Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Lost Girl Season 3, episode 8: Fae-ge Against the Machine

A blindfolded Bo is looking for the mystical cricket of good luck or some such, urged by Stella, because barking your shins on furnishings is ritually important or something. A test Bo fails, leading to more angst and sharing stories about Hale and Dyson’s little rituals (I want to know about Dyson and the fleas). Her next stage is to wait for an invite, giving Bo the day off – and Stella chance to invite Trick for dinner.

Unfortunately, Bo starts said day off by fiddling with a device she probably shouldn’t which buzzes to life behind her. And we cut to a girl in a chair crying – with some odd tubing that appears to be collecting her tears. See, people will sell ANYTHING on the internet.

On the plus side, Lauren comes to meet Bo at the Dahl buzzing with excitement, to a degree where Bo (and I) worry she may be on drugs. Not drugs – she’s just won a science award for sciency stuff which is impressive and… sciency. Science!  Yes, Bo is confused as me. Still Lauren’s excited and there’s a special dinner to go to for the award and Bo is definitely going as Lauren’s +1. Lauren is cute when excited and buzzes out in a cloud of plans and randomness, leaving Bo with the newly arrive Tamsin. Why is she there? She’s taking Bo out to lunch – because everyone’s been lying to her. What?! Lauren hasn’t won the award?! Ok, it’s possible the lies may not be about the award…

“Lunch” in Tamsin’s world comes in a glass and is normally known as Bloody Marys (did I ever mention I quite like Tamsin?) in a Dark Fae bar – with Bo commenting it doesn’t look much different from a Light Fae bar. Tamsin tells Bo that they’re all bullshitting her, the Dawning is the most horrendous ordeal she’ll ever go through and she’ll probably not get through it. At which point the camera pans out to focus on a random bar patron who is, presumably, relevant?

Back at the Dahl, Trick is getting ready for his date with Stella who arrives advising leather – I’d agree except for the orange fuzzy thing she’s wearing. And they notice the thingummy that Bo was fiddling with earlier – she says it’s Bo’s invitation to the Dawning in the form of a game. And Bo has activated it – at which point it buzzes to life. Stella says they’ll have to do it for her – wherever she, whatever she’s doing, the game will affect her. Her closest blood relative has to play.

Oh… I’m cringing now – magical fae game that will make Bo do embarrassing things at Lauren’s fancy science of award of sciency things? Please nooooooo!

While Trick plays, Bo is still at lunch with Tamsin who tells her that everyone’s bullshitting her to protect her. They’re interrupted by a group of fae who want to know how Bo can call herself unaligned when she’s clearly Light (you and me both buddy) and how they don’t appreciate an all-but-Light fae coming into their bar. (He kinda has a point, I’m just saying.) Tamsin distracts them by punching one into the other 2 (if they go down this easy, you could probably take them, I’m just saying) and they run out with helpful bystander fae (the one who attracted the cameraman earlier() showing her the way out. Once out in the ally Bo says “thanks I owe you one” and shakes on it with the man.

Oh my good gods, how has this never come up before?! It’s like fae mythology 101 don’t say thank you, don’t make deals, don’t imply debts! Yes I’m grumbling over mythology, I don’t care.

Yes, the man is a Spriggan which means his debts are binding and he’s calling in the debt Bo just incurred now.  At which point Trick makes a choice on the game – seeming to choose a brick wall over a lock and key. Anyway, Bo is being called upon to go to the secret lair of Fang, a Tong boss, to free Cookie.

Y’know, we kind of need to re-assess the concept of “debt” here. “I owe you” generally specifies something – so, y’know “I owe you for showing me where the exit is” is rarely of equivalent value to “I owe you to rescue someone from a powerful crime boss”.

Anyway, they’re faced with a series of doors with brick walls behind them, until Bo finds the hidden entrance hidden in the actual wall – the brick wall. Which is what Trick chose – apparently she’s or he have won that round of the game… ok then. Now the game wants feeding – food or drink, Trick chooses food and goes to find the berries it asks for while Stella says “oh dear.” Unfortunately the berries are poisonous and affect every kind of fae differently.

Meanwhile at Mr. Fang’s, he’s a teenager with very long fingernails who wants the pretty girls (Bo and Tamsin) to work for him. Tamisin doesn’t take kindly to this (the spriggan panics) and tells him off, causing Fang to draw a gun (she can use her scary Valkyrie powers?) so Bo touches him with her succubus mojo. She asks where cookie is – but her mojo stops working, the berries are kicking in and she loses the power of speech. So she grabs the gun instead – that was easy. Fang says it was the wrong mood, threatens them – then lurches forward, dead or unconscious with a dart in his back. They run, open a box full of fortune cookies (what?) pick one and run, with darts still being fired.

Apparently the darts are from someone called Whitman, and he’s trying to kill the Spriggan because he has something the Spriggan wants. And apparently getting the cookie only gets them a key to what the Spriggan wants – there’s more to come. And Bo has to tell Lauren on the phone that she’s going to be late.

Which is when the Spriggan, after an hour of walking, reveals they’re going to the Brazenwood – which is, apparently, a scary bad place. Bo threatens to leave and he reveals he’s a bounty hunter for an institute that helps special, rare Dark Fae and he’s trying to rescue Hannah from Whitman where she is being exploited (why do I think this is not the truth?)

They arrive at a dirty trailer to meet the Landlady who has the prescription. And the game at the Dahl kicks in again offering “infinity” or “a pity of snakes.”  The landlady lays out two cards and asks Bo to pick one. Trick choses infinity (hard choice) and Bo picks up a card from the deck – not the two offered. It’s the Wanderer. The landlady looks shocked and Tamsin gasps “shit”. Bo turns over the other 2 cards – they’re all the Wanderer. The whole deck is the Wanderer.

And Trick gets another food or drink question. This time he chooses drink and gets Bo’s least favourite drink.

The Landlady gives them a prescription (just a piece of paper with a cross on it) in exchange for a handkerchief with Hannah’s tears on it. And Whitman attacks with his blow dart, hitting one of the dogs and the Landlady, apparently killuing both. Bo and Tamsin want to run (does Tamsin even remember her super power?) But the Spriggan provokes Whitman to attack, moving towards the door of the Trailer. Whitman blows a dart into his arm and keeps advancing (“ranged weapon” do we not understand this concept? There’s no need to advance) completely and utterly ignoring Bo and Tamsin giving Bo chance to push him into the Trailer and lock the door (really? He just IGNORED her and kept moving towards the door?) the injured Spriggan tells Bo to take the prescription and the fortune cookie and free Hannah, he’ll just slow them down.

They go to the gate to the Brazenwood and pay the toll – cracking open the fortune cookie and reading the hooky fortune to the gatekeeper – a man in a stained white vest – who then opens the gate for them. What? Despite saying she wouldn’t come any further than the gate, Tamsin goes with Bo.

They enter Brazenwood which is filled with red neck, hillbilly stereotypes and Tamsin asks Bo about the Wanderer card – which Bo knows nothing about. And then Trick pours the drink into the game, causing Bo to start rambling drunkenly about Dyson getting his love back and not telling her, much to Tamsin’s confusion (doubly so because, as she points out, he was moping all over her, anyone could tell he still loved her). And then Lauren calls – and she’s not exactly sober, but she is (justly) irritated at Bo not making time for her Sciency thing when Lauren is always there for everyone else (extremely good point). To which Bo drunkenly claims her stuff is important while Lauren just messes with petri dishes. Lauren hangs up on her.

Bo sobers up and Tamsin takes her to the apothecary who takes the prescription in exchange for a key from his Mary Poppin’s doctor’s bag (he also asks Tamsin for a lock of Valkyrie hair which she refuses).  Inside is Hannah, crying, attached to the machine that collects her tears. She’s a Skwonk, according Tamsin, crying is what they do and their tears are sought after in the drug trade. Though Skwonks rarely reach Hannah’s age. Of course, first that means convincing Hannah to leave despite the terrible things she’s been told about the world and how uncomfortable she makes people (like Tamsin who doesn’t like crying). Worse, you can’t move a Skwonk involuntarily or they dissolve into tears. And the succubus mojo doesn’t work.

Bo tells her about the school for weird and talented kids and Hannah agrees to come as Whitman tries to batter down the door and Tamsin removes the boards from the back window and they try to escape. But outside they run into Whitman and the boss of the community who calls it a property dispute and demands they settle it “dark rules like”. And everyone’s dressed as cowboys now. Why? What, you expect things on this episode to remotely make sense?

Time for the game at the Dahl and it’s doing something new – threatening someone’s life, something Stella’s never seen before.

Apparently it’s a show down – as in high noon show down. With the Whitman the cowboy with a gun and Bo with a knife she stole from the apothecary (you draw what you’ve got, the boss explains. What he doesn’t explain is why gun toting Whitman was using a blow gun before). Whitman creates a double of himself also with gun. Tamsin protests that’s not a dark thing and tries to stop it – but the moss man grabs her and chokes her (hello, Valkyrie super power? Remember? Hey Tamsin?)

At the game. Trick chooses both options – not the skull or the crossbones.

And Bo, watching the two Whitmans, hears movement behind her and turns and throws the knife – at the real Whitman sneaking up on her, killing him. Stella and Trick hug in celebration. And then kiss.

And Tamsin rushes from the side lines celebrating – and kisses Bo, much to Bo’s shock. The boss man declares they’ve won Hannah as well, Whitman’s property.

There’s a knock at Lauren’s door and she answer it in a fury – to find Dr. Isaac not Bo on the other side. He compliments her work, disparages the boring event she misses and hands her a package. The award she never got round to picking up. He says he’s read all her papers and wants to take her out to a drink to get in her head. She agrees – and tells him the science joke that Bo didn’t get. He laughs.

At the Dahl, Trick and Stella are worried about Bo – and the Spriggan rushes in also looking for her, because he can’t find her anyway. And the game fires up again with happy and unhappy faces, which is when Bo comes in. Which is just in time – the game needs a source of both happiness and unhappiness: Hannah’s tears. The game is finished and it plays calliope music and sprays confetti in the air to celebrate it. At which point the Spriggan formally invites Bo to the dawning – it was all Bo’s invitation all along

Which is when Bo remembers Lauren and goes looking for her, finding her flat empty. Bo considers herself the worst girlfriend ever and Tamsin pours them both a glass of champagne from Lauren’s open bottle. Tamsin wishes her luck and congratulations for her Dawning and says she would bet Bo will get through it ok. Bo asks her, since she didn’t make the deal, why she stayed with Bo through the whole drama. Bo says she was wrong about Tamsin, she’s one of the good ones. Tamsin leaves, dripping in tension.

Outside, Tamsin finds a tarot card of the Wanderer. She begs, in a panicky voice “no, please tell me she’s not the one”.  In answer a gazillion of the cards drop from the sky

Fang the Fae Tong? Really? Really Lost Girl? With long fingernails? It’s not like you’re very good with your POC fae and the stereotypes that go with them (or invisibility in Hale’s case, the ability to be constantly invisible).  And for him to be there for 2 seconds before being killed by an unknown?

What was that episode? There were far too many abstracts. What does the Wanderer mean? Who is the Landlady? What is going on with this Game? Why did we hit the stereotypical and rather contemptuous portrayal of the Trailer park and get entrance with cheesy Fortune cookie blather?

I actually wouldn’t mind things being weird and odd, the mundane having a slant towards the kookie and weird, just that slant to make the mundane creepy and off. I think that would be a great way to present the fae – folk who are mysterious and alien and incomprehensible who do not operate by the same rules or concepts as human society, the unknown and the unknowable.

But this is Lost Girl. The fae aren’t unknown and unknowable. For 3 seasons the fae have never really been especially cryptic, subtle and/or enigmatic and they’ve generally had pretty clear, human motives. Now that may be a terrible way to handle fae mythology, but we’re 3 seasons in, it’s too late to take a turn to the wyrd.

And Tamsin wants Bo. I’m intrigued on this score because it opens up not just another female love interest but one who isn’t going to be considered inherently temporary and replaceable because she’s human like Lauren is (who, no matter what, always has the spectre of her humanity casting her as less of a long term love interest than Dyson).

But if they do do this then they really need to work on developing the Dark Fae to be more than just “evil” because this episode did nothing on that front. They need to define what makes Dark dark and what makes Light light.

But on that note – is Dr. Isaac being cast as a new love interest for Lauren? It’s early days for us to look down that route but I dearly hope not. I’ll hold my rant for a little while.