Guest Blogger Series: “Episode 503 – Big in Japan or Where in the World is Isabeau?” by Mahlers5th and Valksy

Happy Holidays, everyone! Hope you enjoy Mahlers5th and Valksy‘s analysis of Episode 5.03.

Nanakorobi yaoki – Japanese idiom

(Fall down seven times, stand up eight)

One ship sails East
And other West
By the self-same winds that blow
Tis the set of the sails
And not the gales
That tells the way we go.
- Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Valksy

Of all the criticisms which might be levelled at this admittedly routine “monster of the week” creature feature episode, subtle is not likely to be one of them.  Musashi’s tale of familial duty, and the burdens and implications of trying to live up to it, have become a theme within Bo’s story as her origins become revealed to her.   Bo’s life, from the moment of her conception, seems to have been subject to a script beyond her control — she is to be a “Chosen One”, despite this being at odds with her frequently stated wish to live the life that she chooses.  Is fate inevitable after all?  And given the identity of Bo’s paternity, as expressed by Persephone, is it foolish to assume that this is a benign title anyway?  Can we even assume something as basic as whether Bo has been chosen to save the Fae, or to bring about an “End of Faes”?

Mahlers5th

As viewers, I think we can safely assume that Lost Girl will not end with Bo betraying her chosen family, joining her father in bridling the masses, and presiding over the End of Faes and all humanity. Writers sometimes like to subvert the viewers’ assumptions that our protagonist heroes wear bullet-proof plot armor, but closing out the Lost Girl series with a “Kill ‘em all and Baddy Dearest wins” ending would be discordant with everything that has come before – not to mention unimaginably cruel (though I fully expect that episode 508 will leave us with a cliffhanger suggesting Bo has completely succumbed to her Dark Side – it had to happen sometime, right?).

Bo herself can’t be certain at this point whether she’ll be fighting for or against her father, but either way, it is beginning to look like a lose/lose proposition to her: “I mean, that’s what being The One is, right? The Queen, marching forward, never looking back. It’s only a matter of time before I lose all of you.” It’s unclear if Musashi realizes the consequences of his subterfuge, but he faces a funhouse mirror reflection of Bo’s quandary. If he tries to ascend to God-like status as the false Exalted One, he turns into an Akaname (filth-licker). If not, he is exposed as a charlatan and disgraced. Either way, he is doomed to cleaning up dirty bathrooms. He wants Bo to end it for him – to kill him – which she dismisses as “the easy way out” (one she apparently considered for herself, according to Tamsin). His sister Tomoe is everything he and Bo (for the time being) are not – a decisive warrior who accepts her duty with grace and honor, has a firm moral compass, and is never ever whiney. By the end of the episode, Bo seems to have rationalized that her growing sense of vulnerability and self-doubt are desirable qualities in a leader, but the fact that she is dressed like Carmen SanDiego (former orphan turned femme fatale, Japanese martial arts master, and brilliant agent for the good-guy ACME Crimes Unit until she left to become the infamous leader of V.I.L.E.) and mutters that being the Chosen One is “bullshit,” betrays her continuing ambivalence. It’s probably just a coincidence that Carmen’s middle name is Isabella.

At the beginning of episode 503, we find Bo in a state of traumatized shock and denial. Losing Kenzi was devastating enough, but she has also just traveled to Hell and back, was nearly strangled by an entity she assumes was her father, and faces an uncertain, frightening, possibly world-shattering future. It’s a strange time to be goofing around about paint brush sizes and renovating your crib as if you have all the time in the world, but hey she’s young, fun and up for anything. Only Lauren seems to truly understand that “the weight of the world rests on [Bo’s] very attractive shoulders,” and accepts with maturity and grace whatever Bo needs to do to be in top fighting form – including her destroying Lauren’s lab with Dyson to make up for all those missed feeds. A girl’s gotta eat.

We can sympathize with Bo’s need for an emotional time out. But something more sinister than denial seems to be influencing her state of mind as the episode begins. She appears to lapse in and out of an altered state every time she starts to get her succubus on, heralded by a sudden sense of vertigo and a whooshing sound.  Something intervenes each and every time she moves in to feed with (or be fed by) Dyson, Tamsin, and Lauren. Whatever this thing is, it sure ain’t paint fumes. We’re back in S4E10 (“Waves”), with Bo staring with puzzlement at her own reflection after slaughtering the Una Mens, wondering, “Who am I?” As viewers, we are once more left groaning “Where in the World is our Bo?” Hadn’t she found herself by the end of season four?

Tamsin later suggests this is all a willful act of self-abnegation and that Bo is dealing with her grief about Kenzi’s departure and misgivings about her own apparently inescapable fate by “packing it in” and essentially starving herself to death — “It’s what she wants.” However, if Bo were on a suicidal hunger strike – consciously or unconsciously — I doubt that she would have been researching “low sex drive” online earlier in the episode. Her distress is real and she’s as mystified as the others by her sudden loss of libido. Bo has changed in other ways, too, and not for the better – she has lost her taste for being the Chosen One and is astonishingly insensitive to the feelings and needs of others, notably Lauren. Could this all be psychological, as Tamsin suggests? I doubt it. You didn’t really think Bo could travel to her father’s house and back, feed off Persephone, and bring back that Candle without being changed, did you? I suspect some other external force is messing with her mind. Now who in Hel or Hades could that be?

Over the past season and a half, I have taken to asking myself two questions whenever there is a puzzling plot twist or when someone suddenly starts acting out of character on Lost Girl: Whose purpose does this serve? Does the purpose come into focus if we assume Bo’s father is controlling the action? Filling Bo with doubts about being the Chosen One and driving a wedge between her and the family would seem to leave the door open for the Dark Queen to ascend.

Bo may have suppressed her recent skirmish with her father and is trying to keep her focus near, ignoring what lies ahead, but the writers have not. From Bo redecorating her digs, they cut to the lifeless but otherwise unscratched body of the blond from the elevator crash – how could we forget? — removed along with two other untouched corpses. Something tells me they’ll be back to haunt us. Episode 503 ends with the blond stumbling back to life and the start of what figures to be a protracted killing spree. Her mission remains unclear but I’m guessing it has something to do with ridding Bo’s father of the people standing between him and his daughter – first and foremost, Lauren. She may also be a test case – a Fae inhabiting a human (accounting for the mixed blood types found) and then reanimated to fight on the earthly plane: “Can you see me?! Can you see me?!” she yells at Lauren’s assistant before breaking her neck. Enjoy those care-free movie nights while you can, Bo, where all the horror is confined to the television, but please extinguish the Artemis Candle flickering ominously in the foreground.

I’m sure this is an idiosyncratic association, but watching the gang leaning against each other, pouring themselves drinks, and scarfing down popcorn, I found myself thinking about the Last Supper — Jesus at Gethsemane – the night before his betrayal and crucifixion. After supper, Jesus (Bo) moves a little way from the three others whom he has asked to stay and pray with him – Peter, James and John (Lauren, Dyson and Tamsin) — and twice asks His Father to remove the cup of wrath He is about the drink. Each time – “exceedingly sorrowful unto death” — he submits to his Father’s will. You know how that ends – Judas Iscariot arrives with soldiers to arrest Him. The theme of betrayal comes up repeatedly in episode 503. So is there a betrayer in their midst? Time will tell, but while the rest of Bo’s family swore to stay with Bo no matter what – after which she almost immediately regained her sexual appetite — one person was conspicuously silent: Tamsin.

Valksy 

The episode begins with a heavily burdened Bo trying to leave the past behind her through a symbolic act of re-invention, but it is surely not an accident that she is depicted trying to paint over a surface which has not been prepared and is simply not ready for renewal.  Dyson’s attempt at either comfort, or opening a dialogue, is both blunt and ineffectual (“sounds like wise Kenz words”) and fails to have any useful impact.  Is there any evidence of chemistry or bond beyond sex?  And even then he misreads Bo’s sudden difficulty/disinterest as something worth of an overture rather than concern.

If this scene is intended to be an act of pandering to this particular axis of the decaying remains of the “triangle” then he does not do well at all.  I think it is fair to think that we are invited to admire and enjoy Bo’s dance moves, and placing Dyson shirtless in the scene might well be intended as a cue that they had been sexual off-camera before Bo began her DIY project — certainly it is within the cardinal rules of the show that the camera can and will linger over bodies, whatever the gender.  So being shirtless could be seen as nothing more than a bone thrown to a specific audience demographic.  However, I found myself recalling the dancing scene in episode 303 (“ConFaegion”) in which a compromised Dyson — behaving like a teenage boy — dances with his shirt off to impress the girls, and thought that he was perhaps trying just a little too hard to connect with a depressed Bo.

On reflection (and despite my consistent exasperation with the character — hardly a shocking disclosure) I have to question what his presence means to Bo.  Is it as simple as company?  During her defiant speech in the dark in episode 502 (“Like Hell: Part 2”) Bo’s anxiety regarding desertion is clearly expressed – “If you want to see me, it’ll be on my terms, with my true family, who would never abandon me.”  While none of the other characters witness this, I don’t think it is unreasonable to think that this basic need is well understood.  Bo is grieving for Kenzi, perhaps a deep and cutting kind of grief given that Kenzi leaves by explicit choice, and it has to make sense that she is not simply left alone.

I have argued in the past that Bo and Dyson’s relationship parameter is best described in terms of “friends with benefits”.  Bo describes the novelty of sex with him in episode 103 (“Oh Kappa, My Kappa”), in episode 104 (“Faetal Attraction”) Bo explains to Kenzi that Dyson has said “we are only going to have sex when I need to heal”, in 107 (“ArachnoFaebia”) when discussing Lauren with Dyson, Bo says “I don’t understand you, you say that you don’t want to be exclusive, you want to see other people” and within episode 112 (“DisMembers Only”) Bo and Dyson’s respective best friends bet on when they will begin their next cycle of squabbling.  Whatever Dyson may have intended is then terminated by the Norn, and by Bo quite rightly moving on with her life rather than pining for a relationship that is simply not evidenced by on-screen canon.  If “friends with benefits” is a truer reflection of their interactions, then I have to consider if he is (or is trying to be) her friend, and if so then is questioning Bo’s judgment reasonable or any different to questioning her sexual agency?

I have no doubt that Dyson is a terrible match for Bo in relationship terms.  The evolution of the character from domineering (the speech in 112 “DisMembers Only” where he denigrates Bo for her nature and expresses hatred for others touching her, even if it is from necessity) to a pledge of fealty in 413 “Dark Horse”, which is an inherently submissive role could not be more suggestive of an intentional — perhaps subversive — attempt to moderate his conduct or character to appeal to Bo.  This transition from possessive hyper-masculinity to obedient and deferential can hardly be seen in terms of growth or a healthy relationship option, and I have misgivings in terms of friendship.  I am sure that we all have friends that we love and deeply care for, and are very much loyal to, but would it be appropriate to express that loyalty?  Or is a promise of fealty a means of manipulation — to claim a position in someone’s life, even to the point of that person feeling like the owe something for such a pledge?

The answer to this question of sincerity, of whether or not he has an ulterior motive, is no different than questioning his honesty when he repeatedly asserts that the sex is “no strings”?  If he has an ulterior motive, for either sex or fealty, then he is being manifestly dishonest and any potential for moving into a position of relationship primacy inherently fails.  While Dyson may make cow eyes at Bo, and lament his lost opportunities, I think that if he did openly assert any “strings” then the dishonesty of statements that he made to have sex with Bo would render his character permanently unsalvageable.  If he does not have a covert motive then he can only be viewed in terms of friends with benefits for a biological function that Bo currently has no choice over.  Either way, in relationship terms, there is no way for him to “win” and either keep honor or character intact, or remain a viable romantic option — especially in terms of Bo’s repeatedly stated beliefs in obliging honesty (again in this episode, overwhelming Tomoi’s concerns about honor in order to reveal the truth).

I have been quite clear over years in thinking that Dyson is a poorly realized character, existing and given airtime based more on a belief in demographic appeal/necessity than actual narrative impact or relevance.  If you were to ask yourself what he brought to the series other than occasional exposition and male/heteronormative presence, is there an argument that Lost Girl would not be a vastly different show if he had not been in it at all?  And yet it is a cultural norm that there has to be some kind of male presence in a show for it to be viable or marketable.  It’s probably an unreasonable hope that the conceptual male “lead” would be marginalized to the sidelines, despite this episode being a further demonstration of how the character of Dyson has no particularly meaningful role, theme or subplot within Lost Girl.

Dyson’s part in the episode is largely exposition (revealing that Bo is having problems with her powers), masculine titillation (shirtless, twice) and as a fabricated and largely unnecessary sequence teaching Lauren skills that would facilitate her story progression, while achieving none of his own.  Was it necessary for Lauren to have a physical confrontation?  Or did the story play out that way just so that Dyson had something to do?  I am inclined to argue the latter, since Lauren has a history of cerebral solutions to crises.  While Lauren may have spent time in Afghanistan and the Congo, there’s been little so suggest she has combat skills — explosives manufacture and lock picking are both mental exercises, and in episode 310 (“Delinquents”) Lauren is viciously physically attacked and loses the fight.  Many of us have championed Lauren’s role as a thoughtful counterpart to Bo’s physicality and I still think that this balance suits them the best, it certainly would not surprise me if the fight training was simply ignored.

It is also worth noting that the fight training scene is a further character assassination of Dyson, intentional or not.  Although he has taught Lauren nothing at all, he proceeds to aim blows at her head and face, and disregards her protests of alarm.  Does he look like anything other than an unpleasant bully delighting in tormenting someone he otherwise pretends to like as a friend?  Lauren is not a fighter and I would not agree that she looks weak or otherwise disempowered.  Dyson, on the other hand, looks like a brute and I would very much question the thought processes of anyone who found that behavior acceptable, even appealing.

Mahlers5th

Hell no! It smacked of pent-up frustration about losing Bo to Lauren and a need to swagger. However, I’ll concede that Dyson’s later efforts to help Lauren fight “from the gut” and tap into her own aggression mitigated his earlier bullying to some degree. I think Dyson has basically reached a place of mutual respect and concern for Lauren. After all, it’s Dyson — not Bo — who prods her to talk about the death threats and ultimately to protect herself better. Perhaps we can forgive his momentary flash of hostility.

Valksy

That I have devoted this much time and thought to Dyson could be taken as further evidence of his entirely unworthy domination of the show.  I would agree that the quantity of screen time the character receives is disproportionate to the quality of the character himself.  In regarding Lost Girl as a product (distinct from the art of making it) this is just not likely to change.  I do feel that the character was again debunked as any kind of romantic choice for Bo — he cannot read her nascent distress at her physical problem, offers no practical emotional support with regards to Kenzi and made a “no strings” commitment from a subordinate stance.  If there is a lesson for Dyson, given that he claimed that he learned so much from Bo (episode 309 “Ceremony”) perhaps it should be that he cannot have what he wants, just because he wants it.  That the guy does not get the girl in the end would be a transgressive and bold choice for the production to make.  I do feel that if there were any thoughts of a DyBo ship remaining, this episode was surely a depth charge to hasten its scuppering.

I did feel that the progression of Bo’s meta plot was a little heavy-handed, and wonder if this was perhaps a consequence of it being secondary to an otherwise rudimentary entry into Fae bestiary.  Concepts like the burden of leadership, especially when hereditary in nature, being a heavy price to pay and the desired qualities of leadership (the stress on vulnerability felt rather like a prompt to the audience that Bo was not designed to be a solo hero) were painted in very broad strokes.  As a consequence, I found myself focusing more on character dynamics and not especially interested in the ‘A’ plot.  While opinions will vary, I worry that Tamsin becoming Bo’s new sidekick and their working cases together will be less satisfying and result in a dilution of the main story arc than I find far more compelling than a real life Scooby Doo with added snark could ever hope to be.

Despite this concern, I am wary of offering detailed opinion on Tamsin’s promotion to sidekick, simply because the production lost a cast member and has made adjustments as necessary.  I do not think that it is intended to be any kind of alternative “ship” option and wonder if Tamsin’s prior anguish over her solitude and her appeal to family were to facilitate the transition between Kenzi and Tamsin.  While a “fuck buddy” function similar to Bo and Dyson may be hinted at, I think Tamsin’s need for belonging is more important (and does not fall foul of accusations of repetition or exploitative cynical pandering).  Kenzi’s feelings of isolation, displacement and inadequacy offered some commentary about a divided world and the flaws on both sides, human and Fae, as well as offering Bo a non-sexual relationship to invest in — Tamsin’s plight is similar enough to offer comparable character beats, without being a carbon copy, and I am not convinced that a sexual relationship between Bo and Tamsin, as housemates and participants in monster capers, can or will add much to either character.  I read the subtext (and performance delivery) of Bo’s hungover “did we?” as a suggestion that sex between them was just not that important.  Is this a better option than two characters being drunk to the point of blackout being sexual?  If nothing else, compare this to Lauren’s speech in 104 (“Faetal Attraction”) in which she rejects the notion of a “drunken succubus booty call” as out of the question.  I have to argue that using drink as an excuse for sex is a step backwards in terms of depictions of sexuality in the show, it offers an excuse that women do not need.

I am sure that this interpretation would be subject to thoughts of bias, and absolutely do not hesitate to disclose that Doccubus – as a primary and very much enduring relationship option – is really my primary reason for watching Lost Girl.  It is this sense of endurance, through battles and strife that made me immediately doubt that the scene between Lauren and Tamsin in the lab was intended to be romantic, or even flirtatious.  I find it hard to believe that a few bumps in the road would be enough to make Lauren give up on Bo, not when you consider that Lauren had a five-year dry spell hoping to save Nadia and restore their relationship.  This is the same argument I have for Lauren’s liaisons with Crystal or Evony being nothing more meaningful than sex (both as a recognition that women don’t need to be succubi to assert sexual autonomy, and as a shared philosophical counterpart to Bo’s ability to compartmentalize sex and romance/love).  I would find Lauren deciding to make any kind of meaningful pass at the next available woman to be flighty and seriously out of character, and lean more towards thinking — given Tamsin’s brattish rudeness at the beginning of 501 (“Like Hell: Part 1”) — that the praise and the touch was a declaration of peace, acceptance and welcome.  I wonder if this is a better explanation for Tamsin’s emotional response, to the point of rubbing away tears.

Mahlers5th

I had a different take on Tamsin’s tears. Consider the fact that Tamsin’s debt to Bo’s father has not been paid. She showed ladie balls in coming to Bo’s defense in Valhalla and intervening when Stacy came to collect Lauren’s soul, but she lacks the courage to lay down her one remaining life for the family she so desires. Tamsin was the person who stayed conspicuously silent as Bo’s family swore to stand by Bo.  I read her tears in response to Lauren’s touching expression of gratitude as a product of guilt about her anticipated betrayal.

Valksy 

Lauren’s act of kindness and sensitivity, if offered as a correct read of Tamsin’s need to find belonging and family, would be the kind of intuitive, humane and rational action that I associate with her character.  These traits are also on display when, in conversation with Dyson, Lauren identifies that Bo is most in need of friendship.  I do not agree that this is Lauren giving up on the relationship and “friend-zoning” herself.  I think that Lauren’s actions are a selfless recognition that Bo is hurt and vulnerable from her experiences, including the heartbreaking loss of Kenzi as well as the physical/psychological problem that she was suffering during the episode, and that pursuing romantic interests at this time was not just not appropriate.  Lauren continues to offer emotional support through the episode, while asking for nothing in return.  I don’t find this at all abusive, since doing so would oblige me to disregard Lauren’s own power to choose whatever is best for herself and make her a hapless damsel.

Is Bo being selfish?  I am as hesitant to criticize her for needing emotional support as I would be for her needing or wanting to have sex with whoever she chose (given that she is not presently in a relationship and not subject to any parameters).  I found her tearful speech about her fear of abandonment and losing everyone she cared for to be harrowing to watch, and a reasonable explanation of her current state of mind.  Would it have been easier to understand Bo’s distressed mindset if she had the presence to actually ask for help?  Certainly, although given the dramatic medium of episodic television, it wasn’t likely!  But I also have to consider the tendency for people who have lived independently and self-sufficiently, as well as subject to the burdens and weights of leadership, to find asking for help very difficult.

I cannot help but notice that Bo is wearing the necklace Lauren gave her at the start of the episode.  As her current crisis deepens and Bo begins to manifest a rejection of everything that she is, it disappears.  In the closing scene, once Bo has found a way to express her pain and receive some relief from it, the necklace is back again.  I have given some thought to whether or not this is meaningful, or if there is another explanation.  One viable argument would be to point out that the first time Bo wears the necklace on a mission (to the underworld in 501/2) it is first taken from her, then used to taunt someone that she cares about, so she might consider removing it while working a dangerous case so that it would not be lost or otherwise misappropriated.  This could be an argument rooted in pragmatism (as would a simple prop error during production), but not one I find particularly satisfying, since Lost Girl is prone to using indulgent amounts of symbolism.  As Bo loses her sense of self, purpose and confidence, as well as her security and belief in her relationships with others, the symbol of love becomes absent, only to return once she has recovered (with no comparable evidence that the means of recovery is symbolic in any way).

The necklace as a possible demonstration of Bo’s state of mind is not the only breadcrumb for Doccubus:  Bo discloses her problem to Lauren before telling anyone else, there is a framed photo of them posing as a couple in Lauren’s lab (remind anyone else of the award ceremony selfie!) and it is thoughts of Bo in the throwing star scene that function as a catalyst for Lauren to tap into what Dyson had described as passion, gut and instinct.  Although they spend much of the episode apart, I believe it reasonable to suggest they both have one another in mind.

Since season four ended with the loss of Hale, and season five began with the loss of Kenzi, I am not surprised that we have an episode that is largely unremarkable in terms of plot and which gives the characters a chance to re-establish themselves (as well as the audience a chance to adjust).  I did not find the primary plot particularly notable, which is shame given that we are all aware of how many episodes are left, although there was a satisfying sense of “something wicked this way comes” from the re-animation scene at the end.  The episode was also not without some disquieting misfires that I find concerning:

  • Lauren describes her heart as having been “stolen”.  I find that word choice a little loaded in that it infers Lauren was passive and that the developing love between the two women lacks equality.  There is surely a difference between something actively given and an act described in terms of theft.  I strenuously disagree with this characterization. [Mahlers5th: But remember for Lauren, it was love at first sight, whereas Bo’s growing attachment didn’t become evident until episode 106].
  • Lauren demands that Dyson put his shirt back on.  I admit I eyerolled pretty hard at this and wondered what the purpose of it was and what was being communicated to viewers?  Do people think that LGBT women are so appalled or uncomfortable or hostile to men that the mere sight of them shirtless is disgusting or distressing to us?  Even if someone did believe that, Lauren is a doctor, why on Earth would any kind of anatomy affect her in any way?
  • During the scene in the Dal, Musashi is shown viewing and expressing lascivious interest in two women kissing.  Yet another tedious example of female/female sexuality in display for the titillating enjoyment of the male gaze.  Does this add anything at all to his character?  Of course not.  It is also not edgy or progressive – if the show wanted to play that card, perhaps it should try two men kissing and Musashi expressing approval.  As it stands it is nothing more than a cheap stunt and I would have hoped the production knew better.
  • Lauren being obliged to listen to Bo having sex.  This is similar in tone, but worse by degrees, to a scene in episode 205 (“Brotherfae of the Wolves”), also by Alexandra Zarowny, in which Lauren is present in a downstairs room seconds after Bo is shown having sex with Cayden, during which she pounds her hand on the headboard.  It is clear enough that Lauren understands what has taken place.  In both scenes it very much felt like Lauren was being deliberately exposed to Bo being sexual with someone else in a way that felt unnecessarily graphic.  I do not understand the purpose of this scene, and very much hope that the distinctly cruel or even punitive nature of it was not intended.  Lauren is selfless and generous but this was a step too far.

All of these examples seem to share in a lack of awareness or sensitivity and even came close to an uncomfortable sense of near-hostility.  I wonder if I am being over-sensitive to this and would welcome input.

These concerns aside, I’m not worried that we haven’t moved into an “endgame” relationship phase.  There are 13 episodes to go – that’s a whole season for this show – and it seems premature for Lost Girl to show its final hand, although I maintain that signs remain positive for Bo and Lauren, and all other options pale into insignificance in terms of citable on-screen evidence.  I did feel some sadness that this episode may have taken away one potential punchline for Bo’s story; Yes, Bo being human is inherently dangerous, but no more so for than life is for any other mortal woman.  We all live with the consequences of choices, Bo has the luxury of not needing to do so and that is never put forward as anything but positive, with her humanity being a riddle to be solved.  That being human, or human-like is considered an ailment in search of a cure makes me doubt it as a possible outcome, which I find a true shame.

We have understood that part of the tragedy of Bo and Lauren is that Bo will outlive the woman that she loves and life will go on without her.  I’ve considered myself reconciled to this and maintain that quality trumps quantity every time.  Other viewers have expressed a means of making peace with the mortality concern by imagining Lauren becoming Fae, or through Bo and Lauren having a family to continue their legacy, or perhaps even comforted by love in the afterlife that we have been shown.  But what if Bo made the ultimate sacrifice, renounced her powers and her Faedom and elected to be human and live out her natural life with Lauren?  As a (hopeless) romantic I found this speculative outcome both stirring in terms of Bo making a willing and conscious choice for love, and in the assertion that Team Human — the team that we all represent — is worthy and valid.

Mahlers5th 

Recall that the first two episodes of season five paid homage to Tarantino’s Kill Bill: Vols. 1 and 2, among other films. In episode 503, Tamsin mentions the films by name at Musashi’s ascension ceremony: “I get my Kill Bill Volumes 1 & 2 moment!” There are other parallels (after waking from a coma, The Bride in Kill Bill has to relearn how to walk) but I think it’s fair to say the writers and showrunner have planted these references for a reason. I speculated previously that one reason may be that The Bride and Bo are both natural born killers who are trying to be something else and who yearn to live a normal life. Bo didn’t choose the role of Dark Queen or messianic Chosen One. The life she really wants turns out to be something far simpler and more ordinary. We’ve known it since episode 108 (“Vexed”) – originally the pilot episode for the series:

BO

No matter how miserable I was before you found me, no matter how
confusing and terrifying it was to not understand what I really am…at
least back then, I still had hope that it would end. That I would have a normal human life one day, if I wanted it [emphasis mine].

       LAUREN

Do you want a normal life? The picket fence, the kids…?

BO

I want to know that it’s my choice to make. Not theirs. Lou tried making her
choice [by marrying and having children with a human]. And she was punished for it. If I let that go, if I let them get away with it, what chance will I ever have of living a life of my own? And who would want to share it with me?

 So I’m with you, Valksy. I’d love to see the series end by honoring Bo’s original wish. Let her give up her Faedom and become human (if Evony did it, why not Bo?) and live the normal human life she has always hoped for.

I think she’d find that Lauren would be more than happy to share it with her.

 

 

9 Responses to Guest Blogger Series: “Episode 503 – Big in Japan or Where in the World is Isabeau?” by Mahlers5th and Valksy

  1. JT says:

    Wonderfully insightful and accurate review imo.
    I didn’t understand the point of making Lauren and Tamsin aware to what was going on in Lauren’s lab with Dyson healing Bo, beyond giving Tamsin the opportunity to question how Lauren felt about the situation, which could’ve happened anywhere out of earshot of their healing. It felt like a throwback to the Bo Dyson healing scene in season one that Kenzi and Hale overheard at the Dal. But at least in that instance neither Kenzi or Hale had romantic ties to Bo or Dyson. I found it distasteful.

    In regards to Lauren’s comment bout Bo stealing her heart, I’ve found a few instances this season where the things she’s said seemed odd. In 501 for instance, she comments on the patients status at the clinic as “code you-know-what”.Sounded more like something Bo or Kenzi would say than a medical professional.
    In 503 she comments on the dead woman from the elevator,Elizabeth Helm’s attractiveness as she’s lying on the slab in Lauren’s lab which just isn’t relevant and again feels like something someone else would say, like Dyson.

    I got a lot of good vibes from this episode, re doccubus and just in general and felt it perfectly believable that post Kenzi leaving her, Bo’s internal world would come crashing down. Sad to see we’re back to Dyson telling Bo, Tamsin, Lauren what they should do.
    501 and 502 remind me of how wonderful Lost Girl can be when Dyson and to some extent Trick don’t feature as heavily.
    I’ve even found myself liking Tamsin. So far.

  2. Nic says:

    Thank you for your thoughts.

    For me it was quite a frustrating episode. As a lot of people said, the lack of explanation and continuity is getting mind boggling, and Bo’s actions lead us even to question her emotional connection with Dyson and Lauren.

    But I just want to add a few points:

    -Bo and Dyson talking about «no strings» did not convincing me at all. I’m afraid this may prove to be false later on and they insisted on it just like they did when Kenzi was saying to Hale that they have time.

    - Lauren asking Dyson to put his shirt back on was funny. I just saw it as fan teasing; someone has been reading this forum for a while.

    -The threats that Lauren is facing: it makes sense but the execution and nature of this menace is far from being convincing. Putting aside the fact that the lamest fae attacked Lauren, I can’t help to notice that these threats seem to take place in a political vaccum at all levels. I get that the dead of the Una Men and Evony being neutralized wiped the political system, but where are the powerful clans and elders? Maybe I’m mistaken but I thought they were part of the fabric of the fae society. It’s like they also vanished or don’t dare to do something with Lauren… Imo it doesn’t make sense because when political structures collapse clans tend to rise in full force and clash, it’s kind of political science 101… Or Lauren must have something on them but it would be nice to know what… The show must introduce new political forces soon.

    - The blond and her «can you see me?» is quite intriguing.

    -Your observation about Tamsin’s silence is interesting and I like your spec of her anticipated betrayal. If she could

    - I’m with you on an ending having Bo giving up her faedom and becoming human, and leaving to live a normal human life with Lauren. But I was much more hopeful for this kind of ending before the Dawning. Since then we have seen Bo embracing being fae and a succubus. Is a normal human life still something she finds precious?

    • voltairesmistress says:

      Re Elizabeth Helm’s comment to the medical assistant whose neck she is about to snap, “Can you see me?”: This may be a long shot, but “Helm” in German means helmet. Hades received a helmet of invisibility as a consolation prize when awarded the Underworld while his brothers Zeus and Posidon received the Air and Sea respectively. Is it possible that Elizabeth Helm is an Underworld warrior with the power of invisibility?

      • Mahlers5th says:

        Way cool idea! And much less far-fetched than my notion that movie night was a Last Supper scene!
        I’m glad the twists and turns and hints and misdirections in the meta story about abo and her father still interest you as they intrigue me.

  3. Valksy says:

    The entreaty, can you see me? Caught my attention, if only that Hades was capable of invisibility. Whoever she is, she certainly seems outside the loop, some sort of sleeper agent. Arguably the most dangerous kind since she could be swayed ti either cause if so disorientated by purpose.

    As the scene in the lab – what an eyeroller. Had we really not moved beyond the distinctly sophomoric? What might have worked? Let’ go ahead and gender flip it – we kno from S2 that Dyson cannot sustain her alone. Two women (Off camera because RS struck me as uneasy with one kiss…awkward sex we d not need…) would be thumb in the eye to those those who think f/m inherently superior (You know this is is often a truism).

    Or even which ever parameter I don’t much care which) Dyson or Tamsin sulking because Bo is there with the one they REALLY want and this whole snooze fest triangle can be out to bed fir good. There is arguably more mileage in this – in additional players working out how to live with Bo and keep her safe and fed amongst them. it is a little close to the concept of – say – vampiric familiars. But if on a rota no one gets too depleted, no favourites, and Bo and Tamsin can work oiut a secondary parameter between them (any one care?)

    Or the banging smashing “look how WILD” — all while off camera is another dose of the sophormoric. Wait and see when/if there is an on scene loving/romantic/sensual scene and thing about it compares (and…possibly…laugh a a bit(

  4. Mahlers5th says:

    About the DyBo feed scene. I assume we’d all agree that Bo was starving and needed a good long and deep chi-suck to recharge the depleted double-D’s. Feeding off Lauren would have either killed Lauren or left Bo hungry. Why set up the scene so Lauren has to overhear all the grunts and screams? Why not have her discreetly retire and spare herself? Not being one who subscribes to the theory that the LG writers/showrunners look for every opportunity to stick it to Lauren and/or her fans, or secretly favor one ship over another, or intend for Bo to be polyamorous to the end, never prioritizing one love, I tend to try to get inside the writers’ minds and see if there is some rational reason for their creative choices. For me, this scene put into vivid relief the sacrifices that a long-term committed relationship with Bo would/will involve (have already involved) for Lauren. She is a loving, mature, empathic, and most of all *realistic* partner who has made it clear since episode 304 that she knows the score — she and Bo can aspire to an emotionally monogamous relationship but it will never be sexually exclusive — at least, not as long as Bo remains Fae : ) Lauren decided once that it was too much for her to take and called a break (there may have been other factors involved but learning that Bo kissed Tamsin seemed to be the last straw). Since then, Bo and Lauren have found their way back to each other, and I believe Lauren has made her choice – to live with the downside of loving Bo because she can’t help but love her.

    I didn’t love that scene, but that was sort of the point, wasn’t it? Lauren hated every moment, I imagine. I’m sure she would rather not have to share Bo, ever. But she didn’t run away from it or try to pretend this wouldn’t be an ongoing reality in their relationship. She accepted it for what it was — a distasteful necessity — was willing to put her own needs aside, and did not seem to regard it as some major threat to her bond with Bo; in fact, she conveys a quiet confidence about their relationship.

    So why is Bo living with Tamsin and not Lauren right now? The writers/showrunners probably surmised — correctly — that having Doccubus setting up house and choosing paint colors in ep 503 would make for rather boring eps 504 through 516. But it also makes internal sense. Lauren understands what Bo is facing (even if Bo is temporarily living in denial). She makes no romantic demands on Bo for now because she understands the weight Bo carries on her shoulders. She understands what Bo’s priorities must be. Throughout the series — most recently in ep 413 — Lauren has always pushed Bo to put duty first: “I’m yours” was followed almost immediately by “Get out of here, Succubus. Destiny’s calling.” I think she has sized the situation up accurately. Bo doesn’t need another self-involved Dyson wondering if Bo is mad at him, why else wouldn’t she be fucking him? Bo needs a friend who understands the demands of her situation and is willing to put her own needs second to help and support her.

    The scene also allowed for that nice moment of bonding between Lauren &Tamsin — who is suffering in a similar way, after all, both left out. She and Dyson may have made that little pinky pact at the end of ep 502 to be friends, whatever, but to listen to BOTH people she loves going at it TOGETHER cannot have been pleasant for her.

    I agree, JT, that Lauren’ comment about “code-you-know-what” seemed a little flippant under the circumstances (albeit an amusing commentary on the euphisms physicians use to “shield” patients from the reality of a crisis – code blue for cardiac arrest, code red for fire, code pink for child abduction, etc.) But I didn’t find Lauren’s comment about Bo “stealing” her heart strange at all. Actually, I found it charmingly romantic. It struck me as a common poetic expression of the fact that Lauren fell in love with Bo at first sight. Bo may have used her enthralling touch to induce Lauren to help her escape in ep 101, but Lauren was in love with her before they ever touched. Bo did not induce Lauren to fall in love, it just happened. Has there ever been any real doubt about the fact that Lauren’s love has always been freely ‘given’?

    “It was perfectly believable that post Kenzi leaving her, Bo’s internal world would come crashing down.” True, but I still believe some external force was at work — signalled by the vertigo and wooshing sound — making her unable to feed off faemily. Nic, you observed that “Bo’s actions lead us even to question her emotional connection with Dyson and Lauren,” but does it make more sense if her father is still messing with her mind?

    What’s been astonishing to me is that everyone (with possible exception of Lauren) seems to be in la-la land about Baddy Dearest. Dyson picks Bo up at Valhalla’s gates and is like, “OK, ready to go home?” Trick’s throwing karaoke nights at the Dal. Tamsin wants to partay. Hello? Her father is coming after Bo, y’all.

    • voltairesmistress says:

      I could not agree more with your analysis of where Lauren stands re Bo. It is so clear to me that one way or another Bo will end up in a primary relationship with Lauren for all the reasons/evidence you laid out above. Whether that Bo/Lauren relationship is emotionally exclusive or not, (clearly it won’t be sexually exclusive) remains to be seen. I think Bo will remain emotionally and sexually tied to Dyson as well, and that the triangle will settle down into an imperfect, normal family.

      • Mahlers5th says:

        Your comment made me think about the fact that we tend to expect great emotional maturity from Bo. She has grown some over 4+ seasons but has a lit to learn about real intimacy. Lauren seem so much more the grown-up in this relationship. Of course, from the pre-Dawning onwards, Bo has been fighting battles on mutiple fronts against threats from within and without, and her mind has been messed with in allsorts of ways by external forces (especially her very powerfulfather), but I know I tend to forget the fact that she was severely traumatized during infancy and adolescence. Her adoptive family seems to have provide “good enough” parenting in between which probably accounts — along with her mother’s genes – for Bo’s basic resilience; like her mother, she’s a survivor despite the traumatizing circumstances of her youth. Arguably, for all her immaturity, Bo is healthier than Aife. But she did not come through the early years unscathed. She feels most certain about her love for Kenzi – a sisterly love that avoids some of the demands and complications of romantic love — and sex. And Kenzi being who she is — also a trauma survivor — they both tended to keep things light and superficial, while understanding each other on a deeper intuitive level. My point is that when fans blast Bo for being a selfish, insensitive, jerk, I think they are forgetting not just that she is fighting her father’s influence (he’s the Lord of Darkness, after all, if Persephone is to be believed) but that she is a child of trauma. It’s not easy to overcome those scars and have healthy, mature, intimate, adult romantic attachments. But she’s trying — and slowly growing. She dreads loss — which may be why she is keeping some distance from Lauren at this point.

        Frankly, I find it hard to undrrstand the harshness judgments and total lack of empathy for Bo’s plight from some fans. Surely all of us have experienced or been witness to some degree of trauma in our lives and have some sense of the devastating impact it can have. Give Bo a break!

  5. Felicia says:

    Yes! Finally someone writes about games
    online.

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