Lost Girl recap – 1×11: ‘Faetal Justice’

Courtesy of Syfy / Showcase

After last week’s “double your succubus, double your fun” episode, I am flying high and ready for the latest adventure of Bo (Anna Silk), Kenzi (Ksenia Solo) and Dyson (Kris Holden-Ried). Alas, the show falters as it begins to establish a routine…

Let’s bitch it out…

Three weeks ago the show introduced Vex (Paul Amos) in ‘Vexed’ – an episode many critics felt was one of the series’ strongest to date. This was followed up by ‘Fae Day’, a decent, albeit somewhat forgettable episode that provided some additional clues about the Fae world. Last week was an amazing episode, ‘The Mourning After’ which introduced Saskia and broke open the whole succubus rule-book, which is followed this week by a Dyson-centric episode that – again – deepens the Fae world, but doesn’t add a great deal overall to the show. So there’s a strange routine wherein a great episode is followed up by a mediocre, slightly “meh” episode…and that’s not good for a show that’s still in its first season.

Tonight everything centers around Dyson, even though we learn very little about him in the process. In many ways this feels like a lost opportunity. Here is a chance to explore who Dyson was (or still is) by tying the murder he’s accused of in with his past. But instead of fleshing out his backstory, we simply get a few lines about why the shapeshifter would want Ba’al (Karl Campbell) dead, and then everyone is back to running around clearing his name. I’m not sure if something more visual, such as flashbacks, would help, but there is a certain amount of slugishness to the proceedings.

This is strange considering that ‘Faetal Justice’ is all about working on a deadline that could run out at any given moment. Bo and Kenzi are trying to clear Dyson’s name before The Morrigan (Emanuelle Vaugier) or The Ash (Cle Bennett) end the sanctuary he’s invoked at The Dal, and yet much of the episode feels falsely urgent. Partially this is because the golden rule of television making is that the show should not put its main characters on the chopping block without considering actually doing them harm and this episode does not do a good job of suggesting any harm will come to Dyson (or at least no more than usual). Throughout ‘Faetal Justice’ we are told repeatedly that Dyson will be found guilty and executed if he leaves the bar. But it’s all words – there’s no real indicator of danger beyond people running in,demanding Trick (Rick Howland) give him up, getting angry/frustrated when he refuses and then leaving. In some ways this feels like a budgetary concern as the majority of the action is confined to two locations: The Dal and Carpe Noctem, the goth bar where the murder occurs.

Courtesy of Syfy / Showcase

To a certain extent, there’s also unexplained motivations from several characters. Trick calls in favours from unnamed individuals at the risk of jeopardizing his position of power (how? why? the politics of harbouring Dyson is never fully explained). Dyson, meanwhile, is restless at being stuck in the bar despite everyone repeatedly reiterating that he’ll die the moment he leaves (I understand that we can attribute his restlessness to his animal nature, but watching Holden-Ried repeatedly growl about his frustrations do not make for overly exciting TV). And that’s without even addressing one of the strangest moments: Bo mysteriously leaves the sleuthing to Kenzi so she can do a clothes run for her boyfriend and then hanging around the bar? What happened to tracking down what really happened?

This should not suggest, however, that the episode doesn’t have good moments. The reappearance of Vex and the profound distaste he inspires in virtually everyone only contributes to Paul Amos’ amusing guest turn as the Mesmer villain (I was especially fond of the very-random moment in which Bo begins getting handsy with herself which is ultimately revealed as an act of possession by Vex – it is a great, low-tech way of suggesting his powers that merely requires Silk’s willingness to commit to self-invasive acting).

In addition to Amos, it’s always nice to see both The Morrigan and The Ash, the Dark and Light Fae leaders (respectively). I’m always amused by the way the pair act like power-hungry children who are not used to being denied their every whim. I’m particularly fond of Vaugier, who has a pouty valley-girl approach to her ancient character that reminds me of the Hell God, Glory, on Buffy, The Vampire Slayer. It’s clear from The Morrigan’s confession when she tortures Dyson near the end of the episode that Bo’s indecision to join a side has the higher-ups rattled. (Side Note: Is it female insecurity that prompts The Morrigan to casually refer to Bo as Dyson’s “girlfriend.” If so, then it’s especially gratifying when Bo slides a red hot poker under her chin only moments later to show her just how capable she is of handling herself).

The episode closes rather conveniently: Dyson is not only freed, but a Dark Fae is the true killer (thereby allowing the culprit to be properly punished). Overall despite acquiring tidbits about Dyson’s past (and seeing him topless multiple times), the episode feels listless and slightly random. I wonder, upon reflection of my interview with Silk, Holden-Ried and Solo, if this is an episode that was shot with the intention of being fitted in arbitrarily when an episode was needed. Consider this: there is no mention of events from the previous episode and the relationship status between Dyson and Bo is more reminiscent of the days when they were happily boinking before he broke things off in ‘Oh Kappa, My Kappa’.

Other Observations:

  • I don’t traditionally focus on bad acting because I find it subjective, but Holly Deveaux is terrible as Portia. Her flat line delivery and stiff body language even drag down Solo, who offers few memorable lines, but seems strangely lethargic throughout. Maybe Kenzi got slipped one of Silas’ (Jeff Douglas) ruffie-coladas…or maybe the red hair scrunchies / extensions cut off the blood supply to her head?
  • It’s always weird when a character is only included in a show via picture, but is never actually seen. I’m referring to the pink haired Light Fae whose “fun fair for guys who like pain” murder clears Dyson of any wrong-doing. Does the goth actress get paid as an extra considering she doesn’t appear on camera, speak lines or appear beyond what looks like her acting head shot?

So admittedly I found ‘Faetal Justice’ a little disappointing and, truth be told, I’m not sure the preview for next week’s episode looks much better. I was hoping that at this point in its freshman season Lost Girl would be ramping up for its season one finale, but there’s still some disorganization in the scheduling of the episodes and the relationships between (especially) Dyson, Lauren and Bo have yet to be firmed up. I can only hope that the show gets organized in time for the season one finale.

About cinephilactic

cinephilactic is a university contract instructor in Film Studies. He is an avid TV watcher, particularly science-fiction, fantasy and drama series. His favourite shows currently airing on TV include The Good Wife, Breaking Bad, Justified, Hannibal, Game Of Thrones and a smattering of shows on The CW. He has a tendency to "hate-watch" particular shows and likes to think that his sarcastic voice comes through in his reviews, though sometimes he's just being bitchy

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