Thursday, October 19, 2006

"I was wrong": The Return of John Locke
Episode 3:02 ;The Glass Ballerina
Episode 3:03; Further Instructions

In a clip aired in the preview for Further Instructions (but not, I believe, a moment that made it to the final airing, unless I missed it. Tim, help me out here!), John Locke holds a hunting knife in his grimy hands and says, "I missed this."

So did we, John. So did we.

There was a hint (ok, more than a hint) of 'give 'em what they want already' about 3:03. Didn't like the hatch? It's a crater now. Been missing the snarky hobbit (Beth Sweeney, I'm looking in your direction)? Here he is, in rare sarcastic form. Missed the John Locke whose faith in the island carried the castaways through Season One? Got 'im. Oh, and missed the polar bear? Yup. He's here too, horrid CGI and all.

Locke episodes are almost always good. This was good, if a bit rushed. I love that we're getting the mystical John again. But what I will say in defense of the way he was presented last year is that without his loss of faith, this episode wouldn't have felt so special. Like the retun of an old friend.

Speaking of old friends, Boone was back, and apparently Ian Sommerhalder couldn't be bothered to cut his friggin' hair for the guest appearance. Well, I guess your hair and nails do continue to grow after you're dead. I always loved the way that John and Boone played off each other in Season One. I had hoped to see a bit of Boone hauntings last season, but I guess this will do. I liked the airport hallucination, and I liked the hippie commune flashback. But really, did you think for a minute that John was going to pull that trigger?
But once again, we have a John Locke who gets betrayed by someone he tried to help, and being rejected by those he calls 'family'. This is why Locke works so well as a character. For all his mystical bravado, Locke is merely a lost little boy seeking daddy's approval (like every other male island resident, come to think of it). But still, it's very, very nice to have the hunter back.

Oh, and let me say this: Desmond is Jesus. Told. You. So.

I'm one to find some sort of religious symbolism in damn near anything (I was raised Catholic, that's what we do), but really:
That's a halo, people. And he sees the future now? Miracles! Hope! Where the hell is Penny?

Oh, and where have Nikki and Paolo been all this time? Are they staying in Cousin Oliver's tent?


I love that moment. But I don't believe that will be enough to make Jack pull a Michael and betray his friends. But with this show? You just never know.
And again, mad love for Michael Emerson as, apparently, Benjamin Linus. He's more fun to watch than any other actor on television. His delivery, his expressions, he's brilliant.

The Glass Ballerina was good. The more we see of Sun, the less we're able to sympathize with her. She got the MAID fired, for Chrissakes! And she's lied the her husband about every...single...thing. Quite an interesting turaround from the Sun we were first presented with, way back in the Pilot, who we felt sorry for because her husband was yelling at her to button her top button. Jin, you don't know the half of it! She can't keep her clothes on at all.

I doubt the efficiency of Sayid's 'let's build a bonfire and shoot whoever shows up' plan. But let's not forget that Sayid is operating out of revenge for Shannon's death (remember Shannon? I know we're all trying to forget). Even though it was Ana's fault and Michael took care of that a mere four days ago in island time. But when The Others did show up, it wasn't Sayid or Jin doing the shooting. There are other, better, websites tracking the amount of island residents who've taken a life either before or after the crash. Suffice to say: a LOT of them have now.

Sawyer is right, by the way: no matter how peaches and cream she is to Jack, Juliet would have plugged Kate in a second. This is a woman what loves her job. Does anyone else think that Sawyer might...die this year? Just a feeling, don't get all teary-eyed now.

In other news, Kate Austen tastes like strawberries. I knew it. I just knew it.

Season Three is on the right track. We're getting a return to the strengths of some of our heroes and we're playing on the weaknesses of others (Jack really, really wants to go home...). Everybody's all heroic and desperate.
But, please, can Charlie start using again? He was so much more interesting then. Don't choose life, Charlie! Who needs reasons when you've got heroin? And give Evangeline Lilly something to do as well, other than play the damsel in distress. Girl's got chops, let her show them off.
Boy, marry a couple of actors off and their characters get all the life sucked out of them.

Friday, October 06, 2006

'Tis the East: The Evolution of LOST
Episode 3:01;A Tale of Two Cities

We're back in business and true to form we open with a dodge. This is the problem with the modern era of fandom: obsessives knew it was a Jack flashback episode, even by avoiding any major spoilers. So Juliet HAD to be on the island. And she is, along with apparent former lover 'Ben', otherwise known as the twitchy, squirmy Henry Gale. Interesting to see Henry as a calm, collected leader, not as a captive scrambling to stay ahead of his story.

The opener was different from the norm in many ways, but the most essential was the fact that none of our captured regulars had any contact with each other until Sawyer and Kate had their moment in the cages. Which was sweet. And after all that time without our usual banter, we were just as relieved as Kate to hear Sawyer call her "Freckles" again. And really, the moment in the cages showed exactly why Kate is attracted to Sawyer, had that been Jack across from her he would have been moody and intense, desperately plotting a way out (as he spent all of his time in the aquarium), not cracking wise to ease a girl's mind.
But the producers know that as much as we love Sawyer, we love to see him get hurt even more. So here comes Juliet (who's frigging everywhere on that island, apparently) with the taser.

J.J. Abrams was back with Damon Lindelof for the first time since the pilot episode, and Jack Bender was directing, as he did with last year's Desmond bookends. Last season, our focus was shuffled onto the tail section survivors, but only after we'd learned the fate of the raft crew and the scret of the hatch. This season we're having new characters integrated into the cast AS we find out the fate of those who were either kidnapped or potentially magnetically blown up. Or whatever.
This, I think was the cause of some of the negative online response to this episode, and a lot of female Juliet bashing seems to be out there.
But you know what? I'm an Elizabeth Mitchell fan. From as far back as Frequency, and Gia before that. I think she brings an intelligent sweetness to Juliet that grounds her. Of course this woman's favorite book is The Stand by Stephen King.
I also think they're setting her up well as Jack's romantic interest, she is after all a "woman of Science" and argues for free will right before 815 goes down. She's not going to be an ultimately useless 'Libby'. I'm looking forward to her flashbacks, and I think she works. So there.

But Jack. Poor, poor Jack. The further down his story we get, the more we realize that the Jack we've known is a man with little to no grip on himself. How far removed from attacking his father at a frigging AA meeting was the doctor when he crashed anyway? And he's hallucinating daddy again (I know, I he?). I'm still waiting for the mid-season Thailand era flashback. I bet I'm right about the good doctor chasing the white horse.
But man oh man, can Jack not give up (like the childhood bully said, "You should've stayed down, Jack."). I thought Matthew Fox did his usual Matthew Fox job in this one. I think he works as Jack because he brings with him an unassuming nature. The whole point is that Jack doesn't want to be the center of attention, but always will be. And I thought he did a great job at episode's end, when instead of asking for the name of the man that stole his wife he simply asks, "Is she happy?"
Maybe an old dog can learn a few tricks after all.
If you had problems with this one, watch it AGAIN. It was disorienting, and strange, but it was also very good.