Note to showrunners: It’s not a good idea to confine a show’s dynamic lead character—who happens to be your cast’s best actor—to less than five minutes of screen time over the first two episodes of a season. The fourth-season premiere of Lost Girl is the only episode in which Anna Silk’s succubus Bo doesn’t appear. In the second episode, she’s only in three short scenes, stranded on a steam-train prison traveling in a space between dimensions. The titular lost girl has been lost and forgotten. It’s obvious that Silk hasn’t been relegated to a reduced role for all 13 episodes of season four. But this show, which has been a lot of entertaining fluff with one grounding lead performance, turns into a mess without its central tether.
The only tangible benefit to sidelining Bo is an extended period in the spotlight for feisty sidekick Kenzi (Ksenia Solo). Unfortunately, despite Solo’s winning comedic performance, the mystery of Bo’s disappearance unfurls with little satisfaction. Plodding romance without chemistry has always been Lost Girl’s Achilles heel, and the emotional whiplash of watching Kenzi bounce between Dyson and Hale during an impromptu tango performance is painfully awkward. Even something silly—like guest star George Takei playing a treasure-hoarding Fae with the body of a giant snake—doesn’t save a premiere that has a gaping hole where Silk should be. All of this would be a lot more fun if the forced soap-opera subplots—between Kenzi and Hale, Dyson and whomever he’s partnered with, Lauren and literally every attractive female character—didn’t threaten to tank every other scene.
Kenzi’s job boils down to partnering with Dyson to follow through on investigative work, handing over the heavy lifting to the shape-shifting wolfman and Hale once things get more intense. That’s a violation of the show’s core principle: Bo doesn’t need the boys’ help to accomplish anything. This season introduces Kenzi’s attempts to at least mask herself as Fae, with the help of some questionable substances that appear analogous to drug abuse. So not only is she characterized as too weak to carry out the bigger task of rescuing Bo from purgatory—a slight Bo would scoff at while pushing past the men—Kenzi’s also an addict. The Bo-Kenzi dynamic is the most important relationship on the show, and after multiple episodes, the fourth season hasn’t put the two on-screen together. Placing the relationship of the characters with the show’s wittiest rapport in the background is a massive misstep.
As for the other supporting players: Add doctor-on-the-lam Lauren to the ever-expanding list of TV characters who dangle by a thread even though a show no longer knows how to use them. She’s hiding out in a diner under a fake name—yet another recycled idea that Buffy The Vampire Slayer did better, because it didn’t stretch it out to fill multiple episodes of plot—dodging sexual tension with a fellow waitress. Hale could be on that list as well, no longer in a position of authority and mostly comic relief for when Dyson needs someone to tag along.
Lost Girl does a lot of things that would still be tolerable if there wasn’t a better Canadian sci-fi export that has lapped the show’s capabilities multiple times in only one season: Orphan Black. Now, Lost Girl looks like a mistaken heir to the Xena and Hercules throne, a schlocky, low-budget genre show with its own interpretation of established mythological characters. Occasionally it mixes in the right amount of comedy to mask its flaws, but without Silk for the vast majority of the first few episodes, Lost Girl isn’t up to the task.
Created by: Michelle Lovretta
Starring: Anna Silk, Ksenia Solo, Kris Holden-Ried, Zoie Palmer, Richard Howland, K.C. Collins
Airs: Mondays at 8 p.m. Eastern on SyFy
Format: Hour-long fantasy drama
Three season-four episodes watched for review