JANUARY 11, 2011
FOCUS: NO ONE, REALLY
AIRED: MARCH 18, 2009
After three quite good episodes, we’re back to typical Season 5 “meh”ness with “Namaste”, which botches what should be emotional reunions of a bunch of characters (though Hurley and Sawyer’s hug is quite “awww”-worthy) and introduces one of the more annoying subplots from the season – Young Ben chilling with our heroes. Daniel’s established rules of time travel are tossed right out the window with this shit (leading to further idiotic ret-conning to try to correct the plot holes).
They also spend too much time on the rather uninteresting B story of Sun, Ben, and Lapidus heading to the main island. After the previous episodes’ interesting revelations (or at least hints) of the nature of Locke’s suddenly “alive” state, he doesn’t even appear in this one, and instead we just see this rather peculiar trio wandering through the jungle, making knowing looks at one another, and finally doing something interesting at the very end, when they meet up with Christian who shows them his version of the ending of The Shining. Well, two of them do; Sun suddenly realizes that she’s one of the few characters who hadn’t beaten up Ben yet and knocks him out cold for reasons I can’t quite recall.
The focus on this part of the story (they should have given it its own episode with Lapidus flashbacks, dammit!) robs the A story of a better pace. For example, Jack and the others seem to buy into the time travel thing quite well – there could at least have been a scene of it being “proven” somehow, or at least expressing SOME disbelief – Sawyer tells them it’s 1977 and then they just go off to meet their new Dharma employers. Christ, does Hurley even say “Dude...”? Jack’s scene with Sawyer also feels rushed – he comes over, Sawyer tells him that he likes to think instead of react, and Jack just sort of looks at him.
Also, he seems offended that he’s a janitor, which makes no sense since it wasn’t HIS aptitude test that got him there. He should be happy it’s remedial work and not something out of his field of expertise – he could have ended up having to be the Dharma priest or something.
And what’s with people not winking at Sayid? Both Jin and Sawyer get up in a very confused Sayid’s face and play their parts, but never give the poor guy any indication that he should play along too or that they aren’t crazy and are still on his side. Also, having TWO suspicious Dharma assholes seems a bit contrived; they should have left Radzinsky out of it, especially when we know he doesn’t die yet. So we have Phil in order to have a villain that can get his comeuppance at the season’s end, because no one’s ever mentioned him before. They should have just combined the two or something.
One thing I liked was seeing Marvin Candle/Pierre Chang interacting with Jack. Up until now he’s been this guy who seemingly existed in another area of the show, seen only in videos or in stand alone scenes. He met Faraday before, but having him deal with Jack, our main star and hero, really cemented him as a true character, and I enjoyed his subplot in subsequent episodes (though the Myles thing was a bit of a stretch).
As with the season premiere, I think the episode falters by not having a main character to focus on. The switching around through time is disorienting enough; it’s worse without a, well, a “constant” to ground us. And as a result the episode doesn’t really tell a story so much as it just moves all of the pieces around and lays groundwork for future adventures, rendering it rather uninteresting, especially on repeat viewings. Oh well.
Where are we?