the season two finale, after she defeats the Garuda (“I should have killed the Garuda sooner – him and every single one of his minions. I will seek them out and kill them all and anyone who tries to stand in my way!”); briefly in episode 305 (“Get out of my way!” she hisses at Lauren) and again after exiting the temple in episode 309 (“Ceremony”): “I will reign as he did. For I am his daughter,” she says in that creepy dual voice. “Together, we will bridle the masses, and ride unto victory. Even death will fear us. Only I will choose who lives.” In episode 413, however, the possession threatens to be more complete: “Bo will break with the power of the Pyrippus,” s/he declares, suddenly referring to herself in the third person. Just as Lauren was able to bring Bo back in episode 305 by reminding Bo of their love, here Dyson is able to loosen her father’s hold by kissing her — reminding us that true love (whether from Lauren or Dyson) is a potent antidote to the powers of the Lord of Darkness [http://doccubus.com/2013/04/09/guest-blogger-series-love-and-power-by-mahlers5th-and-valksy].
  5. Psychological manipulation:  No-one compels Bo to suck the revenants’ chi as they stumble out of the portal.  She is not in a trance or a brainwashed state. She has not been possessed (yet). She may be using the super-succubus powers we have come to associate with her dark side (inherited from her father, as we now know) but she does so consciously and deliberately to protect her friends and family and save her world. However, the consequence of her action – using this power inherited from her father, albeit for the greater good — is to lower her defenses against him. Dyson sees the trap coming and tries to warn her – but it’s too late. The Pyrippus “baits” her into letting him possess her by using her impulsivity against her. [Side bar: Lauren has also become quite adept at such psychological manipulation. We see her use it to her advantage in seducing the Morrigan by playing to her narcissism.  She also seems to disarm and turn the tables on Massimo – or at least to delay his plan to kill her – by hiding her terror and adopting Evony’s tone of scathing contempt and taunting mockery].
  6. Prophecy/Destiny/Predetermination: Is Bo truly living the life she chooses or merely playing out an inevitable and unavoidable course of events that has been decided in advance by some omnipotent entity? She may intuitively feel she has free will but is she mistaken? I have suggested previously that her “choice” to return to the train, for example, may in fact have been engineered by the Wanderer [http://doccubus.com/2014/01/17/guest-blogger-series-episode-409-destinys-child-by-mahlers5th-and-valksy] probably at the behest of the Pyrippus.

This question of free will versus destiny has been debated throughout history. Greek tragedy is replete with examples of mortal hubris – the futile attempt to escape an inexorable fate dictated by the Gods – but more modern “compatibilists” argue that it is possible to believe man can choose his own destiny and that determinism is in fact necessary for the full exercise of free will [http://en.m.wikipedia.org/Compatibilism]. I won’t elaborate on what Valksy has already eloquently expressed except to underscore that in the world of the Fae, destiny can be changed by the stroke of a blood-dipped quill pen.  “It is written” becomes, “It is so” – that is, until the Blood Sage changes his mind (of note, his powers only work when he uses them freely, not when he is coerced).  Fae prophecies have proven to be sometimes incomplete, inaccurate, or just plain distorted. In episode 412, Rosette tells Bo, “It was foretold that with the death of the Una Mens, the Pyrippus will rise.” Oh wait, she later adds, “According to the prophecies, your alliance with Rainer will release your father from his prison.” Big difference, Rosette.

This brings me to one of the main puzzles posed by episodes 412 & 413: So what’s the story with Rainer? I agree with Valksy that his apparent rehabilitation in the season finale is deeply unsatisfying, if not utterly implausible. “Rainer was my partner,” Bo tells Dyson after his death, “He wanted to end the tyranny between Light and Dark. He was a good man! He just made a terrible mistake!” Uh, really Bo? Which mistake was that? The one where he got you to massacre the Una Mens? Or was it binding with you to open the gateway to Hel and free the Pyrippus? What happened to his famous powers of foresight, anyway? Shouldn’t he have seen all of this coming? And what about all that ominous-sounding stuff Lauren uncovered just last episode, Bo – the stuff you didn’t want to hear because, after all, there was already “so much going on”? The stuff Lauren couldn’t fully discuss with you because Rainer interrupted your tete-a-tete (and near-kiss)?

Behold the demon beast of pure evil,
A fanged tooth ghost with 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.

Him they call Rainer. Could the prophecy have been any clearer?

I find it hard to believe the writers simply forgot about this prophecy in between composing episodes 412 and 413. Rainer may not be the Biggest Bad on the block (evil is relative in Lost Girl and — measured against the Pyrippus — Rainer looks merely rebellious), but his intentions towards Bo were anything but true. I’ll cut straight to my own prophesy: the Pyrippus manipulated Rainer to lure Bo to the train and convince her they were destined to fall in love and fight tyranny together, then induced her to break the curse confining him there – but each had his own distinct motives. Since Rainer also carried the Pyrippus’ mark, it is conceivable that, like Bo, he may have been influenced to some degree by mind control. But Bo’s enthrallment seemed to wear off sometime between episodes 412 and 413: Rainer is demoted from being Bo’s “destiny” to “the man who is somehow intertwined with my destiny” and their love affair becomes merely an alliance (for good measure, before the hand-fasting, Bo tells him “just to be clear, this isn’t about love”). Presumably, any mental influence the Pyrippus’ may have had on Rainer should also have waned.

In any case, the Pyrippus’ intention – carried through by Rosette – was to have them bind together, open the portal to Hel, and bring Bo out (more on this later). However, with his power of foresight, Rainer must have known all along how things would unfold – the betrayal by Rosette, the opening of the portal, his death at the hands of Massimo (in fact, Massimo is nearly overwhelmed when he acquires Rainer’s power of foresight, so strong is it, and runs from the Dal groaning).

So, assuming he knew what was coming, what was in it for Rainer? For one thing, as Kenzi points out just before she enters the portal, his violent death essentially punches his golden ticket to Valhalla. In fact, his dying words to Trick are to tell the Valkyrie his soul is hers again. Is Rainer just being benevolent, ready to forgive and forget Tamsin’s complicity in confining him to the train of damned souls? Was this his end game all along – to get to Valhalla? Or is he deliberately infiltrating Valhalla/Asgard for some larger purpose – his own or perhaps the Pyrippus’? I suspect there is more to it, because right up until the moment of his death, Rainer continues to lobby Bo relentlessly to join him in his quest to fight Fae tyranny and free the masses.

Let’s take a closer look at the opening scene of the season finale. Bo and Rainer are arguing. She is angry. He is defending himself, not entirely convincingly:

Rainer:  My intentions were true, but years of imprisonment weakened my judgment and clouded my reason. I was a fool.
Bo:  I stood in front of my friends and said I chose you.
Rainer:  Rosette was my most loyal general.  We loved one another. If he managed to turn her against me…
Bo: He made her throw herself into a fire, Rainer.
Rainer:  Who is he, Bo?
Bo: Someone even the Blood King fears. My father manipulated all of us.
Rainer:  [taking her hand] There’s one advantage. One thing your father could not foresee. We share something real, something good [the glowing hand mark reappears on Bo and seems to weaken her]
Bo: [gasping] What is happening to me?
Rainer:  Our mark.
Bo: No, his mark.

Have you ever noticed that whenever Rainer takes Bo’s hand, the hand print seems to appear on her chest and bad things start to happen? And why does Rainer refer to the hand print almost romantically as “our mark,” when he knows very well who placed it there, and can see the obvious effect it is having on Bo? He takes Bo back to the Dal, presumably to recuperate, but instead of tending to her needs, Rainer chooses to engage Trick in petty bickering about what an evil tyrant he was, until Bo breaks it up to refocus on the crisis at hand – the Pyrippus, guys? The portal? Fae Armageddon?  As Trick tries to explain what he knows about her hybrid blood, Rainer interrupts excitedly to say, “Not only could your blood lift curses, but you could lead armies, resurrect the fallen as they die on the battlefields, free the masses!” to which Trick responds drily, “Or enslave them if she is coerced by the wrong hand.” Bo retorts angrily that “Nobody’s going to use me for anything, you understand?!” but Trick may be on to something here. Rainer may be dead and buried, with his soul en route to Valhalla, but I wonder if we have seen the last of him.

Valksy

The primary plot for season four, coming to a cataclysm in episode 413 with Kenzi’s death, is very much Bo’s story.  If that was the intent, then it is not surprising that Bo and Lauren had so few scenes together in the season, as the chemistry between the lead actors is so intense and hot that it would be a distraction.  We are supposed to believe that Bo is deeply connected to Rainer.  If Bo and Rainer as a pairing was placed side by side with Bo and Lauren, any suggestion of a profound connection would be completely over-shadowed by actual character chemistry.  Bo/Rainer would be a blatantly insipid impostor if a direct comparison could be made.

Lauren also has a history of being Bo’s Jiminy Cricket. As I mentioned earlier, it is Lauren who reminds Bo that she doesn’t have to kill and it is Lauren who is repeatedly shown to have similar life-saving intervention philosophies to Bo (episode 210, “Raging Fae”). It is Lauren who scolds Bo over her carelessness with regards to therapeutic needs of patients  in episode 304 (“Fae-de to Black”) and who has acted as counselor to an impetuous and reactionary Bo: “They were simple people, try not to blame them for their ignorance” (episode 307, “There’s Bo Place Like Home”).  If Bo is having an existential crisis with regards to her own destiny, then Lauren as conscience and guide is a stumbling block in the story.  We might wish that Lauren had intervened, but it was not her role to do so.  So what was Lauren’s role in season four?  With Bo off struggling with magical trains, prophecies about horses, and books that seem to re-write themselves, Lauren fills the gap left behind by becoming a parallel for Bo.

Similarities between Lauren and Bo have always been evident enough — both had periods of being fugitive, both hid from their past, both used alternate names/identities, both are regretful about the loss of life they did not intend to cause, both have been outcasts, both are notably exceptional within their own species, and both looking for love.  Examples of this parallel in season four would include Lauren risking exposure for the greater good by by performing an emergency tracheotomy in episode 402 (“Sleeping Beauty School”); showing that female sexuality is something women can and do own if they wish to in episode 403 (“Lovers. Apart”); displaying courage and channeling Bo-esque moxie while escaping chains in episode 404 (“Turn to Stone”); and hatching a game plan to take down Evony and win her own freedom.

Lauren finds her own agency in season four, proving that she is able to stand alone rather than hide behind Bo’s skirts whenever threatened by someone more powerful.  A Lauren who is significantly more empowered than she was as a slave to the Light Fae is able to deliver the line “I’m yours” without seeming submissive.  The significance of the necklace that Lauren leaves for Bo, and that Bo accepts, cannot be more clear, given that we have long seen necklaces as symbols of de facto ownership.  I would argue that both women have offered a pledge to one another — Lauren’s statement of “I’m yours” is a counterpoint to Bo placing Lauren’s necklace upon herself, and the two women are equals now.

[Sidebar:  I noticed this tweet as a reaction to the necklace moment:  @SoundRoughness: In lesbian, Wearing the necklace pretty much means they are engaged right? #LostGirl. Considering women who love women historically had to keep their relationships secret, and that rings could lead to awkward questions, then I concur that there is a degree of truth to this.  Whether an intentional totem, whether it was just meant to be a juxtaposition to Lauren’s Fae pendant, who knows?  Now that we have been told that it is a labrys, a potent symbol of both female empowerment and of LGBT identity, is it even more meaningful?  @emtothea  Feb 21 The necklace was painstakingly designed by Exec. Producer J. Firestone, and is based on the labrys charm.]

Beyond providing a much-needed moment for Lauren to reconnect with Bo, their kiss towards the end of episode 413 is a return to imagery from the close of seasons one and two, and underscores that Lauren’s storyline focused on her ability to control the Fae.  I don’t see the controversy in the method of delivering the serum to Evony.  Again as a parallel with Bo, Lauren uses sex for purpose, and this is distinct from how we have seen her in loving encounters with Bo in the past. I am sure it is no accident that Lauren defeats Evony using sexuality — one of Bo’s most effective weapons.  Indeed Lauren acts so much like Bo in season four that I wondered at the start if part of Bo’s personality had been transplanted to people who cared about her (reinforced by how Kenzi and Dyson acted together in the episode 401).  I don’t know if it is intended to be a deliberate choice by Lauren — to be more like Bo because she’s scared and lost and wants to be inspired — or because the writers made a deliberate decision to compare and contrast them.  Only the writers knows for sure.

Some have suggested that the decision Lauren made has tainted her character. I think that it actually empowers her and that her new-found ability to strike back against the tyrannical and murderous Fae is a relevant and acceptable one.  When we first met Lauren, I wondered whether she could be a tolerable and sympathetic character, given her role enabling, excusing, and empowering the Fae.  It is part of the show’s canon that the Fae evolved as apex predators for humans.  Even though some may not kill, they still victimize humans on a massive scale and Lauren did nothing to stop them (Feeding not being guaranteed to be fatal is no excuse – no human is obliged to surrender their bodily autonomy to service someone else, and any kind of feeding is still a manifest violation).

 

I was able to reconcile the fact that Lauren not only sat back and watched while the equivalent of serial killers went out every night to murder, but helped heal their wounds, by reminding myself that she was a victim herself.  The Fae wear human faces, inhabit human spaces, and position themselves to take any steps necessary — including murder –  to conceal and preserve their existence.  Using the serial killer analogy, for Lauren to have acted as a whistle-blower on the Fae would have entailed going to the police to report it only to discover they knew about it, they were part of it and had even joined in.  Lauren’s inaction is at least explainable, if not excusable. It certainly placed her in a fascinating moral dilemma.  The Lauren of season one through three simply had no way to win.

Finding Lauren less moral because she is no longer obliged by victimhood or circumstance to collaborate in predation and murder doesn’t make much sense.  To accuse her of threatening genocide in the face of thousands of years of Fae preying upon, violating, and consuming humans is the most startling act of apologism (if not outright dishonesty in choosing to disregard a fundamental part of the show canon).  The doctrine of self-defense would seem to be very much in play in Lauren’s case — if there is a reasonable expectation of harm to oneself or others, then it is absolutely acceptable to take action.  I am reminded of the Eloi and the Morlocks from H.G. Wells’s The Time Machine, except there is no symbiosis between species as there is nothing of benefit to humans from being the prey of the Fae.  Humans are food — either in terms of tissues and organs (alive or dead), or in terms of ethereal energies that are stripped from them without their consent.  How is it that the viewing audience of Lost Girl has become so comfortable with this undeniable canon fact?  Personally, I would be more disappointed and frustrated with Lauren if she did not fight back when she had the chance, or at least hold a Sword of Damocles over the Fae to put them in their place for a change.  Lauren has lived on her knees quite long enough, it was high time for her to stand up.

Thinking in terms of how Lauren defeated Evony (and there is no cause to think that this is permanent or that it is anything other than unique to Evony’s species or Evony herself, this is down to writer’s discretion and is not set in stone) I find myself reflecting on Evony and Massimo and whether “monsters” are made or born, and if one or other is excused from consequences.  While Bo running Massimo through the chest after beating him seemed perfectly acceptable to viewers, Lauren neutralizing Evony through non-lethal means was questioned.  What is the difference?  (This is similar to Taft’s behavior in episode 313 — the Fae accept retributive justice, but Taft’s power to do the same was forbidden even though he had a legitimate grievance regarding the killing of humans, including his own brother).

We have been instructed in the past that a human/fae hybrid will be genetically human with no powers.  Earlier seasons of Lost Girl had also clarified that human/fae relationships were taboo.  The reasoning for this may have been because establishing empathy with food made it harder to eat, or because interbreeding would see the Fae become extinct so species purity is required.  That Evony broke the rules is a basic commentary on how those in power tend to exempt themselves, but it is also another example of how the social order of the Fae is not as set in stone as we have been led to believe.  The union of Light and Dark is forbidden, as are human and Fae liaisons. Rules and laws are to be followed and fatal consequences for deviation are acceptable (none of the Fae – except Bo –tried to stand up to the Una Mens).

As it became apparent that Massimo was very much a victim of his mother’s abusiveness and abandonment (was anyone else made very uncomfortable by his screaming and frothing in episode 412 about how he was not a “monster”?  What has this man been through to break him so badly?) my initial reaction was that Evony was getting “Tafted,” i.e. she was being made so utterly revolting and repellant that the audience would be quite comfortable with her being killed.  I also wondered, if she survived, whether she was being set up to be a more “evil” villain.  I must admit I’ve been astonished by the sympathy she has garnered.  Lauren hooking up with Evony would be akin to women begging someone like Charles Manson to marry them. The idea seems laughable.  At least Bo is regretful, remorseful and in search of redemption for the lives she has taken.  Evony melted her manicurist for jollies – it is hard to imagine Lauren wanting to snuggle afterwards!  The need to view absolutely everything in terms of fitting characters together in pairings is something I don’t understand.  I do worry that the show’s attempt to accommodate a variety of “shipper” fans (beyond its own successful original vision in seasons one and two) might be a kind of writing by committee that does the show no favors.

Mahlers5th

You’re suggesting that the writers were inviting viewers to just “ship” them? I’m not sure that I agree – I thought that it seemed crystal clear that Lauren was deliberately manipulating her; the writers weren’t coy about that aspect of the plot.  What I do believe is that there has been an effort to humanize Evony, even as we hear more about her Mommie Dearest side. In the last few episodes she was given a lot of the sassy one-liners ordinarily delivered by Kenzi or Tamsin. Kenzi is probably going to be relatively absent at the beginning of season 5 – as Bo was for season 4 – and I think Evony is going to fill in the missing humor.

Valksy

The concept of nature or nurture in this very human context is some very heavy weather for a show like Lost Girl.  Lauren states that it took both to make Massimo.  If she is comparing his born nature to the fundamental born nature of the Fae, in that he had no choice due to some innate characteristic, then it does not explain why he had to die for his transgressions while Evony gets a free pass and is tended to by Lauren.  If there’s a difference, I think I missed it.  If his madness is related to nurture, then he is a victim and the show needs to be careful not to imply anything about inter-generational villainy.  Just because his mother was a cruel, vicious, murderous psychopath (she is positively gleeful about her power and indiscriminate about her kills) does not automatically condemn Massimo to be the same.

This entire subject is a minefield that could have been avoided, and think that the whole “Norman Bates”/Mommy thing was probably unnecessary, especially if Mahlers5th’s speculation about her role in season 5 proves true.  It’s the only part of the last two episodes that I strongly disliked.  In terms of the “destiny” factor of the closing act of the series, I wonder if Massimo is less of a Big Bad character, more another disposable pawn that saw Hale and Rainer killed (the latter for reasons as yet unknown since I still don’t believe we have a complete picture) while not serving any particular purpose of his own.

One possibility occurs to me, however: If the Fae are happy to tamper with fate, re-order existence, make the very fabric of reality fluid, then might all the human characters work as a wild card element in their machinations?  The Fae still seem to me to be a stagnant defective species.  This is the only way I can explain how a man Dyson’s age can suddenly start experiencing emotional and intellectual growth again, to the point of proudly (if somewhat shyly?) declaring a human woman his friend (this makes him closer to a wolf with quiet self-assured strength who will protect his whole pack, rather than a moody emo loner).  If the Fae have stagnated or become corrupt might this explain the Fae’s indifference to the Una Mens, the willingness of the Kitsune students (from season three) to squander their virtual immortality on nothing of value, and the petty squabbles over millennia-long grievances. Is there an argument that the real game-changers, and the greatest source of interference in the unleashing of prophecy, are the humans?

From Bo’s human parents to Kenzi (her heart and the means to close the portal) to Lauren (her love), to the chaotic elements of Taft and now Massimo, it seems that humans have played a more significant role in Bo’s life than any bump in the road “monster of the week.”  Could this be because writing in blood and divining prophecy does not work outside the Fae world?  Trick’s writing in blood always has an unforeseen consequence to prevent him from being a god; is this a pattern that destiny or fate must follow and are the humans the rogue elements?

Mahlers 5th

I wondered about the reasons for devoting so much screen time to Massimo, his back story, and his descent into total raving lunacy. In his appearances last season and earlier this season, he seemed like a sleazy hustler. His sudden unravelling and regression into whimpering for his Mommy when Bo threw Tamsin’s locks into the lava seemed a little out-of-the-blue and inexplicable. Even knowing his background, it was still hard to fathom why Massimo snapped when he did – and this was before he was burned alive which would be enough to drive anyone mad.  As I watched episode 413, it occurred to me whatever else the writers had in mind in shaping Massimo’s character, his story presents interesting comparisons and contrasts to Bo’s situation. Both have monsters for parents who abandoned them early in life. However, Bo was raised by good-enough foster parents while Massimo grew up with Vex (one can only imagine…). Also, whereas Bo’s father has been actively searching for her for years and yearns to have her rule by his side – a fate she actively resists — Evony feels nothing but contempt and disgust for her son which only intensifies his hunger for her approval.

Valksy

The runaway success of the season, its greatest strength, was the development of its human characters, Kenzi in particular.  Ksenia Solo hit her scenes out of the park each and every time with a depth and maturity that was captivating, heartbreaking, sorrowful and soulful in equal measures.  If Kenzi is Bo’s heart, then the fact that it has been missing (given how few scenes they had together) and is now broken (lost to the portal) makes good sense as an explanation for why Bo has not been herself.  Bo needs her heart, and taking it from her is probably the best way to get her to juggernaut through any rules and opponents who stand in her way.  Journeys into the Underworld to reclaim lost loves (platonic in this case) are pervasive in myth and legend from virtually all cultures.

I found myself watching the closing scenes of episode 413 with more questions than answers, and it still seems like there are missing pieces to this puzzle.  This is fine if it is one chapter in a longer story, but it will feel unsatisfying if loose ends are simply ignored and whole chunks of screen time prove to be meaningless.  I hope that in season five attempts will be made to make sense of the riddles we already have, and that any urge to create more will be resisted.  The audience can be kept in the dark for just so long. I, for one, am longing for more illumination.

Mahlers 5th

In “La Fae Epoque,” Kenzi appeared as an angel.  Should we have understood that image as a foreshadowing of what was to come? Like virtually every other fan of Lost Girl, there are two things I simply refuse to believe: that Kenzi is gone for good and that Showcase will not renew Lost Girl for a 5th season. We’ll know soon enough about season five, but there are sound reasons to believe that Bo will keep the vow she made at Kenzi’s graveside – to bring her back, whatever it takes. But back from where? Where did Kenzi go?

Over the course of four seasons, the Lost Girl writers have borrowed freely from the mythologies of many different cultures and epochs.  In season four alone, we have heard about a number of possible destinations for the dead from Earth or routes to the afterlife: Valhalla and Hel (from Norse paganism), Irkalla (Babylonian) and Cinvat (Zoroastrianism).  You can throw into this mythological hodge-podge that the Pyrripus (Greek) is imprisoned somewhere beyond that portal to the Underworld.

One thing seems clear enough: Kenzi is not in Valhalla. Tamsin essentially tells us so. But if Kenzi had studied her mythology a little more closely, she might have guessed that she would not be following Hale and Rainer to Asgard. Regardless of what is inscribed on her headstone, Kenzi was not a warrior and she did not die in battle; in fact, she practically floated, ghost-like and unscathed, through the battlefield on her way to the portal. So what killed her? Presumably corporeal humans were not designed to withstand abrupt dimensional travel. But if she wasn’t transported to Valhalla, then where? In Norse mythology, the souls of people who died from sickness or old age – basically anyone whose death did not occur through violence or in battle – went to Hel. Hel is in no way equivalent to the Christian realm of fire and brimstone. Rather, it was often depicted as a frozen wasteland, a “place of eternal dark, ice, and snow,” with the entryway marked by tall imposing gates. It was more an Otherworld — a new and different plane of existence — rather than a Hellish place of punishment and despair. Now think back to where Dyson finds Tamsin, collapsed and confused. Dark, icy, guarded by tall, imposing gates. It sure looks like the Norse version of Hel, doesn’t it?

But why does Tamsin warn Dyson so insistently not to let Bo find the second Hel shoe? What did she see that terrified her so? Perhaps she encountered the same evil that hired her to find Bo – the Pyrippus – either in Hel’s realm or on the bridge between Earth and Hel. Remember what Bo tells Trick and Rainer in the season finale: “My father’s close. I can feel him. He’s trying to cross the bridge. He’s trying to bring [me] out.” What does she mean by that? That he is trying to activate her inner evil Queen or get her to join him — wherever that is? “He needs [my] help,” Bo adds. My guess? The Pyrippus may have engineered Kenzi’s death (via the “prophecy” in the book brought to Earth by Rosette – his minion) as a way of luring Bo off the earthly realm and engaging her help in freeing him from imprisonment.

As a final word, while season four has ended in Canada, American fans are just about to enjoy Flora’s entrancing performance in “La Fae Epoque.” As for Rainer, we won’t even meet him until episode 409 (“Destiny’s Child”).  An unexpected perk of watching the season twice is that since I already knew what was coming (for example, that Bo and Lauren would share a hot over-the-shoulder kiss in “Let the Dark Times Roll,” but would not go home together that night – or any other night in season four, alas), and since I had already recovered from the more emotionally wrenching scenes and digested some of the more puzzling plot developments, it was an unmitigated joy to sit back, relax, and simply enjoy the show. And there is so much to enjoy in Lost Girl, with its blend of rich mythology, compelling relationships, and ambitious philosophical themes, all leavened by a sharp wit and punchy one-liners at every turn.

Say what you will about problems with the show this season – issues that we have discussed at length over the past weeks — I still believe that there are things this little show does uniquely well. I can’t imagine where else I could turn on television to see the kind of intelligent, realistic, nuanced depiction of love between two women, with all of its warts, that we’re offered in Bo and Lauren — one of them the lead protagonist of the show, the other emerging as a bad-ass hero in her own right. The Fosters? I guess it’s intelligent enough if you’re into issues-oriented teen-age dramedy. But when Callie asked her foster moms, “So you’re dykes?” and Jesus sniffed, “They prefer the word ‘people,’” I rolled my eyes and changed the channel.  Show us, don’t tell us. Lost Girl had me at, “It’s time…Life’s too short.”

Ni regrette du passe, ni perdu de l’avenir (neither regret the past nor fear the future)
[Ianka, episode 406, “Of All the Gin Joints”]
Time to stop dwelling in the past and get to fixing the future.
[Trick, episode 413, “Dark Horse”]

 

 

18 Responses to Guest Blogger Series: “Episodes 412 & 413: Endings and Beginnings” by Mahlers5th and Valksy

  1. Brash Sculptor says:

    I find it sad and disheartening to read this. Valksy and Mahler’s are people I respect. To see them write such long passages and to know the kind of time and thought it took to create the reviews they made…well it worries me that they each spent such energy trying to make sense out of the senseless.

    Season 4 was a train wreck – a disaster by any measure. Waiting until 4/13 to call it is silly and intentionally self deluding. The US responded to 4/7 EXACTLY as predicted and exactly as they should have.
    Emily and Jay knew they were taking a wrecking ball to the show. They just don’t know shit about getting it back on track.
    You don’t like the Fosters? Don’t watch.
    I don’t like a pair of writers taunting me and my LGBT friends just to make a buck, only to turn around and tell me what an idiot I was for hanging around and continuing to watch.
    They thought their dog and pony act was funny. It was not.
    They thought that changing the show into an unrecognizable mess was a good idea. It wasn’t.
    They did it all to stroke their own ego’s and stick it to the fans that made their little show in the first place.
    They clearly don’t like Lauren. Just kill her off already and have your Dyson love-fest until the two viewers you have remaining switch over to Fox News.

    There is no defending this and trying to do so just reveals desperation for the show that WAS. For the first two seasons we had an awesome show. The last two seasons have been the Dyson Soap Opera, and to deny that or try to put lipstick on a pig and pretend that it was somehow pro-female is just insane.
    Dyson’s woman beating of the first few eps? Have you forgotten? Now that we all waited and sat through till 4/13, where is the answer, the payoff for that? Oh, I know. There isn’t one.
    How about the bigotry, the fake/forced graveyard wedding, the dis-empowering of EVERY female on the show? It seems that it was all to build up Dyson.
    No other reason. It was exactly what it seemed to be. Congrats Andras and Firestone – that’s some deep stuff.
    If there is a petition for you to be fired immediately – I’ll be the first to sign.

    I miss my female empowered, kick ass Bo show.
    Let me know if it ever comes back.
    Brash

    [Admin note: post edited for foul language]

    • Mahlers5th says:

      I have a confession to make: when I watched 407 on SyFy this week, I was horrified — and I mean horrified, repelled, nauseated — by the mirror shot. I was caught by surprise because, as you know, on first viewing I was OK about it. I think I was so entranced to see Bo & Lauren back in bed together, even if it wasn’t *really* them, that the mirror shot sort of flew by me. This time around, I was yelling in my head, “Get the f*** off her!!” So I guess I wanted to apologize. I do get it now. I guess you *can* teach an old dame new perspectives sometimes.
      Peace out!

      • JCF says:

        For me, there was a distinct difference between watching the Showcase version on my not-particularly-large old laptop (many thanks to my Canadian friend who will remain nameless, for the download!), and seeing the SyFy version on my TeeVee. I, too, had a much more significant “Yuck” factor (probably also because I knew it was coming) the second time around. Still enjoyed 4.7 though: ZP singing in French? I’m only human!

    • WIP says:

      Brash, I know that this post was not directed at me, but I’m going to stick my nose in the middle and wait for it to get bloodied.

      Personally speaking, I find it sad and disheartening to see a fan become so angry over a show that she once loved. To observe someone who once spent her time honoring the actors and the plots with her creative talents now using her energy to tear the show apart, is unfortunate. What makes matters worse is that those who remain fans of the show are getting caught in the crossfire when they have done nothing to deserve it.

      Like many others on the board, I am a defender of the show and it is not because I am desperately trying to cling to what it once was, as you state in your response. It is because I still find value in it, I see a direction and I am keeping an open mind about their intentions.

      I also see nothing wrong with waiting until a season is over to make a determination to whether it was a success or not. In my opinion, it is not silly or self delusional to give the writers the benefit of the doubt and wait on having all of the facts before drawing conclusions.

      I can understand your frustration, to some degree. There are times in which I wish the show had done something different or thought that they wasted an opportunity. There are moments in which I think the humor crosses a line (not all of my jokes are winners either). I am sometimes disappointed that they don’t explore some theme or better utilize a character. With that being said, I know that I have unattainable expectations for them so I am always having to pull myself back with logic and reasoning.

      I too have found myself angry at the show at different points in the season. I also laughed and occasionally, become teary eyed (Darn, Ksenia). To be fair, though, I think something in all four seasons has ticked me off for some reason or another.  Did I like the 4/7 scene? Not at all. It is probably the most disappointed I have ever been in the show.

      Did I think they knew they were going to offend people or did it intentionally to taunt the LGBT community? Nope. From EA’s response to TV loop, I came to the conclusion that they they thought it would be funny because some people at conventions were in favor of a threesome. It was a wink to them just like the unicorn in 4/1 was a wink to us.They expected Doccubus shippers and Lauren fans to be upset because they knew we wouldn’t want Lauren to be with Dyson. We want her with someone else. I don’t for a minute believe that they knew that it would play into a lesbian troupe and would cause some people emotional pain. Given the difference of opinion on this very board, it is understandable, for me, why it wasn’t spotted as an issue on the set.

      Since I don’t think it was done to hurt anyone, does that mean I am no longer upset by the scene? No. I am just not going to call for people to be fired over a mistake. Mistakes happen. Hopefully, they understand the true reason why some of us were upset, that it had nothing to with shipping and learn from it. In the meantime, I will not revisit that scene again when I re-watch the season.

      TV shows have off years. I know that I may be verbally assaulted for this one, but I didn’t love every season of Buffy. Oh, the horror…I know… Usually, there is one or two seasons of a series that are not my favorites. Will this be my one of my least favorite seasons? I won’t be able to tell you until the series is concluded. It depends on what is to follow. Do I think it was an utter and complete disaster? No, I don’t. There were some really good things that happened this season. I don’t ignore the good stuff simply because there were some other aspects that I didn’t enjoy.

      No writer or producer knowingly takes a wrecking ball to a show. They are guilty of taking risks. That should come as no surprise considering the show is about a freakin’ bisexual female succubus. The very premise of the show itself is a risk. Bo is on a journey and it is going to get dirty. She isn’t Superman. She is fallible. She is going to screw up, just like all of them have at some point in time. This season was her time to wallow in self pity, give into fear and experience doubt in herself. She has learned some hard lessons. I anticipate her emerging a stronger woman as a result.

      I could be proven wrong one day, but I don’t think that they hate Lauren. Let’s take a look at what they did with her this year.  The writers gave her a personal mission independent of the others.  They showed her outsmarting the head of the Dark Fae.  We got to see her contribute to a group investigation and participate in a mission only with Bo.  We saw Kenzi and Dyson demonstrate appreciation for her skills.  Lauren didn’t take guff from people and she gave Bo a gift.  She helped Bo with Massimo.  Lauren broke free of her literal chains twice.  She received a backstory that gives her more in common with Bo.  She helped Bo emerge from Dyson’s brain and Bo tried to rescue her in return with a kiss. Last but not least, it appears like she may be back with the girl she loves. To me, that doesn’t sound like the writers hate Lauren.  Sure, there are some things that I wish happened differently, but overall, I think they did a bad job of hating Lauren this year.

      All of the characters on the show went on a journey this season.  Trick and Vex examined their pasts, Tamsin got a another chance at life, Hale gained the courage to declare his love, Lauren discovered herself again, Kenzi looked for her purpose in the Fae world and even the Morrigan had to confront her past mistakes, so to speak.  

      You may have noticed that I left out Dyson.  As much as I didn’t enjoy some of his behavior, he is on a path that MIGHT make him a more likable character.  His opinion of humans seems to be evolving, his definition of family has changed and he might be on his way toward breaking free of his mates for life deal.  Sure, he sees himself as the hero needing to take care of the women folk, but with any luck, he is on his way toward breaking free of that pattern as well.  (I hope.)  We must also not forget that Dyson is the second character listed on the show and while we may want it to be Kenzi or Lauren, it is not.  His journey will take some screen time.

      You talk about the lack of female empowerment this year.  I think that can be attributed to the fact that all of our female characters were hitting rock bottom at about the same time.  With that being said, what made this season so great for Dyson?  Bo treated him like a sex toy, he tried to rescue her from the train and failed, he “lost” Lauren, he was friend zoned, he didn’t keep her from getting back on the train, he didn’t keep Kenzi from dying, he didn’t prevent Hale’s death, he didn’t protect Tamsin from her death in the car crash, he was locked up by the Una Mens, he didn’t make Bo stop seeing Rainer and he didn’t defeat Massimo. I don’t really see Dyson as control over anything this year.  Sure, he treated Kenzi like a schmuck and his some of his sexual innuendos made me cringe.  I didn’t like him beating up the women at the beginning of the year, but let’s be honest, if Bo had done the beating, I don’t think anyone would have said anything.

      All in all, I really don’t see how they stuck it to their fans and I don’t think we are idiots for hanging around.  They made mistakes with the gay community and in how they handle race on the show.  No doubt about it, but in some ways, they are progressive. 

      Bottom line is that Lost Girl has only ended act two of a three or four act play.  It’s at this point in time in which all seems lost and the hero appears defeated.  We just have to hang on because the best may still be yet to come.  Even if it is not, I’m glad to have been here with the rest of you to enjoy the ride.

  2. Sally says:

    Valksy and Mahlers5th, I love what each of you wrote. Valksy, I share some of your questions about the concept of choice versus destiny. I concluded that many of the prophecies were probably either revisionist history (because as Vex reminded us, history is written in blood) or an attempt by the Pyrippus to manipulate Bo into believing that she didn’t have any choices. I saw the closing scene where Bo vowed that no one else would die on her watch as a strike back against prophecy.

    Mahlers5th, I am especially struck by your description of what a joy it was to sit back, relax and enjoy the show. I think I need to do that for the entirety of Season 4. Thus far in my Lost Girl viewing, up until S4, I have been playing catchup, so this was the first season where I went week-to-week in my viewing. Knowing what is coming (and not coming, heh heh) will remove a lot of the #fanxiety that probably influenced some of my reactions to certain episodes.

    I really appreciate the time and care that you both put into analyzing the show and the themes because I really enjoy reading your perspectives. As well, you both have an engaging writing style and it’s a pleasure to have your analyses to look forward to.

  3. Baby Y says:

    “Show us, don’t tell us. Lost Girl had me at, “It’s time…Life’s too short.”
    - Can’t say it better.
    Thank you Lost Girl. Thx EA, thx AS and ZP.

    “Ni regrette du passe, ni perdu de l’avenir (neither regret the past nor fear the future)
    [Ianka, episode 406, “Of All the Gin Joints”]
    - Actually, in good french its : ‘Ni ne regrette le passé, ni n’aies peur du futur.”

    As usual, really great review.
    Thanks to both of you, to share your ideas, analyzes, questions.

    I make it short : bravo. And thank you.

  4. kedrie says:

    *sucks air through teeth*

    “I can’t imagine where else I could turn on television to see the kind of intelligent, realistic, nuanced depiction of love between two women, with all of its warts, that we’re offered in Bo and Lauren — one of them the lead protagonist of the show, the other emerging as a bad-ass hero in her own right. The Fosters? I guess it’s intelligent enough if you’re into issues-oriented teen-age dramedy. But when Callie asked her foster moms, “So you’re dykes?” and Jesus sniffed, “They prefer the word ‘people,’” I rolled my eyes and changed the channel. Show us, don’t tell us.”

    You are right in some respects. The chemistry of Bo and Lauren is utterly unparalleled anywhere else I’ve seen.

    Here’s the thing. THE FOSTERS treats us to an adult relationship that happens to be gay. The teenagers gives it a bigger demographic which helps it thrive without undermining the f/f relationship. Something this show has been terrified of doing and backpedaling since they did it. They struggle together, fight together, and emote together. Better yet, they get to have conversations. Not so much skin contact, but it’s not like LG has been equitable on that front in a while.

    You want to talk about Telling Us and not Showing Us? Lost Girl. The show that shows us everything about Dyson and cuts literally everything out about Lauren. (see Syfy for further examples)

    Equality? Not.

    Good Story? It used to be. Now it’s a mess.

    Intelligence? Don’t watch this show. It abuses your intelligence.

    When they actually GIVE it the time, it’s nuanced. Otherwise it’s a shadow of the floor they give their male lead. It’s BS. It always was. We just didn’t want to believe it because hope is a powerful thing. And it sails you right into the middle of a quagmire that has become Lost Girl.

    S1-S2–> Bo was in charge of her actions. Bold. Forward, combining the hardest of worlds. WE LOVED IT. All of US.

    S3-S4–> Bo is not in charge of any of her actions. Passive. Backwards, making it the world of heterosexual male dominance and female subjugation.

    Lauren had the absolute best arc, and even then. EVEN THEN. It boils down to her using sex (because that’s all women can use as weapons in LG) to unsheathe her Damocles Sword on the fae. They sold her ethics down the river for her power moment that ACTUALLY WASN’T NECESSARY.
    We can argue this back and forth but good doctors don’t experiment on anyone, period. Her back and forth between cowering in front of Massimo and calling him names makes no actual emotional sense. She isn’t given time with Bo because that would showcase WHAT chemistry actually looks like. Dyson’s emo bullshit and Rainer’s pained looks would just fall by the wayside.

    Every second of this show since the mid half of S3 has struck down its previous tenants of growth. It’s gone 100% backwards, and congratulations. You now have a mess of heterosexual fae dominance. Bo thinks she’s the shit, everyone would do anything for her regardless of her terrible decision making and her three months on a train screwing Rainer because he was “THE ONE”, just as hollow and selfish as anyone has professed. While Lauren and Kenzi were in terrible danger. The audience shrugs at the level of stakes portrayed here.

    Kenzi’s sacrifice, melodramatic, hollow and everything non-temple related. All of her suffering done because she WANTED TO BE FAE. None of that recanted. Shadow Thief? Completely unnecessary. Undermining again that being human and having skills was less awesome than being modified by the fae. She was picking locks and stealing shit just fine before Dyson came along to teach her to “be more”. It was used as a prop to show how AWESOME DYSON was yet again, because his skill transcended to Lauren who then couldn’t strip her locks without his “passed down” training.

    Honestly, I understand making room for this show. I get it, and I’m not particularly upset with anyone else’s take on it, yours or anyone else. But the subject matter this show trounces over is hard. And it brings out a lot of passion, and frustration.

    At some point you gotta ask yourself what you value. I valued the idea of a love story transcending gender. What we got was a lack of commitment and the idea and hint of polyamory. Which is fine if all things are equal, but this is the worst form of poly I’ve ever seen. And they do their damndest to paint Lauren in a mutable grey light while crowning Dyson’s efforts. This scene from 4.07 was simply the visual rendition of the season. Dyson fucks everyone.

    Bo? Bo who. She didn’t DO Anything. Oh wait, she finally gave a shit about Lauren. It’s only been 2 years. Maybe in S5 they’ll have THE TALK.

  5. WIP says:

    I was a little worried that we wouldn’t be getting another one of these essays. I’m excited to be wrong. I always look forward to them.

    I would like to respond to a few things in no particular order.

    I think Massimo snapped when he saw Evony for the first time in five years. It seemed like his psychotic behavior really became pronounced after he supplied her with her new eyeball. That is my guess, any way.

    Was Rainer an accomplice or a fool? I am really hoping that Rainer does show up next season because I can’t quite reconcile everything that happened with him being a good guy who made some mistakes. He let his evil show too many times in season 4 for me to accept it fully and there are some situations that just don’t make sense if it is true.

    With that being said, if he does not return, it seems to me that he served to do the following: 1. Prove that prophecies are not always true. Bo’s free will is now restored because she now knows that prophecies can’t be trusted 100% of the time. 2. Show that history is written by the victor. 3. Serve as a pawn to open the portal and deliver the mark. 4. Get Trick to explore his past.

    Mahler wondered if Bo’s father orchestrated Kenzi’s death to get Bo to his realm. That is a likely possibility, but it also serves a secondary goal. It takes away her heart and makes her more willing to do dark things in an effort to get her back. I’ll be interested to see if we get the determined, good hearted Bo back or if we will see the determined, reckless, dark Bo.

    A part of me still doubts that she embraced her destiny without being under some sort of mystical spell that was activated on the train or through her mark. The conviction with which she returned with Rainer and declared him to be her destiny along with the sudden change of attitude when she brought the butterfly back to life on the train seems inexplicable to me. With that being said, I can also see why Bo would be open to the idea of following along with destiny. When you believe in destiny, you don’t have to worry about making the tough decisions and you don’t have to think about the fact that others are depending upon you to save them. That’s because what will happen will happen. Whatever decision you make and whatever happens to the people you love is out of your hands. Of course, Bo would love the idea of not making the hard choices. She didn’t want to choose between Dyson and Lauren for the longest time. She is also scared about the big bad so it feels comforting to know that it is not all on her shoulders. She is probably more scared now than she ever has been in her life, the Garuda included.

    In the essay, it was asked if Rainer should have seen it all coming due to his power of foresight. That’s another reason why I hope that Rainer’s storyline is not done. His power was very strong, according to Massimo. It makes more sense that Rosette and Rainer are both working for the Pyrippus, are an actual couple and have been reunited with their boss. Now that I have made an argument in favor of his power, let me make an argument against it. He states that he may be a little out of practice, which is plausible, but we don’t know much about how it works. Can he see an hour ahead, 8 hours ahead or a day ahead of time? He placed it in context of a battle. Does he have to be engaged in hand-to-hand combat for it to work? What about psychological warfare?

    I tend to agree with Mahler that Bo has many good reasons for not being “likable” this season. She did a very nice job of listing them out and defending each of them. Valksy also pointed out that the writers took a substantial risk writing things this way because the show could end with the main character being in the middle of her transformation into a powerful hero. That’s partly why I don’t normally get into TV shows now a days. I have seen too many sci fi stories end before their time and it is frustrating to be abandoned in the middle of a journey. I hope that never happens with LG.

    Lauren doesn’t have any self defense skills (I wish Bo would teach her some). She can’t wield a sword, she can’t rip out a person’s throat with her teeth, she can’t defend herself with a staff and she is not able to render an army useless with doubt. Her science is her only way to defend herself and those she loves. In the case of Evony, she did not kill her and I doubt that she thought death would be a possibility (in spite of what she said). To me, making Evony human, demonstrates an ethical approach to a no-win situation. As far as using sex as the delivery mechanism, I kind of saw it as payback for the Crystal spybang. Besides, she needed to get Evony’s guard down so she wouldn’t notice the “meds” and keep her busy for 20 minutes afterwords. It seems like a logical solution. Could they have picked another method? Possibly. Are Lauren haters taking advantage of the choice? Of course. I’m just not going to get upset by it.

    Mahler said: “Regardless of what is inscribed on her headstone, Kenzi was not a warrior and she did not die in battle” It could be argued that Kenzi was the warrior in the prophecy and not Rainer or Rosette. Also, she did die in battle. She died closing a portal that was allowing more troops into their world. She may not have lifted a sword, but the battle effectively ended because of her actions. I suspect that she was relocated to HEL.

    Valksy said she was amazed by the sympathy that Evony has garnered. Amen to that one. She may have been nice to Lauren, but it was part of her own manipulative plan. Everything she has done so far points to a cold, heartless woman. I also find it interesting that people forget about Vex forcing a mother to kill her children.

    Valksy wondered if the humans were wild cards because prophecies may not apply to the human world. That would be wonderful, but I am conflicted on the likelihood. On the one hand, Kenzi writing in Trick’s blood didn’t seem to do anything, but Tamsin touching the blood resulted in a flashback. On the other hand, the human doctor was mentioned in a prophecy and Kenzi might be considered the warrior.

  6. Mahlers5th says:

    Hi WIP – thanks for reading! Enjoyed your remarks

    “I think Massimo snapped when he saw Evony for the first time in five years.”
    That makes perfect sense – and I think she mouth kissed him when
    he delivered the eye, right?

    Interesting thoughts about Rainer’s role (if he doesn’t return). I agree with you that Bo will not herself be dictated to by prophecies and “destinies.” The only thing I’d question is whether Bo
    is now exercising her free will fully, particularly since the Pyrippus’ mark still affects her, he manipulated to chisuck the revanants and briefly possessed her. Maybe by the time of the cemetary scene, she has wised up, and won’t allow herself to be so easily baited again.

    “Mahler wondered if Bo’s father orchestrated Kenzi’s death to get Bo to his realm. That is a likely possibility, but it also serves a secondary goal. It takes away her heart and makes her more willing to do dark things in an effort to get her back. I’ll be interested to see if we get the determined, good hearted Bo back or if we will see the determined, reckless, dark Bo.” Interesting point. I’ll be interested to see if she thinks she needs to go it alone again as she did in ep 409, or will accept help from Lauren & Dyson. Will Lauren prepare some sort of serum to neutralize the Pyrippus (presumably delivered by a different vector!)?

    You made the point that Lauren’s “science is her only way to defend herself and those she loves.” I’d expand that to say her brain, including her powers of discerning and using to her advantage what makes people tick. She’s quick-witted and wily (stealing the twig of Zamora, enabling Bo to oversome Massimo). They make a great team. Let’s hope we see more of that in S5.

    Was Kenzi a warrior? She died *during* a battle but did she strictly speaking die a violent death IN battle…could argue it either way. She certainly died a hero but to be admitted to Valhalla, she would have to meet Odin’s entrance criteria. If she didn’t -> diverted to Hel. If she did, could the Pyrippus or some other entity have waylaid Tamsin? Not according to Norse mythology. But Lost Girl writers have never felt the need to stick rigidly to the letter of the myth.

  7. keets says:

    Thanks again for your in depth discussion. Like Sally said, you both have writing styles that are a pleasure to read; elegant and eloquent.

    I’m agreeing with much of what Valsky said in regards to Lauren’s character and the “moral dilemma” which seems to have be thrust upon her character. It’s another world. Not this world. Evony was “Tafted” as you say Valsky, and I agree whole heartedly. She melted two people within a minute or two and didn’t blink an eye. She has/had no concept of the permanence of death, nor does she care. She may now. They could make it interesting and funny, but still, I think of her like I do Vex. Heartless killers, no matter how attractive they are, and charming. I have much more sympathy for Massimo, for exactly the reasons Valsky stated.

    I don’t have a lot to comment on because there was so much to take in and found myself agreeing with both of you on much of what you had to say. I’ll probably come back and re-read and hopefully have some questions for you both.

    I don’t think, like Mahler’s suggested, that we have seen the end of Rainer. It will be a disappointment if they leave his story as it stands now. Something happened at the Gate of Valhalla. Tamsin was supposed to deliver both Kenzi and Rainer. Neither was there, and Tamsin was terrified by “something.” I feel Rainer’s story as a love interest for Bo is definitely over, but I sense that we only got a tiny piece of what was going on with him. They spent so much time building up “the Wanderer,” which led us to Bo’s Dad. I think they will tie those pieces together next season.

    Thanks again for the great read.

  8. JCF says:

    “there are two things I simply refuse to believe: that Kenzi is gone for good and that Showcase will not renew Lost Girl for a 5th season.”

    At least the latter is settled! :-)

    Really enjoyed this—it was worth waiting for (I will, in time, read those contrary views that say that neither this, nor LG in general, was worth it)

    I have *one* burning question, that hasn’t been touched upon—and based upon socio-political-religious-GENDER realities (especially in the U.S. of A.), the show won’t touch upon. But if Evony felt so “Meh” about motherhood ***in the 1980s*** (not the 1880s!), why the heck didn’t she have an abortion???

    Thanks again, Mahlers5th & Valksy!

    • Valksy says:

      JCF – thanks for dropping by =)

      You know, the thought had never crossed my mind and on trying to place it within the mindset of someone like Evony as a specific entity, and the Fae in general, there are some hypotheses that sprung to mind:

      First of all, Evony is described as being about to experience her first menstrual period when becoming human (how she knows this? step round plot hole). Would that suggest that the Fae and/or the Leanan Sidhe don’t necessarily have gestation patterns that we might recognise? Evony is quite clearly shown as having a very distinct physiology – Massimo describes her heart beat because it’s new. Is it possible she did not recognise? Or did not have a gestation that *we* might recognise – in short, oops, accident.

      On the other hand, given her utterly sociopathic nature it’s possible that – as a long-lived creature – she was simply bored enough to think it might be an interesting distraction for a while, but the novelty wore of. I maintain that creatures living millennia being so lamentably small in scope of ambition, accomplishment, curiosity or anything else makes the Fae have an inherent defect. They are a species prone to absolute malaise, jogging on an indefinite treadmill with no evident desire to be anything else. I could imagine a bored Evony quite willing to decide to have a play thing for a while, just to discard it. She is – after all – a villain.

    • Mahlers5th says:

      For a Fae who purports to hate motherhood, Evony mentioned she was a mother in virtually every S4 scene in which she appeared. Beyond the big reveal in 413 that she is/was Massimo’s mother, I counted two or three other occasions when she brought it up, notably twice in her last scene with Trick:
      Evony: How come we’ve never..,?Trick: You’re not really my type.
      Evony: Because I’m human? [gasps] A mother?!

      And just before they leave for the portal (Trick anyway):

      Trick: Ready for this?
      Evony: A mother’s work is never done.
      Trick: Neither is a grandfather’s.

      I have no idea what it means but thought the mentions were gratuitous. So why’d she do it? A crazy thought occurred to me: could SHE be Bo’s *real* mother? Nahhh.

      • Valksy says:

        In terms of what little we know of Fae biology, Fae+human = powerless human. Fae + Fae = Fae, with traits from one parent. This would explain why, for example, we saw Hale being teased for being a Siren, evidently his mother’s genetic Faedom was more dominant than his fathers.

        If every Fae+Fae mating produced a strong hybrid, such as Bo seems to be, then Fae species would have long been bred out of existence, unless Fae types (eg Succubus & Incubus) were exclusive and tended to stick together, to created increasingly strong varieties of themselves (I wonder at this from Vex’s remarks on his whole family being Mesmer).

        Are fully realised hybrids in command of BOTH powers common or is that part of what makes Bo special?

        Is inter-species breeding frowned on, in that it can dilute “stronger” Fae or even remove other Fae varieties from existence? I don’t know there’s anything much to support this – yes there are families, clans and various alliances but I don’t know we’ve seen any particular evidence of species supremacy being meaningfully enforced.

        So for Bo to be a succubus, she must have a succubus parent (if we knew nothing of her father, arguably that trait could come from an incubus …but I don’t know that fits).

        Seems that Bo is intensely powerful because she is so hybridised:

        Succubus grandmother and mother – This perhaps causes her succubus nature to be her predominant trait.

        Blood sage grandfather – This is perhaps how come that blood-blending magic worked in S2. Her blood certainly has power. We did see Aife have thralls, I rather felt it was inferred by breathing back chi rather than blood. This seems to be a power infrequently used, and only by obvious acts of consent.

        Father – Seems to be the sources of the ability to such manage chi on a much larger scale. Certainly if Aife could do this, or Isabeau, the outcome of battles might well have been different. He seems closely connected to mastering the power of life and death and it is a trait that seems to appear only under duress.

        Is Bo is special because she has so much power available to her from other branches of her family tree?

        Anyway, ramble aside, while Evony seems to feed on ethereal energy (the talent and brilliance of others) with her melty-person tactic most likely her evolved self-defence mechanism, I don’t see anything much of her connected to Bo.

        Could it be the statement of a tyrant, for Evony to claim to be mother to all? After all, paternalism or maternalism expressed over whole nations is something noted in history. Indeed, it is almost quasi-messianic, after all plenty of people acknowledge their chosen icon as “father”.

        • Mahlers5th says:

          I see what you mean. Yeah, doesn’t really work with Evony as Bo’s mother.
          Thanks for taking time to spekk out that convincing argument. I appreciate it. ; )

  9. Ann says:

    Hi. Your analyses are both interesting and intelligent. I know I’m quite late in the party but I just can’t shake Lost Girl off my system. I think that the writers were not too off the spot when they wrote season 4. Just as you have detailed the clues and whatnot, I think this season was meant to have written devoted to clues on what season 5 hopefully will bring. If the show have ended with season 4 then it definitely suck, big time. Personally, I see it as that, a prologue to season 5. And I hope that they will really give the answers in season 5 and give it good.

    On Rainer, I may be wrong but I believe that the Rainer, the hottie, was not really the Rainer, the Pyrippus; rather, the hottie was a vessel of (the) Rainer, made to manipulate Bo into releasing him from Hel. Tasmin didn’t recognize him, and why is that? Rosette was there as part of the grand plan. Everything was planned, even the death of the hottie — and especially, the death of the hottie. I mean, if he really cares about Bo and their supposed destiny, shouldn’t he help Bo with his foresight about the attack in Dal by Mossimo, or the death of Hale, or his death for that matter? He only gave implication of his foresight of his death when his neck was about to get snapped by Mossimo. Convenient.

    I think everything was planned, and the purpose and goal of the hottie vessel was to be the tool to unify Bo and “Rainer” without strong opposition, as opposed to be in his right form where Tamsin might be able to recognize him. I think what unified there was really the spirit of Pyrippus’ and of Bo’s — and then viola, the hottie, the vessel, died soon after. This union was key to open the portal in which the real Pyrippus/Rainer will be released and this time, in his real form. That’s why Rainer, the hottie, had to die. He served his purpose. He wasn’t innocent nor was he manipulated. He was created.

  10. MAINE1316 says:

    I’m hoping that you all moved on to cover Orphan Black or Orange is the New Black and I will go unnoticed, because I don’t think I will hold a candle to any of your deep thoughtful analysis of Season 4 and I will only drive you nuts with these questions that are driving me nuts.

    For the record I like the chemistry between Rachel and Anna better than Doccubus – Please don’t kill me – it’s my preference. (I’m an old dyke who prefers blue eyes) That said 4/07 really left me squirming.

    I seemed to have missed something – maybe it’s because I watched this in the States – were there specific moments where we saw Kenzi receiving Shadow Thief training? Lots of mention but I never saw any sessions? (How does a skinny chic that is about 5’3″ Leap to an air duct that is at least 8′ above her without aid in a tight red suit unseen?)

    I was also wondering, since I missed the blogging about last season, did you guys discuss the whole “Dawning happening just 200 years too soon?” Now would be a nice time to put that into the puzzle. Bo may also have accelerated growth as well as hybrid blood. Maybe she was “created” as a “soon to be burned out tool” of the Pyrippus. Maybe the more she uses her Dark Queen power the sooner she will go “poof”.

    I thought about the Odin thing too, but I had it in a much different scenario: i.e. Odin is held captive and his Spear (Odin’s power) is in the hands of the Pyrippus, which is why the Valkyries are doing his bidding. I was wrong based on this season’s revelations about Tamsin’s background, but maybe this leaves Odin as a rescuer for Season 5 – I don’t see Odin as Evil.

    Do you recall when Bo was attacked by the Morragh in Season 1 that just before she went into the tub she had the dagger? She had little fighting experience but she “passed the test” during the pilot? She wasn’t any good with riddles but she knew the answer was fog with the Leviathan 4/10? She had Kenzi’s ring (when did she get that by the way?) in her pocket in 4/13 and she knew Kenzi was headed for the Hel Mouth. Even if Train Rainer isn’t her daddy – Bo must have that psychic ability from the Pyrippus because she had that from the very beginning. Maybe Train Rainer is her brother from a different mother? Or maybe an Avatar for the Horned/Fanged version stuck in Hel? I would think that Trick would have remembered that along with everything else. At any rate – we should remember the crazy guy from the Body Switching episode in Season 2 was Rainer, so maybe it’s a common name?

    We should also remember that Bo’s nightmares during the dawning had her with horns coming out of her head and tearing away at something. So Daddy definitely has the horns and we haven’t seen everything the make-up department is going to have to whip up next season. (Maleficent anyone? Angelina Jolie=Anna Silk….why not?)

    With regard to this show being compared to Buffy and “the lack of an accurate representation of Lesbian relationships.” This season – especially near the end when Kenzi kept trying to “kill” Massimo was ringing every Xena Warrior Princess bell in my head! I kept seeing Gabrielle trying to get vengeance. Which leads me to the logical conclusion Kenzi will return. (Unless Ksenia has a new show or movie deal, which requires she move on. Then they could re-cast/replace with the girl from 4/3)

    The relationship was never really about Lauren and Bo it was about Kenzi and Bo. All their lines had the “processing” that I don’t recall seeing Lauren and Bo exchange. I never felt that Zoie really felt comfortable with Anna. Maybe because their love scenes were rip-offs of the L Word and no one has the Bette/Tina chemistry. As a lesbian I feel Zoie has better chemistry with the Morrigan, although the faked O at 4/11 was a bit much.

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