Lost: Stepping Out of a Burt Reynolds Movie

Claire: Hi, Hurley

Hurley: Hey, Claire. You look great.

HA HA HA HA HA HA HA

More merriment…after the jump.

Now that? That was vintage Lost right there. A rollicking, fast-paced episode that moved the story forward, had some nice character beats, and most importantly, was fun as hell to watch. That episode would have fit in perfectly during the climactic stretches of Seasons 2 or 3.

Damen Lindelof and Carlton Cuse said in a podcast last week that this episode wouldn’t focus on one particular character, while my cable guide said this would be a Jack episode. They were both kinda right. The flash sideways encompassed a lot of different characters, although Jack served as the centerpiece, in both timelines. Which is the best kind of Jack episode: not too much Jack, not too little Jack. The perfect amount of Jack. The ideal level of Jackosity.

I think this episode showed that at this late stage in the show’s run, they might be better off eschewing episodes that focus exclusively on one character. There are too many players on the stage, too many moving pieces, and too much story still to be told. This week’s installment managed to show more character development than the last half-season put together, despite the fact that it jumped from character to character. That jumping, and the usual solid editing, directing and score, helped Lost build excitement and forward momentum in a way we haven’t seen all year. Now let’s hope they don’t give it all back with a soggy Kate episode next week.

In fact, Lost was essentially pitching a no-hitter for most of the episode. Lost stood confidently on the mound, with two outs in the eighth, an excited murmur spreading through the crowd. Then…Jack’s bitchy little kid had to show up. That was the equivalent of a broken-bat bloop single to break up the no-hit bid.

UGH, Jack’s kid. Just because you’re being all nice to your Dad this week doesn’t mean we forget what a whiny, entitled little fuck you are. We never forget. Stop pretending you care about your Dad’s surgery. We know you’re up to something. You’re probably in cahoots with The Smoke Monster. Don’t you have some concerto to practice?

After last week’s troubling suggestion that the island is Purgatory after all, this week opened the door to another potentially disastrous ending to the show: The St. Lostwhere ending. Jack’s kid is clearly autistic. Clearly. And now he’s in the hospital? STAY AWAY FROM THE SNOW GLOBES, YOU LITTLE BASTARD.

But back to the good stuff…

“The Last Recruit” reminded me of the Season 3 finale of Mad Men, in that whole “I love it when a plan comes together” way. Seeing Sawyer, Jack et al. working together toward a common goal (albeit temporarily) brought back a dynamic to the show that’s been badly missing.

Loved the scene with Smoke Locke and Jack chatting at the beginning of the episode. Jack seemed satisfied to learn that Smokey was his Dad, but as usual, he avoided the important follow-up question: “So, um, what’s up with you turning into an angry cloud of black smoke and killing lots of people? How and why, sir?” At least Jack’s stunning lack of curiosity has been consistent for six seasons.

As Smokey explained to Jack how he inhabited Locke’s body, I flashed back to Season Four, with the Oceanic Six, and the quest to get everyone (including Locke’s corpse) back to the island. Who were the drivers there? Ben, Widmore and Ellie all pushed the O6 to go back, convincing them with tales of how important it was, and how their friends were in jeopardy if they didn’t return. Now, that trio are Others all, and presumably on Team Jacob. Yet their plan worked right into the Smoke Monster’s hands (assuming a Smoke Monster actually has hands). Did Smokey somehow set the whole plan in motion using his subtle art of persuasion? Were some combination of Ben, Widmore and Ellie actually on Team Smokey? Or was it important for them to get back to the island for a reason that has yet to be revealed?

And is this finally the war we’ve been promised for so long? I have to admit, there was an instant that I thought Widmore’s missiles might kill Jack. We’re late enough in the final season that I believe anyone can die, at any point (which also raised my hopes considerably when Claire pointed her rifle at Kate).

Hey, Jin and Sun finally reunited. Yay? Actually, as much as I had stopped caring about either of them, their reunion was nice. It kinda came out of nowhere, it didn’t take up too much time, and they didn’t overplay it. The highlight was Sawyer getting a little teary-eyed. If it’s emotional enough to touch that wily old rascal, it’s emotional enough for me! One quibble: why were they speaking English to each other during their embrace? I’m sure Sun was excited to be able to speak English again, but still. If I were reunited with Mrs. Dilemma after several years apart, during which I thought we might never see each other again, I don’t think I would try to speak French to her because I took a couple years of it in high school. This scene would have been more moving if we weren’t able to understand what they were saying – more like we’d be catching a glimpse of a private moment we weren’t supposed to witness. Also, Jin’s “I promise we’ll never be apart again” vow can only mean one thing – they’ll never be apart again, of course!

Similarly, the long-awaited scene in which Jack and Claire recognized each other as siblings hit the right notes without devolving into melodrama. This week, both Claire and Sayid, the two zombies, showed signs of returning to humanity, as Claire joined the Sawyer Boat Gang, and Sayid (presumably) didn’t shoot Desmond in the head while Desmond sat helpless at the bottom of a well. Because Sayid? If you did shoot Desmond in the head while Desmond sat helpless at the bottom of a well…I am going to be so mad at you. You do not want to be in my doghouse, imaginary character on a TV show. Just ask Rosalind Shays how that works out.

I loved this episode. Partly on its own merits, partly because I expected a full-fledged Jack episode and didn’t have to suffer through one, and partly because of the commercial for Avatar that aired during the second half of the show. Avatar has a lot of Lostish themes, with Pandora serving as a reasonable stand-in for the island. But Avatar executed its ideas so clumsily that Lost looks light years better in comparison. I didn’t really make the connection until the Avatar ad flashed “FEEL IT” in huge font on the screen. I’d rather FEEL IT with Lost than with Avatar. Thanks, though.

Rose and Bernard Annoyance Level: 2. Although they didn’t appear in this episode, they briefly crossed my mind when I was reminiscing about previous seasons. And yes, I hold them responsible for that.

Answers: The Smoke Monster confirmed that he indeed inhabited Christian, which also means he was likely the one in Jacob’s cabin when Ben and Locke visited. The one who said, “Help me.” Are we confident that Michael (and the other ghosts Hurley has seen) was really Michael, or could that have been Smokey too?

New Questions: Not really any this week. Encouraging sign.

Hey! It’s That Other! Ilana, just as useless and boring in the sideways universe as she was on the island.

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Filed under Television Has AIDS, The Dilemma

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