After a very long time, Lost Girl returns with new episodes as Bo (Anna Silk) travels to Valhalla.
Let’s bitch it out…
“It’s bigger than all of us”
-Trick (Rick Howland), aptly summarizing the root of most problems on Lost Girl
Lost Girl has always been a surprisingly ambitious series. The writers are trying to tell stories on a large scale using multiple planes of existence and species, all of whom are in danger of being eradicated in any given season. I expect this final season to follow the same format; in fact early on there is mention that Bo (Anna Silk) may be inadvertently creating a dark army that will bring an end to life on earth.
This is fairly standard talk for the series, which would be far more successful if the visual execution could match its ambition. Unfortunately Lost Girl can never quite pull it off. Budgetary restrictions for a Canadian science fiction show limit the visual palette of the series – one need only revisit the unconvincing final battle sequences of the fourth season finale for proof of that.
I bring up the last episode because everything in this fifth season premiere is dependent on the last episode and the rescue of the show’s best character, Kenzi (Ksenia Solo) who was sent to hell, or Valhalla. ‘Like Hell’ dedicates the majority of its running time to reunite Bo and Kenzi, often at the expense of the other characters. While Lost Girl is technically Bo’s show, it has built up a fairly stable and reliable supporting cast of characters. After waiting for so long, I don’t doubt that many fans – particularly those invested in Bo’s love life – may have felt underwhelmed by the lack of romance and sex in this premiere.
Arguably, though, focusing on Bo’s attempt to rescue Kenzi is the only realistic direction for ‘Like Hell’ to take. Their friendship has been developed over the years (I would argue that it is the show’s number one relationship), so if the other characters have to sit on their thumbs a little, it makes sense because Kenzi’s new situation must be addressed. After all, Bo Bo would never let Kenzi hang out in hell, even if it is revealed to be a five star hotel, complete with discontinued ice cream flavours and couture dresses.
The aesthetic of Valhalla is memorably off-kilter, but very much in Lost Girl‘s wheelhouse (the show enjoys making use of unorthodox locations like train cars and hotels for dramatic scenarios). Unfortunately the plot itself feels a little undercooked: Bo uses the Hell shoes (initially introduced in 4×07) to travel the bifrost and “skip” into Valhalla to collect Kenzi, only to discover that her bestie may actually be happy and scheduled to wed Hale (an unseen KC Collins). It’s a good opportunity for offer closure on the Kenzi/Bo drama from last season since Kenzi died when they weren’t on the best of terms. Aside from reuniting the pair, however, a lot of ‘Like Hell’ feels uneven and even anti-climatic. One reason for the latter feeling is that this is the first half of the premiere; it stands to reason that my interpretation of this first half will change after the entire story has played out.
For now, however, most of this feels jumbled. While the mysterious phone calls (with the visually alluring telephone) are a nice touch, there’s nothing particularly scary, threatening or evil about Valhalla. The threat posed by Freyja (Michelle Nolden) and her chipper minion, Stacey (Katie Corbett) is fairly low. Stacey acts more like a sorority girl determined to haze newcomers; I found it difficult to believe that she was a Valkyrie confident enough to challenge Tamsin (Rachel Skarsten). Freyja, meanwhile, comes off as a bitchy party planner with an inflated ego. The frequently reiterated threat that both Bo and Tamsin are out of their depth or messing with larger forces is probably apt, but visually this just looks like a bunch of catty women having Real Housewife drama in a swanky hotel.
In this case, the inversion of expectations for hell and its population simply don’t help to create a compelling obstacle for the show. I hope that whatever Bo finds at the bottom of the many-buttoned elevator next week is far more insidious and visually captivating.
- Tamsin gets a significant amount of airtime, but the reveal that she is an automaton enforcer in Valhalla is disappointing. Considering her ominous warnings to Bo and Lauren (Zoie Palmer) about the dangers of Valhalla, her attack on Kenzi and Bo feels silly and unjustified. Honestly, it comes off more like an artificially inserted fight scene intended to juice up a fairly slow/talky premiere than a legitimate plot development.
- Dyson (Kris Holden-Ried), Lauren (Zoie Palmer) and Trick (Rick Howland) aren’t given much to do aside from clarify some exposition about Valhalla, Tartarus and how the Hell shoes work. Perhaps there will be more to do next week now that Dyson and Lauren are at the gates to hell, but for now…underwhelming.
- Considering the vocal outrage following Hale’s murder last season, I’m not sure it was a wise decision to dangle to possibility of reuniting him and Kenzi (in marriage no less) only to yank it away. The Lost Girl writers potentially just reopened a very sensitive wound.
- I applaud the ambition, but the FX in that opening scene with Bo climbing is Ringer-levels of awful.
- Finally, I think we can all agree that the movies in Valhalla are all, as Kenzi suggests, super watchable: Clueless 2, Sister Act 3: Rose Marie’s Baby’s Got Back and a prequel to Goonies? Yes please!
- Bo (after Freyja comments that large groups are the worst): “Speak for yourself.” I’ve missed the dirty double entendres!
- Kenzi (seeing Bo for the first time since she was shipped to hell): “Oh my god did you trim your hair?! It’s the perfect length.”
- Kenzi (when Tamsin insists she won’t let a human compromise her true potential): “Your true potential used to be eating a whole box of Vector in one sitting”
- Bo (when Stacey begins mumbling): “What was that? I like my caveats loud and clear.”
- Kenzi (after hearing that Joan of Arc was complaining): “Classic Joan.”
Your turn: are you glad to have the Lost Girl group back? Are you satisfied with this premiere? Happy that the majority of the episode was dedicated to Bo and Kenzi? Was Valhalla underwhelming? And what do you want to see in ‘Like Hell: Part 2’? Sound off below.
Lost Girl airs Sundays at 9pm EST on Showcase in Canada.