After delivering one of its worst episodes of the season, Lost Girl rebounds beautifully to deliver one of its strongest character pieces in recent memory. Also, yet another Buffy connection!
Let’s bitch it out…In Buffy, each birthday was a tumultuous surprise: losing her abilities and trapped in a death trap (3×12 ‘Helpless’), being trapped inside the house (6×14 ‘Older And Farther Away’) and, of course, the grand-daddy of them all, a rogue killer boyfriend (2×13 ‘Surprise’). In Lost Girl, Bo (Anna Silk) doesn’t have quite the same terrible experience, but she is forced to pursue a hero’s quest which ends with a satisfying birthday party surrounded by friends. Oh wait…scratch that. She gets a sh*tacular birthday party during which everyone couples off (except K.C. Collins’ Hale who simply buggers off) and everyone demonstrates their incredible insensitivity and lack of personal knowledge about Bo. What a treat!
But let’s backtrack, because we’ve got some ground to cover. One of the reasons that ‘Masks’ works for me (aside from the metaphorical fun of everyone wearing one, including Philip Akin’s Shaman Tshombe, who does so literally) is because it repositions Bo at the center of the show. In all of the worst episodes of the season (2×05 “BrotherFae Of The Wolves, 2×07 ‘Fae Gone Wild’ and last week’s episode) the focus is on the case, often at the expense of the characters. In several strong episodes (2×04 ‘Mirror, Mirror’ and 2×09 ‘Original Skin’), on the other hand, there’s been a heavy focus on the characters, but it’s a balance of character development, narrative development and mythology. All of these elements are in play in ‘Masks’ as Bo steps up to be the heroine we know her to be: one who selflessly serves the needs of others. In this case we’re talking separated lovers Lauren (Zoie Palmer) and Nadia (Athena Karkanis).
What results is a fun, entertaining episode that makes use of Bo’s relationship with Dyson (Kris Holden-Ried), his reluctance to step up and be the partner Ciara (Lina Roessler) wants him to be, the new Ash’s (Vincent Walsh) ability to manipulate Bo, Trick’s (Rick Howland) knowledge of Fae lore and a few memorable characters along the way. My favourite: obviously Peggy (Pragna Desai), the Fae travel agent, whose insistence on following protocol at the ticket counter causes endless exasperation (and much fun). The travel agency itself is an excellent of a fantastic idea at no great expense since there’s nothing fancy about it special effects-wise. Plus, it allows the show to cleverly break out of its Toronto trappings and send Bo to both the Congo and Madagascar.
Now not everything works: Hale and Trick are basically glorified extras and Kenzi (Ksenia Solo) is once again stuck in a ludicrous B-storyline involving out of control birthday planning. But these smaller issues all fade away in the final scenes when Bo has completed her quest, Nadia has been woken up and Ciara has bought a new house (?!). Because the piece de resistance is the birthday party – where pretty much everything turns into a major suckfest for Bo.
It’s here that Bo realizes that none of her friends know her well enough to get her something more personal than a weapon (or even spend time with her!). As she watches each of her friends and former lovers move away with their respective partners, she’s left alone with her knife, her throwing star and even her walking stick weapons, completely and utterly alone. It’s then that the emotional weight of the scene kicks in and you realize just how awful this birthday party is. The visual cue of Bo sitting by herself on the couch, surrounding by party favours in her misery is obvious, but that doesn’t mean it’s not effective. On the contrary – it’s so simple, it’s heartbreaking.
- While I can appreciate that everyone is grappling with extreme relationship-related pressures, the idea that all of these people would abandon Bo to sit by herself at her own birthday seems unlikely. They’re distracted, yes, but they’re not cruel
- Also – and again I realize that this situation is extreme – why does Lauren act like such a tool in this episode?! She’s so busy sucking face with a resuscitated Nadia that she doesn’t even notice Bo in the room? She thinks it’s appropriate to bring her new girlfriend to her rebound/temp girlfriend’s birthday party?! She pledges allegiance to the Ash without ever mentioning to Bo that he imprisoned her for four days? This all seems waaaay out of character and, frankly, smacks of making the character a) an idiot b) a bitch or c) both a & b
- Not that Kenzi comes off any better. Only a week after I suggested I wanted some Kenzi love, I come to regret my words as her old neighbour crush is super awkwardly introduced as a musician auditioning for Bo’s party. I get that the episode dictates Bo be left alone as her friends abandon her for other lovers, but given everything else that’s happening (and the obvious chemistry with Hale), why is Aaron Ashmore’s Nate being introduced now? And would Kenzi, who’s normally so in synch with Bo, really think that a book of pictures painted by her new boyfriend, is the “personal” gift that the others failed to give Bo? Again, she’s silly – not a moron
- Dyson, meanwhile, has the most realistic of arcs. We know he’s got a black hole where his love for Bo used to be and no matter how
richput-together Ciara is, they’re never going to be right together. The fact that his girlfriend is planning the next step of their relationship and he drops everything to go off and save the life of his ex is pretty telling
- Finally, the big question of the night is about the inscription on the bracelet that the mysterious man gives Bo at her party (imdb says his name is Ryan Lambert and he’s played by Anthony Lemke. Do with that what you will!) The inscription reads “R S upside down J 12342″ or something to that effect, which means…absolutely nothing…for now
- Bo (catching onto the lifestyle of The Preta): “Fae ED – I get the picture”
- Bo (unwrapping Trick’s walking stick): “And not a comment on my age I hope.”
The next episode should be a doozy since it’s episode 13 (aka what’s considered the finale of the “front half” of the season) so look for big developments next week. It’s also the last week Lost Girl will air on Mondays at 10pm EST on Syfy before it gets booted to Fridays by Alphas so mark your calendars appropriately
See you next week!