Thursday, February 21, 2008

LOST Season 4 Episode 4

The most recent episode of LOST was good, but it also felt a little thin. I think that condensing the second half of the 16 episode season into five episodes might work out really well.

This episode focuses on Kate: how did she NOT end up in prison when she returned to the real world, and who is the mysterious "he" she told Jack she had to get back to in the finale to season 3; that "he" the commercial told us, would be the fifth member of the Oceanic 6 that we will see.

She gets out of jail time because her dying mother refuses to testify, in part because -- due to the obviously false version of events the survivors have been telling the world -- she is considered a hero. We learn she has a son, and because of the time she spends in this episode with Jack ("I know why you don't want to see him") and Sawyer (who she nearly sleeps with) we wonder whose it is. The big closer at the end, revealed after it almost looks like the kid has down-syndrome (did anyone else think that?) is that it is not her biological son after all, neither of them are the father -- it is Aaron, Claire's Aaron.

I love LOST, especially this season of LOST, but I found the sub-plot in which Miles demands a very specific amount of money from Ben to tell the world he is dead to be not as interesting as I think they wanted me to. I am sure we will find out what the money is for, but it felt a little time-wastey because it was so empty. I also feel like I already saw John Locke feeling lost and doubtful in the hatch. Locke is also my favorite character; this is not a complaint about the show but what I want to see -- I want to see Locke doing well.

The thing about this season is the building of dread for the event I assume we are headed to in the finale -- why the Oceanic 6? What happened to all those people? Are they living on the island in secret and want the world to think they are dead? Are they being held hostage? Or are they all dead, at the hands of the people from the freighter? What terrible thing made Jack crazy, make Hurley go back to the asylum, made Jack check if Hurley was going to tell anyone about "it", made Sayid kill for Ben, has Lt. Daniels hunting them all? LOST is doing a good job building that dread -- the fact that Claire is not with Aaron, that Aaron is being raised by someone else, is very dark. Also dark, but only implied, is that there is only one member of the Oceanic 6 we have not seen -- so Son and Jin, or Rose and Bernard, for example, did not make it out as a couple, or so we are left to think. The tension built here is serious, but it also feels a bit like we are hitting the same note every week, or variations on the theme every week, and the feeling produced is maybe a bit too similar for me. I prefer the free-wheeling LOST where any genre is up for grabs (Alfred Hitchcock presents, time travel, jungle adventure, prison break, sci-fi monster).

One thing I DO like about the new LOST is that we get answers quickly -- who are the people on the boat? what do they want? who is Kate's mysterious "he" -- and next week we find out something about the problem introduced this week: why did Sayid and Desmond fail to get to the boat, or why are they people on the boat claiming this (since we know Sayid gets to the mainland eventually)?


Josh Hechinger said...

Three things I liked about this episode:

1. The book Locke gives Ben in the beginning? PKD's Valis. Probably not a secret clue or anything, but it's a nice indicator of where Locke's head is at.

2. Didn't the fake-no-wait-real fortune teller in Season 1 tell Claire it would be bad news if anyone else raised Aaron?

3. The "I didn't introduce myself. My name is John Locke." line was the...baddestass? badassest? most badass? I've seen Locke in a while.

Shlomo said...

I would like to see more bad-ass-Locke, and Id like to see him developing a plan and not relying on "Jacob" to tell him what to do.

Thats the real problem now, that even though some things are being revealed, the flash-forwards have ramped up my desire to see them "bridge the gap" between the two time periods. And meanwhile on the island, things seemed to be dragging with Mr. Locke till the end. Similarly, with Miles deflating the pressure on Ben by offering him a deal, with Kate waffling between her two love interests, and Sayyid and Desmond being derailed from giving us a look at this freighter we've heard so much about.

The first two episodes really rocked for me, but these last two have left me less excited.

Chris Millward said...

You say here that there is only one remaining member of the Oceanic 6 who remains to be revealed, but haven't we only seen four?

Jake, Kate, Hurley, Sayid...

Maybe you're counting Aaron as part of the 6, but originally I was thinking he wasn't a survivor of the "crash" so he couldn't be part of the 6. Now however, I am unsure...

Geoff Klock said...

Josh -- Oh! Yeah! No one else was supposed to raise Claire's baby!

Shlomo -- I agree that these were slower but they are an 8 next to the 10 of episode 2. Still great.

Chris -- I was counting Aaron, in part because the previews encouraged me to do so -- they said in this episode we would learn another one of the Oceanic 6.

Anonymous said...

I didn't view the Miles-money segment as a waste of time at all. In fact, I interpreted it as rather ominous. We've been told that Ben has a man on the freighter. Lo and behold, Miles connives to appear before Ben and makes an unusually specific demand. I believe they were speaking in code. --M.

Chris Millward said...

Geoff - Ah, I see. We try to avoid the previews for Lost, so I wasn't aware of that. Thanks.

That did get me thinking though, what are others thoughts on watching previews vs. not?

There have been many cases where the preview goes so far beyond what was necessary to make me interested in a movie/show that I regret having watched it. I still watch previews/trailers for movies (though trepidly), but for serials such as Lost, House, Heroes, etc. I already know I'm going to watch the show. I'd rather not be thinking while watching the show, well I know that Jack is going to be standing there doing ____, and I know that at some point he will be ____, and the show only has 10 minutes left, how are they going to make that happen. There are times when exploiting foreknowledge can end up bettering the experience, but that seems rare with marketing-driven previews. For the most part, I'd rather take in the narrative in a single serving.

An example of being in love with a premise and then having too much revealed in the trailer: Children of Men. The setup, a future with no children, was amazing. For me personally, I wish they hadn't revealed in the trailer that there was a single pregnant woman. There was plenty of opportunity to build tension in the trailer (his relationship with the rebel leader, Orwellian government, a mission of great importance) without the reveal.

Anyway, its a two way street, because I definitely see the benefit to trailers. I just wish there was some way to spark interest without giving away the farm (or a significant piece of the farm).

Open question: Any instances come to mind where previews either enhanced/detracted from the viewing experience?

Geoff Klock said...

anon -- surely Ben's man on the boat is Michael?

Anonymous said...

GK--speculation's running in that direction, I grant, but there's nothing story-wise indicative of it. In fact, I find your timing in responding interesting given the content of Chris Millward's post directly above yours; I mean, were I not aware that Harold Perrineau was returning to the show, I'd scoff at your assertion, asking as to what basis your claim made on. Stupid meta-knowledge... :) I like my idea better, and it goes the distance explaining the on-screen time the exchange between Miles and Ben was given. --M.