Category Archives: Guest Post

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.

bozee

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.

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.

Guest Review of Lost Girl 5.04 “When God Opens A Window” by Maigray Bell

This is a guest post from our friend MaigrayBell. Follow her @MaigrayBell on twitter. Thank you, Maigray!

So Sally asked me to do an entry on this episode for a different perspective. And I said okay. I was late watching it, and had to mute half my timeline to avoid spoilers. Then I had to mute the other half of it while I wrote this so…here it goes.

The first thing I noticed about the episode was the title. It had the sort of backhanded humor I love about the show. I do miss the puns.

I have to admit, the opening sequence had me in stitches. You could have taken it straight from Guardians of the Galaxy, except funnier, snarkier and with more physical comedy from Rachel Skarsten. Switching gender roles delights me every time.

Am I the only one who was hoping she would just…slide off the bed completely when Bo walked in? Alas, it was not to be. I did, however, note she took *all* the sheets with her when she got up; and that Frank, sorry, Tad, had to cover up with the pillow. I also noted he was Fae, a detail I find important to Bo’s feeding habits nowadays.

Speaking of which, I read an opinion piece on Tamsin as a noir character trope a long time ago. I remembered it and I thought how well this scene typified those characteristics, especially using Bo’s bed. Bo’s bed has seen a lot action, but never from her roommate, and understanding the trope and how it was knocking up that role reversal with Kenzi added an extra layer.

In general, I feel as if the show has been almost one long callback after another in recent episodes. Letting Bo be her succubus self is something I always enjoy, because I think it is important for her as a woman character and as a canon character. It all hearkened to very early themes of the series for me. Equal opportunity objectification, for the win!

The introduction of Mark, on the other hand, came across as a bit screwy. For one thing, he was creepy when he sat next to the girl on the bus. Then she said her name was Margaret “I go by Maggie” Dermay. Anyway, the point being – Maggie May? Too funny. Of course she’s a singer. And that’s a pitch pipe? But never mind! She just died! Was that a freaking arrow? Yikes. I was rapid cycling from humor to sex to harassment to flirting to death. I love how he pitches down on his belly and crawls out but no one else seems to notice.

Then we’re back to Tamsin on the couch, couching hilarious sexual commentary with Chinese food. What I thought was so funny was that Bo did use to order takeout; for the delivery man! I clearly recall Kenzi’s annoyance when she would poach.

Mark stumbles into the perpetually unlocked crack shack, just like everyone else. This is one of those details that, five seasons in, acts like a little inside joke for the fans.

Tamsin is spot on with this one. This is her actual ability, her actual power. I like their negotiation talk, but for the life of me, I would think Bo would have learned to listen by now. This is a good time to bring up the nature of callbacks, throwbacks, whatever you want to call them. Bringing up earlier themes and moments can be great for consistency and character nostalgia. But, dude – we are a long way away from those early seasons. Bo is not the same person anymore. And she is trending just a little too much towards the moronic in this scene. Also, I do not tend to like my women characters to be either too nice, or too guilt ridden, because I think it fulfills negative stereotypes. And Bo is being a fine walking example of both of them in this scene. And did I mention she was being moronic?

Pretty much the only thing that saves it is Anna Silk. I have read many things about what the actress brings to this role. I don’t think it can be pinned down exactly in words. But she saves it every time.

As for Bo, she needs to stop apologizing. And to stop being so NICE! *throws up hands in exasperation*

Is that a new kimono? Kewl.

We switch over to Lauren and Evony, and I am sure if I watched Downton Abby, this would be comedy gold. Sadly, I don’t. But it’s not hard to understand. And it will always be funny to see the character of Lauren be funny, because she is normally so buttoned up. But I wonder how much I am not getting out of the scene, because half this show is parody tropes. If you don’t get it, it’s like walking out of Galaxy Quest with my parents. My mother thought it was cute. My father, who grew me up as a Trekkie, and I thought it was the funniest f^&*#$ thing we had ever seen.

One of my highlights in this episode was getting to see Emmanuelle Vaugier come galloping across the green. I am guessing they set up this scene just for her. I know from her social media postings she is a very good rider. That is why I am betting there is no stunt double, and why they didn’t cut the long shot with the close up so they could switch out riders like they normally would. Yeah, I ride.

She’s up on a big, clumsy looking dark bay, which she sits with admirable poise and a great smirk as they cross the camera together. The details are almost all right. The horse gleams, his white markings are clean, and the tack is in good order; English, which is her riding style. The quilted red saddle pad is non traditional, but picks up the piping on the cape nicely. Is is just me, or is there a thing going on with red piping on this show? I’ll lay odds the helmet, the boots, the crop, the breeches and the gloves could all be hers too. But not the cape. Those are not traditional to ride in, ever. I’ll call it Lost Girl riding.

Their conversation fills in a good amount of gaps for the viewer. We now know how, and why, for whom, and for what reason Lauren is working. The irony of the relationship creates epic amusement for me; the quintessential amoralist has rewritten the quintessential moralist. For just a moment, I could see Lauren evaluating what she had done. Then the moment passed. And I could almost see she was patting herself on the back for it. Well done!

P.S. I wonder if that red wine is grape juice?

Tamsin and Bo have caught up to Mark, and we are on to the negotiations. I don’t know about you guys, but Geraldine sealed this guy’s fate. And who IS he? Let me see that! *taps pause on the player to get a good look at the ID*

Despite the fact the two women JUST went through this with him at the club house, Bo is once again being a nitwit. I know the metaphor is crushing. And I love her and I sympathize and it is very, very Bo-like to…Whoops, guess that’s the answer. That was awesome. And I just love that she wants to know why it hurts so badly. WHY DO YOU THINK, YOU NITWIT? You should have listened to Tamsin.

Also, I’m fairly sure the correct way to take out an arrow is to push it through. Ouch. Budget.

This brings us to blood and kisses. Bo remembers Frank’s name is Tad because she is Bo. In the meantime, I remain perplexed by Tamsin’s inability to have sex with her. I get that she lacks the emotional competence to deal with her massive, massive crush. But she has no trouble with sex, and why she simply cannot invite the woman into bed has me flummoxed. I’m pretty sure she won’t turn her down.

As for Bo, she remains oblivious as only Bo can be. I get the metaphor with the squish Family Robinson; and Bo is turned on immediately by the geek speak. But Tamsin gets right to the point, as usual. Bo is embarrassed because she is thinking of Tamsin as if she were Kenzi and giving Lauren the same tight little smile she used to give her when Kenzi would dick around in the lab.

But this is not Kenzi, and it’s a mistake to think of her that way. And Lauren can clearly get Bo into bed any time she wants to do it. She’s got her. It’s amazing how, between one breath and the next, that old black magic comes oozing out. Their ship hovers on the horizon like a hanging storm.

That being said, the relationship between Tamsin and Lauren is the interesting thing going on here for me. If this were any other show in the world, I would say they are being set up for a romantic relationship. There are many interesting and varied undercurrents going on. I don’t see Tamsin as any sort of threat to any of Bo’s other emotional connections. And I don’t think it’s possible for her to rattle their cages the way she used to. But I don’t underestimate her power either. Her ability to get under someone’s skin is, literally, undoubtable. I do worry that if she provokes Lauren far enough, it will interfere with being a feeding partner for Bo. Bo badly needs the confidence and security of a safe, trusted feeding network.

Although I was excited to have Vex back, the boys’ scenes largely fell flat for me. They played it too straight. Dyson’s fury with Vex felt right, but there wasn’t nearly enough flirting between them. And I hated the kid angle. Though Dyson reacted to it with superb stoicism; until he killed the guy, of course. But I thought that was his best moment. Until that happened, his characterization, like Bo’s, felt off to me; too early, too simple, too easy. Trick said he always served his conscience, and I’m thinking, well, right, until you picked him up as a philandering con artist and reformed him.

I did like the gun scene with Vex because, for just a second, I wondered if he might do it. I didn’t think they would off the character, but with Lauren right there, it would be an easy set up to have her save him.

There was some world building, but the genre work was thin. It’s pretty much de riguer in werewolf mythology to delay the change until adulthood. And for whatever version of your long-lived fairy species you’ve got running around to have a very low birth rate. Otherwise, they would take over the world. And why wouldn’t Dyson have a bunch of biological kids running around? It’s not like they invented birth control in the last 20 years or anything. I actually thought the whole thing would have worked better if Mark was not related to him at all, and just some some messed up shapeshifter running around like Bo without a clue.

But there was another reason I did not take to the character very well, and it took me a while to put my finger on it. But it was the clear inference that Mark can be Dyson’s replacement..in every way. Knowing this is the show’s last season makes it too easy for me to wonder if the character can be called back up for that express purpose. He was obviously intended to be called back up. I guess it’s just a question of whether the writers had time to plan for it, or whether they had to let it go in order to wrap up the series. Let it go, let it go….

I do have to give Mark mad props during the trap scene. Do you realize he just attempted to seduce Bo while waiting for his lifelong bogeyman to appear, under the supervision of Tamsin and Lauren? Truly, I was impressed.

I really liked everything having to do with Tamsin, Lauren, Bo and Evony. But please nix the daddy drama. There was not much genre work, and very little world building. The sexual politics were mixed, though certainly not docile. I felt like Dyson and Bo were in somewhat odd form and Trick and Vex weren’t well used. Vex was never that sappy in his entire life. Kenzi is like a ghost in the machine. She’s all over the place, especially when the show is deliberately regressing to more early season form. There was fun and sex, and a lot of character work, but not much forward movement in the plot.

Lost Girl 5.02 – Like Hell, Part 2: Special Guest Recap by TeamCoffeeCaptain

TeamCoffeeCaptain™ ☕

PART ONE

After the first episode of the last season, we were all on the top of the mountain, waiting to touch the sky or fall miserably back down and eat the dust by our nose.

I still don’t know for sure if I’m on the floor or in the clouds. I think I’m still falling actually… waiting to know if I will hit the ground in a graphic *splash*But let’s go back to the start (I hear you Coldplay…)…

Six feet under… “It’s ok, you love laying down. It’s a nap. A dirt nap forever and ever, for the love of help.. HELP!”

But hey, Valhallalala’s gate is just next to Kenzi’s grave, so Team Wolfpants arrives really fast and get Kenzi out of her cosy little coffin.

Kenzi is under pure oxygen and tells Lauren she’s so happy to see the hairporn/jawporn again. (She needs to touch Lauren to know she’s not hallucinating you know)
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But where’s Bo? Dun dun dun…

Bo is in the elevator, on the floor, taking a nap of course. What a stupid question.This episode is all about naps. Trust me when I’m saying that….

So, Bo goes on tourist mode, what a beautiful little dry fountain we’ve got here. Oh look, sunflowers…

Oh my coffee… look at her dress… bless this dress… dresslegporn.. sorry *autoslap*

“Hello?” (is it me you’re looking fooor.. erm sorry again…well not really.)
Bo is ready to enter the maze and let’s just hope there will not have some goblet of fire inside or some secret agency planning to use her to save the world if she can pass
the test… wait, what? Oo

So, there’s 3 doors. To the left, a blue one, to the middle a dark one, to the right a bright blue one.

Bo takes the middle but turns to her right, let’s the game begins.

Dun dun dun.

Will she get lost inside the maze of this plot? of her mind? of her life?
What a better place to metaphorically resume Bo’s journey than a maze? I mean, really?
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Back to Team Human, aka Lenzi or K-Doc or whatevs you want.
“Seriously, how bright does that have to be?” yeah Kenzi is getting blind because Lauren uses her light.. (not this one yet.. you know what I’m talking abt..)

(hints :just keep in mind that the light reference is as much important as nap reference in this episode… )

So, Lauren is playing doctor with Kenz’ (not that kind of doctor, you perv!)
She asks for Bo again, because Lauren always thinks about Bo. But she’s still Lauren and tells to Kenzi “you comes first lil mama, let’s make sure you’re ok, ok? Now open your mouth.”

Well, Lauren’s having a control freaks crisis because her new nurse Shadow put the thing next to the other thing and it wasn’t the good thing to do! arg! Sorry u_u “I know I have to let it goooo”

yeah Lo, you need to let it go… let’s lose some control, could you?
So, Kenzi and Lauren have a dirty talk about touching, tongues and compliments. Normal.

Lauren stabs herself, well she pretends to. She asks Kenzi to get on the table, now! please? xD
Kenzi tells her she can check her up all she wants but without tools. Kinky.

So Lauren uses her hands. (no! not like this)
“Crikey! your hands are colder than yeti’s hands!”
”your heart is racing Kenz…” (why? Because of Bo? Because Lauren is holding her hand? Because she needs coffee?)
But, Lauren is not just a doctor. She’s the Doctor.
So they drink vodka in science tubs. normal.

But then… something falls.  And it goes all Sixth Sense… it’s very cold in here..
We can almost hear Kenzi say “I see dead people” to Lauren but.. oh wait! there’s a lil’ message on this window.
HEL…“oh my god she’s in Hel!”..P “or she needs help.”
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and then more vodka.
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Meanwhile in the street next door.. I mean Valhalla, Dyson is guarding the gate. (beware of the.. anyway) And here comes Stacey. I’m almost ready to see Elsa coming too, after leaving Storybrook through that door.. Say what?

Ah yeah.. bearded valkyrie, kinky blonde who needs a soul close to Bo’s heart.. Let’s get Dora-ed!
(where’s this gif.. ah! here!)
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So this maze is kinda a metaphor for Bo’s life… She hears voices… It’s Kenzi.
”Dafuq?! We had a deal Freyja, you bitch!”
But it’s not Kenzi. Because ‘evil laugh’ is not really her thing you know.
But then.. she hears Lauren and Dyson as well.. All saying they are better without her, yada yada…
“Who’s there?” … some voice says “the chosen one”…etc Bo tells to the voices that they will not make her insane! Of course not… u__u’
oups, someone bites her in the leg. (not the leg!!) anyway, it’s some sort of Lord of the Ring’s goblin who can speak with different voices.

So Goblin talks with Lauren’s voice “Can I have another bite?” Bo looks pissed.. but Gob’s going on with Lauren’s “Whenever there are snacks in the house, i just can’t resist.” (is she talking abt Bo?)

So Bo tells Gob to get back because nobody’s messing up with Bo.
Oh look, a pigeon! He’s trying to drink in the dry fountain xD good luck birdy… u__u
Oh but hey! the pigeon shifts into a woman in greek pyjamas! And Bo is already on her game again.
So pigeon girl tells Bo that Puca the Goblin works with the maze to keep her here. So “don’t listen to it!
But “listen to me, because I’m a beautiful pigeon and you know me for 5s!” Normal.
”You must choose to what or what not to hear.” But Bo doesn’t need life coach. She can handle this alone. right?

“Her true voice is the key.” (there’s key everywhere in this episode.. i swear..)
Bo is tired, she’s losing blood from her leg, and she’s hungry.. but Puca speaks again.. with Lauren’s voice..

“I never loved you Bo.” Bad move Puca.. bad move..
Bo is REALLY mad now. She will NEVER doubt of Lauren’s love for her, so she acts and kicks the goblin in the balls!  And she wins! Touch down! Ok, now moving on.
(Let’s take a moment to notice than Bo reacted to Lauren’s voice saying she never loved her. Bo knows that Lauren loves her since the first moment they met. Lauren is her light to get away of the maze. Lauren is her anchor, her constant.)

So pigeon girl leads Bo into Tartarus  to let Bo take a nap.. I mean to heal. Because Bo’s badly injured, she’s gonna die!
Her leg is wounded, damn it! (see the drama here?) And Pigeon girl can’t let Bo die because Bo’s father will never let her rest in peace. What an a-hole.
Back to the Crackshack, Kenzi is not demoralized because she doesn’t want to clean up.. “Oh Trick?! what’s up?”
Trick asks to Kenzi if she’s sure it was Bo at the lab. “Of course I’m sure! I know my BFF like the back of my grave, c’mon. Plus i can see dead, remember?” what?
So Trick gives her the Ouija, because we missed some Charmed here. But, where’s Lauren? She’s in the shower u_u
Trick tells Kenzi to be careful, conjuring spirit is never simple and Kenzi tells him “Nothing we do ever really is, is it?” Echoing Lauren from the previous episode when
she was talking with Tamsin. Yeah, #TeamHuman!
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But wait! Bo is on the wall! And pigeons girl is at her feet. wait, what?
“Keep still damn it! I’m just a pigeon, not a doctor, stop moving succubus.” Well, she tried to heal her, old fashion way but… Bo wants to heal in her way…
“You can heal yourself?” (yeah, that’s right pigeon girl, make the innocent! da da da...)
and then “It takes two, wanna help?” Of course she’s not gonna say no just after saying she wants to help you Bo! Dafuq…
Can we take a minute to enjoy the scene. The beauty of the light, the blue ambiance, succubus style.. the white sheets.. the Milo’s Venus back there…
Oh yeah, and Bo in that black open dress against this greek’s column..
Anyway.. the following scene is graphic and perfect. I mean that professionally speaking.
While Bo is ‘healing’ with the girl, Lauren is taking a nap (yeah.. nap.. again..) in Bo’s bed. Their bed? And she’s wearing Bo’s kimono.
Yes, it’s an important detail, I’m pervectionist. What can I say?

So, something weird is happening… There’s some parallels here.
It seems like Bo is having a good time with Lauren as well via spirit. (When I said to ‘let it go’ Lo, I was thinking abt something else, whatevs’ u__u)
Is it some transfer? Does Lauren feel everything Bo’s doing? Does their bond is so strong?
Few minutes later, Kenzi barges into BoLo’s room and Lauren is cleary in an after bliss.
“We have to be sure it’s Bo, let’s not bring back some creepy perv spirit.” But Lauren is sure, right? “It’s Bo. For sure. She knows my weak spot. Affirmative.”

Well, these two are sure it’s Bo. And we want to believe them for the same reason they want to believe it’s her.
Why? Because they miss her. And we miss Bo. They want so much to believe it’s Bo than they avoid to listen their brain.

After Kenzi left the room with her “Let’s get gypsy!”, Lauren feels something strange… And she put her hand on her chest… Like Bo does when she feels her dearest daddy.… Hint?
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Back to Bo, her leg is healed, goddess bless us all! She will live!
Pigeon girl is all riddle style “One is always starving in Tartarus.” Who’s “One”? “The key is knowing what or what not to eat.” hm.. ok?
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Who’s the key again? (See? Key’s everywhere)

The after bliss is tough too for Bo when pigeon girl tells her she’s actually her stepmother! Dun dun dun… “What the tits???”
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So let me get this straight here… so to speak… Bo and Lauren have been tricked about the real identity of their playmate. Normal.
But Stepmother likes Bo and tries to tell her that six thousand years into this darkness is a long time, she didn’t see clearly and thought Bo was some unknown lost girl looking for her father because daddy issues… And it’s only after they did it that Stepmom’ recognized the “patented family’s moves” (see what I’m doing here? yeah…)

“Six thousand years?? you bitch! I’m only 32 years old! Why do you look younger than me?!”

Bo is really pissed, again. Her father sent his bride wife to seduce her, after all the shit he’s already done. But stepmom’ tells Bo that he didn’t sent her. (strangely, it’s familiar.. I don’t know why u__u”)

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Aouch.. So Persephone uses the emotional weapon… “When you get angry you look just like him.” Dun dun dun…. nailed it xD More effective than a slap, Bo just calm down a bit and stops hurting doors.

Persy tries to convince her stepdaughter to get out of here but Bo wants to face her dad. After trying to open several doors, she finds a strange one.
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I will just take a minute to talk about doors. In an interview – I don’t remember which one – they told us that in the new season there will be open doors and other closed.
So you can see that in 2 ways. The literal way and the metaphoric way. I can’t say more about it right now but I will, after some other episodes.

So, Bo finds a beautiful door and wants to open it.
Stepmom : Bo, no.

Bo: Bo yes!

And you can almost hear Persy think “Gosh, what a pain in the ass, I’m glad I didn’t have to spend thousand years with her, spoiled child!”.. I swear it was on her face.
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Meanwhile at the Dal, Stacey and Dyson drink. Apparently Evony is no longer the Morrigan. Dafuq? Then who it is??

Dyson tells her that the Dal became a place of flirtations, a democr-fae-cy (oh my..) and that everyone wants to do like the Unaligned succubus. o__O You mean get drunk, flirt with everyone?
Wow Dyson… your image of Bo is wonderful, dude xD

But I swear I saw some sparks between these two… It’s not over… Mark my words!
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Anyway, Stacey noticed that Trick is fond of Bo and wants to take his soul to Freyja but Dyson tells her than Trick is just a drunk crazy barkeep, lying and all. (in vino veritas.. what? nothing)
So Stacey asks him “who’s my soul, damn it?” And Dyson starts to talk… “Her lover. Her confidant….”

And we all think “A-hole! He’s giving Lauren up !”
Well yeah… Who are we fooling right? —’ It’s Dyson after all… xD
“He fought by her side, she fed off him when she needed the most. He even gave up his love to the Norn for her.” *facepalm*

But Stacey is clear-minded and speaks for us all. Goddess bless her.
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While she tries to know if Dyson is that guy who loved Bo by kissing his beard, Tamsin barges in, valkyrie style and breaks the magic.

Stacey goes bitchy with Tam-Tam and says she’s always finish her job….(and here I’m afraid.. you’ll know why..) instead of Tamsin. Oups.

Yeah Tamsin has hard time to deliver Bo to Daddy Darko. She tried several time but… Dyson is not happy about this. “Again?!! I trusted you!”
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But Tamsin got activated with the phone call, it’s not her fault, damn it! *drama*
But cut the crap, “don’t change the subject, you bitch wolf!” Well, yeah, Tam-Tam is calling Dyson about the bearded sucking face kiss with her evil sis’!
But hey, Stacey has things to do. She doesn’t have time for this, because she always finishes her job…. *fear*
“Oh crap, she took my phone…She’s gonna see my texts and pics of Lauren and Bo together.. shit!!!” Dyson is worried….

Tamsin tells him to get back to the gate because it’s his only duty right now. “Go back to the gate to keep it open Dyson! Damn it!” o__O
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Bo is back and she enters a room. Well not “a” room but “her” room. It’s the one she saw while she was in her Dawning. (remember this episode? Since the Dawning, everything is shit..XD Thanks Daddy)
The first thing I saw was the box.. The box!! You know that box from the teaser of season 2??? That’s right! what? You don’t remember? ok ok.. let me help you… here the video

I was so curious that I almost yelled at Bo to go to that box and open it! But no.. she didn’t see the box… *facepalm*

Anyway.. she understands that.. this is where she was born.. And everything is shit, again.
Stepmom tells the story of Bo’s mom while Bo discovers the cage of Aife.. That they only let her mom hold her to feed her.. It’s heartbreaking…
Bo realises that her mom lived in a cage.. like a prisoner, a slave.. without freedom…. (do you see what I’m doing here? Does it remind you someone?)

Stepmother apparently remembers warms memories from Aife. “I used to hear her wails through the vents, what a beautiful sound.”

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But it’s too much for Bo, she can’t listen to this. She just can’t.
So Persy talks about daddy Hades. How proud he was about his daughter.. what wait.. I remember something…
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Now it makes sense! xD Even Daddy Darko Hades ship BoLo.. u__u #SorryNotSorry
Moving on.

So, Bo is not really feeling well.. queen..dominion over life and death.. it’s too much for Bo…
Apparently, there was a moment where Hades started to lose his power and so everyone escaped! Normal.
Why did he lose his power by the way? O_o someone?
So Bo says she will make him as powerless than her mother before. Because, in this family.. it’s all about power… power this, power that, power here and there…
By intuition, Bo finds a drawing on the wall, her mom was an artist. Tim Burton’s style you know. After the dead bride from part one.. Anyway!

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“She loved me.” Yes Bo… She loved you.. Since season 1 we know this!
So, Aife wanted to escaped with Bo, but for some reason, only one could leave (live?.. Avadakada.. what now? sorry)

Persy wants some drama too, so she tells Bo that her mom too loved her before Hades took her. “now gimme a hug!”

Bo is suspicious…“If this is another trick to get laid pigeon girl, I swear I will pluck out your ass!”

So, they go on a mission. Find the Artemis moon candle.. Normal.
Let’s get extra flamey! (I made research.. google is your friend…)
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So, Daddy Hades abhors light… interesting.. You know why?
Because who’s getting the illuminated fist? Doctor who?? Doctor Lewis! That’s right bitch! Sorry u______u’ *foreshadowing everywhere*

 

PART TWO——Anyway, it’s elevator time! Bo is sorry for later, you know, about the sexy nap time with stepmom? Awkward.

Persy tells her she has heard about Bo, stories of her courage, her epic true love story with Lauren, yeah you know it is written everywhere in runes!

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Bo is going down (not like that!) with the elevator, ready to see dad. She can feel him… She put her hand on her chest.. (just like Lauren after her “nap”..remember?)

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This is it. Bo walks into the dark, talking to her father, she can hear him breathe but doesn’t see him. Whatevs, she’s here to spare herself 10 years of therapy.

“You’re not my family. You’re darkness and I’m not walking into it.” Bo says while walking into the dark… Normal.

But here comes the strongest line of Bo.. After thirty years…
“I don’t need to know who you are to know myself.”
We are so proud of Bo right now.. Well I am.

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She tells him that if he wants to meet her it will be on her terms, with her true family who would never abandon her. (ah Bo….)
Bo tells him again that she will never be who he wants her to be. And take his candle! u___u what a rebel.

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Quick, in the elevator! But a hand takes Bo by the throat and chokes her… u__u are we joking now, Bo?

So, she doesn’t want like this, not from him. (what do you mean “not like this, not from you” ? then how? and from who? Oo what are we talking about here? I’m lost u__u”)
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“You’re not a god, you’re a coward! But not me.” Yeah you know, because her mom taugh her how to fight. Remember the time where she tried to kill Bo ? That was just training u_u

Bo uses her strength of succubus, blue eyes and all and get rid of her father’s hand. (oh! Do you remember the pic? the one.. anyway..)

The emotional response is too high and Bo falls into tears… And I have to say, it breaks my heart to see her like this.. I just want to hug her in this elevator and tell her it’s gonna be okay…
Damn it, where is Lauren? Bo needs you!image

 

Ah, well.. Lauren is with Kenzi trying to bring her back.. Good. Well not really because Kenzi wants Lauren to eat some sausage… But it’s not Lauren’s thing, you know.

So they both are going to do some magic! Bring the candles! It’s gonna be extra flamey!! wait, what? Sorry…

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Bo will be back in her fully formed chi-sucking, gravity defying, sex maneuvering self soon ! Trust Team Human, they do magic like pro!

Kenzi says to Lauren to give her her cold hands and close her eyes.. (Twice Kenzi said Lauren has cold hands… is it normal? or is it something strange…? Does Lauren have bad circulation because of her tigh pants? Does the power of the light is killing Lauren’s human side and making her fae? Goddess? ok.. wait and see..)

It begins.. After some russian and touchy touchy.. A safe opens.
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While in Tartarus, Bo intends to escape.. with stepmom!

Persy is skeptical. “What did you do Bo?”
Bo is very proud and says “The opposite of what he wanted me to!”….. you know what I’m thinking, right? She’s been doing EVERYTHING her father wanted her to do. She even said it earlier…

Persy can’t go with Bo, it’s not her time… But Bo assures her she can,’cause she’s got her candle! Normal…

Plus only Bo has the HelSkor, only Bo can leave. “Only you are the One.” But Bo calls bullshit! She has never been just one..She only wins because of the people who stand with her. And she doesn’t want to leave anyone else behind. But Persy really can’t go. She’s bound to this place… But “hey! Bo, when you get home, light up my candle! You know, for my creepy family, so they know it’s ok for them to start the killing.. I mean to let them know I’m fine!”

Pigeon girl used emotions and family.. Bo is tricked again. “I’ll get you out of here! I promise I will light the candle !“yeah yeah.. now get out or your father’s plan will not work!”

Persephone says “It’s important to let the light in, Bo. Sometimes that’s all it takes to keep evil at bay.” ..

Remember the light? Lauren.
Remember who’s getting ‘in’ every time? Lauren.
Remember who keep the evil at bay? Lauren. #SorryNotSorry

And with that, Bo is teleported out of here, like it did with Lauren. Flash light style.
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Back to Kenzi and Lauren, hiding behind the couch. Apparently the spirit is not Bo. Damn it!
Lauren starts to understand. She broke an urn while digging to save Kenzi.. (Why did an urn was with Kenzi’s grave already?)

Lo is pissed at herself “I should have known!” Yeah… Why did you listen to your brain, Doc?!

“I wanted it so badly to be Bo!” …. Lauren confessed she missed Bo…. She missed her touch, she missed her love.. And it breaks my Doccubus heart…

There’ll be time to drink this away.. For now, let’s destroy the ouija board because the spirit is trapped inside!

Lauren needs to vent her frustration, so she’s gonna do it!
retreat retreat retreat!” Ok… So, this scene is actually very human. Our both lovely humans have hard time to get rid of a spirit stucked into a ouija board.

They spent 5 years and more dealing with fae more dangerous but it’s ok u_u Like I said.. this is so human here and it’s fun! lol

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At Valhallalala’s gate, Dyson holds back to let enough time to Bo to get out.. Yeah, because in the last episode Bo teleported herself from Lauren’s lab to Valhalla but now, to get out she needs to use the gate? Remind me why she needs the Helskor if she can walk in and out by the gate? Anywayyy…
Bo is in our world again! In her black dress… *autoslap* And she thanks Dyson for keeping the gate. She reminds him his pledge of fealty to the Queen and she’s glad he meant it.

“Well, maybe I will let you keep the door of Lauren and I when we’ll move to my castle.” (what do you mean that’s not what she said? Look I can read body language, this is exactly what she said u_u xD)

Anyway, Bo takes Dyson’s hand and runs to Kenzi and Lauren waiting for her.
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(sorry not sorry xD.. karma -1)

Speaking of Lauren…
She and Kenzi are still hiding behing the couch, an axe impaled on a pillow. (How???)
But Lauren is brave, she’s going in! And Kenzi asks her to not die! Team Human rocks! (I just hope it’s not some foreshadowing… dramaaa)

And now.. now.. Now we see Doctor Lauren Lewis screaming and running, grabbing the board and throwing it into the fireplace. This is so unreal! xD

The Kenzi effect for sure!
Speaking of Kenzi, she put the board on fire, yeah baby! That was hot! That was Team Human ! And we liked it! Well, I did!

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Hi five later, “where is Bo, Lauren?” Dun dun dun… someone’s coming.. Bo?

That’s not Bo. It’s Stacey and she wants a soul… Any volunteers?
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(no, not you Katniss…)
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So Stacey explains that the shifter, aka Dyson, tried to sell Vex as someone Bo cares about.. She’s not stupid. Plus, she had the chance to read his texts…
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Apparently, Dyson details Bo’s love of the uppity doctor Lauren… Dun dun dun (Can we talk about the fact that Stacey put her hand over her chest when she says that? hint hint..?)

Kenzi is disturbed by the fact that Dyson texts about Lauren.. So are we! (Texting abt Lauren to who?? Tamsin?? Trick?? Evony?? Daddy Darko?? Bruce??)

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And Lauren seems disturbed as well by this information.
But Stacey doesn’t have time for this, well, she can make this fast or slow… What is she talking about already? Ah yeah.. a soul…

Lauren steps forward! Lauren is brave! “If anybody is going (in), it’s me.”
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Lauren doesn’t want Kenzi to go, she’s been through a lot. It’s enough. (I love Team Human)
But hey! It’s Kenzi! She doesn’t go without a fight! And she still has her lady balls, she’s not afraid to going back ! (well, Kenz.. please, don’t xD)

Stacey’s getting bored by the all “I’ll go, no I’ll go!” And cut the shit, saying that Lauren is right and Bo and Freyja made a deal. Kenzi is off limits for Valhalla for now.
Plus, Stacey says it’s better. Lauren has beautiful hairporn.. And as you know.. Valkyries LOVE hair…bonus for blonde hair.. What?

No, it’s better because of Lauren’s place in Bo’s heart!! Damn it!
She doesn’t want Dyson, no. He’s not special to Bo.
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Kenzi is special but.. off limits. And there’s Lauren…
Lauren holds a PARTICULARLY SPECIAL place in Bo’s heart. Not a particularly. Not a special. But a PARTICULARLY SPECIAL place !

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(sorry…I’m getting emo… focus u_u focus...)

Stacey shows the FTL necklace and Lauren is surprised! Dafuq, it’s Bo’s! “It’s a gift!” Kenzi goes all BFF with Lauren and step forward, “give it back biatch!”

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But.. well.. Stacey uses black eyes sleep on Kenzi! xD
“NAP TIME.”  (Again! Nap here, nap there……….It’s a sign!)

And here.. the best scene for me.. xD “or whatevs’, good luck Lo” and pouf.. Kenzi’s down lol Epic style. Reminds me her “head rush, head ruuush” in season 2.. Anyway..
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Lauren is on her own.. Use brain Lo, use brain!
“You can’t have my soul, I’m not dead!!!” Lauren is relieved.. well, just for few seconds..Because Stacey ALWAYS finishes her job……
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Stacey grabs Lauren by her hairporn… Sacrilege! Crime!
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But Tamsin is in da place! “Let her go, and get in line!! I’m still waiting to have my time with her, it’s been 84 years!” (what do you mean she didn’t say that? Of course she did. I can read body language, I told you…)
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While Tamsin and Stacey argue.. Lauren is getting a bit excited.. And so does Kenzi… “A valkyrie on valkyrie” It’s gonna be dirtyyyyy !
Well, not really. Tamsin wins by saying to Stacey that her roots are showing… “you know the rules…THE HAIR IS OFF LIMITS!!!!!” And she leaves.. letting go of the necklace at the same time..

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Kenzi and Lauren realise that the fae are just crazy as fuck… Normal.
And Lauren takes back the necklace… hastily... as if it was something very important and special.. more than usual, you know..
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Everything ends well! It’s time to have a real dinner! Actually it reminds me some painting.. you know the one about the last dinner of the Christ, something like this…
Anyway.. it’s a family dinner… And it’s the first time they’re all together like this. And it feels good.

The only thing that bugs me is the fact that the camera angle from above reminds me some external observer.. like Daddy Darko.. But it’s maybe nothing!

Tamsin and Dyson talks, she’s not jaleaous of Stacey so.. let’s be just friends, ok? Deal!
Trick says that even after two thousand years and ten thousand books… wait, what??? I don’t know about you but… two thousand years.. I mean, c’mon!! And he’s got only one child?? and one wife?? I give up… I call bullshit about the fae…

So he tells Bo he knows nothing about the afterlife (well yeah! hello!! Die already! and you will know >_< sorry u_______u) So he asks her how it is… And Bo just says “it’s … personal.” Best answer ever!

And it is. It’s very personal for Bo.. Not only because she banged her stepmother, no… But for everything about her mother’s story… etc… It was very emotional for Bo.
Lauren talks about wines.. the one time she was in keg’s room… to make some crazy bof bof hop hop hop science? u__û right

Anyway, Lauren uses “escape” and go get wine! xD Stat. But Kenzi spotted her, and so does Bo. “I’ll help!”
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Everyone understands, Kenzi first, with a warm smile.. Tamsin is amused and Dyson.. well.. He’s not really happy.. Let it go buddy… Let it go..
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Even Kenzi saw this.. She looks at him and she just wants to slap him in the beard and tells him to move on, find a Stacey and have lil’ winged wolf or bearded valkyrie and to be happy! Damn it !
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And here comes the married couple in love scene.. I mean Bo and Lauren… same same… Sushi anyone? Whatevs.
“You had ghost sex?!! I can’t believe it! I had stepmom sex ! We are so meant to be together babe! Our sex life is sooo weird and epic.”
Yeah, well, the ghost had some patented Bo moves.. “It kissed my neck, for the love of science!”

But let’s talk seriously now. wait.. WHAT?? WHAT ARE YOU DOING??? YOU’RE TALKING??? Sorry…
So, Bo asks about Kenzi… Is she alright..? Lauren tells her she’s good. Her vitals are good.. But no, Bo talks about the all Valhalla trip..the almost wedding.. It’s a lot…

Bo can feel there’s something heavy over her heart.. about Kenzi… It’s a lot to bear..

Lauren convinces Bo to talk to Kenzi about that..

Bo feels something and it’s not Lauren’s hand on her thigh…“Are you sure you burnt the ghost? How can you burn something that doesn’t have a corporal form?”
Lauren doesn’t understand.. Bo’s right! Where’s your brain Hotpants?! “It’s following you!”

From nowhere, a japanese dead not really dead lady in Bo’s kimono attacks Lauren and tries to bite her neck! (Not the neck!! it’s her weak spot, you bitch!!)

But where’s Bo? Save your wife already!!!

*pum* Kenzi shot it. Sarah Connor style!

“How’d you know it wasn’t over?” Bo and Lauren are still stunned by Kenzi’s reactivity.

And in a fierce, strong, mature and blasé voice Kenzi says “*look at Lauren* That’s the thing with the Fae…. *look at Bo* It’s never over.
This little line is strong and important.

I just have to say.. YEAH TEAM HUMAN… but seriously, I really like seeing Kenzi watching Lauren’s back, and vice versa. There’s a bound that wasn’t there before between these two.
And I think it’s very important.

Back to the Crackshack, Bo has planned to spend the day with Kenzi, watching her fav movies etc… But Kenzi can’t.

Something is gone in her heart. Her innocence. Kenzi explains to Bo that she needs to go away, she needs space, she needs time to think about herself.

She lost the love of her life, she died and woke up in her grave… It’s a lot and she’s just human, right? But it’s ok.

For the first time ever it’s ok for Kenzi. It’s ok to be human.
They hug. Bo is heartbroken. She just finds again her sister and she already leaves…
This is goodbye. The one they didn’t have the proper time to have.
Bo tries to keep the tears in, but she has hard time for that. Kenzi leaves her.

The door closes between Bo and Kenzi. (remember the doors thing? yeah… there will be doors all along the way guys… mark my words)

Some time later, Bo changed, she’s wearing Lauren’s clothes (what? I swear it’s Lauren’s u__u), it’s light color, it’s different… It’s casual, normal.
She’s wearing the necklace, and walks into the light.. She leaves the darkness to enter the light..

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(I just LOVE this gif from starbuck125)

And she starts to take off the wooden planks that block light to get in.
She lets the light in…

But here comes the candle… She put it on the window and light it up… At the same moment, in an elevator (Daddy Darko’s thing) a woman (human or not.. but i think not) who was talking to the phone holds now the same candle..

Her smile goes psycho style…and the light goes off… no more light… and everyone in the elevator start to scream… Dun dun dun.

Thx Stepmom’!
Bo I’m doing the opposite of what my father wants me to do Dennis.

Thanks for reading or just watching the pics lol
Now it’s coffee time…

Sexual Power on Lost Girl: Gateway to a Golden Age?

This week we bring you Part 1 of Laura LaVertu’s paper from the 2014 Film and History Conference. As a reminder, the theme of the conference was “Golden Ages” and the prompt for the LGBT track was “Given all of the representation we’re seeing, are we in a Golden Age for LGBT representation on TV?” Part 1 means that there is also a Part 2, which we will post soon. As well, Laura believes in having actual facts to back up your assertions, so there are 61 endnotes in Part 1 alone. I haven’t seen this many citations since everyone in downtown Washington, D.C. forgot to move their cars on street sweeping day. Hope you all enjoy Laura’s paper!

Screen Shot 2014-11-16 at 3.24.11 PM
Lost Girl
is a Canadian supernatural fantasy television series. It is produced by Prodigy Pictures, in association with Shaw Media and the Canadian Television Fund. It premiered in 2010 on Showcase, a Canadian cable channel. It will be airing its fifth and final season in December 2015.[1]

Lost-Girl-Jay-Firestone
Jay Firestone

The concept for the show was first developed by Jay Firestone, a Toronto based film and television producer. He described the origins of Lost Girl in a 2012 Comic-Con interview:

“Oh my gosh, the idea was born in a cafe during the Cannes film festival. A couple of my friends and I were talking about what sort of Buffy would be like today versus when Buffy was out. And I made a joke at one point and said Buffy would be bisexual, and everyone said what a cool idea! So we started developing it from there. The basic premise was when we started, my basic pitch was she’s good, she’s bad, she’s bi. And everybody got a kick out of that. So I put the challenge out to a few writers to come up with a vehicle for that type of character. And we got one and we went.”[2] [3]

faith-intimidate-buffy
“She’s good, she’s bad, she’s bi? Five by five.”

The writer was Michelle Lovretta, who took the concept of a “female superhero”[4] who uses “sex as part of her arsenal,” and structured it around a heroic lead character named Bo. Lovretta explains that Bo is a succubus: “She uses sex to feed, heal and kill”[5]

Michelle Lovretta
Michelle Lovretta

She pointed out that succubi are “known by many different names.”[6] The word itself is Latin-derived; from the Latin word “succuba” for “strumpet” and the word “succubare,” where “sub” means “under” and “cubare” means “to lie down.”[7] Strumpet is defined as: a female prostitute; a promiscuous women;[8] or a bold, lascivious woman.[9] The legend was developed in medieval folklore, where a succubus is a demon who takes the form of a woman to seduce men, usually while they sleep. Men who have sex with them repeatedly can suffer or die.[10]

But the roots of the story are much older. It is associated with the legend of Lilith, who was also developed in the Middle Ages. Lilith was said to be Adam’s first wife, and also the first succubus. Lilith and Adam argued about their positions during sex. Adam refused to let Lilith be on top, saying he was the superior, and she the inferior. But Lilith believed them to be equals. When they could not agree, she left him. In later stories, she became the wife of Samael, one of the fallen angels; and being defiled by him, could not return, instead becoming his queen and birthing demons. She was derived from Jewish mysticism, but her roots go all the way back to the ancient cuneiform texts of Mesopotamian religions.[11] These are among the oldest known forms of writing.[12]

Lilith
Lilith

Lilith and the succubi have offshoots in Islamic, African and Indian mythology, as well as various similar forms of supernatural entities. Lost Girl has featured several characters associated with them: the Egyptian Qarinah, the Celtic Leanan Sídhe, the Hungarian Lidérc and the Japanese Kitsune.[13] They have an impressive reach throughout worldwide culture.

Jennifers_body_ver2But behind all of the history is the idea that, from the beginning of recorded history, the succubi and their ilk have been used to personify the fear and misogyny swirling around the sexual power of women. What is astonishing is that today, they still are. Although more popular in modern media, the appearance of the succubus on screen remains vanishingly rare. When they do appear, they are invariably cast as evil antagonists. The television series True Blood[14] and Supernatural[15] both had major recurring characters named Lilith who served this function. The X-Files featured a succubus in one episode who seemed to be responsible for murder, seduction and blackmail.[16] Jennifer’s Body was a black comedy about a high school girl who was sacrificed as a virgin. But she was not a virgin, so the sacrifice backfired and she transformed into a succubus who seduced and ate boys.[17] [18] [19]

Lost Girl represents what is, possibly, the only positive on-screen presentation of a succubus ever made. In doing so, it has subverted the stereotype of the evil demon seductress and instead, made it about the sexual empowerment of women. Lovretta thought this was the story she was “unintentionally” telling through Bo. It was about a sex-positive world and a woman’s “liberation” from the expectations other people were putting on her and her body.[20] These are timeless ideals that women are still fighting for today. Part of that fight was expressed bringing the show into production.

From the beginning, both Lovretta and Firestone expressed the difficulties with having a sexually powerful, LGBT woman as their lead character. Firestone attempted to sell Lost Girl to U.S networks first, but was rejected. And despite the fact he secured funding within Canada, even his own network was afraid of it. “It started as a Canadian show because..I think people were nervous about it here. I went and sold it, tried to sell it, to everybody here and they were all scared of it a bit.[21]

No American producer would touch it.[22] “They were nervous about the bisexual element,” he says. “That’s what scared everybody.” So Firestone began looking for other sources of financing. His connections and reputation as a successful businessman within the Canadian television industry were probably invaluable. He convinced one of the major Canadian media conglomerates, Canwest Global Communications Corporation[23], to help finance the show. This may have been helped by the fact that Firestone created Canwest’s entire entertainment division over a decade earlier, when he sold them their first production company. It happened to be his production company: Fireworks Entertainment, Inc.

Firestone had built Fireworks with genre productions, and he reportedly had a “quirky” but effective[24] business model. He was also known as someone who liked strong female protagonists.[25] This is clearly demonstrated in his projects, among them the hit cable series La Femme Nikita, as well as Relic Hunter, Mutant X, Black Hole High, Wild Card, etc.[26] He said he decided a long time ago “people would rather see a woman kick someone through a window than serve them breakfast.”[27]

The acquisition marked Canwest’s first foray into broadcasting, and Firestone became the sole chairman and CEO of the new Canwest Entertainment.[28] As Canwest was seeking to expand and diversify its assets, Firestone pushed out into international markets.[29] But the economic downturn in the early 2000s saw European sales slumping, and Fireworks losing money. Firestone left in 2003. By 2006, he had started up another independent production company, naming it Prodigy Pictures.

After its earlier slump, Canwest had refocused on the Canadian and U.S broadcasting market. By the time 2008 rolled around, they were expanding again. In January, they showcaselogoacquired Showcase, one of Canada’s specialty cable channels. Showcase itself was created in 1994.[30] It was originally supposed to showcase the best of independently produced Canadian and worldwide movie and television content, with “limited” input from the United States.”[31] But over the years, it apparently developed a “seedy” reputation. It was known for its adult programming, including an erotically themed Friday night line-up. Believing the channel was turning off investors, Canwest began a major effort to rebrand it.[32] They had seen their chief rival, CTV, have success with homegrown dramas, like The Listener.[33] Due to licensing requirements, Showcase was obligated to air Canadian content in its prime time slots.[34] So Canwest was willing to invest in new projects for its new assets. On Oct. 16th, 2008, they announced the commission of four new Canadian pilots, Lost Girl among them. It was the first television commission for Prodigy Pictures[35].

The Canadian Television Fund was the second major backer for Lost Girl. The Canadian government is highly supportive of its native television productions, providing funding for ctf-logothem through a public-private merger between itself and cable and satellite broadcasters.[36] It is for this reason that broadcast licensing comes with requirements for hosting Canadian content. Over the years, Canada has become well known as a cheap place to shoot television, with cities vying for who can provide the most attractive tax credits.[37] The American drama series, Mistresses, just made headlines by moving its production from Los Angeles to Vancouver, thereby prompting its lead actress to leave the show.[38]But for whatever reason, Canada has primarily attracted good genre-related fare; luminaries such as The X-Files, the long-running Supernatural,[39] as well as the revamped Battlestar Galactica, Warehouse 13, Sanctuary, Defiance, and many more,[40] have all been Canadian based productions. Lost Girl itself is filmed in Toronto.[41]

Jay Firestone was at the forefront of these production deals during the previous decade, producing Canadian shows, like La Femme Nikita, that ran internationally through syndication deals. But the end result was that Canada had lots of good, experienced film crews running around[42]. It was “inevitable” there would be a leap towards their own productions. Lost Girl was among the first of this new wave of native shows, helping to brand Canada as the “sci-fi nation”[43].

Good crews and a supportive government aside, it was an unusual show. Firestone confirmed that Canwest was nervous about it. The fact Bo could “kill with sex” was a tough sell,[44]especially as they were trying to swing Showcase in another direction. Plus, it was a genre show; notorious for coming with comparatively expensive price tags, and hard-to-find niche audiences. Some genre fans will not even watch a genre show until it has a confirmed second season. Too many of them fail during the first one.[45] Even well-performing shows are likely to be canceled if the network has other promising pilots in its pipeline.[46] They’re just trouble.

And trouble seemed to plague Lost Girl. They already had a nervous network and a lack of investors. Instead of a traditional pilot as an introduction to the series, Canwest requested something more typical of a regular episode. [47] Even Lovretta was worried about how to write it. In her Watercooler interview, she explained:

 But after that initial excitement came trepidation – it is so, so incredibly easy with a template like that to create something mind-numbingly insulting, anti-female, and exploitative. I wouldn’t want my name on that. And, as someone who respects both the straight and queer communities, I was afraid of alienating either of them in the process… or, of just making neutered, boring TV by overthinking it and being too PC. Gah!! The challenge was to create a fun, sex-positive world that celebrates provocative cheesecake for everyone, without falling into base stereotypes or misogynistic (or misandristic) exploitation along the way. [48]

Then there were problems with the filming and with the casting. They had searched exhaustively for a lead actress and almost had to shut down production before finding Anna Silk.[49] They rewrote the part for her, and then rewrote or modified at least two other major roles, perhaps even recasting one of them.[50] [51]They even had to reshoot parts of the pilot due to a problem with the film.[52] But Jay Firestone must have believed in the show. He provided the rest of the financing himself.[53]

Succubus-bo-and-lauren-29409279-1331-2000
Best succubus EVER

While the show was thrashing about in production, Canwest and the Canadian Television Fund were having their own convulsions. Canwest had stretched themselves thin again with their convergence theory economics. When the 2008-2009 global recession hit, they began selling off major media shares to pay down debt, and started negotiations to avoid collapse. Exactly one year after the initial pilot commission, in October 2009, they filed for bankruptcy protection.[54]

With one of their major backers in litigation proceedings, their second major backer, The Canadian Television Fund, was mired in a major corruption scandal. Cable companies in Canada are required to contribute a certain percentage of their profits to the Fund in order to support native Canadian productions (like Lost Girl). In 2007, a public report was filed that accused the cable companies of overcharging subscribers and shortchanging the Fund. Although the charges were picked up by major media outlets and debated in the parliament, the Canadian Prime Minister was criticized for doing nothing about it. In March 2009, the Prime Minister announced the dissolution of the CTF and the development of a new entity, called the Canada Media Fund. [55] [56]

Under the new Fund, television content must also have a digital component, like a website, and be available online. While the aim was to modernize Canadian media with the internet, there was speculation it was as much motivated by political expediency to remove a troublesome CTF. More importantly, for Lost Girl, it meant the funding rules had changed on them. The old funding streams would be allowed to function through the 2009-2010 season. The pilot was still in production in 2009. But the old Fund would be phased out on April 1, 2010. Should Lost Girl be picked up, it might face a new set of challenges in obtaining financing. There was much more money available in the new Fund. But producers suddenly found themselves having to shoulder the extra costs of a website to stream content in order to meet requirements, which did not necessarily cover those extra costs. There was an estimated 40% shortfall. That could be difficult for a small, independent production company like Prodigy Pictures. [57]

Bo_(Vexed)_(108)
Cold open, indeed

Principal photography on the pilot was reported complete on Feb. 18, 2009.[58] This episode, which ended up being number 8 in the season one order, is generally regarded as one of the grittiest and most explicit episodes the show ever produced. Bo has two contrasting sex scenes, one with a man and one with a woman. The cold open has her bloody, injured and needing to coerce an ex-lover into a scathing sexual reunion so she can heal herself. He has to force her to stop. The contrasting scene is a romantic interlude where Bo herself is coerced into making love with a woman who later confesses she was sent to distract her. This prompts a bruising emotional meltdown.[59] Bo’s power and her sexuality are on full display. But the pilot invests not just in the power of the sex, but in the risk of it as well. It shows her potential to abuse and to be abused. It was a risky[60] move, but Showcase bought it. On August 19, 2009, Canwest announced the series would be picked up for a first season.[61]

Vexed_108_Bo_&_Dyson_1 300px-Vexed_108_Bo_&_Lauren_(1)

Endnotes

[1]“Lost Girl.” Wikipedia. A Wikimedia Project. n.d. Web. Oct. 2014

[2]Firestone, Jay. “Syfy Lost Girl Producer Jay Firestone Discusses New Season and Show Origins.” Youtube.com. GamerLiveTV. 23 July 2012. Web. Oct. 2014.

[3]Firestone, Jay. “Cast Interviews” Lost Girl Season Three. Blu-ray. Oct. 2014

[4]Lovretta, Michelle. “Anna Silk, Michelle Lovretta discuss Lost Girl – SyFy 20th Anniversary Special.” Youtube.com. X5452MG1. 10. Dec.2012. Oct. 2014.

[5]Lovretta, Michelle. “An Interview with Michelle Lovretta.” Water Cooler Journal. n.d. Web. Oct. 2014.

[6]Lovretta, Michelle. “Cast Interviews:About the Series.” Lost Girl Season One. Blu-ray. Oct. 2014

[7]Harper, Douglas. “Succubus.” Online Entymology Dictionary. Sponsored Words. 2010-2014. Web. Oct. 2014.

[8]“Strumpet.” Google. Google.com. n.d. Web. Oct. 2014.

[9]Harper, Douglas. “Succubus.” Online Entymology Dictionary. Sponsored Words. 2010-2014. Web. Oct. 2014.

[10]“Succubus.” Wikipedia. A Wikimedia Project. n.d. Web. Oct. 2014

[11]“Ancient Mesopotamian Religion.” Wikipedia. A Wikimedia Project. n.d. Web. Oct. 2014

[12]“Cuneiform.” Wikipedia. A Wikimedia Project. n.d. Web. Oct. 2014

[13]“Succubus.” Wikipedia. A Wikimedia Project. n.d. Web. Oct. 2014

[14]“Lilith.” True Blood Wiki. Wikia.com. n.d. Web. Oct. 2014.

[15]“Lilith.” Wikipedia. A Wikimedia Project. n.d. Web. Oct. 2014

[16]“Avatar (The X-Files).” Wikipedia. A Wikimedia Project. n.d. Web. Oct. 2014

[17]“Jennifer’s Body.” Wikipedia. A Wikimedia Project. n.d. Web. Oct. 2014

[18]It’s worth noting that Jennifer’s Body was intended to do many of the same things Lost Girl does. It was written to subvert the “classic horror model of women being terrorized,” and turn it into female empowerment. It was also meant to explore the bonds between adolescent girls. Both the writer and director described themselves as feminists and wanted to write powerful roles for women. The film also addresses bullying, virginity, and the sexualized position of women in our culture.

[19]Succubi can be found several card games, webcomics, video games, fantasy novels, television series or horror films, all as enemies. There is one urban fantasy book series with a positive protagonist who is a succubus: the Georgina Kincaid series by Richelle Mead.

[20]Lovretta, Michelle. “Anna Silk, Michelle Lovretta discuss Lost Girl – SyFy 20th Anniversary Special.” Youtube.com. X5452MG1. 10. Dec.2012. Oct. 2014.

[21]Firestone, Jay. “Syfy Lost Girl Producer Jay Firestone Discusses New Season and Show Origins.” Youtube.com. GamerLiveTV. 23 July 2012. Web. Oct. 2014.

[22]Lederman, Marsha. “How Canada is becoming the sci fi nation.” The Globe and Mail. The Globe and Mail, Inc. 13. Apr. 2013. Web. Oct. 2014

[23]“Canwest.” Wikipedia. A Wikimedia Project. n.d. Web. Oct. 2014

[24]Jay Firestone. ReBoot Wiki. Wikia.com. n.d. Web. Oct. 2014

[25]Hogan, Heather. “EXCLUSIVE: Rachel Skarsten talks Valkubus and the ‘Lost Girl’ finale.” Afterellen.com. Totally Her Media. 9 Apr. 2013. Web. Oct. 2014.

[26]“Fireworks Entertainment.” Wikipedia. A Wikimedia Project. n.d. Web. Oct. 2014

[27]Firestone, Jay. “Extras.” Lost Girl Season Three. Blu-ray. Oct. 2014

[28]“Jay Firestone.” Wikipedia. A Wikimedia Project. n.d. Web. Oct. 2014

[29]Poirier, Agnes. “Canwest dumps Firestone as Fireworks fizzles.” Screen Daily. Media Business Insight Limited. 6 May 2003. Web. Oct. 2014.

[30]The channel was the result of a merger between Alliance Communications, the CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) and “a number of smaller Canadian producers.”

[31]Alliance Communications happened to be the production company Jay Firestone helped found back in 1984, when he first entered broadcasting. He left Alliance in 1995. That means that in 1994, when Showcase was created, he was one of its founders.

[32]Semansky, Matt. “Showcase Puts New Look On Display.” Marketing. 28 Aug. 2009. Web. Oct. 2014.

[33]Vlessing, Etan. “Canwest Oks quartet of pilots.” The Hollywood Reporter. 16 Oct. 2008. Web. Oct. 2014.

[34]During the hours between 7 – 10 pm.

[35]It is probably worth noting that of the other 3 commissioned dramas, one was never picked up and the other two only made it one season.

[36]“Canadian Television Fund.” Wikipedia. A Wikimedia Project. n.d. Web. Oct. 2014

[37]Bailey, Ian. “B.C. wants truce with Ontario, Quebec on film tax credits.” The Globe and Mail. The Globe and Mail, Inc. 17 Jun. 2013. Web. Oct. 2014

[38]“Alyssa Milano quits ‘Mistresses’ because production moved to Vancouver.” Canadian Press. CTV. 3 Oct. 2013. Web. Oct. 2014.

[39]Lederman, Marsha. “How Canada is becoming the sci fi nation.” The Globe and Mail. The Globe and Mail, Inc. 13. Apr. 2013. Web. Oct. 2014

[40]Brioux, Bill. “The stars film among us.” Thestar.com. Toronto Star Newspapers Ltd. 9 Jul. 2010. Web. Oct. 2014

[41]“Development and Production.” Lost Girl Wiki. n.d. Wikia.com. Oct. 2014.

[42]Brioux, Bill. “The stars film among us.” Thestar.com. Toronto Star Newspapers Ltd. 9 Jul. 2010. Web. Oct. 2014

[43]Lederman, Marsha. “How Canada is becoming the sci fi nation.” The Globe and Mail. The Globe and Mail, Inc. 13. Apr. 2013. Web. Oct. 2014

[44]Firestone, Jay. “Extras” Lost Girl Season Three. Blu-ray. Oct. 2014

[45]This was a comment expressed by Dave or Wayne on The Faetalists Podcast, which is a podcast dedicated to Lost Girl and other genre related fare

[46]Hibberd, James. “The nine highest rated canceled shows.” Entertainment Weekly. Entertainment Weekly and Time Inc. 15 May 2012. Web. Oct. 2014.

[47]Firestone, Jay. “Extras” Lost Girl Season Three. Blu-ray. Oct. 2014

[48]Lovretta, Michelle. “An Interview with Michelle Lovretta.” Water Cooler Journal. n.d. Web. Oct. 2014.

[49] Landau, Emily. “The Erotic Education of Anna Silk: the Lost Girl star on playing a bisexual succubus.” Toronto Life. Toronto Life Publishing Company Limited. 01 Feb. 2013. Web. Oct. 2014.

[50]Jay Firestone stated they expanded the role of Kenzi because Ksenia Solo had such good comedic timing.

[51]An early press release for the series listed Sarah Allen in the role of Lauren Lewis, but it may have been a mistake. I never found any other mention of Sarah Allen in that role. In fact, most of the early press releases failed to mention the role of Lauren Lewis at all. In interviews, Zoie Palmer said the role was expanded past what the writers initially planned for it. Jay Firestone hinted that the romantic triangle between Lauren, Dyson and Bo was due to the chemistry between the actors and not necessarily something that was planned either. Zoie Palmer also mentioned in interviews that when she auditioned, she was told the director needed her to have lots of chemistry with Anna Silk for the role.

[52]“Lost Girl panel at 2013 Comicpalooza (2-4) [1080p].” Youtube.com. idratherbeherping. 27 May 2013. Web. Oct. 2014.

[53]Lederman, Marsha. “How Canada is becoming the sci fi nation.” The Globe and Mail. The Globe and Mail, Inc. 13. Apr. 2013. Web. Oct. 2014

[54]“Canwest Global Communications Corporation (Canwest Global).” The Canadian Encyclopedia. Historica Foundation. n.d. Web. Oct. 2014.

[55]Timbot. “Canadian Media – A Hard Look.” Oddly Studios Blog. Oddlystudios.com. 12 Nov. 2011. Web. Oct. 2014.

[56]“Minister Moore announces Canada Media Fund to give viewers what they want, when they want it.” News Releases. JamesMoore.ca. 9 Mar. 2009. Web. Oct. 2014.

[57]“REVAMPED CANADA MEDIA FUND SEES 85% JUMP IN FUNDING REQUESTS” Canadian Press. Marketing. 24 Jan. 2011. Web. Oct. 2014.

[58]Wild, Diane. “Production Complete On Lost Girl Pilot.” TV, Eh? 18 Feb. 2009. Web. Oct. 2014.

[59]One reviewer offered the notion the differences between the sex scenes may have been a way to ease the network into the female/female sexuality being portrayed on screen

[60]Killingsworth, Melanie. “Lost Girl: How Vexed Works As The Perfect Pilot.” Mehlsbells: Ringing Opinions on TV, Film and Music. WordPress.com. 6 Jun. 2013. Web. 12 Nov. 2014.

[61]“Canwest Finds Lost Girl.” Canwest Broadcasting. Jayfirestone.com. 19 Aug. 2009. Web. Oct. 2014.

footnotes

Guest Post: Lost Girl Season 5 – Who in Hel is the Wanderer (And Why We Still Care)

Today’s post is brought to us by Mahlers5th and ValksyLG. Thanks so much for your contribution, you two!

“Structure is key to narrative. These are the crucial questions any storyteller must answer: Where does it begin? Where does the beginning start to end and the middle begin? Where does the middle start to end and the end begin?”

                                                                    [Nora Ephron, Telling True Stories]

“You have to let me fight my own battles. Do that, and when the smoke clears, we’ll see where we are.”

                                                                    [Bo to Dyson, Lost Girl, episode 113]

 carolynrodhamMahlers5th

The closing episodes of season 4 left many viewers perplexed and many questions unanswered. The truth behind Bo’s lineage — at the very heart of her being the Lost Girl — remained unexplained. We were no closer to knowing the real identity of The Wanderer (uppercase W) whom we had been hearing about since episode 308 (Fae-ge Against the Machine). Could all the hints that he was Bo’s father have been red herrings? Was her father actually a bat-winged fire-breathing demon steed, as suggested by Sister Epona in episode 412 (Origin)?

Pyrripus_(309)
Daddy?

But if the Pyrippus is Bo’s father, imprisoned on some other plane of existence all this time, how did he manage to hire Tamsin to find Bo or sneak away to implant Recuerdo coils under the ocular membranes of her closest friends and family in the hiatus between episodes 313 (Those Who Wander)

and 401 (In Memoriam)? Are we being asked to believe Aife did the wild thing with a guy who spends his time looking like Secretariat on steroids?

And what was the deal with Rainer? OK, he was not The Wanderer, as we had been led to believe, but merely “he who wanders” (lowercase w) and Bo declared emphatically at the end of episode 409 (Destiny’s Child) that he was not her father – thank Goddess! But in what sense was he supposed to have been Bo’s “destiny”? In episode 412 (Origin), he said they were destined to “fight together for the good of the Fae” but promptly had his ticket to Valhalla punched by Massimo before he could fulfill that destiny.

Couldn't resist.
Couldn’t resist.

And speaking of prophesies, in episode 412, hadn’t Lauren read in Fae history books that Rainer was “the demon beast of evil pure, never to be trusted” destined to “wreak torment beyond comparison and betray the Fae”? Did that suggest he’d be back in season 5 to complete unfinished business? It was all pretty confusing. So before settling in to watch the next installment, Valksy and I decided to make one more attempt to reconcile all of these puzzling plot developments with the overarching storyline that has been unfolding.

Bo gets her looks from her mother's side of the family
Bo gets her looks from her mother’s side of the family

That was the plan until that fateful day in late August when Anna Silk blew fans a magical kiss and conferred upon us the terrible gift of Foresight. It was not revealed precisely how Bo’s story would end, only that everyone who has ever meant anything to us on this show — including Bo herself — would be lost at the end of season 5. The show runner had rewritten the future with his blood-tipped pen: END OF SERIES. And that “MMXV” — the Roman numerals that materialized on the Wanderer’s tarot card in episode 402 (Sleeping Beauty School)? Clearly it was just a teasing reference to the year “2015” when Lost Girl Armageddon would occur. And there wasn’t a blessed thing we could do to change that fate.

There’s nothing like the inevitability of death to drive us mere mortals to make something meaningful out of our brief flash of life…and precious television shows. But really, was there any point in continuing to cogitate about the identity of the Wanderer or the Pyrippus or Rainer or whether Bo was the Dark Queen or the Chosen One? There were more burning questions to consider now that we knew we didn’t have all the time in the world – like what fate lay in store for our beloved Doccubus? And would we ever see their Doccubabies — Ethan and Charlotte?

I needed a mojito. Make that two. It’s just a television show. It’s just a television show. It’s just a television show…

valksylgValksy

The first and most obvious explanation for why we still care so much about the riddle presented to us by the show is that we, as viewers, are prone to sharing a trait with our beloved doctor — we are “insatiably curious.” There is confusion for sure, but for many, a determination to make sense of the mystery that has been presented to us. The key to unravelling this conundrum is Bo herself as she moves from being a Lost Girl in the most literal sense — unable to find her way and oblivious to her heritage — to a more existentially Lost Girl who is challenged by her own moral ambiguity, temptations, and the life choices she faces.

As Bo’s tale transitioned from “what am I?” to “who am I?” and “why am I here?” it became clear that a central theme of the show was family — both the chosen and the biological. Like all of us, Bo’s identity has been shaped by her biological/genetic endowment, by the parents who actually raised her, and importantly by her adult relationships and experiences in life. But the wild card in her make-up has always been her paternal lineage: “Who is my father and what does he want with me?” In terms of character growth and narrative bread crumbs – through quests and monsters, challenge and conflict – there has always been plenty of evidence of an intentional meta plot in play, with a missing piece large enough to thoroughly pique my curiosity and make me long to know what happens next.

Evidence of an intentional series-long story arc of some magnitude is also suggested in several subordinate plot threads. Lauren and Bo first encounter humans tampering in the Fae world in episode 106 (Food for Thought) when it becomes apparent that a shadowy and well-appointed organization has undertaken experiments into biological weaponry targeting the Fae, despite Lauren’s charge to “track all clinically approved trials globally, make sure none are problematic for the Fae.” Although not further explained within the show canon at this point, it seems reasonable to find a parallel between the activities of Baron Chemicals in episode 106 and Taft’s empire in the latter stages of season 3. Certainly the knowledge Lauren acquired – to turn humans into Fae hybrids via genetic engineering – could serve as a foundation for the reverse act she performs on the Morrigan in the fourth season. This story concept – a battle for survival between humans versus Fae using advanced or transformative science – has been woven through all four seasons.

Evony and Lauren kiss
“Will you step into my parlor?” said the spider to the fly; “‘Tis the prettiest little parlor that ever did you spy. The way into my parlor is up a winding stair, And I have many pretty things to show when you are there.”

Another plot thread, albeit a more subtle one, that seems to mirror the main story arc is the evolution we see in the relationship between Bo and Kenzi. A loveable Artful Dodger and light-fingered scamp in the early episodes, Kenzi is matured by her first brush with mortality in episode 106 (Food for Thought), then frees Dyson against all odds in episode 220 (Lachlan’s Gambit), saves him emotionally from the Norn’s curse in episode 221 (Into the Dark), and finally reaches her full courageous potential in episode 413 (Dark Horse) in an unforgettable scene of noble self-sacrifice for a greater good.

"Tell Vex to keep his hands off my mascara."
“Tell Vex to keep his hands off my mascara.”

While it is always vital to remember that this is primarily Bo’s story, both of these sub-plots seem intimately interwoven with the grander story. None of us knows which way the story will turn next, but Lauren’s progression from hapless and exploited slave to an intellect-driven warrior must surely serve a purpose; this development also ensures that she is elevated beyond any potentially objectionable position of helpless damsel to a more equal and self-actuated character. Likewise, although Kenzi’s traumatic passing will be an important catalyst for the next chapter in the story (as Bo makes clear in her monologue at the end of season 4), the evolution of the relationship between the two women – from strangers, to family, to fractured and estranged friends – also parallels Bo’s own plot-driven character modification. The changing bond between Bo and Kenzi is both an important story in its own right and a symbolic representation of Bo’s personal transformation.

Mahlers5th

Life is hard when you don’t know who you are. We have heard Bo say these words dozens of times during the opening credits of Lost Girl, and yet it is easy to forget this is the show’s central drama. Bo’s attention – and the viewer’s – may have been distracted along the way by this romance or that love triangle or another MOTW, but finding her true nature, where she comes from, and what larger destiny awaits her, has remained the driving force behind her personal narrative. It took center stage in season 3 during her preparations for and experiences in the Dawning (to the chagrin of fans who felt she had selfishly shunted Lauren aside) and was never more prominent than during the course of season 4, when love took a back seat to the task of Bo’s regaining her memory and finding out who had kidnapped her and what happened on the Death Train: “Can you really know yourself without memory? Can you really know what you want?” (Episode 406, Of All the Gin Joints). itstimebuttonThis is a journey she has been intent on doing for herself and by herself since the very beginning. In episode 409 (Destiny’s Child), when Lauren and Dyson insist on accompanying her back to the Death Train, Bo tells them, “I love you both. So much. But right now I need you to watch me walk away because I have to do this.” The stage has been set for this journey of self-discovery to reach a climax in the final season. It’s time.

Some people prioritize the intimacy and mutuality of relationships in life, but for Bo, the questions “Who am I?” and “Why am I here?” have always trumped “Who do I love?” Consider the fact that in episode 108 (Vexed), after Lauren and Bo spend the night together for the very first time, Bo doesn’t hang back in bed for some morning canoodling but, over her lover’s objections, is up early lacing her boots to save Lou Ann and find out the truth about her own mother. And in episode 413 (Dark Horse), after Bo takes time out from Fae Armageddon to rescue Lauren from Massimo (or was it Lauren’s guile – pocketing and crushing the twig of Zamora—that actually saved the day?), Lauren reminds Bo of her priorities: “Get out of here, Succubus. Destiny’s calling.” Season 4 has been full of references to the fact that there are things more important in life than a mere love story and that love must sometimes be sacrificed for the greater good. Just not Doccubus. Please, not Doccubus.

Valksy

Beyond my own natural curiosity to see what happens next and understand how the clues will eventually resolve the riddle presented to us, I also find the grander story both compelling and necessary to the intimate love story that caught our attention and brought so many of us to the show in the first place. There seems to be a deeply human instinct to view the greatest loves as something earned through suffering, strife and challenges, and often resolved by bargains, battles or sacrifices. This common theme of love conquering all is reflected in the historic story of Odysseus and Penelope, in the literary romance between Romeo and Juliet or between Elizabeth Bennett and Mr. Darcy, and in the cinematic love affair between Ilsa Lund and Rick Blaine in Casablanca or Han Solo and Princess Leia.

love-poster-quotes_734-2

Lost Girl continues this tradition of great romances tested through heroic actions, adversity, and strife. In episode 212 (Masks), Bo selflessly frees Nadia and willingly surrenders her own happiness in return for Lauren’s. In episode 219 (Truth and Consequences), Nadia sacrifices her life in order to save Lauren from the malevolent entity inhabiting her. Kenzi sacrifices her own chance of happiness with Nate out of love for Bo (in Truth and Consequences) and then goes on to play out a classically tragic love story with Hale, ending with his death in episode 411 (End of a Line).

Their sacrifices stand in marked contrast to Dyson’s bombastic, jealous chest-thumping early on in the series, and to his rescinding his “sacrifice” to the Norn when he fails to win the girl to his satisfaction. In doing so, it is arguable he proves his love is unworthy, according to classical narrative tradition.

Both Bo and Lauren are willing to sacrifice their own happiness, liberty, safety, even their lives, out of devotion to one another. These grand and symbolic acts require a greater story, with a deeper menace, as a backdrop. Bo’s brave, stubborn, and relentless quest to discover the truth about the Wanderer, and in doing so to discover herself, is surely an important reason Lauren loves her and an intrinsic part of the love story that has so inspired us.

Mahlers5th

It is astonishing how little Bo (or the viewer) knows about her father, his intentions, and the influence of his bloodline after four seasons. Historians tell us that people inevitably misunderstand the present when they live in ignorance of the past, so before making predictions about where the writers will be taking Bo’s story in the final season, let’s take a look back at what we know and don’t know about Bo’s identity, parentage, and apparent destiny.

Was Bo’s father the Dark Fae King?

Bo has known since episode 113 (Blood Lines) that Aife — a Light Fae succubus — is her birth mother. In that episode, Bo learns that her mother was imprisoned and tortured for centuries by a sadistic Dark King who “thought it a waste to execute a perfectly good succubus” and decided instead to “keep me for his own entertainment.” Aife never expressly stated that her Dark King captor raped her – although this is strongly implied – nor that he is Bo’s father. In fact, when Bo asked her pointblank in episode 113, “Is he my father?! Is he still alive?!” Aife answered sharply that she “[didn’t] want to talk about that (…) All in due time.

We hear nothing further about Bo’s parentage from Aife until episode 313 (Those Who Wander), when Dyson finds her in Taft’s castle where she has been held captive since her fight with Bo in episode 113. Aife tells Dyson she was tortured by Taft for information about “what’s the ultimate type of Fae…who’s the strongest” but says proudly that she never revealed the truth: “It’s my Bo, my daughter.” Whoever Bo’s father may be, his blood apparently confers abilities far more powerful than any other Fae, Light or Dark. “If your father were here, he would kill them all, resurrect them, and then kill them again!” Aife shouts in impotent rage when Bo is imprisoned with her in Taft’s cells, “He would never allow this to happen to his seed!” Would Aife be talking in such reverential terms about Bo’s father if he were indeed the monstrous Dark King who had tortured and exploited her for centuries? Uh, no.

C'mere, little seed.
C’mere, little seed.

In episode 301 (Caged Fae), Bo herself hedged her bets when discussing her fears about her origins with Trick: “My father was most certainly Dark [emphasis added].” Trick is non-committal, as usual, but twenty-six episodes later (in the season 4 finale), he finally gets around to telling Bo that she has “hybrid” blood. She has inherited her mother’s Light Fae blood and with it the ability to drain chi for nourishment and to manipulate others by touch. From her father, Trick tells her, she has inherited “the ability to drain life from many victims” and to “transfer that life force” to someone else, an ability we have by then witnessed several times, most memorably in episode 309 (Ceremony). But despite all that suggestive sliding of dark bottles next to light bottles on the bar, Trick never actually says that Bo’s father is the monstrous Dark King. He seems familiar with the powers conferred by her father’s blood and apparently knows him well enough – “whoever he may be” — to be “terrified” of him, as he tells Bo in episode 408 (Ground Hog Fae), but Trick steadfastly maintains that he doesn’t know her father’s actual identity. By this point in the story Bo herself seems fairly convinced her father is the Pyrippus, but Trick is silent on that point. [We’ll have more to say about the Pyrippus later, but suffice it to say for now, we don’t buy that he is Bo’s father].

Do we have solid evidence that Bo’s father is even Dark Fae? The most compelling evidence for this is presented in episode 404 (Turn to Stone), when the Keeper tells Bo that based on analysis of a sample obtained by the Una Mens’ gargoyle, “Your blood has spoken. You have chosen a side. You are Dark.” However, in the series premiere, it was clear that the Fae had no means of determining whether Bo was Light or Dark Fae (“someone hid her from birth from both our sides”) so she would have to choose. This would seem to suggest that one’s identity as Light or Dark Fae is mostly a matter of nurture or choice rather than Nature or blood. In any case, whether Bo’s blood is a hybrid of Dark and Light Fae, or some other unknown hybrid, an argument can be made that the Dark King is not her biological father.

Is Bo’s dark side embedded solely in her paternal DNA?

Bo_(Dark_Bo)_208Bo makes her first appearance as the “supersuccubus” (Dark-Queen-in-waiting) in episode 208 (Death Didn’t Become Him) when the Lich threatens to kill Lauren unless Bo feeds on her. In a seemingly possessed altered state, she expresses a will to rule in that weird Darth-Vader-castrato voice: “I could be more powerful than all other Fae. Everyone would kneel at my feet. There would be no more Dark and no more Light. There would be only me.” Interestingly, this will to rule is expressed in the conditional tense, as though Bo herself (or the dark side threatening to gain ascendency within her) is signaling that she isn’t fully “cooked” yet. In this episode, we also witness the first demonstration of her ability to siphon chi from a group and then use that life force to reanimate someone else. At that point, Bo wasn’t sure how she did it or what triggered her rage, nor did she understand anything much about her patrilineage.

In episode 222 (Flesh and Blood), having bound her friends to her with her blood to fight The Garuda, Bo reappears as the Dark Queen with the same message – a thirst for power and wish to dominate everyone: “I should have killed The Garuda sooner – him and every single one of his minions. I will seek them out and kill them all and anyone who tries to stand in my wayMy strength is unmatched! I will reign as Queen and all shall tremble before my power.” No conditional tense there! The Dark Queen surfaces twice more: in episode 309 (Ceremony), which I will return to below, and in episode 413 (Dark Horse), when Bo chi-sucks the revenants at the entrance of the portal to the Underworld to protect her friends and family and save her world. However, the consequence of using this power inherited from her father, albeit for the greater good, is to lower her defenses against her dark side: “I am your Queen whether you swear it or not, fool!” she hisses at Dyson. “And my true army cometh. I was bound by blood. Now we bathe in it. Humans. Fae. All will bow before me. All will break before the power of the Pyrippus!” [I know, I know – the Pyrippus again. We’re certainly meant to believe he is Bo’s father, aren’t we? All in due time…].

darthhelmet

Since this thirst for power and domination tended to emerge whenever Bo exercised the group chi-siphoning abilities inherited from her father, and since it is invariably expressed in a voice we have come to identify as part Dark Queen/part Father, I have always assumed the darkness within Bo reflected the sole influence of her paternal DNA endowment. However, in episode 113 (Blood Lines), Aife expressed a similar taste for domination at any cost and used strikingly similar language. “I always had high hopes for my little girl,” she tells Bo in episode 113:

We’re going to take down the Fae…I know you hate the divide as much as I do, the Dark and the Light. And we’re gonna put an end to that, you and me…tear down the establishment. And then we let the world burn. And you and I reign over the ashes side-by-side.

This wish to tear down the Fae establishment and to reign side-by-side with Bo in some new world order is an ambition echoed by The Wanderer in season 3 and again by Rainer in season 4. Could this be a reason Bo’s father – whoever he is – chose Aife in the first place, i.e. because he knew she shared similar ambitions and could therefore be manipulated to take part in his own master plan? Perhaps a plan was hatched by her father centuries ago and Bo was bred by consensual choice to fight in some future conflict. Tamsin seems to suggest as much in episode 408 (Groundhog Fae): “The Wanderer. That evil that you met. Could he be my father?” Bo asks, to which Tamsin replies, “That thing would’ve done anything to claim his ideal mate. Even if it meant creating her himself.”

Rainer expresses this same thirst for power in more benign and idealistic terms (“to end the tyranny between the Dark and the Light”) but he is willing to slaughter the Una Mens without hesitation to accomplish his goal. The Fae prophecies that Lauren unearthed suggest his motives may not be so pure after all, and in the season 4 finale, Trick also tries to warn Bo about Rainer’s possible ulterior motives:

Rainer (to Bo):   Not only could your blood lift curses, but you could lead armies.                     Resurrect the fallen as they die on the battlefield. Free the masses!

Trick: Or enslave them, if she’s coerced by the wrong hand.

We believe Rainer may have been enlisted by The Wanderer — Bo’s father – to execute the Wanderer’s own plan to draw Bo off the earthly plane while still allowing her to think it’s all her idea. What did Rainer get out of the deal? At the very least, liberation from the Death Train and a trip to Valhalla, but perhaps there is a bigger pay-off still to come: the chance to fulfill his original ambition of defeating Fae tyrants – starting with Trick.

Valksy

There is an argument to suggest that the events across the four seasons to date have foreshadowed the Wanderer’s importance to the story in its eventual entirety. The series of events that began with Bo’s entry into the Fae world (and into ours), escalated to a conflict with her mother which in turn caused Trick to reluctantly invoke his blood magic in full understanding that there could be dire consequences: “You think I didn’t try to fix this thing with Aife long ago? I have rooms of books filled with my blood. Every time, something horrible went wrong!” (Episode 113, Blood Lines). It is confirmed in episode 213 (Barometz. Trick. Pressure) that writing in blood to save Bo from Aife in the season 1 finale awoke The Garuda, which in turn caused Bo to invoke or channel her father’s powers at the end of season 2.

trick_sweater
Every time I wrote in my blood something horrible went wrong. Like this sweater!

The fact that Bo’s mass chi-siphoning ability comes as a surprise to other characters suggests it is not “standard issue” succubus powers. Could it be argued at this point that Bo’s use of this power in episode 208 (Death Didn’t Become Him) and subsequent binding of others to her with her blood in episode 222 (Flesh and Blood) — both times associated with the expression of a sovereign will to power — acted as a beacon to her father that she was near-ready to join him and to take the next step in fulfilling her potential? Was the battle with The Garuda the final catalyst for Bo’s change? When we next see Bo, after these events, she is entering a transitional stage in life in terms of her pre-mature Dawning and is beginning to manifest character changes, while the Wanderer becomes a more pervasive presence in her life – notwithstanding the fact that his identity and motives remain hidden.

Mahlers5th

There have been many signs since the very start of Bo’s preparations for the Dawning that the entity we come to know as the Wanderer has been controlling the action from behind the scenes, slowly grooming Bo for a specific longer-range purpose. We previously speculated that as long as Lauren was actually in Bo’s life, her love acted as a counterbalance to the Wanderer’s growing power. However, beginning in episode 305 (Faes Wide Shut) when Bo hisses at Lauren to “get out of my way” – brought back to herself only when Lauren implores her to remember their love — to their break in episode 311 (Delinquents) and through most of season 4, Lauren and Bo are mostly apart, and her father’s influence grows.

Bo_(Dark_Bo)_&_Lauren_(305)
Yo Bo, imma let you finish, but first please remember our love.

The Wanderer first makes his presence known to Bo (and the viewer) in episode 308 (Fae-ge Against the Machine) when Bo turns over nothing but Wanderer tarot cards during her pre-Dawning scavenger hunt in Brazenwood. At the end of that episode, Bo asks Tamsin, “So you wanna tell me what that Wanderer business was all about?” Tamsin professes ignorance (“You tell me”) but after she is showered with Wanderer cards falling from the night sky, Tamsin is forced to acknowledge that Bo is “the one” her boss – the Wanderer — hired her to find and has come to collect.

In watching episode 308 (Fae-ge Against the Machine) and episode 309 (Ceremony) again, I was struck by the many references to the Wanderer and ample evidence of his handprints all over the Dawning. Recall that Dion’s The Wanderer is blaring on the jukebox just as Bo and Dyson enter the Temple’s Dal-like antechamber. As Bo moves to switch off the song, the camera pans to a photograph of one of the Victoria Secret models from the “human feast” Stella had advised Bo to feed on before the Ceremony. Pictures of that same model reappear several times in subsequent scenes during the Temple ceremony – in a painting, a pin-up calendar, a police file. I remember being puzzled by this – among many other details of the Dawning – on first viewing. This time, as I saw the photograph and listened for the hundredth time to the lyrics of The Wanderer song (“I kiss ‘em and I love ‘em, cause to me they’re all the same”), it occurred to me that had Bo chosen to feed on the models as Stella urged, she would have been doing just that — using and discarding nameless women for her own needs. In fact, this is what she did during her ten year killing spree — wandering from victim to victim, loving (chi-sucking) and leaving (killing) them, until she met Kenzi.

Who would want to plant a reminder in Bo’s subconscious mind that at one time humans were just nameless fodder for her? Similarly, in a later sequence, Trick as police Chief tells Bo, his voice dripping with contempt, that “MacKenzi” — a confidential informant being groomed to testify against “The Family” — and all her (human) kind are expendable (“a dime a dozen”): “She’s not one of us and never will be.” Whose agenda does it serve to drive home that point of view?

In that same scene, Lauren and Bo are partners – but only on the police force. Their romance is actually on the rocks. Again –whose agenda does it serve to sow this seed of discord? Some might argue that it served Dyson’s purposes; indeed, many viewers felt Dyson’s projections dominated the Dawning. But this scene is not from Dyson’s subconscious mind (as I suggest below). If you’ll entertain for a moment that the Wanderer – Bo’s father – has choreographed most the action in the Temple, it could be argued that, among other motives, he is trying to drive a wedge between Bo and her family of human and Fae friends – especially the one person whose influence seems capable of exceeding his own: Lauren.

bo_lauren_cops_ceremony_lostgirl
Anything less than my best is a felony.

Think of the characters we meet along the way in the Temple (outside of Bo’s circle of friends and Faemily):

  • There is the “Just-Call-Me-Caretaker” guy who appears at the beginning of the Dawning, just after Bo switches off The Wanderer song blasting from the jukebox. He says doesn’t remember his own given name or even his mother’s (“they don’t even know my name”) yet seems to know everything about everything in the Temple. When he disappears, equally suddenly, The Wanderer theme abruptly resumes.
  • Then we meet a horned monster who arguably bears some resemblance to The Wanderer discovered by Lauren in Fae History books and possibly to Tamsin’s description of the “evil beast” who hired her to collect Bo.

[Sidebar: before they are confronted by the monster, Dyson and Bo find themselves in the Clubhouse where Dyson remarks, “To be more honest than a wolf probably should, I can’t really remember much else besides your bedroom.” Before I had a chance to throw up a little in my mouth, Dyson promptly cries out in pain, having hit his shin against a table. “So Karma does exist, huh?” Bo jokes – but is it Karma, a simple accident, or the Wanderer influencing the action, in effect rebuking Dyson for his tasteless remark? Later, just after Dyson launches into his “I’m willing to wait until Lauren dies” speech, the enraged monster reappears and knocks him to the ground. Could this be understood as Bo’s father’s reaction to Dyson romancing his daughter – don’t touch, not wanted?]

  • Lastly, we meet Bo’s father himself – hardly the monstrous Dark King we’ve been expecting to see, that sadist who tortured and probably raped Aife – but a nurturing father cooing lovingly to his infant daughter (“Sleep, sweet girl. You have so much ahead of you. I’ve waited so long to have you in my arms”) and instructing the babysitter to call him at any time, day or night, if his Isabeau needs anything. Wow, Super Dad. Meanwhile, Aife is depicted as a crazed madwoman who slits the babysitter’s throat and kidnaps Bo to keep her from her father – a bit of revisionist history.

[Sidebar: Yes, we noticed that the baby’s room has medieval glazed windows, each with a central panel depicting a HORSE. And we haven’t forgotten that in episode 413 (entitled Dark HORSE), just after Sister Epona tells Bo – albeit a little ambiguously – that the Pyrippus is her father, Bo remarks to Rainer that during the Dawning, in the room where her father held her as a baby, she saw a HORSE and was later haunted by visions of a CAROUSEL: “They were all clues.” OK, but clues from whom, Bo? And meant to influence you to think what? And why? We’ll return to these questions later, promise].

Could all three figures – the Caretaker (sometimes a synonym for “parent”), the horned monster, and the loving version of Bo’s father – all represent alters of the Wanderer, inserting himself in the Ceremony and attempting to guide Bo’s perceptions in a certain direction?

This is all pure speculation of course. The appearance of Bo’s father in the nursery could also be understood as Bo’s wishful fantasy of the gentle and nurturing father she never had. However, the interpretation we’re suggesting — that Bo’s vision of her father is an idealized image he wants her to believe – helps make sense of previously puzzling aspects of the Dawning and reconciles them with the series-long story line as we understand it, viz. Bo’s father is slowly maneuvering her into playing her prescribed role in his grand design while maintaining her illusion of free will.

Many fans were dismayed that Dyson seemed to dominate Bo’s Dawning but if you follow the sequence of scenes, it’s actually the Wanderer who appears to dictate virtually all of the action:

  • Bo and Dyson meet the “Caretaker” (whom I argue is the first of three Wanderer alters) in the Dal-like bar. He seems to be totally in charge and lays out the ground rules for the Dawning.
  • Bo and Dyson then find themselves in an adjacent Clubhouse-like space, where Dyson gets his shin karma-kicked for sexist jokes and is slashed by the horned monster (Wanderer alter #2) after cock-blocking Bo and telling her “I guess a thousand years of chivalry is hard to shake.” Kick him again, karma.
  • They flee to the next room – Dyson’s gym – where he deems it appropriate to declare his undying love for Bo (truly impeccable timing) and willingness to wait 100 years to be with her. Just as he leans in for a kiss, the monster reappears between them, howling in rage, knocks Dyson on his backside and disappears, dragging Bo after him. Oh Dyson, my hero!
  • While Bo is transported to the police station, Dyson confronts the Caretaker, demanding to know, “Where’s Bo?! Where is she?!” The Caretaker is rolling dice and leisurely moving pieces around on a crude game board, musing that “her subconcscious is such an extraordinary playground. I can’t wait to watch the next part unfold.” As if he’d seen this movie before? As if he wrote the screenplay? He mimics Dyson’s bombastic chivalry in sing-song tones (“I have to go. I have to find her”) and adds contemptuously, “Don’t you get it? We’re moving on. Or at least, Bo is.

We’re moving on. Up until now, it is hard to argue that this is Dyson’s show, right?

While Bo is playing cop, the Caretaker asks Dyson, in a teasing and seductive tone, “Aren’t you at all curious about what life you could create here, even if it’s an illusion?”

  • BAM! Then and only then is Bo transported out of the police station and into Dyson’s wishful fantasy of being an obstetrician living the perfect married life in the suburbs with a pregnant Bo. Still, the Wanderer manages to insert references to himself — twice. Neighbor Tamsin – she of the bloodied hands (because of her role in delivering Bo to the Wanderer, or perhaps because she has failed to deliver Bo?) – calls out to Bo cheerfully, “Hiya neighbor! Great day for a wander!” Uh, doesn’t she mean a walk? Nope, she said wander. And soon enough Bo wanders away from her perfect life with Dyson and his anti-psychotic medication (that’s what it takes to keep her home?) into the next room where she meets…her loving father. When she returns to Dyson, she appears to experience a miscarriage and Dyson’s beautiful fantasy is aborted – by whom? Who else would it be, other than The Wanderer – Bo’s father?
  • The last sequence involves Bo having to kill Dyson to get out of the Temple. Some might argue Dyson gets to play the chivalrous self-sacrificing hero here, but the fact is he ends up very dead, and whose agenda does that serve? The Caretaker strongly urges Bo to leave the Temple without Dyson, and warns her that if she tries to take Dyson with her, the Temple will claim her forever. Dyson is saved only because – much to the Caretaker’s/Wanderer’s consternation – Bo defies the rules: “See, that’s the thing – I’ve never been big on rules. That is who I am. That is my true self.” The Caretaker is NOT pleased.

But her father should feel some sense of consolation about the fact that immediately upon exiting the Temple, Bo makes a particularly dramatic appearance as the Dark Queen, blue eyes flashing, and intones in that dual daughter/father voice: “I will reign as he did for I am his daughter. Together we will bridle the masses and ride to victory. Even Death will fear us. Only I will choose who lives!” Yes, she revives Dyson (that was probably not in the Wanderer’s script for the Dawning) but she does so as the future Dark Queen in all her glory, using the power encoded in her father’s DNA to chi-suck the entire room – quite callously, as it turn out. The humans – Kenzi and Lauren – are rendered unconscious. They could have died for all she knew. Bo never stopped to check.

ceremonygoth

The episode ends with yet another replay of The Wanderer song (third time by my count) just as the credits roll. It’s true that the episode also ends with Trick unfurling a scroll on which is painted a fire-breathing demon HORSE, saying, “Not him!” Late in season 4, we’ll look back on this moment and wonder if this was the first reference to the Pyrippus – I believe it is (unless you count those medieval windows in the baby nursery). But note that Trick makes no mention of the Wanderer or of Bo’s father. Is it possible he is instead reacting to the appearance of another Big Bad on the distant horizon – is the Pyrippus an evil entity he fears Bo is destined to battle?

But the Wanderer isn’t finished. He is referenced a number of other times as season 3 draws to a close. At the end of episode 311 (Adventures in Fae-Bysitting), he inhabits one of the “bitches who be witches” to tell Bo: “You know not your true strength, child, but you soon will and the world will bow down before us” (note, he does call her “child”). As a minor demonstration of his power-by-remote-control, he vaporizes the witch. If there should remain any doubt about his identity, he leaves his calling card — a Dada-like phantasm of a carousel materializes just as a particularly ghostly version of The Wanderer song is heard.

The Wanderer’s handprints are all over the season 3 finale (Those Who Wander). As noted earlier, when Aife is imprisoned in Taft’s cell, she appeals to Bo’s father, saying if he were there, he would not allow anyone to harm his seed. She invokes him to kill, resurrect, and kill again. At this point, we know about Bo’s power to reanimate the dead but it is not until episode 412 (Origin) that Trick confirms Aife’s ravings — this is a power bestowed on Bo by her father’s DNA. Later in the same episode, Tamsin and Dyson see The Wanderer figure from the tarot card materialize before them on the road ahead. On cue, The Wanderer song comes on over the car radio. Dyson asks Tamsin, “Who is that?” “Bo’s father,” she replies. At the end of the episode, Bo disappears in a cloud of black smoke, as The Wanderer theme plays on the jukebox one last time. We are left with a newly minted tarot card showing the Wanderer and Bo herself, surveying a distant landscape together. Could it be spelled out any more clearly? The Wanderer is Bo’s father [NOT the Pyrippus].

The_Wanderer_card_with_Bo
He kind of looks like a horse, if you squint

There are fewer references to the Wanderer in season 4, but they add corroborating details that The Wanderer was responsible for hiring Huginn and Muninn to kidnap Bo and bring her off the earthly realm to an interdimensional Death Train. The Wanderer is almost certainly the “infinitely powerful” entity responsible for erasing her memory from human and Fae alike – with the notable exception of Aife whose Recuerdo coil does not seem to have obliterated all memories of her daughter. Hmm. In episode 401 (In Memoriam), Trick warns Kenzi that “someone’s been messing with the balance of space and time. Be careful. Evil comes in many faces.” Immediately the camera pans to something Trick has failed to notice: the tarot card with The Wanderer and Bo at his side. In episode 402 (Sleeping Beauty School), little Tamsin finds the tarot card which magically bursts into flame and turns out to be both an inter-dimensional ticket to the Death Train (in episode 402) and directions to the Spiritual Center for the Women of the Horses (in episode 412).

[Question: Why would The Wanderer leave behind a tarot card that:

  1. broadcasts to anyone who finds it that Bo is with him;
  2. provides access to the train where he is holding her;
  3. reveals the cartography coordinates for the Pyrippus’ temple?

Answer: Unclear. But would it be too convoluted to suggest that it may have been part of her father’s grand design all along to have Bo escape the Death Train, return of her own volition to liberate Rainer, and become convinced that her father was the Pyrippus?].

Is the Wanderer – Bo’s father – the God Odin?

We’ve come full circle to thinking this is indeed the case. Valksy will discuss this question at greater length, but to review some of the clues familiar to viewers:

  • In Norse mythology, Odin has been referred to as the Wanderer.
  • The Wanderer engaged Tamsin – a Valkyrie – to collect Bo. The Valkyrie were Odin’s handmaidens, charged with the task of deciding who among the fallen warriors would be resurrected and transported to Odin’s realm – Valhalla.
  • Tamsin has already violated this duty by transporting Rainer’s soul to the Death Train. But given a second opportunity to fall in battle – if that’s what you call Rainer’s baring his throat to Massimo — his dying words to Trick are to remind Tamsin that she can now take him to Valhalla – Odin’s realm.
  • Bo is kidnapped from the Dal by Huginn and Muninn who serve The Wanderer. Huginn and Muninn were known in Norse folklore as Odin’s two ravens.
  • Huginn refers to his boss on the train as “he who wanders” and “a father to many” (cf. Odin mythology below)
  • In sacrificing her life to close the interdimensional portal, Kenzi expects to go to Valhalla and rejoin Hale. Instead, it appears she may have been transported to an alternate afterlife, perhaps one presided over by none other than Odin’s wife, Freida (whom we have been told will make an appearance in season 5).

Just how many bread crumbs did Ms. Andras & Co. have to leave us to establish that the Wanderer – Bo’s father – is in fact Odin?

Valksy

The identity and purpose of The Wanderer is an example of the dramatic principle of “Chekhov’s Gun,” in which it was argued by Anton Chekhov that if a rifle is mentioned in an early chapter, it had better be fired at some point!

500px-Chekov's_gun_(poster)

Given the case we will be presenting that Bo’s father – The Wanderer — is based on the character of Odin, it is reasonable that the writers held back on confirming his identity for four seasons. Revealing Odin’s identity prematurely would have been like mentioning the identity of Darth Vader at the very beginning of the Star Wars saga, or disclosing the unfortunate truth about Norman Bates’ mother in the opening scenes of Psycho. Telling us too soon would spoil their own story, drain it of any suspense, and ruin the punchline that all evidence of a grand plan suggests is still to come. The decision to tell an elaborate multi-season story is an ambitious one and I am looking forward to turning the page to episode 501, seeing the final chapter, and answering that most fundamental question – How does it end?

The Odin Enigma (or What the Fae?)

No worse monsters than these, no crueler plague,
ever rose from the waters of Styx, at the gods’ anger.
These birds have the faces of virgin girls,
foulest excrement flowing from their bellies,
clawed hands, and faces always thin with hunger.
                The Aenied Book III - Virgil (Translation A.S. Kline)

Since the very first episode, Lost Girl’s world of urban fantasy has drawn heavily from human traditions of storytelling – from Greek epic poetry, to Japanese fables, European folklore, and beyond. My first thought in attempting to place Odin within the Lost Girl universe was to try and determine whose story is actually being told by dogma, myths or lore. How do we understand or explain storytelling becoming truth (and vice versa) in Bo’s world?

The production team has never established whether the legends of Fae creatures are fabricated by the Fae themselves – although it would be unclear what purpose this would serve since many legends serve as warnings or give guidance to humans to protect themselves. Acts of self-promotion would also make little sense in the sub rosa world of the preternatural. But if the fairytales are devised by humans struggling to come to terms with the unexplainable phenomenon surrounding an encounter with the Fae, why would the Fae be so quick to adopt – even eagerly embrace – the labels and mythos generated by a species that they clearly view as inferior?

In episode 201 (Something Wicked This Fae Comes), Lauren’s research on the Sluagh includes both contemporary and historical medical records, as well as reference books. In episode 113 (Blood Lines) the information on the Koushang amulet is stored on a database within the Light Fae compound. In episode 412 (Origin) Lauren pays a visit to the Dark Fae library to research Rainer in person. It must also be noted, as seen in Origin that the world of the Fae is a deeply magical one, nothing that is written is ever set in stone, and books write themselves in front of Lauren’s eyes!

Evidence within the show of lore keepers like Trick who only reveal information when it serves their agenda (and who may not be as in command of facts as they seem); of tomes of lore that still manage to be mutable; of the notoriously suspect nature of eyewitness testimony recorded by the victims and survivors of the Fae all leads me to conclude that we simply cannot decipher the riddle of who originates Fae lore. This would be for the show to clarify if necessary, and the fact that no one seems to have all the answers regarding the secret underground world of Lost Girl allows the production to use artistic license regarding the nature, appearance, motives and history of the Fae.

The argument that the production team regards the crypto-zoological source material as an inspirational springboard, rather than as canon truth to be faithfully reproduced, is evident in the visible manifestations of creatures in the show. For example, the above quote from Virgil’s Aenied describes harpies, and yet when we meet a harpy “of the Boston harpies” in episode 107 (Arachnofaebia), she is nothing like the bird-like creature of legend (although she seems somewhat ill-tempered, which would be consistent). The Mongolian Death Worm we encounter in episode 205 (BrotherFae of the Wolves) is also a humanoid, despite the legends of a cryptid creature. Lachlan, a naga, is hardly reminiscent of cobras. The feuding characters in episode 406 (Of All the Gin Joints), Bamber the Buraq and Marcus the Camazotz, are a winged celestial steed and a bat god respectively. Even Hale himself lacks any outward signs of supernatural morphology or heritage.

hale and his abs
No supernatural morphology, except for maybe these abs.

If there is a well-established understanding that myths serve only as a broad or general template rather than obliging a comprehensive facsimile (both in real world writing and production terms, and to the fictional characters within the show), then it is reasonable to suggest that Odin — if he were to appear in Lost Girl — could be conceptually similar to, but not necessarily a faithful reproduction of, the entity recorded in the thirteenth century Poetic Edda and Prose Edda.

If the character of Odin is to appear in the show, if he is the inspiration for Bo’s as yet unnamed father, it is reasonable to suggest that only a broad thematic overview would need to be identified. The puzzle pieces do not have to be flawlessly matched, as the shows “rules” that I have just described would seem to make clear. What’s more, if the show simply tried to re-tell the Odin tale by rote, it would offer nothing more to viewers than an unsatisfying cookie cutter story that would not showcase Bo herself.

Odin Lore and Legends (or Who the Fae?!)

While a rare few artifacts remain, the sources for the Norse mythology that relates the tale of Odin and his realm are the Prose Edda and the Poetic Edda. Written in Icelandic in the thirteenth century, centuries after the Viking era, they may be considered a written version of the oral tradition of storytelling of the time. The works have been translated a number of times, and remain subject to linguistic theorizing and anthropological hypothesis to expand understanding of the saga. It is quite likely that Lost Girl may only tap into the broadest of themes, rather than specific complex details.

prose_edda

The most obvious part of the original Odin myth that Lost Girl might tap into regards the valkyries. In the poem Gylfaginning (The Tricking of Gylfi) the role of the valkyries in selecting the honourable or worthy dead is explained – although other works from the Edda also describe their role as dictating who is actually slain (Njal’s Saga). While dying in battle and being selected to reside with Odin in the hall of Valhalla was the aim of Viking warriors, it was never as simple as being rewarded with eternal carousing. Gylfaginning describes an eschatological event, Ragnarok, and explains that Odin’s chosen warriors would fight with him at the end of the world. Selection by the valkyrie was as much about recruitment for a prophetic event as for reward — and the fallen could be very much perceived as tools for Odin’s convenience.

An alternative to being selected by Odin’s valkryries was the chance of being chosen to attend Freya in her hall in Folkvangr (as described in Grimnismal or the Sayings of Grimnir). The poem Egil’s Saga suggests that Folkvangr — which can be translated as the field of the people — is a place where women who died a noble or honourable death (but not necessarily in battle) might find themselves. There is a linguistic and historical argument regarding whether or not Freya was Odin’s wife, based primarily around whether Freya and Frigga are the same entity (in much the same way Wotan/Woden is another way to say Odin). Given that the Lost Girl production crew has established that there is no obligation to produce a flawless facsimile of either characters or myths, the placement of Freya within Lost Girl is a clue to Odin’s presence, but the nature of her relationship with him or others is still very much ambiguous.

frigga-freya-day-of-delight-asatru-ring-72

Although Odin did have a warlike aspect, he was largely disinterested in his human worshippers and was far more focused on his own personal quest for knowledge. It was during a journey into the realm of the underworld in the Eddic poem Baldrs Draumar (Baldr’s Dreams) in his quest for wisdom that Odin concealed his identity by introducing himself as Vegtam the Wanderer. It is during this trip to Hel (a third destination for the dead, and the least desirable) that Odin is also observed practicing necromancy, in that he raises a seeress from the dead to question her. This ability is also exhibited when he consults a decapitated head in the Ynglinga Saga — is anyone else reminded of the denouement of episode 411 (End of a Line?). These smaller acts of life/death magic seem minor compared with Odin’s command over the power of mortality as described in the poem Voluspa (Prophecy of the Seeress) in which he participates in the creation of humanity itself by giving breath to the first humans.

The shamanic and magical nature of Odin is arguably the most fundamental part of the character. The saga Voluspa describes how his desire for knowledge and power drove him to sacrifice his eye in order to drink from the well of wisdom. The Wanderer card produced by the art department at Lost Girl is careful to show the male figure from the rear – is this why? A one-eyed character would surely have been a major clue. Odin’s willingness to risk everything for knowledge and magic is even more evident in the Runatal (Rune Song) stanzas of the Havamal verses, in which Odin was hanged from the world-tree Yggdrasil for nine days. The text suggests that Odin’s ordeal was a sacrifice of himself to himself, inferring again a mastery over mortality. The reward for this act of sacrifice was access to the runes which, according to the Havamal, could be used in divination or to raise the dead.

It should be noted that the Norse runes are visible at times within the world of Lost Girl. For example, they are shown on a plaque on a wall in episode 301 (Caged Fae) and are on the oozing lidded basket Kenzi tries to pilfer in episode 401 (In Memoriam). These incidences could be dismissed as simple fluke or art department whimsy, except for the fact that when Trick writes in blood in episode 113 (Blood Lines) the sanguine scribing is very much reminiscent of runes.

Odin’s collection of knowledge and magic (much of his Shamanistic power was taught to him by Freya, according to the Ynglinga saga) revealed to him that he was doomed to be killed by the wolf Fenrir during the Ragnarok cataclysm that would end the dominion of the gods and lead to the rebirth of a world populated by the surviving human pair Lif and Lifthrasir (Poetic Edda Voluspa and Prose Edda Gylfaginning). Through magic and the recruiting of his personal army, Odin sought to re-write his destiny and although he failed in the original source material, the Lost Girl production team is again at liberty to interpret the apocalyptic events in any way they wish — as a unique peril to any Odin-based character or a threat to the entire Fae realm itself.

The Odin of the Norse mythos is not inherently malevolent or tyrannical. His place in the life and death of the Viking people was as much as consequence of the time in which they lived. He was portrayed as a deeply magical entity, capable of traversing the planes of reality that made up his world, with a power of prescience that well exceeded Rainer’s seemingly short moments of foresight. Odin’s actions were motivated by the vision of his own destiny, seen well in the future, and steps taken to try and control the future.

odinIt must also be noted that Snorri Sturluson, who wrote much of the Prose Edda in the thirteenth century, referred to Odin as the Allfather (Ynglinga saga). This name may be ascribed to his position of the rule of all gods, or to his role in the creation myth where he breathed life into humanity. Odin was also the father to a number of notable characters within the written legends. Of his most noted children— all sons — three of them do not survive. Thor dies after a battle in which he was able to slay the Midgard Serpent, Jormungand, during Ragnarok. The heroic god Baldr is accidentally killed by his brother Hodur who is in turn killed by another of Odin’s sons, Vali, who was created for the purpose of vengeance for the death (Baldrs Draumar, Voluspa). A fifth son, Vidarr, was also a vengeful entity purposed with defeating Fenrir after Odin is killed (Voluspa). There is a strong argument that each of these sons was created to serve a purpose — combat or vengeance. As well as assembling a chosen army of the fallen to try and re-write his destiny, were his children also purposeful pawns?

Mahlers5th

Questions about Bo’s lineage and parental influences are intimately bound up with other questions about her fate: is she the Dark Queen, destined to betray and enslave humans and Fae and reign side-by-side with her father/mother/Rainer? Or is she the “Chosen One,” destined to save the Fae? Supporting evidence and prophecies for both possibilities are sprinkled liberally throughout the first four seasons of Lost Girl.

Trick has always spoken of Bo’s destiny with a tinge of dread and/or unhappy resignation as if it is an unpleasant but inexorable fate he is powerless to change. It is unclear what he is hiding and why he is hiding it, but whatever he actually knows, he has certainly worked hard to keep it a secret from Bo for four seasons. As early as the series premiere, we are given hints that Bo has a special destiny: “The girl from last night, is it her?” Trick asks Dyson. When Dyson suggests “there are ways of making someone disappear” – implying that whoever she is, Bo is bad news for the Fae — Trick responds, “No, what’s meant to be must be.” In episode 113, Trick tells the Ash that he “always knew Bo was a part of something bigger,” and from the tone of their discussion, that something bigger is definitely not something good. “Everything would be easier if the Succubus was dead,” Evony tells Trick in episode 412 (Origin). “I warned you about her from the start.”

We have already reviewed the instances from episode 208 to the season 4 finale when Bo transforms into a decidedly Dark Queen seeking power and domination. But there have also been numerous references to Bo as a heroic “Chosen One” – not just “the one” sought by the Wanderer but a kind of messianic figure destined to end the tyranny between Light and Dark for the good of all Fae (and mankind presumably). This destiny seems more consistent with the Bo we have come know and love – with her big heart, capable of feeling deeply, her powerful sense of moral obligation to defend the helpless and down trodden and to right their injustices, as well as the defiance, strength, courage, and just-plain-badassery to stand up to the oppressors. In episode 313 (Those Who Wander), Sunitha the Cabot tells Bo with a hint of wonderment that she “really [is] the Chosen One.” Everybody seems to have heard of “The One with eyes both brown and blue/strong yet gentle/virtuous yet lustful/neither Dark nor Light/yet both,” including the Handmaiden on the Death Train (episode 402, Sleeping Beauty School) and the Leviathan (episode 409, Destiny’s Child). This is also the description of Bo given to Tamsin by the Wanderer (episode 409). An ancient book of prophecies provided by Rosette (the Knight of Raina) includes an illustration of “the One with eyes both brown and blue” who bears a striking resemblance to Bo – except this Bo flies. Rosette pledges herself to Bo as “my Queen.” Fae history books retrieved by Lauren in episode 412 (Origin) include unmistakable references to Bo as Queen, and the final line of the centuries-old Zamoran Family Code, which materializes only when Bo reads the poem, seems to confirm that destiny:

Complexity, courage, strength, and beauty
Mindful always of your duty
To ties of blood and those we love
With gentle hands, wings of a dove
Ready thy self, on guard, be keen
To reunite with me, The Queen.

Tamsin identifies the crest on the poem’s parchment as the Order of the Knights of Raina and explains, “It means loyalty to their queen. Not just their queen. ‘The Queen.’” “It’s so much more than that,” Dyson adds, “Bo, it means you’re the One.” No-one sees fit to fill Bo in on what it means exactly to be the One, but the writers had to save something for season 5, didn’t they (besides a lot of hot Doccubus sex)? The reverential tone adopted by Dyson as he pledges himself to his Queen on bended knee in the season 4 finale suggests she is destined to be some sort of cross between Saint Joan of Arc and Nakano Takeko (I looked that up — the only female warrior samurai in Japanese history).

The only question that remains is what destiny will she choose — Glenda the Good Queen or the Wicked Queen of the West? Separate forces are driving her in both directions. A badly fractured, corrupt, and devolving Fae community is desperately in need of a redeeming Savior while Bo’s father is using all his influence to entice Bo off the earthly plane to free him, fight by his side to subjugate Fae and humans alike, perhaps vanquish the Pyrippus (“even Death will fear us!”) and rule with her father in a new social order. Will the life she ultimately lives be freely chosen, in accordance with the promptings of her truest self, or will she merely play out an unavoidable course of events that has been decided in advance by some omnipotent entity? Who. Is. Not. The. Pyrippus.

Is you is or is you ain't my daddy?
Is you is or is you ain’t my daddy?

Valksy

Throughout the third and fourth seasons we only catch hints of Bo’s father glimpsed from behind, as a frightening specter, on a tarot card (artwork based on Casper David Friedrich’s The Wanderer above the Sea of Fog – a metaphor of obfuscation for all of us, including Bo, as it suggests an outsider looking down into or standing apart from confusion) or in whispers and tales of all those who encountered him – or thought that they did.

As Mahlers5th has pointed out, the primary issue is who was controlling the Temple within the Ceremony episode, and was this our clearest look at the Wanderer’s intent and purpose (even if we did not see his face)? Consider the scene of Bo’s father when she is an infant – he is holding her gently, crooning softly to her and singing about fairies “going away.” But is that her imaginary ideal of him?  A true memory unlocked by the Ceremony? Or is the Wanderer’s mind the dominant originator of the Temple and it is His ideation of himself, or perhaps a projection of how he wants Bo to see him – as a compassionate and nurturing entity? But how does any of this reconcile to the imagery that many of us have of Bo’s father as a brutal and violating tyrant?

While nothing within the episode Ceremony can be taken at face value, I have long been troubled with the thought of Bo’s father as her mother’s rapist. I see no particular way of redeeming such a character or making him even remotely sympathetic. If Bo’s father is the rapist Dark King then how can he be anything more than a deeply distasteful supersized “Monster of the Week” whom I would assume Bo could only respond aggressively to? In terms of a narrative option to drive the story away from this disturbing element, I think it is reasonable to suggest that Bo’s father could have been someone else, a contemporary to the Dark King — present but not necessarily a participant (a disguised Odin visits a King’s court in secret in Grimnismal – Sayings of Grimnir). It has certainly never been explained how Aife escaped her prison cell in order to take the infant Bo and hide her with humans and she does invoke the vengeance of Bo’s father in awed terms rather than revulsion in episode 313 (Those Who Wander).

Although this inevitably drifts into the realm of speculation, if Bo’s father is Odin (or is at least based upon the lore) and if he was travelling the world trying to create off-spring who would serve him in the future (Huginn the crow calls him the “father of many” in episode 409, Destiny’s Child), is Odin necessarily Dark?  Light?  Neither? Might this be why Aife made the decision to deny him his child, since she was very much committed to ending the dispute between the factions in conquest?

Dyson-Lauren-Bo_and_Crows_(409)
Time to eat some crow.

We see throughout season 4 evidence of a deeply magical entity who is capable of traversing planes of existence, perceiving the future, blurring the lines between life and death and meddling in the wheels of destiny. In this context a sectarian squabble seems almost petty. We know Valhalla exists in Bo’s world and that chosen warriors populate it. Is this evidence of a future cataclysmic event in that the selected dead were to serve a purpose rather than receive a reward?

pawn-warrior_flag_canada_162x282-flI think that there is an argument that Rainer served as one of these useful tools.  We do see the Caretaker playing some sort of game in the Temple in Ceremony (it’s not chess and there are dice involved – interesting that chance is invoked) and we also see Rainer playing a (different) game while aboard the train.  I wonder if there is a chess metaphor – pieces to be moved into place, pawns to be sacrificed (It is terribly tempting to say that the show’s official tweets play with this concept). Rainer was a pawn of little consequence, perhaps this was why he did not fight back in any meaningful way against Massimo — as if he knew that his role was fulfilled.

I certainly do not think that Rainer can be based upon Odin. Rainer has a gift of foresight only seconds long, whoever the entity Mahlers5th and I think is Odin is has a far greater reach – far enough to seek the RED HERRINGknowledge needed to win against a presumed apocalypse, and to set the pieces in motion very well in advance. I concede that the data from the Ceremony does have an inherent question mark to it, but there is a statement that he has been waiting a long time for Bo. Whoever the father is, he is an architect of destiny, a game player trying to defeat the odds.  Rainer seems such a minnow in comparison and I think (and rather hope) that he has been discarded.

Reflecting on the Light/Dark schism I have to wonder what purpose such a factional conflict serves for the Fae, as the difference between the two really is no more complex than vaguely divergent philosophies with Light and Dark both representing shades of grey. My mind turns to Darwinism for a possible explanation. Is that what Dark and Light is for?  A state of constant conflict is one way to cause an arms race amongst the Fae to evolve greater potency and power. Or is it as simple as population control, since an environment cannot have more predators than there are viable prey, else they pick off all food and risk extinction through starvation. Might this be why tinkering with the factions, or even ending the war, is not allowed?

If there are external explanations for Light and Dark (population control, Darwinism), but no genuine reason beyond the same kinds of traditions and histories we see in sectarian conflict in the real world — some fighting over resources, and a whole lot more over historical animus — might this be why Bo’s father allowed her to be hidden with humans, to develop outside of the system of Light and Dark and oppose the concept from the get-go?  While deep in speculation again, if the factions are beneath him, and beneath Bo as a consequence, is this because something much worse is coming? I wonder if there is a suggestion that the show is playing with the concept of Ragnarok — the end of days for the Fae — and the long-planned battle to avoid it by an Odin-based character who has been pulling strings for a very long time.

Odin is someone who conscripts people into his army of the dead.  Bo is a creation who can force people into an army of the living. Ryan was an accidental draftee, the team in season 2 were volunteers, but Bo could compel people if she chose to. Between the two of them they seem able to blur lines between life and death and together they would be unstoppable.  This surely seems much bigger than a simple Dark/Light skirmish. We all know the idiom “bringing a gun to a knife fight” but Bo and her father in partnership against either human or Fae or both would be more like showing up with a tank…

I did wonder if this potential cataclysmic event was related to the Pyrippus, except this particular entry into the supernatural bestiary is extremely obscure. Hellhorses do feature in lore and literature – Hades/Pluto had a chariot pulled by such equine monstrosities, pestilential horses are referred to in the Book of Revelation, and if we look to Nordic lore there was an entity called the Helhest (hell horse) which was associated with death and disease. Certainly a hideous winged hellhorse would serve as the kind of menace which would be a disaster if it broke through into Bo’s realm of existence, but it does not seem exactly paternal in nature and it’s appearance to date has been an off-screen horror that roars and stomps and sounds distinctly animalistic rather than reminiscent of the softly-spoken man singing to his baby daughter in Ceremony (although it should be noted that The Garuda in season 2 appears as both man and flame-winged creature in episode 213, Barometz. Trick. Pressure and in episode 222, Flesh and Blood).

That the Pyrippus itself is never actually seen, and has no distinct presence, characteristics or notable features that anyone can describe, makes me wonder if it is simply another pawn being played in Bo’s life in order to facilitate a desired reaction from her. Although Bo does spend episode 412 (Origin) chasing horses and struggling with vague and ambiguous clues, the punchline to this story thread is not Bo engaging in a confrontation with a monster (the show has surely evolved beyond such pedestrian choices); instead, it serves as a catalyst for Kenzi’s final noble sacrifice in episode 413 (Dark Horse). While Bo does deliver a vengeful monologue over Kenzi’s grave, expressing a willingness to wage open battle against anyone in her way, she believes she was the one who caused the Pyrippus/Dark Lord to be released from Hel by the hand-binding with Rainer. Bo’s anger and regret regarding her role in compelling Kenzi to self-sacrifice is surely part of a destiny-based theme driving the story forward to a new chapter. In this case, like Rainer, the Pyrippus’ role may also be complete. Both Rainer and the Pyrippus each served a purpose to bring Bo to thoughts and actions that she thinks are of her own free will, but which have been orchestrated from the start in order to make Bo her father’s avatar and another tool to be used in whatever apocalyptic event he — if based upon Odin — thinks is to come.

The principle philosophical theme of Lost Girl has always been one of the power to choose balanced against the inescapable wheels of fate. If the theory expressed in this article is correct, and Bo’s father is (or is based upon) the mythological character of Odin, then the concept of destiny is even more relevant. Bo’s participation in her father’s plans, as an intentional creation with specifically evolved and desired powers, is dependent at least on her willingness to co-operate, or better yet (from Odin’s point of view?) a loyal and fervent believer at her father’s side. That Bo is capable of being a merciless killer (guided by Rainer) was evident in the deaths of the Una Mens, that she can and will command a willing army enthralled by blood was seen in the defeat of The Garuda and the loss of Kenzi to stop the Pyrippus caused her to express her own nascent version of the father/daughter voice of dominion and sovereignty when she pledges in episode 413 (Dark Horse): “Whatever it takes I will get you back. They want me to be afraid? It’s them who should be afraid of me.”

My biggest question for season five — Is Bo’s desire to search for Kenzi, and her continuing quest to reveal the true identity of her father, going to be at the cost of her own free will? Is Bo to be a servant, even a slave, to the destiny set in motion by her father? What will Bo finally choose?

 

Phenomenal Women: Sex, Gender and Sexuality in Lost Girl

valksylgToday we welcome guest author Valksy, who brings us an in-depth look at the phenomenal women of Lost Girl. Thank you, Valksy!


When you see me passing,
It ought to make you proud.
I say,
It
s in the click of my heels,
The bend of my hair,

the palm of my hand,

The need for my care.

Cause Im a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That
s me.

[Maya Angelou, “Phenomenal Woman,” From: The Complete Collected Poems of Maya Angelou, Random House Inc., 1994]

As season 5 of Lost Girl goes before the cameras and season 4 is still being puzzled over, I’ve been thinking about the themes of the show that continue to resonate so powerfully with me.  I believe that the core appeal of Lost Girl – for me and for many in the general viewership – has always been in its portrayal of extraordinary women. The recent loss of Maya Angelou reminded me of her own exceptional talent for depicting womanhood in words that are often unabashedly sensuous in their description of the female body, words that embrace glorious sexuality and speak to the self-confidence, physical strength, will, and purpose of women. At its best, Lost Girl has aspired to offer us such “phenomenal” women and has placed them at the very heart of the show.

Even in this second decade of the 21st century, we see so few women characters on television who own themselves, their bodies, their presence, their own unique stories, and their right to fill space without one single moment of apology to anyone.  The 2013 Women’s Media Center report showed that women continue to be under-represented in all aspects of media, both in front of the camera and behind it — and it shows. Women in television series often play roles that are heavily determined by their relationships with others – typically as wife or mother (or both).  While many of these women are living rich lives within those domestic roles, these aren’t the portrayals of women that I find most engaging or empowering.  The overwhelming popularity of Lost Girl online suggests there are many of us out there willing to go that extra mile or two to find shows with more compelling women characters – women who are strong, independent, sensuous, sexual, self-confident, phenomenal.

I’ll admit I was initially concerned about the central concept of Lost Girl — the tale of a bisexual succubus who uses sex to heal, feed, and kill. I could easily understand why Anna Silk’s first reaction on reading the basic overview was, “Was this written by a frat boy?!” To which I might have added: “And was it written for frat boys?” The depiction of bisexuality on TV is often regarded as a cynical stunt to capture the attention of young men and thereby boost advertising revenues.  “Sweeps week bisexuality” was never intended to be a truthful depiction of a legitimate orientation. I feared that Lost Girl, with its bisexual female lead and TV14-rated scenes of sex, would turn out to be more of the same offensive exploitation of women for male titillation with which television has already been oversaturated. But after watching the first season, I was pleased to be proven wrong.  Bo’s existence as a succubus is a powerful and undeniably positive statement about female sensuality.  The absence of apology, Bo’s defiant sexuality, and her attitude of this-is-me-take-it-or-leave-it captured my imagination and continues to do so to this day.

It should be noted that a number of other female-centric TV series premiered in the same year as Lost Girl.  Rizzoli and Isles, Nikita, Hellcats, Chase and Haven all debuted in 2010 and revolved around female leads. There seemed to be a trend towards offering viewers more shows with women in lead roles that were not driven by family dynamics. Is this why Lost Girl was commissioned to be about a superhero named Bo rather than, say, a “Lost Boy” named Beau? In an early interview, the show’s creator, Michelle Lovretta, made it clear that the show was not designed to be simply female-centric – it was specifically commissioned to be built around a bisexual female superhero. In fact, Lovretta had some initial trepidation that the show could easily devolve into something “mind-numbingly insulting, anti-woman and exploitative” – something she said she would never put her name to. Without further definitive comments from the people who commissioned the show, we may never know what really motivated them to support a bisexual female lead – was it enlightened programming or just another cynical ploy to appeal to the presumed tastes of a key demographic?

The GLAAD report on character diversity for the 2013-14 US network season showed that, of ten bisexual characters announced for broadcast, eight of them were women.  Bisexual women also outnumbered bisexual men significantly on US cable networks. Do these statistics reflect an assumption by television channels that for the demographic of young men – especially those who identify outside the LGBT umbrella — female/female sexuality is more comfortable or acceptable than male/male sexuality?  We may never know. But for a TV series to showcase a mainstream-targeted primetime female superhero who is also bisexual was unprecedented when Lost Girl premiered, and Bo’s sexual confidence and liberation made her truly unique among lead female characters.  This prescription for sexual freedom, fearlessness and the ownership of physical and emotional self was set out in the rules Lovretta established for the show:

  1. Sexual orientation is not discussed, and never an issue;
  2. No slut shaming – Bo is allowed to have sex outside of relationships
  3. Bo’s male and female partners are equally viable;
  4. Bo is capable of monogamy, when desired;
  5. Both genders are to be (adoringly!) objectified — equal opportunity eye candy FTW…

As the show approaches its fifth season, with the details of Bo’s story still unfolding, I find myself questioning how successfully and consistently these original rules have been executed, and whether they are even desirable as a mission statement for the character and for the show as a whole. Certainly, the idea of a world where sexual orientation is never an issue is one that has been embraced by many LGBT viewers.  During one of many online promotional click-poll events in which fans vote for their favorite TV couple, Lost Girl fans from at least 36 different countries cast votes for the primary same-sex relationship between Bo and Lauren, including fans from India, China, Jamaica, South Africa, Russia, Korea, Lebanon and even Nigeria.  There were passionate supporters from countries where Lost Girl doesn’t even air and almost certainly would never be acceptable without significant editing.  A fantasy world where same-sex relationships are lived openly, without comment or condemnation, is evidently a compelling and powerful concept for audiences around the world.

In addition to the same-sex relationships showcased in the foreground of Lost Girl, other same-sex couples appear in more background roles; their sexuality is irrelevant to the story and never mentioned.  In episode 208 (“Death Becomes Him”), Bo searches for a man’s husband. In episode 304 (“Fae-de to Black”), Bo conducts couples counseling for another same sex pair, and in episode 305 (“Faes Wide Shut”), same sex couples mix with heterosexual couples at a swinger’s club.

The only “coming out” sequence in the series to date has been the reversal of a standard trope: it is a heterosexual character (Kenzi) who feels a need to clarify her sexual orientation to Bo.  In episode 101 (“It’s a Fae, Fae, Fae, Fae World”), Kenzi says “Just so were clear about this partnership, you be you and all, but Im only into guys.”  The show would go on to evolve beyond such overt statements in later seasons.  By season four, in episode 402 (“Sleeping Beauty School”) and episode 403 (“Lovers. Apart”), Lauren and Crystal establish their mutual sexual interest through glances and flirtations, without either of them having to stop and identify their orientation.

Despite the show’s sincerely stated intent to commit to a label-free world, when the new character of Tamsin was introduced, there was a specific violation of this cardinal rule.  The reasoning behind announcing Tamsin’s bisexuality in press-releases has never been explained.  The show had already demonstrated that it was eminently capable of creating and depicting an organic relationship between women, so the decision to advertise Tamsin’s orientation felt very much like a return to the context-free titillation tactics of sweeps-week bisexuality.

When considering the four leading female characters in Lost Girl – Bo, Kenzi, Lauren and Tamsin – three out of four of them are shown in an LGBT sexual encounter (all four, if you count Bo’s hallucinated kiss between Kenzi and Lauren). Among the  named women characters who appear in recurring roles of five episodes or more – Evony, Aife, and Nadia – two of the three could be reasonably perceived as LGBT by the viewing audience, even if no one ever proactively identifies as such.  While seventy percent of the significant female characters have had same-sex encounters, none of the major male characters have done so to date.  Sex between Bo and Lauren and between Lauren and her former partner Nadia occur in the context of established relationships and serve a narrative purpose, but the same cannot be said for the transient sexual encounters between Lauren & Evony, Bo & Evony, or Bo & Tamsin, none of which serve as intrinsic story elements.  The fact that only women characters in Lost Girl have bisexual encounters may well reflect a lingering supposition that the show’s target demographic is titillated by female/female eroticism and uncomfortable with male/male sexuality. Actually, there is a substantial amount of anecdotal evidence from online communities that fans who favor the same sex pairings on Lost Girl represent all demographics, not exclusively LGBT viewers.

Mercifully, no character within the show is saddled with the kind of “issue” driven tropes that LGBT characters on TV tend to endure – identity crises related to orientation, experiences of homophobia or queer bashing, and family rejection. Still, orientation surfaces as an “issue” now and then, both in the story and in decisions made at a production level about imagery. In episode 206 (“It’s Better to Burn Out Than Fae Away”), after Bo and Lauren make love on screen, Kenzi bumps into Lauren in the bathroom and – after answering a question about toothpaste in a nonchalant way – pretends to vomit violently as soon as she is out of Lauren’s sight.  Is Kenzi’s reaction meant to convey her disgust about the idea of Bo having sex with another women, or should it be dismissed as nothing more than an expression of her jealousy and need to denigrate this rival for Bo’s attention?  A new or casual viewer with little knowledge of backstory or character could perhaps be forgiven for assuming the former.  What about LGBT viewers watching Kenzi’s visceral revulsion?  What about the viewers who have consistently denied and/or devalued the same sex content of the show?  Is it possible they might perceive Kenzi’s vomiting pantomime as an endorsement or reinforcement of their own attitude?  To show Kenzi flipping the bird instead might have been a less ambiguous gesture than this disturbing juxtaposition of loving sex and violent regurgitation.

In episode 311 (“Adventures in Fae-bysitting”), Bo infiltrates a gated community to solve a murder by pretending to be interested in buying a home.  During a house tour, the agent prompts her by asking: “And would your husband like them?” Bo pauses, then renames and re-genders her lover in her response: “My partner Lau.rence and I are taking a break.”  This represents the first (and so far the only) time in the series that Bo makes any reference to the gender of her lovers.  It is disquieting for LGBT viewers in particular that she does this in a manner that might be interpreted as an act of erasure or worse still, as an expression of embarrassment or shame. If orientation is really not an issue in the show, what were the writers trying to say in this scene?  Was it meant to be an ironic reminder that while orientation is not an issue in the fantasy world of our lead characters, more small-minded human folk in cloistered and gated communities are still subject to heteronormative assumptions? If this was the intent, the message may have been a little too subtle for some viewers. The fact that Bo was merely trying to blend in with a group of “traditional” women to solve a murder case could have been easily missed – particularly since Bo’s act of denial hung there in the air, unacknowledged and unchallenged.

The only possible exception to the all-female list of bisexual characters in Lost Girl is Vex, a mind-controlling Mesmer, does appear to be at least sexually ambiguous, and flirts with all characters of both genders (although his only overt onscreen acts of sexual expression have been in BDSM scenarios).  As the seasons progressed, the character of Vex began to show more interest in flirtation with male characters (particularly Dyson) and – while never reciprocated – his advances for the most part were met either with neutrality or easygoing amusement rather than any kind of “panic.” Nevertheless, I have to admit that I found myself bracing for a more hostile reaction to his flirtations with men, something that I did not find myself anticipating in sexual encounters between the women characters. I don’t know if this is just my personal idiosyncratic response or something that may have been shared by other LGBT viewers, but it may be another reason why male bisexuality seems to have been largely avoided on Lost Girl, i.e. perhaps it evokes uncomfortable reactions in a broader swath of the viewership.  While the show has done nothing overt to reinforce this concern, I find myself hoping that they will continue to exercise caution with the character of Vex.  A rational and honest depiction of BDSM on television is so rare that I cannot think of another example, and an argument could be made that this fits into both the orientation and “no shaming” rules that the show’s creator originally intended.

While I believe Vex’s identification as BDSM/submissive serves a narrative purpose (making it clear that his behavior is freely embraced not coerced), I’m not sure the same can be said about his male-focused pansexuality or the numerous times he appears to reject the gender binary by full or partial cross-dressing. Is there some meaning or purpose to such behavior or is it being exploited — perhaps even to infer a degree of “deviance” (as it might be perceived by a conservative audience)?  When first introduced in episode 108 (“Vexed”) which was the original pilot, Vex engaged in sadistic murders and seemed to be a psychopath.  As his character developed over four seasons, he was re-tuned to be more sympathetic and comical, but in episode 401 (“In Memoriam”), he is again depicted as willing to maim or murder capriciously. It is disturbing to think that Vex’s style of dress and/or sexual behavior might unwittingly be associated in the viewer’s mind with his identification as a villain or might serve as an invitation for viewers to mock or laugh at him (Welsh-born Actor Paul Roger Amos, trained in theatre in the UK, has a distinct air of farce or pantomime to his performance of Vex).  It is to be hoped that the show will treat his character — and what some people within the BDSM community would consider their orientation — with consideration and caution.

These examples suggest that while sexual orientation is not a subject that the characters themselves reference on screen, the show may not be truly as label-free as the creative team thinks. When the production appears to over-emphasize gender-biased same-sex sexuality for no evident purpose beyond titillating exploitation for ratings, or when ambiguous and potentially subversive subtextual messages are conveyed about a BDSM character, there is a sense of dissonance between the show’s noble intentions and what is actually communicated about orientation on screen. The characters may never actually verbalize their orientation, but the subject is often in plain view and not always in ways that are obviously relevant to character or story.

Let’s examine for a moment the show’s guiding premise that being “label-free” is inherently good.  In an appearance at the San Diego Comic Con while she was the showrunner, Emily Andras reiterated that “the show prides itself on not putting labels on sexuality.” But what’s wrong with labels?  The Pride movement within the LGBT community certainly serves as an embrace of our own labels.  The journey of acceptance for LGBT people surely begins with coming out to ourselves and accepting that label, even if there is no rule or duty to act beyond that acceptance.  The LGBT rights movement began with people who could not or would not hide from their label – both in terms of sexual orientation and gender presentation. I’m uneasy hearing that “labels don’t matter” when I remember what the LGBT people who came before me went through in fighting for our rights.

If labelling can serve as a source of unity and connection to others, of comfort or solace in self-acceptance, or as a flag to fly as a rallying point for rights and freedoms – bearing in mind that many international fans come from countries that deny LGBT people both of these things — should it be dismissed as irrelevant by the creators and producers of Lost Girl?  Is there a distinction between labels that LGBT viewers freely embrace and value, and those that are placed upon us?  The single time that the real-world social weight of being LGBT crossed into the show (Bo’s substitution of “Laurence” for Lauren  in episode 311) was prompted by someone else forcing a label on Bo based on their own bias. Pretending that this does not matter seems short-sighted.

My own views about LGBT labelling are by no means universal — indeed it is a common error for mass media to assume that LGBT people possess some sort of hive mind. Still, I hope that the production team recognizes that Bo’s label-free world is not our world. I’m not sure that fulfilling Lovretta’s first rule (“sexual orientation is not discussed, and never an issue”) is possible or even desirable. I’m not suggesting that Bo and Lauren should attend a Pride festival, or in any way change the way that they behave within the parameters of the show.  I am happy enough that orientation is not mentioned and simply is in Lost Girl. But I know that my sense of contentment and approval is based at least in part on the fact that labels and orientation are still very much alive as issues in my world. Bo and Lauren inhabit a world we yearn for but do not presently enjoy.

Lovretta’s third rule — that viability of a potential partner is not related to gender — is a more successful expression of Bo’s sexual orientation being largely irrelevant to the character herself.  While the show plays safe and resorts to stereotypes in having a brooding troubled male hero archetype, and a nurturing caregiver who is female, there is no real reason why these roles/characters could not be reversed.  The genders of Dyson and Lauren play no part in Bo’s attraction to them, are not inherently meaningful to their chances of having a relationship with her — as might be expected for any relationship, behaviour and personality are infinitely more important than just sex.  The fifth rule is also successful in that, within the parameters of PG or 14+ rated television, the camera will linger over equal amounts of skin!

Bo’s sexual orientation — and the intrinsic connection that I have argued it has to her gender — is still deeply significant and inspiring to many viewers.  That Bo’s bisexuality is openly expressed by showing her sexual interactions with partners of either gender is also roundly applauded.  I find it relevant to note that the second rule established by Michelle Lovretta: “No slut shaming – Bo is allowed to have sex outside of relationships” addresses her concern that the potential for slut shaming was so predictable that it was important to immediately ban it as part of either her character development or narrative progression.

The praise that many fans, myself included, levelled at the show for this decision – to allow a woman to be as sexually liberated as she wishes without question – has a thematic link to Bo’s orientation and gender, in that it speaks to a compelling sense of freedom and a relief from social condemnation, as succinctly summarized in Bo’s inspiring hallmark title monologue:  “I will live the life I choose.”

Despite the prima facie appearance of sexual agency, and the enthusiasm with which this was received, there is a profound argument that closer scrutiny shows that this interpretation of Bo’s sexuality is misleading.  Can Bo truly be portrayed as unconditionally sexually liberated if her sexual expression is determined by her own biological imperative?  There is surely a distinct difference between Bo having sex because she wants to, and Bo having sex because she has to, and how many times have we actually seen Bo experiencing genuine free will with a lover of her own choosing?

In episode 101 “It’s a Fae, Fae, Fae, Fae World” Bo explains to Kenzi that she cannot control her hunger and later, to Lauren, clarifies that she “has a habit of waking up next to dead lovers.”  Both of these remarks are suggestive of a near fugue state when in the thrall of the hunger that she sates through sex.  Bo, as we first meet her, is subject to an irresistible need for sex and — while not exactly a slut shame in that there is no overt condemnation or negative language usage — is not a true image of sexual liberation.

It must also be noted that those who had sex with Bo at this point in her life were dying as a consequence.  Although the gender and quantity of those killed is never clarified, nor is any selection process that Bo might have used or clarification of whether she was referring to them as “lovers” , there is a reasonable concern of a subtextual “shaming” inference in suggesting that indiscriminate or promiscuous sex leads to death (even if it is not Bo herself dying).

In order to keep Bo a sympathetic character, when she kills on-screen it tends to be in a context of self-defence (of herself or others) and targeted at other Fae characters.  During the first four seasons the show only focuses explicitly on Bo killing identifiable humans on two occasions.  Bo’s first kill (shown in flashback during 210 “Raging Fae”), as her powers manifested in her teenage years, is clearly expressed as a horrifying accident that she could not have pre-empted or been aware of.  In episode 101 “It’s a Fae, Fae, Fae, Fae World” Bo kills a would-be rapist, but does so without sexual contact.  Arguments of the morality of retributive justice and immediacy of threat aside, we are shown that Bo does not need to have sex in order to feed, an event that seems to confound her later remark about “waking up with dead lovers.”  We are given information that sex is dangerous, but not actually shown it when Bo is making a kill that some viewers may perceive is worthy in some way.

Bo’s quest for redemption and her commitment to not do harm despite her biology allow her to fulfill a heroic archetype, but how do we reconcile the concept of Bo having “lovers” she wakes up beside after they have died at her hand?  Are these targets that she chooses on purpose in the knowledge that they will be killed, or is Bo careless or foolish enough to attempt relationship in the knowledge of there being inevitable risk of death?  The third alternative is one of Bo losing all control of herself and her senses and becoming a relentless apex predator who targets anyone willing to have sex with her.  Of these options, only the first — that Bo used an unknown criteria to pre-select her victims — when reinforced with the first kill in the first episode (although this man could hardly be called a lover) frames Bo as our morally acceptable lead heroic character.  While none of these explanations is framed in the language of a “slut shame”, the options for Bo killing her lovers is either a woman who cannot control her sexuality and is its slave, or is careless and does not consider the consequences of sex, or is predatory in nature.  All of these are both historic and contemporary accusations that are targeted at women who seek to control their own sexuality.

It is also important to consider that Bo’s persuasion/seduction touch, shown as a red glow during skin contact, leads to the person she uses it on experiencing sexual arousal as well as romantic/emotional attachment (in episode 216 “School’s Out” a rogue teacher touched by Bo anxiously calls out “I love you” as Bo leaves).  This serves as another blatant example of using sex as bait to achieve desired ends — there may not be any actual shaming behaviour involved, but the subtextual communication could not be more blatant.

It should be noted that overt shaming actions and language did feature heavily in the first season episode “The Mourning After” (episode 110).  The story features a Fae male Albaster called Bertram who feeds on women by provoking them into sexual shame after encountering them at a speed dating event.  Both of Bertram’s human victims commit suicide after writing phrases like “Dirty Whore” and “Slut” on their walls and, on meeting Bo and explaining that “none of those bitches were innocent, every single one of them gave into desires of the flesh at one point in time”, Bertram goes on to goad Bo with the line “What a dirty worthless slattern you areyou dont deserve to live”.  These brutal and venomous scenes make for uncomfortable viewing, and whatever chance there might have been for comment on Bo’s experiences was lost.

The writers handled the concept of shaming by making the the penalty for Bertram’s acts dying at the hands of Aife/Saskia.  It is also very strongly implied that there would be no social censure for what he had done — this is part of understanding of the Fae world that is being communicated to watchers, in that feeding on humans is entirely acceptable, as is killing so long as nothing is done that would expose the Fae’s sub rosa existence.  The denouement is less to do with a response to the shaming, that is largely incidental to events other than as outbursts of Bertram’s misogyny, and more about a need to maintain the status quo.  I am not sure that there is any particular lesson learned by the characters, or commentary to the audience, beyond a demonstration of bile.

As the series develops, we are shown that Bo has been learning — with the assistance of an authoritative and trusted voice — how to have safer sex.  Whether intended or not there is an obvious parable in play here; that indiscriminate sex is dangerous and, with appropriate education and consideration, much of the risk can be removed.  Despite the allegorical nature of sex and death together, especially when within parameters of quasi-reckless biological compulsion, the Fae appear to not practice safer sex (although in episode 211 “Can’t See the Fae-Rest a human male is shown with condoms).  It should be noted that, in episode 204 “Mirror, Mirror” a female water nymph mocks Dyson — who does not remember her at all at first, let alone a sexual encounter — by telling Bo: “You dodged a bullet there, honey, or something that requires ointment.”  While this could be a genuine protest over some sort of Fae sexually transmitted infection/ailment, it is also possible that it is a sarcastic response which comes perilously close to Dyson being “shamed” for what was presumably fully consensual casual sexual activity during a New Year’s Eve party.

While overt acts of shaming Bo do not occur, reasonably fulfilling the second rule (although her very nature seems to make the rule moot, as blaming her for being who she is would be manifestly unjust), Dyson’s experience with the nymph is one example of negative consequences of sex that ancillary characters are subjected to which could be taken as subtextual shaming, or at least a subversive criticism of sexual liberation.

In episode 104 “Faetal Attraction” Bo chooses, and enjoys, a bisexual threesome with a Fae couple.  This scene may well be cited as a woman who appears to be in command of her sexual agency (is she though?), and also expressing sexual freedom in terms of unabashed pleasure without any anxiety or self-doubt.  It is quite clear that this is also something Bo is engaging in in order to feed; her eyes glow blue to remind us all of her nature and the Fae woman, Olivia, that Bo has had sex with would go on to explain during their next meeting: “You left me quite depleted, I could barely walk to the car”.  Olivia then defines her relationship with her husband as open to occasional third parties by agreement, but that her husband is breaking the rules with a human woman and that Olivia wants the human woman killed as a consequence.  It is revealed that Olivia had sex with Bo as a test, rather than out of desire or just for pleasure or fun and, while Bo makes a point of saving the human, as the plot unfolds the male Fae is decapitated and it turns out the human was a serial killer after all!  Everyone involved in the sexual pairs/group but Bo ends up dead.  Is there actual empowerment here, or a motif of censure or punishment for “illicit” acts of sex, and if there is ambiguity does the promise of no-strings, “slut”-free sex in the show lack fulfillment?

Other examples of sex having dire or negative consequences would include:  Bo’s first boyfriend Kyle dying as Bo loses her virginity in episode 105 “Dead Lucky”.  Hale Santiago verbally condemning Dyson for having consensual sex with Val Santiago in 217 “The Girl Who Fae’d With Fire.”  Swinging couples in 112 “(Dis)members Only” portrayed as callously benefiting from human sacrifice.  Bo experiences a hallucination of Lauren kissing Kenzi in 106 “ArachnoFaebia” because the venom of the Djieiene spider is creating paranoia, persecution and aggression via sexual rivalry (often misinterpreted as a sexual fantasy).  Kenzi curses Dyson in episode 204 “Mirror, Mirror” as punishment for his sexual interest in women other than Bo, perhaps reversing the “no slut-shaming” rule.  Episode 207 “Fae Gone Wild” revolves around exploited Selkie women coerced into sex work.  Promiscuous sex is again shown as having a fatal consequence in 305 “Faes Wide Shut”, as humans who frequent a sex club are liquified after they engage in “dangerous” sexual practices with an Underfae and also in 305 a woman Bo selects as a sexual surrogate to feed on also ends up dead.

This trend throughout the show could be explained by Bo’s nature as a sexual creature, it does not seem unreasonable that stories would at least reference sex/sexuality in some way, but the portrayal of expressions of sexuality is typically a negative one.  While not explicitly shaming acts, the negativity appearing to be more subversive in being covert or even unconscious, these scenes seem far removed from any claimed progressive pedigree about sex and sexuality.  Risk or danger are correlated to sex and, while no one hears the word “slut”, there is a profound sense of received penalty or karmic censure for daring to be sexually intimate.

The most egregious, and never referenced again, example of this phenomenon occurs in 112 “(Dis)members Only”, in which Dyson is raped by Aife — as either lesson or punishment to Bo (and perhaps an instruction to us, as viewers, on what Bo could be like if she chose another path, or was raised by a Dark Fae parent).  Aife degrades Dyson with lines like: “say my name, bitch and then gloats to Bo that he “didnt put up much of a fight”.  There is never any justice for this act and I have to wonder if the production went on to realise the seriousness of the line that they had crossed.   The Lost Girl team did not return to this event again and I wonder if, in hindsight, the same scene would have been made the same way.

The concept of consent might seem an obvious subject for a show with a very strong focus on sex.  The only time the issue was overtly raised was in 110 “The Mourning After” during a conversation between Lauren and Bo.  After Lauren gives Bo her observations about a deceased human, she adds: “Also she had sex, about an hour prior to her death.  It appears consensual.”  Bo responds to this with the line “Not so sure I trust your judgement on sexual matters” and then condemns Lauren for the choice that she made in 108 “Vexed”.  Lauren’s defence for her actions is to point out that they both knew that they were on a path to a sexual encounter, although this statement does not correctly reflect what actually happened as seen by the viewer, and the episode author’s unwillingness to ever address the truth helped mischaracterise Lauren’s actions and make her subject to a great deal of viewer judgement.  While Bo, quite rightly, felt that her power to choose when (or if) to consent was over-ridden by Lauren’s apparent dishonesty, the fact that Lauren is enslaved and may not have the power to decline her owner’s orders is never referenced.  I felt that the chance to address both story-relevant details, and the subject of consent itself, was tragically missed.

The character of Lauren is subjected to the negative consequences of sex on three occasions, each with an overarching theme of betrayal.  Lauren’s own capacity to give positive consent was compromised by being owned as a slave, an event interpreted by Bo (and many viewers in error) as a betrayal, it was also a betrayal of her own bodily autonomy by the Ash.  Lauren’s relationship with her comatose lover, Nadia, is re-ignited, only to find that Nadia has been inhabited by the Garuda, who may have been using her to spy and certainly seemed to present a physical menace to Lauren.  The third betrayal is in episode 403 “Lovers. Apart” in which Lauren has a sexual encounter with a colleague, who then goes on to accept a bounty for surrendering Lauren’s location and places both of the women in peril.

Bo’s innate biological nature make the rule against shaming cited by Michelle Lovretta unworkable, but the depiction of Lauren’s sexuality — despite these transient or casual “betrayal” experiences — is a closer portrayal of the positive female sexuality as originally intended.  Although she is later victimized by Crystal in 403 “Lovers. Apart” Lauren makes a good faith decision to have sex with her without any angst or self-doubt.  The sex shown on screen is a passionate and urgent expression of bona fide need or hunger.  Lauren’s comfort with sexual need is also expressed in episode 220 “Lachlan’s Gambit”, as she comes to Bo after the loss of Nadia in the full understanding that she is experiencing grief:  “I know that Im merely acting out of a transference of grief onto you.  Wanting to have sex is a very common response to grief.”  Lauren is frank and unapologetic about her need and, although she changes her mind, the two women negotiate positive consent with full understanding of expectation.  The shift in the tone of the scene, from sex as a relief from grief to comforting non-sexual contact, is a clear demonstration of the intimacy that the characters have developed as their relationship has been evolving.

It is within relationship parameters that we see Lauren coming closer than Bo ever could to Lovretta’s original concept of a sexually-liberated confident woman.  It is vital to know that, without needing to be excused by biological urge or non-human nature, Lauren is capable of desiring sex as much as a succubus.  Lauren can and does initiate sex with Bo and is sexually versatile, both giving and receiving sexual pleasure.  As a human character, Lauren is easier for the audience to identify with and her attitude towards sex is more successful and meaningful than Bo’s.

Within the boundaries of PG/14+ rated television, Bo and Lauren’s sex scenes show a fluid power dynamic between them with tribadism, nipple stimulation, masturbation and inferred oral sex rather than the singular emphasis shown in heterosexual scenes for penetrative sex only (with some variety in dominant positioning).  In episode 108 “Vexed” Dyson does drop into a crouch to peel down Bo’s panties, but immediately stands up again.  Perhaps because this was a “feed” there is an absence of any emphasis on pleasure — as he winces with what seems to be pain and she becomes a creature of biological function — but is there also a lack of dynamic female sexuality by focusing on penetrative sex only?  Or is this scene more a case of offering a juxtaposition to the awkward, romantic, pleasure-based sex that Lauren and Bo will experience later in the episode?  While tempting to conclude the former, Bo and Dyson have only had – and will continue to only ever have — penetrative sex, with no evidence of any deviation from the heteronormative.

While the subjective quality of the sex scenes may well be determined by the personal tastes of the viewers (keeping in mind that not only LGBT women will appreciate Bo and Lauren together) I would argue that there is a significant motivational difference between the two pairings.  With Dyson, Bo is having the sex that she needs, largely shown by being basic and functional with little variety.  Bo comments in 103 “Oh Kappa, my Kappa” that being with Dyson is the first time that she wakes up with someone who has survived the night with her.  There is novelty to her, and a sense of relief at being able to avoid dread and death.  It is also possible if — as I suggested earlier — that she was obliged to select a victim knowing their doom, or slipped into a fugue while in the throes of hunger, then the sex she was having may not have been at all fulfilling.  If Bo is finally able to have satisfying sex, might this again be novelty?  Having sex because she needs to, or because it is an experience she thinks that she can only have with a Fae (until later instructed otherwise) then it hardly compares to having sex because she chooses to with Lauren.

Although often forgotten (or conveniently overlooked) by many viewers, the rules on whether or not Bo can be physically monogamous are set in the first season.  There is never any evidence within the frame by frame show itself that Bo considers one or other gender superior, but in order for both Lauren and Dyson to be valid partners it was necessary to also establish that species was also a moot point.  In episode 105 “Dead Lucky”, Hale points out that Dyson is on his third energy drink and still looks rough, and knows that it is because he has been with Bo.  Later, in the same episode, after Bo feeds on Dyson again Kenzi chimes in with:  “Dude, your junk could cure cancer, though you look kind of green.”  The people who know him know that being with Bo is taking a toll, even he is not strong enough to sustain her indefinitely.  As a counterpoint, we are shown in 304 “Fae-de to Black” that Lauren will inevitably become exhausted.

Both of these examples appear to confound Michelle Lovretta’s rule 4 about monogamy, as well as clarifying that Bo is not as free to choose when to have sex, or who with, as a sexually liberated woman.  The obvious answer is that monogamy cannot be simply understood for Bo in terms of who she has sex with, and that emotional monogamy is a true expression of Bo’s decision-making.  This argument is supported by Bo’s yearning in 108 “Vexed” in which she lays out her dream of her future:  “What chance do I have of living a life of my own, and who would want to live it with me?”  Bo may be promoted as a woman who is free to express her sexuality in whatever way she chooses, at any time, but this one line demonstrates her true desire — connection with another person, being more than just her own biology and sharing her life with a mate.

Sex and sexuality are key features of the show, as defined by Bo’s very nature.  I praise the show for having a mainstream female heroic lead, while also conceding that the character only works because she is female (rather than in spite of that fact).  Sexual freedom is a valid choice that can be consciously made by anyone of their own free will, and we may well praise Bo’s sexual agency — despite it being better expressed and far more valid via Lauren — but don’t Doccubus fans feel the same longing that Bo expressed in seeing her paired up with someone that she loves?