Lost Girl Returns With More Awesome Queer Ladies And One Unfortunate Transphobic Plot Line
By Alex Cranz
Lost Girl was back last week if you’re in the US. Or two weeks ago if you’re our neighbors to the incredibly chilly north. Or just a little while ago if you’re me and finally got around to watching it with your critic glasses on. I had to refresh myself with a hop through previous episodes because it’s been, like, a year since I last watched the show. So it took me a minute to remember that the Ash died and Kenzi was a BAMF and got Dyson his love back and Lauren lost her wierd girlfriend to evil Fae-ness and Bo kind of went a little evil in her bid to save the entire world from the Garuda but that she hid that evilness because woman has gotten good at hiding deep dark parts of herself over the years.
I mean let’s face it, Bo is a vampire who feeds on sex and left a trail of victims all over an indeterminate North American heartland. That’s a lot of red to have on the books and she’s, for the most part, been strangely okay with it. She’s not like a normal vampire all lurking in a fashionable loft wearing long leather coats and angsting like a wizard. That’s the great thing about Bo, she’s okay with herself and the things she’s done, but it also means that she can kind of be dangerous because she can, in her head, totally justify some pretty horrible actions.
Which brings us right into the third season premiere, where she’s robbing banks and using her powers to get into clubs and living la vida loca. Dyson throws her in the clink and Kenzi gets judgy from afar and it’s immediately clear this is all a sham for Bo to go undercover in a woman’s only prison full of naughty fae. This is only a mild shame–I’m a little sad we didn’t start the season off with evil Bo because that means we now will have to watch her descent into badness over the course of the entire season. And we’ll also get to watch her relationship with Lauren buckle under the pressure of all that evil…or Lauren will continue her journey to be so awesome Kenzi has to finally like her and she’ll join forces with Bo’s boo (Kenzi duh) and save Bo’s soooooooul.
This is all relevant because in the last few minutes of the episode Dyson rushes to the prison to confess his love for Bo finally only to find that Bo and Lauren have, after two seasons and a bajillions labia-blocks, finally found a way to be together. It’s a moment both clinically perfunctory and heartbreakingly final…in that they’re finally going out for realsies and Bo is finally over her season long Dyson crush. I’m not saying I’m opposed to Dyson and Bo as a couple, because his chestal region is tops, but Bo pining for him was beyond the worst. Bo flirting with Lauren and Lauren’s delicate delight in seeing that Bo wants to be with her is refreshing. Bo needs to explore relationships outside of her very traditional one with Dyson and her very messy one with that one Dark Fae dude. And that it isn’t all heteronormative just makes it better.
After all Bo is, for three seasons now, the best representation of bisexuality on television. Hands down. No one presents it better. There’s no “she’s really gay” or “it’s an experiment.” She’s just bisexual. Everyone accepts it and moves on to more important things like killing evil Fae and listening to delightful Kenzi bon mots. It’s made the show, even when it can be silly or slow, absolutely vital, because it gives voice to a portion of the population using marginalized or sensationalized. It does incredibly good work in portraying bisexuality as something real and it does even better work at showing a woman’s healthy sexual appetite as normal. There’s no slut shaming on Lost Girl!
But even the best of shows can sometimes make an oopsy and this episode had me feeling a little queasy towards the end what with the stereotypical and very unflattering Amazons and their chief of fluid gender. Look, I get that Amazons are an easy and fun code for misandrist bull dyke. I do. But using that stereotype with absolutely no counter representation is just kind of gross? And it’s compounded because they’re presented as the villains Bo is out to unearth but it turns out their leader is a shape changer and has been using the prison to breed and using the unwitting Amazons as it’s muscle.
But, you say, not all women have to be presented in a flattering light especially on a show like Lost Girl full of amazing woman already. That’s true. We do not all queef rainbows and puppies and perfection. Shitty women do exist. It just seems that calling them Amazons is some lazy writing? Because that’s a group that, albeit mythological, doesn’t really need more bad press. Usually Lost Girl is kind of awesome about updating tired tropes rather than reveling in them.
Perhaps, I hope, it was just this episode. Because that wasn’t the only trope being trotted out. They also pulled from the Ace Ventura: Pet Detective playbook by having a rapist shapeshifter evil warden that could be interpreted as a transwoman!
And her appearance was so transphobic that GLAAD actually released a statement condemning the show.
Look, GLAAD, for an organization out to promote healthy representations of queer people you did have to condemn Lost Girl here. Much as it turns my stomach to see the show gets slammed so publicly by such a well-known organization it had to happen because fantasy shows like Lost Girl use their fantasy elements as allegories for real world issues and this one was forty kinds of inescapably transphobic. When the Amazons turn on the warden for not being “woman” enough there is NO other way to interpret that. It doesn’t matter that the warden is a fantasy creature and a shapeshifter and never identifies consistently as male or female or that the show features at least two queer characters who aren’t defined by their sexuality but who do not hide their sexuality or that the show is basically breaking ground when it comes to North American portrayals of bisexuality. It messed up.
But GLAAD you also just nominated flipping Glee for awards this year. The show that regularly marginalizes anyone who isn’t white and male or Rachel Berry and who once co-opted a lesbian woman of color’s coming out story so a white dude could learn an important lesson. Where were you and your high horse when all that went down hm?
I got a little passionate there. Did my fiery apathy for Glee and hatred for GLAAD’s hypocrisy shine through? Oops. Sorry. This episode managed to do two things for me. It entertained the hell out of me and it reminded me that even the best shows can have problematic elements in them. It doesn’t make Lost Girl a bad or evil show. It just makes everything quite unfortunate. Do better Lost Girl. You’re better than this.*
- Move over poutine, Kenzi is Canada’s secret weapon and path to my heart. Her sashaying in to see her boo bear in prison was the highlight of the episode that saw the destruction of the Dyson/Bo ship and the renewal of the Lauren/Bo ship. THAT TAKES TALENT.
- Hale is the Ash! It makes sense AND it ends the played out conflict between Bo and the Ash. Now she KNOWS the guy is almost always on her side.
- I realize that this Ash thing is also building toward’s Hale and Kenzi’s tragic love affair. I am part excited and part sad because it feels like a waste of the crazy good Kenzi/Dyson chemistry.
- Trick is Gramps now. Delightful.
- Remember when Lauren and Bo made out? It made me realize it’s been ages since I saw two lesbians with a significant difference in height make out. Was that a subtle way to validate the relationship by making it more heteronormative?
- Or do I just enjoy the word “heteronormative?”
- Lauren has really grown on me over the seasons and I’ve only just realized it. Good for you Lauren.
- Next Week: But actually this is tonight because I’m slow. Dyson get’s a new partner and Bo has to take a break from epic sex to help Kenzi track down her abducted friend.
*You’re also better than Glee. Fuck Glee.