Friday, March 27, 2009

LOST

The last two episodes of Lost, "Namaste" and "He's Our You," have not, in my opinion, been standouts like "The Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham" or "316" or even "LeFlur" (which surprised me by how much I liked it), but have been totally sold LOST episodes. The back to basics approach to LOST continues. This show does reunions like no mans business, and though for Sara the sheer number of them has made all the recent ones descent into bathos they get me right here, ya know, every time. I also had a friend object to "Sawer the Thinker" as he appears in his confrontation with Jack, but I thought it was excellent. Things have of course changed in three years -- it can be hard to remember on this show that they were only on the island for 100 days last time: they have been apart for like 10 times the amount of time they spent together in the first place. But also Sawyer is a con man, so he has always been a thinker. One of my favorite LOST character moments was when Sawyer resisted being the leader of the castaways for a while at the beginning of season 3, then when Jack came back he had to, but did not want to, give up the throne. Here he asserts himself -- and Jack wonderfully defers, thankful to not have to deal with the responsibility, which is in a way even MORE scary for Sawyer than the idea that he wants it back. I also enjoyed Sun meeting Christian -- and more confirmation that it is the smoke monster taking the form of dead people as we see it destroying trees in the distance before Christian shows up. I am very much unclear on why Sun was not taken to the 70s along with everyone else -- and I assume that there is a better reason than the dramatic tension of keeping her and Jin separated.

"He's Our You" I was not crazy about but two friends argued for it, and made the excellent point that this is REALLY back to basics for LOST: the single character flashback, something we have not seen in a while. I do think that the title and gestures toward Dharma's torturer (that awesome dude from Deadwood and Bladerunner) were misleading since he is just a hippie who drugs people up, but I LOVED how Sayid played the drug trip -- he is always so controlled and serious, not one to get caught up in mystical weird pulpy nonsense like Locke does -- but here is is all cackling and crying "YOU ARE ALL GOING TO DIE! I AM FROM THE FUTURE!" Is the Arab guy on the plane Sayid's bother from the flashback, by the way? I will say I thought the flashback story about how he got captured and on a plane to Guam was less than satisfying (surely there is more to it than just the family of this guy he shot, but I would like to have had that hinted at here). I like that they are dealing with little Ben so quickly, and I enjoyed the dynamic there, as well as this feeling that the castaways are going to split along Dharma and Other lines (surely Sayid joins the others or something): I love how looking back at season 3 the people Ben captured were all folks he knew as a kid. But I also thought that the ending was weak because it seemed for a split second to be more interesting that it was -- the initial shock of it is that Sayid has wrecked the timeline, but then you remember all the times the island would not let someone die, and how Ben shot John and left him for dead at the end of Season 3, and you realize Ben will be fine -- and probably healed by Juliet who he will totally crush on, which is why his older self wanted her so bad. Still -- a pretty good episode, just a middle season move em around episode.

My final problem was the scene where Jack and Kate are eating Waffles. I want to see relaxed happy stuff too, but this season has gone too long without establishing the overall sense of what these guys are supposed to be doing, or even what needs to be done before the season finale. There was all this sturm and drang about them having to get back and save everyone from some awful hell, but everyone was fine, Sawyer and Juliet did not want them back, and now they are just hanging out. I know there is a war and a purge coming, but I need more of a ticking clock on this show, at least as of the most recent episode.

Two final thoughts on LOST. 1. Surely Ben is the most beaten on person in this history of television. I would love to see the youtube montage of him getting smacked around by EVERYONE (even Sun hit him with an Oar in Namaste). 2. I cannot believe there are only 24 episodes of LOST left EVER -- as many as in a single season of 24 -- and only 7 left this season. Crazy.

9 comments:

Matt Jacobson (formerly Ultimate Matt) said...

My wife had a pretty solid theory that Sun returned in a different condition than she left (pregnant when she left, not pregnant upon returning), so that's why she didn't go back in time with them. If you want to get all spiritual, she's the most changed emotionally, as well.

Dan said...

I've also seen theories that Sun (and Ben for that matter) didn't go back because they were both already on the island back in the 70s and to go back would cause time paradox hijinks.

The implication there is that Sun was Marvin Candle's baby back in the season 5 opener.

Not sure whether that's right, but there's an internal logic to it that makes me smile.

Adam said...

I think Ben is the second most battered character in all of tv history. The first is easily Lex Luthor from smallville, who I think has been knocked out nearly every other episode.

James said...

Dan: Oh man, that's an incredibly solid theory.

neilshyminsky said...

Dan: There's could be a certain internal logic to that. But could this rule somehow explain why didn't the island didn't send Locke or Frank back in time? I'd like to think that there's a single rule that explains the seeming arbitrariness of the island's decisions, as it were. I mean, there doesn't have to be, but it would sure be more satisfying.

Matt Jacobson (formerly Ultimate Matt) said...

I'm not sure why everyone's so confused as to why some people went back int ime and others didn't. It seems fairly simple to me: the Oceanic Six are "aligned" in some way, so the only question is why didn't Sun go back. She's Either too "changed" or was there as a baby. Ben wasn't one of the Oceanic Six, so he wouldn't go back. This seems very obvious & simple to me.

neilshyminsky said...

Matt: Arbitrary rules like "too changed" (What, Jack doesn't count? Dude doesn't even want to be in charge anymore) don't really strike me as obvious or simple.

The simplest explanation, unfortunately, may prove to be the right one - that The Island has decided there's something for Frank and Sun (and Locke and Ben? or are they being punished?) to do in 2007, whereas the others need to accomplish something in 1977. There's no poetry to that kind of reasoning, but at least it gives some reason for what would otherwise seem pretty much random.

Matt Jacobson (formerly Ultimate Matt) said...

I hate the internet soemtimes. It makes "joking" sound like "I'm being a dick". Sorry.

neilshyminsky said...

Matt: I am the master of accidentally sounding like a dick, so no biggie. I tend not to worry too much about deriving the intentions of internet-tone for that reason.