Friday, February 13, 2009

2/13/09 - Lost: Season 5, Episodes 4-5

Thoughts on Episodes 4 and 5:

  1. Usually Lost does a really good job of integrating its new characters (Nikki & Paulo excepted), but I feel like Charlotte was never really a compelling part of the ensemble, which makes her death feel a little weightless. Which is a shame, because the other three members of the science team definitely feel like they've made their place in the ensemble. Faraday stands at the middle of this season's time travel madness and, as portrayed by Jeremy Davies, is a fantastic portrait of the twitchy meddler in Things That Maybe We Shouldn't Be Meddling With. Miles is solid comic relief, and really having him and Sawyer in the same crew is a treat. Like Hurley, he's an audience stand-in, reacting to things with the same nonplussed slacker disdain that he might react with if he were watching the events of the show instead of participating in them. Charlotte's dominant trait, though, was possessing scary-intense blue eyes. We never really got a sense of her as a character, so her death doesn't hit very hard, except for the fact that it clearly unnerves Faraday; especially in the suggestion that he tried to prevent it.
  2. The time travel paradoxes are opening some Pandora's boxes that are straining the narrative logic - namely, there don't seem to a set of rules as to whether or not you can a)change the past b)interact with past events/your past self without causing problems or b) have people from the past remember you. As awesome as it was to see Jin witness the dark days of Rousseau's crew's arrival, is raises the logical question of: why the hell didn't Rousseau say something about it when she met the castaways?? Surely she would remember that having happened since, after all, Jin was the one that stopped her from going into the scary cave where the smoke monster lives. That strains the suspension of disbelief that's so necessary for Lost, which already operates on a thin margin of error on that front due to all of the mystic occurences flying around.
  3. It's unclear as to why the O6 have to return to the island, aside from taking Ben and Eloise Hawking's word for it. This makes the action in LA seem really arbitrary. Of course they are going to make their way back to the island - the obstacles are just ways to extend the show, it seems. The LA stuff is not very compelling, except for the ways that it shows Ben operating improvisationally instead of with advance planning (the strain shows - he's never lost his cool in front of Jack before).
  4. In contrast, the action on the sland is extremely compelling. One thing that Lost has done very well is to make the island a major character on the show - the queasiness and sense of everpresent danger is very much alive and well on the island, from the monster's terrifying arm rip near the temple to the way that Rousseau's man seems to lose his mind. Not to mention all of the rainstorms and time flashes - the island remains the most interesting character on the show.
  5. Jack and Kate have worn out their welcome several times over. Kate as a mother is much less interesting than Kate as a tomboy criminal. Jack is infuriating - for all the time we've spent with him, he's grown very little - he never considers things rationally and is a ridiculous control freak. Kate spends way too much time biting her lip. Jin and Sun, Desmond and Penny, and at this point Sawyer and Juliet are all much interesting romantic (or potentially romantic) pairings. I wouldn't mind if Jack and Kate just got written off the show into some happy domestic life in LA so that we could spend more time with the more interesting characters.
  6. Terry O'Quinn is fantastic as Locke. One thing the writers do really well with Locke is show that depending on who his interactions are with, he can seem serene and self-confident or scared and uncertain. With the other Oceanic survivors he is an expert manipulator - with Richard, Ben, and now Jacob, he is consumed with fear and indecision. His self-possession is a mix of genuine confidence and bravado. O'Quinn does a great job of showing Locke dropping the mask of bravado once he falls down the well and encounters Jacob and reveals he doesn't know what the hell he's doing.
  7. I think it was a mistake to kill off Rousseau and Alex. Rousseau's story is fascinating, and her time on the island had the potentail to open up a lot of context. And Alex was such a major part of the Others/Castaways conflict that having her gunned down just seemed short-sighted on the part of the writers.
  8. Jin and Sawyer's reunion was fantastic - the core ensemble is really strongly drawn and has such a history together.