"The Economist"

DECEMBER 18, 2010


Thanks to Lost's constantly shifting timeslot, "The Economist" aired on Valentine's Day, much like last season's "Flashes Before Your Eyes". And while not as successful, it's also another 'romantic' episode, with Sayid wooing a woman in Germany, looking all suave and such. It's all quite lovely until they shoot each other - luckily for Naveed Andrews, Sayid is the better shot.

However, this was one of the cool things about the flashforwards - it allowed for suspense OFF the island for once. Few of the flashbacks ever put our characters in any sort of danger, because what would be the point? You know they live and don't have any major injuries (save Locke). But with the forwards (not to mention a fixed end date), these sort of things could very easily end in a character's death which wouldn't necessarily mean that person would be done with the show.

So now we have the identity of the 4th "Oceanic Six" member, and again we are reminded of their celebrity status and that they were apparently all made rich from it (an avenue not fully explored - did money-hating Hurley get this large settlement? Or was Sayid just lying?). But the episode otherwise plays out like a normal flashback, albeit a non-torture based one for Sayid. Hell, if not for the opening scene, where he talks about being one of the Six, they could have very easily tricked us into thinking this was a flashBACK until the final scene - perhaps Sayid became a spy for the Iraqi government at some point after leaving the torture game.

Speaking of that final scene, while it was fine for the phone calls, I really hated that they "disguised" Ben's voice for a while before finally revealing him. Not only was Michael Emerson's inflection unmistakable, but it's also just stupid - if we are being told the story from Sayid's point of view, why would it be disguised when he was sitting right next to the guy? I'm not a fan of things that only make sense for the audience's sake, and I thought the Lost folks were above this sort of thing. Was it worth making such a big deal out of something that was only 30 seconds away from being revealed? Especially when it wasn't too surprising anyway?

(On rewatching the episode, however, it gives Sayid's earlier line in the show: "The day I trust that man..." some added 'oomph')

The non Sayid stuff is pretty good, mainly because it gives more screen time to Lapidus, kicking off the bond between him and Jack. Jack asking him about the Sox is one of the rare moments in this season where Jack's previous life seemed to be on his mind; the rest of the time he was always in gung ho, "I'm trying to get us rescued!" mode. I also love the little moment with him and Kate, when she asks how it feels being left behind and he replies "That mean I should wait 20 minutes and go anyway?" (as she often does). Good stuff.

We also get one of the all time best Hurley lines, when Myles calls him "tubby" ("Oh good, the ship sent another Sawyer."). It's funny enough to make up for the rather silly subplot of Hurley betraying his friends. I get that he might have been afraid of the freighter folk, but I don't think he'd ever sell out Sayid or Kate (or anyone, really) as easily as he did. It also seems odd that he'd legitimately be afraid of Sayid. Again, Hurley works much better as the carefree guy who just sort of hangs out and keeps everyone relaxed - when they involve him too much into the various "faction" wars it doesn't quite work. Only thing more jarring was crazy Claire in Season 6.

It's also a good episode for composer Michael Giacchino. I quite like Sayid's theme, and the music that plays over the scene where Sawyer and Kate discuss the pros/cons of staying on the island is quite nice as well. Granted, I pay a little more attention to this show than most, but even factoring that in, I still think it has one of the greatest music components of any weekly TV show I've ever seen, and the best pieces ("Life and Death" for example) are better than the stuff I hear in most movies, especially nowadays when everything genre related seems to have that rapid fire "dun dun DUHH DUHH dun dun DUHH DUHH" type of music ripped off from the Bourne movies. Or is techno based. Ugh.

Tomorrow - we spend 42 minutes waiting to get to "The Constant"! It's the rare drawback in rewatching episodes; knowing a great one is coming up but you have to sit through an average one first. At least we get to see Kate all cleaned up.

Where are we?

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