NOVEMBER 29, 2010
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?