I'd like to thank everyone who has checked out the site, and a special thanks to Brett, The Pearl, Mike Snoonian, Pyro, Jonathan, Keith, and everyone else who offered up their own take on a few episodes. And, goes without saying, thanks to Damon Lindelof, Carlton Cuse, ABC, and the rest of the cast/crew of the show for providing me with something to enjoy immensely and obsess over (albeit in a limited way compared to some folks) for 6+ years. Namaste!
NOTE - This review originally ran at the time of the game's initial release on a now defunct website I used to write for called FreezeDriedMovies. It is being presented sans any new commentary or editing (so some stuff might be irrelevant by now - such as the complaints about the 60 dollar cost; the game is like 10 bucks now). Enjoy!
When Ubisoft announced back in 2005 or so that they would be making a game based on the beloved hit show Lost, there was a lot of speculation as to how it would “work”. Unlike say, The Simpsons, Lost has a deep, rich continuity, as well as a seemingly never-ending supply of questions without answers. How would a game tie into the show without breaking continuity? Would it have any relation at all? Would you play as Jack, or a whole new character? Will you get to interact with Scott (or is it Steve)? Etc.
Well now that the game is here, those questions have all been answered, though the result may not be as satisfying as fans have hoped. While some care has been taken to preserve the show’s mysteries while making a game with a satisfying conclusion, it seems that the attempt to make Lost: Via Domus appealing for both fans of the show and fans of adventure games in general has resulted in the game being nothing special in either category.
The nice thing about Lost (the show) is that there are about thirty fellow castaways whom no one ever talks to, though they will always attend funerals or hug a main character who is returning from some sort of adventure. So it’s easy for a game developer (or novelist) to design a story with one of these nameless folks as the central character, because there’s little risk of breaking the show’s “rules” as there would be with one of the main characters. In Via Domus, you play as one of those otherwise unknown castaways: Elliot, a photojournalist with a video game staple: amnesia. In one of the game’s best inventions, the “flashback” nature of the show is implemented via his job as a photographer. At a certain point during each “episode” (the game is broken up into seven of these levels), a memory will be triggered, usually by awkward dialogue by another castaway. Your character will then see a fragmented photo, and you must figure out what the image is and take a picture of it in your flashback. This will “unlock” your memory, at which point you will be presented with cutscenes that fill out your character’s backstory, which, in true Lost tradition, will reveal that your character is not exactly a saint, and has also encountered one or two of the castaways in the past. It’s a great invention; you get to actually DO things in the flashbacks without having to worry about “dying” in a memory.
Unfortunately, these scenes take up only a brief portion of each level. The rest of the time you will be running around the Island solving puzzles (of which there are sadly only two types), occasinally trying to help castaways with certain tasks, and dodging the damn smoke monster. And this is where the primary problem of the game is: if you strip away the “Lost”-centric locations (i.e. the various Dharma stations) and characters, you’re left with the least imaginative adventure game in recent memory. The puzzles are either a series of “IQ tests” found on computers (none of them are even remotely challenging, just “complete the sequence” type things like “A-C-E-G-?”), or fuse box puzzles that require you to place fuses to direct a certain amount of electricity from one end of the panel to the other. These are actually a bit challenging, though they get monotonous by the 5th or 6th time they come up (their implementation makes less and less sense as the game progresses as well; the first is used to stop the plane’s fuel from flowing, but the final one is used to simply open a door in a fully functioning building).
This leads us to another problem with the game – some of the things you have to do simply don’t make any sense at all. Early on, you find out that Locke has the battery for your laptop (why him and not Sawyer?). Locke says he’ll give it to you, but first you have to follow him into the jungle, then through a dark cave. What? Just fork it over, jerk! This even presents a plot hole – your otherwise pointless journey leads you to find a compass in the back of the cave. Later, uber-villain Ben Linus tells you that he left the compass there for you to find. You never visit the location again in the game, so how did he know Locke would make you run all the way out there?
On the plus side, this silly quest is one of the few times in the game you are actually required to interact with the characters you presumably bought the game for. Locke, Jack, Kate, and Juliet pop up with some frequency, but others, such as Sawyer, Charlie, and Hurley, never leave their spots on the beach, and you can feasibly play through the entire game without ever once speaking to Jin, Sun, or Claire (something even more of a downer when you consider that Sun and Claire are among the precious few who are voiced by the real actors). Michael is introduced screaming his trademark “WAAAAALT!”, but is only seen once again in the entire game. Walt, Shannon, and Boone aren’t in the game at all, and despite the surprising amount of season 3 characters and locations, none of the 2nd season’s “Tailies” appear either (unless you count a bizarre, blink-and-you’ll-miss-it appearance by Mr. Eko in one of your flashbacks). The beach is also devoid of any life; the only people there are the ones you need to talk to for the current mission. For a game based on a show that is renowned for its well-rounded characters, it’s a bit strange they would keep those characters absent for such a huge chunk of it.
Then again, the more interaction you have with the cast, the more likely it is that continuity would be broken. To its credit, the game does a good job of following the show’s story (over the first two seasons anyway) without rewriting history. For example, early on you see Jack, Kate, and Charlie running back from the cockpit, and then you decide to go look for yourself, rather than placing your character in the group from the start and contradicting what was established on the show. Other large events are sort of glossed over, however, particularly the raft, which is just mentioned off-hand.
Back to the “adventure” aspect of the game though – the action elements are pretty weak, not to mention repetitive. Runs through the jungle trying to escape the “smoke monster” are particularly annoying, because in order to hide you have to duck inside some trees – an action that changes your camera angle and causes you to lose your bearings. There are also a few “jump or slide” obstacle course type sequences and two treks through maze-like caves, nothing that will give even a casual gamer much challenge. You have a gun but you only need to fire THREE shots in the entire game (do NOT bother trading with Sawyer for extra ammo – the one clip the gun comes with is way more than enough), and outside of these moments the gun doesn’t work anyway. Again, if not for the fun of running around the Looking Glass and seeing that shark that terrorized Sawyer and Michael on the raft, there is almost zero reason to play this game over any of the superior adventure games already out there (the control and even game design reminds me a lot of the woefully underrated PS2 game Disaster Report – which is probably about 1/4 the cost and about 10x as fun). Your drive to keep playing will most likely be entirely based on seeing what show location will pop up next or if your favorite character will appear – something a non fan won’t benefit from anyway.
On a technical level the game more or less delivers. The controls are a bit awkward at first, but nothing damaging. The graphics are nice (particularly the lush jungle levels), and load times aren’t too much of an issue. The character likenesses are good for the most part, and little things like Locke’s scar or Jack’s sleeveless purple shirt are faithfully recreated. Desmond is one major exception, as his character looks almost nothing like him (stranger when you consider Henry Ian Cusick is one of the six actors to reprise their roles). Then again, he’s only in the game for 12 seconds, so maybe they just didn’t feel the need to spend as much time on him as Jack or Sayid.
The sound is where the game really reaches its potential; in addition to Michael Giacchino’s incredible score, the sound of the smoke monster is recreated perfectly, and the surround effects are not only well done but also quite helpful during a few of the “follow me” type missions. The replacement actors are OK as fine as acting goes, though none of them sound even remotely like their show counterparts (Locke sounds like a Native American, and Charlie just sounds like a cartoon), with the exception of whoever plays Jack, who nails Matthew Fox’s inflection and delivery.
In terms of value, the game is hardly worth the cost for anyone but the most die-hard Lost fans (which, as you may have guessed, I am). You certainly can’t accuse the game of dragging – this is possibly the shortest game I’ve ever played on a “next-gen” system. Using the Xbox “achievement points” as a guide, it is possible to complete the game and what few optional “side quests” there are (basically, taking pictures of things like Locke’s wheelchair) in under eight hours, and if you skip all that stuff and don’t die often you can probably be done in under six if the fuse puzzles don’t stump you. At a 60 dollar price tag, that’s a borderline ripoff, especially when you consider the game has no multiplayer options or any sort of replay value (no multiple endings or “free roam” type play). Assuming they are identical, the 30 dollar PC version is a far better option unless you’re an achievement point whore (getting all 1000 points takes minimal effort). Pity on those of you who only have the PS3 as an option – no points OR savings!
It’s a shame that first video game spinoff of one of television’s most exciting shows turned out to be such a relative bore. The novelty of interacting with the characters and locations, along with the “flashback” mini-game and story, are enough to give this one a pass for the faithful, but non-fans should just avoid it entirely – if I was trying to introduce someone to the world of Lost, I’d rather show them the weakest episode than have them play this game in order to show them what all the fuss is about.
FEBRUARY 5, 2011
12 minutes to explain a few of the show's plot holes in a non-amusing, annoying, largely sloppy (why would Chang explain polar bears and room 23 in the same video?) way? Fuck you, "New Man In Charge". What a total waste of time. Worse, it even has its OWN new, never-to-be-answered questions? What the hell do they want Walt for, exactly? Who is watching the island while both Ben and Hurley are dicking around in Santa Rosa? And what did they do with Desmond, which I seem to recall hearing was the point of the thing in the first place? Yeah, thanks for letting us know why Chang had a different name, though. Pointless fan-wank.
Where are we?
FEBRUARY 4, 2011
FOCUS: EVERYONE (THAT THEY COULD BRING BACK)
AIRED: MAY 23, 2010
Well, I was right: “The End” works a lot better on an emotional level once you know the difference between the two timelines. The “sideways” reunions are ALL touching, not just Juliet and Sawyer’s (the only one that really worked for me on the first viewing), and the island stuff is more exciting when you know what’s really at stake. However, this second view made me notice a lot of problems that weren’t as apparent the first time around.
For starters, good GOD is it in overdrive. Shit happens so fast, it feels like the writers had 3 minutes to plan for it, not 3 years. The plot moves so fast, they actually have Desmond going down in a well without any sort of plan (I love the idea that Locke and Jack are sending him down together. Lot of cooperation in their plan to kill each other), and all of the action in the finale revolves around taking out a thing and then putting the thing back in (was Lost just a giant dick joke?). I mean, really, what did they think would happen when he took the cork out? Why didn’t he just put it back in himself? It’s a really clunky concept to build the bulk of your series finale around. I hate ticking clocks and such, but Jesus, at least that would have been SOMETHING to grasp onto. Jack and Locke’s fight is also way too quick, and Ben returns to hero pretty much in between commercials (I don’t buy his sort-of explanation either – “I didn’t know you meant literally destroy the island”? What the fuck else would he mean?). I like that he saves Hurley, but it seems uncharacteristic from how he was behaving 10 minutes earlier. He also gets free from being pinned under a log without any explanation. I could go on and on, but the episode lacks finesse from start to finish, as if it was the scripts for 4-5 episodes condensed into two.
It’s got a lot of sloppy errors too. Whoever was in charge of the digital sailboat apparently figured Kate and Sawyer were better-than-Olympic swimmers – not only is it extremely far out when they are trying to get to it, but it seems even FURTHER out when they get off of it later! Why would they drop anchor so far out when they’re on an extremely tight time table? Frank says they got an hour; it seems like their boat ride alone would be an hour’s ride, not even counting the swim. Crash the fucking thing on the shore!
And nice job with the stunt doubles too:
The sideways stuff is also rushed, but that’s not as problematic, because we can assume that now that everyone is figuring shit out, they’re not restricted by real world logic. For example – Jack’s kid apparently just disappears. He’s with Claire at the party, but disappears as soon as she goes into labor. Juliet goes back to the hospital, and Jack goes to the party looking for him. So where is he? I guess he’s gone, because his never really explained plot purpose has been resolved, or something. But again, it’s not real, so it’s not really an issue.
And what should be a really powerful scene between Jack and Christian (love that Kate, of all people, finally points out how silly his name is, by the way) is hampered by Jack acting completely out of character in order for Christian to explain everything to the audience. Everyone else just “got” it, but Jack has to ask if he was real (huh?), and then Christian, apparently prepared, explains everything with the subtlety of a hammer. “You’re real. Everyone’s real. Everything that happened is real!” He might as well have looked into the camera. And then he goes on and on about how the most important thing he did was fuck around with these people on a magic island. Sort of a dick thing to say to a doctor, really.
Also, I had to laugh, because Rose and Bernard were invited along, despite the fact that they repeatedly expressed the fact that they didn’t want anything to do with these folks. Hell, at the beginning of the episode they more or less plan to throw Desmond to the wolves so they don’t have to get involved. Now they’re stuck with them forever, and you know they will figure out some way to “start shooting each other” even in Heaven. Yet Miles, Daniel, Charlotte, and Lapidus, all of whom had much stronger connections and bonding adventures with them than Rose and Bernard ever did, are left behind. Ditto Richard, who if memory serves was never even seen in the flash sideways world, unlike everyone else (even villains). I won’t even get into the absent characters who were MIA due to their actors refusal/inability to come back (little late to recast, which was my suggestion for the past but wouldn’t work for a single wordless scene in the finale). Thanks for carrying Sawyer across the island to save him, Eko, but you can’t come!
As a Kate/Evangeline Lilly fan, however, this is one of the greatest episodes of all time. I love when she just opens fire at Locke out of nowhere, and that she’s the one to save Jack instead of one of the guys (I figured Ben would come to the rescue). Also, holy SHIT her black dress – remind me to buy the costume designer for the show a drink or two if I ever run into him/her. I also hope that if I’m ever confused about my afterlife, someone who looks like her will be my guardian angel helping me get where I need to be, promising to wait for me and such (also, hey – EvANGELine – good foresight, casting folks).
It’s also a pretty funny episode. Jin’s amusement when Sawyer comes to talk to them kills me; he’s totally charmed by Sawyer’s cluelessness. I also love Terry O’Quinn’s performance when he wakes up and Jack starts doing his angry/stubborn Jack thing, he’s trying so hard not to laugh, like “Oh, Jack, I missed you, you easily irritated prick!” They also have some fun with the meta stuff; in addition to mocking Christian’s name, I love that Locke/MIB gets to join in the fun for once by mocking how Jack was the “obvious choice” to take Jacob’s place. Speaking of which – what’s up with Jack simplifying the ritual? Jacob had wine, a Latin blessing, etc – Jack just makes Hurley drink some filthy water out of a plastic bottle. I guess it’s his rules now?
I also never noticed how short Claire was. When she’s walking to the concert, not only is she dwarfed by Juliet, but even the 12 year old David has a good 6 inches on her. And while we’re on the subject of the concert – I was hoping the DVD would have a deleted scene of Charlie and his brother having one last talk, but nope. Liam’s role here is basically a background extra. More rushing!
But really, nearly every issue I had with the episode was expunged by seeing this again:
Hahahaha that is just so damn awesome. I also love his “LOOOOOOOOOCKE!!!” beforehand. The rain just makes it even more perfect. After getting such a savage beating by Sawyer at the end of last season, it’s a pretty good comeback for Jack’s image.
Well, anyway, that’s it. I didn’t hate the finale, and I’ve gotten over the lack of answers on certain aspects (Walt, the pregnancy stuff, even more recent things like Ilana’s history), but it wasn’t as epic a finale as the show deserved, and it certainly shouldn’t have taken two viewings to feel emotional about 90% of the emotionally-charged scenes. I mean, the Prison Break finale – THAT delivered. All of its characters were given a true coda (come on, not even ONE scene of the folks on the Ajira plane after they land? What does Richard do? Why don’t Kate and Sawyer get together? Etc), the death of its main character was truly sad, and the way his death brought everyone together was far more touching. It also had a bit of the rushed feel that this had, but they also had I think 7-8 episodes to plan for it – not 3 seasons.
As for Season 6 as a whole, like most of the seasons (all of them except the first, really), it worked better on a second, back to back viewing, but in a different way. Usually it’s because the cliffhanger/serialized nature of the show just lends itself to watching over 2-3 weeks instead of 6-9 months, but in this case it actually made SENSE this time around, allowing me to care about the island story knowing it was real, while having the information that only some of the characters were privy to on the sideways world. But part of the fun on Lost is the reveals and surprises, and obviously most of those (Locke is Smokey! They WERE brought to the island for a reason! Richard doesn’t age because he uh, didn’t want to!) I got the first time around, rendering that sort of stuff less exciting or intriguing. So I guess I APPRECIATED this season more a 2nd time around, but didn’t necessarily find it more entertaining (or less annoying, in the case of the Temple episodes). And I’m STILL unsure if it or 5 is the weakest season.
As for the SHOW as a whole, well, obviously I still love it. I wouldn’t have done this if I didn’t want an excuse to watch it all over again. Yeah I have lots of nitpicks and issues, but I can nitpick about Halloween (how’d he get the mask before he robbed the store?), my wife (girl can’t even make a cheese sandwich without turning the kitchen into a disaster area), or Bat Out Of Hell (um... actually I have no nitpicks with Bat Out Of Hell. It’s only 7 songs long instead of 700, I guess?), too. The point is, nothing is perfect. I know folks who decided that they hated the show from start to finish because of their disappointment with the finale, and that I find quite silly. It provided me hundreds of hours of entertainment over 6 years, influenced a few of my literary choices (“Third Policeman” – read it!), and unlike other shows I invested myself in, it never got AWFUL (X-Files, Heroes, etc).
Plus, I didn’t know who the hell to pick for my "freebie" prior to September 22, 2004 (my wife's is Ryan Gosling), because I had never seen Ms. Lilly in anything of significance before then. So thank you, Lost. For whatever you may have got wrong over six seasons, you got that much right.
FEBRUARY 3, 2011
There’s a “law” of sorts, particularly for television, that states that unless we see the body, a character isn’t dead. So when Smokey “kills” Richard in “What They Died For”, I knew it was BS, just like I was pretty sure Lapidus wasn’t dead (though things were a bit grimmer for him since we at least saw his body hit the floor). You can fool me with the timeline and other nonsense, but you can’t fool me into thinking someone is dead when they’re not, Lost!
Actually a lot of the island stuff is kind of dumb in this one. I really hate how Widmore goes out, simply being shot moments after arriving on the main island. Especially at the hands of Ben; while I understand the “poetry” of it (for lack of a better word), Ben’s random return to villainy didn’t sit well with me, and since I always enjoy the idea of enemies teaming up against bigger enemies, I was hoping for more of their uneasy alliance leading into the finale. Widmore was sort of a 2nd main villain on the show after Smokey – he should have been part of the finale. Points for Zoe's death though, not only is it a good shock moment, it's also hilarious that Locke points out how pointless she was. Good call, Smokey!
It also makes “Across The Sea” even more annoying, since Jacob explains all the key points anyway. Again, had thAT episode taken place at the beginning of the season, the refresher would be appreciated, but this aired a week later – we haven’t forgotten the basics. I like that Jack takes over, however, and Sawyer’s “God complex” line is hilarious – it’s the rare time I disagree with Kate (I would have laughed and shook his hand for that one, not told him to shut up). At the time, I was sort of like “Wait, this is already settled? What the hell is going to happen in the finale?”, so on a re-watch it’s actually a lot of fun – Jack’s NOT the guy after all.
The sideways stuff is a hoot though. Giacchino’s score is wonderfully frantic, particularly in the later scenes where Desmond is playing puppet master. Ana Lucia’s appearance was a nice surprise (why she wasn’t “ready”, I’m still unsure), as was Hurley’s ugly orange Camaro. I would have liked a little more with Desmond and Hurley planning things out, but I guess that would have been hard to do without giving away the big secret. One thing that’s sort of odd about the revelation is that no one seems to mind that (spoiler!) they’re dead – with the exception of Jack, they sort of take the news pretty easily.
And I love the Ben/Desmond scene. Even a second time around I thought he was going to run Locke over again, which is just hilarious. But I also like how he “wakes” Ben up, by beating the bejesus out of him one more time. I bet the makeup folks on Lost were glad it was over, knowing they’d never have to make Michael Emerson look beat up ever again. The stuff with Alex is also very sweet, and again ties into the idea of the flash sideways being a way for them to put their biggest personal demon at rest (which again is why the Sawyer and Sayid sideways stuff was largely horrible). Jack and Locke’s scene is a bit on the nose (nearly every line is a repeat of a line they have said before – Christ, why didn’t THAT wake them up?), but again, it’s always nice to see them talking as friends again. When you watch the first season, even when they disagree, there was always a mutual respect for one another, and I really missed that as the show progressed. One of the show’s biggest failings, I think, was killing Locke off without ever having one last real scene with Jack (though “The End” at least has a good line of dialogue to make up for it).
Well, that’s it! Tomorrow’s the big finale! I’m about to get 90 minutes of my day back!
Where are we?
FEBRUARY 2, 2011
FOCUS: JACOB, MAN IN BLACK
AIRED: MAY 11, 2010
There are two ways one could hate “Across The Sea”, and both are equally valid. You can hate it for being the antepenultimate episode of the series (not the season, THE ENTIRE SERIES) and spending the entire time with two cipher characters who, quite frankly, no one really cares about AS CHARACTERS (mainly because they're both dead by this point, for one thing). Or you can hate it for often being written with all the subtlety of a Friedberg and Seltzer movie, offering up god-awful dialogue like “One day, Jacob, you can make up your own game and everyone will have to follow your rules,” which is the equivalent of Obi-Wan muttering “You’ll be the death of me!” to Anakin in the Star Wars prequels.
I hate it more for its placement, for the record. As bad as the dialogue can get, it does answer a lot of questions and give certain things that happened in previous episodes a new, better meaning (such as Jacob and MIB’s first scene in the S5 finale). It’s not a GOOD episode, by any means, but I can see its purpose. But why did they have to place the episode here? All along they said that the show was about the characters, that the answers to the various mysteries weren’t important if the characters didn’t care about them. Well forgive me for assuming things about fictional characters, but I’m pretty sure Hurley and Sawyer don’t give a flying fuck about what game Jacob and MIB played with as children. I also doubt the “controversy” of who Jacob’s mother is weighs heavily on Jack’s mind. At least if all this shit was revealed at the beginning of the season, it wouldn’t have been AS annoying. By putting it here, we not only get two very rushed final episodes, in my opinion, but it also completely breaks up the rising tension from the previous 2-3 episodes.
Another benefit to putting it earlier involves the fact that they try to make the MIB into a tragic character here. He was introduced more or less as a villain, had done terrible things throughout the past season under the guise of John Locke, and basically given us no reason whatsoever to even like him, let alone sympathize with him. And NOW, with the final battle more or less already begun, they want us to reconsider his plight? If this was at the beginning of the season, that could have posed an interesting way to approach the season, as fans. Do you side with Locke/MIB, or Jack/Jacob? As we see here, all MIB wants to do is leave (when he was still human), and if we’re supposed to believe in that “all of the evil of the world will be spilled” stuff, they sure as hell don’t explain it or even hint at what that may look like in this. For all I know that’s just some shit Jacob made up to convince people to stay. So they blew a chance for interesting fan debate throughout the season by waiting until almost literally the last minute to hint that MIB might not be the real villain.
And, not for nothing, but the ONE thing they needed to explain was why the Man In Black couldn’t just kill Jacob (or vice versa), and they do so by... having the Mother say that they couldn’t kill each other. That’s basically it. Did she put a curse on them? Is it like some Terminator 2 type shit (“I cannot self-terminate”)? We see Jacob beat the piss out of the MIB twice, so it’s not like there’s some sort of protective force field or whatever – seems like Jacob could have very easily just picked him up and tossed him over a cliff. And if the idea was that even if he did that, MIB would survive (either by simply Wolverine-style healing or being “saved” by a 3rd party, a la the dynamite going out when Richard tried to kill himself), then they should have showed a scene like that for it to be more clear. Nope, Mother just says so. Great explanation, guys.
I also don’t care much for any “back-story” that requires its own back-story. Where did their birth mother come from, and where was she going? How did Mother arrive on the island? Or the “Others”, for that matter? Who decided she would be in charge of the Urine Cave and how did she come to understand what it did? Hell, where DID she get that stupid game? The whole episode is designed to provide answers, but it does so in a very inorganic and rather clunky way; reverse-engineered from what we already know (again, like Star Wars) and rather poorly so.
Well, whatever. It’s not like I’m the lone voice of dissent on this one. Way to make me hate the idea of spending a good chunk of the episode with the awesome Titus Welliver, Lindelof/Cuse (who provide a commentary on the episode but due to time constraints I’ll have to skip it – originally I planned to listen but alas, I’m too behind on other stuff).
Where are we?
FEBRUARY 1, 2011
I don’t recall why there was a week off in between “The Last Recruit” and “The Candidate”, but it works in its favor for a second viewing. A lot of Lost works better in back to back, but this episode in particular has a really sad moment that was totally killed by the confusing flash sideways stuff. So not only did I enjoy the episode more this time due to having just watched the one before it, I also got to be sad when two of the more beloved characters perished.
I guess I should preface by explaining my original theory for the flash sideways world. My belief for pretty much the entire season was that when the hydrogen bomb went off, it created two timelines: one in which the characters magically got transported back to 2007 instead of dying in a massive explosion, and then another where Jack’s plan worked and the plane never crashed. And I never contemplated the specifics, but the idea was that everyone had to die in the rather grim Island timeline in order to correct whatever issues might arise in the “sideways” (happier) timeline. In retrospect it doesn’t make a lot of sense, but it was my idea anyway. Thus, when Sun and Jin died, I didn’t really find it too sad, because I *knew* they were alive in the other timeline anyway. Ditto for Sayid, but in his case I didn’t really care because they had already killed him at the beginning of the season and turned his character into an incoherent mess.
I mean, really, why did he turn good again? Was it simply Desmond asking him what he was going to tell Nadia when she asked how she came to be alive again? If he’s been “claimed” by some sort of infection, would the simple words of a Scottish dude he barely knows be enough to kill that darkness inside him? I like that he went out a hero, but he also went out as a major plot hole, in my opinion.
But anyway, now that I know it’s real, I did find Jin and Sun’s death to be pretty damn sad. That “Life and Death” piece from Michael Giacchino would give me sad chills even if it was playing over a shot of Clark Griswold punching an animatronic moose, so as soon as it kicked in I could feel the sadness, and this time around the tears did fall. I wish it wasn’t so clunky (what the hell is trapping her, anyway? It looks like three railings? And how did an explosion on the other side of the ship cause that much irreversible damage?), but I guess I shouldn’t complain – the better written it was, the more upsetting it would be. Same as Charlie’s death, which could have been avoided entirely anyway, but was also foreshadowed for an entire season (as was Jack’s, to some degree). Really, Juliet was the only one to ever get a good death scene that wasn’t played for shock value, I think.
Another issue I had concerns Anthony Cooper (funny note – Kevin Tighe’s credit appears as his name is mentioned for the first time in the episode. Nice bit of synchronicity), who in this timeline had a good relationship with Locke. I buy that Jack can have a son and Sawyer can be a cop, because everything changed from a moment that occurred when they were very young, but how did Cooper and Locke end up being close when he abandoned Locke’s mother before he was even born, long before 1977 (when the timeline changed due to the bomb)? Again I guess you just got to chalk it up to the fact that none of this actually happened and it’s some sort of metaphorical series of events designed for the characters to get over their biggest personal demon (which for Locke would be his shattered relationship with his father), but it’s inconsistent with the basic logic of trying to present it as a real, possible world. Though, maybe they figured since the next episode would just be a giant waste of time and thus they only had three hours left to explain the sideways world (actually half that since those episodes had a lot of Island stuff to cover as well), they had to start dropping hints.
Speaking of inconsistencies, I had to laugh when Jin refused to take the oxygen bottle after Jack told him he could make it without it. “No, you can’t, Jack,” Jin tells him, but he totally could. As I pointed out yesterday, Jack is one hell of a swimmer – he got through the cave/tunnel/temple whatever to the bomb in S5 without any problem, and just yesterday he swam from the middle of the ocean back to the island in fairly quick time while wearing a backpack. Not only could he have made it, he probably could have had time to go back and help try to free Sun. He totally missed his calling.
I didn’t notice the first time around, the episode once again depicts the writers’ fairly casual approach to killing people who weren’t necessarily bad (and/or the characters’ approach to letting them perish). Both the sub captain and his mate don’t seem to be killed when the bomb goes off, but no one bothers trying to save them. Hell they don’t even seem to care about Lapidus (I also noticed a bit of irony – there was a first aid kit behind him; if they had found it they might have all died since Jack’s pack never would have been opened), who is assumed dead for this and the next episode, but without any fanfare. No wonder they all went to heaven together, these 815ers are the most cliquey bunch of assholes in the world. I bet they had to have some sort of mental staff meeting to vote on whether or not Penny and Desmond would be allowed to come along.
For all my nitpicks, it’s a good episode though. The action’s fun (love Locke just picking dudes off on the dock), it puts most of our characters together for pretty much the last time, Sawyer and Jack sort of make up, and the flash sideways story is above average, particularly the sweet scene of Jack and Claire at the law office (“You’re family.”). It’s the last “relaxed” flash story too, so, you know, respect. From here on out it’s all crazy running around fake LA stuff.
Where are we?
JANUARY 31, 2011
AIRED: APRIL 20, 2010
Thank you, “previously” recap, for replaying the hilariously “sexy” version of Sawyer’s trademark “Son of a bitch...” from “Recon”, since I forgot to mention how awesome it was in my writeup for that episode. One thing I like about cop Sawyer, which we see more of in “The Last Recruit”, is that he has the same back-story as Sawyer, but lives very much like “Lafleur” – he’s in a authority role, he’s charming, he’s partnered with Miles, and he has a penchant for sunflowers. Maybe it would have been exhausting for the writers, but I wish they could have done this with ALL of the characters – most, like Kate, are pretty much exactly the same.
Anyway, despite the lack of a character focus, which is usually a red flag for Lost, this is a pretty good episode. Sawyer finally gets in a good nickname for Lapidus (“Chesty”), Jack and “Locke” finally meet and have a chat, there are more casual murders, and Sawyer seemingly trusts Jack again, or at least, doesn’t want to kill him. But it also brings folks together – the bulk of the cast share a scene together for the first time in ages (since the camps split early in S4, I think). The big reunion between Sun, Jack, Locke, Hurley, Kate, Sawyer, Sayid, and Claire (save Jin, the only main cast 815ers that are still alive, basically) isn’t exactly emotional – Locke making a joke about it doesn’t help – but it’s still good that they all met up, now that there’s only 4-5 hours left.
But the big reunion is Jin and Sun, FINALLY seeing each other at the very end of the episode (and then held at gunpoint seconds later). Again, the flash sideways sort of deflated the emotion of this scene – I’d argue that their reunion in S2 after only 8-9 episodes was more touching and tear-worthy. Course, the cynic in me causes part of that problem; Sun says “I never stopped looking for you”, but Jin doesn’t have any real response because he sure as shit stopped looking for her – taking up English and working for Dharma for 3 years without doing a goddamn thing about it (not to mention it was the swinging 70s and he didn't have his wedding ring... just saying, maybe Jin took advantage of his "unfortunate" situation).
The sideways stuff in this episode isn’t as successful (that’s where the lack of a character focus hurts). I like certain scenes (Kate dressing down Sawyer, Jack’s son hinting that he doesn’t want to go back to his mother’s right away, etc), but it just feels like a lot of loose end filling and getting folks closer to meeting up without actually doing so, which was fine the first time around but now I know that it’s literally just a lot of time-killing. The timeline is also a bit wonky (Jin and Sun got attacked only a day or two after landing, but we’ve seen enough of Locke to make at LEAST a week’s worth of events – yet they arrive at the hospital at the same time), but I guess that’s fine since this is a sort of dream world and thus susceptible to such things. They didn’t all die at the same time in the real world, so the timing already doesn’t make any logical sense. Just go with it.
Also, Jack is a hell of a swimmer. They’re pretty far out when he jumps off, but he makes it to shore fairly quickly based on the available light, and he did so with a loaded backpack. Good for him. I bet he could have saved that Joanna woman in S1 after all! Fucking Boone.
OK, tomorrow’s the key reason I wanted to watch these again! Anyone want to guess why?
Where are we?
JANUARY 30, 2011
AIRED: APRIL 13, 2010
One of the final (maybe even THE) final traditional “centric” episodes of Lost, “Everybody Loves Hugo” is also one of the more depressing ones to re-watch once you know (spoiler – I forget if I need to point that out) that none of the flash sideways stuff ever actually happened. The opening scene depicts Hugo Reyes as an extraordinarily generous man, opening schools and hospitals and related facilities and generally being an enormous benefit to society and possibly the world. And none of it’s true. Hugo’s just a rich dude who likes chicken.
But he’s also (again, spoiler) the future protector of the island, and again we see him really stepping up in this episode, dictating their next moves and even getting Jack to open up about his failures as a leader. I mentioned before that the first time Hurley got involved with this sort of stuff it felt awkward, and it still kind of does – he spent so much of the series just being a comic relief sort of “B” character, it’s a bit odd to see him barking orders and such. Some have suggested that by making Hurley the protector, it was the writers’ way of saying that the show now completely belongs to us (as Hurley was often our voicebox, saying aloud the things that the writers got in fan feedback), and perhaps that’s true, but if it was part of their plan all along I think they were afraid of tipping their hat too early or something, because his stepped up role really does come abruptly.
Luckily, it’s Hurley, who everyone loves, and thus it’s OK. If Claire had suddenly become the leader, it would be atrocious – she’s a dull, largely pointless character. But Hurley? We can get behind that. His goodwill even extends to those he has to share scenes with; if anyone else had delivered the “I feel like we’re on the date we never had” line besides Libby, I think folks would be throwing their remotes through their TV screens. But you feel for the big lug, and so it’s easier to let such glaringly on-the-nose writing pass. To be fair, there are some good lines in this one – I particularly like “How do you break the ice with a smoke monster?”, as well as his description of the way ghosts communicate with him (“the people who come back and yell at me after they die”).
One thing I noticed – Flash Sideways Hurley doesn’t seem to care about the numbers as much. Not only did he never mention the “coincidence” of it being flight 815, or baggage carousel 4, or Desmond’s chicken number being 42, these things didn’t even seem to register on him. I guess he was just as sick of them forcing them down our throats all the time too.
And I like that this episode opens up the idea of Desmond being some sort of puppet master for them to all get back together. He goes into a greasy chicken place while dressed in a nice suit just to convince Hurley to find Libby, and then he apparently follows them to make sure their date occurs. And from there he drives to a school and runs over Locke (AWESOME scene by the way), because he knows somehow that it will bring him together with Jack. Good way to make up for basically leaving the guy out of the show for the past season and a half.
I had forgotten about Ilana’s Arzt-like death in this one. Again I’m not sure if this was an actor availability thing or what, because two episodes prior they had introduced the idea that she was badly injured at some point – why bother working that in if they planned to kill her off two episodes later? But it’s a good shock death all the same, raising the stakes a little and evening the sides out a bit (Ilana was pretty much the only badass on Team Jacob; Team MIB boasts Sayid, Sawyer, (possibly) Kate, axe-wielding Claire, and the goddamn smoke monster). Also, I don’t think I’ve mentioned it – Zuleikha Robinson is quite lovely to look at, particularly her stunning eyes. Someone get her on another show.
Five episodes to go! So many deaths and afterlife reunions that would have made me cry the first time around if I knew what the hell was going on...
Where are we?
JANUARY 29, 2011
AIRED: APRIL 6, 2010
After making a brief, almost unrecognizable appearance (due to the low light and being roughed up), Desmond finally makes a true return in "Happily Ever After", after being M.I.A. since the season premiere. According to his IMDb, Henry Ian Cusick has not made any feature films since Hitman, which was made 3-4 years prior, so I am baffled by his lengthy absence. But nothing I can do about it, and at least he returns in a good episode.
As usual with Desmond, the flashes are presented atypically; instead of cutting back and forth between the sideways world and the island throughout the episode, the flashes are presented all in one group. And it's one of the better sideways adventures, because it gets the "ohhhh, neat!" moment out of the way early (Desmond happily working for Charles Widmore and being told he's worthy of his MacCutcheon, a total reversal of the real world), and then gets to the meat of the tale: starting to explain the sideways world! The Eloise scene makes a lot more sense now, and is even somewhat touching - she doesn't want her family members to "move on", so she's perfectly fine with Desmond losing Charlie (I'd argue that if she wanted to prevent our heroes from meeting up she wouldn't have arranged for DriveShaft to come in the first place, but whatever).
And you can never go wrong with a Desmond and Penny scene. Why she has to be running a tour de stade, I'm not entirely sure, but it's a nice scene all the same. Plus, once again Desmond gets to "conscious travel", seemingly waking back up on the island with memories of the sideways world, and is thus now willing to help Widmore (and then Sayid) without any resistance, because he knows in the afterlife he'll be with Penny, which is all he cares about. Again, this only makes sense NOW, but that was one of the main reasons I wanted to do this - re-evaluate Season 6 in quick succession with the other seasons, but also with the answers at my disposal (at least, the ones I still remember), so I'm not watching it in confusion the entire time.
Then again it does raise other questions. Since Daniel is apparently the first one to sort of understand what is happening to him, how come he doesn't get to go to Lost Heaven with the others and be happy forever with Charlotte? Both actors were in the final episode, so it's not like Eko, who didn't get to come because his actor was demanding too much money. I toyed with it being only 815ers who got to go (Miles and Frank don't get to come either, I guess), but Juliet and Penny ARE there, and they weren't on the plane (hell Penny never even went on the island). I really don't get the mentality of whoever made the guest list for this place.
Bad Los Angeles geography also makes a comeback in this one, at least based on my assumption. I assumed that the stadium was near Jack's hospital since he came still wearing his scrubs, and Jack's hospital is in West Los Angeles. But Penny and Desmond arrange to meet nearby at the coffee shop at Sweetzer and Melrose. First of all there is no coffee shop there, but it's also a good 15 minute drive away - there has to be closer locations. I wouldn't care, but the show's production offices were in LA (Burbank, actually), so it always tickled me how bad they were with the geography. However, once they get there and realize there's no coffee shop, maybe they'll decide to go to a movie, and thus end up at the New Bev, which is only a mile or so from there. If George the limo driver "knows all the hot spots" he should know about it.
Well, only 6 to go! 5 if you discount that one thing. I'm so excited about getting 90 minutes or so of my day back!
Where are we?
JANUARY 28, 2011
It’s hard to believe that there are only seven episodes left of Lost and yet the writers STILL haven’t reunited Jin and Sun. While “The Package” seems to be leaning toward making this happen, at the end they’re still separated, and another hour closer to their grand exit. They ALMOST make up for it by finally bringing back Desmond at the end of the episode after being absent for the entire season, but still – bring the Kwons back together, you monsters!
There are two huge problems with their lengthy separation. One is that the chemistry between the two actors has always been one of the most successful pairings on the show, and by keeping them apart they’ve denied us one of the stronger emotional ties folks had to the characters. While they constantly repeat their wish to find the other, it’s nothing like the bond they have when they’re actually together. Plus, they’ve been separated before (in season 2), and it was a wonderful, teary moment when they reunited after 7-8 episodes – it’s not like keeping them apart longer is somehow going to make it “better” drama; keeping these two apart for even ONE episode is enough. It’s like having the mentality that someone staying in a shower for two hours will somehow be wetter than someone who was in it for 5 minutes. Wet is wet, man.
The other problem is that the flash sideways rob us of that emotion anyway. It’s kind of hard to feel sad about them being “apart” when half the episode has them side by side, including a very sweet foreplay scene that recalls Jin’s anger about Sun’s unbuttoned blouse albeit in a completely different context. Even knowing what these scenes really mean doesn’t diminish the fact that they robbed the storyline of its intended emotional impact, at least for me.
Thus, the most emotionally charged and sweet moment in the episode has little to do with Jin, but Jack earning Sun’s trust back once and for all. She was pretty pissed at him in S5, and their once close bond had deteriorated before that anyway due to Juliet, Jin’s “death”, etc. But the scene where he finds a way for her to communicate and holds out his hand for her – awww. Good stuff, and it also features the return of Jack the charming, noble hero from S1, who had been sort of M.I.A. what with all of the yelling and Other-hating.
As for the sideways stuff, well you know how I feel about any sort of violence in the “waiting room”, so I’m not going to go into that again. However I will say that I absolutely loved Kevin Durand’s performance here. He’s an actor I really dig anyway, but his sideways Keamy is very different from his real world Keamy; he’s sort of channeling John Malkovich at times, and also a little bit of Alan Rickman from Die Hard – the charming/scummy villain.
I could definitely do without the scenes of Sawyer and Kate yapping. Kate looks amazing (something about her hair), so that’s fine, but even the first time around I didn’t care much for Sawyer’s little Yojimbo-esque maneuvers, so they’re even more dull the second time around. And unless it’s with me, and me only, I don’t want to see Kate just sitting around doing nothing except drinking. Come on guys, there’s only 7 hours left (subtracting “Across The Sea”) – DO SOMETHING.
And what’s with Sayid saying he can’t feel anything anymore? I guess we can surmise that his soul is what has been “claimed” and in its place is the “darkness” or “virus” or whatever, but it doesn’t seem to affect him much in a few episodes, does it? Of all the subplots they’ve dropped over the years that annoyed me, I actually would have been perfectly OK with them just forgetting about Sayid’s Temple adventures (which they more or less DID, but they should have done it before this new, never explained development).
Oh well. At least tomorrow has a lot of Desmond.
Where are we?
JANUARY 27, 2011
MARCH 23, 2010
Of the two "alt" episodes a lot of fans hate from S6, "Ab Aeterno" is definitely the better. In fact I don't really mind it at all - it tells a good story, fills in the details of one of the more mysterious characters on the show, provides a lot of answers, and (retrospectively) features Hurley taking on an important role in the Island's "story" outside of talking to Jacob, which will of course pay off in the finale.
And it occurs halfway through the season, not during the crucial final hours the way "Across The Sea" did. Not much exciting is going on, and the episode still has a few minutes with our heroes to keep the ongoing storylines from being abandoned for a week (unlike "Sea", in which we spent the entire episode with Jacob and the Man in Black, 2000 years ago). Ben finally address the plot hole about not remembering Sayid (seems he doesn't remember being shot at all), Sun gets to explain something to Jack for once, and I particularly love Ben's reaction to Jack finding out that Locke isn't actually Locke. It's obviously not the meat of the episode, but it's a good segment all the same.
Plus, I genuinely enjoyed the Richard story. I liked the character, but I never found him particularly sympathetic (nor did they give us a reason to) - something that they change and then some in the first few minutes. It's bad enough his wife dies, but he also accidentally kills a guy, gets last rites from the shittiest priest in the world, is bought as a slave, and ends up being chained to the wall of a wrecked ship for a couple days (weeks?) only to be freed by the bad guy. Christ, this dude is just not having a good week.
(And this part explains why the statue is broken AND how the Black Rock ended up in the middle of the jungle in one shot! Impressive.)
Then we get MiB and Jacob sort of laying out their case to Richard as they each try to get him on their team. Obviously we know how it ends up (since this isn't 24, Richard doesn't suddenly reveal in this episode that he's been on the bad guy's side for the entire time, which would be stupid), but it's an interesting tug-of-war all the same. Also, I don't think anyone was expecting this episode to reveal the nature of the Island, which turned out to be fairly interesting. Whether it actually ties in with what we've learned about it thus far would take too much mental work (I am sort of baffled that an island that houses all of the "bad" in the world would have magical healing powers though - does that mean Rose is evil too?), but it's certainly better than most fan theories I read ("It's the set of a reality show!").
And what's wrong with giving Nestor Carbonell his own episode? Dude's been on the show for 3-4 years now, and never given much to do beyond say a few cryptic things and make the audience wonder why he didn't seem to age - I think he's earned his own 45 minutes, don't you? And they make up for it - he gets to ride a horse, kill a dude, run around, cry, speak another language... they don't waste his abilities, that's for sure.
Only two things kind of bug me. One is the Ilana flashback, because she's all burned and already close with Jacob, two things that are never explained. Without this scene, we would have only had one unexplained mystery, now there's two. The other was the explanation for Richard's immortality. I guess the idea is he was so afraid of going to hell that he'd simply rather never die, but it comes off more like he just can't think of anything else to ask for. Given the tragedy of his request, I wish they had let him think for a moment and really milk the moment. It wasn't even until this second time around that it dawned on me why he would ask for it.
Otherwise, I don't really get why folks hate on this one. I get that people want to spend time with our heroes, but at this point, Richard IS one of our heroes, and while they maybe should have done this sooner, it's better than doing it in the penultimate regular episode like "Across The Sea". In fact, it might even be one of the better episodes of the season.
Tomorrow - the writers introduce a character named Desmond, who was apparently a major character in previous seasons? I don't recall him! (/end sarcasm)
Where are we?
JANUARY 26, 2011
AIRED: MARCH 16, 2010
It’s not particularly terrible, but “Recon” is the weakest episode of the season thus far (audiences seemingly agreed – it was the 2nd lowest rated episode of all time), due to a rather dull flash sideways tale, yet another annoying new character (Zoe, who I had completely forgotten about), and way too much dilly-dally. We’re 10 hours away from the end of the entire show – why are we spending an entire episode on Sawyer wandering back and forth, playing folks against each other?
Worse, why is his flash sideways all about him hiding a secret that we already know about? Apart from the fact that he got the name “Anthony Cooper” this time around (which they DON’T keep secret), his back-story is exactly the same – mom killed, dad suicide, con man named Cooper, wants to kill him, blah blah blah. Perhaps if in this timeline Anthony Cooper was someone who had tried to save his mother’s life or something, it could be valid, but the structure of this tale is bizarrely front-loaded with the changes – we know right away that Sawyer’s a cop in this timeline, and that Miles is his partner, etc – making it less and less interesting as it went.
And what the hell is the point of having him hook up with Charlotte? And don't make any "heaven" jokes. Wouldn’t Ana Lucia have made a lot more sense? “Hey, there’s this cop in the 18th precinct...” The two have lousy chemistry and no history in the real timeline, rendering this one of the more baffling “connections” in the sideways world. It’s more like they realized Charlotte wasn’t an interesting character but already booked Rebecca Mader to come back for a guest spot and couldn’t think of anything else. Zzzzz...
The episode also seems geared toward trying to make you sympathize with Locke/MIB and perhaps make their struggle not so (sigh) black and white, which is ridiculous because, well, they dress in black and white, making it fairly easy for the audience to peg which one’s the hero and which one’s the villain. He compliments Sawyer, protects Kate, etc – plus he seems to want to stop Widmore, who has been seen only as a villain up until this point. Again, there’s only 10 hours left in this tale (and you have to cut that number in half due to the flash sideways) – we don’t have time for perspective shifts anymore. Explain things and move directly toward the final confrontation.
Somewhere in this episode, the other passengers on the Ajira flight are killed. It’s actually kind of hilarious how casually this bit of information is revealed – Sawyer just finds a big pile of their bodies. He asks who killed them, and doesn’t get an answer... and that’s pretty much the last we ever hear about them. Between these saps, the various freighter personnel, the Others, the Dharma folk, and the original Oceanic anonymous survivors, Lost must have racked up a higher body count than any “Disney” show in history. And it’s almost sort of macabre and upsetting how no one else on the show seems to care. These are LIVES, people!
Tomorrow – the history of Richard!
Where are we?
JANUARY 25, 2011
AIRED: MARCH 9, 2010
If I had any time, I’d string together all of the major Ben episodes (not just his “centric” ones, but his introduction, the reveal he’s an Other, etc) and marvel at the change he made over the course of the five seasons he was on the show. Ben (and Michael Emerson’s performance) were such an integral and enjoyable part of the series, it was almost odd to go back to S1, when he wasn’t even mentioned let alone present. And with perhaps the exception of Jack, he made the biggest change as a character, which came more or less to its conclusion in “Dr. Linus”, which cemented him once and for all as a good guy.
Of course, the writers had been leading him in that direction for a while now, but he was still showing his manipulative side here, lying about how Jacob died, only for Miles to use his superpower to expose him. But by the episode’s end, he had made amends, apologized to Ilana (who claims Jacob was like a father to her, and we’ll just have to take her word for it I guess), and had been seemingly accepted by the group for once – Sun even lets him help her put the tarp on her little tent. I guess they could have had Jack and/or Hurley shake hands or hug him when they returned to the beach and went through the familiar “reunion” routine, but I suppose that would be pushing it.
Especially since, despite being a mostly good episode, the writing gets painfully on the nose more than once, with Ben discussing both on the island and in the flash sideways how different life would have been had this happened or not happened, as if we didn’t get it yet. Having Ben and Jack hug it out might have killed all of the episode’s goodwill, which in retrospect would be even MORE upsetting since this is an other instance of the “waiting room” having a strong emotional story that in many ways serves as a character redeeming themselves for their biggest failing in life, in this case Ben’s failure to save Alex. As I mentioned yesterday, these sort of stories were far more logical and meaningful than Sayid’s typically action heavy tale, and validates the whole “Lost Heaven” idea, especially when you know that’s what it is.
The Jack and Richard stuff is also quite good, as we finally learn a bit about Richard’s agelessness (love Hurley asking him if he’s either a cyborg or a vampire), and their faceoff in the Black Rock is pretty sweet too. I almost sort of wish that Richard panicked and put the fuse out himself, just to maybe put some doubt into Jack’s mind again (he’s pretty much a firm believer now, or, fittingly, a “Man of Faith”), but you can’t deny it’s a pretty awesome scene. It’s also the rare time Richard ever really talked to anyone besides Locke or Ben; it’s a shame that he was finally added to the main cast this season but never really got integrated with the rest of the characters.
This episode also has one of the more annoying instances of the sudden rain that has plagued the show from the very beginning. It rains all the time in Hawaii, and being a TV show set almost entirely outside, they can’t very well just go to a cover set or delay filming. So you’ll often see it raining in a scene even though it wasn’t raining in the scenes before or after, and there’s not much they/you can do about it. But here, it’s actually raining pretty strongly in HALF of a scene! Jack and Hurley are chatting, and on Hurley’s shot it’s clear, but on Jack’s it’s pouring, and you can’t even HEAR it, rendering the scene very distracting and fake. If it were up to me (and nothing ever should be), I would have digitally added rain on Hurley’s coverage and added in the appropriate sound effect, so it would at least be consistent for the scene.
Also, while I could certainly live with never hearing their names again, I love the sort of “epilogue” to the Nikki and Goddamn Paulo story, with Miles bringing up their diamonds very casually as a funny shoutout, and then seemingly robbing their graves at some point to get the diamonds for himself, which should more than take care of his 3.2 million dollar wish. Lucky bastard. I need to have the power to talk to the dead! All I want is like 50 grand to pay off my debt and buy a new car, jeesh.
Final note - according to the Lostpedia, the role of the principal was written specifically for William Atherton. Way to creatively cast, Lost writers – have William Atherton playing an asshole. Too bad they couldn’t work in Reginald VelJohnson as a cop or maybe Michael Cera as a socially awkward annoyance.
Where are we?
JANUARY 24, 2011
AIRED: MARCH 2, 2010
I probably should have made this clear when S6 started, but I’ve only seen the season once, as opposed to 3-4 times for the other seasons. Thus, given my poor memory, overload of Lost lore from rewatching S1-5 yet again, and the fact that my brain is constantly being bombarded with horror movie shit, I am having trouble remembering a lot of stuff from this season. Thus, episodes like “Sundown” are just confusing me all over again, because I can remember how Sayid went out (saving his friends), but not how he stopped being the evil bastard we see here.
Granted, he did think Dogen was trying to kill him again, and perhaps he was (Dogen may have figured either way one of his enemies would be dead), but he didn’t follow the guy’s instructions either – Locke/MIB totally spoke before Sayid stabbed him, which was the only condition Dogen told him to follow. It’s not like he said he had to do it at the stroke of midnight while standing on salted earth and wearing a muumuu, he just had to stab the guy before he said anything. So what does Sayid do? Sits there like a moron while Locke walks up to him, then AFTER he says “Hello Sayid”, he stabs. Christ, man, speed up!
So he goes back to Dogen, and after the guy finally starts revealing his human side, Sayid tackles him (in pretty spectacular fashion I must say), kills him, and then kills Lennon for good measure. And while I love the idea of these two being dead and thus not annoying me anymore (albeit without ever explaining who the fuck they were or why they were important), I hate that it comes at the hands of one of the show’s most noble characters. Ben? Sure. Sawyer? Hell, why not? But Sayid killing two guys in cold blood because of some unexplained “darkness” inside him – it’s a decent shock, sure, but it’s such a terrible way to start the final chapter of a great character.
And unlike Nikki and Paulo, this was part of their plan! The season was too “fresh” for this to be the result of fan backlash against these characters (indeed, footage from this episode appeared in the S6 teaser that began airing prior to the season premiere), and according to John Hawkes they only wanted him for 3-4 episodes, so again – there is nothing to suggest that this was some sort of premature conclusion to their storyline that had to occur due to factors beyond their control. Their plan was to introduce two new, mysterious characters and kill them off before they ever got any real development (in Lennon’s case, he was never even identified!). Whatever.
This episode also has my favorite example of why the “waiting room” was such a clumsily implemented story – Sayid KILLS people in it, and finds Jin tied up and beaten. Again, this is some sort of pre-afterlife, why is it so violent!? I understand the need to provide drama and maybe even give them some sort of challenge to overcome before they move on, but it should have played out more like Kate and Jack’s episodes (personal demons being expunged – i.e. Kate’s guilt about taking Aaron away from Claire), not with shootouts and appearances from villains. I mean, I’m happy to see Keamy again (I would have taken the offer for eggs, for the record), but not at the expense of logic.
One thing the episode sort of foreshadowed was that Nadia was not meant to be with Sayid, I guess. In the afterlife, she’s married to his brother, and although he still wants to smash her rotten (he even carries a picture around with him – Jesus Christ dude, TACT), his real soul mate will eventually be revealed to be Shannon. So this episode at least set us up for that horrible outcome. Thanks, “Sundown”.
Oh, I like the completely random team of Ben, Frank, Ilana, Sun, and Miles, by the way. It’s funny how many characters never really met before (I think this is the first time Miles has met Ilana and Sun), or were paired in odd ways – Miles and Kate were running together for a while; the previous episode had Jin and Claire talking for I think the first time since the first season, etc. Season 6 is all about bringing everyone together, on and off the island!
Where are we?
JANUARY 23, 2011
AIRED: FEBRUARY 23, 2010
Oooh, spooky – the 108th hour of Lost aired on the 23rd of the month. They DID plan this whole show out! I shouldn’t joke though, as “Lighthouse” is actually a really good episode, focusing on pretty much the last bit of Jack’s resistance to the idea that they were on the island for a reason being washed away due to a magic lighthouse. Lost being the only show that could get away with introducing a magic lighthouse, I quite liked this concept, with each bearing on the lighthouse wheel corresponding to a Candidate’s house (which seems kind of worthless though - what if they go to work?).
I also liked that it was a rare team-up between Jack and Hurley. In 6 years, I am pretty sure this was their only island adventure together without anyone else around, despite what Hurley claims is a return to “old times”. They make for a good pair, and I wish it wasn’t so rare that they got to play off of each other. It’s cute that Hurley thinks he’d be a good dad too.
And it’s a fitting line, since the flash sideways deals with Jack’s son. Whaaa? While the other changes in the sideways world were largely “well since the island isn’t there, this person is now on the mainland” based, with the basics still the same – Claire still an unfit mother, Kate on the run, Locke in a wheelchair, etc. But where the hell did Jack’s son come from? How did the lack of an island have THIS much of a change in his life? We don’t see the mother in this episode, and we find out later who it is, which makes more sense out of it (another “they didn’t have an Island to be on” explanation). Thus, knowing what all these scenes mean, Hurley’s comment takes on a new meaning – perhaps this comment was fresh in Jack’s mind as he was dying (which occurs in, what, a few days?), and part of his “letting go” process was accepting that he was never going to be a father, which is kind of depressing. Poor Jack.
But this subplot also kind of annoys me once you realize that it wasn’t real, since it was one of the few genuine moments of emotion that we got in the season prior to the big finale. Jack talking to his mom, realizing that his kid might be afraid of him the same way he was of his own father; the big teary moment after the concert, etc – these are all terrific character moments. And they’re not real. What IS real? Claire killing a guy with an axe and a guy named Dogen trying to stop Hurley from pressing magic stones.
Oh, and a reminder of Adam and Eve, with Hurley even helpfully offering a popular fan theory, that the skeletons were those of some Oceanic survivors (Rose and Bernard or Kate and Sawyer being the most popular theories, if memory serves), as the result of time travel. Of course, that wasn’t true, but just the fact that it was brought up really awkwardly was a pretty big clue that it would be one mystery they didn’t plan to leave unanswered. You know, like the one about Christian’s body. I had actually forgotten about it until Jack explained about the coffin (I guess no one mentioned it when they were LIVING there?) – why did Christian’s body disappear? If it was “taken” by the Man in Black so he could appear as Christian at various points throughout the seasons, why was Locke’s body left intact? One way is “wrong”, no matter how you slice it, and this is an instance of a time they should have just kept ignoring it, rather than remind the audience about their sloppy writing.
I also don’t get why they brought up Jack’s appendix. They went to the trouble of applying the scar makeup to Matthew Fox, but never made any sense out of it. His mom tells us that he had it out when he was 7, so there’s an explanation – but one that doesn’t make any sense when you consider the true nature of these scenes. Why does his dying “fantasy” include elaborate explanations for things that happened to him on the island? I mean, I’m sure I’ve said it before, but it’s worth repeating: I don’t mind the concept of this being their “waiting room” before moving on in the afterlife, I just hate how needlessly confusing and inconsistent it is.
For no real reason I’d like to point out that I also (re-)watched the movie Let Me In today, and the kid who played Jack’s son also played the bully in that film, so it was kind of funny to see him playing a total jerk who picked on the type of kid he himself was playing here (especially when you consider Jack himself was bullied as a kid). LEVELS, man.
Where are we?