Lost Girl: “It’s Better To Burn Out Than Fae Away”
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Lost Girl: “It’s Better To Burn Out Than Fae Away”

For whatever indecipherable reason, during the production of Lost Girl’s second season in the middle of 2011, Kristen Holden-Ried wasn’t available. That’s really the only explanation I can come up with for why he doesn’t appear in this episode. He’s been reunited with his fairy girl from when he ran with a medieval pack, and then poof, he’s gone for an hour. Granted, there isn’t a lot of room for Dyson in the plot here, as Bo digs deeper into the mysteries of the Dark Fae and Lauren grapples with returning to The Ash, but I wonder which necessitated which. Is Dyson missing because these plots are at the forefront, or is this the main focus because Dyson isn’t there?

An episode of Lost Girl without a central character—the one with a featured back-story last week—helps shed light on what the show can be when it chooses the more drastic solution of excising the Dyson/Bo romance plot entirely instead of just obliquely referring to it in passing conversation. It still comes up when Bo asks Hale about Ciara and calls her the perfect female Fae specimen when talking to Kenzi, but otherwise, it’s entirely absent. Unfortunately, that doesn’t remove supernatural romance from the episode; it just boosts Bo/Lauren to the first line. Like Dyson, Lauren has also betrayed or lied to Bo, and yet she still goes back to the well anyway, since she’s apparently addicted to shadowy intimacy with people who aren’t completely honest with her. The romantic element is a bit nagging, as though Lost Girl can’t go for one hour without somehow developing a more-than-platonic relationship. If Bo isn’t the focus of a hookup, then surely Kenzi will be in the future, since she’s only gotten the one rushed meet-cute with a guy fated to die at the end of the day.

For all the work Bo does with the Light Fae, she’s still not technically aligned with them. Her affections for Dyson and now Lauren keep her more closely tied to that side, but we don’t’ know very much about the Dark Fae and their leader. That changes with this episode, which brings in The Morrigan, her assistant Bianca, and Vex the club-owner Mesmer. We find out some small details about the other side, including the offhand revelation that The Morrigan’s name is Evony, and she works as a talent agent. She’s successful because she’s a leanan sidhe, essentially a muse who drains power from the artist she inspires—which gets a nice throwaway line about the brief careers of insanely popular musicians like Kurt Cobain.

The case-of-the-week involves one of Evony’s clients (and lovers), a human street artist named Jason, who is going crazy and painting sensitive information about Vex killing a vampire. Vex wants to hunt the guy down, but Evony hires Bo to find Jason, offering a solution to Lauren’s indentured servitude to The Ash in return. It’s easy to dismiss the street art touches as dated and go about trying to enjoy the rest of the episode, since Exit Through The Gift Shop was released back in 2010.

Once Bo gets some time alone with Bianca, it’s plain that she’s the one behind the whole murder plot. She’s a vengeful former painter who suffers under the tutelage of her boss, despite trying to impress upon Bo that it’s a great opportunity. As another muse-like Fae, she can control a human’s inner motivation, like getting a musician to sign a contract with terrible royalty sharing—or inhabiting Jason’s mind with sensitive Dark Fae information for murals. She tries to incite a war between Vex and Evony, and when discovered, gives her rote monologue that was probably the audition side, commits seppuku, and the Dark Fae leaders nonchalantly go back to organizing club outings, much to Bo’s dismay. Is finding out all this information, Evony’s name, her Fae type, similar faction infighting, worth Dyson’s absence? Yes, if only because it brings a little balance to the world, and removes one of the many romantic interests flitting around Bo.

The B-plot continues the story of Lauren as a stowaway in Bo and Kenzi’s apartment. Kenzi isn’t too keen on harboring a fugitive from The Ash, but Bo wants Lauren to have her freedom—not just to hook up with Bo, but from servitude entirely.

Plainly, Lachlan is a massive douche and an arrogant prick, but he’s a much more compelling Ash than the one dispatched by a bomb at the end of last season. Instead of periodically popping in and trying to strong-arm Bo into picking a side while speaking in a low, gravelly voice, this Ash actually has some agency of his own. He treats humans poorly, thinks of them as pets or property, and that doesn’t jive with Bo’s concept of the world. Perhaps it’s because she lived with humans for so long despite feeling different before she discovered this Fae community, but she has a far more advanced moral compass than Lachlan. Still, he provides another compelling antagonist for Bo to deal with, since she’s not only invested in Lauren romantically, but in her rights as well. Lachlan has some tiny shades of Magneto self-aggrandizement and superiority about him, which adds a thematic layer of equality to Lost Girl beyond the standard procedural fare.

Is it a big twist that Lauren has a girlfriend? Not particularly, though it’s disappointing to make another of Bo’s love interests betray her yet again. This seems to be the standard progression for every romantic plot on the show, a grating two steps forward and one step back. The better twist is that Lauren’s “girlfriend” Nadia is her secret medical experiment at the Ash’s compound, confined to a glowing pod on some kind of life support. Lauren is like a Fae Mr. Freeze looking for a cure for pod-woman Nadia, just out to get some strange on the side from the compassionate newcomer. It doesn’t really absolve the fact that nobody has ever mentioned Nadia before, and it turns Lauren’s situation in the same kind of limbo as Bo’s relationship with Dyson. Frankly, I haven’t grown to care about either romantic choice, I much prefer Bo’s strengthening friendship with Kenzi.

I can’t say I found this to be a good episode of television, but I did find it interesting. Removing Dyson from the plot, and by extension Trick and Bo’s freelance work for the Light Fae, brought out a lot more background information on the Fae world in this still unnamed Canadian town. When Bo is investigating cases while discovering more about her new world, and clashing with a dictator out to enslave and chastise those he views as lesser beings, Lost Girl can really move at a nice clip. But paranormal romance continues to bog everything down and threaten to render the better parts of the show set dressing around a middling soap opera.

Stray observations:

  • The still accompanying this review is from last week’s episode, but unlike a lot of other shows, we don’t get current art very often, so we make do.
  • Nobody fell for the idea that The Morrigan actually loved Jason, right? Because that was a fairly obvious villain playing to the perceived moral weakness of the heroine ploy.
  • Canadian viewers: Please weigh in on how drastic the cuts were during the Bo/Lauren sex scene. I wouldn’t be surprised if most of it ended up on the cutting room floor for American audiences.
  • Kenzi really doesn’t have much luck in comparison to Bo when it comes to guys. First there’s the creepy other street art guy that hits on her, then the computer-obsessed Cyclops known as The Eye, who demands a kiss from her as payment for helping Bo.
  • Hale’s siren abilities can take away hangovers, prompting Kenzi’s best line of the episode: “Will you marry me?” “No, you drink too much.”

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