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.
“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.
“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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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?
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.
But 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.
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.”
What do you think was in the box?
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.
If 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?
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.
Bo 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.
“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.