Thursday, March 30, 2006

LOST recap: Lockdown

Ok, kids: get out your official LOST Dharma Initiative Decoder Rings!
Funky symbols and creepy black light. What does it all mean?
Who fucking cares? This was a great episode, with or without any Dharma hoojoo.

Director Stephen Williams is LOST's go-to-guy. He has a way of bringing the best out of his actors, especially whichever character is being given that episode's flashback treatment. He's directed the very best Jack episodes, and he wrangled a moving performance out of Michelle Rodriguez in Collision, which is no small feat. When he's behind the camera, LOST feels more like a film than a TV show. The performances are more honest, the action hits harder. Which is no doubt why Lockdown was so amazing: the show's best director and the show's best actor, Terry O'Quinn, united. The range of emotion O'Quinn has brought to John Locke from the beginning is astonishing. At times, he's a mysterious, almost sociopathic, figure; other times he has a gentle grandfatherly appeal.
Then there are the times he beats the living hell out of hobbit junkies
(Yes, Charlie, former junkie. We know).
Locke, ever since the discovery of the hatch and the death of Boone, has been approaching his boiling point. He's not someone who can handle a situation that's spinning out of control, he's rash and panicky.
All he wants is someone else to believe in him. That's why he needed Jack to be the first one to push the button. That's why he so desperately wants Jack's approval. For validation.

When he meets his father at the hotel, he says "I didn't do this for the money", and he didn't. He did it for his father's approval, so that he could finally be 'good enough' for him. Only when his father is grinning at his haul and complimenting his choice in women does Locke feel secure enough to share with him his feelings for Helen. For John, it's just like when dad used to take him hunting again. The fact that they're hiding $700,000 from mobsters rather than strolling through the pasture means nothing to John.
He feels wanted.
Locke believes in destiny, in fairy tales. That's why he proposes to Helen as she's leaving him, clearly forever. Because he really believes that if he does that, she has to say yes. That this one magical act wipes away his deception. That moment of John on his knees, searching Helen's face for any sign of love, is devastating.
That faith, that belief in people, is also why Locke is taken in by Henry Gale.

We have our answer now, Henry is not who he says he is. But now we face another situation like we had last season, with Charlie and Ethan. Will Sayid blow a hole in Henry's face before he's able to give any information about the Others? Judging by the direction Sayid been heading, it's a safe bet that he will. And now that the word's out about Henry's presence in the hatch, how will people kept in the dark (or 'the loop', as Hurley says) react?

And where the hell did that big air drop of Dharma Initiative mac and cheese come from?

Anyway, I'd like to see Henry kept around as an informant, if only because I think Michael Emerson's been entertaining as hell. His pratfall off the shelves, right as the alarm goes off, was hilarious. And he's managed to play Henry just right, not tipping his hand in either direction. He could always have been a schlub from Minnesota who ran a mining company. You would have believed that.

In other island business, we get more Jack and Sawyer power struggles ("Should I get a ruler?"); Hurley says "Dude"; and for Christ's sake, Claire your baby...is...fine.

The Jack and Sawyer card game was especially fun. I always get a kick out of watching the castaways play golf or backgammon, or whatever, just to keep themselves entertained. It's one of the things that grounds the show when it gets too sci-fi or too soap opera-ish. It's also good to see Jack winning back a little of his leadership role after being sideswiped by Sawyer in The Long Con, and running after Michael like a jackass in The Hunting Party.
"When I want the guns, I'll get the guns."
This was LOST geek overload. The message boards are buzzing, I'm sure. Oh, did you notice:Nadia? No shit.
I told you there was a lot in this episode. And so, in true geek fashion I can only say:
Best. Episode. Ever.

LOST Episode 2:17; Lockdown: A+

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