It Still Stings: Tamsin Deserved Better from Lost Girl’s Final Season

TV Features Lost Girl
It Still Stings: Tamsin Deserved Better from Lost Girl’s Final Season

Editor’s Note: TV moves on, but we haven’t. In our feature series It Still Stings, we relive emotional TV moments that we just can’t get over. You know the ones, where months, years, or even decades later, it still provokes a reaction? We’re here for you. We rant because we love. Or, once loved. And obviously, when discussing finales in particular, there will be spoilers:


Content warning: Sexual assault, torture

By all accounts, Lost Girl feels like an anomaly today. A supernatural / fantasy show about a bisexual succubus airing for five seasons and getting to end on its own terms? Not in this economy.

And at the time (2010, to be exact), Showcase’s Lost Girl (which aired on SYFY in the States) was groundbreaking. Its leading succubus Bo Dennis (Anna Silk) was one of the first bisexual lead characters on screen, and the series’ LGBTQ inclusivity was unmatched by genre television of its era. However, watching Lost Girl today does feel like a blast from the past, and not always in a good way. The series infamously features a pretty transphobic episode that I would be remiss not to mention, and Lost Girl’s “both sides” ending—where Bo would be with Lauren (Zoie Palmer) until her human life ran out, and then she would seek out Dyson (Kris Holden-Ried) to pick up their romantic relationship once again—feels problematic at best. While I still love the show, faults and all, there is one element that still feels like an open wound: Tamsin’s treatment during Lost Girl’s fifth and final season.

Introduced as a mainstay in the third season of the series, Tamsin (Rachel Skarsten) went on a tumultuous narrative journey in the lead-up to Season 5. Born a Valkyrie, Tamsin was a bounty hunter and mercenary for the Dark Fae before having a change of heart, which led to her death in the Season 3 finale as she sacrificed her life to save Bo. Though, for a Valkyrie, death does not mean the end, and Tamsin was simply reborn into her last life and experienced an accelerated adolescence in the first episodes of Season 4. After being practically raised by Bo’s best friend Kenzi (Ksenia Solo), Tamsin becomes an integral part of Bo’s inner circle, joining the fight against whatever villain was terrorizing the Fae world each week.

Season 5, Lost Girl’s final season (and their hard swing into Percy Jackson territory with the introduction of Bo’s dad, the mythical Hades), started off with Tamsin at her very best. She was learning more about her Valkyrie roots, truly becoming a person again after her brush with death and rebirth, and working extremely closely with Bo to deal with their latest world-ending problem. Though, Tamsin’s good fortune did not last long, as Lost Girl seemingly threw every horrible thing you could possibly imagine at everyone’s favorite Valkyrie.

For starters, her relationship with Bo, which happened while series-long on-again-off-again couple Bo and Lauren were off, came burning down in flames when Bo told Tamsin that a fling was all they would ever be. During Episodes 5 and 6, Tamsin genuinely believes that she and Bo are a couple; they live together, they take cases together, they sleep together. In Episode 7, Tamsin confronts Bo about her trysts with Lauren, tells her that it’s okay as long as her heart lies with her because it does, right? What follows is a gut wrenching scene between the two women, as Tamsin begs Bo to love her, and Bo continues to tell her that she’s confused, ultimately ending in a humiliating and heartbreaking moment as Tamsin storms out after confessing her love only to be rejected. As the season progresses, and Bo’s father Hades becomes a more persistent and prominent threat, things between Tamsin and Bo remain a touch fractured. That is until Episode 12, when Tamsin finds Bo crying on the couch, and tells her that she’s done with Lauren for good. What follows is a steamy scene between the two of them, with the episode fading to black on what seems to be a conciliatory note for fans of Bo and Tamsin, affectionately dubbed “Valkubus.”

Unfortunately, though, Episode 13 reveals that was not actually Bo with Tamsin that night but Hades himself, wearing a shapeshifting disguise to trick Tamsin into sleeping with him. This is the start of the brutalization of Tamsin throughout the series’ final episodes; after she is taken advantage of and raped by her former lover’s father, she finds out she’s pregnant—a death sentence for a Valkyrie, as they are destined to always die in childbirth. As if that wasn’t enough, Hades kidnaps her and keeps her locked in a cage, pregnant and mutilated after he cut off her wings. The final days of Tamsin’s life are filled with torture, both physically and mentally, as the pregnancy slowly kills her body and she’s forced to watch the love of her life become a twisted servant of the man who attacked her. In the series finale, Tamsin has her baby, but as was predetermined, she dies moments later, surrounded by her friends.

In fairness, Lost Girl was always a dark show. It dealt with high stakes, fluctuating morality, and a protagonist whose choice to never pledge allegiance to either the Dark or Light Fae colored the storylines the series would cover. But Tamsin’s suffering in the final season feels like overkill in so many ways. While it aided in crafting Hades to be the series’ scariest, most evil villain yet, the pain and torture Tamsin went through in order to bring that point home is a stark elevation in darkness for the series, one that is unmatched by anything else that happened throughout the final season. While Bo’s beloved grandfather Trick (Rick Howland) also met a rather brutal end (staged in a very haunting manner) at the hands of Hades, Tamsin’s episodes-long suffering and heart-wrenching death leans further from justified violence for stakes’ sake and closer to straight-up torture porn.

Of course, with this show being about as queer as it could be, nearly any character that went on the chopping block was going to be part of the LGBTQ community. Though, that does not absolve the series from its use of both the Tortured Queer and Bury Your Gays tropes with Tamsin. A queer character being hurt or dying does not always constitute those labels, but the storylines that lead up to the torture and death help to determine whether it falls into those categories. In Tamsin’s case, her death qualifies as both. Specifically, the torture she faced at the hands of Bo’s father was solely motivated by his desire to hurt Bo, so he chose the rejected woman still hopelessly in love with his daughter as his target. In a way, Tamsin’s rape, pregnancy, and subsequent death reads as a punishment for her queerness, where her desire to be with Bo is the first domino in a long line of pain and suffering. As mentioned though, Lost Girl was an extremely inclusive show, one that paved a number of roads for queer supernatural TV, so it’s unlikely that this was intentional; rather, Tamsin’s torture and death might have just been a side effect of a series trying to push itself to the brink, but instead caused it to stumble along the edge of a cliff.

More than anything, Tamsin’s arc in the final season of Lost Girl is just downright depressing. The nauseating rape storyline, her heart-wrenching pregnancy, and her somber death became the culmination of a once-beautiful story about a woman finally finding her place in the world in her final trip around the sun. While Valkyries having numerous lives might make them an easy target for cliche storylines about the fleeting beauty of mortality, Tamsin’s Season 3 death and rebirth was brought about not by lessons learned throughout many lives, but by the introduction of Bo and her friends into her life. Tamsin was changed and shaped by those around her.

In that way, her accelerated adolescence as she was raised by Kenzi in Season 4 is poignant symbolism about queerness and found family; her new friends allowed her to experience the childhood she had always desired, and allowed her to become a kinder, more open person through their love and respect for her—mirroring the way that many queer found families allow people to become who they were always meant to be. Which, in the grand scheme of her series-long arc, makes her untimely end all the more upsetting as the end-cap of a story about change, love, and acceptance.

Grounded by Skarsten’s heartbreaking and moving performance, Tamsin’s position on Lost Girl as the poster-child for the power of positive relationships is slashed by her death in the series finale, but it isn’t completely diminished. When watching the series, Tamsin’s storyline becomes something for queer people to strive towards, a path to follow in the footsteps of as she grows into herself with the help of her friends (with a fair amount of ass-kicking along the way), and the importance and impact of that story is not something that can be unwound by its ending, no matter how hard Lost Girl seems to try. Even though Tamsin’s treatment in Season 5 remains an open wound, she will forever live on, both as an entry in the ever-expanding list of dead queer TV characters, and as a trailblazer for bisexual representation on screen as a pillar of this series—even if it still stings.

Anna Govert is an entertainment writer based in middle-of-nowhere Indiana. For any and all thoughts about TV, film, and the wonderful insanity of Riverdale, you can follow her @annagovert

For all the latest TV news, reviews, lists and features, follow @Paste_TV.

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