"Further Instructions"

NOVEMBER 19, 2010


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?

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