Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Lost Girl, Season 5, Episode 3: Big in Japan

Bo is decorating (well, kind of) with Dyson and it gets all sexy, inevitably when Bo suddenly pulls back. Dyson tries to assure Bo there’s no strings attached but she claims a headache (remembering she’s a succubus who can heal with sex and has previously used sex with Dyson to heal while half dead) she pulls back a second time and rushes off for a drink. Dyson is all confused. Bo is missing Kenzi

At the Dal it’s karaoke night. Because why not. A man (who definitely cannot sing) is throwing a huge amount of money around, 2 women with him make out for his enjoyment and someone puts a poisonous thing in his drink. This isn’t a particularly ill thought out recipe but a poisoning attempt the man notices when he freezes his drink with a wave of his hand.

Bo and Tamsin continue to miss Kenzi when Tamsin tries to make dinner and they miss Kenzi’s effortless ability to produce amazing meals out of the terrible food and awful kitchen. Instead they go out and when Tamsin suggests finding someone to feed on, Bo again dodges the issue. Ruich guy from the Dal propositions them on the street – Tamsin seems quite fine with this but Bo is reluctant – until Tamsin comes on to Bo and, again, Bo ducks out and decides they should go with rich Japanese guy. In case you missed the theme, Bo is avoiding sex.

The next morning Bo and Tamsin wake up in bed together, hung over – and they didn’t have sex. Bo tries to feed on Tamsin to cure her hang over but stops – she can’t, which Tamsin puts down to breath issues. The rich guy from last night is also there, playing with a knife. Tamsin is way too tired to deal with this and fun in her indifference. He wants them to play bodyguard

He takes them to dinner where Bo snarks about sushi and Tamsin and the man (can this guy get a name please) explain that Taco, the ones out to kill him are major bounty hunters. We learn he gets his icy powers from his grandmother, Yuki-Onna and we get the man’s name – Musashi who Tamsin fangirls all over since he’s a great warrior who fought in one of the fae’s greatest wars. To counter Tamsin’s fawning fan worship, Musashi is an arsehole to the woman serving him tea because she spills some (she snarks back, politely, that her servers can’t pour tea because they were with him the night before and are now hung over) – she’s also his sister and he introduces his three brothers hanging around as well.

Bo gets back on track and asks why someone wants to kill a great fae war hero and he hands Tamsin a scroll – Musashi is “ascending” which means he’s becoming a god.

They leave the restaurant, brainstorming who could be wanting to kill Musashi and are attacked by someone actually dressed as a television ninja, I kid you not. He knocks Tamsin and Bo aside and holds his sword to Mushashi’s neck (in TV land, you don’t kill someone without a dramatic pause to spare them first) and sees his tattoos – the assassin falls to his knees and kills himself for insulting the “exalted one” by stabbing himself in the stomach. No-one thinks to get medical attention so they can question the man, instead concerned with Bo who is injured and refuses to feed to heal herself.

Over to Lauren at her medical/coroners/healy-place who has identified 3 dead, oddly unscathed humans – but with a fae bloodtype also found (and we have some nifty banter between Dyson and Lauren). She also gets a call she tries to ignore but Dyson insists she takes. It’s a death threat which Lauren considers to be pretty normal and dull. This is because last season (if you can remember anything of last season), Lauren turned the Morrigan human. On top of this, all the other shenanigans of last season have left fae society all broken and messy. Lauren avoids the whole issue in classic denial.

Despite that, when she’s alone that night the noise a cleaner makes terrifies her and causes her to try and menace a potential attacker with a mop, so she’s not that blasé. It has been enough of wake up call that she goes to see Dyson and asks him to train her on how to defend herself. He goes too fast too soon and she backs off and calls it off so Dyson works on something that suits her better.

Bo goes to Lauren with her cut to be sewn up and tells Lauren that she CANNOT feed. Lauren tries some sensual neck kissing but Bo’s succubus mojo is quiet. Lauren tries to explain it is actually ok to occasionally not want to have sex – but Bo is more than a little panicked about her completely non-existent sex-drive – which has never happened to her before. Bo returns to the case but Lauren worries about her not having her healing mojo

Bo decides to go consult Trick, her grandfather on whether Aoife (her mother) ever had a similar issue. That’s Bo asking her grandfather about her mother’s sex-life. Trick is about as enthusiastic to have this discussion as you’d expect – but Aoife did have a year with no sex drive. He puts it down to Bo having such a stressful year that she has a psychological issue; Bo considers it a chance to have a holiday and not be the powered chosen one everyone turns to. Yeah scratch that because Tamsin arrives with evidence pointing towards the assassin being one of Musashi’s brothers (next in line to ascend) but they have to keep it quiet because Honour.

So Bo goes to replace his standard masseuse (no indication on how she does this or why she feels the need to put her hair back with chop-sticks). She asks questions about Musashi “the ascending one” and she’s so lacking in subtlety that he leaps up and grabs her by the neck demanding to know why she’s questioning him. Bo is rescued by Musashi’s sister knocking her brother out with a rock who conveniently tells Bo that Mushashi can’t be allowed to ascend – yup, useful confession time.

Exposition time – confession at the bar (they’ve just left the brother unconscious I guess). She explains that if someone tries to ascend after being dishonest with their ancestors they become an akaname. Some kind of scary toilet demon. It seems his whole legacy of heroism is a lie but she can’t go into detail because HONOUR – which prevents her from saying who the actual hero is. She’s trying to scare Musashi into facing the truth and admitting it to save himself.

Time for Tamsin and Bo to plan a ritual crashing

Which means lots and lots of sword fighting with everyone dressed like Hollywood ninjas, complete with face covering. Including Bo. After which the sister dramatically arrives in the same get-up and Bo guesses she was really the hero (is anyone surprised? Anyone? This was like a subtle commentary on misogyny written on an anvil then catapulted at us). Bo reveals that she, Tamoi, is the real exalted one and the ritual leaders question him – he admits that someone assumed it was him who was the hero and he didn’t contradict them. Everyone bows to Tamoi (Tamsin snarking away).

Back to Lauren and Dyson and Lauren learning how to fight and talking about Bo – because Bo must be the centre of their lives. Dyson is worried she’s not happy with him but Lauren explains its lots of self-guilt and anguish with Bo and not all about him (oh Dyson, everything is all about Bo, you should know this by now).

Bo goes home for some self-affirmation in front of the mirror – and Musashi sneaks in and stabs her. He runs, leaving Bo bleeding on the floor. She passes out.

She wakes up in hospital with Dyson, Lauren, Tamsin and Trick around her – Lauren has stabilised her but she’s so injured that she will die if she can’t feed (sucking gut wound is probably way less sexy than a headache). While everyone decides to tip-toe around Bo and be nice, Tamsin goes for ranting instead. Bo hits back about all the people she’s lost and grieves for Kenzi and everyone else she’s lost and hoe she’s going to lose absolutely everyone. So it’s time for everyone to line up and declare how much they love Bo and her powers come back and she and Dyson have sex.

Which is really awkward for Lauren and Tamsin listening outside. They do have a moving “I guess you’re not all bad” moment from Lauren to Tamsin. Which has Tamsin crying because the Valkyrie is very weepy this season

Moving on, Bo goes to the same Japanese restaurant where Musashi is now serving tea – his brother assures Bo they’re keeping their eye on him and making sure he pays his debt – which apparently means being a waiter. Bo gives him a lecture on leadership.

And back to Lauren, one of her patients takes her assistant hostage to demand the serum that made the Morrigan human. Lauren draws a syringe full – and throws it at the man (her throwing practice with Dyson paying off), hitting him in the neck with a dose of ketamine.

And over to Dyson and Tamsin – ok this episode should have ended 10 minutes ago, these cameos needed integrating into the plot not tacked on the end with hasty stapling – where Dyson convinces Tamsin to quit her well-paying, pension job with the police to become a PI with (for) Bo because BO IS CENTRE OF ALL. Lauren joins them to talk about the dead bodies (y’know the ones everyone forgot about?) with the mysterious fae blood sample – she can’t match it in the database which means it’s a brand new fae or a super-duper ancient fae. There, ominous foreshadowing done, they settle down for movie night (which is actually really cute)

And (yes, another And!) in the morgue one of those dead humans with mysterious fae blood sample gets out of her death drawer (what do they call those drawers anyway? Corpse Fridge? Body filing cabinet?). She seems quite upset and emotional for a zombie, unable to believe her own face. She staggers through the office then grabs Lauren’s assistant (who is not having a good day) and asks “can you see me?” She’s quite happy about that –then breaks the assisstant’s neck.

Hoooo nelly, black-clad ninjas with katanas committing seppuku, “exalted one” left, right and centre, dripping in lots of talk about “honour”, with added bonus karaoke. Someone’s taken a big big pot of Japanese stereotypes, shaken them up and just poured it all out onto a script and called it done.

It doesn’t help this hot mess of kabuki-wannabe that Lost Girl has no regular POC characters any more (Hale seems to be well and truly gone) – and it has a long long long history of both raiding POC culture for spare woo-woo, slapping “fae” on them and calling it done AND introducing one-off-POC characters for a single episode to deliver that woo-woo (usually with no cultural or broader mythological attachment) and then never be seen again.

I think there was an attempted challenge of sexist assumptions there but it was both grossly unsubtle and ridiculously undeveloped as to not mean much. I think the whole episode existed largely for the sword fights and pretty settings.

Y’know – Bo reflecting on all the people she’s lost could have been a powerful scene and a powerful theme for the season. Bo losing her sex drive as a succubus could be a fascinating thing to explore. Bo having depression or PTSD could definitely be something to develop after what she has experienced

Bo being ranted at for 10 seconds, having a quick love in and then back to super-powered sexy times is none of these things.

The one ongoing progressive element of the show is Bo, Lauren and Tamsin all being very clearly represented as bisexual (or possibly a lesbian in Lauren’s case). It’s one of the very very very few shows to have so many LGBT characters as protagonists and main characters and even if the depiction can be leery at times (to say nothing of the whole issue of the bisexual succubus given the trope of sex-hungry bisexuals) it’s still far more LGBT portrayal than just about anything else – though in part because “anything else” has set the bar so very very low.