Lost Girl resorts to a tried and true sci-fi narrative device – the body swap – to produce the best episode of its second season.
Let’s bitch it out…Okay phew. I’ll admit that I was starting to get a little worried about Lost Girl‘s second season before ‘Original Skin’ aired. Don’t get me wrong, there’s been plenty of interesting developments and I definitely think the show has upped the scope of its narrative, but Lost Girl has also spent a great deal of time wallowing in its own maudlin stew (see episodes 2×01-2×04) and, in its WORST EPISODE EVER, has done one of its characters a great disservice (I’m looking at you ‘BrotherFae of the Wolves’). Even last week’s episode, which had some nice Doccubus moments and an interesting performance metaphor to boot, still felt like a “watching-while-folding-laundry” episode.
It’s nice then to return to the Lost Girl season one vibe: less moping and more amazement about the strange developments of this crazy Fae world. For too much of this season Bo (Anna Silk) has been trapped in her own head, psychoanalyzing every interaction with Dyson (Kris Holden-Ried) and Lauren (Zoie Palmer) respectively. The heavy repetition of this process has weighed the show down so that the romances have bogged it down at times instead of opening it up. For me the show has always worked best when Bo’s work coincides with her various romantic entanglements. Example A: bringing Lauren along last week and encountering a compromising situation in order to save her. What’s happened this season is that instead of allowing audiences to make these connections, characters have spent more time pontificating on it – literally verbalizing every little emotion and feeling (or in Dyson’s case: not feeling). It’s getting to the point that these entanglements feel both obvious and dull.
‘Original Skin’ is a complete reversal of this. Not only does it liberate all the actors to try on a different character, but it literally puts their words in other people’s mouths, thereby invigorating even the most obvious of “emotional dump” scenes, such as Bo and Ciara’s (Lina Roessler) heart to heart. What would have been a more traditionally awkward scene plays out much differently inside of Woods’ (Michael Cram) and Hale’s (K.C. Collins) bodies: not only does it provide a mild undercurrent of comedy, it focuses us to pay more attention to the words since they’re the only truly tangible element of Bo or Ciara that remains.
While I won’t say that this is the best body swap episode I’ve ever seen (the two parter in Buffy‘s S3 with Eliza Dushku’s Faith remains my favourite), the storytelling device still functions to provide insight into characters for both the audience and within the world of the show. Unfortunately if there’s a weak line in ‘Original Skin’ it’s that these reveals aren’t exactly revelatory. It likely doesn’t come as a shock to anyone that there’s an emotional hole in Dyson’s being (where his love for Bo resided previous to 1×13 ‘Blood Lines’), that keeping her succubus desires in check requires amazing willpower from Bo or that Lauren (Zoie Palmer) wants to kill The Ash (Vincent Walsh).
The swap, does, however, provide a dazzling array of hilarious visual gags, including Kenzi’s initial reaction to inhabiting Dyson’s body, Hale’s mammory-handling, and the final confrontation between Kenzi-in-Dyson and Woods-in-Bo. It also provides everyone a chance to sample a new voice, which ranges from successful (Solo and Holden-Ried’s impersonation of each other, as well as Collins’ British accent) to the not so successful (Silk’s drawl for Cram, Palmer’s deranged giddiness for Reynard). Still, all in all, it is a fun, exciting, mythology-advancing episode that ends on one hell of a WTF cliffhanger.
- No, but seriously, about that cliffhanger: why does The Ash have his own severed head in a chest? This either has a very boring explanation, or else The Ash is not actually The Ash at all and the jerk-off who’s controlling Lauren is actually an impostor. Fingers crossed for the latter!
- The running gag about Kenzi and her shoes pays off nicely in the climax when Dyson-in-Kenzi taps on the security device to take out Reynard-in-Lauren. Good continuity, Lost Girl
- The big mythology element – Bo killing Trick (Rick Howland) – hinted at by the bratty Nain Rouge (Hyaley Nault) remains mostly obscure. Are we meant to assume that the big evil that’s approaching requires Bo to kill Trick or that Bo will be affecting and kill Trick as a result? Those brief glimpses of the future aren’t overly helpful thus far!
- Hale (about Kenzi’s new, party-ready look): “Looks like you have to pay”
- Kenzi: “How would I know if a guy’s inside me?” Trick: It’s been a while?” Zing! That may be one of the dirtier lines in Lost Girl history.
- Kenzi (calling Woods after realizing Reynard is inside Bo): “Yo Bobba Fett…”
- Bo-in-Woods (what she saw in Limbo): “Some damn effective birth control”
- Reynard-in-Lauren (on the phone): “This is Doctor…Lauren…uh the doctor”
And that’s it for episode nine. Any guesses on what’s coming, or if The Ash (or whoever that is) is involved? Do you like Bo’s going out, ponytail look? And how hilarious was Holden-Ried’s performance as Kenzi?! That was probably the most liberating experience for an actor I’ve ever seen!
Lost Girl airs Mondays at 10pm EST on Syfy