“Midnight Lamp” S2 / E14
- C+ Community Grade
Lost Girl without Kenzi and Lauren around to delight and distract Bo is both a streamlined version of the show largely focused on Anna Silk, and a resounding bore. Kenzi is kind of the lifeblood of the show, providing such reliable comic relief that it can balance out even Dyson's distilled sourness. But with Kenzi off on tour with a new boyfriend and Bo helpless without knowing how to work a coffee maker, “Midnight Lamp” is yet another stripped-down episode of Lost Girl that feels small for budgetary reasons, stalling for time until the major characters return for bigger plots to conclude. It traps Bo with a new potential paramour, but none of the minor new revelations feel like anything substantial.
Lachlan sends Bo on another small step mission in what he says is preparation for the impending fight against the Garuda. He needs Sadie, an Efrete, which is a type of Djinn who he says can only be acquired through enslavement, which boils down to trapping a genie inside a lamp. Bo has issues with the whole idea of enslavement, which has kept her from choosing a side with the Fae and infuriated her with respect to Lauren. The problem is that Sadie is a celebrity, so trapping her for Lachlan’s purposes entails going to a club and sneaking around—something that’s already happened this season while Kenzi was around to make it a hell of a lot more fun.
But she needs a lamp, or rather an item imbued with the qualities typically associated with a genie lamp. For that, Bo has to see Ryan, the guy who delivered the mysterious birthday present of a golden bracelet to Bo’s party. He’s basically a new toy for Bo to play around with, another romantic entanglement for Bo to feed off of, with Dyson’s Fae abilities to help him regenerate, but also some of the potential conspiracy from Bo’s first season tryst with Lauren. Ryan’s character seems like a convenient way to combine those two and pass it off as something new.
Bo and Ryan confront Sadie, alone, after a non-so-difficult reconnaissance mission, but through some silly use of “Abracadabra” and a broken music box, they both get trapped along with Sadie inside their lamp-like device. Bo has to call in Dyson’s help, Hale’s siren powers, and a whole lot of . Bo gets Sadie under her control, but prevents her from becoming another slave to Lachlan. She wants to fight the bigger evil with him instead of for him as his “champion.” One of the enduringly appealing aspects of Bo is how ardently committed she is to that idea of cooperation over subservience. She wants independence and a lack of responsibility to a power above her, but still yearns for unity with those around her.
Ryan has many of the same qualities that Dyson did back before he had all the fun sucked out of him. His flirting repartee with Bo is charming—at least, it has all the charm of a new relationship before any flaws show up. And he’s an interesting type of Fae, a Loki, which carries with it all the darkly mesmerizing qualities afforded a God of Mischief. But he’s Dark Fae, and it’s not really clear why that’s important yet. He helps Bo because he likes her, and deals with Lachlan under the table for seemingly nefarious reasons.
“Midnight Lamp” is slight in almost every possible way. Two weeks ago, Lachlan essentially sent Bo on a mandated errand to Africa in order to rescue Lauren’s girlfriend and hurry her out of the show for a few weeks. And on Monday, her reward for uncovering more about Lachlan’s true nature, that he’s a Naga trying to fight the Garuda, is yet another baby step toward that goal. She doesn’t interact with Lachlan in any meaningful way to give him depth, but instead gets to know Ryan, introducing a character who will be redundant as soon as Bo’s gang of usual suspects are back in the picture helping her.
This episode was all side plot and no payoff. Ryan is a stand-in for all of the qualities previously afforded to other characters who have been around longer—but have been saddled with baggage and left unentertaining. And if that were a consequence of their interaction with Bo—like Dyson’s run-ins with the Norn—then at least that downward spiral would make sense. But Lauren seems to be absent simply as a way to delay the “bigger part” Lachlan says she has to play in a season-ending showdown.
At least Ryan can’t be an impetus to take Bo off screen, so that any character progression goes unnoticed. Kenzi is off on tour with Nate, while Lauren is still making up for up for lost time with Nadia, but we don’t get to see how that companionship is changing them, suggesting they’re just going to plug back into the show in a later episode either the same as they were before their absence, or with a sudden unjustified change.
The B-plot adds very little to an already thin story. Dyson goes back to the Norn to figure out why he can’t love Ciara, and his explanation is that since he’s a wolf, and they mate for life, when she took his love for Bo, she took his capacity to love anyone else. This leads to a very short capping scene where Ciara confronts Dyson at Trick’s bar in front of Trick and Hale, forcing the truth out of him. The heavy-handedness is pretty painful, punctuated by some melodramatic music as Ciara makes the fair point that Dyson chose to give up his wolf for a girl he knew for a few months instead of to save his best friend (and Ciara’s ex-husband) a few hundred years earlier.
By stretching from thirteen episodes into a full 22, Lost Girl has been doing the opposite of cutting narrative corners when it comes to its season-long arc. It’s had to build more corners to go around arbitrarily, and this is yet another example. Ciara and Dyson take another step toward inevitable breakup, Kenzi and Lauren’s absences remove equal parts wit and sexual frustration, and Bo makes incremental progress toward a final showdown that’s still murky.
- The best moment of the episode is undoubtedly when Bo leaves her mark on Sadie by giving her a hickey. That was priceless and totally appropriate for the character.
- Ryan says all girls secretly want to be taken care of. Bo responds that all guys secretly want a boot to the face.
- At least Lachlan knows how to make a decent cup of coffee.