Wednesday, March 3, 2010

KATE, SEPARATED FROM THE GROUP AGAIN, WISHES SHE HAD NOT SCOFFED AT THE IDEA OF A LINE BUDDY: I suppose that if you're responsible for a six-year epic sci-fi mystery with an ever-proliferating ensemble cast, you'll eventually get tired of writing for them. So you kill them with nosebleeds, with time-confused mom-on-son murder, with live burial, with Keamycide. Those that have tenure get a better deal, though -- a character reboot. Broken, flailing Locke becomes the island Macbeth. Dull, maternal Claire becomes crazy Nouveausseau. When Sayid protested, early in this episode, that he is a good person, I mentally fast-forwarded through an entire episode of Sayid redemption, donned flannel pajamas, drank some warm milk, and fell asleep to a thought balloon of fluffy lambs jumping over a sawn log. Surprise -- the show I watched was better than the one I imagined, not just because of the plot twist, but because of the quiet, expert delivery.

But: is an Iraqi accent, or a pan-Arab one, the most difficult to fake? This episode had all three Jarrahs sounding like The Max Fischer Players Present: Lawrence of Araby.

On another note, I was trying to figure out why I think Hiro Sanada is so effective as Dogen. I think it's because he is done up so much like Toshiro Mifune in Seven Samurai, with the topknotish ponytail and the beard and the raggedy clothes, that he makes me instantly melancholy.


  1. Jennifer J.2:59 AM

    "instantly melancholy"...perfect.

  2. Emily6:52 AM

    At the end of the episode, when the merry band was leaving & NotLocke shot Kate that great look, I thought, We've been here before. There is the group that goes with Locke & the group that goes with Jack & the goal is to get off the island. And then I suddenly wished I was wrong because that seemed way too easy, that ending would be so Season One. Otherwise, interesting episode. Great first few minutes.

  3. Isaac, I'm curious what you are citing as the plot twist.  To me, Jin's appearance seemed forced.  There's something tremendously unsatisfying to me about the sideways universe, partly because we don't know how (or whether) it really matters, and partly because the twists/thrills/unexpected appearances are too cheap.  Nice to see Keamy, but it's clear that if the actor wasn't available to play the role it could just as easily have been anyone else.  

    To the extent the plot twist is Kate's apparent choice, I'm withholding judgment on that.  Part of me thinks Kate is faking it.  

  4. Carmichael Harold9:26 AM

    Russ,  I thought the plot twist was Sayid not being redeemed, but rather opting to kill two people to aid Fake Locke in mass murder at the temple.   I'm not sure Kate is faking anything, but rather kind of confused and caught up.  After all, her sole stated purpose on the Island is to rescue Claire, but Claire seems to have gone nuts and is following around what is apparently a very bad thing in a Locke suit.

    By the way, though I generally agree with your point re Keamy, it's possible he's there b/c he's working for Widmore (as he and bald Omar were in the normal timeline), as I'd think that whatever force has nabbed Jin after he got off a plane is probably greater than a small-time loan shark.

  5. isaac_spaceman9:36 AM

    CH - right.  And it was well played, because instead of going gung-ho, Sayid sighed, like the realization of who he actually is was an irreversible defeat.

  6. Emily9:56 AM

    Sayid had the same response in sideways time, as well, when he told Keamy that he couldn't forget it. He wants to be good, but what he's good at is killing people. I don't think Kate made a choice any more than Jin did, I think they are both just trying to stay alive at this point.

  7. Fair enough re: Keamy, but if he hadn't been there and it had been some other flunkie who ultimately worked for Widmore, nobody would have noticed.  Ditto Rose at the employment agency (if that's supposed to show us her resolution in the sideways universe, it didn't do much for me), Frogurt, etc. etc.  They're nice a-ha moments, but they don't have much deeper meaning. 

    To be clear, that's not to say the sideways universe is itself cheap or meaningless -- I just can't give it too much weight until we know more.  As Alan has said, it's sort of like an extended dream sequence right now.  

    As for Sayid, I guess I didn't take it as a twist, because I thought the producers signaled pretty strongly that he was, indeed, evil (or whatever) in that conversation between Dogen and Jack.  There are lots of unreliable inter-party narrators on Lost, but they tend to use the musical cues to tell you when those characters are being unreliable and when they're not.  But I can see why it might be viewed as a twist.

  8. One other random comment -- I'm not too enthralled by the let's-run-around-the-Island-like-it's-season-one stuff either.  As Hurley said last week, it's old school, but that doesn't mean it's good.  Season One was amazingly strong in telling us who the characters were, but we've got a mythology to unravel and character-based stories to tell, and these treks through the jungle, fist-fights, etc. haven't moved the plot along OR told immensely interesting stories.  I think this week was an improvement, but I just wish we were someplace else in the narrative arc now that we're nearly 1/3 through the season.  

  9. Watchman10:25 AM

    When Hurley said last week about the skeltons in the cave "I forgot those were here" I yelled at the TV "So did the writers!"  Clearly this episode was written by Dorrie before she helped find Nemo and got at least some of her memory back.  In this final season the pattern is continuing--a long stretch of things we were interested in being dropped for things we don't care about.  When last we saw these characters:

    Sawyer was hanging out with Locke-B in a cave on the beach with a broken rope ladder
    Jin was hanging out with Claire in the crazy tent
    Richard Alpert was rushing for the temple in a panic

    Where did these people go? 

    With ten episodes left, I've pretty much given up hope on getting any meaningful answers to earlier questions.  They're raising too many new questions to be able to answer, let alone get to the old ones.  I fear what we will end up with for answers is a five-ten minute expositon from or to a minor character (Miles perhaps?) that will try to cram in as much explanation as they can ret-con. 

    The show's name should be changed to Isaac's wonderful summation--"We Will Not Speak of This Again"

  10. calliekl10:37 AM

    Wait, Omar was in the other timeline? I have no memory of this! Did we know then that he was Sayid's brother?

  11. calliekl10:40 AM

    From CH- "<span> I'm not sure Kate is faking anything, but rather kind of confused and caught up."</span>

    This is Kate AT ALL TIMES.

  12. Duvall11:10 AM

    Omer = Sayid's brother, who I don't think we've seen except a kid in a flashback.
    Omar = Keamy's sidekick in both timelines.

  13. Andrew11:25 AM

    As Watchman pointed out, I think what I'm finding so odd with this season is the pacing of the various threads on the island. Two episodes ago in The Substitute, we followed Sawyer and Smokey climbing down Jacob's ladder to retreive a Horcrux (or something) and learning the candidate-Numbers connection, but we haven't seen Sawyer since (except for a brief appearance as part of Smokey's entourage). Last week, we followed Hurley and Jack wandering old-school through the jungle to the Lighthouse, but didn't see them at all this week. The show isn't so much juggling these disparate plot threads, but holding them and then throwing them up in the air, letting them fall to the ground, and then picking them up again. 

    At this point, it's frustrating not to understand more about the mirror universe. We know that despite some major differences (e.g. Jack has a son, Locke has a good relatinoship with Helen and his father), the characters are largely the same-- Rose still has cancer, Jack still had a difficult relationship with his father, Claire is still having a baby, Kate is still a fugitive, Locke still got rejected from his walkabout, Keamy still makes a mean plate of eggs.

    But what's the relationship between the mirror universe and the original one? My theory is that despite the differences, the characters are going to largely end up in similar relationships and doind similar actions, because their characters are the same whether they were brought to the island or not. It's not a matter of having a destiny or being played as puppets by Jacob, but that these people use their free will in ways directed by their personalities that bring them to similar places. I worry that if this in fact the relationship between the island and alternate timelines, it will be patently unsatisfying; in the original timeline, we had about 100 hours of story to get the characters to where they were by the end of The Incident, and we're only going to see a few hours of the alternate timeline by the end of the series. 

  14. Writers write what they know.  The Lost PTB know how to write spooky mystery, but have never shown an ability to write convincing resolutions, satisfying endings, or meaningful character beats.  You are right to give up hope.  To expect them to change at this date is folly.  For them to wrap up the questions that are constantly being raised but not answered is like expecting Joss Whedon to resolve an arc without a physical confrontation between unambiguously good and evil characters.  

    (FTR I think the "resolution" will be characters choosing which timeline to be in.)  

  15. Finally got to watch the episode last night, so I'm a bit behind, but if anyone is still reading, this is my main question: are we sure that the Sayid at the end of the episode is an evil, infected Sayid (ala Claire), or do we think it's the same Sayid we've always known, making a decision based on what serves his wants and needs best? (Following Smokey because he promises him Nadia while following Dogen, who tortured and tried to kill him, makes no sense.)