Wednesday, January 21, 2009

A Case of the.... Lost - Episodes 5-1 & 5-2

I normally wait for PrimeTimePulse to post my columns before linking them on my blog, in order to give their website the hits, but I've decided to give Lost a special exception. So, therefore, you can now check out my blog Wednesday nights for my IMMEDIATE Lost thoughts.

So this season, my Lost columns are going to be handled differently. More specifically, you’re going to get a double-dosage. My first column will be posted Wednesday night/Thursday morning. This column will be a pretty straight forward initial reaction to the episode that had just aired. As such, observations will probably be pretty obvious, and mythology interpretations will be somewhat limited. The second part of my column will be posted the following Tuesday night/Wednesday morning. I’ll spend the week taking in the episode that had aired earlier in the week and pick apart the various theories that have circulated. I’ll also respond to e-mails and blog comments that readers have hopefully sent me. So – hint, hint – SEND ME YOUR COMMENTS!!!! But PLEASE, I avoid spoilers like the plague, so basically if it hasn’t happened yet and doesn’t appear in the next week’s preview, don’t tell me.

So coming into its fifth season, I daresay that this year’s premiere is the most anticipated one yet. I think it’s also fair to say that this episode is coming off the heels of perhaps the series’ most critically acclaimed season (and yes, that includes the first season). And similar to last year’s premiere, the previous season’s finale promised to completely alter the classic formula that had made Lost so special to begin with. How will they handle their two story arcs when they are presumably occurring on different timelines (with those left behind living in 2005, and the Oceanic Six three years later)? Or did the island “move” to the future when it vanished?

Basically, the bar has been set pretty damn high – did it live up to expectations? Click the "Read More" link for my thoughts on the premiere...

I’ll answer that question with another question: Did you not see that freakin’ opening? Geez, more happened before the “LOST” graphic began slowly spiraling towards us than does in an entire episode of an ordinary television show. Anyway, here are my initial observations:

I loved how the episode kicked off in typical Lost fashion: With a faceless but familiar character waking up and beginning what is sure to be an unordinary day in a very ordinary way. I must admit that I was pretty shocked when I discovered we were following Dr. Candle (that’s what I’m calling him for the time being), and for a moment I considered the possibility that he was nothing but an actor portraying the role of a doctor (in yet another mindfu….trick played by the Dharma Initiative). But it seems he’s legit. Oh, and Daniel appearing in the cave? Awesome.

And while the record/turntable analogy went a bit over my head, I loved its connection to the opening scene with Dr. Candle, whose morning dealt with both a skipping record and time travel in potential turmoil.

The trippy time traveling island strengthens the belief that I, and many others, have long argued: That the whispers in the jungle are actually “echoes” of people from the past/future who are living on the island concurrently. Although I did have to do a double take when Sawyer asked Daniel who he is. Had these two really not met yet up until that point? That’s surprising. It’s a bit like Heroes where, unless I’m mistaken, Nathan and Sylar are yet to meet.

While I admit that I’ve always rooted for Kate to end up with Jack, I will concede that she’s got great chemistry and passion with Sawyer. That being said, since the end of last season, I have honestly felt like Sawyer’s best chemistry is with some of the other female characters. I thought his brief interaction with Claire just before she mysteriously disappeared had real potential. And the budding relationship between him and Juliet throughout the premiere was phenomenal.

After all the luxuries they had experienced, between the various hatches and the barracks, it was pretty fun seeing the survivors having to resort back to their wilderness survival skills. I also enjoyed the fact that their supposed skills had completely degenerated because of those luxuries they had grown so accustomed to. And I was about to name this Neal character “Paulo Version 2.0” when he was suddenly killed. Oh wait….

I couldn’t help but shake my head when Locke started climbing the tree towards the Nigerian plane. I mean, does he not remember what happened to Boone? As a side note, I loved Alpert’s “What goes around comes around” comment when Locke told him that he was shot by Ethan (although, in fairness, it was Charlie who did the deed). When Alpert gave Locke his compass with the instructions to show it to him at a time where he won’t recognize Locke, I immediately thought of that test from last season, when Alpert told a young Locke to pick an item from the table. I had to do a bit research to confirm my suspicions, and yes indeed a compass was one of the items.

Last year I found the odd couple of Hurley and Sawyer living together hilarious. This year, it was the motel sharing duo of Jack and Ben that I found strangely humorous. Part of me wishes we had seen more of their wacky hijinx.

I love the fact that there was a photograph of Jack and Aaron in Kate’s house. I also like how when push comes to shove, he’s still the first person she turns to (or considers turning to) when she’s in trouble.

I was surprised that there was so much tension between Hurley and Sayid when they made the decision to lie about what happened after the crash, considering that it was Hurley who embraced Sayid and welcomed him into his family when the Oceanic Six made their first public appearance. Speaking of Sayid, those darts really knocked him the F out, didn’t they?

By the way, you could really sympathize with Hurley’s plight. He checks himself into a mental institution, escapes, and is accused of a triple homicide. And there was an explanation for it, but he can’t explain what happened because that story is even crazier.

Dark Sun scares the crap out of me, and I mean that in a good way. Her passive aggressive way of guilt tripping her for Jin’s death, only to say that she doesn’t blame her and then asking how Jack is moments later was absolutely brilliant stuff. Her tone of voice and speaking pattern, as well as her facial expressions, were absolutely perfect.

Oh, and you just KNEW the hooded chick was going to be the old woman from “Flashes Before Your Eyes.” And what are the chances that she’s Daniel’s mom too?

There was one thing I found interesting, though, and it aired during the pre-show recap. One of the creators stated that the island is, for some reason, invisible to the outside world, and that it can’t be viewed if somebody flies over it. Has this been established? I mean, there’s obviously some crazy stuff going on with that place, but I don’t recall this tidbit ever being hinted at. When Jack, Sawyer, and Kate were being held captive by The Others on another island, the Lost island was still visible. And Dharma (or whoever) was able to drop that food onto the island. Plus the freighter folk were able to parachute there and land their helicopter numerous times.

There was one thing that sucked about the Lost premiere, I have to admit. And that was being forced to sit through several Grey’s Anatomy commercials. Goodness gracious that was rough.

That’s it for me this week. Check my next Lost column next week, just before the new episode. Be sure to send me your thoughts, predictions, and theories (again, NO SPOILERS!) so that I can include them in the next edition.


Kyle Litke said...

Just speculating here, but maybe the invisible stuff only applies if you don't go on that "special course" that has to be calculated? So the freighter people and the Dharma groups followed the course and thus can see the island, but had they just flown over it they wouldn't have seen anything? I'm guessing but that may be it. And perhaps the second island is considered "part" of the first island.

What confuses me is if the island moved in space as well as time (which I think we were led to believe, and you'd think would have to be the case if the island just totally disappeared from view...unless a full island is appearing on top of the same island in the past...), then what's with stuff like Eko's brother still crashing? And if it's only moving through time the hell does that work? I'm thoroughly confused but in that good, Lost way.

Matt Basilo said...

Thanks for commenting, Kyle.

I'm not sure it's particularly clear if the island is moving in time AND space, but I assume that it is. You bring up the fact that the Nigerian plane still crashed, but who's to say that the island wasn't at a different location when that happened? Perhaps all of these "jumps" are taking place at various periods of time in which the island moved?

Then again, if it is JUST moving through time, I think an argument can be made that the island vanished because it's "stuck in time" and that it won't become visible again until the time vortex (or whatever you want to call it) resolves itself.

What I find more interesting, however, is the people who were impacted by this. Why were Oceanic survivors like Sawyer, Locke, Bernard, and Rose impacted, but not the tailies that were with The Others? And why was Juliet -- technically an Other -- impacted, but not the Others (I'm excluding Alpert here)? For that matter, the freighter folk were impacted -- one might assume because of their close proximity to the Oceanic survivors -- but not The Others, who were in a similar scenario.

Kyle Litke said...

Do we know if the Others were impacted though? The only ones I definitely remember seeing are Alpert (who, let's not even get started there cause who knows what his story is at this point) and Ethan, who is dead in the present and thus wouldn't be effected. Did we see anyone else who was on the island in the "present" that could have been effected?

As far as the Nigerian plane, I guess my point was, if the island is located in one spot, and the plane crashes because it flies over it, and the island then goes back in time AND moves to a different spot, shouldn't the plane have been on a different course?

On the other hand I guess you could make the case that the island is in a different spot in the present day but in the "past" it was still in the original spot...maybe.

I think the time vortex idea is an interesting one...that could very well be it. Although Daniel at least seemed to think that he could calculate the position of the island which would imply he thinks it's "settled" in one spot at the moment. I think.

Kyle Litke said...

Incidently I rewatched the first episode of this season and it completely slipped my mind that Locke was with the Others when the time thing happened, so now I understand what you meant, and that is somewhat odd.