Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Lost Girl, Season Three, Episode One: Caged Fae

Well, it's finally here, a new season of Lost Girl.

Bo walks into an alley and is confronted by two men.  She takes them on with a bag of all things and leaves them lying on the ground. She then walks up to a line of men waiting to get into a bar, sucks essence from the bouncer and then throws money from her bag at the crowd.   Bo is then chased into  Trick's bar by Dyson, who wants to know if there is any fae law that she hasn't broken in the last three weeks.  Kenzi attempts to intervene but Vex uses his power to stop her. Dyson slams Bo on the table and handcuffs her.  Bo makes a quip about begging for sanctuary and Trick tells her that he is not going to fall for that again and doesn't know who she is.  Yeah, I smell a set up.

Bo is taken to a lockup where her possessions including a watch and a pocket rocket are taken. She is then forced to shower and is led down the prison block to a cell. Her cellmate is Sylvie and she claims to be nervous and admits that she is in prison because she stole some bread to feed her family. Bo of course makes a reference to Les Misérables. Would it really have been that hard to come up with a realistic crime and still have Sylvie be sympathetic?  Sylvie then hands her a stack of letters that she wrote to her mother, which apparently have been returned unanswered. Bo asks, "what's the deal with the feminazi's?"  Really, in 2013 we're still using that hateful term to apply to strong women, on a show apparently about a strong woman.  Sylvie says that the guards are all Amazons and apparently not only do they not like men, they refuse to take orders from men. Once every few years, the Amazons search out men to mate with and then abandon any male babies in the woods to their fate.

Their conversation is interrupted when Bo is led away for work detail.  Surprise, surprise, Bo is taken to the medical lab, where Lauren is in charge. As soon as they are alone, it's clear that it's a scam. Lauren has coated herself in some noxious product to pass as fae.  Bo's mission it seems is to go undercover to deal with "sadistic man hating Berthas." Lauren is also concerned that her mentor is missing. They banter back and forth about whether or not they are in a relationship, until they are interrupted by the warden. Despite Lauren's suggestion that she needs Bo, the warden reassigns her.

At the bar, Kenzi is freaking out firm in the belief that the plan they have concocted is not going to work. Kenzi marches up to Hale and tells him that he needs to fix this because he is the Ashe now.  Considering Hale's limited role in previous seasons, I cannot help but think that this is nothing more than a promotion to obscurity.  Kenzi says that she didn't like the plan but went along with it anyway and now she is concerned that Bo has no one to act as backup but Lauren. Trick tries to reassure her about Lauren's resourcefulness.  Hale reminds Kenzi that he is only the acting Ashe and explains that does not want to go up the line to get one of the female elders to intervene.  Trick suggests that this is the perfect opportunity for Hale to make a name for himself.

Kenzi looks down at the prison plans and learns that it is built on ley lines, which means that Bo has been stripped of her powers.  Dyson assures her that everything is going to be fine because Lauren slipped Bo a stone, which will allow access to her powers.  Apparently, all of the Amazons carry these stones, which is information that Trick is not happy that Hale revealed.  Trick then reminds Hale that he is has to be careful about what information he gives out as the acting Ashe. Dyson calls Kenzi over and says that Bo can handle herself.

Back at the prison, Bo is scrubbing the floor on her hands and knees and is scantily clad. The warden goes into her office where she is confronted by another Amazon, who wants to know how long she is going to keep up with her ongoing activities.  The warden says that she does what she has to, to keep the Amazons strong.

Bo is walking the floor with Sylvie, who is showing her the ropes.  Sylvie is grabbed by a guard and Bo intervens and tells the guard to pick on someone her own size.  Bo gets into a fight with the guard and then uses her succubus power to get the upper hand.  The other guards quickly pull Bo off and take her to see Warden Barnes.  Barnes rubs herself along Bo's body and does a body search that is nothing more than a sexual assault. Barnes finds the stone and realises that someone on the inside is helping Bo out.  Bo then kisses Barnes but without the stone, she has no power over the warden. Barnes walks away and demands that the guards avoid Bo's face when they beat her. 

Lauren finds a beaten Bo on the ground and Bo ensures her that she will be fine and will heal like a human.  Bo says that she had to use the stone because she could not sit by and allow her cellmate to be beaten.  Bo tells Lauren that because she protects the people she cares about that she is going to get Hale to pull her. Bo believes that it is only a matter of time before Barnes figures out who has been helping her.  

Lauren tells Bo that in her mentor's files, she discovered that the doctor had been injecting the fae prisoners with some sort of vitamin cocktail. Apparently, half of the prisoner cannot be found and the other half commit crimes again, only to be brought back to the prison completely broken.  Bo tries to reassure Lauren by reminding her that they don't know the reasons behind Dr. Everett's actions and that feelings aren't always Black or White.  Of course, once again, they have time for relationship discussion, which causes Lauren to explain that the skunk excretions are messing with her hormones.  Bo tells Lauren that she deserves more but Lauren changes the topic and says that she has to stay there.  Lauren informs Bo that she submitted to the Ashe for medical supplies and that they are in Dyson's hands now.  When Bo says that Dyson is good, Lauren replies, "you could do better."

At the police station, Vex expresses shock that Dyson works with humans everyday. Dyson threatens to break Vex's balls if he ruins his cover. Vex asks if Dyson has a partner now that Hale is The Ashe and when Dyson says no, Vex points out that a partner might have helped him work out "the not so secret deal about the light fae detention for broken birds."  Vex tells him that there is no record of prisoners ever being released.  

Back at the prison, Bo is returned to her cell, where Sylvie is waiting.  Sylvie hugs her in thanks for taking a beating for her.  They hug again and Bo tells Sylvie, "don't let me see your face again, not in here." Sylvie promises not to re-offend and is taken away. 

At the bar, Dyson hands Kenzi a package and expresses regret that he cannot go with her. Kenzi replies, "you know the deal, no wangs allowed."  Before leaving, Kenzi asks how Dyson is doing.  Dyson points out that Kenzi still has not told him what she did to the Norne to get his love back. Kenzi brushes this off and reminds Dyson that he had better hurry and tell Bo before an extra hot human with legs to spare moves in on his girl. Well, it didn't take long to re-establish the boring love triangle did it?

At the prison, Kenzi arrives and says that she is Bo's honey bee and there to give her some sugar.  Kenzi is let in despite being human.  Even though there are people in listening distance, Kenzi asks if anyone has figured out Lauren's agenda yet and complains that living with Vex is not going well. Bo tells Kenzi that she misses her and then Keni gets on the table and starts kissing Bo, clearly passing something off to her and performing a little fan service at the same time.  Kenzi is dragged out of the cell and Bo pulls a contact lens from her mouth.

Bo is scrubbing the floor with a toothbrush and when she is left alone, she pulls out the contact lens that Kenzi passed her and breaks into the Warden's office.  Bo quickly goes through files and notices several canisters throughout the office.  When Bo moves the prison seal, she finds a vault and so she uses her handy dandy contact lens to open up another area, where she finds a door with the words solitary confinement on it.  Bo goes through the door, down a flight of steps and discovers a living area with a woman sitting at the table. When the woman turns around, Bo discovers a heavily pregnant Sylvie.

Bo asks how it is that Sylvie is pregnant and she says that she just woke up and voila, had her own apartment and a bun in the oven. Bo tells Sylvie that they have to get out of there because it's not safe and she is being watched.  When Bo looks behind the curtain, she sees a prison nursery and is creeped out.  Bo promises Sylvie not to let anything happen to her baby but before they can leave, Sylvie's water breaks. 

Bo brings Sylvie to the lab where Lauren is.  It turns out that Sylvie is a wombly - a creature that was thought to be extinct.  Apparently, because of the baby's extreme sense of smell, Lauren has to detox and get rid of the scent of skunk and of course, the only way to do this is for her to strip down.  Bo is concerned that this will blow Lauren's cover but Lauren is sure that Bo will protect her. 

At the police station, Vex shows up in drag alongside Kenzi.  Dyson is not impressed and reminds Vex what he said about having his cover blown.  Vex picks up a file about Lauren's mentor and comments that she didn't go quietly.  Kenzi decides that she is not going to let Bo share the same fate and leaves the office with Dyson in tow.

At the prison, Lauren delivers the baby and it turns out that it's a boy.  Bo and Lauren gaze at the baby and Lauren shares her baby names which surprises Bo. It seems that both women forget momentarily that neither one of them is actually the mother.  They are so caught up with the baby that neither of them realise that the warden is sneaking up on them from behind with guards. The warden demands that they hand over the baby.

Sylvie is injected with a drug by Lauren, as Bo accuses the warden of breeding prisoners.  It seems that the containers that Bo found were filled with special fae sperm.  Apparently, the women are impregnated and then their memories are erased. Bo points out that the Amazons are supposed to be honourable people.  The Warden then tells Bo that she is going to be bred and because she is unaligned, the baby can be sold to the dark fae.

Vex, Kenzi and Dyson go to see Hale and Kenzi demands the end of the sting operation. Dyson tells Hale that they found the body of the former prison doctor. Hale says that he got a call from the prison and that all he could hear was someone screaming.  As Dyson and Kenzi leave, Hale says, "I wish I could get in on the action," and Dyson replies, "you're the new Ashe but you'll be missed though." Vex stays behind.

At the prison, Bo and Lauren are surrounded by guards, when another prisoner creates a distraction by grabbing a guard. Bo announces that the warden is a man and after having her crotch grabbed the warden is attacked by the Amazon guards, even as she screams that she is one of them. Bo releases all of the prisoners from their cells.  Lauren is upset about her mentor and Bo not only comforts her but tells her that she was right about everything.  The two kiss and Bo says that it's time for them because she wants to give this relationship a real shot.  Lauren responds by kissing Bo, just in time for Dyson and Kenzi to show up.  Dyson tells Kenzi that Bo looks happy - cue the sad music, though this is supposed to be a happy moment.  There's certainly nothing subtle about that is there?

At the bar, Trick tells Bo that it just about killed him to deny her sanctuary.  Bo says that Sylvie and her baby are safe and that they are going to call him Bo.  Hale joins them and reports that all but the most violent prisoners have been pardoned and the prison itself has been shut down.  Hale says that this is the first time he has enjoyed being the Ashe.  Bo says that she is off to see her girlfriend and Trick asks her if she is okay.  Bo replies that her father was a dark monster, which causes her to wonder what that makes her.

Bo leaves the bar and when she crosses paths with a man, she throws him against a wall and takes some of his essence before walking away.

A lot happened in this season opener and a lot of it was most certainly not good.  We have written before about why Lost Girl is not as GLBT friendly as it seems, and this episode certainly affirmed much of what we had to say. In many ways, Caged Fae was extremely transphobic.  Having a female warden with a penis impregnating female prisoners directly played into the oppression that trans women currently face in the prison system.  If a trans woman has not had SRS, most are forced to serve their time in solitary confinement because there is a belief that having a penis will lead to  impregnation and or rape of fellow female prisoners, though not all transwomen are lesbians.  This line of thinking simply underscores the idea that trans women are inherently deviant because of their bodies and most certainly are predatory.  There is also the issue that despite the warden saying repeatedly that she was one of them, a simple crotch grab was enough for the Amazons to declare her a man and an imposter.  Gender is most certainly not as simple as women have vaginas and men have penises.  Regardless of the penis between her legs, the warden is still a woman. This story line fed into the trope of the deceptive transwomen, which of course has led to much murder and assault in the trans community. It is further irresponsible on the part of a show which has gone out of it's way to be supposedly rainbow friendly. 

I was happy to see Bo and Lauren agree to try for a relationship; however, the timing of this relationship is problematic at best.  It is bad enough that Nadia died at the end of the last season but to see that Lauren has taken no time to mourn for a woman who she supposedly love and spent years trying to save is an insult. Are we to believe that love between two women is so transitory that heartache over the loss of one's partner is impossible? Even though we had lots of relationship drama between Bo and Lauren, the sad music in the background when they kissed and affirmed their relationship, while Dyson looked on really spoke volumes. Why are we to identify with Dyson's sense of loss and not Bo and Lauren's happiness?  I was further disturbed that Kenzi made it clear that she was team Dyson. As Bo's friend her goal should be Bo's happiness, not ensuring that Bo is in a straight relationship.  Despite spending much time in season two assuring everyone that her being human was not a draw back, Kenzi spent far too much time underscoring her belief that Lauren could not help Bo out when in trouble, based on the fact that Lauren is human.  Am I to believe that this is just a coincidence and had nothing to do with the fact that Lauren and Bo were deciding to establish a relationship? Furthermore, the way Kenzi described Lauren to Dyson made it seem like Lauren was a long legged threat to Dyson and his one true love.

Not only has Lost Girl billed itself as GLBT friendly, it has also billed itself as pro woman, but you wouldn't know that from the anti-feminist language last night.  I am most certainly not a feminist, however, my problems with feminism have everything to do with a history of transphobia, racism, ableism etc., but none of that is what Bo took issue with in this episode.  It's 2013 and I simply cannot believe that a supposedly liberal show is using the term feminazi's and inferring that feminists are man haters, rather than pro woman advocates. Feminazi's by the way, is a term coined by the bigoted Rush Limbaugh. The usage of this term, further suggests that all feminists supposedly hate men because they are lesbians, which is a charge long leveled by those opposed to gender equality.  This position is homophobic, in that it implies one should be thought of in a negative manner for being a lesbian. Feminists are both straight and gay and neither identity is the least bit problematic. It further fails to separate the fact that there is a difference between hating patriarchy and hating men.  Lost Girl is certainly not the venue to be discussing such things, if feminism can reduced to man hating feminazi's and the women called "Big Berthas." I'm actually surprised that they didn't throw in a few quips about Birkenstocks.

Finally, I have to touch on race.  As I alluded to in the recap section, the promotion of Hale just might move him into obscurity.  Clearly, increasing the visibility of Vex is pure fan service, as he is a very popular character but it could very well come at the expense of Hale, the only re-occurring character of colour on Lost Girl to date.  Already, Hale has been downgraded as Dyson's sidekick because he is now the Ashe and expected to stay out of danger, while Vex's role has increased with the implication that he is to step into Hale's shoes. What else will Hale be denied from participating in?  It is worth noting that we have had two Ashe's thus far and even though the characters did not always agree with the decisions they made, there was always a respect for the title. Throughout this episode, Hale's decisions were questioned by Trick and he was actually lectured on how to keep secrets and do his job.  It is quite telling that in the very first episode of Hale as The Ashe that we are treated to a threat to his power.

Because they have not invested in the character of Hale to the point where he is fully fleshed out (giving the viewer his backstory) it would be easy to sublimate him entirely in favor of giving attention to the much more popular Vex.  Considering that Lost Girl is filmed in Toronto Canada, one of the most diverse cities in Canada, the fact that Hale is the only character of colour speaks volumes about Lost Girl's commitment to racial inclusion.

What were your thoughts on the episode?