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Season 4 Review: Character Arcs — Episode 48

April 7, 2014 by Drinks at The Dal

Lauren Hale and Dyson in Groundhog Fae
In the second part of our Season 4 review, we discuss the character arcs for the rest of the main characters besides Bo. We talk about Kenzi and Hale’s relationship, Dyson swearing fealty to Bo, Tamsin’s reboot, Trick’s Machiavellian past and more. We’re joined by guest Melanie Killingsworth who is a writer and filmmaker who writes about television, including Lost Girl, at mehlsbells and at TVquila, and you can follow her on Twitter @mehlsbells.

This episode is the second part of our Season 4 review. Listen to the first part of our review to hear our thoughts on Bo’s character arc in Season 4. Part 3 discusses the Big Bads and the themes of the season.

Drink Special: Shot in the Dark

½ oz Coffee liqueur
½ oz Coconut rum
5 drops Bailey’s Irish cream

Pour equal parts coffee liqueur and coconut rum into a shot glass. Add a few drops of Bailey’s and serve.

Kenzi

Stephanie feels like there wasn’t enough Kenzi in Season 4.

  • Feeling out of place as a human in the Fae world.
    • As Lauren found some power in the Fae world, Kenzi wobbled, and Bo’s absence really allowed the writers to bring out Kenzi’s insecurity.
    • Melanie liked this storyline a lot. It had been lurking in the background for several seasons. She also liked that we finally got to see Kenzi’s family and the dynamic that had been hinted at for the past three seasons.
    • Annie brings up the difference between Bo claiming Kenzi and Bo offering to claim Lauren, who vehemently opposes the idea. Melanie points out that when Bo claims Kenzi the show had already established the lack of potential for a sexual relationship between them. Claiming someone you’re having sex with would be very problematic, and she is glad the writers never went there with Kenzi and Hale.
  • Sacrifice
    • Stephanie has seen people on Twitter express that they felt like having Kenzi die was not good treatment of the character.
    • Both Kris and Melanie disagree with that sentiment because Kenzi got a hero’s death, which was very noble.
    • Annie thought that Kenzi’s death was very beautifully done. She thought it was a good end to Kenzi’s character arc, and it was great to see the powerless human save everybody.
    • Melanie loved that the show eluded to its own trope of the reversible death right before she sacrificed herself. She thought it was a brilliant play of show self-awareness.
    • Stephanie agrees that Kenzi’s sacrifice worked really well for Kenzi’s storyline. Could there have been other ways to make Kenzi feel like she had a place in the Fae world? Yeah, but Stephanie doesn’t know if they would have been as powerful.

Hale (and Kenzi)

Hale’s storyline this season was totally wrapped up in getting together with Kenzi.

  • Relationship
    • Stephanie wishes we had seen more of Kenzi and Hale’s relationship since it had been teased for so long.
    • Melanie wonders if the writers thought it would have been worse when Hale died if the relationship had been more drawn out. Not having them get together though before Hale died would have been worse.
  • Hale’s death
    • Stephanie says that Hale’s death was more about Kenzi than Hale, meaning that his death was a culmination of Kenzi’s actions and storyline (feeling insecure, seeking out Massimo, becoming in debt to him, giving him the Twig of Zamora) and that it served to give Kenzi further motivation to sacrifice herself at the end of the season.
    • Melanie thinks that Hale’s death was more for the show’s sake because the show hadn’t killed off a significant character since the end of Season 2 (Nadia, Lachlan and Ciara). Killing Hale allowed them to instantly “raise the stakes” and demonstrate that no one is safe in this world, not even our main cast. Especially since Kenzi is probably going to come back from her death, it was all the more important to kill Hale and have him be dead dead. It’s a common trope of the genre. (Thanks, Joss Whedon.)

Kenzi and Hale in Groudhog Fae

Lauren

  • Seduction of The Morrigan
    • Melanie loved the quadruple fake-out of the Lauren/Morrigan hook-up.
    • Stephanie liked that the storyline was used to explore Lauren’s ethics, continuing her storyline from Season 3. Stephanie wants her to be an ethical person, but she liked that they tested her ethics this season.
    • Kris wonders if it’s really unethical if the person taken action against is a serial murderer. Melanie says yes because The Morrigan was in a vulnerable position, but she likes how gray Lauren’s actions were.
  • On the run
    • Check out our episode about Crystal for a more thorough discussion.
    • Stephanie liked Lauren’s stint as a waitress as a nice breather for the character but wishes that storyline hadn’t been dropped so completely. (Crystal who?)
    • We got some more information about Lauren’s backstory, but only Crystal knows. Stephanie suspects that the writers will come back to it later.
    • The amount of stuff Bo and Lauren need to talk about just keeps growing. Melanies suspects that it’s gotten to the point where there’s just SO MUCH that’s it’s easier to ignore. Stephanie wonders if the fact that they’ve never talked about their different lifespans might also keep them from really getting into things.
  • Friendships with Dyson and Kenzi
    • Not much screen time with Kenzi, but they’re obviously feeling affinity
    • Great storyline in “Waves”

Dyson

  • Backstory in “La Fae Époque”
    • Annie appreciated seeing the transition in Dyson through the scenes with Trick. It was also great to see when Trick and Dyson met.
    • Melanie thinks that for the audience to get the full weight of Dyson pledging fealty to Bo we needed to see him pledge fealty to Trick. She feels like Trick manipulated Dyson a bit where Dyson pledged himself to Bo completely of his own accord.
  • Swearing fealty to Bo
    • Melanie feels like Dyson is saying to Bo that he trusts her more than Trick now by swearing fealty to her.
    • Laveau tells him that his “wolves mate for life” thing is basically in his head, which seems like a potential write-around of Dyson only being able to love Bo. Listeners point out that Dyson died in Season 3, so maybe that reset his “love-o-meter.”
    • Melanie thinks that there was a shift from “solemates” to “soulmates.” Dyson seems less possessive, and maybe he’ll be able to share Bo in the future. Kris thinks they hit on the “soulmate” stuff with the red string of fate symbolism.

Tamsin and Kenzi dancing in Let the Dark Times Roll

Tamsin

  • Rebirth / Lil T
    • Allowed her to form a really great bond with Kenzi
    • Allowed Tamsin’s regret to surface in perhaps a healthier way (less drinking — she just wants to dance!) because she got to grow up with a loving family this time
    • Melanie thought the reboot of Tamsin’s character worked really well. The writers got to reset her personality a bit, allowed us to see Valkyrie power beyond just doubt, and she was able to forge different relationships than she had in Season 3. Stephanie says that it allowed Tamsin to become an insider to the core group very quickly naturally rather than forcing it.
    • Expresses desire to no longer be Dark or at least have a choice in the matter, though Kris thinks they hit on that desire in Season 3 as well
  • The Wanderer storyline
    • Stephanie expected her to be more involved in The Wanderer storyline than she was, given that she was a big vehicle for that plot in Season 3.
    • Revealed that she colluded with Trick in creating The Wanderer
    • Chance at redemption — came back to the detail revealed in Season 3 that Tamsin was being punished for doing something many years ago
  • Relationship? Fling? with Dyson
    • The chemistry between the two of them has been boiling since Tamsin first appeared in “Subterrfaenean.” Melanie is glad they finally went there.
    • Annie thinks that they work better as partners and thinks that Dyson was just really drunk when they hooked up at The Dal.
    • Melanie doesn’t think it was necessarily a romantic attraction at the bar, but they have had a sexual chemistry since the beginning. Lost Girl is very accepting of the fact that sometimes sex is just sex — it’s needed in the moment and may not lead to a relationship.
    • Annie thinks that they dropped the Dyson/Tamsin hookup. Stephanie disagrees, though they did not talk about it at all in the subsequent episode, “Origin.” She feels confident that “Dark Horse” suggests their relationship will be explored more in Season 5.
    • Kris, like Stephanie, likes Dyson and Tamsin together and thinks there are interesting story possibilities since the show has never really explored a Light Fae/Dark Fae relationship.
  • Relationship with Bo
    • More overtly sexual interaction with Bo this season
    • Annie feels badly for the Valkubus shippers. They got teased with “Groundhog Fae” and more overtly sexual interactions between Bo and Tamsin in Season 4, but ultimately Tamsin and Dyson hooked up.
    • While the show clearly demonstrated that Bo is attracted to Tamsin and cares about Tamsin, when it came to “Destiny’s Child” she was still debating between Dyson and Lauren, not Dyson, Lauren, and Tamsin.
    • Will they go there with Bo & Tamsin in Season 5?

Trick

  • Evil Dictator Trick
    • Both Melanie and Stephanie loved seeing evil Trick, but Annie thought he was an a-hole. Yes, he was, which is what makes him interesting!
    • Annie wonders if Trick could have turned out any other way given the amount of power he possesses. While Trick cares for Bo, his impulse for self-preservation (and manipulation) seems to run deeper.
    • Reemergence of evil dictator Trick seems to result in Bo, Kenzi, and Tamsin’s losing trust in him, and we see Dyson pledge his fealty to Bo.
  • History with The Una Mens
    • Stephanie really liked Trick’s backstory in regards to taking the papyrus seed so that he did not lose his identity and become part of The Una Mens.
  • Bo staff fighting!

Trick and Vex in End of a Line

Vex

  • Vex’s storyline was the oddest to Stephanie.
    • Starts out very antagonistic, especially to Dyson and Hale in the premiere, but by midseason, he’s Bo’s pet and all harmless and neutered
    • Melanie thinks he dodged a bullet because he didn’t have to deliver on his promise to give Bo to The Una Mens. He really plays the tortured soul card, and the gang are suckers for it.
  • Stint as The Morrigan
    • Annie liked seeing the opportunistic side of Vex come out at the beginning of the season, showed that he is still a villain
  • Information revealed about his family background
    • Mesmers being hunted, giving up his family to survive
    • Relationship with Massimo — unfortunately this aspect of his past was used primarily as plot convenience and wasn’t developed
  • Morality
    • Kris thinks that Vex was maybe buying Trick’s line that he could be a good guy, but then Kenzi tells him that she needs the “real” (evil) him.
    • Melanie thinks Vex thinks he wants to have morals, but he realizes they’re too inconvenient when he gets them.
    • Stephanie thinks Vex would like more intimate relationships with people, like Kenzi, but he doesn’t like the morality stuff that goes along with that.

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7 comments »

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  1. Angela Merry says:

    Kenzi point… in the podcast you were talking about when Bo had claimed Kenzi… Bo claimed Kenzi in ep 1 season 1 – It’s a Fae Fae Fae World…. If you go back and look at it again, which it has become my faevorite ep of season 1 – When Kenzi helped Bo defeat the 2nd underfae who had her in his mind, one of the dark fae thugs was trying to keep Kenzi from going to Bo’s side and when she hears Kenzi call for help, Bo throws one of the knives she used in the first fight to trap the thugs hand/arm. And Bo says, “She’s mine.” From that moment on, Bo had claimed Kenzi and then at the Dal in ep 2 – Dyson says it’s not a good idea to bring a human into the Dal and Bo says “She’s with me.” That’s when Trick asks if she is claiming her… which sort of made it official in Trick’s and Dyson’s world. Just a thought.

    • Drinks at The Dal Drinks at The Dal says:

      It’s true, but Bo didn’t know about claiming humans in “It’s a Fae, Fae, Fae, Fae World,” so I don’t think she was doing it consciously.

  2. On Hale’s death being the death to prove stakes, my retort work be that killing off Hale was the weakest emotionally because POC in sci-fi/fantasy are never safe. We honestly expect them to either be heavily tokenized or killed off, which in Hale’s case both happened. If they wanted to show that no one was safe then the best would have been Tamsin. She’s a popular character, her story arc has been all about redemption and she’s already on her last life. THAT would be an OMG no one is safe kill, not the black character that you hardly let do anything.

    • Drinks at The Dal Drinks at The Dal says:

      Thank you for bringing this issue up. I was off my game when we recorded for some reason — I forgot to ask Mel follow-up questions a couple of times. But maybe she will respond to this issue of fridging the POC character here in the comments.

    • Melanie says:

      There are two issues (emotional versus show stakes) and I’ll try to cover both bases. But first, I don’t think Hale should have been tokenized to begin with. I responded to that some near the bottom of my 4th season overview. The upshot being “My problem [isn’t the death but] the fact he was the only remaining significant POC in the first place. Hale’s story was incredibly promising – fae of privilege who becomes a lowly cop and fights the system and has a human partner who fae and his family both treat as a pet, etc. – and it vanished. Even without that narrative richness, Hale was still great, and the only non-white main-ish character left. The rest have been killed or their stories dropped. That’s the real issue.” I didn’t mean to say it had to be Hale to raise stakes, but that stakes had to be raised, and Hale fit the bill. Was it was done without regard to the fact he’d become the only person of color in the cast? Yes. Bad? Definitely. But I was just talking about how the death was used in-universe.

      Who the show offed isn’t what proved the stakes, nor was it necessary that it be a surprise. It was the mere fact the show killed a regular character. It shouldn’t be so easy, but — both because so many network shows refuse to kill any characters, and because it’s become Something Genre Shows Do, no small thanks to Whedon — it’s narrative shorthand for heightened stakes. And heightened stakes have become a necessity in today’s film/tv world (fun read) and Lost Girl has already averted a couple world endings. Shows can attain the same approximate level of Stake Raisedness, though not necessarily the same emotional impact, by killing any bigger supporting character.

      Again, should they have picked the only black character? *facepalm* And would it have made as much narrative sense if his multiple storylines hadn’t already, tragically, gone by the wayside? No. So that’s a problem. But they had gone by the wayside, and thus it did make narrative sense, and what the show is concerned with is: this proves the show will kill people we love. Insta-stakes.

      As far as emotions, leaving aside who has the currently more interesting story (because Hale’s story has as much potential for the meaty stuff as anyone’s, were it milked), what’s key to the overwhelming emotional core of Hale’s death is the fact Kenzi survives him. Hale’s death is sad, but Kenzi makes it tragic, Romeo-and-Juliet stuff. Kenzi’s an audience favorite, sure, but more importantly she has been the audience surrogate since Day 1. She’s our in, she’s the narrative collective We and our subconscious connection to this world. The fact she’s in love and now she’s devastated is what really wrenches us. It doubles down: not only does this character we love die at the hands of this awful asshole, but this other character we love has to watch, and live on in pain. That’s what most of us actually fear as much as or more than death.

      Part of the point of Tamsin is, she doesn’t have that, though I think she’s getting there. Also, to be honest, I thought back in S3 that Tamsin was mostly introduced to live out her last lifespan, likely by sacrificing her last life in an act that would bring her peace and redemption, and at the beginning of S4 I expected she wouldn’t make it to the finale, so, color me wrong.

  3. Angela Merry says:

    I was re-watching Origins and remembering another fans post on a Syfy article where the fan is not a fan of Lauren’s… and he made a remark that the only thing that Lauren did was take away Evony’s power… well… true… but she did do it for Bo… Evony wanted Bo dead… what better way to save your loved one than to make their enemies powerless… So, essentially, I believe that’s why Lauren made Evony human… to take away her power to easily kill Bo. Just a thought.

    • Drinks at The Dal Drinks at The Dal says:

      I think it’s a gross understatement that all Lauren did was take away The Morrigan’s power. That’s a HUGE deal! She turned a Fae into a human! Never been done before! And she did it to a very dangerous Fae. The Morrigan can melt people! And definitely The Morrigan threatening Bo was what put Lauren’s plan into action. She had been planning it for quite some time, obviously, but that’s what made her actually do it.

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