We’re back to hard times on Lost Girl as the show seems to be losing its way through the fae-rest.
Let’s bitch it out…I’ve been struggling for the last few weeks to put my thumb on what’s going on with Lost Girl. There’s a lot to love about the show: Bo (Anna Silk) is a great heroine, full of heart, wit and sexiness aplomb; Kenzi (Ksenia Solo) is one of the best comedic characters on television and the supporting cast – when given something to do – typically turn in stellar performances.
After some reflection, its become clear to me that the problems I’ve been having with the second season thus far is the writing. When I found out that the order for the third season was 13 (compared to the 22 episodes ordered for season two), I let out a sigh of relief. It seems to me that the tall order to expand the show to a full 22 episode order has strained the writing which has resulted in more of these one-off, tangential case of the week episodes than S1. If a return to 13 episodes forces the show to focus more on the characters and developing core storylines, then I’m happy to have fewer episodes (but more good episodes overall).
Last week was an interesting example: the case involving the boxer was obvious, but it was heartfelt and it truly connected to Bo’s personal journey as her past came back to haunt her. This week we have a more problematic example of the S2 doldrums: the case has no bearing on any of the central themes or character storylines, and as a result, this feels like forty-two minutes of wasted time. Don’t get me wrong, I love these characters, but it doesn’t mean I want to see them go through the motions just because it’s Monday night. I recognize that not every episode can be ‘Mirror, Mirror‘ or ‘Original Skin‘ but I shouldn’t feel like watching the show was a waste of time, either.
In season one, some of these standard “case of the week” episodes worked because we were still finding out about our characters. Their misadventures told us something about them, even if the episode was dominated by a guest star with an easily solvable problem (a good example is 1×09 ‘Fae Day‘ which tells us about Bo and the Fae world, but functions primarily as a stand-alone episode).
This season, the show has taken on multiple storylines including the relationship between Kris Holden-Ried’s Dyson and guest star Lina Roessler’s Ciara; slightly deeper explorations of Trick’s (Rick Howland) role in the Fae-world, a new untrustworthy Ash (Vincent Walsh) and, most notably, the reveal that Zoie Palmer’s Lauren has a cursed popsicle girlfriend named Nadia. In many of the “okay” episodes, the demands of these multiple storylines have been balanced. In some of the worst, they been pushed aside entirely in favour of arbitrary or unimportant cases that make the show feel like it doesn’t have enough story to fill out 22 episodes (see ‘Fae Gone Wild‘).
The other problem is that even in some of the “okay” episodes, the characterizations have been weak, or dully motivated. The number of times that Bo has flip-flopped back and forth on “being done” with Dyson – as she does tonight – makes her seem flighty, juvenile and indecisive. Lauren, in particular, continues to be misused as she and Bo have a fantastic connection that is ignored for episodes at a time or is addressed and then dismissed because of Lauren’s compulsive lying.
At this point the show seems permanently stuck in “slow burn” mode, circling the same ideas over and over again (Ciara didn’t trust Dyson and felt their relationship was missing something in ‘Original Skin‘ and two episodes later she’s in exactly the same place). It’s becoming increasingly difficult to care about these issues because it feels as though we’re exploring them at a snail’s pace. In S1 there was drive and momentum; S2 has frequently felt like the show opting to take the long road at a leisurely pace. At this point we’re now halfway through the second season and I can’t tell you what we’re supposed to care about. That may be because the show hasn’t figured it out yet, itself. Someone needs to take control of this wayward plot and soon because at this point it feels like the show is simply spinning its wheels.
- There’s no point even addressing the case of the week, except with regards to its confusing message about material goods: initially I thought we were going to get a commentary on the misplaced value placed on material possessions, but by episode’s end that had circled around to suggest that these items should be endowed with value and can even be seen as “part of you” or even “home”. Soooo…Bo should go back and buy the expensive looking jacket from the opening (which appeared identical to all the others that she owns)?
- The big “character” piece is clearly Ciara’s decision to confront Dyson about the status of their relationship. Here’s the problem: we still know nothing about Ciara so there’s no investment in this affair. Our tie is with Bo, and while the show suddenly envisions Bo and Ciara as friends because they have shared a few scenes, it simply doesn’t work. If we never see Ciara again, what does the show lose? Answer: nothing. This a character that is getting some fairly substantial screen time and isn’t really contributing anything. I’m calling it now: by season’s end, Ciara will be gone and all of this time spent on her will have been for nothing. She exists simply to act as a buffer between Bo and Dyson
- Kenzi frequently seems to be the only character who hasn’t lost her mind. When Bo arbitrarily decides that Ciara is nice, genuine, and that she’s happy to be friends with the art dealer, Kenzi’s dubious reaction is the only logical response. It’s like the writers simply decided that there should be no more conflict, but they knew that it was coming out of nowhere and therefore have Kenzi stand in for a doubting audience
- Lauren confronts the Ash in an attempt to pull rank to find out more about Nadia’s curse. I appreciate that Lauren has become increasingly unhinged (and Palmer conveys this well), but the idea that she would throw a temper tantrum and think that she could just walk away seems uncharacteristically naive. This is the same woman who has been imprisoned for half the season and has lived in subjugation to The Ash for the duration of the series. I find it hard to believe she wouldn’t have asked for Bo’s (or even Dyson’s) help before taking such an aggressive stance. She’s far too crafty to be this stupid
- Similarly, I find it difficult to believe that after not hearing from Lauren for what is presumably several days, Bo doesn’t a) inquire about her when she meets with The Ash or b) notice her absence. It’s like Lauren ceases to exist to Bo in these “Dyson” heavy episodes – a reflection once again that Lost Girl privileges the Bo-Dyson relationship above the Bo-Lauren
- While this episode felt completely forgettable aside from Lauren’s imprisonment, I was happy to see the return of Kenzi’s pink wig. Shallow and silly, I know…but something about that Russian girl rocking a pink ‘do’ makes me happy. Also: did anyone else feel a brief connection between Kenzi and nerd-tastic, Clive (Drew Nelson)? Although already packed to the gills with storylines that aren’t being given enough screentime, Lost Girl should definitely throw a little loving Kenzi’s way…
What do you think, Lost Girl fans: am I completely off base or does it feel like the show doesn’t know how to pace itself anymore? Are you as disinterested in Ciara and Dyson as I am? And should Kenzi – who appears to have a very healthy sexual appetite – finally take a lover? Sound off below.
Lost Girl airs Mondays at 10pm EST on Syfy.
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Lisa V says
Mirror Mirror and Original Skin which you seem to love were BOTH written by Emily Andras, the new showrunner for season three. Which bodes well for you, no? I is excited.
I didn’t realize there was a new showrunner (I’m trying to stick to the US schedule, so I’ve been avoiding stories on S3 for fear of spoilers). Interesting…are people happy about that?