"The Other Woman"

DECEMBER 21, 2010

AIRED: MARCH 6, 2008

Granted, “The Constant” is a tough act to follow, but even factoring in a handicap, “The Other Woman” is kind of a lousy episode, since it features a flashback (I thought we were done with those!) about Juliet’s relationship with a dude who we know is dead, and just reinforces that Ben is obsessed with her, rendering most of it rather pointless. And the present day stuff is even weaker, detailing a baffling “mission” to shut off some gas that can kill everyone, which is dramatically inert because they seem hellbent on not making it clear who’s on who’s side and what the “right” thing to do is. Half the people are saying Ben’s trying to kill them and they need to do this to stop him, the other half are saying they need to stop Daniel and Charlotte because they are trying to kill them.

And, you know, who cares? We know not everyone’s going to die either way, so why build an entire episode around this sort of crap? Christ, there’s even a Mexican standoff with a ticking time clock! If you guys want to write this sort of thing, go over to 24. Fans of that show are far less discerning (obviously, or it wouldn’t have lasted 8 seasons, most of them awful). And back to the flashbacks – sure, Juliet got a shit deal on the island, but is depicting her affair with a married man the best way to earn our sympathy? If anything this episode made me like her less.

It’s got a few “saving” moments, however, such as Juliet’s response to Jack’s inquiry about having therapists (“It’s very stressful being an Other, Jack.”), and the tense moment when Goodwin enters the lab in order to grab a nooner with Juliet and ends up having to offer a sandwich. The present day stuff with Ben and Locke is also good; I love his reaction to Locke making rabbit for dinner, and the little callback to the Red Sox game. Again, the whole mystery about the “man on the boat” is rather anticlimactic thanks to the opening credits, but I guess if you’re illiterate you can appreciate the (minor) development in this plotline.

I also like the misdirection at the beginning, since we still don’t know who the 6th Oceanic Six person is, and there’s talk about Juliet being a celebrity and such. It’s the sort of “toying with the audience” approach that actually works, unlike Ben’s disguised voice in “The Economist”. Plus, it doesn’t exactly confirm that Juliet ISN’T one of the Oceanic Six, so it allows the suspense to continue. Granted, realistically she couldn’t be one of them, since she wasn’t an Oceanic flight member to begin with, but since Lost’s writers have already demonstrated their limited grasp on the legal system, I’m guessing that’s the sort of plot point they wouldn’t give a shit about.

Speaking of giving a shit, one thing I meant to bring up earlier but forgot: why isn’t anyone sad about Charlie? Neither Hurley or Claire seem particularly troubled in the slightest, which is odd considering their best friend/boyfriend (respectively) just died like 4 days ago. When Boone died, Shannon was pretty much bummed for the rest of the season - you’d think they’d at least have a moment or two showing their grief. Again though, that’s part of why the show started losing me – they became far more interested in the plot twists and mythology than the people involved with them.

On that note, it’s amusing/somewhat sad how often there are “Unanswered Questions” listed in the Lostpedia entries starting with this season. This episode in particular has four (mostly involving the Harper character, who went the way of Isabel and was never seen again), and many of the previous episodes this season had about as many, whereas most episodes in S1-3 have none at all. Which, of course, is even more maddening when you consider that this is the first season they’ve been able to plan out and execute knowing how many episodes they had left, yet it seems to have the most narrative holes. And you can’t even blame the Writer’s Strike for that – they ended up getting those episodes “back” via extra hours in the 5th and 6th seasons. Also, while it may not have been the ratings powerhouse it once was, I’m sure they could have gotten even more if they asked, because it was still one of ABC’s top rated shows. Bummer.

Tomorrow: the weirdest Hurley moment in the entire series!

Where are we?

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