Saturday, March 22, 2008

Lost Watch: He's Baaaaack!

Episode Title: Meet Kevin Johnson
Air Date: March 20, 2008

So, Michael's back.

Most of last night's episode was a flashback of what everyone's favorite murderer/ artist/ dedicated dad has been up to since he and Walt split at the end of season 2.

After Sayid and Desmond were able to get some alone time with "Kevin," the freighter's janitor, Sayid demanded that he tell the tale of how he ended up on the ship. After "Kevin" asks one of his co-workers to go fetch a part, the janitor tells his sorry tale. And since the story takes nearly a whole episode to tell, the supply closet the co-worker runs off to must be very far away.

Michael tells Sayid how he came to the boat and became "Kevin Johnson." He was living in New York, but not with Walt, his son who he loved so much that he murdered two of his friends to save. Walt can't look him in the eyes... because Michael made the mistake of admitting that HE MURDERED TWO OF HIS FRIENDS TO SAVE HIM. Probably not the best strategy to build a father/ son relationship on.

Michael attempts to kill himself, but can't seem to pull it off. After obtaining a gun from a pawn shop, he runs into none other than dapper, gay, and ass kicking Other Tom, who tells him that he won't be able to kill himself... because the island "won't let him." After Michael finds it impossible to shoot himself in the head, he knocks on Tom's door at a swanky hotel where he is given the assignment of infiltrating the freighter and killing everyone on board... in order to save his former castaways on Mystery Island.

Obviously, Michael is a little hesitant to take the assignment from The Others, who did, you know, kidnap Walt and turn him into a murderer. But Tom tells Michael that the man who commissioned the freighter, Charles Whitmore, was the one who staged the fake Flight 815 wreckage... which is exactly what the freighter's captain claimed BEN DID in last week's episode.

So who's lying? Michael is convinced that Whitmore's the man behind the fake crash, because Tom shows him documents and photos that seem to implicate the mysterious businessman. And after Tom tells him that once Whitmore's crew gets to the island, they are supposed to kill everyone there, it's enough to convince Michael to sign up for the covert mission, in order to save the people he sold out to leave with his son in the first place.

Michael arrives at the freighter, checking in as "Kevin Johnson," and meets the crew we've gotten to know in the last few weeks. A mysterious box arrives for "Kevin," which turns out to contain a bomb that Ben wants him to use to blow up the freighter (which seems like a bit of a stretch, because if this Whitmore guy was capable of staging a fake plane crash, wouldn't he have some way of preventing spies with bombs boarding his ship? Just sayin'.)

Michael attempts to detonate the bomb, which turns out to be a dummy with a little note that says "not yet" on it. Nice touch Ben, you demented fuck.

"Kevin" receives a call to the ship from someone claiming to be Walt... who of course turns out to be none other than the puppet master himself, one Benjamin Linus. Ben tells Michael that the bomb was a test, and that he would never "kill innocent people," even when he is fighting a war. Obviously, the whole thing is some sort of fucked up psychological trick that Ben is playing on poor Michael, but it's clearly an effective one.

Anyway, back in the present, Michael finishes story time. Sayid's one question is "so you're working for Benjamin Linus?" and when Michael nods, he drags him to the captain and tells him everything. For some reason, the captain looks unimpressed... so maybe they knew all the time. And maybe, just maybe, selling out Ben's spy to Whitmore's people is a bad idea... we did learn earlier this season that Sayid himself is working for... Benjamin Linus.

Back on the island, Ben tells his daughter, Alex, to find safety because the people coming to the island will want her once they find out she's his daughter. Alex's boyfriend and mother, Rosseau (Warrior Princess,) join her as they follow Ben's map to "The Temple" (a hatch we still haven't seen that Ben says will keep her safe and which might finally help explain that creepy four toed statue that appeared at the end of season two and still hasn't been addressed again,) where they are ambushed. Alex's mom and bf are both killed, but she is spared when she throws up her hands and says that she's "Benjamin Linus's daughter."

Which, methinks, was probably all part of the puppet master's plan. Again.

So, we've got another five weeks to wait until more "Lost" goodness because the writer's strike delayed production on the hsow for nearly three months. Were those internet residuals really worth making us wait that long for "Lost?"

Friday, March 14, 2008

Lost Post Script: When Death Comes A Knockin'

As a P.S. to my catch up post, and just reacting to the promo that promised death next week (which was pretty morbid, semi creepy, and, duh, supremely effective) it made me think of previous "Lost" castaways we have...well, lost.

And it made me wonder one thing...does anybody remember Shannon? And how Sayid fell for the annoying, Paris Hilton-like character? Sayid, the ultimate badass, fell for the whiny blonde girl?

And Boone... the first major character to get iced. Poor Boone, Shannon's ill fated brother in law, who was done in by Locke's weird and creepy ideas that the "island demanded a sacrifice."

And then there was, of course, Ana Lucia, Mr. Ekko, and poor, poor Libby. And Niki and Paulo, two characters who were brought in late in the game just for the purpose of being killed off in the brilliantly "Twilight Zone-ish" morality play episode.

But then there's Charlie. Poor Charlie, the only truly beloved character the producers have killed off.

So whose gonna bite the dust next week? I don't think anybody but the already established Oceanic Six (and, of course, Benjamin,) are really safe next week. Claire is clearly not going to make it (since Kate's got baby Aaron in the future.) But my money is on Jin, whose death would make a poetic companion episode to last night's tear jerker about his relationship with Sun.

We'll see next week. Way to tease our bloodlust, ABC advertisers. And way to prove the point of artsy European filmmakers who make movies about Americans having...well, the lust for blood in their pop culture choices.

I miss Charlie.

But I don't miss Shannon. At all.

Lost Watch: Playing Catch Up

I'm behind on my "Lost" blogging. Sorry. I'm going to kill three birds with one stone and discuss the last three weeks of "Lost" in one monster post. Here goes:

Episode Title: The Constant
Air Date: 2/28/2008
In a fourth season that has consistently been kicking all kinds of ass, this was the motherfucker of all "Lost" episodes. It was a Desmond-centric episode all about Vonnegut-inspired time travel. That's right, due to what Daniel Faraday describes as "complications" caused by flying from the island, Desmond Hume becomes unstuck in time. Poor Des, who was the unlucky bastard that got stuck pressing those infernal buttons in the original hatch until Locke showed up, is now jumping back and forth between being on the freighter just off the island and to his time serving in the army, which he signed up for after leaving Penny for the first time. Never has a man, fictional or real, suffered more because of his fear of commitment.
Daniel tells Desmond to go find.. Daniel, or the younger version of Daniel, who is at Oxford trying to create a machine that will...well unstuck people in time. Desmond's consciousness keeps skipping back and forth, and Daniel warns him that it could kill him...unless he finds a "constant" to keep him grounded, which of course turns out to be the love he keeps leaving, Penny.
Desmond first slips back to the past while he, Sayid, and the new helicopter pilot are flying from the island...a flight that takes twenty minutes from their point of view and THREE DAYS from the point of view of the islanders. Talk about relativity.
On the freighter, they meet the "communications officer," who has also gone nuts and is slipping back and forth in time...just because he looked at the island through a telescope. And bonus, the communications officer is played by "Hackers" and "Short Circuit 2" (which far superior to the first "Short Circuit" film, duh,) star Fisher Stevens. Who promptly dies after his brain is fried by the time jumps, giving Demond a grim motivation to give Penny a call and find his constant.
The episode ends with Daniel reading an old notebook, which now has notes about Desmond within. In the book, Danile writes "Desmond Hume will be MY constant," which means that a.) Daniel is going to become unstuck in time as well or b.) Daniel hearts Desmond.
Overall, "The Constant" was the stunning mindblower to top the rest of season four's constant line of stunning mindblowers.

Episode Title: The Other Woman
Air Date: 3/6/2008
It was inevitable that the week after a mindfucking time travel episode featuring Desmond, the next episode would be a letdown, but the Juliet-centric "The Other Woman" turned out to be the worst episode of season four so far. Which is to say, it was still pretty damned good overall.
Basically, we learn that Juliet had an affair with one of the Others, Goodwin, who was memorably killed by Ana Lucia in season 2 after she realizes he was posing as one of the Oceanic crash survivors. Goodwin was married to the bitchy Harper, who seems like she's the Other-town shrink or something. Turns out Goodwin was sent off on the dangerous infiltration mission precisely because of his affair with Juliet...because Ben Linus apparently has a thing for skinny blonde fertility doctors. That's right, Ben is obsessed with Juliet and considers her "his." This leads to a weirdly inappropriate kiss between Jack and Juliet after she confesses her feeling for him, which seems wrong since he so totally likes Kate, I mean OMG. This whole subplot was a little too 90210 for me, but it is cool to find out that Ben has real, human emotions, even if they are of the creepily possessive variety.
Anyway, the bitchy new character, Harper, somehow shows up in the present to warn Juliet that Daniel and cutie new arrival Charlotte are on their way to "The Tempest" station, and she tells her that they plan on releasing the gas that Ben used to kill all the Dharma folk back in the day. When Juliet catches up to them, it turns out they are actually trying to neutralize the gas so Ben can't use it on them- or anyone else.
In Other-town, Ben finally lets Locke in on a little secret- the freighter off the island is run by one Charles Whitmore. That's right, Penny's dad is looking for the island- and Benjamin claims he wants to exploit it. This might not be true, but it's enough information to trade off Benjamin getting let out of the basement and moving into his own house...much to the chagrin of roomies Sawyer and Hurley (man, that's a sitcom setup right there.)
Overall, this was the least exciting episode of season four, but it set up things which will clearly become important a little bit down the line. Not the show's finest hour, but they can't all be mindblowing time travel adventures, can they?

Episode Title: Ji Yeon
Air Date: 3/13/2008
So we're finally caught up. The Sun and Jin-centric "Ji Yeon," was a trickily structured little episode that had a nice little twist packed in. In the flashbacks, we see Sun about to give birth to the baby she realized she was having back on the island...and we see Jin rushing to get to the hospital, buying a stuffed panda for a newborn on the way. So happy ending for those two, huh, they're both part of the Oceanic 6! Except...there were already 5 survivors revealed as part of the six. Jack, Kate, Hurley, Sayid, and baby Aaron makes five. So two more people home from the island does not add up at all. Turns out at the end that the producers were messing with us, and cross cutting between a Jin FLASHBACK and a Sun FLASHFORWARD. So Sun is the sixth and final survivor to make it home. Which turns out to be heartbreaking, because in the "present" on the island, Sun and Jin have a lovely little episode where he finally finds out that she cheated on him back in Korea...and he forgive her, admitting that he was a cold jerk when they were first married who deserved what he got, but now he's a better man who loves her very much. The final flash forward has Hurley showing up to see Sun's baby as the two of them go and visit Jin's grave. BUT WAIT! Jin's grave says he died when Oceanic crashed...which is obviously a lie and part of the whole coverup that the Oceanic 6 have agreed to be a part of. Does this mean Jin died in some sort of struggle that ended with the six leaving? Or does this possibly mean that Jin (and others) are still alive, back on mystery island? I am deeply of the belief that there are plenty of crash survivors still kicking it back on the island... why else would ghost Charlie tell Hurley to go back and tell them that "they need you?"
Meanwhile, on the freighter, Sayid and Desmond finally get to meet the captain. Even though somebody slips them a note that warns them not to trust him, the badass cap'n turns out to be more direct and forthcoming than anyone would have expected (especially for a character on this particular series, where every single new person is a mystery wrapped in an enigma wrapped in a mindfuck with hidden agendas that usually make them too guarded to admit whether it's cold enough outside to bring a coat, let alone give any real information about themselves or anything ever.) The Captain tells Sayid that a recovery of Oceanic 815 was staged, leading him to ask where "one would get 324 dead bodies." He tells them that the faked recovery is one of the reasons his employer is interested in finding Benjamin Linus...and admits that his employer is Charles Whitmore, which comes as quite a shock to Desmond. But the final twist in the episode is when the bald asshole doctor takes Sayid and Desmond to their new living quarters, a roach infested room with blood splattered creepily on the wall. When the bad doctor says, dryly, "that shouldn't still be there," he calls the ship's janitor over. When he introduces Desmond and Sayid to the clean up guy, Kevin Johnson, everyone's favorite Iraqi torture artist has to keep his shit together... because it's none other than MOTHERFUCKING MICHAEL. That's right, gone since the season 2....let me repeat that, SEASON 2...finale, the man who betrayed his friends for the sake of his son is back in the motherfucking house.
So I guess we know who Ben's spy is, don't we?
Next week is the eighth episode of season four, and the last before a long hiatus caused by the writer's strike. But since it's gonna be a Michael episode, it promises to be a good one. And in their ghoulish and exploitive way, the promos for the eighth episode promise that "NEXT WEEK...SOMEONE....WILL...DIE!"
Hang onto your butts.