The Constant just might have been the best episode Lost has ever done. At the very least, it’s pretty damn close. So, there was no real way that, this week’s episode, The Other Woman, could have avoided being a little disappointing.
It doesn’t help that, after a season that’s felt so new and refreshing, this episode was very much a detour back to its old formula. Most obviously, it is the only episode this season to follow the typical “one character has a flashback” format. We’ve had flash-forwards, group flashbacks and however the hell you want to classify Desmond’s Slaughterhouse-Five-style time traveling in The Constant. This is. . . a Juliet episode, plain and simple. There’s nothing inherently wrong with that. I like Juliet. But aside from a cute tease at the beginning that the episode might actually be a flash-forward, it’s pretty typical pre-Through the Looking Glass Lost.
Indeed, we find the characters going back to their old tricks of hiding information from each other even when it might be useful to let each other know.
Ben, it seems, is the only one willing to give out information, letting Locke know about Charles Widmore’s search for the island and the identity of the freighter mole in exchange for freedom. Now, a lot of Ben and Locke’s interactions have consisted of Ben slowly working away Locke’s confidence. Thus, it’s strange to see Ben seemingly acting so open and even stranger to see Locke act so pliant. After about a season-and-a-half of Ben goading Locke into making a mistake, they finally approach something resembling fair discourse. And yet, it emphasizes just how much of the action is driven by the characters acting needlessly mysterious. Ben acknowledges that Widmore and the mole (can we just come out and say it’s Michael yet?) were his last bargaining chips, but he never really explains why he didn’t see the need to play them earlier.
However, the most egregious case of Lost’s bad habits showing up occurred in Juliet’s storyline. As Todd pointed out two weeks ago, the show has had a problem writing its female characters. However, Juliet had proven to be the exception. In a show that’s all about mystery and characters keeping their motives close to their chests, Juliet managed to be especially intriguing. The writers are great at writings scenes that pay off with Elizabeth Mitchell’s lopsided smirk. So, imagine my frustrations when this episode essentially defines Juliet, the most interesting female character on the show, by her relationships with two of the male characters!
Now, I know Stranger in a
Meanwhile, another twist is added to the Sawyer/Kate/Jack/Juliet love quadrangle. Juliet explains that she’s afraid of what Ben will do to Jack because of how he feels for him and Jack kisses her. I have to admit, I was loving that scene until I realized that Kate had indeed followed
On the upside, the freighters have essentially revealed themselves as (mostly) good guys. We’ve also heard our first word this season from the rest of the Others. I had largely been distracted by larger questions like who the Oceanic Six are and what’s up with Faraday’s crazy experiments, but part of me had been curious why the Others hadn’t done anything since half of them wandered off to “the