DECEMBER 29, 2010
FOCUS: OCEANIC SIX
AIRED: MAY 22, 2008
They “moved the Island”. Seriously, they moved the fucking Island. I was perfectly OK with a mix of electromagnets and supernatural hooey preventing folks from finding it, but the fact that they can MOVE it is just plain stupid. Actually I forget if they physically move it or just move it through time, but both are equally idiotic. And that’s just one of the many groaners in “There’s No Place Like Home Part 2”, the first truly disappointing season finale and the nail in the coffin for a good chunk of Lost fans, many of whom gave up for good after this one.
And you can’t blame them really. In a two hour season finale, there’s not a single real emotional moment to be seen, except for Desmond and Penny’s reunion, which itself is marred by not even giving them a scene to actually talk. They kiss, and then it’s back to more mumbo jumbo. I guess Sawyer’s heroic act works too, but since we know he finds his true love once he gets back on the island, it’s less sad and more “Hey all right, now him and Juliet can start their relationship.”
Also, I NEVER bought that Jin was dead. It’s pretty much a universal law of movies/TV that if you don’t see someone die, they’re still alive (and on this show, even that barely counts for anything). Jin was on the deck of the ship that he knew was about to explode, and by cutting back to Michael, we know he had at least another 10-15 seconds to take about 4 steps to his left and jump. So as good as Yun-jin Kim is in the scene, screaming for her husband, it just never rang true for me. He’s OK.
Plus, I was too pissed off at the time that Michael died without half of the people even knowing he was there, let alone confronting him. Perhaps it was a writer’s strike casualty, but it seemed that bringing him back really didn’t have much of a payoff or even a point; a long way to tie up a loose end and nothing else.
It’s also an awkwardly paced show; I feel the stuff on Penny’s boat should have been part of the next season’s premiere, not a part of this episode that occurs after all of the action beats and cliffhanger-y events (the island moving, the boat exploding, etc) have passed. It’s almost like they realized that we know damn well that Jack and the others don’t let a helicopter crash keep them from getting home, and figured they had to show all that too instead of making some sort of cliffhanger about that too. On the other hand, it was a good idea on their part to have Desmond and Frank on the chopper with them – we know everyone else’s fate, but not theirs. I thought for sure Frank would be a goner the first time around, in fact.
The final scene also goes on too long, because there were really only two viable options as to the identity of “Jeremy Bentham”: Locke or Ben. I know they filmed Sawyer in the coffin, but it couldn’t be him – why would Kate not want to go to the wake (and why would Jack cry?). Admittedly, I was leaning more toward Ben, given the diminutive size of the coffin, but once he appeared at the funeral home, we knew it was Locke, but it takes 3-4 minutes to pan around and show us that. I’d argue that this actually ruins the scene – maybe if we 100% knew it was Locke that Jack was talking about, it would give his words a bit more weight.
Speaking of this scene, LEAD reader Joe “corrected” me about Jack listening to Nirvana in the S3 finale, saying it was the Pixies – he was thinking of this episode! Jack has “Gouge Away” on as he drives back to the funeral home.
Luckily it’s not a total loss; there’s a lot of great stuff here. As I mentioned yesterday, I love the fight between Sayid and Keamy. Not that there’s much dramatic impact to them coming to blows (they barely interacted before this), but it’s just a really kick-ass fight scene, better than some I’ve seen in feature films (including some with Kevin Durand! The fights in Wolverine mostly suck). I also love the stinger, with Ben just being like “OK, go ahead and leave, see ya!” Actually, the episode as a whole is good if you’re a “Ben should be good” fan; he dips into villainous mode at times (not caring about killing everyone on the boat), but he’s very respectful to Locke, doesn’t screw anyone over, and by moving the island, probably saved some lives. He’s kind of a villain again next season, but the seeds for his S6 redemption were definitely planted by now.
I also enjoy the rather casual manner in which a dozen or so survivors are killed when the boat explodes. I sometimes wonder if they always intended to kill everyone who wasn’t a main character, or if they just got sick of hiring extras and decided to kill them all in a few fell swoops (New Otherton exploding, the boat exploding, and the idiotic “Arrow Massacre” in the next season more or less killed them all). Sorry, socks.
Well, Season 4 is over. It’s sort of hard to judge overall since it’s barely half a full season, slightly screwed up by the strike to boot. The rushed pace didn’t allow for much filler, and in turn, as I’ve said 12 times now, the writers lost sight of the characters. I mean really, not a single scene of Claire crying about Charlie? Does Sayid even know that his friend Rousseau is dead? And in retrospect, that sort of stuff is even more annoying, because they DID spend time on things that had no payoff, like the sickness on the freighter or Ben yammering about “the rules”. Worse, it introduces the things I hate about S5 – the time travel and the fact that the Oceanic Six were constantly fighting amongst themselves. On the other hand, it did have “The Constant”. And it’s better than the following seasons. I dunno. What do you think, imaginary readers?
Speaking of which, since no one’s reading anyway, I’m going to take a few days off before starting Season 5. I’ll pick back up on January 3rd. Happy New Year!
Where are we?