“Raging Fae” S2 / E10
- B- Community Grade
After enduring a cage-match brawl under the guise of gathering evidence, Bo lets her guard down for about the third time so far in “Raging Fae” as Lauren attempts to patch her wounds. To humans, she’s a monster, and she’s angry that her life is governed by something she didn’t choose—her succubus abilities that require her to feed off others, something she’s more than happy to indulge in at the beginning of the episode, in a limo, in broad daylight. Her plight isn’t exactly going to inspire a lot of pity, since it’s pretty much a default state for everyone.
Bo isn’t just upset about being continually pulled between two sides of Fae rulers in whatever city she lives in, but about being fundamentally unable to control every aspect of her life via her own decisions. It’s an inherently foolish desire: nobody has ultimate control over their life, and depending on a great many factors one may have little to no say in the direction. That’s why Bo’s indignant attitude is so frustrating, she wants a completely unrealistic amount of control over her life, and even her past. Bo is so caught up in bemoaning the parts of her life that are not self-determined that she skips out on actually finding a way to cope with her regrets.
It’s almost halfway through the second season, which seems like an awfully strange time to just stop dead and dump out a bunch of backstory, but that’s what happens this week. The sister of the boy Bo accidentally killed when she discovered she was different shows up, warning Kenzi that “Beth” is dangerous and probably a murderer. Bo has never really opened up to Kenzi about her past, at least back to the origins of why she ran away from home in the first place. She grew up on a farm, didn’t know she was adopted by humans, and accidentally killed her first boyfriend with her succubus powers. But the way in which she relates this to Kenzi is irksome, starting with the painfully on-the-nose parallels between puberty and Fae powers. Buffy managed to intertwine the perils of adolescence and fighting monsters in a way that regularly enlightened the high school experience, but here it just feels like a trite way to frame the backstory.
From the episode title, the case of the week unfolds in predictable fashion. It’s about an underground boxing gym run by a skeezy Brooklyn-ish accented Fae named Salvatore Ferraro, who broadcasts the fights online for a hefty profit. Mike, a human fighter, has been reeling off a string of improbable victories, potentially aided by some Fae interference that give him some Hulk-level rage blackouts. The illegal fighting isn’t that big of a deal to The Ash, but if Ferraro is giving Fae powers to a human, it’s apparently verboten and cause for alarm. The whole case dovetails with Bo telling everyone that she didn’t have anyone there to explain what was going on when her powers began to manifest. The absence of family guidance becomes her opportunity to mentor a young, emerging Fae on how using a power without knowing the consequences can hurt the ones you love.
It’s a contrived twist to throw in the fact that Tyler is Mike’s adopted son—he was a firefighter at the scene of a car crash in which both of Tyler’s Fae parents perished. If Ferraro isn’t pulling the strings to give Mike more strength, the only other character around for the job is Tyler. So he’s a frog boy putting his sweat into protein shakes in order to make his daddy stronger, but he has no idea that what he’s doing is going to kill Mike in an explosion of internal organs. It’s a huge dose of metaphor fulfillment, where Bo gets to be for Tyler exactly what she never had, before stepping in the cage again to save the day at the last minute again.
It’s not fair to compare Lost Girl to Grimm every week—the budgetary constraints on Lost Girl keeps it from being a fair fight—but every so often they have similar enough plots to line up nicely. Take the midseason episode “Last Grimm Standing,” ostensibly using the same sort of creature Fight Club undercurrent to drive the episodic plot. Nick and Hank regurgitate their information to Captain Renard; Bo reiterates every small step to Dyson so she can benefit from police investigation resources. Renard goes to confession in order to sic some kind of Wessen assassin on the ringleader of the underground fights; The Ash ends the episode by killing Ferraro and ending the Fae boxing matches. The special effects touches in Grimm might be hokey, but they’re at least a bit ambitious, whereas in Lost Girl they’re resigned to little grace notes in a few shots each week, highlighting knuckles, teeth, or eyes accompanied by a shifting sound effect.
Grimm uses every little discovery to broaden the Wessen world of Portland’s underbelly. Lost Girl has maintained a strained anonymity when it comes to location. The town still doesn’t have a name, there’s typically only one new set per episode along with the police station, Bo and Kenzi’s shack, and Trick’s bar. But the emotional backdrops of the episodes are equally heavy-handed and obnoxious. Nick misses an anniversary dinner with his girlfriend, but Bo can’t stop shouting and crying about how unfair her life is and trying to run away. Both shows have sputtered into an uncertain narrative place, but Grimm offers more compelling questions about its world that demand answers; at this point Lost Girl is, for lack of a better word, lost in a haze where no clear overarching plot is working week-to-week.
In the realm of barely-there serialization, The Ash is covering up some kind of scheme. Before killing Ferraro, the gym owner talks about some kind of dark appetite, needing to feed off the rage of the fighters, and The Ash is quick to make sure Ferraro hasn’t told anyone about that. Like many other episodes—most recently Lauren and Bo staring at the nail given to them by The Morrigan—“Raging Fae” doesn’t really reach a satisfying conclusion, choosing instead to launch head-scratching questions designed to hook viewers in for the next episode. Episodes that go lighter on the ham-fisted metaphors would be more satisfying and likelier to bring people back each week.
- Bo calls the boxing matches a “human cockfighting ring.” Kenzi’s response? “Keep the joke inside…keep the joke inside…”
- I didn’t want to get into the Lauren developments above, because quite possibly the most infuriating moment of the entire episode is when she just up and declares love for Bo on accident, wrenching their entire conversation into romantic territory for a few minutes on a total whim. It comes out of nowhere, hogs the spotlight, and then Bo moves on with the rest of plot.
- Bo tells Trick about the vision she got from the Nain Rouge, but as with many serialized threads this week, it’s just a wisp and nothing significant comes of it.