"Maternity Leave"

NOVEMBER 8, 2010

AIRED: MARCH 1, 2006

Like “The Other 48 Days”, “Maternity Leave” takes place entirely on the island, which is fine since it’s Claire’s annual flashback episode, and her pre-island life is way more boring. And in a move that would become rather rare as the show went on, the episode addresses several issues of all sizes: small (Alex’s fate), medium (the scratches on Rousseau’s arm), and large (what happened to Claire after she was kidnapped). Plus these were mysteries that had only been floating around for a season – it would take another 5 years to explain who “Adam and Eve” were, long after I gave up caring.

It’s also the rare episode to have a female based “mission”, with Kate, Claire, and Rousseau heading out to find the Dharma station where Claire was being held (oddly, one of the others would concern Juliet and Sun going to the same place). It never really dawned on me until now how male-driven the show was, so it’s nice to see them get some time to bond while the guys are off doing something else (folks like Hurley, Charlie, and Sawyer barely appear in the episode). It also allows Emilie De Ravin to do something besides pout or get annoyed with Charlie for once; the scene with her and the baby at the end is the closest they ever really gave her to meaty material. I guess it just goes to show why most ensemble shows keep the roster to about 6-7, because Lost just had too many for its own good. At first, they were doing a pretty good job at keeping things even, but as the show went on and the story became more complex, a lot of characters were just completely left out in the cold, and Claire is probably the biggest example; even some of the dead folks had more fully fleshed back-stories. Hell, Juliet had just as many flashback episodes and she came into the show almost halfway through.

It’s also a good episode for Eko fans, as he has a great moment with Locke and Jack (when they tell him not to tell Ben what the alarm is for, he innocently replies “What IS the alarm for?”), and then tells his story to Ben before cutting off his little beard (I wonder if Ben kept it?). And I love the final scene of the episode, with Ben starting to show some of his true colors by getting under Locke’s skin (a lot of Dharma dinnerware has been destroyed on the show as a result of Locke’s inability to get the upper hand on this guy).

Glad the show was getting back on track with this one. Again, back to back it’s not so bad, but when it was airing, and you’d wait a week or longer for something like “Fire + Water”, it started looking pretty dire, especially when that was around the time I got Tivo and suddenly realized how many “great” things were on the air at all times. “Why watch this crap when I can record/watch the entire run of MILLENIUM on Sci-Fi?”

Where are we?

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