I didn’t talk to my grandmother for two years. The last time I’d seen her my grandfather had been dead a year, she was still grieving intensely and she kept pulling aside my best friend to tell her how fat I was while I looked for her keys. It was a deeply embarrassing moment. We’d never been on the best of term and that was the proverbial straw. She severed ties with the rest of the family around the same time, sold her house and moved in with her brother down in South Texas. When friends would ask how she was the running joke would be a shrug from me and a vague “somewhere south of here.”

But one day her brother’s secretary called and I joined my mother with the journey south for an “intervention.” But what we found wasn’t an addled woman in need of a talking to. My grandmother had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and dementia eight years earlier, told no one, and was now well on her way to the next stage of the disease. She recognized my mother and told her how old she looked and she spied me there behind her. Smiled more kindly than I’d ever seen her smile.

“Hello,” she said in the most congenial fashion she’d ever addressed me.

Because she didn’t know me. Two years past and my grandmother was gone. Nothing but my bad jokes and bitter memories were left. But she was still there too, clinging to the vestiges of memory. She told me the same story about her mother seventeen times in two hours while we sat in hospital and doctor’s waiting rooms. And every few minutes it was like a clock was reset.

“Hello.”

She was gone and left this shell to be cared for. It was a curious thing. An experience that is difficult to express appropriately to those who’ve not experience it. But Bo sat down across from her mother carrying a lifetime’s worth of baggage and there across from her was this thing that looked and sounded like the woman she knew, but was nothing. She could absolve Bo of no sins, receive no deserved condemnations. She was another empty shell. The ones left behind that we must fill with all our wrath and, in the end, all of our love.

Lost Girl 3x07 - The Talk

Watching a show like Lost Girl, an entertaining fantasy adventure with a great sex positive message, I never expected to find some morsel of that specific experience so deftly portrayed on-screen. It elevated the episode, showing just how good an actress Anna Silk could be. Because the writing of this episode wasn’t very good. The directing was almost worse. Pacing, plotting and even the dialogue were a hot mess that even Ksenia Solo’s exuberant delivery couldn’t salvage. It was a firm C- episode with Bo’s early interactions with her mother ringing a little too Lifetime Movies for my taste.

But then Silk pulled out this beautiful instance of a girl struggling to say goodbye and filled with such heartbreaking regret. They didn’t hang a lantern on that regret, instead letting it simmer below the words and actions. It was just a girl telling her mother how far she’d come, but with each cut to a more and more dazed parent it became clearer and clearer that it was all up to Bo. She would have to be the one to reach out and she would be to be the one to forgive and she’d have to be the one to apologize too.

It was a moment too real, and like her mother’s rare seconds of lucidity and grace, it was heartbreaking.

And it was compounded by the allegory at play. Bo’s departure from her rural town, the rumors and the unease of her peers and her mother’s vitriol. They were all Lost Girl‘s reflection of a queer woman returning to the town and family that rejected her–only Bo’s parents didn’t have a problem with her homosexuality. They had a problem with her sexuality.

I had a problem with Kenzi pairing that hair with that dress.

I had a problem with Kenzi pairing that hair with that dress.

The allegory’s strength waned as the story continued and the parallels became more painfully (and laboriously) overt. It was best early on when Lauren made her single appearance, and taking a page from Arizona Robbins, encouraged her bisexual brunette lover to have patience with the family that hated her. What on earth is up with blond tv lesbians? Between Lauren, Arizona and Pretty Little Liar‘s Samara these ladies be positively saintly. If you’re ever in a situation where you have to debate a room full of bigots and the first ones to lose their tempers DIE then you want a blond tv lesbian on your team because that woman is going to get serene on everyone’s ass and then encourage a little hugging.

I guess that wouldn’t be too bad. After the gut punch of the last ten minutes of this episode I could use a hug.

Notes

  • Hey look. A show with an adoptive mom who was kind of a jerk and awful but is still treated as the mother by EVERYONE. Once Upon A Time take note. That’s how you show a difficult family like without delegitimizing adoption.
  • Lauren made a single appearance but she was totally adorable and tried to cheer Bo up with science. Like Trick I’m pretty sure this relationship is doomed to fail (unless chica goes and gets immortal or something) but I will wallow in the gooey good feelings while it lasts.
  • Trick figures out Dyson has his groove back and in the process reminds us that he’s a centuries old fae who views humans as inferior. Side-eyeing you hardcore Grandpa.
  • His “I love this bossy chick” thing came out of NOWHERE.
  • Dyson is being super noble, and Bo wants to know what the hell went down with the norn which means the love triangle is about to kick into high gear, and just in time for the last five episodes of the season!
  • A rattled Kenzi is a disturbing to me Kenzi, yet damned if Solo didn’t act the hell out of the moment Bo called Kenzi on using humor to deflect. Stop being so true to life show!
  • Kenzi desperately needed to hear Bo talk to her mother. Girl was needing some affirmation and as open as she is she’s got a big sore spot that the kitsune worried something fierce.
  • The hate this episode had for the rural population of indiscriminate North America made me a little ragey. Smart, gracious, wonderful tolerant people DO live in rural areas, even in the rural Southern United States you were pretending the travelled to. Shaaaaame show.
  • Seriously. Shaaaame.
  • I’m from a rural Southern United States area. Or did you guess that?
  • Bo was called Beth and was the Cherry Queen. There’s some virgin joke involving Queen Elizabeth in there somewhere.
  • The Beth shrine was wonderful and also hilarious for baby pictures of Anna Silk.
  • Next Week: Bo and Tamsin wander around with cowboys and make out or something. I don’t know. I saw that sentence and realized I didn’t care because YES.
  • JV

    Honestly, that scene with Bo’s mom absolutely floored me. I can’t remember being that upset by any tv show, never mind one as light as Lost Girl usually is. Where the hell did that come from, my fun little fantasy adventure?

    The rest of the episode wasn’t as strong, but I liked it a lot more than you did, I think. My only real beef with it was that I didn’t feel like the monster of the week subplot was necessary at all. Bo’s monster enough, and they could have done a little more to sketch out the place – physical and psychological – our heroine’s been running from for a decade now.

    • http://fempop.com/ Alex Cranz

      I was actually surprised the monster kept popping up. The show was doing this really wonderful drama and had no need for it whatsoever. It’s kind of like how Xena had a mandate where a fight had to occur every episode and they’d have to shoehorn in an angry drunk or something.

  • http://twitter.com/ReallyOnlyErin Erin Treat

    That was really moving Alex. Thank you for it. My grandfather went through that as well and the toll it took on my mom and my grandmother was horrible.

  • JCF

    “Like Trick I’m pretty sure [Doccubus] is doomed to fail (unless chica goes and gets immortal or something)”
    Hi, new to your site. I just blurbed about this on the previous (LG 3.6) thread. In short, the doom is what MAKES Bo&Lauren immortal (immortal for *us* , the…fanatics like me), not in spite of it. And, I might add, the emotional strength we saw from Bo in this ep, is what shows me she IS strong enough to love Lauren for a lifetime…even if Lauren’s lifetime is, to Bo, only too brief. [You're from the South, and I adore Doccubus---or couldn't you tell? Tamsin, feh (Fae feh!). She might be good for a meal---or a beer buddy---but Bo goes home to the blonde who has her HEART, and that's the adorkable doctor!]