Lost Girl and Family

I’ve been meaning to write this blog post about Lost Girl and Family for a long time, but hadn’t found a starting point for it – until this week, when I was in church.

Let me explain.

I’m not a religious person, but my wife is. She belongs to a church that is affiliated with More Light Presbyterians (Open Doors, in our area). More Light congregations work for the full participation and inclusion of LGBTQ people in life, society and the church – including advocating for marriage equality.

The first Sunday in June is More Light Sunday, a day that the church celebrates LGBTQ inclusiveness in its Sunday service. One of the sections of the bulletin from the June 1 service contained statements from the members of the church about what it means to be a More Light Church. This statement in particular caught my attention:

To be part of a More Light Church means
to be family for those estranged from a family, and to be a place where kids from all kinds of families can be part of a big family that supports them.

That was my starting point – because that’s what Bo’s gang is. It is family for those estranged from a family, and a place where all kinds of people can be part of a big family.

We create our own families.

Bo was kicked out of the house by her parents around age 18 after telling them about accidentally killing her boyfriend, Kyle, during their first sexual experience together. Her mother disowned her, told her that she had the devil in her, and also broke the news to Bo that she had been adopted. “My mother cast me out like I was some kind of deviant,” Bo tells Lauren in episode 3.08, “There’s Bo Place Like Home.”

bo_mother

Whether intentionally paralleled or not by the writers of this episode, Bo’s experience echoes the tragic real-life experience of many LGBTQ youth who are cast out of their homes when they come out.

Those friends thou hast, and their adoption tried,
Grapple them unto thy soul with hoops of steel.
Polonius, Hamlet, William Shakespeare

Bo spent ten years on the run, and was dependent only upon herself to survive. The first friend she found after all those isolated years was Kenzi. She didn’t intend to stick with Kenzi at first – she intended to save her from a roofie-ing would-be rapist and then to leave town – but Kenzi’s helpless state convinced her to bring her back to what would become their shared home.

As Bo tried to sneak out and leave Kenzi behind, she woke her up by accidentally kicking a soda can. (And a good thing too, since Kenzi had recorded a cell phone video of Bo chi-sucking the rapist to death, and who knows how THAT would have ended for Kenzi, once the Fae got wind of it and without Bo to protect her.)

bo_kenzi
I think what convinced Bo to stick with Kenzi was Kenzi’s dogged determination to help Bo. Kenzi says that her mother had told her to find the biggest, strongest kid on the playground and make friends with them. Kenzi broke into the Glass Factory and played what was probably a crucial role in helping Bo to not be killed during her test. Once Bo was convinced that Kenzi was there to stay, and worth keeping, they were fast friends. (It reminds me of the initial episodes of Xena:  Warrior Princess where Xena tries to ditch Gabrielle at first, but Gabrielle simply refuses be ditched.)

The ache for home lives in all of us,
the safe place where we can go as we are and not be questioned.

Dr. Maya Angelou

It’s not just Bo who was estranged from her family – Kenzi had also spent several homeless years living in underground sewers and other places and to this day, we still don’t know the extent of what happened to her while she was on the run. We just know that it wasn’t good. Kenzi ran away from home due to her stepfather’s abuse and her mother’s inability or refusal to protect her child from the abuse.

kenzi_mother
Together, Bo and Kenzi are the heart of the show. Their friendship has ebbed and flowed, and in Season 4 experienced its most serious challenge yet after Hale died, which has set up an epic arc of reconciliation for Season 5.

Friendship is born at that moment when one man says to another:
“What! You too? I thought that no one but myself . . .”

C.S. Lewis

Dyson, Lauren, Hale and Trick have also been estranged from their families of origin and find family with each other, Bo and Kenzi. Dyson left his pack after discovering that the king he served sent his friend Stefan to his death in order to claim Stefan’s wife, Ciara. Dyson wandered for centuries as a lone wolf until he encountered Trick and swore fealty to him. For a long while, Trick and then Hale seemed to constitute Dyson’s new pack until Bo came on the scene. Being alone is an intolerably uncomfortable situation for a pack animal, which we witness to some extent in “La Fae Epoque” – Dyson has a reputation of drinking, whoring and generally being up to no good, but he clearly yearns for some higher purpose.

dyson_horse
Lauren, we learn in Season 4, had been close with her brother and they had set out to change the world together, but that dream and that relationship ended abruptly. Her brother planted some pipe bombs that she built around an oil pipeline that wasn’t deserted like it was supposed to be, resulting in the deaths of 11 people. Lauren was around 17 or 18 at the time, and she ran away and changed her name – eerily paralleling Bo’s experience. Lauren appeared to have found some family with Nadia, but the Light Fae Ash ruined that for her by cursing Nadia in order to deceive Lauren into working for him.

Lauren and Bo have had their ups and downs, but the ending of Season 4 left them on firmer footing than the ending of any previous season.

lauren_crystal
Hale, by contrast, seems to have intentionally distanced himself from his family of origin and appears to hold values that aren’t in line with those of the Santiago clan. Even though his father is one of the most influential leaders among the Light Fae, Hale resists trading on his social status. His family disapproves of his choice to become a police officer and of his egalitarian views about humans. They would certainly have disapproved of his marriage proposal to Kenzi if they had been around to witness it.

hale_kenzi_bench
Trick’s alienation from his family is interesting to consider, since he brought it upon himself. As a consequence of his insistence that his blood laws were infallible and his resistance to compromise, his wife Isabeau was killed. Then after his daughter Aife kills the Dark Fae she believes is responsible for her mother’s death, he hands her over to the Dark Fae for them to administer their version of justice. When he goes to visit Dao-Ming, he tries to answer her question by saying that he loved Isabeau the most, but eventually is forced to admit that he loves himself over all others. Given a chance to reconnect with his granddaughter, to date he has squandered the opportunity to achieve forgiveness and reconciliation in a most spectacular manner.

aife_trick
Tamsin, who joins the gang in Season 3, also is estranged from her family of origin. We learn in Season 4 that she committed a cardinal Valkyrie no-no when she agreed to give Rainer’s soul to Trick in exchange for more cycles in her own life. She only really becomes integrated as a full member of the gang when she is reincarnated in Season 4, and Kenzi and Bo raise her in a loving environment.

trick_tamsin
“A bosom friend–an intimate friend, you know–a really kindred spirit to whom I can confide my inmost soul. I’ve dreamed of meeting her all my life. I never really supposed I would, but so many of my loveliest dreams have come true all at once that perhaps this one will, too. Do you think it’s possible?”
Anne Shirley, Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery

Throughout the first three seasons of Lost Girl, we meet so many people who are alone, astray and hurting, and we get to see them find each other and forge a strong family bond. During Season 4, we see them grow painfully apart from each other – mostly because the center of their family, Bo, had been memory-wiped, manipulated and traumatized. I think in Season 5 we’ll get to see Bo returning as the center of her family, helping to reassemble it and heal the wounds everyone has suffered. And perhaps her own, too.

Outside the story of Lost Girl and the world it has created, it has also created an opportunity for found families among fans (say that three times fast). I’ve met some awesome people through our shared bond of loving this show, people who have become very good friends. Lost Girl has given me amazing gifts by virtue of its message – gifts of greater understanding, affirmation and validation, among other things. But the friendships and the people I’ve found – I think this might be Lost Girl’s greatest gift to me.

Sometimes I see myself fine
Sometimes I need a witness
And I like the whole truth
But there are nights I only need forgiveness

Sometimes they say “I don’t know who you are
But let me walk with you some”
And I say “I am alone, that’s all
You can’t save me from all the wrong I’ve done”

But they’re waiting just the same
With their flashlights and their semaphores
And I’ll act like I have faith and like that faith never ends
But I really just have friends
Dar Williams, “My Friends”

Bo at Kenzi's grave

12 thoughts on “Lost Girl and Family

  1. Lovely discussion, Sally, and I’m glad you mentioned the online Faemily that has come together around the show — numbering in the millions at this point, hailing from at least 40 different countries around the world by my last count. Included in those 40 are a number of counties — Russia, Nigeria, and others — where LGBT fans are potentially placing themselves in harm’s way simply by intentifying as fans of “Lost Girl.” The importance of a show like “Lost Girl” (and the online Faemily it has brought together) cannot be overstated for people isolated and actively persecuted in their home countries because of their sexuality.

    Like you, I hope Season 5 will see the discovered family reunited, Kenzi rescued, and Doccubus allowed to flourish into a truly committed and lasting relationship. Before the series draws to a close, I hope we see Lauren and Bo (and perhaps other pairs?) begin to have families of their own. That would feel like a fitting way for the show to end — with new and healing beginnings. One of the storylines I liked most in season 4 was watching Tamsin reborn and raised by Kenzi and Bo — two runaways still struggling to grow up and define themselves.

    But whatever happens in Season 5, this little show has done so much good for so many around the world — including a certain bisexual woman of a certain age you may know. For that, I feel very grateful.

    1. Carolyn, that was beautifully stated. The show has done a ton of good for so many people around the world, and if I had watched it in a vacuum, I would still love it.

      But just add fans and WHOA NELLIE. The fans who have worked to create spaces where fans can gather and interact with like-minded people have made the experience exponentially richer for me, and you’re one of them, Carolyn.

      My hat* is off to all the fan-run websites, blogs, forums, podcasts and all the supporting social media that’s so much fun to participate in.

      *it’s a golf visor

    1. Thank YOU, Cleo. You’re one of the people who has greatly enhanced my experience of watching the show and being a fan.

  2. This is a wonderful post Sally. Family, Faemily; I am grateful, and always will be that the Show exists and continues on with such an inclusive message. I’m also grateful for the friends I’ve made because of the Show. Your Wife’s Church is amazing and wish that all their good works and message of inclusiveness will spread among the other Religious communities. Thank you!

    1. Thanks keets! I’m psyched for Season 5 and hopefully, seasons beyond, and grateful to have met you as well. I think part of what is so special about the More Light churches is that they don’t just accept and appreciate LGBTQ inclusion, they advocate for it and fight for it. That’s the true definition of being an ally – and I think Lost Girl fits that definition too (as well as a bellwether).

    1. Thank you, King Kat! That’s the thing about any story, be it TV, movies or books. I love a great plot and action and mystery, but if I don’t care about the characters, then it has a hard time keeping my interest. And I love, love love all the characters on Lost Girl in all their various combinations and as they struggle to make sense of themselves, their places in the world and each other.

  3. exactly. And it reminds me this proverb :
    “Tell me, I’ll forget
    Show me, I’ll remember
    Involve me, I’ll understand.”

    Well, because we care about the characters, because they are writen in a realistic way, we are involve in this show.

    How they depict the relationships in Lost Girl, but mostly between Bo and Kenzi and Bo and Lauren (I speak for myself), well that’s what made me hooked on it. They’ve hooked my heart.
    And Bo herself, she’s such an amazing character. Strong and gentle at the same time, brave and fragile. She’s fae and yet so human. Thanks to Anna. She put her heart in Bo and it shows in the way Bo is depicted. If am I right, they have rewrited the character specially for Anna. (I don’t remember where I read this..)

    Well, we can only feel loved at the end.
    I remember the first time I’ve watched Lost Girl (3×01).. I’ve said to myself “ok, a show about sex, with queerbait and all.” Well.. I couldn’t be so wrong and so far from the truth.
    Now, after watching all the seasons, I can say for sure, Lost Girl is about love and family of heart.

    It’s a great show.
    Richer than it appears at first sight.

    So, chapeau bas Lost Girl.You have made something powerful and meaningful, multiple level.

  4. Great post…thanks Sally!

    I watch and enjoy many genre TV shows but only a select few (Buffy, Farscape and Lost Girl) get me emotionally invested. What really resonates with me is that each of those shows has a theme of created family. It’s not where you came from or what you did in the past that matters. It’s all about coming together in the present and creating something larger than yourself.

    1. Thank you, Kevin! Now I need to go and watch Farscape. I, too, love the theme of created families and people finding and loving each other, fulfilling needs they may or may not have known they had. I think especially Dyson figures that out at the end of Season 4, that he didn’t realize something was missing in his life.

      There’s a similar thing happening on Star Trek: Voyager, with all of the different people thrown together from not only different backgrounds, but from different ends of the political spectrum. I love what a tight crew they become by the end of the series.

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