I was completely blown away by LOST this week. It did what the finale to season 3 did -- had that perfect combination of feeling like it made huge leaps forward while actually just moving forward a little bit. That might sound like a complaint, but that is the quality that makes LOST work -- it is the epitome of what serial narrative needs to do. The Writer's Strike is breaking my heart because this season of Lost seems like it could be the best one yet. If the strike does not end we have now seen 25% of the new season, which will simply stop in six episodes with whatever episode they last filmed before the strike.
This episode felt like it moved so fast -- I felt like I had already seen two Lost episodes by the halfway mark -- because there was no delay on giving us some kind of back story on all five members of the freighter we have met, an unprecedented series of mini-flashbacks for each act of the show including the teaser.
I have loved Jeremy Davies since I saw the updated Solaris. He is one of those actors who can sell any line just with his delivery -- a perfect addition to LOST, which requires actors to sell ANYTHING (time travel, ghosts, weird science, jungle adventure). Because of his turn in Solaris I half expected his first line to be "yeeeaaaah ... we have come to ... rescue you?" Then in this episode he did start a sentence with that trademarked "yeah." Some viewers have found a clue in his remarking on the quality of the light on the island -- perhaps it is artificial, or they are underwater, or some other weird science thing.
My favorite things about the show is how it jumps around to different kinds of stories and shows a real love for pulpy non-sence -- so enter the "Ghost Buster," interesting aggressive, and carrying something with an "I made this out of a Dust Buster" quality that really invokes the movie. That this same episode established that we are to take him seriously was brilliant. Ximena's Theory -- he will exorcize the island of restless souls in that Dharma mass grave that Ben created. I love this show.
The woman's name is C.S. Lewis. And yes, as in the writer, the S stands for Staples. I have to say naming your characters after philosophers and the like is not my favorite thing about the show, but it is sort of fun. The big reveal with her -- a Dharma polar bear discovered at an archeological site in the desert. Time travel? Or does Dharma, like that ancient colossus, go back to ancient times? One of the best hooks I have seen Lost do in a while. And it was not even an end of the episode bump. Neither is Ben's shooting of her. The old Lost would have ended the episode with her being shot, and ended another with the vest reveal, and ended a third with that polar bear thing.
Jeff Fahey was quite fun and we got more information on the discovered remains of Oceanic 815. Right now it looks like a straight-forward cover up (the bodies have been faked), throwing off my friend Jason's theory that there is a parallel universe thing going on, as well as the "copy" thing suggested in the LOST season four teaser internet thing.
We learn that Lt Daniels (which is what I am going to call him from now on) put this team together. (The old Lost would have waited weeks before giving any more information a guy we just met last episode). That Naomi was the only real military person, and that she is now dead, really brings up the conflict, as the new characters may be as in over their heads as the old ones.
And we know what they want -- Ben. I loved John Locke's impatience with the smoke monster mystery -- it is the longest running one -- and the way the show avoids it by sneaking in lots of bullet point exposition on the new characters AND giving us a great hook for next week. Also, a little off topic, Ximena noted that Ben has really become the punching bag of the island since he was introduced in season two. I expect all this punishment is gearing up for a big breakout.
Finally, my favorite character, John Locke, gets one his great lines so far -- If I had had a kidney there, I would probably be dead. His team really are the new Others, suspicious about the new incoming strangers. "We don't want to be found." Hell yeah.
Even if the show never goes beyond the eight for this season, or even if the ending sucks a la the X-files, I am having a blast watching this. Live for today, and all that.