"Not In Portland"

NOVEMBER 23, 2010


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?

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