“Flesh And Blood” S2 / E22
- C+ Community Grade
It may not have been the best idea, but before watching tonight’s finale I sought out the Finale Pre-Show special that aired back when this season was first premiering in Canada. That hour was a contrived, self-congratulatory puff-piece like any pre-finale special, but it confirmed two things that have become clear over the course of this season: There is a small, vocal, dedicated fan base that ardently cares about Lost Girl regardless of its less-than-stellar quality, and I am not a member of that fan base.
That might need some clarification. I like Lost Girl. No really, I do, it’s a perfectly fine show to kick back and watch with little emotional investment on a Friday night (or a Monday night before Alphas returned, which was, let’s be honest, a better time slot). But the elements of the show that seem to drive the diminutive yet passionate group of fans—mostly the shipping debacles of Bo/Dyson, Bo/Lauren, Hale/Kenzi, even Bo/Kenzi—don’t appeal to me as a viewer.
For me, what continues to be the best part of Lost Girl is what has been described as a “sex-positive” attitude towards Bo’s relationships. In the world of the show, you love who you love, no matter if that individual is human, Fae, man, woman, whatever. That socially conscious baseline doesn’t play into the plot of the show, but I’m frequently reminded how much I take that attitude toward sexuality for granted whenever I watch a show that feels the need to stomp up to the soap box whenever it deals with that subject (and here I’m mostly thinking of Glee).
At the beginning of the season, I remember calling Lost Girl a better version of Grimm, and that was mostly based on the performance of its leads, Anna Silk and Ksenia Solo, who are so damn entertaining together that it put just about any combination on Grimm to shame (though that NBC supernatural procedural has begun to right the ship). Now, after watching both shows concurrently while slowly re-watching Buffy and Angel, the narrow scale of Lost Girl and the dearth of material to fill out a full network-length season has eroded a lot of goodwill that I built up when watching a marathon of the first season.
Most of the buildup to the Garuda showdown in this finale repeated earlier episodes. There’s a dash of Bo/Lauren romantic drama, but somehow absent of the context that Bo had to kill Nadia. Yes, Lauren references that event, but it doesn’t play into her scenes with Bo, which instead still feel like it’s only about the sexual tension between them. Bo has another moment with Kenzi warning her about danger, which includes the cliché caveat that Kenzi may have to kill Bo if she’s taken over by darkness, even though everyone knows it’ll never come to that. Bo even gives another version of the “I couldn’t do this without my best friends” speech that she gave last week. The biggest stumbling block to season two’s success has been spreading a 13-episode plot over a 22-episode framework, and these final two weeks make up a microcosm of that issue.
“Flesh And Blood” is full of half-measures—to invoke a completely different kind of show, one in masterful control of its world—and doesn’t even come to a full conclusion. Yes, Bo defeats the Garuda, and it’s even in a clever way that shoehorns in the initial prophecy that Bo would kill Trick. But this is a flashback-heavy episode that runs down a checklist to provide a moment for Bo with Lauren, Dyson, Kenzi, and Trick, and that ends up feeling perfunctory. The show drums up so much melodrama from Dyson’s newly returned feelings and the revelation that Trick is Bo’s grandfather that it borders on suffocating.
Once the Lost Girl smoke monster kidnaps Trick, we get even more medieval flashbacks, this time more convoluted and less helpful that the ones that gave Dyson a miserable accent at the beginning of the season. There was a way for all of the heavy emotional beats to land, but the groundwork wasn’t laid over the course of the whole season, and instead was rushed into these last few episodes. This is a problem for Grimm, Psych, and countless other procedural shows with season-long arcs, so it feels unfair to pick on Lost Girl for an uneven narrative balance, but this jerkiness only amplifies other fast, cheap, and out of control aspects of the show.
This isn’t to say that the entire finale falls flat. Vex is still an interesting foil and a welcome rambunctious presence among the far too comfortable allies rallying behind Bo. Hale’s sister Val may not have a powerful ability, but it sure is funny whenever she steals his voice. And after an entire season biding time to get to a fight that involves a small handful of Fae, with no real impending fear of war between a larger group outside the conveniently placed abandoned asylum for the criminally insane, Lost Girl ends on a note that bodes well for a more focused third season.
I have a friend who got a master’s degree in England this past year—where Lost Girl already aired its second season—who warned me that this second season got shaky, but remained a fun guilty pleasure. That’s almost exactly how I feel about the show after limping to the finish here at the end of the summer. There are fleeting moments that I enjoy in Lost Girl, and most of them have come in procedural episodes that pair Bo and Kenzi as Fae PIs investigating some aspect of the Fae world that’s particularly inventive. Anna Silk and Ksenia Solo have consistently turned in good performances, despite more than a few weak scripts—even Kenzi’s one-liners were pretty bottom of the barrel tonight.
In the final scenes, the skin on Kenzi’s arm changes color, and Bo looks into a mirror as her eyes gleam with the blue color that signifies her succubus powers activating. It’s not entirely clear what either of these developments mean, but it points to the possibility that Bo hasn’t exorcised all of the dark forces inside her. At the end of its first season Lost Girl planted the seeds for the overall arc of this one, and that looks to be the same tactic here. Pitting Bo against her friends, and especially Kenzi, is an intriguing idea, far more than a save-the-world plot on a show that has always done better with plot lines that focus on the bonds between the strong leads.
- One of the best things I gleaned from the Pre-Show special: Krys Holden-Reid is actually a cheerful and funny guy, and his demeanor in interviews makes it all the more disappointing that his character is so dour and stoic all the time.
- Another item from that special: Ksenia Solo is ridiculously thin, and just as funny as her character.
- Credit where credit is due: Using Sharon Van Etten’s “Serpents” as the closing song for the season is a great choice.
- “I got a D in geography babe.”
- I know it’s been a bumpy ride, but thanks to all who’ve been reading along this summer.