Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Lost - "The Last Recruit"

Tonight's episode of Lost, "The Last Recruit," seems to be referencing, at least to me, one Dr. Jack Shephard.  Smokey has said that he must gather the remaining candidates before he can get off the Island.  He has Sayid, Sawyer, Jin and Kate (it is up for debate whether Kate is still a candidate).  Sun and Hurley are at least now both in the same camp as Smokey, but so is Jack.  Whether or not he is willing to follow Smokey is what is at issue.  The look of utter confusion and disbelief that struck Jack's countenance when he saw Smokey as Locke standing there was priceless.  Will the good doctor be receptive to Smokey's plan?  Can the others convince him, or will he have some other plan up his sleeve? 

Further, what will be going on in the Sideways world?  Darlton said in their most recent "Official Lost Podcast" that tonight's episode will not be character-centric.  What I'm expecting to happen is that all of our characters will converge on evidently the only hospital in all of Los Angeles.  There, they will have some kind of cosmic awakening and realize that "they have to go back!"  Jack's already there, Sun, Jin, Locke and presumably Ben are probably on their way too.  I'm not sure how Hurley, Sawyer and Kate will get there, but at least the latter two are together (because Sawyer arrested Kate back in "Recon").

As far as what else I expect to see tonight, I think we'll get a classic Jack vs. Locke debate/standoff, although Locke is no longer Locke.  As much as it has been important for Jack to discover that he can't fix everything, I do miss "Leader Jack," so I hope he asserts himself a little tonight.  We saw in the creepy Willy Wonka preview lat week that Desmond was not killed by his descent down the well, so how will he get out?  Will he encounter anyone down the hole, like Christian Shephard?  How the heck will he get out?!?  I also expect further frustration that Sun and Jin will be kept apart, but maybe, just maybe, I'll be pleasantly surprised and they will finally reunite at the end of the episode. 

Other than these things, I really don't have many more expectations.  It's getting harder and harder to expect anything with such few hours left.  Moreover, I'm not sure I want to have any expectations, lest I be disappointed with the conclusion of the series.  So, anything more that what I've listed above will be nothing but gravy.  I'll be back this weekend with some thoughts on "The Last Recruit," our last episode for two weeks!  Until then...


Monday, April 19, 2010

Lost - "Ab Aeterno," "The Package," "Happily Ever After," & "Everybody Loves Hugo"

I'm a bad blogger.  A very bad blogger.  It is inexcusable that I would not post anything for an entire month! during Lost's final season.  I could blame work.  I could blame my writing at TVOvermind.com.  I could blame the return of the Spring soccer season (I'm a referee), but it all of those excuses would be for naught.  I've dropped the ball, and for that I apologize.  I thank everyone that has stuck with me through this time of inactivity.  I will strive to do better. 

OK, with my self-flagellation out of the way, let's turn to what has been an absolutely incredible period in the history of Lost.  We have now recahed the two-thirds mark of the season, with only six hours remianing of this incredible series.  Let's take a quick look back at the episodes I've missed chatting about for the last few weeks, and figure out where we are heading into this week's episode, "The Last Recruit."

Ab Aterno
Well, this was the epsiode everyone was waiting for: Richard Alpert's backstory.  Why doesn't he age?  Because Jacob granted him eternal life so he wouldn't have to go to hell for accidentally killing a doctor.  Why was it so nice for Smokey to see Richard out of his chains?  Because Richard was sold into slavery to avoid the hangman's noose for said killing.  How was the Tawaret statue destroyed?  The Black Rock (the slave ship Richard was on) crashed through it during a terrible storm that landed the ship a mile inland.  All great answers to long-asked questions.  We also got the wine bottle/cork explanation for the Island: namely that the Island is a cork holding evil from spreading throughout the world.  Is that "evil" Smokey?  We've yet to find out.

This was an absolutely great episode, and perhaps the best of the season.  As I mentioned above, long-held questions were finally answered regarding Richard and the Island, and an Emmy nomination-worthy performance was given by Nestor Carbonnell.  There has always been great acting on the show, but that was a grade A performance.  As the episode dealt solely with Richard's past, there was no flash-sideways (a welcome reprieve from that madness); it was simply an origin story that was top notch on every level.

The Package
I was waiting desperately for Sun and Jin's flash-sideways just so I could see those crazy kids together again.  I did get to see them together, but as with everything in the Sideways world, something was awry.  Sun and Jin were still lovers, but they were not married as of their flight on Oceanic 815.  Rather, they were stealing away to the U.S. after Jin finished one last job for Mr. Paik.  That job involved delivering a watch, and the money taken at Customs, to Keamy.  What Jin didn't know was that the payment was actually the bounty placed on his head for sleeping with Mr. Paik's daughter.  As we knew from "Sundown," Keamy was to be shot by Sayid, freeing Jin, but another gun batte ensued, with Sun, and her and Jin's unborn child, being possible casualties.  Undoubtedly, a trip to Dr. Jack Shephard's hospital is in order.  Lastly, the "package" that was behind the locked door on Widmore's submarine was revealed to be Desmond!

Up until the last few moments and the Desmond reveal, this was not a very exciting episode.  Don't get me wrong -- I love me some Sun and Jin, as I've said numerous times on this blog.  It was just that not much happened between the two in the Sideways world, and the action on the Island world was pretty stagnant as well.  Was it a bad episode like "What Kate Does"?  Absolutely not; it just didn't do much for me either way.  I can only chalk it up to continued and mounting frustration that the Sideways world was still completely unexplained.

Happily Ever After
That is, of course, until Desmond's Sideways episode.  Finally, we received some insight into what the Sideways world is, and how it relates to the "real" world back on the Island.  As Daniel Faraday Widmore explained, the explosion of Jughead split the world into two separate timelines. But there's a problem with the Sideways world; it's just not...right.  Like it's not supposed to exist.  Well, it's not supposed to exist.  There is hope though.  If people can experience a life-altering love, they can see into the other, real world.  Desmond had that occur at the moment he shook Penny Milton's hand.  Further, he received some knowledge that may have informed him as to a way to merge or fuse the two worlds.  Having secured a passenger manifest from Oceanic 815, Desmond now has a mission in both worlds to bring awareness of the dual realities to the Lostaways.

It's not surprising that a Desmond-centric episode was fantastic.  After "Flashes Before Your Eyes" and maybe the second best episode ever, "The Constant," "Happily Ever After" slides right into the canon of great Desmond episodes.  Every time Des and Penny share the screen, the electricty just jumps into your living room.  Further, the episode finally gave us some reason to believe the Sideways world is important to the resolution of the series, and not just some exercise in "what if?".  Throw in some nuanced and compelling perfromances from Dominc Monaghan and Jeremey Davies as the returning Charlie and Faraday, and "Happily Ever After" was an almost perfect episode.

Everybody Loves Hugo
That brings us to last week's Hurley-centric episode.  As a nice juxtaposition with "Everybody Hates Hugo," Hurley is actually leading a rather successful life as an entrepeneur, although his mother would like him to find a woman with whom he can settle down.  He finds that woman on a blind date: not the intended Rosalita, but rather Libby, who was at the same Mexican restaurant on a field trip from Santa Rosa.  Libby is still a patient at Santa Rosa, as she was in the "real" world, but once again, she's not "crazy."  She was committed in the Sideays world because she was having visions of she and Hurley on the Island.  Her love for Hurley was making those rememberances bleed through into the Sideays world.  When they eventually had their beach picnic (awwwwwwww) and kissed, Hurley, too, received a download of information from the Island world.  Desmond, who had encouraged Hurley to pursue Libby, looked on and was pleased by his handiwork, before going off to hit Locke with his car! 

I thought this episode was pretty great, mostly because of the performance by Jorge Garcia.  It was fun to see another flash into the real world, and, of course, the beach picnic.  Again, however, there wasn't much there there until the final scene when Desmond hit Locke with the car.  Why did he do this?  I know there is one line of thought that this was a revenge action for Smokey throwing Desmond into the well on the Island.  I think this is faulty because the only time we saw Desmond, Hurley or Charlie recognize the other world was during the flashes they each had when they realized love or had a near-death experience.  I don't think Sideways Desmond was aware of what happened to him on the Island.  Rather, I'm going with the theory that Desmond was trying to induce Locke's awareness of the "real" world by giving him a near-death experience.  Flawed logic?  Perhaps, but it's the best I've got.  As for the rest of the episode, the highlights were finding out what the Whispers are (souls trapped on the Island because they can't "move on"), and Jack's realization that he can't fix everything.  I do feel, however, that Jack will still end up being the hero and will lead his friends off of the Island. 

OK, so that's what I have, oh so briefly, for the last month's worth of Lost.  Again, I'm sorry I haven't been posting recently.  Moreover, I'm sorry the above isn't too in-depth.  I am going to post a preview of this week's episode, "The Last Recruit," tomorrow morning, and will then return to a normal posting schedule this weekend with a real review of the episode.  Thank you so much for sticking with me.