Lost Girl – SubterrFaenean
Lost Girl goes underground for “SubterrFaenean” while single-handedly supporting the entire Canadian push-up bra industry. I’m actually going to talk about folklore and the limits of Lost Girl’s progressiveness this week, but I figured I’d start off with a boob joke.
Kenzi and Vex are visiting some kind of underground sightseeing club thing with Kenzi’s human friend Ozzy. Ozzy points out that Vex looks like Robert Smith, and my wife observes that Vex is essentially Spike from Buffy. During the show, people are snatched away at high speed, including Ozzy, which sets off a rather disjointed plot that I frankly had trouble following. But then I’ve been sick with the flu for a week.
Cut to Bo and Lauren having one of the more prolonged and steamy girl-girl sex scenes in Lost Girl history. Apparently Bo “committing” herself to Lauren means marathon naked makeout sessions. So that was, you know…hot. Part of why Lost Girl is fun is all the pretty people having pretty sex. It’s a Skinemax movie with much better writing (go ahead, argue that point, I dare you).
But here’s where I complain about it a bit. See, for all that I admire the show’s progressiveness, notice that no one has a male-male kiss, sex scene, or relationship. The only male character without strictly heterosexual leanings (Vex) is played mostly for laughs. It’s not that I’m personally all that interested in watching Dyson play tonsil-hockey with Hale every other week, but I’ll bet some people are, and it would make Lost Girl’s romantic free-for-all feel a bit more transgressive and a bit less like pandering. It might even make a certain sense by suggesting that all fae are bisexual, not just the hot ladyfae. But the show’s job is to entertain, not make dangerous cultural statements – especially ones that might not get it renewed. I’ll speak no more of this (unless it changes), and merely revel in all the lipstick action.
Anyway, Dyson gets a new partner since Hale is busy being Ash. This wasn’t my favorite episode in general, but the introduction of the dark fae Tamsin was just terrible. She’s so over the top, with her exaggerated hip sway, mean girl smirk, and strange ideas about professional attire for a police detective, not to mention the psycho-exgirlfriend coffee-on-the-desk maneuver. That stuff works for Evony as the Morrigan because we get her in small doses, but Tamsin’s screen time made me grit my teeth (not that I looked away whenever she walked across a room, mind you).
Everyone starts investigating the missing people in the tunnels under the city. Dyson and Tamsin play police procedural to great unintentional hilarity. Dyson kneels beside a corpse and mumbles something about the bite marks not showing the right pattern for real bite marks and so on. Tamsin jiggles. Bo and Kenzi are waylaid by some weird fae zombies and a fae alligator man named Atticus. He tells them a sob story about a man taking away his wife and child many years ago. Honestly it all stopped making sense. Bo and Kenzi are gassed and wake up entwined in bed – yes! Even Vex is a Bo/Kenzi ‘shipper, as he points out the “years of repressed sexual tension.” There’s a sexy three-way pillow fight with Vex, who’s wearing Bo’s kimono (again).
There’s something about city politics, with a city manager named Hamelin giving orders to have the people underground exterminated lest they “out” the fae to the human world. Hamelin gives off a very “William Atherton as Walter peck, the EPA lawyer in Ghostbusters” vibe. Bo escapes police custody twice by succubussing the same love struck cop. Tamsin raises a fuss about a dark fae that Bo fed on recently (part of the whole “Bo going dark” ongoing storyline). Bo and Tamsin do this whole queen alpha bitch thing together which is tiresome already. Kenzi says “crock-blocked.” I laugh.
Long story short, Hale never authorized killing the underground people, just relocating them. It was the nasty city manager all along. Turns out he’s a…well, I’ll get to what he is in a moment. But his victims have to be able to see him for his powers to have any effect. Atticus the alligator man is blind. Instead of taking Hamelin in for a fae trial and jail, Bo lets Atticus have his vengeful way with Hamelin, who it turns out was the one who killed his family long ago. It’s a nice nod toward Bo’s neutrality – she doesn’t always do the light fae thing (though Dyson goes along with it all too readily, considering he’s a cop).
The last bit of plot involves a Dreamweaver taking a peek at “what’s haunting Bo’s dreams.” She sees Bo literally devouring a person with an animalistic look on her face.
But the really cool thing I want to talk about is Hamelin’s fae species. When Bo asks what he is, he says, “Oh, some call me the Slender Man, or the Pied Piper, or Erlkönig.” When he uses his powers, his arms get long and thin, his face a featureless blur, and people hear a strange music, feeling compelled to do what he says. It was actually a pretty creepy effect, and of course in the legend, the Pied Piper is known as “The Pied Piper of Hamelin.” I mentioned last week how Lost Girl blends all kinds of mythologies together. Both the Erlkönig and the Piper are of German origin.
But the Slender Man? That’s something else entirely. The Slender Man is a creature literally invented on the Internet a few years ago. Just created out of whole cloth. Yet there are similarities to the older stories of Pipers and “the Alder King” who steal children away. And the tale of the Slender Man is compelling enough that it’s seeped into pop culture. Turning up as a fae monster in Lost Girl is just one more example. And why not? A spooky tale invented on 4chan is just as “real” as one passed around campfires five centuries ago.
I just wish Lost Girl had used him in a better plot, and made him more mysterious and spooky.