Thursday, April 2, 2009

A Case(s) of the.... Lost, Heroes, 24

First, the reviews for your Monday night line-up:

A Case of the.... Heroes -Episode 3-21:

A Case of the.... 24 - Episode 7-16:

I apologize for the lack of Lost: Revisited this week (and the delay with this column, for that matter), but I’ve just been absolutely swamped with work and personal responsibilities, and since it was a light week as far as reader feedback goes, I thought I’d give myself a slight break. It shouldn’t happen again!

One thing I did want to mention, though, is how much I appreciate the fact that Jack has stepped down and allowed Sawyer to take the lead. Yet, despite his bravado, Sawyer’s leadership skills really aren’t holding up once put to the test. Jack wasn’t always democratic when it came to making major decisions, but more often than not his decision ended up being the right one. Had Sawyer forced Sayid to listen to him, a lot of drama, tension, and potential death would have been avoided. To paraphrase a commonly used phrase, sometimes you need to be a boss and not a friend. I think Jack understands this better than Sawyer.

Click the "Read More" link for the full column.

So do you even need to ask what the highlight of this past episode was? It was – by a large margin, by the way – the time travel conversation between Hurley and Miles (welcome back, ghost whispering buddy). Every now and again the writers basically have a character provide a tutorial where they explain something exceptionally complex. And while they usually disguise it in an entertaining and well written way, it’s still pretty obvious that they’re simply attempting to spell something out for the fans.

This certainly falls into that category, but both of them were so laugh-out-loud funny that you could barely notice the fourth wall being removed. Hurley asked pretty much every single question every fan has been wondering, and Miles answered in a pretty straight forward way (although, no mention of Daniel?) So there you have it: Everything that is happening has ALWAYS happened. The cast just didn’t experience their timeline in a straight line, so to speak. They also laid a few fun rules and tidbits: Basically, characters like young Ben, who is living in the “past,” despite being in the present, cannot die, because he’s alive in the future. Yet characters like Hurley, Miles, and the rest of the Oceanic survivors CAN die, because they’re living in the present – even though they’re really in the past. Fun conversation.

Since I’m rooting rather adamantly for Jack ending up with Kate and Sawyer staying with Juliet, much of this episode walked along the edge of a very thin line, as it was pretty Sawyer/Kate heavy. Things got a little too close to the edge at times – like even suggesting that Kate adopted Aaron because she was so heartbroken over Sawyer (and yes, I do recognize that Cassidy was actually referring to herself) – but overall I thought it was effective. And in a lot of ways, it did sorta feel like they were providing us with a resolution to the whole Sawyer/Kate ordeal, while bringing my two dream couples closer together (I especially loved how Sawyer told Kate he was helping her FOR Juliet). I’m not so naive that I believe that this was their “closure” episode, but I do believe it could play as the first step towards leading to that point.

While much briefer, I thought the one scene between Juliet and Jack was phenomenal. So much is being made of how Kate returning messes up Sawyer’s emotions that Juliet’s confusion gets overlooked. She undeniably had feelings for Jack before he left, but even further, one must wonder where he would be if not for Jack. She’d probably be miserable with the Others, perhaps even dead. She certainly wouldn’t have met Sawyer. Jack put his faith in her when nobody else would, and he gave her another chance at living a free, if imperfect, life. You can imagine how emotionally distressing his return must be for her. And how could you not laugh at Hurley asking Juliet if Jack is “in trouble.”

By the way, does anybody else find it somewhat odd that Dharma clearly recognizes that Juliet is a doctor, yet they still had her working mechanic duty just a few days ago?

The one Jack/Kate scene was pretty good as well. It was a bit interesting seeing him on that side of this moral dilemma. Is it okay to let a child die, knowing full well what terrible things, including murder, he’ll commit later on in life? Directly or not, a lot of their fallen friends would still be alive if not for Ben’s actions. And, as Jack brought up, perhaps he’s not supposed to intervene. When it’s convenient, Sawyer and his crew will go on and on about how they’re not supposed to alter the timeline (or that they simply can’t). Yet when it benefits them in some way, or is arguably for the greater good, they’re all for interfering. And if they’re right about time being an absolute thing, and that no matter what they do, what has always happened will always happen, then Jack helping is a moot point. As he said, he’s already saved Ben once. He’s simply not willing to do it again.

That being said, Jack certainly seems like a changed man. Actually, he’s almost Locke-esque with his general mentality. In his conversation with Juliet, he revealed that “the island” wanted him back, but that he doesn’t even know his purpose yet (but, apparently, the island does). And when Sawyer was attempting to convince him to help Ben, Jack made the point that perhaps the island is trying to right some sort of wrong. The only other character – for the most part – that refers to the island as an entity in and of itself is Locke.

And even though I’m rooting for them to end up together, I did love Jack’s line to Kate about how she didn’t like the old Jack, either. And you know what? For that matter, she didn’t particularly like the old Sawyer. The girl is simply twisted. She wants the one she can’t have, and to cope she settles for the other.

Speaking of Kate, this episode answered a lot of questions regarding the missing time between yelling at Ben and ending up in Jack’s bed. As we expected, she simply gave Aaron up (to his maternal grandmother). And the reason for her coming back (thankfully) wasn’t for Sawyer, but to find Claire. But if that’s the case – and I do believe it is – does anybody find it odd that she hasn’t so much as asked about her? I understand that they have to be incognito about knowing each other, but she can’t slip in a simple question here or there? Like, “Hey, did you happen to see Claire at all over the past three years?” For that matter, I’m a bit surprised that Locke didn’t use Claire as a motivator to get Kate to return to the island, upon discovering that she is raising Aaron as her own. After all, hadn’t Locke seen Claire (alive, as far as he knew) in the cabin like a week earlier?

I’ll chalk it up to her maternal instinct kicking over the past few years, but I was really surprised to see how compassionate Kate was towards young Ben. I completely understand her mentality – I mean, I think it’d be tough for anybody to watch a child die while he’s still innocent, no matter who he becomes as a man. Yet Ben was particularly cruel to her during their Oceanic Six days. He threatened to take Aaron away from her simply to coerce her into returning to the island. Perhaps even more surprising to me was how kind she was to Ben’s father. It’s possible that she doesn’t know the sordid details of their relationship (although Roger did hint at it), but considering her own abusive father past, I didn’t think she’d be so warm towards him.

What I find interesting is that, in the end, Jack was ultimately right. The fact that he DIDN’T intervene pretty much determined the “rightful” path for Ben. Had Jack helped, it’s likely that Kate and Sawyer never would have needed to ask the Others for their assistance. With that, Ben wouldn’t have lost his innocence. And further, Ben’s father might have changed his way after almost losing his son and having a few heart-to-hearts with Kate. This may have dramatically altered the grown up version of Ben.

We also came to understand how Ben became such a seemingly dastardly person. Alpert reluctantly took him into the Temple (THAT place again) to save his life. With that, he lost his innocence, and was forever an Other. I find it interesting that one of the Others warned Alpert about telling Ellie, and that Charles (Widmore) would be upset. Why would he have to tell Ellie (and not Widmore, who supposedly was once the leader)? Even more interesting was Alpert’s response that he doesn’t answer to them. Yet he did seem to answer to Ben when he becomes the tribe’s leader.

Oh, and I think Alpert’s comment to Kate, when he asked who she was, was a subtle indicator to the audience that this IS Alpert from the 1970’s, and not some all-knowing guy from the future.

Some talking points for next week’s Revisited column (and yes, there will be one):

Who do you think is the better leader, Jack or Sawyer?

What do you think happened to Ben inside the Temple? Do you think the apparent resident Smoke Monster played a role (Ben is arguably the only person who could summon Smokey D. on command)?

What role did Ellie (assumedly Eloise) play in the Others?

Do you agree with Jack’s decision not to save Ben? Or Kate’s decision to actively intervene?

What happened to Daniel? One must assume he simply lost it after Charlotte died, but when he appeared in the past in this season’s premiere (when the donkey wheel was discovered), he seemed relatively mentally intact (on a related note, isn’t it ironic that this guy went from the season’s MVP to MIA in a matter of a single episode?)

As always, send me an e-mail or comment on the blog.

1 comment:

The Blog of Steel(e) said...

This is pure speculation, but I'm thinking that maybe Richard is Faraday's father, based on how the bearded Other asked him if he should tell Ellie first. Like you said, if Widmore's in charge, why should Ellie matter? Maybe her and Richard were "together," and created little Daniel. Also, I read somewhere else, EW, I think, a theory that the bearded Other who approached Kate and Sawyer with the guns could be young Tom Friendly, which would be pretty awesome.