Thursday, April 05, 2007

"You, sir Hugo, are rotund.": Lost

So, hey, a monster-licious hour. Nothing wrong with that!

Lost seems to be wrapping up The Others' storyline, even if it seems to be taking its own sweet time doing so. Fortunately, the show has sent one of the exactly two fascinating Others back to the beach with Jack and company to divulge information to Sayid (seemingly the only Lostie eager to get to the bottom of the mysteries of the island). Yes, Juliet now appears to live on the beach, after the Others pulled out to go off. . .somewhere (word is we won't know for weeks and weeks, which is frustrating, since they have Locke and Ben Linus with them). In the meantime, we get to wonder if the Others have turned Jack or Sayid, and we get to wonder who, exactly, Juliet is playing for. Lost always does paranoia well, and if we're going to spend much of the season wondering if one of these three is going to snap and pull a Michael, that'll be a fascinating way to close out the home stretch of year three.

Most of the hour was devoted to Kate and Juliet alone in the jungle of doom, handcuffed together and getting in catfights. There's a possibly apocryphal story about how when Charlie's Angels was at the height of its popularity, an episode advertised in TV Guide featuring the Angels handcuffed together and wandering through a swamp brought in the show's biggest ratings to date. And when they aired a rerun with the same promotional campaign, the episode matched the first run. I don't know if this was Lost's attempt at pulling in that audience (the show certainly promoted the wet T-shirt catfight heavily), but the scenes with the monster stalking the two women had some tension to them, particularly when we found out that the Others' sound fences stop Ol' Smokey. It was a bit tiring to find out that Juliet had been playing Kate all along (since I'm tired of the show's characters pulling con games on each other), but it was a nice touch to find that the Others really had abandoned her.

Kate's flashback, which featured Joanie Stubbs as Sawyer's con-lady love, now hanging out with Kate and attempting to get her an audience with her mom, was nothing new, but it was also mercifully brief. If the flashbacks must stay, I'd rather they do it this way -- with fleeting glimpses of a pre-island life. While Evangeline Lilly's acting still can't match, say, Elizabeth Mitchell's, she's really gotten better over the course of the series, to the point where her emotional investment in her flashback stories seems directly disproportionate to how interesting they are. I can only hope that Kim Dickens and Nathan Fillion will both appear in one of her flashbacks -- it could be the most boring flashback ever, and I'd probably love it anyway, just to see Joanie Stubbs and Captain Mal Reynolds comparing notes.

Meanwhile, the beach B-story continued to follow the wacky pairing of Sawyer and Hurley and Hurley's weird attempts to get Sawyer to step up and be a leader. This was typical Lost "I'm going to deceive this person to get them to do what I want" hullabaloo, but the actors played it well, and Sawyer's growing social conscience over the course of the hour was well-done, as was his realization that people really do look to him for leadership. The growth of his character this season has been one of the few impeccable things from this year, and I look forward to seeing him continue down this path.

Random interesting tidbit: The Others don't know how to control Smokey? Hmmmmm. . .

Next week's episode looks pretty answer-licious (isn't it the Juliet flashback?). I know that the Lost fan community is hard on the show (and it deserves some of the whipping it gets), but it's been a pretty consistently entertaining action-adventure hour this season. You can beg to differ with me on that (and I'm sure many of you do), but I still find its blend of frights and thrills to be engaging, and I still think it plays the serial game as well as anybody on television.

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