Thursday, March 27, 2008

"No more secrets." - Lost

When Locke says the above line, it’s sort of a joke, isn’t it? Secrets are Lost’s bread-and-butter. Thus, even the proposal that the castaways will start being completely open with each other is a bit on the absurd side. Locke himself doesn’t get very far, as Sawyer points out that he neglected to mention that Miles is trying to bribe Ben in exchange for his silence. Locke explains it away by claiming that because Ben has no access to money on the Island, the bribe is irrelevant, but we’ll see just how long they can go before keeping essential information from each other.

Now, let’s move on to the big reveal of Meet Kevin Johnson. No, I’m not talking about Michael’s flashback, how he did indeed manage to make it to the mainland with Walt, only for Walt to hate him when Michael tells him that he killed Ana-Lucia and Libby in order to do so. Or even that he was placed on the freighter by Ben to eventually kill everybody (except the “innocents”) on the boat. No, I’m talking about the dearly departed Tom being gay! I guess that it’s been hinted at; he told Kate “you’re not my type” and seemed to be trying real hard to cozy up to Jack, making small talk and playing football with him. However, I’m still not sure what the point in that little scene was. Perhaps the writers realized that for all their multi-culturalism, they did not have a homosexual character and wanted to rectify the, even if it was a villainous, tertiary character. Or maybe it’s a way to imply that one’s sexuality isn’t necessarily a defining characteristic, anymore than, say, Miles being Asian-American is. By the way, has anybody else noticed that Miles’s last name is Straume? As somebody whose heritage is primarily Korean and Hawaiian but has the last name McCluer, I can appreciate that.

But I digress. On to the episode at hand.

This episode was unique in that its flashback was continuous. Other episodes had done this before, such as The Other 48 Days, which was entirely a flashback, and Flashes Before Your Eyes, where Desmond suddenly found himself in the past. But this was a conventional flashback, just told continuously, as opposed to parsed out throughout the episode. It made sense in context; Sayid forces Michael to talk, and he does, giving us the flashback. I half expected Michael to give voice-over, complete with an “It all started when. . .” Having said that, it wasn’t a horrific flashback. After all, it was consoling to know that Michael has spent his entire time since murdering two people wracked with guilt over it.

That isn’t to say that some of it was absurd. It was full of all these little moments that were entirely ridiculous, like when Michael pulls Tom’s gun to his head or when he throws his cell phone into the water (nobody else noticed that?). The whole thing with the bomb might have been too much; it was another in a long series of instances on the show where somebody would go through an insane amount of effort, only to make a minor point. The notion that Ben would risk having Michael exposed by trying to plant and activate this bomb only for it not to go off harkened to Ben pretending to implant a killer pacemaker in Sawyer’s chest.

It was sort of sad to see Michael bare his soul and admit how much of a broken man he was, only for Sayid to wrench him in a hammerlock and take him to Captain Gault. I can only assume that Sayid plans on using him as a bargaining chip to earn rescue, but if you know how the average Sayid plan goes, this will probably only make things worse.

Now, as for the episode’s finale. . . I don’t know if Karl and Rousseau are, indeed, dead (well, Blake Bashoff is off to star in Spring Awakening, so he’s probably dead). I’m not too attached to either character to get my hopes up, though this is sort of a bathetic way to get rid of Rousseau. Honestly, I sort of wish that the hiatus had come after Ji Yeon (and not just because I didn’t really have time to write this article next week), simply because it would have been a more satisfying, titillating conclusion for us to ponder until new episodes crop up again. I had harped about the Others essentially being written out of the show and it looks like they’re set to return, but this wasn’t quite big enough of a bang for them to make their reappearance.

Is it a set-up for something more interesting? Will people really care about the Others now that we’re so entrenched in both the inevitable rescue of Jack, Kate, Hurley, Sayid, Sun and Aaron as well as the intrigue involving the freighter folk? I don’t have the answers, but if you do, feel free to let me know in the comments section.


legion said...

You know what I just realized? If this were the prior seasons of Lost, the introduction of Michael would have been split into at least two episodes.
* The first would be him being torn up with guilt, telling Walt, and the fallout of him being all depressed and suicidy. Ending on the reveal of Tom-off-island
* The second would have been Tom meeting him at the hotel room, and the flashbacking to his journey to get on the boat, and everything that happened there, ending with the radio and sabotage and whatnot

I mean, they did exactly the same kind of stuff with Juliet in season three, introducing her ultra-slowly. I think the reduced episodes and has really helped tighten the story telling.

That said, I thought it was a good episode. I especially like Tom's disgusted look at Michael when he realized Michael had told Walt what he did. It's nice to know the writers haven't forgotten that Michael is deeply deeply flawed. Another great moment was Ben telling Michael "we didn't tell you to kill Libby & Ana-Lucia". Classic manipulative benry and Michael just realizing his culpability.

One thing I was confused about: At the beginning of the episode when Sayid says "why are you here", Michael says something like "to die". By the end of the episode, we know that while Michael thought that when he arrived at the boat, by the time he meets Sayid he now knows that Ben has bigger plans for him. Does michael know something else not yet revealed to the viewers? Or sloppy writing?

Jennifer said...

I would guess either (a) sloppy writing, or (b) as soon as Michael does what he's told like a good boy, The Island will allow him to die. (Given the coffin thing, this seems likely.)

Moses McCluer said...

I assumed that he still assumes that killing the freighters amounts to a suicide mission. After all, I doubt that Ben expects him to go around bumping people off one by one like in a slasher film.