Category Archives: Episode Review/Analysis

Lost Girl 5.14 – “Follow the Yellow Trick Road”

I felt like Vex this week, the man with two faces. I really liked this episode, and I was also exasperated with it.

What I liked:  I thought this episode was really well put together. It was funny, it was moving, and it was about characters. There were some twists that shocked me.

The scenes that alternated between the real world, where Bo lay unconscious on her bed, and Bo’s dreamscape dovetailed nicely. The transitions between scenes for conversations between Thomasina and dreaming-Bo to real-life conversations in Bo’s bedroom were great.

I loved the funny things Bo said – “How did I dream a MEANER Tamsin?” Seeing Dyson as Nosyd was also funny. Kris Holden-Ried is often playing a brooding dude, but he is really funny when he gets a chance to be. I also loved the vacuum cleaner joke – at last. And let me tell you, Lola was HILARIOUS. It was great to have Kenzi back, too. She is a brilliant, shining piece of Lost Girl.

I even loved the discussion about the Pyrippus. I still don’t have much of a clue what the Pyrippus actually is, but I liked the dream-Kenzi’s statement that the Pyrippus is neither inherently good nor evil, but rather, what you make of it. Finally, some progress toward an answer.

And the ending, when they read Trick’s will – it was a moving moment that reestablished the group’s commitment to each other. I also enjoyed the surprise throat-slashing at the end. I don’t know if Vex will end up dead-dead, or if he was just dying but will be saved, but I didn’t see it coming, and I liked that.

I think Hades is purposefully trying to isolate Bo from her friends and family. He slyly set the wheels in motion for Lauren and Bo’s breakup, he lured Kenzi back for probably nefarious purposes, and he killed Trick and Aife, perhaps thinking to cause Bo to despair. Maybe Bo was lucky that the moth bit her, since otherwise she might have had trouble accepting Trick’s death.

What aggravated me:  at this point in the series, doing an alternative-reality episode that takes place in a dream was an aggravating choice. I like episodes that mess around with reality and people’s perceptions, by and large. But for the third-last episode in the entire series, I wanted more time with the real characters.

Second, the entire point of Bo’s coma and dreamscape was so she could accept that Trick died and that she would need to rely on herself to find a way to defeat Hades. Here’s my beef with that – hasn’t Bo learned that lesson a million times already? At the end of season 4, she had Tamsin giving her tough love, and she accepted that she had to be the One. At the end of season 2, she decided to be the Ash’s champion to fight the Garuda. I know, there’s been water under the bridge and trauma, but this coming so late in the game felt so repetitive.

No show is obligated to follow anyone else’s script for how things ought to go, but here’s how I was feeling – so late in the series, with so few episodes left, I want the hero to more or less have her shit figured out and be taking steps toward defeating the big bad thing, whatever it is.

Maybe that’s what we’ll see in the remaining two episodes.

Lost Girl 5.12 – “Judgement Fae”

I love Lost Girl and over the years if an episode hasn’t clicked for me, then I have given it the benefit of the doubt. I would look for deeper meaning, and whether I found the meaning or not, I usually found some interesting questions – questions about the meaning of life, fundamentals of human nature, or societal commentary. Even if I was confused, there was usually something in an episode for me to like, laugh at, or otherwise appreciate, so on balance I liked most of the episodes.

What’s all this preamble and buildup about? I really didn’t like this episode. The acting was great. The story, the plot, and the arbitrary actions from the characters, it all drove me batty. I watched it twice. I tried to understand.

I’ve said before that I want the story to make sense. I want to understand the rules of the world. I want to understand why the characters do the things they do. I don’t need to have their motivations spoon-fed to me, and I’m willing to spend time having things revealed to me and figuring out what it means, trying to uncover basic truths. I’m also willing to accept that real people are complex and often make the same mistakes a few times. But honestly, this episode defied all of that.

Lost Girl built a very interesting, original world with interesting rules in Seasons 1-3. Even the confusing Wanderer/Rainer storyline in Season 4 with prophecy overload and the scary Una Mens melting like butter when the hot knife of Bo cut through them were original, at least. I can get behind the Greek gods being Fae, to a point – after all, Greek mythology itself was the Greeks’ attempt to explain the natural world around them – but the storyline of the Ancients seems to have completely overshadowed all of the Fae world that we’ve learned about so far. And that’s a shame.

Anyway, Bo had to pass a test in order to see Hephaestus, and in order to gain access to the test, she had to approach Judge Megaera, who is apparently Fae posing as human, as they do, and then win a court case, but not actually win, just learn a life lesson about her inner justice. I didn’t understand the point of it all. Bo gleaned from the allegorical software company founders’ dispute that she needed to be more supportive of Lauren, and when she said that, Judge Megaera nodded approvingly and let her go see Hephaestus. There were many more emotionally resonant and dramatics ways for Bo to have an epiphany.

After passing this pointless test, Bo is granted an audience with Hephaestus. He stands around, doesn’t say much, and looks attractive. I don’t think we even see him swing his hammer, and he’s supposed to be working at the forge. Hephaestus is a pretty interesting god in Greek mythology, but why bring him into this at all if he’s not going to have much to do besides wear an apron? This was one of several arbitrary hoops the story had for characters to jump through.

Then Lauren shows up without passing any tests. Maybe since Zee is possessing her, she’s allowed readmittance to Hephaestus’ forge. But how did Tamsin and Beth get in? Is it only if you need to have a weapon forged by Hephaestus that you have to pass the test? Otherwise you can stroll in willy-nilly?

After that, the whole situation with Zee and Hera was baffling. First they’re turning on Bo, but then they’re not, they’re going to Myth, and Zee apparently wants Bo to defeat Hades, and she’s proud of her niece even though she tried to kill her. Why are they beating a retreat instead of staying to stand and fight against Hades? Is there some rule that they can’t fight Hades anymore?

Then Lauren broke up with Bo. Mahlers5th and Valksy wrote extensively about it here on UNALIGNED, and both Dorothy Snarker and Melanie Killingsworth had some excellent things to say as well. It was wonderfully acted, and I cried both times I saw it. It was also contrived and forced, which annoys me. I do understand Lauren feeling like she lost herself, although there just wasn’t that much time spent on establishing that in the previous episodes of this season, and the conclusion she came to just doesn’t make any sense.

Contrast this to the tension between Bo and Lauren in Season 3. They had challenges there, too, but it was a slow buildup over several episodes interspersed with some good times and back-and-forth conversation. This latest breakup happened to create drama for the last part of the last season, in my opinion. Drama without sufficient nuance and buildup coming before it rings hollow, no matter how good the acting is.

I have some TV whiplash, y’all. I loved 5.11, “Sweet Valkyrie High,” and thought it was tightly plotted, made sense, provided excellent backstory and was funny. This episode had a couple of funny moments, but overall it was sprawling and confusing, and things happened without justification.

I said that Lost Girl has often raised questions for me. But unfortunately, the question that this episode made me ask most often was “Huh?”

Lost Girl Episode 510: Like Father, Like Daughter

Beware of Greeks bearing gifts
[Vergil, the Aeneid Bk II]

I believe Father knows best. And Bo will come to believe it, too.
[Hades to Zee, episode 510}

Mahlers5th

[Ed. Note: Valksy had to tend to a sick cat and wasn’t able to collaborate in writing about this week’s episode but we discussed it at length and her handprint can be seen everywhere].

Like Father, Like Daughter. The title of episode 510 reminds us that whatever else happens in the next 44 minutes of season 5B — and a lot will happen — at the heart of the episode, season, and series is that nagging question: Is Bo making choices of her own free will or is she playing out an inevitable and unavoidable series of events that has been scripted in advance by her father?

There’s no doubt that Hades is a masterful dramaturge who has been carefully putting the pieces of a very long game in place for a very long time – beginning well before Bo’s birth. Just think of the cascade of events he has set in motion in season 5 alone. At the end of season 4, Kenzi is convinced that freely choosing to sacrifice herself is the only way to close the portal. Bo chooses to follow Kenzi to Valhalla and chooses to trade her own freedom for Kenzi’s when Freyja threatens to claim her soul for Hades. In Tartarus, Bo is persuaded by Persephone (repeat after me: stepmothers in fiction are always evil) that choosing to take the Artemis candle is her only means of escape. In freely choosing to light it, Bo unwittingly brings back the Ancients, who in turn unleash the Nyx. In a last-ditch effort to stop the Nyx and save the world, Bo chooses to open Hades’ box and liberates him. Hades makes it clear that Bo is free to use the box to return him to Tartarus at any time but she chooses instead to contain the Nyx (and kill both Iris and Cece) for the greater good of saving the world. Really, did she have any other choice?

We don’t know the full extent of Hades’ powers yet, but surely one of them must be the power to think an infinite number of moves ahead and predict or determine what choices the actors in his plot will make. This brings us to this week’s B-caper. Thieves have been dispatched to the Santiago castle in Spain where Kenzi has retreated to retrieve a painting of The Vanishing – a depiction of the Ancient’s Last Supper on earth centuries ago, before they were banished from the Earth (by Hades himself, as we learn from Zee in the final scene). Within Kenzi’s earshot, the thieves happen to drop references to a succubus who slayed the Una Mens, so naturally enough she chooses to return from exile to warn Bo she is in danger, and chooses to bring with her the first siren,  Heathcliff.

As it turns out, Hades’ never really needed the siren. In fact, the entire painting caper was a ruse concocted by Hades for unclear reasons. No-one is actually banished, and saving Zee — or making Bo believe she had “vanished” Zee — doesn’t seem to have been Hades’ primary motivation. Zee implies as much when she points out that Hades didn’t hesitate in vanishing her, Hera and Iris “all those years ago” – why not do it again? His reply is interesting, if enigmatic: “Your time will come, when it’s just.”

So what was Hades’ deal with the Vanishing painting? Banishing Zee – or allowing Bo to believe he had helped her by providing key information about how to use the painting – would have further encouraged Bo to trust him. But I think there may have been an even subtler game in play between the two of them around the painting. Bo had intended to use the painting to banish both Hades and Zee. She didn’t. She chose instead to banish only Zee. Now, we know it wouldn’t have worked anyway, but Bo didn’t know that when she made the choice. And this is the second time Bo has spared Hades since his return. How did Hades know she wouldn’t at least try to vanish him (and ruin his plan)? Is his influence direct, as in mind control? Or is she playing out an unavoidable destiny he has shaped ahead of her?

Another possibility comes to my mind – reminiscent of the time at the end of episode 418 when Bo was “baited” by her father to suck the revenants’ chi as they stumbled out of the portal, lowering her defenses against him, and allowing him to possess her (briefly). Perhaps Bo’s “choice” to banish Zee rather than Hades is an example of psychological manipulation rather than a choice forced by predestination. Hades makes it clear in a conversation with Lauren in episode 510 that he knows about Freud and transference and the power of unconscious wishes to shape our choices and behavior. What unconscious wish might he have been exploiting in Bo that held her back from getting rid of him? Didn’t the oracles reveal that truth to Bo in episode 507 (“Here Comes the Night”) – the person her heart most desires?

Kenzi knows best:

Kenzi: You could have used that painting to get rid of him, but you didn’t. You chose Zee instead. Why did you do that?
Bo: I don’t know how I feel about all this, Kenz. It’s complicated…You don’t think it’s crazy that I want him to stay?

Kenzi: Not at all. He’s your father.

Valksy didn’t like the idea that Hades is coercing Bo’s choices – she’d rather think Bo makes bad, if well-intentioned, choices, playing the hand she is dealt as best she can. Bo recognizes she isn’t sure about her father, so she is giving him the benefit of the doubt. Is this naïveté? Or something honest and brave? It takes guts to give everyone a tabula rasa, against everything you think you know and against bitter or painful experience. It looked more like naïveté to me – and Kenzi seemed to agree: “You get what you need [from your father],” she tells Bo, “But do not trust him. He’s smart, and dangerous.”

There has been a subtle seduction going on since Hades first made his appearance in episode 509, and in the opening minutes of episode 510, during the stake out with Dyson, we are beginning to see the effects of that seduction on Bo. Bo refers to Hades as “BF” – a new favorite nick name she uses repeatedly with Dyson, Lauren and Kenzi. She means “biological father” but her friends naturally enough assume she means “best friend” — because c’mon Bo, through 4 ½ seasons, hasn’t it always meant “best friend”? Is this the writers’ way of signaling the shifting allegiances in Bo’s mind, a certain softening in her attitude towards her father? As if to underscore that, she goes on to tell Dyson during the stake out, “Sometimes the worst thing is not knowing how you feel.”

Valksy wondered if the Vanishing painting was a MacGuffin (a motivating element in a story used to drive the plot but serving no further purpose) used in this case to bring back the Pyrippus. Was that Hades’ motivation in retrieving the painting? Is he a Horseman of the Apocalypse who needs his devil’s steed?

Zee speaks for all of us when she asks, “What are you doing here, Jack?” Whatever his plan may be, apparently it has begun. Did it begin with his stealing the Leviathan’s handprint 600 years ago — sometime after he was banished to the Underworld? We know that it was Hades who banished Zee, Hera, and Iris from the earthly plane but who banished Hades to Tartarus? We still don’t know why Hades’ power waned in Tartarus after Bo’s birth, and who or what took it from him, but it certainly seems likely that something or someone wanted to thwart or slow down Hades’ plans. Who?

Did something or someone take umbrage at Zee, Hera and Hades playing “gods”? Fae are supposed to live in secret (as we are reminded by the Dyson/Alicia subplot in this episode, in case viewers had forgotten). Did some stronger force become offended by their hubris, spoil their fun, slap them down, and exile them, as if to say, “Leave the humans alone, stop tormenting them for fun, you’re not gods”?  If the Ancients are called gods, but are not, then who or what is the higher power – the one who really makes magic?

We don’t get a good close look at the Vanishing painting but sitting at the center of that Last Supper tableau appears to be a formidable bearded figure with flowing white hair, arguably bearing some resemblance to the Wanderer depicted in the old Fae History books discovered by Lauren late in season 4. Just sayin’…

In looking for a God above these Fae gods, if the show needs one to explain itself, avoiding the Abrahamic god is common sense! In our mid-season 5 commentary, Valksy speculated that a good candidate for the higher power might be Kronos – Father Time, herald of the first Golden Generation of mortal men to live on the earth, and father to Hades, Zeus, and Hera (among others). In Greek Mythology, Kronos was warned that one of his children would eventually overthrow him and become the foremost immortal. With his Titan brothers and sisters at his side – the first generation of Titans to have a human appearance – Kronos initiated a war against his own children (the War of the Titans). Zeus meanwhile gathered the Olympians to fight with him against his father [http://mythagora.com/bios/kronos.html].  In the Lost Girl transfiguration of the Greek Myth, is it Hades who will be challenging his father’s power? And did he create Bo to fight by his side?

The theme of children growing to adulthood and confronting parental authority – Mark and Dyson, Bo and Aife/Hades, Aife and Trick – has informed Lost Girl from the very beginning. It would be fitting if the series ended with a war played out between the Ancients and their own Father.

Lost Girl 5.10 – “Like Father, Like Daughter”

This week (last week) on Lost Girl, I noticed a theme of seduction.

Big whoop, yeah? This is Lost Girl, after all. But wait – it wasn’t sexual seduction this week. It was how power seduces us, and can distract us from our true priorities.

Lost Girl has shown us how power corrupts through Trick’s storyline. Whether this is a continued exploration of the theme, or just a natural progression of Bo’s storyline to the end, both she and Lauren in particular were confronted with situations in which their choices might lead to trouble.

Lauren used herself as a guinea pig for the solution Hades suggested, using a viral vector as a Trojan Horse to further her experiment seeking eternal life. A surprising side effect was that she is also now a conduit for Fae powers.

Or is it actually surprising that that was the side effect? Hades suggested the vector that she used, and maybe this was his intention – to show her how it felt to have powers. Her face was filled with wonder when she tested out having Vex’s powers – seemingly without much concern for how she was flinging around her male patient’s limbs like a rag doll. When it came time to help Hale’s grandfather after Zee froze his larynx, she didn’t hesitate to channel his powers. (As well she shouldn’t have, since Zee would likely have flash-fried them all like thinly-sliced eggplant.)

Most telling was her behavior around having this new ability, though. She has shown a mistrust of Hades and refused his offer to let him examine her. However, at the end of the episode, we see that she did let him examine her after all – and then she lied to Bo about it. Lying to Bo creates distance between them and erodes their absolute trust and will likely lead to problems later.

For now, my money’s on Lauren’s ability to act as a conduit for Fae powers having a pivotal role to play in defeating Hades – since she could channel his powers too and have power over life and death. First, there will have to be some come-to-succubus reckoning and resolution about the deception and Lauren’s seduction by power and long life.

Bo is also dealing with complicated feelings about her father. She says all the right things – that she doesn’t trust him and will get rid of him soon, but admits to Kenzi that she didn’t banish him with the painting and the First Song when she had the chance. Is it curiosity about her origins, or is she gradually warming to the idea of having ultimate power – especially since Lauren isn’t strictly human anymore? With Kenzi skedaddling back to Spain after the painting caper was complete, there are precious few strictly human humans left in Bo’s social sphere to keep her grounded.

Sidenote – I absolutely loved Bo’s interaction with Suri Middleton at the art gallery. Being thwarted in her attempts to succu-touch the germophobic curator was amusing, as was her frustrated mock-sneeze and Suri’s ensuing look of horror. Bo could probably have forced her touch upon Suri, but didn’t – which I appreciated.

Speaking of humans, in time-honored tradition, Dyson had to claim Alicia because Mark couldn’t keep a secret. I can’t blame the kid too much, because Alicia’s self-recrimination about stabbing Kevin when he was actually just possessed, as far as she knew, clearly pushed all of Mark’s guilt buttons about how things with Iris played out. Mark isn’t good at keeping his cards close to the vest – since, unlike Dyson, he doesn’t wear vests. (Ha! That’s your only joke for this post.)

Dyson bears some responsibility here too, because who lets a human stay in his boxing gym apartment with all the occult books and the confidential files about Fae doings without even trying to clean up first? At least put all that stuff in a cardboard box and write “dirty jock straps” on it. His aghast “That was PRIVATE!” when Alicia told him she read the file on Kevin amused me – he’s been around long enough to know that people who are desperate for answers that you’re keeping in the dark will not respect boundaries.

There wasn’t much Tamsin nor much Trick in this episode – Tamsin’s role was to look hurt when reminded of Bo and Lauren’s relationship and to locate the museum offscreen, and Trick’s role was to look up information. It looks like next week (tonight) we’ll get a more in-depth look into Tamsin’s past, though.

Last week I thought it all seemed a little too easy how docile and cooperative Hades was with Bo’s ordering him around and answering questions, and this week I thought it was way too easy for the gang to banish Zee with the painting. But as we suspected, Hades really does have a big, bad agenda – he deceived everyone and Zee isn’t in Tartarus. Instead, she was “banished” to Hades’ corporeal location. They have a stilted conversation and she walks away. Where was she going? To the mall?

I don’t know whether to laugh or cry now that Pyrippus is back in the picture (literally! Ha! Two jokes! Because he was in the painting!). I’m glad the storyline didn’t just let Pyrippus go, since it was such a big deal in Season 4. But how will it make sense?

Here’s a thought:  maybe Pyrippus isn’t actually Hades or Bo’s father, as we used to think. Maybe Pyrippus as a harbinger and agent of destruction is what Hades wants Bo to become in his quest to rule the world. Many have googled the world “Pyrippus” and haven’t been able to find that this name exists in bona fide mythology. Maybe it’s something that the Lost Girl writers made up. A Pyrrhic victory is one where you win, but you’ve also lost, because in the process of winning, you lost everything.

Pyrippus – Succubus?

Mid-Season 5 Review

UNALIGNED welcomes Mahlers5th and Valksy, who join Sally in discussing the first half of Season 5 of Lost Girl. Gods, dads, families, Doccubus, Bo’s box – we talk about it all. Let’s dive in!

If the world were clear, art would not exist.
[Albert Camus, The Myth of Sisyphus]

Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster. And if you gaze long enough into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you.
[Friedrich Nietzsche]

Mahlers5th

“Who am I?” “Where do I fit in?” “How does this world work?” “What really matters in life?” “Why am I here?” “Where am I going?” “Is that all there is?” These are the kind of questions that Bo has been wrestling with since the premiere episode of Lost Girl.  While viewers have been drawn to the show for varied reasons, Lost Girl is fundamentally about Bo’s journey in search of her true nature, her lineage, and the larger destiny that awaits her. What does she really want? Will she finally live the life she chooses?

Some viewers find it frustrating that after three decades and a 4 ½ season search to understand herself, Bo still doesn’t have all the answers. I find it one of her most endearing human qualities (it is the human characters in Lost Girl — Lauren and Kenzi — who seem to learn, grow, and mature the most with experience, not the centuries-old Fae). Asking such existential, or meaning-focused, questions is a primary intrinsic motivation of human beings and it’s an important reason why I keep watching Lost Girl — insatiable human curiosity about this supernatural world in which we have been immersed and the characters who inhabit it, especially our lead protagonist.

Was all the time invested trying to understand themes, to search for meaning and make sense of character development wasted? I find myself thinking of Sisyphus, condemned by the Greek Gods to ceaselessly push a stone to the top of a mountain, knowing full well that in the end it would always fall back of its own weight.

sisyphus-jankovics1“They had thought with some reason that there was no more dreadful punishment than futile and hopeless labor,“ Albert Camus wrote in The Myth of Sisyphus, “[but] the struggle itself towards the heights is enough to fill a man’s heart. One must imagine Sisyphus happy.”

I still enjoy puzzling out the storyline, understanding what motivates characters, following the developing mythology, trying to make sense of clues, translating Runes, researching jack-in-the-boxes, and deciphering children’s nursery rhymes — even if the answers never come into sharp focus. We’re only in this wonderful universe of Lost Girl for a short while longer, and I feel almost compelled to pay close attention.

Sally

Greek gods are assholes.
[everyone who has ever read Greek mythology]

Season 5 is all about family,” said Michael Grassi, who has taken up the mantle of showrunner for the final season of Lost Girl. And so it is. But as we’ve seen throughout the entire series, family doesn’t necessarily mean only your blood relations. Family also means the family you choose. Over the years, Bo has been slowly been building her own family, which includes Lauren, Dyson, Tamsin, Hale (RIP), occasionally Vex, and of course at its heart – Kenzi.

In season 5, Bo finally meets some bona fide blood relations, the first since encountering Aife (who was hardly a source of comfort and solace) and then identifying Trick (who keeps secrets) as her grandfather. And so far, Bo’s new family of Zee, Heratio and Iris seem to be assholes. Bo’s father, named as Hades, continues to manipulate her from afar.

In fairness, I’m getting the sense that Zee, Heratio and Hades don’t bear Bo any personal animosity. Rather, all the signs seem to point to them wanting to use her for their own ends, just as they used Clay the heraclid to gain energy in episode 5.06 “Clear Eyes, Fae Hearts.” It was Tears for Fears who told us “Everybody wants to rule the world,” and that’s what I think is going on with these three. It’s the old story – all of the gods want to be the ultimate El Jefe.

Sidenote on this:  why does everyone always want to rule the world, the kingdom, or the country? Sure, you have power, but if you’re going to do it right, you also have a lot of responsibility – and administrative headaches. Plus, you’ll likely have a lot of other people plotting to overthrow you.

For Zee and Heratio, it seems like adoration increases their power, so I kind of get it, but I direct you to look up the approval ratings for the President and Congress, because being a leader doesn’t necessarily translate into being adored.

I just spent a bit of time googling a quote that I thought I remembered from Machiavelli or Mark Twain, but as it turns out, it’s from Douglas Adams (again):

“The major problem—one of the major problems, for there are several—one of the many major problems with governing people is that of whom you get to do it; or rather of who manages to get people to let them do it to them.

To summarize: it is a well-known fact that those people who must want to rule people are, ipso facto, those least suited to do it.

To summarize the summary: anyone who is capable of getting themselves made President should on no account be allowed to do the job.”

–Douglas Adams, The Restaurant at the End of the Universe

This is why I love humor and satire, and more generally, representative art, including TV:  it takes philosophical points that are interesting in and of themselves and presents them in the form of entertainment, which makes them (perhaps) easier to understand, and attractive to a wider range of people.

Mahlers5th

Season 4 ended with a more clear-headed Bo, coolly determined to go to Hel and back if necessary to save Kenzi and to confront those who had lured her into the portal.  As season 5 opens, badass Bo is clearly back, with her fierce sense of loyalty and justice, her courage and defiance. She’s mad as Hell and she isn’t going to take it anymore.

In the span of the first two episodes — or a mere hour and a half of viewer time — Bo finds the missing helskór, infiltrates Hel/Valhalla, rescues Kenzi and negotiates her transport back to the earthly plane, survives a descent into Tartarus, sweeps aside taunts that her chosen family no longer loves her, defeats the maze, discovers her father’s identity, demands to see him to “have my say,” then fearlessly confronts him in the pitch black of his lair:

I can hear you breathing, Dad. Dad…I’ve waited so long to say that. To talk to you. Wondering who you really are. Are you gonna come out and face me? You’ve been hiding all these years. Why would that change now? You’re not my family. You’re nothing. You’re darkness. And I’m not walking into it.

This is a pivotal speech in the season and in the series-long arc of Bo’s personal coming-of-age story. In Bo’s mind, her journey is done. She has made her choice: she is NOT her father. There’s your biological family, then there are those people you meet along the way who love you and whom you trust to be at your side, and maybe that’s enough:

Keep hiding. I don’t want to meet you. I never want to meet you. I’m not going to jeopardize the people who truly love me back home just to meet you. I don’t need to know who you are to know myself. You wanna see me? It’ll be on my terms. With my true family who would never abandon me. I will never be what you want me to be.

Bo’s life, from the moment of her conception — if not before — seems to have been subject to a script beyond her control — she was to be the Chosen One or The Dark Queen, despite both being at odds with her frequently stated wish to live the life that she chooses. But as she leaves her father’s penthouse with the Artemis candle lighting her way, she seems to have taken back the reins of her life — or so she thinks.

121718LostGirl19

My true family who would never abandon me…

No sooner has Bo uttered those words than the bottom drops out of her world:  Kenzi abandons her. “Abandons” is not too strong a word to describe the emotional significance of this loss for Bo. Her love for Kenzi was the only thing she felt “completely sure about.” Despite her surface acceptance and understanding of Kenzi’s decision, Bo is devastated. Kenzi has chosen to be away from Bo, although Bo would have chosen to have her stay — a hard lesson. There isn’t a person with a beating heart who wouldn’t feel with Bo in that moment, “If she really loved me, she wouldn’t leave.”

Having descended into Tartarus, discovered her true birthplace, confronted Hades, and declared her chosen path, Bo is thrown back into paralyzing doubt. The emotional and psychological impact of losing Kenzi is painfully evident over the next several episodes and, in my view, Bo doesn’t fully regain her footing until episode 507 (“Here Comes the Night”) after the Ancients have thrown down the gauntlet and — probably not coincidentally — she and Lauren begin to reconnect.

Sally

Painfully evident, maybe – though as usual, Lost Girl requires the viewer to fill in a lot of the blanks. In 5.03, “Big in Japan,” Bo has lost her mojo. At the end of the episode, acknowledging the trauma she feels about having lost Kenzi and confronting her fears about losing the rest of her family enables her to regain what is central to her Fae identity – her libido. But other than a couple of mentions in episodes 4-8, a viewer might reasonably conclude that Bo has left the sadness of Kenzi’s desertion behind.

Not that I would have liked to have seen a mopey Bo for all of these episodes, don’t get me wrong. We had enough of that in Season 4. Tell us more about how it was evident, M5!

Mahlers5th

I think grief and trauma can take many forms, Sally. In the immediate aftermath of Kenzi’s departure, Bo seems to be managing through some combination of radical denial and detachment. Given the fact that she has just learned her father was Hades and then watched Kenzi walk away without warning, Bo’s behavior at the opening of episode 503 — dancing and repainting her crib  — is downright bizarre. Kenzi was her rock and anchor and she turned her back on Bo — how could that be anything but acutely damaging? Bo acts as if she has been unaffected by Kenzi’s departure. In fact, she is trying desperately to erase it and move on. The only hint of her deep hurt is her loss of libido.

It’s not just her sexual mojo that is MIA, at least temporarily (as you point out, she regains that by the end of the episode when her family rallies around her). Bo seems to have lost any sense of self, purpose, and confidence. She may not be mopey, but gone is the decisive warrior who fearlessly scaled cliff faces without ropes to find a shoe. It’s as if all the air has gone out of her. She was never truly gung-ho about being the Chosen One — that becomes abundantly clear in episode 503 (“Big in Japan”) — but she is more detached and astonishingly insensitive to the feelings and needs of her friends, notably Lauren. Did anyone mention to Bo that Lauren’s lab has been under attack and that her life was in danger? Did Bo think to ask? Lauren, armed and toned, learns to defend herself.

While Dyson and Lauren fill the void by taking on the investigation of a series of truly ominous events (the elevator crash, oddly untouched victims in the morgue who rise up and murder innocents, ritualistic killings) that point to something darker and more evil lurking in their midst, Bo and Tamsin fall back to the Case of the Week format — acting as bodyguards for Musashi in episode 503 (“”Big in Japan”) and chasing down The Hunter in episode 504 (“When God Opens a Window”).

It is only in episode 505 (“It’s Your Lucky Fae”), when her father sends her the Jack-in-the-Box wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma, that Bo seems to wake up to the fact that her father may indeed intend to bring the battle to her turf. Even then, after her attempt to contact Cassie for advice fails, she puts the box away — because really, she was showered with enough fab gifts on her birthday, right? — and doesn’t mention her paternal lineage to anyone, as if keeping the news to herself makes it untrue. Out of sight, out of mind!

While Bo joins Tamsin for the latest Case of the Week in episode 505 (Cassie’s disappearance) and dabbles in online creep-dating, a ledger of Fae signatures and powers has been taken from the Dal and pieces to a larger game involving a mysterious Greek trio are slowly being moved into place.  As the designated Chosen One, Bo remains strangely oblivious and peripheral to the main action. She seems to be trying to keep her head down and her focus near.

At the tail end of episode 505, Bo confesses to Tamsin that Hades is her father, and finally seems to cotton on to the fact that this guy who has been chasing her for, like, thirty years/episodes isn’t going to let her walk out of his life as easily Kenzi walked out of hers:

No matter how hard I try to get away from him, no matter how much good I try to do, he’ll always be a part of me. And he’ll always find me. I need to find a way to separate myself from him for good, so he can never hurt my real family again. He’s trying to use me for something. Something terrible.

He’s trying to use me for something. I love you Bo, really I do, but Duh. He lured your best friend through that portal to get you to come after her, and only now are you realizing he’s trying to use you for “something terrible”? You mean, like that Fae Armageddon prophesied back in season 2? Wake up, girl!

There is no talk here of accepting her fate as the “Chosen One”– in fairness, a mantle she never asked to have — nor any acknowledgement that sooner or later she will have to face her father in the prophesied End of Faes; this is a battle only Lauren seems to understand Bo will have to fight, whether she likes it or not.

Through the seasons Bo has always taken on responsibility for the safety, liberty and lives of others and felt compelled to fight other people’s battles because her sense of morality insisted, even if she didn’t want to do it (recall that in episode 214 Bo initially told the Ash she would not be his champion, then reluctantly agreed in episode 220 only after Ciara was killed by the Garuda). At this stage, however, all Bo wants to do is circle the wagons, protect her remaining family, and escape her father’s influence once and for all.

Sidebar: This may help explain why Zee’s offer in episode 508 (“End of Faes’) to perform surgery without anesthesia and with a rusty blade no less — an offer that has “really, really bad idea” written all over it in bright neon letters — seems so appealing to Bo. She’s willing to try anything to rid herself of her father’s handprint — as if that would end the series-long battle she has been waging with the darkness within herself.

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In the following episode 506 (“Clear Eyes, Fae Hearts”), Bo is beginning to catch on that behind the Case of the Week — the football player’s murder — a major supernatural threat may be looming (actually it’s Dyson who catches her up about triskeles and such) but she is still mostly a bystander in the story, looking a little perplexed and unsure what her role should be.

She regains some of her old bravado in confronting Zee (“If you think we’re done here, you underestimate me”) but she doesn’t really know who she is up against and is swatted aside with a lightening bolt, the door slammed in her face. Could she look more powerless and clueless? It is Trick who begins to piece things together for her at the end of the episode: the Ancients, the most powerful Fae family that ever lived, have descended to the earthly plane to make a killing betting on college football games. Or something involving enucleated oracles? And there’s that jack-in-the-box in your closet, Bo, the one you dreamt about? Because the unconscious never forgets. We certainly haven’t.

Since season 2, when Bo began to have experiences of a dark potential within herself that was bigger and more powerful than anyone else, it was clear that the battle landscape that mattered most lay within Bo. Monsters are nothing — her inner space is what this show is all about. By the end of season 4, after a season and a half of wrestling with her inner Dark Queen, Bo suddenly seemed more “clear-headed,” and back to her defiant bad-ass self again. Kenzi’s death focused things for her. It gave her a clear path, places to go, monsters to defeat. Bo got her swagger back through physical battles outside herself.

Alas, you can take the girl out of Hel, Bo, but you can’t take Hades out of the girl. Slaying the outside monsters has always been relatively easy for Bo. Overcoming her inner demons is proving to be a deeper challenge. We can expect to see this battle played out once and for all in the second half of season 5. Bo has kept herself in the dark and delayed opening the box as long as she could, but at the end of episode 508 she finally peeks inside — and seems utterly taken aback by what she sees in the light.

If you’re feeling impatient about the setbacks and slow pace of Bo’s personal maturation, think about this: if her own internal crises and stressors were as easy to slay as a MoTW, would Bo be even remotely compelling?

Sally

These are good points. Overcoming our inner demons is probably the most challenging piece for most people, right? Bo has appeared to prefer repressing and avoiding the hard stuff during several crucial points during Lost Girl, though she has made steady progress over the years toward being able to face her problems head on.

What I find interesting about the portrayal of Bo’s father so far in Season 5 is that the last three episodes seem designed to cast doubt on the certainty that he’s totally a bad guy. He has consistently been portrayed as an evil person who has committed many terrible deeds – kidnapping, imprisonment and rape of Aife, for starters – and who was banished from the world for good reason. Also, let’s not forget that in episode 2 of season 5, his hand reached through the elevator doors to choke Bo when it became clear that she was beating a hasty retreat.

hadesBut Bo’s conversation with him in episode 5.08 seemed like it was leading us to view her father in a more neutral light. A lot of the things he said to her smacked of the ends justifying the means – “sometimes the greatest evil is also the greatest mercy.” He’s trying to confuse her and tempt her into joining him, since it must be clear by now that Bo would never willingly choose evil.

Bo’s Achilles heel that allows her to deceive herself into taking a trip to the dark side might end up being her longing for the care and regard of the father she never knew, especially given the rejection she suffered at the hands of her adoptive parents. When the Oracles were presenting Bo with the visions of the ones she held most dear, she saw Dyson, Lauren, and then her father. She’s vulnerable to believing there might be some good in him, I think – but I don’t think it’s going to turn out as well for her as it did for Luke Skywalker.

Mahlers5th

I loved the metaphor of Bo driving blind in episode 505 — the same episode in which the three oracles were blinded, ostensibly to prevent Bo and faemily from seeing what lies in store for them. The blind seer is a recurring theme in mythology. They are blind, and yet they can see more than others. Justice is blind, Odin plucked out an eye to gain wisdom, and the Graeae only had one eye between the three of them. Across many mythologies, the sacrifice of sight results in greater knowledge.

Maybe in keeping herself “in the dark” — without fully realizing it! — Bo is actually preserving a certain clear-sightedness about the larger picture, the whole forest, rather than getting lost in the trees (the shenanigans of the Ancient trio). That final image in episode 508 (Bo’s face illuminated by the contents of the box) suggests she may finally be “seeing the light.”

Sally

What do you think was in the box?

Mahlers5th

We’re given a few clues. Trick tells us (in episode 508) that it is “a toy box that can contain evil. The original jack in the box. Only a box of Adamantine, the ore of ancients, could contain such evil [emphasis mine].”  Michael Grassi sent us on a scavenger hunt about such boxes after episode 505, so we know that in French, a jack-in-the-box is called a “diable en boite” (literally boxed devil). Could the writers be trying to tell us that the box either already contains evil or is intended to entrap…Satan?!! [gif of Dana Carver as Church Lady might be appropriate here]. Seriously, I think we’re meant to conclude that by opening the box, Bo is either unleashing something evil (perhaps her father from some place of imprisonment) or has been given the means to contain something evil (perhaps the Ancient trio). Zee’s terrified expression could be consistent with either scenario, so doesn’t tell us much in the end.

We are given other possible clues in Bo’s dream that opens episode 506 (“Clear Eyes, Fae Hearts”). Lauren, dressed as a Greek Goddess is turning the crank on the box with an indecipherable (at least to me) smile on her face. Her smile looks bemused, almost lascivious, as if she already anticipates where the viewer’s mind is apt to go, seeing her opening Bo’s box (a play on words that was at the center of the scene between Lauren, Dyson, and Vex in episode 408, “Groundhog Fae”).

This dream image also brought up associations to Pandora for many viewers –the first human woman created by the Gods. The fact that Pandora was created by Hephaestus (who will appear as a character in episode 512) makes the association to Pandora’s box even more plausible.

In Greek mythology — which may be quite different from Lost Girl mythology as we’ve seen! — Hephaestus is a child of Zeus and Hera, and is craftsman and smithy of the Gods. Zeus ordered Hephaestus to mold Pandora out of earth as part of the punishment of humanity for Prometheus’ hubris in stealing the secret fire. Zeus then gave Pandora a golden box but warned her never to open it. Her curiosity got the best of her and she opened it anyway, unleashing all the evils that plague humanity (famine, greed, pain, sorrow, etc.) leaving one thing remaining in the box – hope.

pandoraIf the Lost Girl writers are playing with the Pandora motif, it’s possible that the mysterious contents of the box — the thing that lit up Bo’s face — is hope. Perhaps that’s what Zee is so afraid of — not that Bo was letting out something unspeakably awful, but was letting out the good, the one thing humanity can hold on to. Hope is what has kept someone like Lauren going against all odds — hope that she can make amends for the bombing deaths; that she can save refugees in the Congo; that Nadia will make it; that she can save both human and Fae lives everywhere; that she can find love and family and happiness. Pure hope. Ditto Bo.

Your turn, Sally:  does Hades want this? Why would a Lord of the Underworld want humanity to lose hope? What’s his long-range game? And who is the biggest bad here? We’re supposed to think the trio of ancients are “bad,” but are they really? They’ve certainly murdered innocents without a second thought, but Greek Gods tend to do that. Lauren and Tamsin were clearly outraged that Zee and Hera chained Iris to the bed. But when she was allowed to roam free, she killed people and unleashed mayhem, so were her parents wrong to have taken precautions? I suppose a good lock on the door might have sufficed! Zee professes to want to save Bo and the world: “You’re on a sinking ship. The balance is quickly shifting and I don’t want to see you go down,” she tells Bo in episode 508. “But we have to stop him [Hades]…from using you to end the world.” How’s a girl supposed to decide which family she can trust?

Sally

If humanity doesn’t have hope, then the battle is already over. Human legends are full of the underdog overcoming incredible odds to triumph over evil, or a small militia winning a war against an empire mainly through gumption and patriotic fervor, or for a scrappy baseball team with loads of heart but somewhat less money to win the World Series title over the well-funded New York Yankees.

underdogBo is an underdog, and that’s part of why it’s so fun to root for her. Any rational person would conclude that she and her ragtag band of outcasts didn’t have a chance in Tartarus of defeating the powerful Greek god juggernauts. If that person didn’t also have the capacity to hope, then there would be no reason to try.

While the comparison to Pandora’s box is enticing, I don’t know that adamantium would be necessary to contain hope, and hope doesn’t fit the definition of evil that the jack-in-the-box legends describe. I’m guessing that Bo’s opening the box will allow Hades to emerge in the real world once again, either directly or indirectly, and the next eight episodes will build toward a showdown.

Valksy

“And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.”
[The Desiderata, Max Ehrmann]

“The greatest thing you’ll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return.”
[Nat King Cole, Nature Boy]

As threads of the meta plot begin to knit together in an increasingly elaborate tapestry and give us tantalizing glimpses of a much deeper story that ruminates on philosophy, free will and introspective notions of self and identity, the fundamental character notes of relationships — from friendship to familial, from merely sexual to the intensely romantic — remain very much in the foreground.  The romantic relationship between Bo and Lauren certainly received much of our attention as fans of female/female pairings.  Doccubus may have started as a sexy supplement to the central pairing of Bo and Dyson (as suggested by Zoie Palmer’s quotes about her initial uncertainty about the purpose and intent of her character), but once our imaginations were ignited, it took on a life of its own.  I wonder also if the Doccubus pairing is an allegorical parallel to the narrative and developmental journey of the characters themselves — learning to trust and accept themselves and each other, recovering from their individual hardships, and deepening their loving connection.

Season four ended on a positive note, from a Doccubus point of view at least.  Although Bo was caught in a morally ambiguous, confusing and challenging quagmire of a primary plot, the loving care that these two women had for one another was still very much present.  Bo chases after Lauren to “save the girl” and, in return, once Bo kills Massimo, it is Lauren who comforts her after her vengeful execution by holding and reassuring her: “Oh god.  Come here.  It’s OK, it’s OK, I got you.”  There is no judgment or condemnation, and Bo sobs in the arms of the woman who quite obviously loves her as a result.  As the scene progresses, Bo is revealed to be wearing the talismanic necklace that Lauren left for her; they express praise and admiration for one another (this recognition of parity is important); Bo issues a warning which Lauren meets with bravado (suggesting Bo will continue to feel concern although Lauren is clear she is no hapless damsel – again an act of parity), and then Lauren pledges herself to Bo with the line: “I’m yours.”

It is important to note that, unlike Dyson’s pledge, Lauren at no point adopts a submissive posture and is fastidious in maintaining direct eye contact at all times.  This is no fealty pledge or request for orders from her “queen”, an action that certainly must have put the Bo/Dyson relationship to the sword for good.  In order for Doccubus to continue, the women needed – at the very least – to perceive one another as equals, else the power interaction between them would always have been potentially distasteful.  In hindsight, the “It’s time” line that we all love from episode 301 (“Caged Fae”) was simply not true for either character in that moment.  In order to be a functional and well-balanced  couple, Lauren had to rise above subordinate or sidekick status (in agency or autonomy, if not screen time). Her story arc in season four, with its punchline of genetic manipulation and her victory over the Morrigan in episode 413, was absolutely necessary and can even be taken as a statement of intent by the production team to make Doccubus endgame.  Lauren becomes an independent, confident, balanced and recovered character who is finally ready for more.

And yet, despite Bo’s acceptance of Lauren’s token and Lauren’s confident acceptance of her bond with Bo, season five begins with little of Doccubus in sight.  What went wrong or what were we expecting?  The necklace does make a brief but meaningful appearance in episodes 501/502 and I wonder how symbolic it was intended to be for the viewership that it was taken from her.  It is a common trope for heroic characters to step away from love or romance because their status as a hero endangers all those around them by allowing them to be threatened, used as a leverage, or even a weapon — a fact amplified further for Bo by Kenzi’s death.  Bo must be aware that association with her is dangerous; Kenzi will go on to express this in no uncertain terms when she leaves at the end of episode 502.  If Bo is sensitive to abandonment, is this fear the reason that she takes a step back from Lauren?

The assumption that the “Lost Girl” was someone in search of her identity and lineage was thoroughly repudiated by Bo in episode 502 — her speech about how she is not her father and is not beholden to him in any way could not be a clearer expression of independence and autonomy, and rejects any notion that her thoughts and behaviour are ruled by ‘Nature’.  Perhaps the series’ thematic motif of being “lost” can be seen as not just about Bo being lost because she does not know who her family is, but because she is in anguish over being forced to be alone.  We have seen, from Aife, that a succubus can wield the power to have fame, fortune or influence if she wanted it (indeed Aife mocks Bo for working for a living), and yet despite having some command over her abilities, the only desire Bo clearly expresses for her future is to have a “normal” life and someone to share it with (episode 108, “Vexed”).

In considering whether or not Bo’s initial reticence about being with Lauren in season five is guided by fear, rather than a lack of feeling, it is worth recalling the many losses she has suffered throughout her life.  Bo is exiled by her family when she kills – a confrontation that also reveals that she was a foundling (and so may perceive herself as suffering dual abandonment in that moment, both historic by her birth mother and the immediate actions of her adoptive mother — whom she will go on to lose again when Mary Dennis is shown to have developed dementia). She loses Lauren and Dyson in series one, as well as her birth mother in an apparent fight to the death.  She loses the concept of a loving nurturing father figure before she even meets him.  Loss of life in orbit around her include Nadia, Ciara, Hale and Kenzi.  I am sure that exposure to repeated traumatic loss would count as an understandable psychological burden which challenges her sense of hope and ability to feel secure.  I wonder if this explains why Lauren’s invitation in episode 413 is not accepted until the season break in episode 508 — Bo has experienced little beyond the pain of loss and is only just coming to terms with considering whether the risk and sacrifice is worthwhile.  Bo’s courage is normally beyond reproach; she does not fear the monsters that she faces in her life, almost certainly because she understands how to fight them.  Her true fear is an internalized one — to be in a state of grief, solitude or otherwise emotionally lost and living her life as a lonely tumbleweed, as she was when we first met her.

In considering that Lauren seems to hesitate when Bo expresses a will to be together in episode 508, I find myself being grateful that Lauren does not simply jump at the offer.  It would surely have harmed the character and robbed her of some dignity if there was a suggestion that she was pining away waiting for Bo (like Dyson snivelling into his cups in the Dal or Tamsin throwing a tantrum when she does not get her way).  There is also a strong sense of surprise, as if startled that Bo has elected a dangerous mission to have a heart to heart conversation!  Perhaps Bo was feeling a sense of urgency driven by peril that Lauren simply did not share, because Lauren has faith that they will be victorious.  I can think of little higher praise than an “I believe in you.”

I am less inspired by thoughts of the well known idiom: “If you love someone, set them free.  If they come back they’re yours; if they don’t then they never were.”  I may not like the possessive language of this concept, but recognise that it is a common theme in romantic fiction.  If Lauren was thinking in terms of “if” rather than “when” their relationship would resume, this could explain why she was taken by surprise (this is the second time that Lauren has faced this if/when dilemma, her inability to save Nadia presented her with a similar question mark over whether her life can continue or if she should wait).  Bo’s glances at a bared back are surely not needed to remind Lauren of her nature, I imagine that this was more of a shorthand to us as viewers that their path was never going to be an easy one.

At this pause in the story, before the final episodes bring us all home, I find that I must conclude that the Doccubus storyline serves as a parable for mutual growth and recovery from trauma through love, for the embracing of trust and the power of forgiveness, and the importance of communicating both individual and mutual needs.  Most of all, Bo and Lauren accept one another as they are, with neither seeking to manipulate change.

Lauren’s emotional journey that eventually enables her to re-engage with Bo was faster than Bo’s.  Perhaps this is because Lauren’s assertion of freedom and associated recovery takes root quickly and flourishes well.  From rejecting the option to run away that Dyson dangles in front of her in episode 222 to her empowerment in the third season and beyond, Lauren is no longer victimized or broken by her experiences with the Fae and is able to express her own need for happiness and acceptance of Bo’s succubus nature.

In contrast, and perhaps because of  the unique nature of her existential crisis (“What am I? Where am I from?” is part of it, but “Why does everyone leave me?” certainly plays a significant part) Bo takes longer to reach the same state of readiness.  Bo’s expressed need to live the life that she chooses has overlooked one simple and yet unavoidable fact — she needs that life to choose her back too.  By the mid-season five break, Bo has realised that for life, love and Lauren to choose her in return, she must be willing and ready to expose her emotional vulnerability and risk losing everything by making her choice known and trusting herself to destiny.  For all Bo’s courage as a champion slayer of monsters, it is her bravery in this moment of hope which moves me the most.

Lost Girl 5.06 – “Clear Eyes, Fae Hearts” – Sally

Sometime during Season 4 of Lost Girl I had given up trying to decipher what was going on with the melange of mythology by the time the fourth or fifth prophecy about Bo reared its head. (I exaggerate, but not by much.) So far in Season 5 I haven’t twisted myself into knots trying to unravel the mythology stuff. I’ve just been watching the show and taking the story as it comes.

So it’s ironic that just as I successfully let it go, now I think that I have it all figured out. What became clear during this episode was that the blonde woman with lightning powers, who IMDB says is “Elizabeth Helm/Zee” is Zeus, and the dude is Hera. His name is HERAtio, after all. In Greek mythology these two were married to each other and had some children, including, according to some sources, Eris, the goddess of chaos, strife and discord. Iris, I guess. She’s a teenager, so chaos, strife and discord sounds about right.

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Zeus was also the father of Hercules by a mortal woman, and Clay the quarterback is a descendant of Hercules – in the Fae world, a “heraclid”. And like all Fae, Zee, Heratio and Iris feed off something that humans can provide. In their case it seems like they feed from the crowd’s positive feelings about their descendant and his performance on the field.

tinkerbellThis reminds me a bit of Tinkerbell and how she survives when children affirm that they DO believe in fairies. There are also some theological and faery legends that gods and/or fairies survive when people worship them or believe strongly in them, but fade away if people don’t believe. Like everything involving faith, whether in a deity, a political ideal, or in oneself, this is both literally true and a powerful metaphor.

1984Think back to 1984 by George Orwell with me – the only thing that allowed Oceania to continue to exist was the people’s ability to believe what the government told them to, even when it contradicted reality. (Side note, Winston Smith, the protagonist of that book, kept remembering fragments of the English nursery rhyme “Oranges and Lemons” throughout the story, which is the same tune Bo’s jack-in-the-box played when Lauren turned the crank in her dream.)

What does all of this mean? I don’t know, but I want to believe.

Anyway, so back to Greek mythology – Zeus and Hades were brothers, along with Poseidon. The show’s writers and producers have said that Season 5 is all about family. In addition to Bo fighting her father and his plans to bring hell on Earth, it looks like her genderswapped uncle, aunt and cousin are also set up as her antagonists.

During a conversation with Trick, he refers to these folks as “the ancients” and says that they have gone by many names – a clue that while these three Fae have much in common with Zeus, Hera, Iris and Hades, that they aren’t necessarily one and the same and we, the viewers, can’t rely too much on what we know about mythology to inform our understanding of what’s happening. It also seems like they were all banished to a different plane of existence a long time ago, and that something – the Artemis candle, I guess – allowed them to return to Earth, albeit in repossessed human bodies.

Confession:  I didn’t watch Friday Night Lights, and I’ve never seen Bring It On. I did see Not Another Teen Movie, which spoofed, among other movies, Bring It On. But I lived through high school in the Midwest where football and cheerleading were big.

There was something about Tamsin’s behavior in particular during this episode that felt very high school to me. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVED the episode and I don’t have any animosity toward Tamsin’s character. I also loved high school, though it was stressful in many subtle ways, mostly because of interpersonal relationships – similar to the stress that Tamsin appears to be feeling. I can’t figure out if Tamsin’s behavior is a product of her life experiences this time around only (so, a few months), or if she has the benefit of all her other lifetimes and memories. But either way, she’s behaving like a teenager who has a ways to go in figuring out people and relationships.

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The episode started out with Tamsin reading way too much into her relationship with Bo, taking offense to Dyson and Lauren’s doubts that she could successfully go undercover as a cheerleader, her awkward and cringe-inducing comments to Bo all throughout the episode, and the insecurity she feels about Bo’s feelings about Lauren.

It’s also clear that Bo either doesn’t know what Tamsin is feeling, or is deliberately avoiding acknowledging it – until the end of the episode, when Tamsin says “That’s what girlfriends are for” – an obvious bookend to Bo’s “roomie” comment from the opening scene. I don’t know if I think Bo is oblivious or avoiding, and I don’t know if Tamsin is deliberately deluding herself or if she really thinks Bo is on the same page as she is. But either way, I feel bad for her.

Questions:

1. Do Zee, Heratio and Iris see Bo as an impediment to their plans? If so, why didn’t they kill her when they had the chance? Zee seemed to just swat her aside, like she was an annoying mosquito. Do they know who she is? They know she’s Bo Dennis, succubus, but do they know who her father is? Do they care?

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2. If Trick hadn’t made that whatever cocktail (Cockatell?) in a thousand years, how did he just happen to have all three of the ingredients right in front of him within arm’s reach? That is one well-stocked bar.

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3. Trick needs a Bluetooth. Speakerphone is, like, so 2004. It’s so easy for ancient gods to overhear confidential important conversations over speakerphone.

4. Mark. Ugh! You know, I was thinking about this earlier this week. In Season 4, I didn’t like Rainer’s character or storyline at all – but mostly because he and his storyline were BORING. Zzzzzz…

Mark irritates the heck out of me, which at least is a strong emotion. So let’s take heart – it could be worse!

Guest Post – Review of Lost Girl 5.05 “It’s Your Lucky Fae” by TF

Today we welcome a guest post by TF! Thanks for joining us as a guest author!

*Disclaimer from TF:  writer is Doccubiased

Okay, so the worst has happened. Tamsin finally weaseled her way into Bo’s bed. Meh, it was disappointing, but not totally surprising. That bit of unpleasantness aside, every episode of Lost Girl presents some challenges when attempting to analyze and understand it. At times some have fallen on a spectrum between perfume commercials and Matthew McConaughey’s Lincoln spots.

Something that I personally find unique to Lost Girl is that it’s nearly impossible to consider the show itself without contemplating things on a meta level. I’m sure I’m not the only one for whom that’s become unavoidable.

As seasons have gone by, some fundamental changes in the show have resulted in Lost Fans. While I understand the attrition, unless Bo starts kicking puppies, I’m willing to stick it out until the end. Things might look bleak for us Doccubus fans, but I’m nothing if not annoyingly optimistic. As such, I’m not convinced they’ll (we’ll) be denied a happy ending yet.

Alrighty then, 5×05… cover me, I’m going in.

Things started off with Bo contemplating a birthday gift from her father. The turn-handle music box we saw in a season two promo. Well hello, continuity, it’s so good to see you. Realizing the need for insight, and generally being all WTF, Bo called our favorite snarky oracle Cassie and arranged a time to meet with her.

Sans lollipop and dressed like a grown up, Cassie was on a date with Heratio. I quickly ID’d him as the bad guy. Mostly because of the intense, extended eye contact usually reserved for optometrists, but him declining a reading from Cassie was a big clue too.

After dropping Cassie off at her apartment, and scoring a kiss Heratio Creeper, OD left. Giddily, Cassie contemplated a second date and prayed for him to be generous of peen, which has to be a little counterintuitive. Probably unrelated to her impure thoughts, Cassie seemed to be seized by the migraine from hell. Screaming in pain, she held her head, and squeezed her eyes tightly shut. The significance of which would become brutally apparent later.

Primary plot line, check. Next we saw Lauren and Tamsin hastily trying to find a birthday gift for Bo. Nothing says thoughtful like guiltshopping and buying the first thing you see.

Okay, show, I’ll play along even though I don’t believe for a hot second that the love of Bo’s life forgot her birthday, then bought her a meaningless knick knack. The woman who previously attended Bo’s birthday party, while knowing her only a short time, and on the same day her comatose girlfriend woke up from a five year cursenap, is not someone who would forget her special day. Yeah… no.

Inexplicably, Lauren and Tamsin presented Bo with a stuffed cat, and what I think was an oddly posed frog knick knack. Bo feigned appreciation well enough, but really Tammy, in all your lives you’ve never learned the fundamentals of gift giving? I guess not since you think taxidermy means you care enough to give the very best. Lauren, sweet, beautiful, geek-speaking Lauren, even if they’re just friends, no one should give that to anyone as a gift.

Bo’s array of presents were not fantastic. On top of Dead Kitty, Stuffed-Kitty-Little Ball of Doom, and the knick knack that immediately ended up broken at Bo’s feet, Trick gave her the finger of Alexander the Fae. Perfect, because every girl wants the necrotized digit of an old, dead guy. Dyson did not go to Jared, in fact, he didn’t give Bo anything at all. Hmmmmm.

Bo left to check on Cassie with Tamsin in tow while Lauren stayed behind to put together a party for Bo. To no one at all, Lauren bemoaned not being needed by anyone as she picked up shattered pieces of knick knack: a metaphor for her dignity perhaps?

The gift of the cat turned out to be truly awful in more ways than one. In addition to the gross factor, and failing hard as a decorative accent, the spirit with which it was imbued curled up in Bo because Lauren dissed it. So P.S., Bo started slowly turning into a cat. Seems legit.

Finding only the bloody aftermath of a potentially fatal encounter at Cassie’s place, Bo determined to find out what became of the missing oracle. Oh, two of her oracle friends had gone missing too.

Meanwhile, back at the clubhouse, Lauren was doing the “important stuff.” She herself stating for a second time that she’d been given a seat at the kid’s table.

Despite the possibility that Bo could end up on a permanent diet of Meow Mix, she decided to follow her instincts hoping they’d lead to Cassie and friends.

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Because she’s amazing like that, Lauren simultaneously baked while determining the crime scene blood types – human and fae, by the way. Hmmm. It wasn’t hard to imagine Kenzi’s look of revulsion as she delivered some gem about refusing to eat cake made in close proximity to vials of blood. Gosh I miss her.

After pumping skeevy old Seymour for information, and setting up an online dating profile, Bo went on a date with Heratio. During those respective scenes, two additional ‘peen’ comments were made. Specifically, blow job jokes: one by Tamsin (to Bo) and one by Bo (to Heratio.) Maybe it’s just me, but I feel like that’s at least two too many.

I don’t live in a convent or anything, but this sort of thing kind of made me feel like I was in a frat house. Adult female characters who seem like they’re channeling Eric Cartman are puzzling. They’re especially so when part of a show that emphasizes smart, ‘strong women.’ For me, the minimum requirement for a great female character is that she not talk and act like an immature dude.

I’m really bewildered by Tamsin’s tendency to manspread on the couch, eat like a savage, and talk like a 14 year old boy too. What’s even more confusing though is her vacillation between personalities ranging from Forlorn Misfit Tamsin, to Introspective Over Sharing Tamsin, to Lovesick (bordering on obsessive) Tamsin, to Mean Girl Tamsin. Love can make you do crazy things, but other than that, and being threatened by Lauren, I’m not grasping the reason for the erratic personality changes.

In a manner that could only be described as unfathomable, and, well, maybe insane, Bo insisted on driving to find Cassie… while blindfolded. Sure, no problem. Hesitating for only a minute, Tammy claimed shotgun. Lauren wisely thought better of it. After being goaded into it by Tamsin’s particularly obnoxious effort to one up her though, Lauren unwisely, and in no way gracefully, fell into the back seat.

That was the first of several instances where Tamsin taunted Lauren. Conveniently, the blindfold kept Bo from seeing Tamsin flip off the good doctor. Bo surely wouldn’t be happy since she undoubtedly still loves Lauren.

I’m sorry, but Bo has never and will never look at anyone the way she looks at Lauren. Fact. Bo still lurves Lauren. She tipped her hand with the longing, adoring look she gave her after Lauren removed that… thingy (who really cares?) from her shoulder.

Ostensibly, Bo being blindfolded was about forcing both Tamsin and Lauren to trust her. From what she heard, it’s possible that Bo could have perceived Tamsin doing that more readily. Really though, I didn’t feel as though Bo was paying all that much attention, and Lauren has implicitly trusted Bo since season one.

What happened to the amiable shopping buddy? When Bo was out of earshot, Mean Girl Tamsin informed Lauren that she’s not the only contender for Bo’s affections, to the tune of nonnie nonnie boo boo. To her credit, Lauren was both dubious and indifferent, stating that Bo was her concern at the moment. I’m grateful that Lauren isn’t pining for Bo, a la season 4 Dyson.

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The story rolled on to include a vestigial interaction between Vex and Mark. I didn’t enjoy them playing rock, paper, guillotine for the right to get it on with two young women giving them the eye. Mark won what turned out to be a fork tongued blow job, which is gross on two levels. I’m sorry, but this isn’t really what I’d call sex positive. In my opinion, it feels more like pandering to a young, male audience. Particularly since it wasn’t necessary to the plot.

Mark emerged from the tryst, gratuitously shirtless – like father like son. He was made to look clever as he eluded retribution from the woman’s boyfriend, which made it more distasteful. I’ve always appreciated the way Lost Girl, for lack of a better word, punished douchenozzle-ish behavior like that. I haven’t been a big fan of Mark from the beginning, but this, and his subsequent treatment of Dyson, reduced him to an insufferable tool in my book. Dammit, who talked him out of running away?

We know that the women made a chump out of Mark, but we still had to endure his cocky gloating, sleazy wink and all. He figured out that Trick’s Fae autograph book was stolen by one of the women, but wasn’t all that worried or regretful because hey, blow job.

Meanwhile, back at the pit Bo fell into, (landing on her feet – I see what you did there, show) CatBo found Cassie, and the other two missing oracles, Delphi and Pithia in a gruesome state. Their hands were bound and their eyes were missing.

Lauren cared for Cassie in her special, reassuring doctor-y way. All while wearing her white lab coat. Bonus. In an unexpected twist, Cassie explained that she and the other oracles removed their own eyes. I was horrified too, Lauren.

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It’s a feeling I experienced again when Tamsin came into Bo’s bedroom wearing a kimono, and bearing a cupcake. I fully anticipated Bo partaking of more than the cupcake. I wasn’t wrong. It’s not a huge deal that they had sex, it was the setup.

Aside from the fact that it’s nearly impossible to reconcile how this made sense given their history, Tamsin offered herself as a gift to Bo, bow and all. I cringed at both her wide eyed demeanor (complete with the turned ankle normally associated with coy innocence) and what could only be described as self-objectification.

It didn’t deter Bo, which I get. She’s a single succubus who has needs. Fulfilling them with Tamsin didn’t seem especially meaningful to her though. Perhaps that relationship will deepen, again, despite the logic in it. They did have post coital sharing time. The likes of which is long overdue for Bo and Lauren. It would be so welcome even without the sex.

This Tambosex on the heels of Bo’s uncomfortable, albeit accidental, romps with her step mother and her ex-boyfriend’s kid, really make it challenging to root for Bo.

That has become increasingly hard to do since she’s had her own unappealing personality shifts. Honestly, I had less of a problem with Bo sleeping with Dyson’s son than I did her deciding that sex was the best thing for a young man who was distressed and pouring out his heart to her. This was not the principled, protective Bo we grew to know and love throughout seasons one and two.

I think Dyson knew what happened because it’s very plausible that he smelled Mark on Bo when she came to see him. I suspect this will drive a wedge between Bo and Dyson, which serves to extract him from the now seemingly all female triangle. I wish this scenario could offer positive representation that was heretofore unknown. About this though, I’m not feeling so optimistic. I am, however, happy to be proven wrong, it’s happened a time or two.

Oh, P.P.S. since Seymour inhaled the cat, Bo was spared from life as a feline.