By John Keegan and Paul Pearson
Not for the first time, an episode of "Lost Girl" has a thin, forgettable A-story and builds much more interesting character beats and arcs around it -- but unfortunately, this episode's A-story was following up on the Lauren and Lachlan beats of the previous episode and the cliffhanger that seemed, at the time, to promise a dramatic turn of events for all characters involved.
The A-story in questions sees Bo dispatched to Madagascar and the Congo on a fetch quest by Lachlan, who has learned from the archived records that the previous Ash was responsible for cursing Nadia. To remove the curse, Bo has to make a deal with the shaman who cursed Nadia in the first place and enlists Dyson and Trick to help. The problem with all of this is that it doesn't feel like a strong enough sequence of events for the entire story to hang off. It's an act break's worth of plot at best, stretched out by cryptic dialogue and a side-quest that felt even more pointless. Audiences will get halfway through the running time and think "Wait, really? We're going to do this for the whole episode?" and there's no surer sign of muddled writing. And those hoping that Bo and Dyson off on a mission together will be a chance for interesting character moments will also be sorely disappointed.
The saving grace comes at the character beats that happen around the fringes. Though the fetch quest is unengaging, there's an interesting back-and-forth surrounding it between Lachlan and Lauren, a continuation of what audiences saw in the previous episode. At first it seems like the writers have backpedalled on Lachlan's intentions and the menacing, intriguing vibe he's been giving off up to this point by having him start off helpful and accommodating to the woman who started the episode locked in a cell, but by the end one can see how the character has spun a web around Lauren and the other characters to get exactly what he wants. Similarly, the suggestion that it was the previous Ash who cursed Nadia seemed like an obvious target of scepticism, even when the shaman confirmed it, and it seemed like a shoddy write-around until, again, the end of the episode when it starts to seem like audiences are supposed to have been put off by the claim.
The other big subplot of the episode involved Kenzi trying to plan a surprise party for Bo, and it says something bad that this tired and trope-tastic idea was far more interesting than what Bo was doing for the majority of the episode. There were all kind of fun moments with Kenzi freaking out over the party, and any scene that pairs her with Hale is sure to be a hoot, but things get a little more serious, albeit in an incredibly sudden fashion, with the appearance of Nate. Seeing Kenzi so flustered and learning more little details about her childhood was new and interesting, and TV guest-star veteran Aaron Ashmore has a suitably low-key charm and good chemistry with Knesia Solo that helps sells this budding new relationship in the tiny sliver of time that the episode gives us to buy it.
The climax of the party subplot also winds up being the more interesting of the two stories, as the appearance of Nate and some other new characters that carry over from the A-story, plus some interesting behaviour on the part of Trick, make for a wonderful character moment for Bo and another chance for Anna Silk to prove she's not just a pretty face (though she is that too).
There are some definite moments of character and humour and all the little things that make "Lost Girl" a show well-worth watching, but they were all too few and those weaknesses were compounded by the fact it wasn't just a monster-of-the-week storyline, it was a continuation of a big plot and character arc that's been building across the second season. That particular story doesn't seem to be over just yet, but hopefully the writers will lift their game before having another crack at it.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.