Thursday, April 26, 2007

Lost Watch: Were They Dead Before The Plane Even Crashed?

Episode Title: D.O.C. Air Date: 4/25/07

Now that’s what I’m talking about.

“Lost” delivered an episode so full of information, intrigue, and even a bit of action that it boggles the mind why there were so many weeks this season where it felt like there was absolutely no progress in the storyline.

And oh yeah, they realized they could focus on two different storylines in one episode. Instead of leaving us with blue balls after last week's episode in which Demond and co. found the parachuting woman in the trees by dedicating the whole hour to Sun, the episode was about both her story and the crew dealing with the newcomer to the island. Imagine that. Editing.

Last night was a Sun-centric episode, and in an early flashback a woman tells her that Jin’s mother (who he thought was dead) was a prostitute and demands $100,000 to keep the shame of knowing the truth from him. Sun finds Jin’s father, a sweet old fisherman, and he implores her not to let him know the truth about his mother, to let him think she died when he was a baby. So Sun goes to her rich and powerful crime lord father to get the hush money. The money leaves an unknowing Jin forever in his debt, which leads to him being turned into the angry and violent muscle-man who can’t get his wife pregnant.

Which is why there was such a mystery about who Sun’s babydaddy is in the first place. She was sleeping with another man before they crashed on the island, and a doctor told her that Jin was impotent. Though Juliet tells her that the island somehow makes people more fertile, she also finds out that every woman who becomes pregnant on the island died. Juliet takes her to the “fertility hatch” to find out when the Date of Conception was.

If the baby was conceived pre-island, it’s not her husbands. If it was conceived on island, Sun will most likely die. As she says to Juliet, “either way, I lose.”

In the end, it turns out that the baby was conceived on-island. Sun is happy- because it is her husband’s child, and even though the news is essentially a death sentence, she is at peace(and when Juliet tells her she has two months, we know that this thread will probably not resolved until the end of next season.)

Meanwhile, across the island, Sun’s husband is with Desmond, Hurley, and Charlie as they continue their “camping trip” from last week’s episode. They crew is caring for the woman they found hanging from the tree, who is bleeding to death with a branch stuck in her side. Too far away from camp to get Jack, the four of them are desperate to help her…until the previously presumed dead Eye-Patch-Sporting-Russian-Other (hereafter referred to as E.P.S.R.O.) shows up. After a foot chase in which he attempts to escape, Jin chases him down and kicks his ass, karate style. The Russian says he can help the dying woman- but only if they agree to let her go once she is safe.

He patches her up and, despite Charlie’s protests, Desmond lets him go- but not before E.P.S.R.O. attempts to steal the satellite phone the woman had with her. Jin catches him, and all he can say in his defense is “you would not have respected me had I not tried.”

Fair enough.

The best scenes of the fast paced and story packed episode came at the end. After Juliet finishes helping Sun, she goes to the back of the fertility hatch and picks up a tape recorder. She records a message for Ben, telling him that Sun is pregnant and that he will have samples from the other females soon. “Other samples?”

After clicking the recorder off, she says one last thing she can’t let him hear but clearly wants to say to Ben: “I hate you.” Our poor Juliet is conflicted about where her loyalties lie. By the end of the season, something’s gonna have to give with her.

The shocker moment came last night when Hurley was talking to the still confused and groggy tree woman. She looks around and asks where she is. Hurley tells her they are on an island, and they are the survivors of Oceanic Airlines flight 815 out of Sydney. The woman looks confused and tells him that it’s impossible that they were on that flight- because “they found the airplane and there were no survivors.”

Did you hear that? That’s the sound of thousands of “Lost” fans who all believe the popular theory that all the survivors are dead and the island is actually a purgatory high fiveing. The appearance of E.P.S.R.O., who tells Desmond “I already died last week,” would seem to confirm the theory further. But not so fast everyone! I think the “recovered plane with no survivors” information is a clever ruse by the writers to lead us back down that path again. Last season’s Hurley-centric episode “Dave,” in which a friend from the big guy’s past (the bald guy who played either Ricky or Ronnie on Aaron Sorkin’s not quite but soon to be cancelled “Studio 60 On the Sunset Strip,”) tries to convince him to jump off a cliff because they are already dead anyway, was a direct denial of the island as purgatory theory. My theory about last night’s last scene revelation is that there was some sort of cover up about the crashed plane back in the real world, maybe by Dharma, so that everyone who had family members in the crash would stop looking for them.

Which means the survivors are more screwed than they thought they had been for the first two seasons- not only are they on an island far off course from where everyone would be looking for them, it turns out nobody is even looking for them in the first place.

If the crazy, internet born theory about everyone being dead is untrue, it still leaves a whole raft of questions to be answered? Why is E.P.S.R.O. still alive? What does that fence actually do to people? Why is the smoke monster scared of it? What’s going to happen to Sun? What kinds of “samples” is Juliet trying to collect from the lovely ladies of “Lost?” Where the hell did the woman in the tree come from, and how did she know Desmond?

Tune in next week for some answers and, most likely, even more questions.

Lost Watch: Enough With The Foreplay

NOTE: Sorry to my one or two readers for not posting this entry. I put it up on the Broadcaster Beat last week the day after it aired, but never got around to throwing it up on my personal blog. Also, I promise one day soon to get back to bloggin' about things other than "Lost," even if it is about other tv shows, movies, and the like...I mean, let's talk about "24" this year, am I right??

Episode Title: "Catch 22" Air Date: 4/18/2007

“Lost” was another transitional episode last night, all setup for what is coming in the last few episodes before the season finale. It was spiced up with Desmond’s vision of Charlie dying a violent death, but we knew that wasn’t gonna happen from the beginning, didn’t we?

Desmond has one of his jigsaw puzzle-like visions in which someone arrives on the island after ditching a helicopter- and he thinks it is Penny, the woman he abandoned. Unfortunately, Charlie dies in his vision and Desmond wants everything to go as he sees it in his head- because changing it will mean it might not turn out how he saw it, and he might not see Penny. Thus Desmond decides he is willing to sacrifice Charlie in order to reunite with his girlfriend.

Des puts together a team to enter the jungle that includes Hurley, Charlie, and Jin- telling Hurley they are coming on the trip because they are the ones who are supposed to go on the trip, according to his vision.

As they trek deeper into the jungle, Desmond becomes more conflicted about the fate he may be dooming poor Charlie to. His flashbacks underscore the theme of sacrifice, as we see that Desmond once tried to become a monk, living on a monetary and taking a month long vow of silence. But it turns out that he had a “religious awakening” right before he was to marry another woman, before he met Penny. Fans will remember that Desmond ended up on the island because he set off on a sailing trip around the world instead of marrying Desmond’s much longed for Penny.

This guy’s commitment issues have taken him to some strange places.

Meanwhile, back at the survivor’s camp, a soap opera is developing as Kate becomes jealous of Jack’s growing closeness with Other spy Juliet, who he is beginning to foolishly trust more and more. Kate sleeps with Sawyer again, but this time because she is jealous of Dr. Jack and the shifty Juliet’s new relationship. Poor Sawyer only gets laid when Kate thinks he is going to die or if she’s jealous. But considering Juliet’s mixed intentions, Jack’s affections will probably return to Kate soon.

Demond and co.’s journey ends the way he thought it would, leading up to Charlie stepping on a trip wire that launches an arrow. At the last second, Desmond pulls Charlie out of harm’s way, saving his life but altering the time line he saw in his head.

But the team has come far enough without Charlie’s sacrifice. They find a woman hanging in the trees who has parachuted out of a helicopter. She’s alive, but when they take off her helmet, it’s not Penny. Did Desmond's choice to save Charlie actually change the person hanging out in the jungle?

Whoever she is, she knows Desmond.

The episode had some pretty cool elements, and I always love time travel/ seeing the future stuff. There were a couple nice little Easter Eggs as well, including the photo on the head monk’s desk when he talked to Desmond in his office- the woman with the monk was the batty old lady who told Desmond in his alterna-flashback earlier this season that he was supposed to leave Penny and end up on the island, that the fate of the world depended on it. And the new stranger amongst the islanders is evidence that finally something has come of the crazy last scene in season 2 in which it was revealed that Penny is searching for Desmond, using paranoid dudes in a bunker in Antarctica.

So it was a cool episode that dealt with themes of fate vs. freewill, and set Desmond up with a very tough and compelling choice. But ultimately, it was another episode that was more setup for things to come. Hopefully, the payoff will be worth it. Personally though, I'm getting a bit tired of all the foreplay. Let's get to the action already.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Lost Watch: Something Wicked This Way Comes

Episode Title: One of Us Air Date: 4/11/2007

Juliet joined the survivors at their camp last night on “Lost,” and her arrival gave loyal viewers a glimpse at trouble brewing down the road.

As predicted, Sayid wanted answers out of Juliet, while Jack protected her from his torture-happy ways.

Turns out Jack was wrong.

The flashbacks were used cleverly on “Lost” last night, a rarity for the show these days. We got to see more of Juliet’s backstory, more about her journey to the island. We got to see why she was motivated to get back home- her sister, who was dying of cancer, has become pregnant because Juliet has discovered a way to make her fertile. But when her cancer returns, Ben promises he can cure it- if Juliet agrees to stay on the island.

And somehow, he keeps his promise.

Last night’s episode also provided much needed hints as to what she was doing working for The Others. She was trying to figure out why women were unable to give birth on the island, why their bodies reject their children if they are conceived there. Turns out Claire was the first person to have a child on the island without dying, and Juliet believes it was because her baby was conceived elsewhere.

Which is probably bad news for Sun.

Claire gets sick after Juliet first arrives, and Juliet tells Jack she can help. She explains that she is sick because way back in Season one, creepy Ethan was injecting her with a drug that would help the baby survive, and that Claire is going through withdrawal from the drug. She tells Jack that Ethan left supplies in the jungle that can save Claire’s life. Though her story makes very little sense, Jack trusts her and lets her help.

Sayid and Sawyer follow her out to the supplies, finally confronting her for the answers that Jack doesn’t seem to need. She shames the former con man and Iraqi interrogator into letting her go so she can help Claire, but it turns out that they might have had a good reason to force information from her.

In the last scene of the episode, Juliet’s flashback take us to right before last week’s episode- to Ben planning how she will manipulate her way into the camp of the survivors, how she will make it look like she has been left behind by The Others along with Jack, Kate, and Sayid. Ben even mentions that the “implant” in Claire has been activated, and that it will make her sick soon…which will give Juliet a crisis to avert and help her gain the trust of the survivors. Though Juliet has a conflicted look on her face, she still agrees to go along with Ben’s plans.

And then he tells her “see you in a week.” Jack needs to stop being such a decent guy and trusting everyone. It's obviously not a policy that is helpful at this point.

One of The Others is in the survivors’ camp, and we don’t know why. Clearly, something bad is coming for our survivors. Is Juliet going to kidnap the pregnant Sun? Will The Others finally make it clear to everyone exactly what they want? Will we find out what Juliet meant when she said “if you knew everything I knew, you’d kill me?” Does her conflicted look she will betray Ben? Did he read everything her face meant and not care?

The episode was a clever precursor to things to come. A few questions were answered and most of Juliet’s true motivations were revealed to us (though it wouldn't be "Lost" if everything became crystal clear) through good use of the flashbacks. And the questions that were not answered were covered up well through Juliet’s refusal to give up too much to Sayid, who at this point is as frustrated with the lack of solid information about The Others as the audience is. Juliet even addressed Jack’s lack of need for questions and asked him why he didn’t need to know more about her. Jack’s unsatisfying answer is that when the submarine blew up three weeks ago, he saw the look on her face, saw that she wanted to get off the island as much as anybody else, and that makes her one of them.

Maybe asking people questions would be a smart habit for Jack to take up. If he was a bit more curious about her, then he might not be leading everyone into trouble as quickly as he has been.

The last few episodes have felt like a slow climb before the big drop on a roller coaster, and it seems like we are close to the top. Like any good rollercoaster, “Lost” will probably follow the rule that the slower the climb up, the faster and steeper the drop down. Hold on tight, because it’s gonna be quite a ride.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Lost Watch: Welcome to the Wonderful World of Not Knowing What the Hell is Going On

Episode Title: Left Behind Air Date: 3/4/2007

A pretty standard episode with a few interesting elements, last night’s Kate-centric “Lost” didn’t reveal too much that we didn’t already know about the Others, the monster, or Kate’s back story, even though major portions of screen time were spent on all three subjects.

The most interesting developments from the episode last night came from The Others abandoning their idyllic Other-town. Before they left, Locke came in to say goodbye to Kate, because he was going to somewhere with them.

That’s right, John Locke has joined team Others. We’ve always known that something was going to snap with him, but now he’s gone off the deep end and disappeared with the show’s main villains as they withdraw further into the island. At least the defanged and whiny Locke is gone. That guy sure hasn’t learned from his constant mistakes, but I’m sure that going off with the Others will have no terrible consequences.

The other big development from last night was the fact that they left Juliet behind along with Jack, Sayid, and Kate. Juliet did betray Ben when she told Jack to let him die in surgery, and was trying to leave on the submarine with Jack. But did they really leave her with the survivors because she was banished from the Others or is this just another one of Ben’s many manipulations, with Juliet meant to infiltrate the group?

Juliet already admitted to one deception last night- after spending time in the jungle handcuffed to Kate, and evading the big ol’ smoke monster all night, Juliet admits that she was the one who handcuffed them together, to try and win Kate’s sympathies after being abandoned by the people she’d spent the last three years of her life with.

Juliet does a pretty poor job of ingratiating herself with Kate after bringing up Jack, which leads to a vicious fight between the handcuffed women. For a few minutes, “Lost” devolves into a women’s prison picture. I had to check the credits to make sure Quentin Tarantino wasn’t behind the episode, because it felt a bit like a self conscious B-movie homage for a moment there.

When the women get back to Other town, Juliet chases the smoke monster away by activating the big metal security fence. She tells Kate that they don’t know what it is, but know that “it doesn’t seem to like our fence.” When they reunite with Jack, Kate apologizes for her part in ruining his hopes of leaving the island, but he seems more concerned with Juliet than Kate by that point.


Jack decides it’s time to head back to camp with the rest of the survivors, bringing Juliet along. Sayid seems displeased, but Jack insists, because she was left behind, just like them.

Which means Sayid is gonna go all Jack Bauer on Juliet next week and interrogate the sh#t out of her, hopefully finally revealing a lot more about The Others than we already know.

Kate’s flashback story was weak- she wants to talk to her mother even though she is heavily guarded by US Marshals trying to arrest her. She enlists the help of the woman Sawyer conned in one of his flashbacks almost two seasons ago. Yawn. I just hope these connections that all the Survivors have actually add up to something and are not just “cool coincidences.”

The “B story,” (as it’s called in the TV biz,) took place back at the survivor’s camp with Hurley telling Sawyer that the group was planning to take a vote on whether or not to banish Sawyer from camp. Sawyer is convinced to act nice to the rest of the survivors, talking to Claire about the baby, helping Desmond hunt for boar, and cooking up a nice meat roast after the hunt. The whole time Hurley is talking him through it, acting as like the angel in “It’s a Wonderful Life,” if the angel was trying to tell Jimmy Stewart to stop being such a jackass to everyone.

After Sawyer has won over the crowd, Hurley admits that he made the whole banishment vote up to teach him a lesson- that most people are looking to Sawyer to be a leader and that he needs to stop acting selfishly. Hurley owned him, proving again that he's the real GURU of the island. The slightly amusing subplot ended with one of those weird, slo-mo montages set to a bad pop song that “Lost” resorts to once in awhile, with a smiling Sawyer learning that, aw shucks, it’s okay to be nice.

Overall, “Left Behind” was more of a transitional episode, setting stuff up that should pay off nicely in the next few weeks. It will be good to see the whole crew (sans crazy Locke) back together again for the first time this season, and it will be really nice to see what Juliet has to reveal about The Others- and if she’s really been banished or if she’s still working with them. And maybe there will be more awesome catfights between her and Kate.

One can dream at least.