Every once in a while, a show will have a bad episode. It’s normal – a fact of life when you’re producing 42-44 minutes of television on a weekly basis. But then every other once in a while, an episode isn’t simply bad; it’s downright awful. These are the episodes that make you think someone should have burned the script and told the actors to take a week off, because clearly something just went horribly, horribly wrong.
Welcome to this week’s Lost Girl…
Let’s bitch it out…Where to start?
I feel like the most important thing to do is distinguish why this is such a terrible episode. Because there’s a lot of interesting stuff in here. Stuff that – had the execution of several parts of the episode not been so awful – might have saved a “ho-hum” episode. Instead, we end up with a “burn it with fire!” situation.
The good is easy to pick out: After nearly twenty episodes of the enigmatic Dyson (Kris Holden-Ried), we finally get some backstory. We learn that he’s been alive for hundreds of years, that he was a mercenary in a pack of hired thugs for a king, that he was intensely devoted to his young friend, Stefan (Paul James Kelley) and had a connection to Stefan’s wife, Ciara (Lina Roessler) that he never acted on. It’s good stuff, but – as mentioned in the tease above – it’s executed really poorly (Side Note: please note repeated use of italics throughout this recap for emphasis).
Despite repeated flashbacks that explore why Dyson left his “pack”, which included contemporary friend/secret antagonist Cayden (Graham Abbey), the backstory is super condensed. The clearest demonstration of where the show goes wrong is that we’re meant to understand that these characters in the flashbacks were incredibly important to Dyson…but there’s no time spent developing these relationships. Take, for example, the case of young Stefan. He’s meant to be a huge part of Dyson’s life, and we know this because when he is sent away for a solo mission, Dyson visits The Norn (Kate Trotter) to spare his life. This is HUGE – we know that Dyson has only done this one other time: when he saved Bo (Anna Silk) in ‘Blood Lines.’ It’s a massive revelation, but it’s handled incredibly nonchalantly.
This is maybe a little understandable given that the writers wanted to tell this story, but likely didn’t want to spend multiple episodes drawing it out. It’s a poor decision, but let’s go with it for a sec. The problem is that nothing in the episode that grounds these events. There’s no sense of gravity. Let’s return to the moment when Dyson visits the Norn and she demands his wolf. This is a moment we’ve already heard about, but we never understood the context, or why it was such a big deal. But here it simply comes and goes: Dyson merely hesitates, The Norn laughs and he leaves. Where is the sense of a heavy burden: knowing that he loved his friend, but not enough to give up his own power. We’re supposed to get that this is a major factor in who Dyson is (the guy that puts friends above all else; his enduring sense of loyalty), but…this event is never effing brought up again and this is the first we’ve ever heard of it. So Dyson didn’t sacrifice himself for some kid we never got to know. We never understand why Stefan is important enough to merit this massive decision. He just seems like a young guy with a hot wife, but why is he (nearly) worth sacrificing everything for? We never really learn, because, of course, he’s killed on the mission. But it’s a HUGE deal – we know this because Dyson gets upset. Oh, okay…it’s all clear now. Oh wait…no, it’s not.
Maybe I’d be okay if this was the only example of lazy plotting, but it comes up again at episode’s end when Dyson discovers that Cayden has kidnapped Ciara and she’s safe in the back of his van. This is soooo convenient, because now Dyson can now take her home and make sweet, sweet love to her as the epic, romantic music swells. It’s the perfect culmination to this multiple-episode-in-the-making-arc that Lost Girl has carefully been crafting…oh wait, no. That’s right, we met this chick about twenty-five minutes ago and apparently we’re supposed to be totally psyched that they’re finally reunited and doing it. Except of course that we don’t know a damn thing about this chick other than the fact that she can eye-f*ck like nobody’s business. Hurray then – it’s all good. Boink away!
These scenes are unfortunately representative of the whole episode. It’s as though someone wrote a first draft and then they shot it instead of proofing it to ensure that the scenes work, or that the characterizations are solid, or even that the jokes are funny. Because nothing in this episode works, save one tiny moment (more on that later). The episode doesn’t even have a proper introduction: Bo, Dyson and Kenzi (Ksenia Solo) are walking down the street in what could be an opening to any episode. There’s no sense of timeline to remind us how Bo feels about Dyson, or that Kenzi almost got toaster-strudeled in the last episode. Cayden’s introduction – as a back alley mugger who throws Dyson around while Bo and Kenzi do nothing – makes no sense. Why doesn’t Bo do something…oh wait…here she comes…oh good, she’s got a hose. Because spraying down someone who’s attacking your friend makes total fraking sense! It was like someone threw a dart and it hit “Dyson Wet T-Shirt” and then someone – the loser of a bet perhaps? – had to find a way to get it into the episode.
These kinds of deficiencies percolate throughout the entire episode. Dyson asks for “a solid” (because they’re gangster rappers?) and Bo’s injury at the hands of a black market dealer is played for laughs. Then Bo has graphic sex with Cayden (who, I’m sorry, is too pudgy compared to the Top Model caliber guest stars we’ve come to expect). But that’s not the kicker. No, that would be when Bo comes downstairs and everyone is there. So she and Cayden just slipped upstairs for a quickie and left apron-wearing Lauren (Zoie Palmer) to make cupcakes in the kitchen?
This is the scene that flipped the episode. Before I was merely amazed at how poorly it was constructed. This part made me SO ANGRY that I just immediately checked-out. I’m sorry, but it’s true.
I get that Bo is a little slow when it comes to her feelings for anyone beyond Dyson, but come on! Would she really just flaunt around in her kimono, and allow douchebag Cayden to walk around in skeezy boxers while everyone else looks on? And then to have Lauren, who we’re meant to see as a viable love interest despite the show’s attempt to sideline her, reassure Bo that she was hurt and she needed to heal? As though it’s okay that Bo just took Wolf-Chub upstairs for a good thrust and boink while Lauren assumes a domestic role (in an effing apron no less!) is Just. Not. Cool. There’s some seriously sexist sh*t going on, which is only reinforced by the earlier bar scene when Kenzi has to “explain” male bonding to Bo. Apparently that translates into physical acts of aggression and growling/yelling. Kenzi also helpfully points out that this is the equivalent to girls finding a 70% off sale. WTF? Who replaced Lost Girl with Malibu Stacy?!
Seriously…this one is a write-off, people. Remember that Dyson has a past as a mercenary, remember that he’s loved Blonde British chick for a while and then burn the prints. Let’s never speak of this episode again.
- Not helping matters: The Highlander meets Roar vibe of the flashbacks. I totally kept waiting for Queen to blare out (Heeeeere we are / Born to be kings / We’re the princes of the universe) or for Heath Ledger and his stringy hair bits to pop up in the background. Also, if you’re going to use an accent, try to keep it consistent, mmmkay?
- Further tanking any feminist reading of the show: Bo’s role as keeper of the television in the final battle against Cayden. Also impressive: how she just stands around instead of fighting when Velma (Jayne Eastwood) is initially stolen. Move yer butt, succubus!
- Even Kenzi and Hale (KC Collins) can’t help this gong show. Comedic lines are surprisingly flat, or weirdly constructed. What’s funny about the challenges of securing Cherry Coke, or being a “television ghost-whisperer.” Who wrote this tin-eared dialogue?!
- Finally, the good moment: The final scene between Bo and Lauren when Bo essentially tucks in the doctor. Would this moment have been better if they had kissed? Obviously. The chemistry is there, but yet another opportunity to move this relationship further passes by. So Bo gets graphic nekkid with grotty Cayden, and Dyson gets epic romance with Ciara while Lauren gets full body pjs and the couch. Yup: great balance, there, Lost Girl. (Side Note: When delivering Velma – classified as a weapon of mass destruction – to The Ash, why doesn’t Bo make it clear that she is doing it in exchange for Lauren’s freedom? She just gives up the old lady and then thanks him – this makes no sense).
So…yeah. Easily the worst episode of Lost Girl by a country mile. I never want to see this one ever again. I’ve heard rumblings of Doccubus action next week, so hopefully there’s something significant to look forward to that will wash this putrid stank away.
Am I off base here, folks? Were you able to look through the junk and find good stuff in Dyson’s backstory? Do we care that Cayden got away at the end (like half of Lost Girl‘s villains, seemingly)? Sound off below.
Lost Girl airs Mondays at 10pm EST on Syfy