Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Ep. 5.5 This Place is Death

I’ve been a little disappointed in Lost the past few weeks -- too much so to really devote the time to a blog about it. It felt rushed (flash, bleed, flash, bleed). Anti-climatic (my name is Rousseau, Danielle Rousseau). Pointless (didn’t we see Claire give birth to Aaron a couple of seasons ago – do we really need to see it again?) Genuine character motivations were sacrificed for the sake of plot advancement (“Do not trust Benjamin Linus – well, okay, I’ll go with you, but I’m driving”). It got to a point where I thought maybe Nikki and Paulo were writing the scripts.

But this week was better.

The pacing felt better – less frenzied. And it was refreshing to see the main characters start acting more like themselves again. Sayid seemed more like Sayid (if I see either of you two again…). Kate seemed more like Kate (you are crazy, I am outa here). Locke was definitely Locke (climbing down that rope into the well that you knew with the next flash would probably not be there anymore). Overall it felt like the story started getting back on track.

I loved seeing Christian Shepherd help Locke to the donkey wheel. He confirmed my suspicions when he said “I told YOU to move the island.” What does that mean? It’s obvious, right? In the great game of chess between the Universe and Ben, the Universe has a killer move (Locke moves the island) so Ben sees that and blocks it (Ben moves the island instead). Exactly WHY that is such a killer move is yet to be revealed, and I haven’t thought through it well enough yet. It must have something to do with Ben losing control of the island somehow. Maybe if Locke would have turned the wheel in the first place, the island would have “moved” with he and his people intact and Ben and his people would have been skipping along the record of time. Whatever the real reason, Ben is still Ben, and that is refreshing as well.

Did anyone else think that the “wobbliness” of the donkey wheel had some correlation to the random flashes Locke had been experiencing?

I liked what I saw of Rousseau’s team this time, and I am glad that they will not be dragging out that storyline any longer. They were obligated to show a Danielle flashback – longtime fan expectations and all -- and thankfully the moments they chose to depict were meaningful. We knew already that Montague had lost an arm. Now we know how. And it was great to get back to that season one “smoke monster dragging people into the ground” thing. And it was cool to see the temple, with the hieroglyphs that we have seen in a few other places (the swan hatch numbers and Ben’s secret door). It was cool to hear Robert tell Danielle that smokey is a security system to protect the temple, and to get a sense for the unreliable nature of that information that we have had since season one. Just because Rousseau said it was a “security system” doesn’t mean that it is really a security system. It’s just what she heard from the mouth of her once-trusted husband who was lying through his teeth about many other things at that point so he could make her think that nothing really happened (what DID really happen?) and blow her brains out. And were they really “sick” or was this just Danielle’s interpretation of what happened after they went down on smokey? You understand Danielle’s “craziness” a little better this time.

I will miss Charlotte. I think Rebecca Mader had/has a lot untapped potential as an actress there. Maybe we will see her again and her storyline will continue to develop, but now we know why Faraday, when we first met him last season, was crying while watching the wreckage of 815 on TV. He was remembering the future loss he felt in Charlotte’s death. I do think that their relationship would have benefitted from more time together and more narrative development so that we as an audience would feel (and completely believe) the grief that Faraday felt. But that storyline is just window dressing at this point -- a nice little side-story not really worth the time or effort that could have made it much more meaningful. I did like the realization she experienced of her imminent death by the convenient (contrived?) recollection of the crazy man Faraday who warned her to never go back to the island or she would die, but there are much better ways to delivered that backstory than a deathbed exposition. That’s the downside of having a definite end date for the show – rushing through things like this that could have been done much better, and have been in past seasons when they had more of a luxury of time.

And Eloise (yes, that sound is me making armpit raspberries) Hawking. I resigned myself to the fact that she would be Faraday’s mother two episodes ago. But I still don’t really like it. Oh well. Looks from the previews like next week will be a really cool episode with her explaining more about the island and these “windows.” But I do feel a little cheated and manipulated at having the Ms. Hawking tease end two of the first four episodes of the season. That’s going to the well a little too often if you ask me. Maybe they were afraid it would disappear in the next flash.

So overall, I was happy with Lost this week. That doesn’t mean it was perfect. The Sun with a Gun storyline fizzled to its obvious conclusion (no, not Jack, she’s gonna shoot Ben – woo hoo). Jack still isn’t acting quite like Jack. Miles from Encino is pointless extra baggage without his awesome ghost whispering talents put to use. And Jin rearn so fast Engrish storyrine reary noying.

But Ben stopping the car and acting like a jilted drama queen was awesome (don’t make me stop this car again).

I’ll give this one a B-

Looking forward to next week.

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