Season 2 of House of Cards appeared on Netflix on Valentine’s Day. If it was meant to be a little billet-doux from Netflix to sweeten up our weekend, it failed the sweetness test. It more than made up for it in the drama department, however.
I want to share my reactions to this series without revealing any spoilers about season 2 while doing it. Overall, season 2 is even better than season 1 – and season 1 is exceptionally good. Here are a few reasons that House of Cards continues to get better.
There are fascinating plot twists that keep you on your toes in this story. Not one of the politicians in this tale does a single thing for the good of the country or the people – it’s all about self-interest. It feels realistic and unpleasantly like modern politics. Yes, it feels realistic in the telling, but if you really examine the plot it seems unlikely to ever be reality.
The performances by the lead actors Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright as Frank and Claire Underwood are outstanding.
Supporting actors also do an outstanding job. It’s a big cast, because the story is involved. Every character is important as a piece of the puzzle and every actor gives a credible performance.
The look, the mood, the writing, the pace: everything works, everything contributes.
A couple of episodes were directed by women, namely Jodie Foster and Robin Wright. A series always earns extra points with me when a woman directs.
The Master Manipulator
Frank Underwood continues to be ruthlessly ambitious, a manipulator who will do anything to get what he wants. He shares some of his plans and goals with us by talking directly to the camera as he did in season 1. We see a measure of his true self thanks to this device. Other than his wife, most of the people around him have no idea what he’s doing. He’s very convincing.
In season 1, Claire Underwood was off doing her own thing, but in season 2, this power couple are working more closely together to achieve their joint quest for power. We see deeper into their relationship. House of Cards would still be fascinating if the only plot involved the complex and murky interactions between this couple.
They understand each other, they support each other, and they are committed to getting what they want. They tolerate each other’s foibles and needs and build on each other’s strengths. In some ways it’s a political marriage based on shared ambitions and convenience, but in other ways they love and care about each other.
House of Cards is about much more than a marriage, however. There are themes of good an evil, about power and whether power corrupts, about the end justifying the means, about progress, the common good, the rule of the moneyed class. Mixed in with the big thematic elements there are human stories about the desire for love, the need for sex, and appetites of all kinds.
A Few Supporting Characters
The majority of the supporting characters are ambitious politicians. There are a few journalists, sex workers, security staff, double agents, or others who somehow know too much and could be a danger to the politicians.
These are the supporting players that I found particularly impressive.
Molly Parker as House Whip Jackie Sharp is terrific. She’s strong, devoted to her own political ambitions and willing to work with Frank Underwood even though she knows he’s a snake. Her story gets fairly well developed for a supporting part. She gets involved with Remy Denton as part of that development, a choice that might end badly.
Mahershala Ali as Remy Denton is someone who is not a politician, but does what he can to influence politics in various ways. He’s an employee of billionaire Raymond Tusk and sometimes is sent to do things he doesn’t really want to do.
Raymond Tusk is played by Gerald McRaney. I have been watching Gerald McRaney on TV for over 40 years, since the early 1970s. I have to admit I’m fond of him. He’s usually a good guy, but here he’s a power junkie with billions at his disposal. He’s fantastic as a villain!
Michael Kelly is chilling as Frank Underwood’s chief of staff, Doug Stamper. One of his chores in season 1 was to get the sex worker Rachel Posner out of the view of journalists and make sure no one ever heard from her again. He’s an alcoholic with 14 years of sobriety, but he goes on a crazy “dry drunk” binge over this woman (played by Rachel Brosnahan) and spends his time obsessing about her and following her every move. Her storyline grows more interesting and important with each episode of season 2 as well.
There are many characters I haven’t mentioned because I’m trying not to reveal anything that happens in season 2 that will shock or surprise you. There’s plenty in season 2 that will do that.
Heading into Season 3
Season 3 is a go. As I look at what transpired in season 2 and think about what may happen in season 3, I can’t help but think about a book I read recently called Give and Take by Adam Grant. I reviewed this book briefly in a post on my other blog, Web Teacher. The Machiavellian Frank Underwood is a taker of the highest magnitude. He thinks he’s invulnerable, he thinks everything is in his control, but he makes mistakes. He trusts the wrong people, he does the wrong things, and his empire could topple like a – it must be said – house of cards.
Adam Grant’s premise in Give and Take is that takers eventually fail and fall. Will Frank Underwood?
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Frankie & Alice stars Halle Berry, Phylicia Rashad, and Stellan Skarsgard. It’s been finished since 2011 and is just now being released in the U.S. It will appear in theaters on April 4.
The film is based on a true story. Halle Berry plays a woman with multiple personality disorder. One of her personalities is racist.
The performance we see in this brief preview looks masterful and worthy of award nominations. This film looks like an exciting showcase for Halle Berry to show once again what a powerful actress she is. I’m not sure why it took so long to be released in the U.S., but it’s coming soon and it looks good.
Laverne Cox and CeCe McDonald were the guests on Democracy Now on Feb. 19, 2014. This is how Amy Goodman introduced the program and the two women. As background for this post, I’m going to quote the entire introduction.
After serving 19 months in prison, the African-American transgender activist CeCe McDonald is free. She was arrested after using deadly force to protect herself from a group of people who attacked her on the streets of Minneapolis. Her case helped turn a national spotlight on the violence and discrimination faced by transgender women of color. In 2011, McDonald and two friends were walking past a Minneapolis bar when they were reportedly accosted with homophobic, transphobic and racist slurs. McDonald was hit with a bar glass that cut open her face, requiring 11 stitches. A brawl ensued, and one of the people who had confronted McDonald and her friends, 47-year-old Dean Schmitz, was killed. Facing up to 80 years in prison for his death, McDonald took a plea deal that sentenced her to 41 months. In the eyes of her supporters, CeCe McDonald was jailed for defending herself against the bigotry and violence that transgender people so often face and that is so rarely punished. At the time of the attack, the murder rate for gay and transgender people in this country was at an all-time high. The National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs documented 30 hate-related murders of LGBT people in 2011; 40 percent of the victims were transgender women of color. Transgender teens have higher rates of homelessness, and nearly half of all African-American transgender people — 47 percent — have been incarcerated at some point.
McDonald joins us on her first trip to New York City. We are also joined by one of her supporters, Laverne Cox, a transgender actress, producer and activist who stars in the popular Netflix show, “Orange is the New Black.” She plays Sophia Burset, a transgender woman in prison for using credit card fraud to finance her transition. She is producing a documentary about McDonald called “Free CeCe.” We also speak to Alisha Williams, staff attorney with the Sylvia Rivera Law Project.
“I very easily could have been CeCe,” Laverne Cox says. “Many times I’ve walked down the street of New York, and I’ve experienced harassment. I was kicked once on the street, and very easily that could have escalated into a situation that CeCe faced, and it’s a situation that too many transwomen of color face all over this country. The act of merely walking down the street is often a contested act, not only from the citizenry, but also from the police.”
Laverne Cox has been an actress since 2000, but Orange is the New Black has given her an unexpected platform and visibility. OITNB has given transgender people in general an unexpected platform and visibility. Justice for transgender people, for trans women of color, is now a topic of conversation all across the country.
It isn’t so much about Laverne Cox, as that she’s suddenly been given this moment because of OITNB. She’s been given visibility, and she’s making good use of it.
Cox seized the opportunity to promote change, up the stakes in her activism, and be a voice to whom the media will listen. She’s wonderfully suited to be a leader and public voice for the trans community. She’s brainy, she’s articulate, and she’s charismatic.
You may say that change would come eventually, that demands for justice and equality from the transgender community would eventually be heard, but I think it would have been a longer time coming. It would have been a harder struggle.
A TV show about women in prison with a sympathetic and likeable transgender woman’s story as part of the ensemble has made change possible sooner. It has given activists like Laverne Cox an opportunity to be heard by a wide audience.
Giving representation to marginalized or minority parts of society on TV shows can change the world. What we see on TV matters. It matters to real people.
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Unbroken, directed by Angelina Jolie, is based on the true story of Olympic runner Louis Zamperini. The movie isn’t due out until December, but this preview emphasizes Zamperini’s Olympic career and was released during the Olympics.
“Dark Horse,” the season 4 finale of Lost Girl takes us some places we’ve been longing to go, kicks us in the gut with a development we REALLY don’t want, and sets up the momentum for season 5.
The finale was written by Emily Andras. I’m glad she took the reins for the finale because there is a lot going on and a lot stitch together. She dropped a few stitches, but many things do get resolved.
We begin with Bo (Anna Silk) and Rainer (Kyle Schmid) arguing about Rosette’s betrayal, who Bo’s father is and how he manipulated them, and the mistakes and errors they made. Rainer and Bo vow to work together against evil.
Bo clutches her chest and calls the mark there “his mark,” meaning her father. She’s gasping in pain.
Rainer takes Bo to the Dal. Rainer and Trick (Rick Howland) argue about who to blame for their troubles as Trick discovers that Bo knows about the Pyrippus and that it might be her father.
Bo says she can feel her father close, trying to bring “her” out because he needs her. Rainer wants to know who she means, and Bo says, “Me.” She asks Trick to tell her everything he knows about her blood.
Massimo (Tim Rozon) has Lauren (Zoie Palmer) in his clutches. She’s strapped to a fence and he’s digging while spouting his crazy into the night. Lauren mentions that the power of the twig of Zamorra is diminishing now that he killed the last Zamorran heir. She taunts him for crying about his mommy and going prematurely grey. He thinks his mommy is finally going to be proud of him, especially when he takes her the head of the succubus on a platter.
Trick shares what little he knows about Bo’s father with Bo and Rainer. Trick talked about handing over Aife to the Dark to prove his blood laws were infallible. The blood of Bo’s father allows her to draw life from many victims and to transfer that life force to someone other than herself. She can raise the dead, as Rainer points out, but she can also enslave, as Trick points out. Bo tells them both that nobody is going to use her for anything. Bo wants to go to the Portal where Pyrippus is set to emerge from hel, when Massimo appears with a few nasty remarks about Lauren.
Kenzi (Ksenia Solo) is busy reading up on prophecies and mythology atop Evony’s bed. Dyson (Kris Holden-Ried) bursts in asking her what’s going on. Kenzi says, “Her blood is everywhere. She was looking for something in the dark archives. Check this out.”
Kenzi holds up a painting. Dyson says, “Bo.” He asks where Lauren is, but Kenzi doesn’t know. Evony (Emmanuelle Vaugier) comes in. She grosses Kenzi out by talking about goosing Lauren’s sweet berries right where Kenzi is sitting. Evony complains about the temperature. First she’s too hot, then she’s too cold. Dyson takes a big sniff and realizes Evony is human.
Kenzi gives Evony a right hook to the jaw, just ’cause she can now that Evony is human. Dyson wants to know how it is that Evony is human. Evony says it was the good doctor and her miracle snatch.
Evony hasn’t incinerated Lauren yet because she needs her to fix her bad case of humanitis. She tells them Massimo is her son and where Massimo has taken Lauren.
At the Dal, Bo tells Massimo to get lost, she has real bad guys to deal with. He has power from eating the origin seed that make him able to steal powers from others and use them as his own. He tries downing Bo with a burst of energy from a thunder beast. He’s strong, he throws Bo around the room, smashes a chair across her back, picks her up and drops her on a table. Trick realizes Massimo stole the seed. Rainer attacks Massimo but he’s easily brought to his knees.
Rainer says, “Tell the Valkyrie my soul is hers again,” and Massimo snaps his neck. Rainer is dead. I’m glad it was Massimo who eliminated Rainer from the story – it would have been terrible if one of Bo’s friends/lovers/family did the deed.
Bo is too hurt to fight back. Massimo runs. When Bo next wakes up, she’s in the clubhouse with Tamsin (Rachel Skarsten) waiting on her to recover.
Bo is depressed, aching with broken bones. She couldn’t save anyone and Lauren is in Massimo’s hands. Tamsin tells her to suck it up and be a leader.
Bo grabs Tamsin and sucks it up. She says, “You taste different. Happy.” Tamsin doesn’t explain, but she and Dyson exchange an awful lot of meaningful glances in this episode – maybe that’s why. Or maybe it’s because she now has Rainer’s soul to take to Valhalla.
Dyson and Kenzi run in. Bo hugs Dyson. She looks at Kenzi, who stands near the door, says, “Hi.” Kenzi returns a quiet, “Hi,” but doesn’t approach.
Kenzi and Tamsin sit on the couch and talk. Tamsin wants Kenzi to forgive Bo. Kenzi says, “My boyfriend just died. Remember?” Tamsin says, “Rainer is also dead, which means I have a soul and a second chance to deliver it.”
Kenzi looks at a book, which she asks Tamsin to translate.
Tamsin translates “Daughter. Heart.” As in, “The daughter’s heart will close the portal?” asks Kenzi. Kenzi doesn’t want to tell Bo what they read. She wants to get Lauren first. Tamsin heads off and Kenzi tears the page from the book and keeps it.
Bo is giving Dyson his battle orders. Lauren comes first. She also asks him to witness her tearing up the contract that makes her dark so she can get back to being who she is.
Dyson asks if she’s all right. She says, “Rainer was my partner. Someone who wanted to end the tyranny between light and dark. He was a good man.”
Dyson says he searched for a King, but he should have searched for a Queen. He kneels before her and swears fealty, his life, his blood, his soul, his body. Bo tears up, hugs him. He says, “I love you.” She says, “That is why I need you to serve with me, not for me.”
Tamsin tells them they found out more about the portal. Bo and Dyson go to the rocking horse ranch at the spiritual center. No people are around, just broken horses and the glowing pyramid of light. Three revenants come out of the pyramid.
Bo sucks their chi and turns, blue eyed and evil looking, to Dyson. She talks in her all-powerful voice and says, “I am the Queen and my true army cometh.”
Dyson figures he wants the other Bo back and gets her back with a kiss. The healing kiss works once again. (What would happen to the world if somebody gave a big kiss to anyone who was behaving badly? Even rebellious teenagers? Let’s save the world with kissing!)
Evony and Trick are still trying to figure out how The Morrigan and the Acting Ash can pull off anything useful. Evony is humanly drunk and makes a pass at Trick. He’s not interested.
Evony tells him to think, quotes some French. Trick translates it as “Sometimes the smallest thing casts the longest shadow.” Trick grabs his trusty bowstaff and off they go. He probably thinks he is the smallest thing, but he’ll soon see it’s someone else.
Bo wants to process the kiss with Dyson. She says she feels awesome and powerful, but her father is near. Dyson thinks she’s channeling her father’s energy though the portal. He wants to know if she can control it. She wants to go get Lauren. She asks Dyson to stop any more dead warriors who come out of the portal with Tamsin’s help. She asks him to keep Kenzi safe.
Tamsin and Kenzi come in. Kenzi looks at Bo, wordless. She hugs Bo hard.
Bo feels forgiven, but Kenzi has other things on her Shadow Thief mind. She gives Bo a sword and says, “You’re gonna be fine.” Kenzi is dead serious. Her eyes look like she’s been crying for a solid week. Bo looks worried as Kenzi and Tamsin leave.
Lauren struggles with chains holding her to a post. Massimo brags about burning alive for 7 days and killing Rainer.
Massimo’s in pain. Lauren wants him to choke on it. Bo comes in waving her sword epi-pen to fight off his allergy to origin seeds. Lauren tells Bo, “You shouldn’t have come.”
“I always do,” says Bo.
“Thank Goddess,” says Lauren. (A lot of fans say that any time Anna Silk walks into a room. Lauren is expressing a universal hymn of praise with that line.)
Massimo talks about the Una Mens power to deflect the power of any Fae. As proof, he unleashes a siren whistle on Lauren and Bo from his killing of Hale.
Kenzi rereads the book page about the daughter’s heart. She says, “Destiny. Booyah.” It isn’t a celebratory cheer.
Massimo throws Bo to the floor near when Lauren is chained up. He says he will kill Bo as soon as she watches him kill Lauren. Lauren tells Bo that’s she’s almost out of her cuffs, thanks to all she learned during Kenzi’s shadow thief training. It wasn’t all just panty removal.
Bo does a giant chi suck on Massimo, but he manages to break it off. In walks Massimo’s mommie dearest. Bo promptly puts a big knife to her neck.
Evony objects. “This is not what Trick and I discussed.” Massimo throws a tantrum.
Dyson and Tamsin battle the revenants pouring out of the pyramid. Dyson’s impressed with Tamsin’s fighting skills and she smiles and the praise. Trick joins them.
Bo tricks Massimo into sucking a huge load of chi out of Evony.
He can’t stop draining Evony. Bo explains that she could breathe power back into her, a power that Massimo doesn’t have. He finally manages to stop draining mommie dearest. Evony collapses. Massimo begs Bo to save her. She takes Massimo’s chi and gives it to Evony.
Meanwhile, Lauren frees herself and takes the Twig of Zamorra out of Massimo’s pocket. She crushes it into dust.
Bo gives Massimo twacks and kicks for Lauren, Rainer, and Hale. Then she runs her sword through him and says, “And that is for breaking Kenzi’s heart.” Without the twig, he finally dies. So long, Tim Rozon. You were one of my favorite villains.
Bo staggers and sways. Lauren grabs her. Bo clings to her like a life line.
There’s another use of slow-motion (the first was Lauren walking across a field of grass toward Bo) as Kenzi strides through the battle in front of the pyramid. It’s beautifully done. Kenzi’s headed for the pyramid entrance. Dyson stops her.
She tells Dyson she can’t wait any longer. They are outnumbered and he’s injured. She’s calm, centered, certain. “We have to close the portal,” Kenzi says. She says, “I get it now. I do have a part to play.”
Dyson asks what she’s talking about and Trick says, “Destiny.”
Kenzi says, “It’s the only way to close the gateway to hel. Bo’s heart. And I’m it.”
Bo tells Lauren she was wrong about Rainer. Lauren nods her head. She says, “At least I was right about you.”
Bo says, “A human doctor who can turn the Fae mortal. They’re gonna be coming for you.”
Lauren says, “Let ’em try.” Bo thinks Lauren really is dark, but Lauren says, “No, Bo. I’m yours.”
Bo says they have to go, but Lauren is going to stay with Evony. Lauren will doctor to Evony, since she was the one who made her so vulnerable and helpless in the first place. I’m really happy about this, because there was so much discussion about Lauren’s ethics and moral values over turning Evony human. Lauren redeems herself with this gesture.
Lauren says, “Get out of here, succubus. Destiny’s calling.”
Bo starts to leave but comes back for a kiss and some deep and meaningful eye contact. It seems like a promise, but maybe I just want it to be one.
Dyson argues with Kenzi about Bo’s heart. Kenzi says with the Fae it’s always a metaphor, a symbol. Kenzi says Bo needs her help. Dyson wants to go instead.
Kenzi says, “Dyson, she loves you. She loves Lauren. But you know it’s me.”
Kenzi says Rainer knew this had to happen. Now that Tamsin has his soul, the golden ticket to Valhalla, that’s where Tamsin will take her. That’s where she’ll wait. Kenzi wants to go out a warrior, in battle. And she’s thinking she may get to see Hale again if she does. She promises to wait for Bo in Valhalla.
There’s a burst of noise and energy. Bo clutches her chest and feels something in her pocket. It’s Kenzi’s – Kenzi slipped it there when she hugged her.
Kenzi smiles slightly, turns and walks through the battle in slo mo, into the mouth of the pyramid. Bo comes in and runs to stop her, just as Kenzi turns back for a last look. Dyson restrains Bo.
Kenzi steps into the pyramid. There’s a huge flash of light. Kenzi falls. The battle stops. The revenants drop to the floor. Tamsin runs to be beside the fallen Kenzi.
Dyson whispers, “Valhalla,” to Bo as Tamsin spreads her wings.
Bo watches Tamsin preparing to take Kenzi. The only sound we hear is Bo sobbing.
Tamsin bends and surrounds Kenzi with her wings. They vanish into the light.
Dyson finds Tamsin on the ground outside the gates to Valhalla. He helps her up.
Tamsin’s weak, crying. She says, “She’s gone.” Does this mean she’s not in Valhalla? Dyson says, “We’ll get her back.”
Tamsin says, “You can’t with the second hell shoe.” He has to carry her away.
The song “You” plays in the background for the rest of the episode. A perfect choice.
Bo drives to a cemetery. In a voice over she tells where Rainer is buried. Still in voice over, Bo talks about loss, about needing to be strong. She puts flowers in front of Kenzi’s grave. I don’t see why there’s a grave for Kenzi when the whole idea is to get her back from Valhalla.
“I miss you. I need your courage.” She has Kenzi’s ruby ring on a chain, which she wraps around her hand.
She stands in front of the grave and makes the speech which sets us up for season 5. Maybe this is why there’s a grave – to give Bo someplace to make these vows.
“I am done crying. I am done being scared. No one else will die on my watch. Whatever it takes, I will get you back. They want me to be afraid? It is them who should be afraid of me.”
I approve of this season finale in many ways. The one contingency is that Bo better get Kenzi back very early in season 5!
I like that Rainer and Massimo are gone. I like that Rainer turned out to be a good guy and Bo’s judgement wasn’t wrong. I like that the evil was stopped by Kenzi. I liked that Bo and Lauren seem back together. I like that Dyson and Tamsin are developing a different connection or deeper relationship. I like that Lauren stayed to help with Evony because she was responsible for making her weak. I like that Bo is no longer acting like she’s in a fog, but is clear and determined and sure of her power to be what she wants. I like that the hell shoes came back to be a factor in season 5.
Even though we finally got to some satisfaction in terms of a number of ongoing plot lines from season 4, I still wish season 4 hadn’t been so full of unending arcs and misdirection. But even more, I wish the characters, particularly Bo, weren’t so confused through most of the season.
A few threads stayed unraveled. We still don’t really know anything about Bo’s father. We don’t know what the blue butterfly was about. We don’t know how Lauren (and presumably Crystal) got out of that holding cell. We don’t know who snatched Lauren in Crystal’s car. We don’t know what the oozing black goo in the first episode was all about.
It’s interesting that Trick and Evony as Acting Ash and Morrigan did almost nothing to help save the Fae. A human saved them. Kenzi is the key. Every moment since Bo and Kenzi met in episode 1 of the first season has been leading up to this.
I know this is an ensemble cast and every player is wonderful in it, but Ksenia Solo set the TV ablaze with talent through all of season 4. Can we have her back in episode 1 of season 5, please?
I hope Showcase puts us out of our misery soon by announcing season 5! [Note: Since I wrote this, season 5 was confirmed.]
I often have a problem with films when the faces are unfamiliar. This applies to an awful lot of indie films I see. The problem is that I have trouble keeping track of who the characters are and what their contribution to the story is because I don’t recognize the faces. It makes it hard for me to keep everyone organized in my head.
I don’t blame this on the filmmakers or on the stories they are telling. It’s probably some brain glitch on my part that takes me a while to learn to distinguish faces. Slow synapses or some such.
Last night I watched a movie that had a whole lot of female characters. (How unusual for me!) Only the main character was an actress I’d seen and heard of before. And her face only looked identifiable from certain angles, because I hadn’t seen a lot of her. I couldn’t keep her interactions with all the other characters sorted because I had trouble remembering who everyone was. It’s not like watching August: Osage County, where every person on the screen is someone I’d seen dozens of times before.
The particular indie I saw last night was a good movie about a marriage gone stale, and I wanted to get more out of it.
I found a solution. I watched the film twice. The second time through I had better luck keeping track of who was who and what their particular part of the story meant in the overall scheme of things.
Now that I’ve discovered this trick, I will used it again on indie films with cast members I might not know so well (yet) and on foreign films with unfamiliar actors, too.
Do you have a trick for keeping the characters organized in your head when the faces are all unfamiliar to you?
The world has gone mad today
And good’s bad today,
And black’s white today,
And day’s night today
– Cole Porter
Cole Porter might have added “And trust’s not right today” to that song to fit what Bo in Lost Girl. She’s giving her trust – and her power – to the wrong people. People and things are not what they seem and nobody can figure out what to do about it except read old books.
And, damn it all, Hale is really dead. Dyson (Kris Holden-Ried) is delivering a eulogy at Hale’s funeral.
Bo (Anna Silk) and Tamsin (Rachel Skarsten) are seated to one side, Kenzi (Ksenia Solo) is by herself on the other.
Kenzi is more alone than ever, but this time she’s alone by choice. She chooses not to be near Bo. After everyone else leaves, Kenzi still sits there. Bo walks up.
Bo offers only platitudes. Her arms are crossed, she’s not there for Kenzi, even though she’s promising she will be.
Someone in a metal face mask and cape steps out of the brush. She (Casey Hudecki) removes her mask, bows before Bo and says she’s a knight in the order of Raina. Her name is Rosette.
Later, at the Dal, Rosette tells Bo that she’s in danger and that she is there to protect her Queen. She mentions a prophecy that with the death of the Una Mens the Pyrippus would rise. (The Showcase Blog recap of this episode is spelling this Per Apice, which they translate as dragon or The Apex. With all the horses everywhere in this episode the spelling Pyrippus, which is a bat-winged horse from hell, actually makes more sense.)
Rosette hands them a book that says Pyrippus will rise and seek out the succubus.
Kenzi is leaving the room and Bo follows, telling Rosette that she doesn’t give a shit about prophecies when her family is hurting.
Kenzi tells Bo that they have to get Massimo and kill him. Bo promises, “he will pay.”
Bo, Dyson, and Kenzi enter Massimo’s (Tim Rozon) rooms. He’s concocting something. Kenzi holds her bloody sword (Hale’s blood?) to his throat.
He tells them they have no idea what’s going on. He says Rainer is going to die, and soon. Massimo says when The Wanderer arises, another curse shall befall Rainer unless the curse is broken. Kenzi asks about the Twig of Zamorra and he mocks her pathetic human weakness. She shouts in frustration. Massimo whispers something in Dyson’s ear and Dyson says, “We can’t kill him yet.”
Apparently there are larger things at stake than revenge, but Kenzi’s not interested. She rails at Bo who promised her revenge. Bo says only that Massimo will suffer, Dyson will make sure of it. Kenzi says, “First you betray me. Then Dyson betrays me.” Bo shouts after her as she leaves, “We have to trust him.” Bo’s done a lot of trusting and not much independent thinking the last few episodes and it isn’t working out well so far.
Lauren (Zoie Palmer) digs through books in the Dark Fae library looking for anything she can find about Rainer. The ink isn’t even dry yet when she finds it. She reads, “Behold the beast: evil pure. Fanged teeth, horned. Him they call Rainer. A 1000 years shall be ended. He shall be unbound to wreck torment beyond comparison and betray the Fae.”
Lauren hears Evony (Emmanuelle Vaugier) talking to someone about wanting the succubus dead. Lauren grabs books and scrolls and heads off to warn Bo.
After she’s gone, we see that Evony is talking to Trick (Rick Howland). Trick doesn’t want to kill his granddaughter but he’s willing to work with Evony to try to figure out what to do with Rainer.
At the clubhouse, Tamsin pours through more old books. (Where is Anthony Steward Head when you need him?) Bo and Rainer (Kyle Schmid) are there. Rosette comes in and Rainer’s glad to see her. He praises her efforts to get him off the train. Rosette tells them that an alliance between Bo and Rainer would assure that the earthly curse was lifted and that Rainer would not die. Tamsin reads that if the first curse fails, a second will kill him within 7 days. He’s been here 6 days by Tamsin’s count.
The second curse can only be broken by blood. Since Trick cursed him, Bo thinks she has enough of Trick’s blood in her to break the second curse.
They need a clue: The Wanderer tarot card.
Bo burns the card and MMXV appears. 2015. They think it’s a time. Lauren comes in laden with books and says it could be map coordinates. Lauren asks to talk to Bo.
In the bedroom, Lauren shows Bo the image of The Wanderer in a book. Bo says it isn’t the guy in her kitchen, but personally, I see a resemblance.
Lauren reads, “The warrior shall escape his curse, the Valkyrie shall be reborn. The blood of Zamorran shall be spilled. The women of the horse shall rise. Between the warrior and the queen, one of the two shall die.”
Lauren wants to get Bo out of there, keep her safe. Bo wants to talk relationship. She says, “Why are you doing this? Are you with The Morrigan to get back at me?”
This isn’t a great time for a lover’s quarrel, but they have one. Lauren says she has isolated herself with the Dark to help Bo. “Everything that I do is for you!” Bo complains that Lauren didn’t tell her the truth. Lauren counters that Bo had to believe it if she was going to make The Morrigan believe it. Bo’s angry that Lauren’s rooting around in the Dark archives digging up shit on the man who is her destiny.
“So that’s it? You choose him?” asks Lauren. Bo says it’s not like that. “I chose you and you broke my heart.” They stand there a moment staring at each other, a pause that might have led to a moment of communication and understanding between them, but Rainer interrupts them. Lauren looks at Rainer, nods her head, her expression says she gets how it’s going to be.
Evony arrives home to find Lauren in her bed with wine already poured and seduction on her mind. Lauren tells Evony she wants to join the Dark – officially. Evony’s suspicious. Lauren’s convincing. Evony takes the bait.
Bo, Rainer and Rosette enter a spiritual center. There’s an image of a horse on the wall. Sister Epona (Eve Harlow) enters and asks them what they seek.
Bo gets the following info out of Sister Epona: the almighty horse will reign over life and death. Only the mighty will denote the worthy from the fallen. Then the Sister gets scared. She says Bo’s blood will destroy him (whoever him is) and he must be protected. He is Pyrippus. Then we learn that Pyrippus is Bo’s father.
Can’t say we haven’t seen that one coming for a while, but then there were several episodes when we thought Rainer was Bo’s father. With Lost Girl it’s hard to say you really know the answer to something, but we’re running out of season 4, so maybe this is the final answer.
Kenzi’s at the Dal, looking at a photo of her with Hale. She called Vex to meet her there. Bo has deserted her. Dyson has deserted her. She wants Vex to help her get revenge.
Vex loves the idea until he finds out the victim is Massimo. He’s conflicted on that one. He finally agrees to help if he can go in alone. Kenzi insists on being there.
Bo and Rainer discuss the situation in the clubhouse. Bo saw a horse in the dawning. It was in the room where her father was singing to her. Then she was haunted by a carousel.
She touches Rainer, believing in his goodness. Rosette reminds them that the prophecy says that an alliance between Bo and Rainer will release her father from his prison. Wow, she is a real Johnny One Note on this alliance thing, she brings it up every few minutes.
Bo can’t make a decision. If they align, Rainer will be saved but her father will be released. She keeps looking outside herself for a decision instead of listening to her own instincts, which has been her greatest strength for the previous 3 seasons. This season, Bo doesn’t seem to be in touch with herself or her instincts.
Vex lets Massimo out of a cell in Trick’s lair. Kenzi again is ready to run her sword through him. She wants the twig of Zamorra. Massimo says, “Vexie,” and Vex mesmers Kenzi’s sword out of her hand. Vex says, “I’m sorry love, but this hot mess is mine.” Massimo is his because Vex raised him when his mother abandoned him. Vex won’t kill Massimo, but he won’t let Massimo hurt Kenzi either.
Evony enjoys a loud orgasm, and Lauren crawls up from beneath the sheets.
They are both delighted with what they are doing, but for different reasons. Evony complains about the taste of salt. Lauren says, “You’re sweating. Good sex will do that.”
“Not to me,” says Evony. She sits up and says she feels weird.
Lauren is already dressing. She says, “You’ve been transformed. Welcome to my world. You’re 100% human.” Lauren used Evony’s DNA (Oh, an answer at last to Lauren’s DNA scheming.) to create a serum that transformed Evony.
“What serum?” says Evony.
“Forgotten already? It was only 20 minutes ago you were down there,” Lauren says. Bo’s been called Wonder Snatch and Sugar Snatch on this show. Now I give you Dr. Serum Snatch. She delivers humanity like an STD. Take your medicine, ah, that’s good.
Only on Lost Girl do you get hilarious plot points like this! Now that Evony’s lost her powers, maybe she can get work doing public service announcements about dental dams.
Evony makes snide remarks about Bo’s weakness for humans and Lauren slaps her hard enough to make her nose bleed. She takes some of the blood and puts it into a device attached to her phone to analyze it.
Bo seeks advice from Dyson and Tamsin. They don’t have much advice, but Dyson has a scroll from Hale’s family with the Zamorran family code.
As they look at the scroll, a new line appears on it about reuniting with the Queen. On the back is a crest from the Order of the Knights of Reina. It means loyalty to their Queen.
Tamsin says, “Not just their Queen. THE Queen.” She points to a bee in the crest. The Queen Bee. They think Bo is the Queen. Queen doesn’t just mean their queen. It means Bo is the one.
When Bo went all powerful and sucked the chi out of a whole room in a couple of past episodes, she announced herself that she was the one. This is the first time it’s been mentioned when she wasn’t doing one of her power sucks.
Massimo is packing a bag: Valkryie hair, small box, vial of something. Vex thinks they’re headed for England to lay low for a while. Massimo wants to finish what he started. Massimo’s phone rings.
Evony is dressing when Massimo enters her bedroom. She’s angry it took him so long to get there. Yet she gives him a kiss, hugs him. Makes soothing noises.
Evony complains of feeling strange and wants to know if Massimo brought her a cure for being human. She inspects his bag: shitty ass rosemary, some blonde extension, bad Barbie rattan furniture. She throws it at him. He picks up the rattan box and says he has something fantastic. She curses and humiliates him. He says, “Stop it mother!” just as Lauren appears. Lauren’s a bit shocked by the “mother” remark, as am I.
I must pause to pay homage to the brilliant deconstruction of all things Lost Girl by bloggers like Mehlsbells and Drinks at the Dal, who figured out long ago that Evony was Massimo’s mother, that Massimo was the one who took the origin seed, and a whole lot of other stuff that I didn’t analyze to their depth.
Bo, Rainer and Rosette enter a sanctuary where women worship an image of Pyrippus and there are statues of horses all around. Bo touches each horse while Sister Epona blathers about destiny. Bo finds a horse that alerts her spidey senses somehow. Inside is a leather thingy. That and a remark about hand fasting make Bo think that she and Rainer are supposed to get married.
Before anybody gets hitched, Bo goes home. Kenzi’s torn the photo of herself and Hale in two. Kenzi reads to Bo from another old book. “One with eyes both brown and blue. One who shifts. A Valkyrie, too. One with blood that rules the world. One who sings, his life unfurled. A warrior to be her guide. A healer always by her side.” Kenzi says everyone is in there except the weak human girl.
I would argue that Kenzi is the warrior to be Bo’s guide, but Kenzi’s not seeing it that way. And if she is the warrior, one of the other in the multitude of prophecies in this episode – in the book Lauren was reading – said that either the succubus or the warrior would die. No dying for Kenzi, please. No. No. No.
Kenze asks Bo to unclaim her.
Bo doesn’t want to unclaim Kenzi. They both show so much emotion and pain in this scene. Anna Silk and Ksenia Solo are at their best when they are together and this scene is powerful proof of that dynamic. Kenzi insists. Finally Bo unclaims her. As Kenzi walks out the door she says, “We’re done.”
Even though she’s limited by being human, Evony has somehow put Lauren and Massimo in a dungeon. Massimo is screaming, acting crazy, yelling about hating his mother. And loving her.
Massimo takes the origin seed out of the little rattan box and eats it. Lauren watches in horror as he begins to transform and falls on the floor in agony.
Bo and Rainer meet in front of some flaming logs, with Rosette looking on. Bo agrees to bind with him to save his life and face her father on her own terms.
Bo says it isn’t about love, it’s about what’s best for her family. Rosette quotes some Latin, they hold the leather thing from the horse, and they are bound, or married, or something. Can someone translate the Latin and explain what these two just agreed to?
Rosette laughs crazily and says, “Bo will rise with the Wanderer as her companion and together they will release the Lord of Darkness. The Dark Lord rises from hel.” (A bit of exposition from Rainer here explains that hel is the mirror of Valhalla.) Rainer says Rosette betrayed him. Rosette is expecting to be rewarded by The Wanderer for binding Bo and Rainer, but instead she is somehow force marched into the fire.
Kudos to the special effects people, the shots of her burning up are very well done.
As Rosette screams in the fire, both Bo and Rainer clutch their chests where their “marks” are. Bo asks, “What have we done?”
A pyramid looking construction in a dark room fills with light and power and the door explodes outward.
MMXV is the year 2015, in which we will enjoy season 5 of Lost Girl. Oh, there I go indulging in wishful thinking again.
After 12 episodes of misdirection, confusion, lost characters who aren’t the same characters we grew to love in 3 previous seasons, and unresolved story lines that feel endless, I concluded this: I like shorter story arcs and less mystery about what’s actually going on. I don’t want predictable or formulaic, but I don’t want 13 episodes of questioning and obfuscation either.
Lauren has somehow remained Lauren through all of season 4. I love her more than ever for her steadfastness.
Ksenia Solo is an amazing actress. Give that woman some awards.
Rainer is Mr. No Personality. If he’s so damn important, why is he a cipher? Plus, shouldn’t Bo have made him release her from being Dark Fae by now?
I was all wrong about what Lauren was doing with the DNA. I thought she’d find a way to turn herself and Kenzi Fae. Instead she made The Morrigan human. That caught me by surprise. The way she did it was so perfectly apt for this show and so funny at the same time. Great plot twist.
Kenzi unclaimed and gone. That’s the worst thing ever. There is making up to do among many characters on this show, but Bo and Kenzi in particular have to find their way back. Is there a Lost Girl support group that will come by and hold the fans until Bo and Kenzi are back?
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Beauty in Truth, a film by Pratibha Parmar, is a documentary about American writer and activist Alice Walker.
Predisposed to love it would be a good description of my attitude toward the film. I’m a lifelong admirer of Alice Walker. I have a tendency to finish her books and turn back to page 1 and start reading again. She’s an extraordinary soul – a beautiful soul – who has given so much to the planet. I respect her, I value her brilliance, I see so much wisdom and spiritual guidance in work. Her life is an inspiration.
Everyone should see Beauty in Truth. Everyone who is cares about American history. Everyone who cares about justice anywhere on the planet. Everyone with an interest in writing and storytelling.
Indeed, my recommendation of the film is enthusiastic and heartfelt.
Pratibha Parmar wrote, directed and produced the film. She first worked with Alice Walker after the release of Possessing the Secret of Joy, Walker’s novel about female genital mutilation. The Beauty in Truth website explains,
1993 Pratibha released her most challenging film Warrior Marks, which documented female genital mutilation at a time when the subject was taboo globally. This award-winning documentary was made in collaboration with the Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Alice Walker. Parmar and Walker collaborated on the book Warrior Marks – Female Genital Mutilation and the Sexual Blinding of Women, which documented the making of the film.
Beauty in Truth documents Alice Walker’s life from her upbringing in rural Georgia to the present day. It uses interviews, conversations with Alice, quotations from her poems and books, historical video footage, news reports and video and personal images supplied by Alice Walker to create the story of a writer and activist who is known worldwide.
The particularities and struggles of Alice Walker’s life reflect with universal truth on the Civil Rights Movement, on the women’s movement, on the gay rights movement, and movements for justice all around the globe. Her struggles and the reaction of the American people to them are not just a story about her but a story about the American character. Her writing and her activism create change that affects us all.
Alice Walker has been honored as a writer with a Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award for The Color Purple as well as numerous other awards and honors for her writing and humanitarianism. This film honors the life she’s lived as a human being with an ability to understand and speak for truth and justice.
The film is available for streaming on PBS if you act soon. A screening schedule is available on the film website, and the film can be booked for showing in schools. (PBS LearningMedia provides four video-based educational components are available for teachers of grades 9-12 to download for free. University level instructors can sign up to be notified when materials for their level are available. Instructions are on the website.)
Other People’s Opinions: A Few Reactions from Twitter
I saw quite a few tweets about the film when it first aired on PBS last week. I thought you might be interested in the reactions of a few other people as well.