Monday, October 09, 2006

"Lost" - A Tale of Two Cities

What’s up, party people?! Can you believe it’s been just over four months since I last wasted an afternoon pondering and writing about the intricacies of a frustrating and unsatisfying television show? Where does the time go?

I hope everyone had enjoyable summers working on your respective projects. But, “Lost” is back, and so am I. So let’s get right into it.

“Lost” – A Tale of Two Cities

I’m hoping Us Weekly will have a feature called, “The Others… They’re just like us!” After all, they bake muffins (and burn them, LOL), they have book clubs attended by pompous assholes – which is the pinnacle of any civilized society – and they live in a nicely manicured neighborhood called “Others Lane” (aka. Otherville, Mysteria Lane). I could’ve sworn I heard Mary Alice narrating: “Things aren’t what they seem on Others Lane…” Although the location seems to be less than ideal (in the middle of a valley on a remote island in the South Pacific), I’m sure it’s a quick hike down the road to J Crew and Crate and Barrel.

But all jokery aside, Season 3 starts off with the same ECU of an eyeball that has become a trademark of the premieres. This eyeball belongs to a new character, Juliet, who we find out is an Other. Other than the big reveal and the cool shot of the Oceanic Air flight 815 breaking apart in midair, the cold open didn’t reveal much. The book they were talking about was Stephen King’s Carrie, and through conversation we find out that “Ben” wouldn’t have liked that choice. Ben, of course, is the real name of (not) Henry Gale.

After what seems like an earthquake, we see some familiar faces in the neighborhood, mainly Ethan and Goodwin. After finding out that the earthquake was really the slight “slip-up” by Desmond that eventually led to the plane crash, our two favorite dead Others promptly receive their directives from the apparent leader, Ben.

After a slight glimpse into Jack’s back story (which included him spying on his ex-wife), we cut to Jack’s containment cell, which looks like a set from “Saw” but has a clear plexiglass wall. Kate’s situation is much more pleasant. She wakes up on the floor of the communal shower at the Other’s local YMCA (which, on second thought, sounds pretty disgusting). Our old pal Mr. Friendly (MC Gainey), tells Kate to take a shower and “wash the day off”, but when Kate tells him she’s not showering in front of him, he tells her that she’s not his type, which immediately told me that Mr. Friendly is queerer than a three dollar bill. Peeping Tom’s notwithstanding, Kate’s situation is undoubtedly better than….

Sawyer’s, who is in some kind of experimental animal cage. But at least Sawyer has a companion – there’s a boy in the cell across from him named Carl. Sawyer tries to talk to him, but it seems like the boy is focused on something else (maybe he has a closed-circuit feed to Kate’s shower). After getting severely shocked by pressing a button, it’s apparent that Sawyer’s in a large Skinner Box, or an apparatus used to study animal behavior (so sayeth Wikipedia). Those keeping score should note that we’re ten minutes in to season three and Sawyer’s already getting hurt.

Back in Jack’s chamber, he starts throwing a hissy fit that prompts Juliet to come in. Cut to “Boring Jack Back Story – Scene Two”: Jack wants the name of the dude his ex left him for, and she refuses to tell him. Hmmm, I wonder if he’ll obsess over this?? Perhaps jump to some wrong conclusions?

Cut to: Kate shower scene. Man, those Other are quite the pranksters. They pulled the old clothes in the locker switcheroo while she was showering. Hilarious. But instead of having Kate fire around in a towel for the rest of the season, they provided her with a dress and an invitation to join “Ben” for breakfast on the beach. The set-up looked really pleasant, and Ben was wearing Dockers and nice button-down. Unfortunately the whole point was so that Kate could have a nice memory before two hellish weeks of some Others-brand mindfucking.

Boring Jack Back Story – Scene Three: Shocker! Jack obsessively tries to find out the name of his ex’s boyfriend. He and his father argue and he calls his dad a drunk. Is it me, or have I seen this scene about 10 times before.

But back in Jack’s cell, Juliet comes in and brings Jack some food. But stubborn ole Jack won’t budge – he refuses to lean against the wall so she can open the door. After some banter, Jack finally asks, “What the hell is going on here,” to which Juliet responds… by walking out. Hey, for a new cast member, Juliet really nailed the “I can’t answer any logical questions” face.

Meanwhile, Sawyer’s buddy busts out of the cage and breaks Sawyer out, too. Unfortunately he uses Sawyer as a diversion so he could get away – a plan that doesn’t work out for either of them and gets Sawyer tasered but the omnipresent Juliet. Friendly then bring Carl over to apologize to Sawyer for involving him. This kind of smelled like another Others rouse – then again, you can’t take anything on Lost at face value.

Juliet comes back to Jack to try to feed him. She feeds him lines about how he’s dehydrated from the drugs they gave him, and she eventually breaks down Jack into compliance. Oh, but little does she know that Jack is actually smack in the middle of a nice rage blackout when we flashback to BJBS Scene Four. Here we see Jack basically coming to the conclusion that his drunk father is sleeping with his wife. So when he busts into his Dad’s AA meeting, he really flies off the handle. All it took was Jack’s Dad to say “Let it go,” and Jack form tackles him through the 12 Steps easel.

Not great timing on Juliet’s part. Because when she thinks Jack is somewhat sedated, she comes into the cell and is served a nice plate Jack Sheppard justice. In face, Jack uses that very plate to hold up to her neck and keep her hostage for his escape. What Jack doesn’t realize is that the facility they’re in is underwater, but he finds that out as soon as he opens a hatch door. “Ben” pulls a dick move and locks Juliet in there with him, but she and Jack eventually seal off the water, and Jack pushes a button that either pumps out the water or opens the garage door of Juliet’s house (we’re still not sure). Then Juliet lands a thunderous right hook to Jack’s jaw and knocks him out cold.

Back in Sawyer’s cage, he’s finally figured out a system for activating all the levers and buttons so he can get a glorious supply of Dharma fish biscuits and unpopped popcorn. Yum. Mr. Friendly leads Kate over to Carl’s old accommodations where I assume she’ll be spending her two-week stay. Friendly also notices Sawyer’s fish biscuit (why does that sounds dirty?) and remarks that it only took the bears two hours. Could he be talking about the… polar bears?!?!?!?

Sawyer and Kate share a sweet moment (after all, she DID ask about Sawyer before Jack). Sawyer offers up his fish biscuit, and she gladly devours it…. Wait a minute, didn’t Kate just eat a full breakfast? That’s like someone on Survivor eating a huge meal they won at a challenge, then coming back to camp and eating all the rice. Not cool, Kate.

Jack finally comes to back in his cell, and Juliet tell him that he’s really in an aquarium used to train the dolphin on Seaquest and sharks with frickin’ laser attached to their heads. She also has a copy Jack’s permanent record, which we all know contains every last bit of information about his life. After spouting of some facts, she succeeds in breaking Jack down when she mentions that she can tell Jack what he wants about his ex.

Cut to the final BJBS scene where Sara bails Jack out of jail. Tears… blah blah, “I need to know who he is!”…blah blah… “It’s not who he is, it who you’re not!”… blah blah…. “Your dad’s drunk.”

Then Jack asks the only logical question he could think of – is my ex-wife happy? Close up of spooky (not) Henry Gale/Ben, and fade out.

Wow. This episode was…HORRENDOUS! I absolutely hated it. Considering it was the season premiere after a finale that had all sorts of craziness going on, this story did nothing for me. Let’s review that things we learned.

  • The Others live in a weird, modern neighborhood that’s furnished by Ikea and the Pottery Barn.
  • There’s a Dharma Hydra station that was used to do something with sharks (which were presumably bred for the show to jump over)
  • There are cages where bears were held and studied.

Here are the things we already know and/or couldn’t care less about:

  • Jack’s really obsessive.
  • Jack’s father is a drunk and they don’t have such a great relationship.
  • Jack had/still has feelings for the woman he was married to.
  • Kate’s not a huge fan of handcuffs.
  • Sawyer’s not a huge fan of being electrocuted.
  • Henry Gale is spooky.
  • Everything the Others do may or may not be a trick.

I’m not saying that I didn’t expect the typical Lost “no one talks to each other and no information is ever revealed” MO, it’s just that I expected more from a season premiere. In looking at the previous two premieres, you have some of the best episodes of the series – The pilot and “Man of Science, Man of Faith”, which was also a Jack-centric episode where we meet Desmond and the Hatch. Now season three rolls around, and this is what we’re given?? Some sappy-ass, emotional Jack back story and a brisk walkthrough of the Others’ compound.

So far, including this premiere, Jack has had EIGHT episodes. That’s seven previous stories where we learn about Jack’s obsessive personality, his strained relationship with his drunk dad, how he met his wife, his fixation on “fixing” things, and how his marriage wasn’t working. Why, for the love of God, do we need to see all of those elements again for an eighth time. Isn’t anybody else sick of it, or am I just heartless? I know this episode was penned by the great JJ Abrams, so maybe he accidentally thought he was writing a “What About Brian”.

All right, enough hating. What I did like about this episode was the opening (that shot of the plane breaking apart in mid-air was awesome), and the previews for next week. I could’ve sworn I saw a shot Kate kissing Sawyer – does she choose him (after all, she DID ask about Sawyer before Jack – twice – then it was pointed out by Ben in case people still didn’t catch it), or was she instructed by the Others to get close to Sawyer for some reason – after all, she did look pretty upset when she was brought to the cage. Maybe her “unpleasant two weeks” meant that she was going to be forced to get Ana Lucia’s sloppy seconds.

Last thing I liked about this episode (which brings the total to…3 things): Juliet. I like how the show addressed my call for more hot chicks after Michael single-handedly brought that number down to two. Juliet’s got some stink to her. Hopefully we’ll see her fleshed out (wink wink, high five).

The brightside? Only place to go is up.

Score (Out of 20):

Island Story: 5

Back Story: 3

Total: 8

Good to be back, but if this episode is any indicator of how the rest of the season is going to be, and I still end up writing 2000 words about it, I may have to kick my own ass.


Post a Comment

<< Home