"Par Avion"

NOVEMBER 29, 2010

FOCUS: CLAIRE
EPISODE: 3.12
AIRED: MARCH 14, 2007

In my recap for “Tricia Tanaka”, I bemoaned the fact that Lost’s credits would often spoil a surprise, and there’s no better example of that than “Par Avion”, which promises John Terry (aka Jack’s dad) even though it’s a Claire episode. Hmm... we know he has a daughter in Australia, so – “OH SHIT! Claire and Jack are half-siblings!”... is something anyone who was reading the credits (and had average deduction skills) would realize, about a half hour before it was actually revealed in the storyline. I forget when I finally learned to not read them anymore, but it wouldn’t be the last time they spoiled something just by naming a guest star who you wouldn’t expect to see in the episode.

It also wouldn’t be the only thing to annoy me about the episode, which was co-written by someone named Jordan Rosenberg, who never had another writing credit on the show before or since. Claire’s sudden plan to put a message in a bird’s foot is possibly the most ridiculous thing on the show (including smoke monsters and time travel), and the fact that some of the other folks seem to think it’s a good idea is even worse. Somehow, Bernard’s giant SOS sign on the beach is a complete waste of time, but capturing a bird, writing a message, and sticking it between its claw and tag (migratory birds, Claire tells us, are tagged – and the way that we learn how SHE knew this is clunkier than anything else on the show) is a very good idea. OK, survivors.

Even more frustrating is Desmond and Charlie’s vague warnings and attempts to prevent Charlie from dying again. Wouldn’t just telling Charlie to sit still be enough? No, it somehow has to involve pretending to hunt a boar and trying to talk Claire out of it and following her around and all this other nonsense. The one saving grace is that Claire is told about Desmond’s visions by the end of the episode; it would not be un-Lost like to drag this sort of thing out for ages, as throughout the show the plot only really advanced due to the characters’ refusal to be straight with one another. So kudos, Rosenberg (and Christina Kim) for at least wrapping up Claire’s obliviousness before it got too annoying.

The rest of the episode shows Locke and co. as they keep heading toward Other-town, with Mikhail still in tow. He drops some vague stuff about “the list” and also hints that he knew Locke from before, which would be explained in Season 5 I believe. Then Locke tosses him through the microwave fence and lets him seemingly die (but Mikhail is seemingly indestructible, so that doesn’t work). We also learn Locke has some explosives, which is a subplot I forgot about, and can’t quite remember if it pays off (is that what he uses to blow up the submarine?).

Also, they get to the “town” at the end of this episode, another thing I thought would take longer when I first watched it. It’s a great, intriguing little moment, with Jack seemingly running away only for them/us to discover he’s enjoying a game of catch with Tom. Is Jack an Other? (No.) I love the edit too, with the slam cut to LOST after Jack spikes the ball – it’s the rare “fun” final shot in the series; usually even the more uplifting or breezy episodes end on some sort of downer or dramatic cliffhanger.

Otherwise, this one dips dangerously close to “Stranger In A Strange Land” levels of uselessness; the sort of wheel-spinning nonsense that came as a result of the writers not knowing how long they had to drag the show out. Luckily it would be one of the last such episodes, as ABC made the “3 more years” decision around this time. Interestingly, it’s actually the exact halfway mark of the entire show, as it’s the 61st of 121 episodes. Which means there’s no way in hell I’m going to finish by January 8th, which was the original plan (to finish in a Lost-centric 108 days, but I also realize now the date would be 1-08!), as I’d have to do 2-3 a day from now til then (and there’s another break coming up due to my holiday travel). Hopefully I’ll finish by the end of January though, by doing occasional doubles. But still, woo! I’m at the halfway mark!

Where are we?


PLEASE, GO ON...

"Enter 77"

NOVEMBER 28, 2010

FOCUS: SAYID
EPISODE: 3.11
AIRED: MARCH 7, 2007

After yesterday’s largely “light” episode, “Enter 77” goes back to typical Lost territory, with an Island adventure mixed with a tragic backstory for the A story, and a throwaway “fun” B story. And since it’s a Sayid episode, that means the flashbacks are all about him being a torturer, so overall it’s a rather generic hour, but it’s got some merit sprinkled throughout, including the strongest evidence yet that Locke may in fact just be a goddamned moron.

I mean, look how much this guy has fucked up so far – he got Boone killed, he let the hatch implode, he let Ana Lucia get attacked by Ben which set off that whole chain of events... now he literally blows their best chance yet of being saved, after getting so focused on a computer chess game that he didn’t notice Mikhail somehow getting out of being tied up (he also couldn’t be bothered to look under the rug for a secret room – you’d think a HATCH would be his first thing to look for and thus do a good job inspecting the floor). I like Locke, but geesh, what a goon he is.

I also love when Rousseau decides not to bother joining them as they investigate Mikhail’s cabin, pointing out that she has been able to survive for 16 years due to not doing things like this. It’s a funny thing to think about, but really – if the survivors just sat on their beach and made like Tom Hanks, they probably would never have any problems. They really do bring a lot of this stuff on themselves. It’s a sentiment that would later be echoed by Rose and Bernard (to a far more hilarious effect, not to mention adding in the weight of all the harm they’ve brought upon themselves since this particular episode).

And then there’s the ping pong match between Hurley and Sawyer, which once again relies on Sawyer having some random object that no one would have had on the plane (and furthermore, he’d have no reason to think to put it in his stash), but otherwise is a fun diversion for the episode. I just wish we saw more of the game - we really only see one play, which is a bummer. However, Sawyer asking Nikki “Who the hell are you?” more than makes up for it. It seems more like something Hurley (our surrogate) should have asked (especially when she greeted him with a hug at the end of “Stranger In A Strange Land”), but Holloway’s delivery is perfect, so I’ll let it slide.

As for the Sayid stuff – eh. As I’ve said before, I didn’t care for how many of his flashbacks were about him torturing people, and this one’s basically a “mystery” over whether or not he tortured a particular woman. He admits to doing so, but whether he’s just saying it or really did I never quite fully understood – he doesn’t seem to be taken aback when he sees her at the restaurant. And either way – we know he’s tortured a whole bunch of folks, and regrets it, so why does this particular case matter? Her story about the cat is interesting, but the fact that Mikhail also has a cat just to tie the two stories together just seems stupid to me.

Far more interesting are the scenes between him and Mikhail, with the two of them putting on their best poker face and trying to get the upper hand. I love how civil Mikhail is when they finally start to fight – “Why are we continuing to play this little game when we all know it has moved to the next stage?” Great line, and Andrew Divoff plays it perfectly. He’s so good at pretending to be a lonely, innocent guy, I was actually kind of disappointed that he wasn’t. Especially since he’s played so many villains over the years, would have been cool to see him as a Rousseau-esque ally for a while. Oh well.

Tomorrow – one of the stupidest episodes ever! Featuring migratory birds!!!

Where are we?


PLEASE, GO ON...

"Trisha Tanaka Is Dead"

NOVEMBER 27, 2010

FOCUS: HURLEY
EPISODE: 3.10
AIRED: FEBRUARY 28, 2007

Unlike in Season 2, when the worst episode was followed by one that wasn't really that much better, Lost rebounded quite awesomely from "Stranger In A Strange Land" with "Trisha Tanaka Is Dead", a crowd-pleasing yarn that actually tosses in a lot of hints about future revelations while basically making the audience happy and forgetting all about Jack's goddamn tattoos.

In fact, Jack's not even in the episode at all. In fact he's the only one of the original Islanders that doesn't appear; everyone else appears and has dialogue and everything (though Claire only 'talks' in the background while music plays), for I think the first time all season. And he's mentioned, as Kate makes her "I OWE him that!" speech that will be replayed in the "previously" montage at the beginning of seemingly every single episode for the rest of the season, then goes off to get help in finding him, tailed by Locke and Sayid.

Her target, naturally, is Rousseau, whose daughter was the one that helped Kate get away in the first place. Not that it was the biggest surprise, but anyone who read the credits would have known that Mira Furlan was going to appear, and since it wasn't until the last 30 seconds of the episode that she did, I consider the credits sort of a "spoiler". And it wouldn't be the first time; several 'surprise' appearances would be ruined in the opening moments of the show. It's something that annoyed me for a long time until I finally learned not to read them (it's something I can't help - partially because doing credits is my job), but I wish they could have just used better judgment in doing their opening titles and saved 'surprise' actors for the end credits, like a lot of other shows do.

Side note about this subplot - Sayid's explanation of how they got a compass bearing is so damn funny. The look on Naveed Andrews' face is hilarious. He's pretty much the most "serious" character on the show, so the rare moments where he's actually smiling (almost laughing) are a delight.

Anyway, the main focus of the episode, and thus what makes it so good, details Hurley's discovery of a Dharma van and his attempts to get it running. Not only does he team up with the three folks he has the best chemistry with (Jin, Charlie, and Sawyer), but he actually does something for the good of everyone (and it would have a great payoff in the season finale). Like he says, the survivors could use both some hope and fun, and it seems the golf course is closed. It might even be one of the last "fun" A-plots left in the show - as the mythology got more complex and the danger levels got higher, there simply wasn't an opportunity for the writers to devote an entire episode to a few of our guys trying to fix a van so they could drive around.

Plus it's literally packed with funny character moments - Sawyer teaching Jin the most important things he needs to tell a woman, Hurley not knowing what a "work man" is, Roger's poor head, etc. Even the potentially angry moments are dismissed quickly; Sawyer comes looking for Hurley to confront him about his missing stash, and it quickly turns into a rather touching reunion, complete with a man-hug and Sawyer's oddly affectionate nickname of "Snuffy". Speaking of the nicknames, possibly the funniest moment in the episode is Hurley's terrible attempt at one ("Red...neck... Man!") and Sawyer's hilariously impressed reaction.

And I don't care, I cry happy tears at the end when they get the thing started and just start driving around in circles. Everyone's laughing and happy for once (plus Vincent's there!), Giacchino's score is wonderful... it's just an awesome moment. As I'm sure I've mentioned, I never cared as much about the Others and mythology stuff as I did seeing these people grow and form bonds (probably why the actual ending didn't piss me off as much as a lot of other folks), and when you consider the point of "Lost Heaven", it's moments like this that sort of justify it. And even though it's slightly marred by Sawyer's sadness about Kate, the montage at the end, with Jin giving Sun a flower (by the way - what the hell does Sun use in her hair? Look how long it's gotten since last season!) and Charlie regaling Claire with the story of their adventure, is a pretty sweet epilogue to the proceedings. It's one of the "warmest" episodes ever.

Hurley's flashback is also pretty fun, since it has some stuff about his curse but for the most part just tells a nice story about him and his dad (welcome to the "daddy issues" club, Hugo!). I kind of like that we actually got a "reveal" about how he got so husky (again though - they answer THIS?), and the stuff with his mom's "needs" is pretty hilarious. But it also adds dimension to his character - he's still the comic relief, but he's got a lot of baggage too - you really feel for the guy, which isn't something you can say about most comic relief types on big ensemble shows. I don't know if Jorge Garcia has much of an acting range (I've never seen him in anything else), but he definitely gives one of the most underrated performances on the show. His opening bit, talking to Libby, is pretty sad stuff, and Garcia nails it.

Only thing I don't like is the title event. I know he's cursed and all, but a meteor just seems too far-fetched, even for this show. They also throw in some dialogue about entering the building before the ribbon was cut, which doesn't jive with the curse idea anyway. And why did he agree to do the show anyway, when he clearly wasn't interested in it? A more "normal" disaster would have been a much better kickoff, I think.

If memory serves, tomorrow's episode has some fun stuff too (I think it's the ping pong one?), which makes me wonder if they KNEW "Stranger" was a dud even in the writing stage and were like "OK guys, we're going to need to earn a lot of goodwill back after this thing! Bring the fun and funny!"

Where are we?


PLEASE, GO ON...

"Stranger In A Strange Land"

NOVEMBER 26, 2010

FOCUS: JACK('S TATTOOS)
EPISODE: 3.9
AIRED: FEBRUARY 21, 2007

The date that "Stranger In A Strange Land" aired, I was celebrating my 5 year anniversary to my wife (not of being married - of dating). Excellent juxtaposition, then, since while we were celebrating ongoing love and all that good stuff, Lost was airing the episode that threatened to end my (and many others') affection for the series once and for all (luckily, the next episode turned out to be one of my all-time favorites, making everything OK - not sure about everyone else). It's also kind of funny that I already planned to skip watching an episode on Thanksgiving (not a horror movie though!), because I knew I'd be getting backed up on reviews and folks are barely reading this site anyway, so they sure as hell wouldn't be looking on a holiday. And thus I was even happier with this decision when I realized what episode was next - I'd have hated to spend part of my holiday suffering through this shit.

I never knew that this was the episode that prompted ABC to finally set an end date for the show (I just read it now on the Lostpedia entry), so I guess it's got some value after all. Also, if you hate Jack, he gets one of the most savage beatings of the show's history at the end, so that was probably enjoyable on some level. Otherwise though - Jesus Christ. Jack's fucking tattoos. I mean, seriously, who gave a shit to begin with? With all the half-assed and throwaway explanations we got for things that actually mattered, did we really need an entire episode about Jack getting his tattoos? Especially one that skips over the most baffling part of the whole episode - why the hell was he in Thailand to begin with? It's not even entirely clear where this part of his history took place in the timeline - it's post-divorce, apparently, but when did he have the time to up and go to Thailand for a while? Seems like he was always tailing Sarah and butting heads with his dad.

The present day stuff isn't that much better, especially in retrospect. There's some nonsense about Juliet getting "marked" and thus more stuff that makes the Others look like some sort of cult, neither of which are ever explained in any satisfactory way. Plus, they build up the character of Isabel like she's someone important... and then we never see her again. I don't even recall if she's ever mentioned in future episodes.

Really, the only part of this entire "A story" that I like is when Tom brings Jack a sandwich and Jack gets all annoyed that it's not grilled. Tom's odd fondness (attraction?) for Jack is one of those rare things that never really goes anywhere but I like anyway - the scene of them playing football in an upcoming episode is hilarious. It almost seems born more out of Matthew Fox and M.C. Gainey being pals and throwing in some extra business in their scenes together. But I mean, as much as I love the combination of humor and sandwiches, one good scene does not make an episode worth my while.

The Kate and Sawyer story is SLIGHTLY better, because Sawyer gets to make a Jaws reference and he has a nice "father/son" chat with poor Carl, who misses Alex because they used to name stars together. Sawyer's clearly not really doing it because he's a hopeless romantic, but it's an amusing subplot all the same, mainly because Carl is just so damn goofy. But even this stuff is problematic - why do him and Kate bicker so much, a day or two after they made love (and even spooned!)? It just seems kind of out of nowhere.

Perhaps not too unsurprisingly, the writers for this episode are Christina M. Kim and Elizabeth Sarnoff, who also wrote "The Hunting Party" and "The Whole Truth", episodes which were also filled with go-nowhere subplots and stuff that sticks out as "wrong", such as Sun telling Jin she never had an affair in "The Whole Truth" when we find out like 8 episodes later that she did. But at least those episodes (and most of their others) are actually GOOD, overall. This is just a waste of 42 minutes. It was, however, the only episode ever directed by Paris Barclay, so at least there were SOME consequences from this drivel.

And again, fan reaction was apparently so bad that it prompted ABC to decide to schedule an end date, so that Damon/Carlton/etc could make sure that they got to tell their story in its entirety and guaranteeing fans a real ending (as opposed to an abrupt one caused by sudden low ratings), while also inspiring them to get focused knowing exactly how many hours they had left to tell their story, and hopefully not waste time on shit that didn't matter like this. As we all know, it wasn't an entirely successful plan, though as much as I was disappointed by 5 and 6, I never completely lost interest the way I did for say, The X-Files, which ran about 3-4 seasons too long and eventually became something I watched in the background. I always paid attention to you, Lost!

Where are we?


PLEASE, GO ON...

"Flashes Before Your Eyes"

NOVEMBER 24, 2010

FOCUS: DESMOND
EPISODE: 3.8
AIRED: FEBRUARY 14, 2007

It's sort of fitting that we got our first real introduction to Penny and Desmond's relationship on Valentine's Day, when "Flashes Before Your Eyes" originally aired, because their episode "The Constant" would be pretty much the most moving and romantic episode of the series. Also, this episode is, like love, completely friggin baffling the first time around.

The first time, I thought it was all just a dream/hallucination; that he was subconsciously reflecting on these past events (moving in/breaking up with Penny, asking for her hand in marriage, etc) and inserting his present day memories into them. It's only now, knowing (more or less) how the time travel element on this show worked that this episode really makes total sense to me. If I'm understanding correctly, it's not Desmond's body but more his conscious/brain that does (due to his radiation exposure or whatever)? So he goes back and forth through time, but not in a physical sense - he looks the age he should in that time period, but has the memories from the other. But he's also an alcoholic, so he gets a bit hazy on details. Right?

Well either way, it's an intriguing episode, and any time they give an episode over entirely to Desmond (it's even the rare episode without Jack and/or Kate), I'm happy. And I love the framing device, with Charlie and Hurley getting him drunk and then telling his tale. It takes longer than usual to get to the first flashback, but once it starts, we don't return to the island until the end of the episode, which is also pretty rare. It's one of those things that you might not even realize at first - "Hey, when are they going to cut back to the Island?" - because Desmond's story is more intriguing than most of our characters anyway, but he's also got a lot of catching up to do since he wasn't around for the first two seasons.

One minor thing bugs me about the setup though - Locke calls Charlie and Hurley back into the jungle to tell them that Eko is dead and that the rest of the folks will be looking to "them" to keep morale high and all that. Hurley I get, but who the hell (besides Claire) looks to Charlie for anything like that? Two weeks ago the guy was trying to drown babies! These people have no recollective memory whatsoever. It's just a contrivance to get him away from the beach so that Desmond could do his thing, but I think it would have worked even if he was still on the beach - he could have been distracted with Sawyer's stash or something and thus not have gone after Claire right away, thus giving time for Desmond to run back and dive in and add Henry Ian Cusick to the collection of Lost actors who take the time to take off their shirt when they dive into the water.

Anyway, back to Desmond, was anyone else kind of sad to discover that the photo of him and Penny was a mock background? Especially since they break up right after - you always think that it was taken on some sort of wonderful trip, but it was actually in front of some cheap grade school backdrop, moments before they broke up. The scene with Widmore is also heartbreaking - Desmond's all happy and enjoying the story about the whiskey, only to discover that the jerk is using it to contrast how little he thinks of him. Dick. It's also interesting how similar it is to the scene where Jin applied for a job, with the guy asking him about some vague things on the resume and our hero being forced to admit his shortcomings.

Of course, at the time we did not yet know that time travel would become such a big element on the show, and/or that it would spread beyond Desmond. I can't say for sure if it was the best idea; sure there were some great little moments that came out of it (Hurley's idea to "write" Empire Strikes Back is possibly the funniest "plot thread" in the show's history), but it just seemed primarily designed to fix a bunch of plot holes (not to mention cause a massive "I give up" movement amongst fans). Plus it continued keeping our characters separate, which was a big blunder no matter how you slice it. The fact that Hurley and Sawyer, whose friendship during S3 and S4 made for one of the most enjoyable pairings ("If you hurt one hair on his curly head..."), only had like two or three scenes together over the course of the final two seasons is just insane. And don't get me started on keeping Jin and Sun apart for so long. So while this may be a pretty good episode, it's also the beginning of the end, sort of - I liked the rest of 3 and most of 4, but 5 and 6... they just, er, lost me for the most part. Nice work, Desmond.

Where are we?


PLEASE, GO ON...

"Not In Portland"

NOVEMBER 23, 2010

FOCUS: JULIET
EPISODE: 3.7
AIRED: FEBRUARY 7, 2007

It's a good thing I like Elizabeth Mitchell, because otherwise I'd be kind of pissed that Lost came back after a 3 month hiatus with an episode about Juliet instead of Sayid or Hurley or any of the other "classic" characters who had yet to get their own episode this season. But "Not In Portland" is an important episode, because it humanizes an Other for the first time and introduces an important character (Richard!) as well.

Actually two, if you count Tom. I thought we knew his name by now, but either way, his awkward introduction to Jack is awesome. "I'm Tom, by the way", he says, almost like "Hey, we might as well be friends, dude." Jack's reaction is pretty priceless too. Even though he took Walt and delivered the "this is OUR island..." speech, he is (aside from Juliet) clearly the most, ahem, friendly Other so far - he gave Kate some clothes and lotion for her wrists, helps Jack with the surgery (adding another person to the long list of people who make shitty assistants for Jack's medical procedures as well), and I think he's the only one who hasn't taken a whack or a taser shot at Sawyer since they kidnapped him. Shame he didn't last as long as the other Others.

Jack also has some uneasy moments in the episode - I particularly like when he realizes Ben is awake and asks him (tentatively) if he wanted anything for the pain. And his 2nd artery 'nick' truly was an accident, so now he's in the position of trying to save the guy he was trying to kill when he was supposed to be saving from something else. Also, it's a bit underplayed, but I dig how Kate tells him the story now that he's in a position for it to register with him - at that particular moment he needs to follow his own advice. Good stuff.

The Juliet story isn't quite as interesting for the most part - we knew she was a fertility doctor and that she wasn't one of the "original" Others, but it's funny to go back and see Richard before we knew he was an ageless sort of ambassador for the Others, which makes his "recruitment" scene slightly more comical in retrospect - you know he finds his slides showing the group taking group hikes and kayaking trips just as boring as she does. It's also aided in the humor department by Ċ½eljko Ivanek, playing his usual asshole but a less villainous one than we're accustomed to (he also continues the tradition of Lost folk being from Oz). I particularly love the scene right before he gets hit by a bus, when he's on the phone: "Because you're insufferable and mean... well you asked for the truth Mom...." So delightfully mean-spirited and unnecessary, but totally awesome all the same.

I don't like that they killed Pickett off at the end of the episode though. First of all, if he had to die, it should have been Sawyer who killed him, not Juliet (though at least Sawyer got in that awesome electrocution scene). Second, he made for an intriguing villain at a time when they were softening all of the Others. I like how the Others turned out to be not so bad after all, but it would have been cool to have more personal conflict among them - most of it was based around general "this is OUR island/no it's ours" type issues. These two dudes just wanted to fucking kill each other.

Speaking of Sawyer, he continues displaying his newfound heart when he agrees to help Alex find Carl once he realizes it was the same kid who tried to help him earlier. I really do believe they took the fan outrage over his "tree frog/steal the guns" period from S2 to heart - Christ, later in the season he will challenge Jack to a friendly game of ping pong and help Jin learn important English phrases! Not that I'm opposed to it, but it's just kind of funny when watching them back to back and taking the compressed timeline of the series into consideration - this mean stuff was barely two weeks ago.

Tomorrow: Desmond episode! And the introduction (sort of) of the very thing that would more or less kill the series' greatness: goddamned time travel.

Where are we?


PLEASE, GO ON...

"I Do"

NOVEMBER 22, 2010

FOCUS: KATE
EPISODE: 3.6
AIRED: NOVEMBER 8, 2006

When “I Do” originally aired, it was scheduled as sort of a mini-season finale. The idea for this (and only this) season was to have a 6 episode block airing back to back, then take a long hiatus and come back in February and air new episodes non-stop until the end of the season, which was their way to combat complaints about the frequent 2-4 week gaps that would occur during the usual September to May TV season.

Thus, it seemed like a very real possibility that Sawyer would get killed at the end of the episode, because holy shit! What better sock to the gut and “what will happen next?” moment could there possibly be? Plus he’s in the rain, and Giacchino’s music swells to nearly Thomas Newman-ian heights... all signs point to goner. Well, it was not to be (admittedly, I’m glad), and the cliffhanger was just Jack telling Kate to run, which wasn’t quite the awesome cliffhanger we were expecting. Kate, running? No shit! That’s all she ever does anyway! Might as well have a cliffhanger on whether or not Hurley will eat a sandwich.

Indeed, the flashbacks for the episode remind us, again, that Kate can’t sit still for too long (and if she does, she grows her hair out hideously). And to hammer this point home, they have her even try marriage, to Nathan Fillion no less – one of the greatest men alive, as far as nerd TV watchers are concerned anyway. If she can’t even “settle” for marital bliss with this guy, there truly is no hope for her. So she confesses her secret to him after slipping him some drugged lemonade, cries, apologizes, and takes off. I always wondered why they didn’t even mention him again – I mean, she is technically MARRIED to the guy, right? Did they ever get a divorce? Why wasn’t he at her trial? Etc. Stupid Castle/Drive!

Speaking of things they just dropped the ball on – what the hell is up with her calling Edward? From what little hints they offer, she calls every holy day, which is weird enough – but why is she calling him, PERIOD? Can they just come right out and tell us whether or not these two ever had a fling? It drove me nuts while I was watching the show for the first time, and it drives me nuts now. But I do like how he baits her by telling her he won’t chase her anymore if she promises to stay put, which is pretty much what sets her off (she didn’t seem to have a problem with Taco Night prior to their conversation. Furthermore – I would very much enjoy weekly tacos, preferably with Evangeline Lilly. Or Nathan Fillion, for what matter.)

The big thrust behind the episode is whether or not Jack will perform surgery on Ben, and if so, will he do it right or will he kill him like Juliet asked him to. Or will he just take advantage of the Others’ rather poor lapse in judgment and nick Ben’s artery and threaten to let him die unless they let Kate go. And he does this for her AFTER he watches her nail Sawyer in his cage. Score one for Jack in this episode – that is the highest of high roads.

There’s also the business of burying Eko, but it’s pretty much just two or three scenes’ worth of the episode. I get why they wouldn’t want to bum everyone out with another funeral, but wouldn’t they be MORE suspicious of some of the island’s more mysterious people (Locke, Desmond, Nikki and Goddamn Paulo), plus Sayid the torturer, coming back and saying “Eko is dead, we buried him, let’s move on”? And they could have at least gotten Bernard to join them for their little half-assed ceremony – he was pretty close to the guy, and they were the last of the 23 tail survivors.

Oh, and Jacob is mentioned, though curiously Pickett says Jack “wasn’t on Jacob’s list”. What list? Because if it was the list of potential heirs to his island throne, then that’s way fucking wrong, isn’t it? Maybe it was a list of people who got some on the island.

Anyway, it wasn’t as good as a real season finale, and it’s probably the weakest of this 6 episode “arc”, but since things would drag for a while when it returned, it’s nice to see a sense of urgency – it would be a while before things got real exciting again (besides the Charlie death storyline).

Where are we?

(Yes, this video came up when I searched "I Do" - don't ask me why, just enjoy!)

PLEASE, GO ON...

"The Cost Of Living"

NOVEMBER 21, 2010

FOCUS: EKO
EPISODE: 3.5
AIRED: NOVEMBER 1, 2006

So basically, whenever you have a flashback episode, you’re going to die? “The Cost Of Living” is the third time in a “row” that a main character was killed off during their own flashback episode (after Ana Lucia and Shannon). From then on, I would get nervous whenever possible folks like Desmond, Charlie, Claire, or even Sawyer would be the focus of an episode, because it meant they could be dead by the end of it.

I will give the Lost folks credit though – they always managed to hide who was being written off. Shows like Desperate Housewives are constantly being spoiled by the press – if someone’s leaving, it gets reported weeks before. But not on Lost; with the exception of Juliet, everyone’s death came as a surprise (she was announced as being on V before her death episode aired), and none shocked me more than Eko, who I thought was being groomed to be a possible leader like Jack and Locke. It’s a damn shame, too – he’s the only one of the actors to leave the show and never appear again. He’d be mentioned from time to time (Hurley apparently saw his ghost a lot) but Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje would never be seen on the show again. Bummer.

Anyway, it’s at least a fitting wrap-up for his character, as we learn what happens in the aftermath of Yemi’s death, namely, that he pretty much started being a priest for real that same day. We also finally learn what his building of a church was all about – the one Yemi worked at was closed down after Eko killed some dudes there, so one of the parishioners told him he “owed” Yemi a new church. I bet Yemi’s really happy about the piss-poor glorified stick fort that he built before deciding to push a button instead. At least Charlie seemed to be trying to finish it up a bit.

He also gets the most brutal death of the show’s entire run. Everyone else got shot or fell off a cliff – Eko gets picked up and slammed repeatedly into trees and the ground by the goddamn smoke monster (it even makes itself into a giant hand!). I like to assume it was the writers’ way of getting back at him for ditching the show (he was reportedly tired of being in Hawaii) and screwing up their long-term plans for the character. Again – sometimes it’s better to just recast, guys. It didn’t hurt Fresh Prince of Bel Air when they got a new Vivian.

We also get our first appearance of “Patchy”, aka Mikhail (Andrew Divoff), who would go on to be a pain in the ass for the rest of the season. He even appears in Via Domus!

And Ben also reveals his master plan to Jack, which, as we already suspected, involves operating on his tumor in exchange for freedom (Jack should have played ball and demanded a whole bunch of stuff, I think). But Juliet doesn’t want him to do it, so she puts together this ridiculous scheme where she films herself playing INXS: The Home Game* while saying something else to Jack. Apparently, Ben didn’t think anything about this was strange – To Kill A Mockingbird without sound? Wouldn’t like, I dunno, Armageddon or something where people didn’t TALK MUCH be less suspicious?

Speaking of the weird things with the Others – anyone else think they set them up to be some sort of cult with this one? What’s with the white robes and burning the body at sea stuff? It was never really addressed again, so I guess it doesn’t matter. But that’s the type of little throwaway thing that annoys me as I go back and watch them all knowing how it ends – why’d they bother with this sort of stuff and never really follow through on it?

Pretty jam-packed episode, huh? I didn’t even mention Goddamn Paulo’s adventures in the bathroom. Hell, there’s even a deleted scene that explains what Kate and Sawyer were hauling rocks for in the first place (the runway that we see in Season 6). I guess it evens out with episodes like the one where Claire tries to put a message in a bird’s claw (i.e. worthless).

Where are we?

*Yes, yes, Bob Dylan did it first... the INXS one is the one that popped in my head during this scene.

PLEASE, GO ON...

"Every Man For Himself"

NOVEMBER 20, 2010

FOCUS: SAWYER
EPISODE: 3.4
AIRED: OCTOBER 25, 2006

As usual for Sawyer episodes, "Every Man For Himself" focuses on a con, but it's unique in that he cons someone who deserves it, in this case a fellow criminal. Also, he's not doing it for financial gain, but to get out of prison, which is kind of noble, I guess (though we must wonder what he was going to do with his finder's fee had he not learned of Clementine's existence). Add that to a better-than-usual Island story for the guy, and you have one of his best episodes.

Because not only are his storylines above average, but it's also the first episode to show that he really does care about Kate beyond his understandable desire to get caught in a net with her. Protecting her from knowing about his heart rate monitor is possibly the nicest thing we've ever seen him do, and there are other moments of humanity sprinkled throughout - he even tries to defend a little bunny! Speaking of which, the first time I saw this episode (when I thought he really killed it) that part really upset me. After all the stuff they've done, it was the first time I felt truly terrified of the Others.

And his newfound humanity allows for humor - dumping the bucket of cold water on his head to "calm down" after seeing her undress is hilarious every time. I also like that he lies about his age (and makes me feel fat - he's only an inch shorter than me yet weighs like 50 lbs less? F U!). Additionally, we learn that he's been a fan of reading long before the Island - I always assumed it was something that he picked up after the crash since he had nothing better to do, but we see him in prison reading "Of Mice And Men".

Also, while he's always been a "main" character (opposed to glorified supporting ones like Claire), it's the first time he's been at the forefront of an important piece of the puzzle; namely that they are not on the main island, but an "Alcatraz" a good boat ride away (no swimming to safety). I'm pretty sure it's the first (and possible last, can't remember) time Sawyer has been privy to important information concerning the Others that no one else has. We still don't know why they wanted him here (though we get a pretty strong hint of why they wanted Jack), but at least if they send him home a la Hurley he'll have something interesting to share.

As for the other stuff, we have Jack trying to save the girl Sun shot two episodes ago (again, the swapping of "Glass Ballerina" and "Further Instructions" really made no sense at all - I think if I ever watch the season again I will reverse their order), who is the wife of Pickett. Pickett may be one of the more vile Others, but you gotta feel for the guy here (it doesn't hurt that Michael Bowen is a great, underrated actor), sobbing as he beats the piss out of Sawyer. And I love Jack's little moment with Juliet, when he tells her he doesn't care about how she feels (which you can almost sense is a lie, though she's clearly hurt by it anyway). I don't know if it was a lack of time or what, but they never really followed through on Jack and Juliet's obvious feelings for each other; I think they kiss once and that's about it. Eh, she was better with Sawyer anyway.

We also get our first non-Hatch related Desmond subplot! As was hinted in the last episode, he has seemingly gained ESP as a result of the Hatch implosion (it was a trade for his clothes, I guess), and uses it to save Claire, or so we think. It's a perfect example of how often Lost characters would be seemingly incapable of just TALKING to people - why not just tell her he has a vision? With all the weird shit on this island, like anyone would raise an eyebrow? But it's worth it for Hurley's hilarious reaction to the odd structure he builds ("Is that... art?") - possibly one of his top 5 all time best reactions (#1, of course, being "You got some... Arzt on you.").

On the downside, Kate sheds her sundress and puts some pants on. Given the amount of climbing she does to get in and out of her cage (Ms. Lilly is pretty capable with this sort of stuff - have they picked a new Tomb Raider yet?), I find this to be a very unfair decision on the part of the writers/costume folks.

Tomorrow: the shocking death of a character whose actor didn't want to stick around.

Where are we?


PLEASE, GO ON...

"Further Instructions"

NOVEMBER 19, 2010

FOCUS: LOCKE
EPISODE: 3.3
AIRED: OCTOBER 18, 2006

It’s bad enough that they took 3 episodes to get around to telling us what happened to everyone in the Hatch, but it’s downright infuriating that even when they do, they don’t. “Further Instructions” DOES indeed focus on Locke, and both Eko and Desmond figure into the episode, but it’s still a big question mark exactly what happened (nor do we ever get an answer). Why is Desmond naked? How did Eko and Locke, who were right next to each other when it exploded (or whatever), end up so far apart? Why is Locke mute from the experience?

And what exactly is the timeframe here? This episode takes place a day before The Glass Ballerina”, but how did Hurley get all the way back (well, almost) from the Others’ location? I mean, I assume this is just supposed to be a few hours after the implosion (kind of dickish if any longer – no one went looking for them after Charlie came back alone?), but it took a lot more than a few hours to get there, and Hurley’s not exactly the fastest guy in the group. Lot of sloppiness here.

Pretty good episode otherwise, though. Always nice to see Boone appear in someone’s vision or flashback (he always seems more intelligent in these things too – why was he such a moron on the island?), and Locke’s entire “vision quest” sequence is pretty cool. I particularly like that Desmond lives like Frank Abagnale in Locke’s head and that Kate wears makeup. And Hurley works for Oceanic, for some reason.

The flashback is also pretty good, though it’s a bit hard to place in the timeline. Seems to be post-Helen, but he’s still walking – how many years ago was Helen, anyway? I also don’t quite see him as a guy who would be working on a pot farm, but whatever, it’s just nice to see him with friends for once, even if he screws it up (as usual). And the sort of father-son relationship he had with the kid who turned out to be a cop was touching while it lasted. It’s one of the more unique Locke-flashbacks; most of them deal with his dad – at least this one shows some of his adventurous side.

I also like that it shows, albeit briefly, what life will be like without Jack. Locke brings Eko back to the beach and they don’t really know what to do – they get water and band-aids, but that’s about all they can offer the poor guy. Might have been cool if they introduced a plot thread where they weren’t going to get him back but realized how much they needed him when someone got sick and/or died. As the show went on, Jack’s leadership (and “popularity”) was diminished – maybe the occasional reminder that he was valuable would have been nice, not to mention made the finale a little more impactful.

Of course, it could be an episode on par with “The Constant” or “Greatest Hits” and it would still be a big red mark in the series. Why? Because it introduces Nikki and goddamn Paulo. I don’t know why the hell they ever thought this was a good idea – why not just promote two of the extras that are around every week into full fledged characters? Why shoehorn in two obvious new people? At least Sawyer gets some good jokes about it later on, and their final episode is actually kind of awesome (mainly because they die), but was it worth this unwanted intrusion? In retrospect, it was indicative of things to come, with things like the Temple and people like Ilana becoming major elements on the show without a proper introduction, and at the expense of things we DID care about.

It also has yet another scene with Charlie saying “You don’t call, you don’t write...”. What the hell is with the writers? They lazy or are they just really bad at trying to come up with catchphrases?

Charlie does get a line in that I appreciated, however, when he tells Locke he will watch him and make sure he “doesn’t turn into a monkey”. The first time the episode aired, I didn’t understand the line, but thanks to Horror Movie A Day, I know now that it is a reference to the film Altered States, where William Hurt goes into an isolation chamber and turns into a savage monkey man thing. Not a big fan of the film, but I always like when my Lost fandom ties into my horror movie fanaticism. Sawyer calling Jack “Dr. Giggles” is probably the best example, for the record.

Where are we?


PLEASE, GO ON...

"The Glass Ballerina"

NOVEMBER 18, 2010

FOCUS: JIN, SUN
EPISODE: 3.2
AIRED: OCTOBER 11, 2006

If you’re a Red Sox fan, or even a baseball fan in general, you have to love the final scene of “The Glass Ballerina” more than pretty much anything else on this show (unless you are a Yankee or Cardinal fan, in which case it probably pissed you off. To you I say – HAH!). Paying off Jack’s metaphor for people never changing: “That’s why the Red Sox will never win the World Series” (something that might have carried more weight if the episode aired before they DID, but whatever), Ben – who finally introduces himself formally here – proves to Jack that they have contact to the outside world by showing him a clip of the final play in Game 4, something I’ve probably watched 30 times in my life but got goose-bumps seeing it used in such an awesome way here. The look on Jack’s face is priceless; my only complaint is that he doesn’t ask Ben to let him watch the whole game.

It’s easily the best moment in an otherwise middling episode, where we STILL don’t know what happened to the Hatch, and have a backstory revealing that one of our most likeable characters is kind of a b---h (not broth). It’s like, OK, so as a little girl Sun let the poor maid get fired over something she did, fine. But then they reveal that she WAS indeed cheating on Jin with that Jae Lee dude, a revelation that only serves to create some drama about her pregnancy later in the season. Otherwise, I just don’t get what any of this serves? Just to make sure we understand that Sun wasn’t perfect either? Is it too much to ask that ONE of our characters wasn’t kind of a scumbag in the past? I could see if she was still seeing him and maybe getting too close, but they’re naked in bed together – the line is well past being crossed. Poor Jin. He beats folks to a pulp to earn her love and this is how she repays him.

Plus he never even finds out, thus he is deprived of the satisfaction of knowing that the guy who destroyed his nice car at least had it coming. Like, he’d be super-pissed, but seeing the guy go splat right in front of him would probably make him feel a little better. Now he’s just like “thanks a lot, random guy who I had no beef with, now I need a new car.” Again, poor Jin.

The Kate and Sawyer stuff is pretty good though. I don’t think I need to explain why I like these particular scenes with Kate so much, so I’ll let a screenshot do all the talking:

But Sawyer is in fine form here too; his reaction to Pickett’s suggestion that she take her dress off to work is priceless (“How dare you?”), and you have to applaud a guy who decides to gather intel on his captors by making out with a beautiful woman – best example of two birds with one stone ever. And while I’m totally on Jack’s side in the whole love triangle stuff, I must admit his “you taste like strawberries” line is better than anything Jack’s ever done. It also suggests she hasn’t brushed her teeth since the day before (when Ben had her over for breakfast), which tickles me for some reason.

Speaking of Ben, telling Jack it was just “a week ago” that he was the one being held captive was pretty weird – it had been what, 6-7 months for us? Hell even watching them back to back, he escaped more than a week ago for me. In fact, Season 3 in particular takes place over a very limited amount of time (3 weeks, I think?), which was always hard for me to wrap my brain around. 24 always got around this potential issue by flashing forward a year or two in between seasons (and replacing the entire cast save Jack and Chloe, more or less), but by now S2 was a distant memory for us. It’s also weird how good they were with continuity with some things, like Ben’s facial wounds, but totally gave up on others – Jin’s hair, for example, seems to grow at a Chia pet rate.

Tomorrow – we finally find out what happened at the Hatch! According to Lostpedia, it was supposed to be the season’s 2nd episode (and this would be the 3rd), but they swapped them for whatever reason. Yeah, because we were way more concerned with whether or not Sun, Jin, and Sayid accomplished anything with their little mission (answer: nope) than whether or not 3 of the most intriguing characters got blown up. Big difference between keeping us in suspense and just being dicks, Darlton.

Where are we?

PLEASE, GO ON...

"A Tale Of Two Cities"

NOVEMBER 17, 2010

FOCUS: JACK
EPISODE: 3.1
AIRED: OCTOBER 4, 2006

Shortly after “A Tale Of Two Cities” aired, I met actor Brett Cullen (Goodwin) in an elevator in Hollywood, and told him how my mind had been blown by the opening scene of the episode, which revealed that the Others actually lived in a little suburban “town” on the island (and that Ben doesn’t like Stephen King, making his earlier reference an ironic joke). He said 'thanks' and then my floor came up so I got off without asking him about his work with Meat Loaf. Oh well.

Anyway, great opener, especially now that I’ve gotten over my initial annoyance that we didn’t see anyone besides Jack, Kate, and Sawyer. Give us our Hurley, goddamn you! They could have at least shown him making his way back to camp; it would be better than the pointless escape attempt from Sawyer, who gets tazed by Juliet. Though that little bit kind of made me smile, since this is the first time I had watched the episode since seeing the episodes showing that they eventually hooked up. Since their reunion in the afterlife was one of the few times I was “moved” in the series finale, it was nice to see how it all began: with her shooting him in the neck with electricity. Aww.

I certainly never complained about Kate’s usage in the episode. It’s almost like an apology for the Hurley/Locke/Desmond/etc lackage – she showers, puts on a nice sundress, etc. Good stuff. Oddly, I was reading the Lostpedia entry on the episode, and apparently the scene where Ben offers her breakfast was seen to be a hint at things to come by some fans, and they’d constantly pester Lindelof about it. I never saw it that way at all, personally – it was just a guy who really wasn’t all that evil offering a beautiful woman something to eat. I was never one to really read into every little thing on the show; sometimes I was just happy to enjoy the scenery and action at face value. And I don’t regret it; I’d hate to be one of those psycho fans who come up with elaborate theories for things that just turn out to be honest mistakes by the prop guys.

Hell, I’m such a casual fan that I never even noticed that JJ Abrams actually co-wrote this episode, the first time he had done so since the pilot. I always figured he had no real involvement (despite his listing as a producer) after S1, so this was a sort of surprise. Of course, by now the show had been going on for a while without him, and Lindelof is credited with the story and the other “teleplay” credit, so how much he contributed is unknown to me.

Whoever wrote the scenes with Sarah deserves a smack though – why can’t she just tell Jack the guy’s name? Whatever his failings as a husband may have been, HE LITERALLY PERFORMED A MIRACLE FOR HER. I think that’s earned him a “His name is Phil and he works at an accounting firm” or whatever. I mean, she obviously still cares about him a little if she’s calling his dad and bailing him out of jail, so this plot contrivance has always annoyed me.

They make up for it with the little detail about Christian being sober for 50 days, only for Jack’s behavior to knock him off the wagon again, and seemingly for good. There is no definitive time placed on the episode, but it seems not too long before the crash – after all, if Jack STILL didn’t know the guy’s name it couldn’t have been too long later, and in a general sense it seems like he and Christian were never on good terms again. So while Sawyer bought the drinks, it is indeed, albeit indirectly, Jack’s fault that he drank himself to death. Ouch.

It’s interesting that S3 started and ended with two of the bigger “holy shit” moments in the show’s run, since so much of the season was a lot of forgettable time-wasting. As the creators didn’t know how long the show would run, they were forced to dick around instead of propelling the story forward, and it shows at times. Silver lining though – this meant a lot of focus on the characters, right before they either forgot about or ruined most of them in the following seasons.

Where are we?


PLEASE, GO ON...

"Live Together, Die Alone"

NOVEMBER 16, 2010

FOCUS: DESMOND (!)
EPISODE: 2.23
AIRED: MAY 24, 2006

Desmond!!! I love this guy so much, so giving him a flashback (in a double episode) for "Live Together, Die Alone", in retrospect, is a complete delight. I don’t mind saying that part of why I disliked the last 2 seasons (relative to the others anyway; they were still pretty good compared to something like the last 4-5 seasons of The X-Files) is that Desmond had so little screen time. And that baffles me – they DO know that “The Constant” is most folks’ favorite episode (or at least, one of their top 5), right? Why shuffle that guy to the side?

Anyway, this is a really good season finale, perfectly wrapping up certain plot threads and introducing others. But more importantly, with the (usual) exception of Claire, everyone has something important to do. Jack, Michael, Sawyer, Hurley, and Kate are off to “rescue Walt”, Sayid, Jin, and Sun are following them in a boat, and then Charlie and Eko are battling Desmond and Locke for control of the button. Lots of adventure, lots of scenery changing, lots of action (even a shootout!), and probably the last time a single episode got so much use out of the majority of the cast. Christ, for the first few episodes of the next season, we wouldn’t even SEE anyone besides whoever the episode was focusing on.

In fact, my only real issue with this episode was the totally odd ending to the Hatch storyline, with Charlie just sort of wandering back to the beach like he was high (not the best move when Claire’s finally back in your good graces, ya schmuck) and no clear indication of what happened to Locke and the others. Nor would the season premiere explain this, which just infuriated me even further.

But I recall being pretty amazed that they had revealed the cause of the plane crash so soon in the show. With so many “things happen for a reason” explanations going around, the idea that they were “brought” to the island somehow was a popular theory, so to provide a very rational and logical explanation for the crash was kind of ballsy, if you ask me. I also like that they decided that the day of the plane crash was also the date of the premiere, officially setting the show in the fall of 2004, something that would pay off very awesomely for Red Sox fans.

I’m still baffled why they had Hurley come across the island just to tell him to go back. I mean, not for nothing, but the guy’s not exactly in the best shape. Were they just trying to get him to drop another belt size? I get that they needed someone to report back, but maybe pick one of the random castaways (which would also add suspense to the proceedings) or even Charlie next time they make a dude walk across the island and back just to be like “Yo, they got our friends. Don’t try to help.”

Odd thing I noticed – Sawyer and Sayid take their shirts off to swim after Desmond’s boat, but not Jack. Way to just give up the fight for Kate, dude. He also sort of screws up with his “caught in a net” silliness, but they get distracted out of it thanks to the bird yelling Hurley’s name (WTF is that about, anyway?). And no worries, he totally boinks her in a few episodes anyway.

Hey - anyone else think the dude in the ice station looked like Matthew Fox?

So Season 2 comes to a close. It definitely improves on back to back viewings, and in fact if you haven’t watched it yet I would just skip “Fire + Water” and “The Long Con” and make good use of the “Previously, On Lost” things that they so graciously provide on the DVD to fill in any blanks. And it’s also the last time our core cast was together – next season would find them split up for a while, and then starting with S4 they’re not even on the same island (and later, time period) as one another. It’s a shame that the show’s plot kept everyone apart for so long, because there’s a lot of good chemistry among the actors that they never fully maximized the potential of, but oh well. At least now we have Desmond as a regular. Oh and Juliet. I like her, too.

Where are we?

P.S. I'm going to break protocol with the Youtube clip for this one, because there's nothing not Lost-related with this particular phrase. Also this guy's got some pipes.


PLEASE, GO ON...

"Three Minutes"

NOVEMBER 15, 2010

FOCUS: MICHAEL
EPISODE: 2.22
AIRED: MAY 17, 2006

Lost had a lot of cliffhangers in its run, but I don’t think any got me as worked up as the one in “Three Minutes”, where a boat appears on the horizon just as the episode came to a close. It’s the type of thing that made me (momentarily) consider waiting for DVD, to spare myself the agony of waiting a week to get the next scene. Especially when it actually turned out to be something awesome (Desmond!).

Part of why I got so worked up, I think, is because my emotions were already in overdrive thanks to the funeral scene, which is easily the saddest in the show’s run. Since Hurley is our surrogate, it’s nearly impossible not to choke up when he delivers Libby’s eulogy, and Kate’s motherly affection to him is also quite moving. And when he looks at Michael all pissed off, and for a split second you think he might have figured it out, only to agree to come along on the trip – I mean GODDAMN that’s rich.

Speaking of the trip, I’ve always hated how convenient it was that the exact four people on Michael’s list were the ones in the Hatch at the time all of this went down. Maybe it was due to time constraints and they had to be a little lax, but it seems that they would have complicated the matter somehow by having Locke around or something. Granted Michael has to talk Sayid out of joining, but even that seems to be a “writers’ convenience” move, so Sayid can tip Jack off and also add some drama to the next episode (oh, and piss everyone off for four years with the four toed statue).

It's also rich with great character moments, which is impressive considering how much is going on plotwise. Charlie tossing all of the heroin back into the ocean (and making up with Claire!), Sawyer’s repeated attempts to bond with Jack (guess this one was written post fan reaction to "The Long Con", since Sawyer spends the whole episode going out of his way to be likable, even offering Jack a drink!), Eko’s new-found job as hatch protector... all great stuff. But my favorite moment has to be Eko’s story about the kid being afraid of meeting the dog he killed in hell, which is not only a cool story but also adds a layer to Eko’s character – he obviously knows that Michael is responsible, but, like Rose and Bernard in later seasons, doesn’t want to get involved with all this nonsense.

And nonsense it is – I still don’t get why the Others have the ruse of living in huts and not having clothes and such. I guess it’s just a way for them to psyche out the Survivors, but really? You’re going to walk around an island with no shoes just so you can get the drop on a guy named Hurley? Tom’s fake beard looks a lot better in this episode, however. And speaking of “hero” Others, we meet Pickett in this one, though he’s a bit out of character compared to the way he is in Season 3; he’s actually kind of nice here. I also wish Ms. Klugh was a more prominent character – she seemed a lot more interesting than most of the Others we got to know.

I know I said yesterday that I’d watch “both parts” of the S2 finale back to back, but I notice now that the DVD did that for me. Lostpedia has them listed as separate episodes, and obviously it’s been a while, so I couldn’t remember, but I guess they aired on the same night (as opposed to S1’s “Exodus” parts 1 and 2). So it’ll be just the one, and then we start Season 3 on Wednesday! Juliet!

Where are we?

P.S. This episode reminds me – I need to start using “caught in a net” as a euphemism for sex.


PLEASE, GO ON...

"?"

NOVEMBER 14, 2010

FOCUS: EKO
EPISODE: 2.21
AIRED: MAY 10, 2006

Back when Aintitcool used to publish stories consisting of the upcoming episode titles, I figured "?" was a placeholder for an as-yet-unrevealed moniker, since they were usually pretty self-explanatory ("What Kate Did") or based on obvious dialogue or character descriptions ("Man Of Science, Man Of Faith"). So leave it to Lost to make an episode called "?" that actually DOES make sense, as the episode focuses on unanswered questions as well as a location marked by an actual question mark burned into the ground.

Sometimes I wish that Eko had been a main character right from the start, and/or that they gave him a season of his own. His back-story is far richer than most of the other characters - here's a guy who was taken as a normal child, molded into a soldier, then became a drug dealer, and finally a priest. Even if he had lived until the end (which I believe was the plan; he certainly wasn't meant to die in the first quarter of the 3rd season), I don't think they ever would have run out of interesting flashback stories for the character. Again, sometimes I think re-casting really is better than the alternative.

That said, I wonder why they didn't let Libby have a flashback here. She doesn't die until the very end of the episode, and they could have used the time to clear up some questions and just saved the trek to find the ? station (and Eko's flashback) for the next week. It also would have been dramatically exciting, because we as the audience could see it as a sliver of hope that she would survive.

That is, if Jack wasn't so pessimistic about her chances. As with "Do No Harm", half of the episode deals with Jack's attempts to save someone's life, though he doesn't go at it full throttle this time, which I never really noticed before. Is he finally learning to let go? Or is he so focused on getting the guns/going after the Others that he sees Libby's situation as sort of a blessing? It doesn't take him too long to flat out tell Sawyer he only really wants the heroin in order to find the guns (a rather silly plot point - why did Sawyer have them in the first place? If Jack took all the meds back in the poker game, why weren't they included when their "therapeutic value" was the only reason they had them?), and most of the time he's just standing around looking at her instead of trying to get the bullets out (since she was shot through two heavy blankets, wouldn't the impact be dulled enough for it to be a fairly shallow wound?). Also, I'm no doctor, so I'm confused by why the bleeding stopping is a bad thing.

(Also, how does the Island's healing power work, anyway? It can cure cancer and paralysis, but not gunshot wounds or beatings?)

On the flipside, Locke seems to be losing his faith here. Why is he so incredulous about Eko having visions and going by what he learned in dreams? Isn't that sort of right up Locke's alley? I get that he's frustrated due to his inability to draw the map, but even that helps make my point - if he believes the map is somehow important/special, shouldn't he be doing anything to help trigger his memory, such as going off to find one of the things on it? But I love his expression when he asks Eko if he can open the door himself - dude's practically aroused by the promise of a new mystery to solve.

Quick question though - is it possible for two men to push a goddamn airplane? One of whom is injured and thus does not have full leg strength to push with? They make it seem like it's made out of balsa wood or something.

But man, you gotta feel for Hurley here. Even Sawyer looks like his heart breaks for the poor guy when he asks him and Kate if they had seen Libby. And when he tells Michael that he's glad he's OK... man, I don't think I ever hated a fictional character so much in my life (unless you count the asteroid in Armageddon). But, silver lining, the plot thread helped establish Hurley as a full character. Up until now he's just been the weird funny guy who was hanging around but never really getting involved, but starting a couple episodes up until the end of the season, he was one of the main players. Yay!

After tomorrow's episode, I'll be at the two part/three hour finale, which I will try to watch in one sitting since I fell behind due to Screamfest and have yet to "double up", which I need to do a couple times per season if I'm going to get everything done in 108 days as originally planned. Also if memory serves, the 2nd season finale is the most adventurous of all of them, with the big trek across the island to the Others' territory, and Desmond's awesome flashbacks, etc., so it'll be fun to watch all at once. And yes, I just need to satisfy my Desmond fix. For some reason I thought he came back sooner in the season than the finale, but a quick check for tomorrow's episode reveals I was wrong; it's not until the first part of the finale that he reappears. Lame.

Where are we?


PLEASE, GO ON...

"Two For The Road"

NOVEMBER 13, 2010

FOCUS: ANA LUCIA
EPISODE: 2.20
AIRED: MAY 3, 2006

Lost had another break between “S.O.S.” and “Two For The Road”, but man oh man did it come back with a bullet. Three of them, actually, as it ends with the 2nd biggest “Holy shit!” moment in the show’s run (1st being the reveal of the flash-forward). Man, it was such a shock I didn’t even have time to cheer for Ana Lucia’s death, which I had assumed I would do for pretty much the entire season. And then when poor Libby comes in and takes two to the chest as well – well shit, my jaw still hasn’t recovered.

Part of what makes it work so well is that it’s a pretty typical episode of Lost so far; there’s two main stories, one much lighter than the other. In the light one, Hurley is attempting to take Libby on a proper date, and thus he wants to take her on a picnic, but he blunders pretty much everything. First he seeks a radio from Sayid so he can pull a Lloyd Dobler (Sayid’s reaction to this entire thing is amazing), only to get the location of a secluded and romantic beach instead. But he can’t find it, and ends up getting them lost, only to discover their own beach (“Look, there’s Jin!” kills me every time). And then Libby inquires about blankets and drinks, both of which he forgot. So it’s really his fault she died, if you think about it. Either way – it’s pretty much the worst picnic ever (his faux pas about getting her drunk didn’t help). Poor Hurley.

The main story is, of course, more serious, as Ben tries to kill Ana Lucia (who can blame him?), which triggers a flashback about Ana running away after killing the dude who shot her. It’s one of the few times where a character’s flashback episode was a direct continuation of their previous flashback episode (it starts the next day after the events seen in “Collision”), which was pretty interesting dramatically, I think. Plus it was just nice to not have to try to figure out where it fell in their personal timeline, something that characters like Jack and Sawyer suffered from throughout the show.

Speaking of Jack, we get more Christian here! And even that has a pretty obvious connection to other flashbacks – we see the bulk of his drinking binge that ended with him at a bar with Sawyer (we even see Sawyer, briefly, on his way into said bar). It’s a little contrived, admittedly, but they make for an interesting pair, and it also hints at something that wouldn’t be revealed for a while (that Claire was his daughter). The more I think about it, the more I believe that they had all of the characters pre-Island lives mapped out better than the Island stuff; story threads were often introduced quite long before they were explained in the flashbacks, whereas on the island you just get a lot of out of nowhere shit like Nikki and Paulo.

Also, it’s a bit of a throwaway moment in the episode as a whole, but Jack apologizing to Locke and admitting he was wrong is pretty huge. Jack’s stubbornness would be one of his more prominent characteristics, so these rare moments where he admits fault for anything are always pretty eye-opening. And to LOCKE, of all people! Of course, they start arguing like 30 seconds later, but oh well, it was nice while it lasted. I also dug Jack pulling a gun on Sawyer, though the moment kind of confused me – I thought Jack’s gun WAS Ana Lucia’s? So she gave it to him and then gave Sawyer a distraction lay to steal his? Why hadn’t Jack just given it back to her beforehand? He’s usually pretty good about these things.

One side note – in this scene, Sawyer is reading "Bad Twin", the tie-in novel written by Gary Troup, one of the now-dead passengers. Jack tosses the book in the fire, so Sawyer never gets to read the last 10 pages, but if I recall correctly, he isn’t missing much. Not only was the book kind of shitty anyway, but it was also rather confusing – it was written by a passenger, but the book seemed to take place in the Lost-verse, as the Widmores and Hansos were in it. Why would he be writing about real people for his fictional book? Too many layers, but the book wasn’t good enough to use up brain cells trying to figure it out. Incidentally, I read it on a plane.

Where are we?


PLEASE, GO ON...