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‘Lost Girl’ Talk: Emily Andras on “In Memoriam”

In the first of a weekly 'TV Guide Canada' exclusive series, the showrunner reflects on 'Lost Girl's Season 4 premiere, including the Kenzi/Dyson/Hale dance, George Takei and Faejiji.
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Emily Gagne, November 10, 2013 11:05:41 PM

Hey, Lost Girl fans! It’s one of your own, Emily Gagne, here to welcome you to very first instalment of what I’m calling “Lost Girl Talk”! 

Starting today and continuing through the course of Season 4, I’m going to host TV Guide Canada’s exclusive postmortem Q&As with Lost Girl showrunner Emily Andras. Yes, Andras has agreed to speak to us about each and every episode of Season 4 after it airs. We’ll suss out the details of each individual instalment, and the other Emily will offer you guys mini-teases as to what’s coming up next. 

So, without further ado, let’s kick things off with our Q&A on Sunday’s awesome, but not all that Bo-dacious season premiere, “In Memoriam!”

TV Guide Canada: First off, let me say, what a great start to the season. You gave us a dance menage with Kenzi, Dyson and Hale!
Emily Andras: Thank you. It was amazing!

I have to say, Ksenia Solo has had oodles of dance training. She was in Black Swan and trained for months and months. And the choreographer, Nikita Kaminsky, is, I believe, a former ballroom champion at the tango.

And I have to give credit to the guys cause they had never danced before — ever! So, we sort of said, ‘OK, guys. You have lots of notice on this; it really needs to look good.’ Ksenia and her Nikita really put the fear of god in KC and Kris, but I was so proud of them. I honestly had tears in my eyes watching them film it because it’s really hard to do a routine like that. It’s like Dancing With the Stars quality, a full four minutes. It’s like a figure skating routine — really grueling athletically — and they did it again and again and again and it was phenomenal.

So yeah, it was pretty fun and I hope the fans liked it!

TVG: On a more serious note, can you talk about conceptualizing “In Memoriam,” an episode devoid of the girl of Lost Girl and everyone’s memories of her?
EA: We had a real challenge once we knew the lovely Anna Silk was pregnant. But we also sort of had this blessing in disguise in that we had always planned for Bo to disappear at the end of Season 3.

Coming into the final of Season 3, Anna let us know that she was pregnant. It was very, very timely — I think it was almost the second-last day of filming — so, we knew we were going to have to make amends for it and we were very happy to do that. I’m a mom, we have a very supportive network, we’re a really female-friendly show, so we really wanted to put our money where our mouth is in supporting her choice to be a mom and giving her the time that she needed.

I feel that this was an episode we could only do in Season 4 because the rest of the cast is so strong. It’s really become an ensemble show where we really know everyone’s strengths and weaknesses. That being said, we really, really miss Bo on screen and we really, really missed Anna off screen. I mean, she’s just such a classy leader on set — we love her!

But the key to a premiere, I think, is you don’t want it to just feel like Season 3, Episode 14. You have to kind of reboot the whole season. Someone much smarter than me said once, ‘A premiere should really encapsulate what the whole season is going to be about,’ as well as trying to satisfy fans’ expectations and picking up cliffhangers and what not, while not alienating potential new viewers. But we just wanted to do something that kept the fans guessing, that subverted their expectations. What if we had a chance to do It’s a Wonderful Life without Bo? What if Bo never existed? What would that look like? Would Kenzi be a little bit harder, more of the street kid we met in Season 1? What would Dyson look like without love? Even Hale was a little bit more brittle.

It was just a fun place to get to once we had that nugget — that we’d just take away everyone’s memory of Bo. It really freed us up to write a real fantasy, fun episode, which I loved. And everyone really rose to the challenge in Anna’s absence, I thought.

TVG: Yeah, definitely! Especially Ksenia. She really was the centre of the episode.
EA: It was amazing and she was happy to do it. Everyone really, really missed Anna, but it was such a joy to have a chance to highlight these other characters.

TVG: Was their a particular character you found most enjoyable to write sans Bo?
EA: I love Kenzi. I don’t even make a secret of it. I just think she’s such a fun character — she’s so witty and real and emotional. And I love the fact that she’s so brave and principled, even though, on some level, she’s the character with both the most to lose and the least amount of resources. I mean, she’s human!

I just love making her the centre of things. I think she kind of speaks for the audience because she’s the human coming into the Fae world and being like, ‘WTF is going with these crazy people?’ She, for me, has always been kind of an entrance to express how a lot of people would truly react if they had to deal with these crazy Bigfoots and leprechauns and what not. So, I was really happy to make Kenzi the centre of the premiere.

But again, I really want to say on the record that you miss Bo! It really makes you realize the warmth of the character of Bo and what heart she brings to the rest of the gang. If you take her away, there’s this sense of everybody losing their, for lack of a better word, charm and humanity. Everyone’s a little bit harder, a little bit sharper, a little more brutal. You really see what Bo has done to unite these people, to give them a purpose.

TVG: It really reminded me of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode “The Wish,” where we saw what Sunnydale would have been like without Buffy. Did you take any inspiration from that?
EA: Which one is “The Wish”? Is it the one where they all forget who they are?

TVG: No, that’s “Tabula Rasa” — sorry, I’m a huge Buffy nerd. But “The Wish” is the one in Season 3…
EA: Oh, where Cordelia wishes her away!

I love that episode, but hand to God, I did not, personally, think of that episode when I was writing this one.  It’s A Wonderful Life episodes are kind of a TV trope, and certainly “The Wish” was kind of funny in that it was a lot darker than this one. Cordelia dies. She’s the one who made the wish and she gets killed by vampires!

It’s so hard with Buffy. Everything you do it’s like, ‘Goddamn you, Buffy!’ But I think I was just truly more interested in a way we could do an episode without Bo. It really came from a more practical sort of standpoint. How can we do an episode without our Lost Girl that doesn’t seem forced? We needed something to ground it, to make it more fun.

It’s really important to me to have a fun premiere. I like to ramp up to my angst, which we will have plenty of this season. But our fans are so excited and so loyal that it’s nice to come back to something a little more jovial. Still with lots of stakes and everything, though.

TVG: It certainly was a lot of fun, especially with [guest star] George Takei in the mix. How did he react when you told him he was going to play a sassy half-snake with a pseudo-lisp?
EA: [Laughs] He was like, ‘Baby, it’s the role I was born to play! Set phasers to stunning!’ Which is what I said, I swear to God, at his costume fitting.

But George Takei is basically my favourite person in the world. He is so lovely and enthusiastic, but also so grateful and professional. He was game for anything.

To be frank, I don’t know how familiar he was with Lost Girl before he showed up. I mean, he did his research, but I don’t think he was a super fan. I’m sure he will be now, but he had a lot serious questions because he has a theatrical background. He was like, ‘Tell me about the Fae. Tell me about my character.’

But he’s such trooper. Obviously there were special effects where he was half-snake, so we just had George Takei walking around on set with green leggings for like 12 hours. You know, just having his coffee in his green leggings. Very L.A. [Laughs]

I kind of told this story before, but it was gratifying. We have a lot of sort of wizened, jaded professionals on our crew. But everyone got a little bit giddy when George Takei was on set. I mean, it was Sulu, man! Sulu was on set! In his green leggings, looking phenomenal. And of course, he wanted to say his signature line, ‘Oh my!’ And when you bring George Takei on the set, you’re not necessarily going to go for subtlety. So, we were quite happy to accommodate that. And he really worked well with Kenzi. They were perfect foils.

TVG: We also got to see a little bit of Mia Kirshner’s Cleo. Is she going to be back soon?
EA: Mmm hmm she’s going to be back! We really love Mia’s take on the character.

Cleo’s a bit of a party girl, a little bit ditzy. But as always on Lost Girl, people are not always as they initially appear. So, she’ll definitely back and has a big role to play in the next couple of episodes….

TVG: Now for a specific question. Kenzi, Dyson and Aife were at a diner at one point. Was that the Lakeview in Toronto?
EA: It was! And you know what? It was a bit of a tribute to the same diner that Kenzi and Bo went to in the premiere, the very first episode. It’s actually supposed to be mirroring the scene in the pilot where Kenzi kind of takes Bo and says, ‘What are you? Are you an alien? Are you a vampire?’ We even cast the same actress as the waitress!

So, we had a lot of fun with that and it was a gift to our über-fans. And those people there at the Lakeview are lovely.

TVG: In the last shot of the episode, we saw Bo finally. Does that mean we’re going to see more of her in Episode 2? Or are we going to have to wait a little longer?
EA: We’re definitely going to see more of people who were missing full stop in Episode 2 and 3. We saw a couple people in the end and people were talked about who maybe were absent.

But, Bo is definitely now aware. At the same moment everybody got their memory back, something was obvious triggered in Bo wherever she is. And you know, you can’t keep a good succubus down. So, she’ll be back!

TVG: Turning back to you for a second, what was your Fae-vourite moment of the episode?
EA: I was covering my eyes during the Dyson/Kenzi kiss! Cause you know, those two are really good friends and it’s definitely going to be controversial. I think they have a very big brother, little sister relationship, but they do have chemistry. I couldn’t believe how hot it was, to be honest. I was like, ‘Oh my god, oh my god! How are we doing this?’

But as I said, I was just really moved by the tango. I knew how hard those actors had worked at it. And you know, the crew and the director and everybody went full-out to make sure it looked really professional and really beautiful. So often as a writer you have a huge, Boardwalk Empire scene in your mind and it’s really Canadian on screen. But the tango really exceeded my expectations. It was sort of wonderful and something we hadn’t done before.

I also really like when Trick and Aife meet up. Cause we haven’t seen them meet up for four seasons. I thought that was a nice little gift — to see him so close to redemption with her and then it so quickly getting stolen away.

TVG: Final question. Does Faejiji really exist?
EA: [Laughs] I’m sure it does! Where else are you going to get your mermaid egg or kibble to feed your griffin?

 

Lost Girl airs Sundays at 10 p.m. ET on Showcase.

Thoughts? Questions about Season 4? Leave ‘em below and be sure to check in this time next week for our postmortem chat on “Sleeping Beauty School.”

 

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