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 know...or...is 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.