By John Keegan and Paul Pearson
Following last episode's stellar effort was always going to be a feat. Sadly, "Raging Fae" doesn't manage to rise to the occasion, but that's as much because the show decided to take a different tactic with this episode and create a smaller, more character-centric instalment that delivers a solid A-story and some of the best writing and acting we've seen yet for Bo.
"Raging Fae" sees Bo take on the case of investigating an underground Fae fighting ring, specifically the one human competitor, Mike, who is somehow able to take down superhuman opponents without any discernible abilities of his own. To get close to the key players, Bo joins up as one of the fighters and has to take on others of her kind while unravelling the mysteries surrounding Mike. The fighting ring plotline isn't a new one, especially with shows that have an emphasis on fisticuffs or a particularly badass character in the cast, but writers give it just enough oomph and enough mystery that the audience isn't left wanting.
Some of the fights are quite fun to watch, and some of them smack of bad choreography, and the final showdown between Bo and one of the other fighters was like some gloriously awesome succubi take on the Indy vs. swordsman showdown. It also had some movement on the Bo/Dyson plotline, and while the shippers aren't going to be thrilled, it's nice that the dynamic isn't being left in some static place.
The real meat of the episode comes through in what begins as a B-story, when a woman named Mel is seen shadowing Bo and then later confronts Kenzi about her roommate's past. This aspect of Bo's backstory had been touched on, but never with more than a passing line to explain why she lived the way she did before meeting up with Kenzi and joining the Fae. The writers use Mel to dig into this incident; not the act itself, which was relatively simple, but the effect it had on Bo and her personality. The audience is again reminded that Bo is worthy to be the protagonist of this show because unlike most of the Fae, she feels an empathy and kindness towards them.
She appreciates how great an average person can be and mourns the loss of even one, which is a moral standing even the heroic Fae like Dyson and Hale can't quite claim. And it leads into what's easily the best performance Anna Silk has given yet when she tries to explain things to Lauren. What makes this storyline better still is that it folds into the A-story, and Bo has to achieve resolution in one to solve the other. It's tighter story writing than we usually see on "Lost Girl" and though it doesn't quite hit the dramatic and comedic highs of the previous episode, it's quite fantastic.
There are also a few brief touches on the myth arc of season 2. Lachlan has been much more of a fixture in the show than the previous Ash, whether on-screen or off: he's constantly being mentioned, both as a source of influence and authority, and the reactions of other characters almost do as much to build the sense of power around him as the work of the actor, Vincent Walsh. And as with the previous installment, the episode ends on a tantalising scene with Lachlan as he continues to suggest that nothing's quite as much of a threat to the Light Fae as the man now in charge.
As has been said, topping the bodyswap shenanigans was a next-to-impossible task but "Raging Fae" doesn't feel like it's trying to compete. It's telling a different sort of story, getting deeper into Bo as a character than we normally do (even last episode's introspective moments were about Kenzi or Dyson more than our heroine), and even though season 2's success rate has been about 50/50, this episode goes a long way to proving that when "Lost Girl" is really firing on all cylinders, it's great TV.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.