We're not saying anything original here, but the Lost creators are in something of a no-win situation. We believe (even if some others don't) that they really do have a plan and all of this really was leading somewhere all along. The problem is, they're barreling toward the big climax of the story and all those clues and mysteries and dangling story arcs have to be resolved before we get there. So Jack gets the answer to the question of his father's apparitions (one of the oldest mysteries of the show), Claire and Jack have a long-overdue brother-sister talk, and Jin and Sun have a VERY long overdue reunion. And strangely, it all felt a little flat to us. It's no one's fault, really. Like we said, they're heading toward the big showdown and there are things that need to be checked off the list before they get there. Narrative housecleaning.
Ready? Then we'll begin.
Okay kids, a lot happened last night and we were all over the map (literally) so forgive the scattershot approach. We'll do our best to hold off incoherency as long as we can but you've got to meet us halfway.
Ready? Then we'll begin.
Don't get us wrong, we enjoyed the hell out of this episode. Foregoing a character-centric episode was a welcome relief. Instead the focus was on moving the pieces around the board yet again, while closing the circle, drawing all the characters together for what's coming up. "So nice to have everyone back together again." And this was true of both timelines. As such, the tension throughout the episode was higher than normal. They had our hearts in our throats twice when Desmond and later Kate were staring down the barrel of a gun and we really thought for a split second that one or the other was finally getting the death scene that so many others got. Of course the jury's still out on Desmond but does anyone seriously believe this beloved character with such an epic backstory died off-camera? Come on now. The writers didn't even attempt to get cute on that one. It was quite obvious that Sayid didn't do as he was told, like a good little zombie.
And that may be one of the more interesting developments in the story right now. Call it The Anakin Theory. Is it possible that characters we were told were lost causes may in fact be capable of coming back? When Desmond asked Sayid what he would tell Nadia, was Sayid capable of feeling shame or remorse? Or does he have plans of his own? And is Claire really with Kate and the others? Is it that easy? "Let's go home?" She indicated in typical creepy 6th season Claire fashion that Smokey was going to be very mad when he found out what they did, which seems to indicate to us that, for now at least, she's with her former beachmates.
On the other hand, she seemed awfully resigned to fate when she told Jack that he was with Smokey whether he wanted it or not. "You decided the moment you let him talk to you, just like the rest of us." What's the significance of allowing him to speak? Smokey speaks to you and you're his forever? That didn't work with Richard (at least so far).
Back to Desmond. We can't quite figure his status out. On the L.A. timeline he appears to be exhibiting a full working knowledge of the island timeline (he would have to have pretty much all of his memories returned in order to set up that Claire and Jack meeting as it required knowledge of some minute and very specific details of the other timeline) but the island version of Desmond seems almost clueless about what's going on. He's even further in opposition to the proactive, man-with-a-mission L.A. Desmond because he seems so passive. What the hell is going on with him?
By the way, of all the alt-cameos, perky Ilana with her luxurious hair may have been the most jarring.
Alt-Jack's son David turned all creepily and Stepford-y supportive of his father very quickly, don't you think? "I'm sad for you, Dad." It's a little weird and we're starting to think it means something. Also, wasn't it weird how alt-Sun seemed right on the verge of realizing something very bad (which we will be THRILLED to get to in a couple of paragraphs) and then all the drama and tension just leeched out of her storyline? She wakes up and Jin is there saying everything's fine and it's all over and we're all gonna live happily ever after? Did that seem a little odd to anyone else? As if the closer alt-Jack or alt-Sun got to finding out the truth, the more aspects of the L.A. timeline are fighting to keep them happy and content. Which kind of implies it's not so much a timeline as it is a Matrix-like construct.
Whoa. We just blew our minds a little there.
In other island news, Hurley's reign as leader was apparently short-lived, and we're back to the dick-measuring contests between Widmore and Smokey, James and Jack. One good thing about that: when the swordfighting reaches its apex, that's when Kate is always at her best. For all the male jockeying that has always gone on around her, Kate has always had her own agendas and these are always the moments when she chooses to ignore the men and follow her own instincts. She came back to the island for one reason and she wasn't going to let anyone else get in her way of that. Like we said, it remains to be seen if bringing Claire into the fold is a good idea, but it's always nice to see Kate tell one of the chest-puffers around her to blow it out their ass.
By the way, what was with Jack's agreeing to leave his sister behind? No fight on that at all? We fear Jack has become what Locke used to be: somewhat insanely focused on his destiny to the exclusion of the well-being of others. True, we tend to think of all the various factions that arose last night, his was the one that made the most sense. He knows better than anybody what happens to you if you leave the island before it's done with you. James' unknowingly ironic "They got pills for that, Doc," was a none-too subtle reference to pill-popping fakebeard Jack.
We were happy to see the emnity between Jack and James dissipate, if only temporarily. Despite the fact they once again disagreed on a vital point, it looks like all that needs to be said has been said regarding Juliet's death and we're kind of happy to see that. After all, call us sentimental, but it's always more fun to see these old characters get along than pull guns on each other and yell. Besides, we've always thought if Sawyer and Jack could just, for once, agree on a course, they'd make an unstoppable team. When Jack jumped in the water and Kate called out after him, we were sure he was going to yell "WE HAVE TO GO BACK, KATE!" Instead we got a clever twist on that with Sawyer's "We're done going back, Kate."
Oh, and speaking of "Doc," it's nice to see James is back to slinging the nicknames around. He must be getting over his grief. It was cute to hear him call Kate Freckles, but forever more, Frank will be Chesty Lapidus to us. That was an instant Sawyer classic (all time favorite: calling Hurley "Snuffy") and it's nice to see he hasn't lost his touch.
One more thing before the inevitable collapse into incoherency: We'll admit it, we've been hammering our "alternate Locke is really Smokey posing as Locke" theory pretty hard lately, somewhat to our regret. We still subscribe to it, but there's every reason to believe we're wrong because when it's really firing on all cylinders, this show can really surprise you and if you insist you know what's going on, well... just make sure you like eggs because there's a good chance you'll have them all over your face.
HOWEVER, we could not refrain from grinning wildly when alt-Sun and alt-Locke showed up at the only hospital in Los Angeles (like we all knew they would) and Sun reacted to Locke with horror. "It's him! It's him!" Are they faking us out? It's possible, maybe even likely. Are we insisting that we have the right answer? Not at all, but we sure did love seeing that.
* Because this was a "checking items off a list" episode, there was a sudden (and very welcome) frankness in the air as everyone asked appropriate questions and for once and even more surprisingly, got definite answers. We loved it not so much for the answers, but for the welcome tone in the conversations, especially between Jack and James, Jack and Smokey, Jack and Claire, and Claire and Kate. Things that long-needed to be said were being said.
* About those answers...like we said, great to hear them, but that doesn't always mean we're getting the whole picture. Smokey said the Christian apparitions were all him, but that doesn't explain Christian appearing 80 miles off-shore on the freighter to Michael, nor does it explain his appearance in the lobby of Jack's medical practice in L.A. just as Jack was beginning his downward spiral. It's notable that latter appearance happened when Jack came out into the lobby because the SMOKE DETECTOR had gone off (Dun Dun DUN!!!), but the whole point to Smokey is that he can't leave the island. Explain THAT one, Lost writers. Otherwise, we're going to have to declare this "answer" a little lame.
*Loved the scene with alt-Kate and alt-James in the police station. They played off each other beautifully and it felt like a glimpse of the old Kate and Sawyer, the more feral versions that initially fell for each other back in the day. The explanation as to why he let her go at the airport made perfect sense and we loved that she was sharp enough to figure it out.
*Jin and Sun's reunion was a little disappointing. Could it be that they've finally shot their wad on the patented Lost emotional reunion scene? Can they no longer get it up on the tearjerker scenes? Can we use any more sexual terminology in this bullet point? Of course part of the reason the scene didn't work for us is because we were convinced they were going to die from sonic fence exposure before they reached each other. What a weird way to frame that shot.
* We were also convinced that L.A. Sayid was going to resort to the old Iraqi "kill him with my thighs" technique when James cuffed him and arrested him.
*Please, Zoe. Die soon.
* Libby's old boat is still around? We had to go and check because so many things on this show have blown up, we were sure this was among them. Turns out it's always been intact since the Others took it. Chances are that canned food Chesty Lapidus was talking about is a good 6 years old, though.
* One last question and then we'll shut up: Who's the "Last Recruit" in the episode title?
[Photo Credit: abc.go.com/shows/lost]
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Labels: Lost, Lost Season 6