"The Shape Of Things To Come"

DECEMBER 24, 2010

AIRED: APRIL 24, 2008

OK, so now I remember why "The Shape Of Things To Come" would have made for a more tantalizing mid season ender - Jack's ridiculous ailment! It's probably one of the most worthless subplots in the entire series, a 24-esque excuse to cause more problems for our heroes than something of any real narrative purpose, but at the time we didn't know that - it would have been fun to guess about it for the 5 weeks Lost was off the air due to the strike.

The final scene of the episode is also far more cliffhanger-y than the one in the previous episode, when Rousseau and Karl were killed. Alan Dale's performance in the scene is wonderfully menacing (he seems to be channeling Anthony Hopkins), and again, we didn't know that everything they were talking about amounted to jack shit. What the hell is Ben talking about with the "rules" and why can't he just kill Widmore? Never explained, but again, at the time it seemed cool.

It's also a damned funny episode, which may surprise some considering how grim it can be (multiple deaths on and off the island). Sawyer's brotherly protection of Hurley ("If you touch one hair on his curly head...") is so wonderful, and I love the look on Sawyer's face when Ben tosses him a shotgun early on. The scene where Daniel realizes he's been caught in his lie is also quite amusing, so much that I can overlook the rather odd notion that Jack knew Bernard knew Morse code, since the two of them have never had more than a passing conversation. And it's kind of sick, but the casual and inane manner in which they kill off three of the nameless plane survivors is kind of awesome in a Silent Night Deadly Night humor kind of way. I mean, they literally line up to get shot to death, all the while missing Sawyer (I like that they replayed the scene from "Kevin Johnson" to remind us what lousy shots the mercenary guys are).

But Sawyer's inability to get shot is nothing compared to Claire's ability to survive HER ENTIRE HOUSE EXPLODING. I mean, the thing seemingly disintegrates half of the house's contents, hence Sawyer's relative ease of finding her in the rubble (which mostly consists of clothes and small junk), yet Claire comes through with a scratch on her head and momentary amnesia ("Charlie?"). That's some Jack Bauer level resilience right there.

However, it is also a bit of a sad episode. It's pretty painful to hear that Nadia was killed just months later (something we could surmise from "The Economist"), and Sayid's grief is quite well played. But also, the death of Alex (aided with some top notch Giacchino music) is pretty depressing - the season had been making some effort to turn Ben into a more sympathetic character, and they finally hit that point here, especially when he stayed behind to say goodbye to her. Poor Ben. Villainous, crazy, kidnapping Ben.

Also, as an LA resident, I liked hearing a shoutout to a particular intersection, and that it made sense. While "La Brea and Santa Monica" is not 3 blocks from where Nadia was seen getting hit in the episode that showed it, it's at least similar to the type of area they depicted (and the location of the Best Buy where I bought Rock Band!). I remember seeing a slasher movie called New Year's Evil that had police responding to a distress at "Ventura and Laurel Canyon", which was depicted as an isolated suburban area, when in reality it's a very busy, brightly lit intersection. Also, when I was in Boston, an episode of Dawson's Creek had Joey get mugged at "Downtown Crossing", which looked like a ghetto instead of the highly commercialized shopping area that is actually is. So good on you, Lost (which fakes all of its LA areas in Hawaii).

Where are we?

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