By John Keegan and Paul Pearson
"School's Out" has all the hallmarks of a typical case-of-the-week episode. There are some undercover shenanigans, red herrings and blatant allegories, and were it not for a very humorous, light-hearted approach to the material this episode would've dropped into the lower percentile of average like a wet stone. As is, it winds up being the good kind of typical "Lost Girl" fare, which is welcome in a very inconsistent season.
When high school students start going on strangely intelligent rants and then falling into comas, Dyson asks Bo and Kenzi's help to go undercover in the school and root out the cause, which later turns out to be a Fae culprit. Lauren assists the group in figuring out how this sickness is spreading, reuniting most of Team Bo for a gold old-fashioned investigation that takes all their respective strengths and skills to solve. Not for the first time this season, it's been a throwback to how season one episodes were put together, and again it's proved to have a stabilising effect.
Where this episode shines is the comedic touches that start with Ryan's unusual hiding place and continue once everyone goes undercover. Bo is so hopelessly out of her element as a teacher that it gets into a very British cringe-humour territory. Dyson gets to show his funny side again (albeit in a toned down way) posing as the guidance councillor and doing his best not to snap at the multitude of teenage problems he's forced to listen to. The snarky comments are great, but what sells it is Kris Holden-Reid's constant expression of "please, for the love of Fae, give me some kind of big monster to fight".
As expected, it's Kenzi who dominates the comedy side of things. Her opponents may have been stereotypical and clichéd, but that just made it all the more fun when she ran afoul of the Heathers-esque clique. The entire episode could've been Kenzi snarking her way through a senior class but halfway through the episode she gets a different kind of comedic material to chew on. Even though it managed to be a serious plot development, it didn't detract from the joy of Ksenia Solo getting to say and do some very un-Kenzi things at breakneck speed.
To give the writers credit, they tried to surround this comedic A-story by exploring a couple of the show's big relationships -- Bo and Ryan, and Lauren and Nadia -- but exploring is a far cry from developing. Both Bo and Lauren titter on the edge of doing something important, something that'd shake up their dynamics, but they both are convinced to back off and things remain status quo by the end of the episode.
That said, the audience comes away with new impressions of our main characters' significant others. Viewers start to see why Nadia is so alluring, but Ryan, while continuing to provide a valid counterargument to the "Dark is evil" debate, is becoming more of a tool with each episode. The charm and chemistry of his introduction are being whittled away and it's sad to see a really interesting character story break down this way.
It's a fun episode, that's for sure, and fun is the sweet spot that "Lost Girl" needs to hit to keep viewers engaged. But it's not something that adds to the characters or the mythology except in the most insignificant of ways. It's not a must-watch, but it's worth the time.John Keegan is Editor-in-Chief for Critical Myth, a partner site of SciFi Vision. Paul Pearson is Critical Myth's reviewer for Lost Girl.