[DO NOT READ IF YOU HAVE NOT SEEN “LIKE HELL, PART 1”! IF YOU HAVE SEEN IT, DIG IN!]
Welcome back to Lost Girl Talk, Faenatics! It’s Emily Gagne, formerly of TV Guide Canada, here and ready to give you your weekly dose of Lost Girl post-show interview action once again!
For those new to Lost Girl Talk, which I started with the help of Emily Andras in Season 4, the concept is simple: every week I will interview new showrunner Michael Grassi about what went down in Sunday’s episode and I will publish his answers immediately after the show (so around 10 p.m. ET). The point is not only to talk about the bigger points of the season (i.e. major plot twists or–premature sob!–deaths), but also the spoilery specifics of each individual episode, including particularly memorable one-liners or monologues, behind-the-scenes secrets, how to read the sexual tension between Bo and [Insert Your Choice Shipmate Here] and what it all means for what’s coming next.
So now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s kick off our first Cinefilles-sponsored instalment of Lost Girl Talk with! Head below for talk of the return of our beloved Lil’ Mama, the look of the hellshoes and who we should be most worried about going into “Like Hell, Part 2” next week.
First off, I just want to welcome you, Michael, to Lost Girl Talk! How has it been transiting from writer and producer to running the whole damn show now?
Michael Grassi: Well, thank you for welcoming me to Lost Girl Talk! I’m a big fan of what you do. I laughed out loud reading a lot of your interviews with Emily last year.
And as far as transitioning to the show, the crew, cast, Vanessa Piazza, the executive producers and everyone who works on the show is just so talented. I’m just so lucky to get to work to work with these amazing talents and play in this incredible world.
Did Emily give you any advice on taking over the role before she left it?
MG: Emily is and has been a mentor of mine in the industry for a very long time. I’m really grateful for everything she’s given me. She’s such a power and a force. Coming into the show and sort of writing to the world that Michelle Lovretta created and the amazing voice that Emily and Michelle brought, I had big shoes to fill.
Did you and Vanessa have a motto or maybe a key word you kept in mind going into Season 5 that became your basis for everything?
MG: We really wanted to refresh and renew the Lost Girl world. One of the key things was getting back Lost Girl basics and a big part of that is Bo and getting back to clear-headed, kickass Bo that we know and love. That was one of our big mandates.
Another one of the big mandates was opening up the world a little bit. You know, exploring new worlds and later on in the season, we’ll get to some human worlds as well and see how Fae and humans interact and how that was such a big part of Seasons 1 and 2.
Moving right into the episode, we left Season 4 with Tamsin being like, “Hell no, Bo cannot get that second hellshoe!” and then the opening scene of this season was Bo getting that hellshoe and, effectively, giving herself a pass to Valhalla. Was her finding it something you always planned to have happen so soon, or something you eventually decided had happen off the bat because it would be a catalyst for what had to go down the rest of the season?
MG: We always knew that we wanted Valhalla to be a scary place for Tamsin to go to, but we didn’t know why. I think one of the big expectations of the audience was “We’re going to a really scary place!” But it’s not necessarily an actually scary place. It’s just scary because of the things that happen to Tamsin when she goes there. So, it was sort of part of the plan, but when we started breaking Season 5 and started talking about the opener, we started to explore the twists and turns within that.
And the second hellshoe and getting it was always just going to be the tip of the iceberg?
MG: Yeah! Finding the hellshoe would just allow Bo to go to Valhalla.
Also when we open up that teaser, it just shows how far Bo is willing to go and the risks she’s willing to take to get Kenzi back. In a weird way, it’s also a callback to the very first teaser in Season 1 where Bo is saving Kenzi from a potential rapist. All the way in Season 5, we’re opening up on Bo saving Kenzi but in a whole different way.
It was also an opportunity for us, for Bo, to explore her group-suck abilities, which may play into the season….
When did you decide that you were actually going to bring Kenzi back in the premiere, as opposed to making finding her a season-long arc and sort of roaring, ongoing rampage of revenge for Bo?
MG: In terms of Bo’s journey, if she was doing anything other than finding Kenzi, I think we would not feel for her as much. When we all came into the brainstorm, we were all like, ‘We want Bo to get Kenzi!’ It was important for her to be driven and going to whatever length it takes to get to her. And I think off-screen between when Season 5 starts and Season 4 ends, Bo literally went everywhere for that hellshoe and we just open up on her finding it.
How much should we read into Kenzi having said that she’d “do anything” to see Hale and have her life back to “normal” again? What else can she do for him–or Bo, or anyone–now that she’s literally sacrificed herself? What else does she have left in her?
MG: I think she would like to see Hale again, but I don’t think she’d go to any lengths, or be willing to die again, to see him. I think, as she said at the end of the episode, it’s not her time to be dead and that she wants to be alive.
I think what’s really interesting about Kenzi’s return is that we find her in a place of denial. She’s in Valhalla waiting for Bo, but she’s being treated like a warrior, like the warrior that she is. She belongs in Valhalla. She belongs in Heaven. But Kenzi, with her troubled past, doesn’t think that she deserves this eternal happiness that she’s found. It’s an interesting place for Bo to find her and Bo has to remind her that she does deserve this happiness.
We left Kenzi in a tough place, as she was seen buried under ground in that beautiful dress. But should we have some hope in the fact that we did see Bo put her dagger on her leg?
MG: Well, let’s keep our fingers crossed!
There seemed to be a lot of movie references in this episode, which you actually wrote. There was the Shining reference with Tamsin and the axe, obviously. But was that mention of the gymnasts in the bus crash in any way a slight reference to Beetlejuice?
MG: Yes, absolutely! Lost Girl is such a fun show that you get to reference so much. The way we sort of thought of this episode as “Lost Girl Checks into the Afterlife Hotel” and Tamsin goes full Shining in it. Within that, we found lots of other fun references.
I definitely got the Beetlejuice afterlife realm vibe and the overt Shining stuff, but I also seeing Kenzi in the coffin reminded me of Kill Bill, Vol. 2.
MG: Yes! That’s something we talked about for sure!
I kind of consider Bo as sort of being this The Bride type in this season as she’s going to the end of the Earth to set things right as she sees them. Would you agree?
MG: It’s interesting you mention Kill Bill because there’s an upcoming episode that references that as well…
Ooh! Going back to Valhalla and that setting, was that indeed the Royal York hotel you shot the lobby scenes in? And more importantly, can you stay in the Kenzi room?
MG: That was the Royal York hotel! Our amazing lighting team and our DOP, Craig, and our director, Paolo, really brought it to life and gave it this real afterlife quality. It’s just for nice for Lost Girl, where we’re often in dark caves, to open up our universe to this otherwordly realm.
And is Kenzi’s room a place I’d like to stay in? Was that the question? [Laughs]
No, no, no. [Laughs] Can you stay in that room? Is that room in the Royal York, or did you create it on set?
MG: That was built on our set by the amazing Kim Karon.
Now, we only saw Lauren and Dyson for a little bit, but going on what happened, I’m guessing they’re next on the hit list for Valhalla’s collections agency. Should we be particularly worried for these two at this point in the season?
MG: Listen, this is Lost Girl, so I think you should be extremely worried for everyone at all times! [Laughs] But people will be coming for them in different ways. I think what they did in opening that gate is cross a line in terms of Valkyrie mythology.
We heard Lauren tell Tamsin that they’ve all made sacrifices, except for her. Would you say that’s a telling statement in terms of Tamsin’s future and what those two are going to go through this year?
MG: Absolutely. I think Tamsin and Lauren are so different and their approaches to things are so different. This season will be a season where we get to see them interact more and we get to see them clash.
In terms of Tamsin’s drive this season, I think she has one last chance at everything and I think she’s going to make the most of it.
We also heard Tamsin talk about family and Bo and Co. being a part of hers. How important would you say the ties and bonds of family, whether Fae or not, plays into this season’s overall arc?
MG: One of Lost Girl‘s main themes has always been family, but I would say that the main driving force of Season 5 is, in many ways, family. I think as the episodes progress you’ll see why and how that changes.
What can you tell me about “Like Hell, Part 2” and what we can anticipate from it?
MG: Oh my goodness. I would just say things are about to get scarier. This past episode is sort of the closest we’ve ever gotten to Bo’s dad, with him being on the other side of that phone call. We’re about to get a little bit closer.
So, Bo’s going closer in that elevator and we’re going to follow her?
MG: Exactly. It’s interesting because the first two episodes explore a network of after-realms. It’s not just Heaven and Hell. It’s Valhalla and Heaven and more. Tune in next week for some surprises in terms of where Bo goes next!
Anything else you want to add about this episode or preview for the season?
MG: Well, you didn’t ask me why the hellshoes were so ugly!
[Laughs] Well, I mean, I didn’t want to offend…
MG: I really just want to address the hellshoes! [Laughs]
Well then, let’s do it!
MG: There were expectations as to what the hellshoes would look like and if they’d be these beautiful shoes. We talked about them in the room a bit and when we made our choice, we decided to go Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. Sort of like these are the Holy Grail of shoes, the most basic, and what’s special about them is their capabilities.
Well, and in a way they become beautiful as they meld into Bo’s feet!
MG: [Laughs] Yeah! Now they’re sort of a part of Bo and who knows when they’ll come up again…
Head back to Cinefilles next week for our post-show Q&A with Michael re: “Like Hell, Part 2”. And don’t forget to catch Lost Girl Sundays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on Showcase.