Lost Girl takes a breather from the Gods/end of the world stuff to delve into the secret life of Tamsin (Rachel Skarsten), dating all the way to her prep school days.
Let’s bitch it out…
‘Sweet Valkyrie High’ is the long overdue Tamsin-centric episode that fans (ie: me) have been waiting for. This is primarily a character piece for Skarsten, who has quietly taken over the role as the most enjoyable character on the show in Kenzi’s absence. And while the “Valkyrie falls in love with the succubus and gets her heart broken” story line wasn’t my favourite aspect of S5A, it feels like we’re finally moving towards closure, particularly in Tam-Tam’s final chat with Acacia (Linda Hamilton) about how opening herself up emotionally makes her a stronger warrior. The balance of comedy and character drama in this episode is definitely a plus because it positions Tamsin as both comic relief, but also very much a broken woman. That deft negotiation between comedy and pathos is one of the reasons that the character works.
The smartest decision made in the episode is to keep the focus primarily on Tamsin, with only the occasional detour into B-plot territory with Bo (Anna Silk), Lauren (Zoie Palmer) and Evony (Emmanuelle Vaugier)*. But the focus is firmly on the Valkyrie, exploring how she came under the wing of Acacia and how she ultimately came to work for Hades/Jack (Eric Roberts).
*This is the first episode I can remember without core castmember Kris Holden-Ried and even Rick Howland’s Trick barely appears. It’s a very female-driven episode of Lost Girl.
With former partner-in-crime Stacey (Kate Corbett) along for the ride, Tamsin heads back to high school looking for an alternative door into Valhalla. She’s eager to speak with Freyja (Michelle Nolden), whom she hopes holds the key to sending Jack back to Tartarus. The context for the adventure is secondary, however; ‘Sweet Valkyrie High’ is actually more concerned with how Tamsin went from honour roll to expelled under Acacia’s tutelage. It’s an interesting inversion of expectations for the Hamilton character, who has been presented as Tamsin’s antagonist but here’s proves to be more of a impish troublemaker. Acacia saw something in Tamsin that encouraged her to work with the girl and even though the unorthodox instruction contradicts the rigidity of the school’s prim and proper rules, Acacia ultimately frees Tamsin to become the dark warrior we know and love. Seeing the transformation, we now have a better understanding why Tamsin is so attracted to strong figures who can act as mentors/guides. It’s never been more clear why she latched onto Bo: the succubus is the kind of powerful leader Tamsin craved, someone with the capacity and tenacity to lead with the heart to do what is right. Bo is basically what Tamsin wishes she could be.
- Perhaps it’s just my Lifetime spider sense kicking in, but there’s definitely a sexual vibe in Acacia’s corruption of Tamsin. Clandestine meetings late at night with Tamsin in her little girl briefs? Scandalous indeed!
- Stacey’s not the most three-dimensional character, but as a dim-witted recurring character, she’s pretty delightful. I especially liked that after losing her plum Valkyrie job in Tartarus, Stacey ends up working at a Mexican fast good job, schlupping the owner. Sounds about right.
- In the B-plot, Evony unexpected pops up to reveal that she is dying. There’s a lot of talk about cures and tests, but this story line is essentially all about the fact that Lauren has not been honest with Bo. The fact that she tested the serum on herself and became a conduit is immaterial; Lauren is most concerned about how the act connects her to Hades, whom no one trusts at the moment. It’s a bit frustrating to see Lauren purposefully lying to Bo (these kinds of plot lines always feel artificially constructed by writers to me), but I’m sure the truth will come out at the most inconvenient time in the near future.
- I’ll confess I never understood why everyone has been acting like Hades/Jack is imprisoned at the lab. Wasn’t it made explicit that he was there of his own volition back in ’44 Minutes To Save The World’? It’s hardly a cliffhanger, then, to show him escaping at episode’s end.
- Finally, apologies for no review last week (vacation!). I’m sorry to have missed the opportunity to compliment Kenzi’s fabulous outfits, that ridiculous Catherine Zeta-Jones/Entrapment homage, the bizarre use of Toronto’s AGO museum and the (initially) shrug-worthy resolution of the Zeus story line. On the other hand, no one would have wanted to read all of the bitching and moaning about those excruciating Dyson/Alycia scenes. It would have just been a lot of “kill this bitch” comments.
- Tamsin (to Jack, when he says there’s one thing he doesn’t get): “Laid?”
- Stacey (to Tamsin, learning that the gate to Valhalla has moved): “This is worse than being dumped by text.”
- Acacia (wickedly dissing her new class): “There’s a fairy beauty school down the road.”
- Stacey (learning that Freyja is dead): “Did she bleed out? Choke on a meatball?”
- Evony (to Lauren): “Now, in the immortal words of Janet, what have you done for me lately?”
Your turn: what did you think of Tamsin’s backstory? Were you glad to see Acacia and Stacey again? Do you care that Evony is sick? Did you miss Dyson? Should Lauren just fess up? And why does Jack need to build an army? Please don’t say it’s because he wants to take over the world! Sound off below.
Lost Girl airs Sundays at 9pm EST on Showcase in Canada