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Friday, October 13, 2006

Captives ("Lost" Recap)

Episode: "The Glass Ballerina"
Flashback character(s): Sun & Jin
Original Airdate: 10.11.06

LAST TIME ON ‘LOST’: Okay, here’s the rub: last week’s episode was fucking great but it could have been fucking greater. Pictures on the official “Lost” website (which were then duplicated across the internet before being unceremoniously taken down by ABC) showed a little girl in Jack’s holding cell. It was very creepy and unsettling and would have added a nice bonus punch of 'fucking crazy' to the episode. Supposedly this girl figured into an entire subplot of the episode that had to be exorcized (the show ran 20 minutes long and the network opted not to air it as a 90 minute special because it would interfere with their high profile “Nine” premiere). This has become another “Lost” mystery within the fan community; I for one have no idea how she would have factored in, but I’m damn curious (my only idea is that she was the one patient who Jack let down - and died). Here’s hoping she’ll pop up soon (check out the Flight 815 blog for the picture).

“The Glass Ballerina” was the name of this week’s episode, and I’d argue that it was just as compelling (if not more so) than last week’s stunning season premiere. Again, it was the combination of the emotional undercurrents and weird-ass over-currents that had me enthralled. Let’s get down to the analysis, shall we?

The episode was all about lies. Sun lies to Jin, Sun’s father lies to Jin, Jin lies to Sun, Sayid lies to Sun… There was a whole bunch of lyin’ going on. And untangling those lies, and the motivations behind them, was pretty damn captivating. All the mythological mumbo jumbo kind of gets in the way of acknowledging how complex and interesting these characters are – they are tortured, conflicted souls that wound up in a place where they could start anew, if only they could escape the demons that hounded them in their everyday lives.

Re: The Flashbacks: I loved the flashbacks this week because they really answered some questions. Well, one huge question, really. Who is the father of Sun’s child? Answer: Not Jin. And it’s not Dharma Island’s magical healing magnetism, either. It’s a seductive bald guy who may be a key figure in the show’s central mystery (more on that in a minute). The only problem with tonight’s flashbacks is (I’ll admit it), I’m getting slightly confused on the whole timeline. In the very first ‘Sun & Jin’ episode, we saw Jin up to his elbows in blood. In a later episode they explained it (although I can’t remember it now). Certainly in this episode he got bloody but not THAT bloody, which caused me to remark (on my notes): “Did Jin become comfortable with ‘taking care of business’ after this happened?” It’s a good question, too. Was this horrible event what set him on the path to becoming Jin’s father’s number one muscle man? The flashbacks were short, packed a punch and gave us information. The two flashbacks so far haven’t been caught up in the increasingly frustrating interconnectivity of the characters, instead letting a truer tale be told. We are more invested in the characters because we aren’t looking at who’s going to traipse by the window like a cartoon character (it's Locke's cousin's nephew in law!). It’s nice. Really, really nice.

Let me gush momentarily about two new members to the “Lost” family: writer “Ultimate” Drew Goddard, who penned some of “Buffy” and “Angel’s” most ingenious episodes on their respective final seasons and Michael Bowen, character actor extraordinaire (he played two great characters in the Tarantinoverse, most notably Buck, who came here to fuck, from “Kill Bill Vol. 1”), who played the guy who shocked the shit out of Sawyer and uttered the episode’s best line (“Hey! Shut up!”)

So, what did we learn about the Others this week? Well, they were doing some kind of agricultural such-and-such but it seemed so rudimentary (and asinine) that one cannot begin to understand what the fuck they’re trying to accomplish. (Moving rocks? Huh?) Juliet seems to be a power player in the Others community, tending to captive Jack and overseeing the Bizarro Rock Removal Campaign. (There was that great moment at the start of the show between Juliet and Ben when Ben said “You never brought me soup.” Is that to imply that he was once a captive, or that he was once in a relationship with Juliet? I’m going with the latter.) The whole chaingang enterprise did give a few choice nuggets: Sawyer checking out Kate’s ass, the possibly-“Arrested Development” inspired exchange between Bowen & Sawyer (“Shot?” “Shocked!”) and of course the appearance of Juliet, Rousseu’s daughter (last seen in the creepy Claire episode last season).

Alex asks about Carl, the guy across the zoo from Sawyer in last week’s episode. She says something like “not even supposed to be in that cage,” which was pretty baffling. Then she comments on Kate’s dress and scuttles off into the underbrush. Mmmkay.

So the digging and whatnot led to The Kiss, which was spoiled for me by none other than the AOL homepage. (Not dwelling.) This was a really great moment, and fell so very right (that look he gave her, her all hot & dirty) – I’d compare it to that other long gestating JJ Abrams lip-lock – the Vaughn/Sidney kiss during SD-6’s takedown in the “Alias” episode “Phase One.” And the kiss led to such interesting things, too: Sawyer tried to shock one of the guards but it didn’t work. I’d be inclined to think this was another psychological experiment-type thing, but Sawyer asserted (later on) that there must be a ‘safety.’ Right. Must be. It also led to Juliet taking Kate hostage, which showed us her more cold-blooded side, and Juliet calling Sawyer “James,” which led to that interesting convo between the survivors later on.

Elsewhere, Sayid continues recklessly down the path of vengeance. At this point, I’m not even sure who Sayid is mad at. But he’s mad enough to make a stupid plan and go through with it, which not only put a PREGNANT WOMAN in danger but also made them lose their boat. Whatever. I’m sure this will end well. Since characters on this show never spiral into darkness… No, never…

Sayid’s bungling did give us some good moments, however. The siege of the boat was brilliantly, tensely executed, and the exchange between Sun and Bowen’s wife was excellent. First of all, she says that stealing the boat was “Not her decision.” No, it wasn’t. It was Ben’s. But the order could have just as easily come down from the mysterious “Him” spoken about in Season 2. She then calls her Sun and says “I know you’re not a killer.” Damn. Whoever puts those manila folders together is GOOD. But the best part was when she was saying that they’re not the enemy, but if Sun shoots, they will be. Sun shot.

Unofficial tabulation of murderers on Dharma Island (or those responsible for other’s deaths): Locke, Kate, Sawyer, Hurley, Jin, Sayid, Ana-Lucia (and now Sun).

CRACKPOT MYTHOLOGY HYPOTHESIS OF THE WEEK: In the flashback to Sun’s lover’s funeral, her father shows up. She asks him how he knew the deceased. He answered that he “Did business with the boy’s father.” Now, the first time I watched the episode this didn’t make me blink. But then I was thinking about how there has been lots of speculation that Sun is connected to the Hanso Corporation, who created all this ish. So, here’s my outlandish and undoubtedly incorrect theory: Sun was having an affair with Hanso Jr. Right? Wrong? You tell me!

Whew, this is a long one… FINALLY, the last few moments of the show that were so compelling… Ben watching Kate and Sawyer’s adorable exchange (“You taste like fish biscuits”) in a room that has many monitors. I went back and tried to identify what was in each one, I got this far: 2 were the cages Kate and Sawyer were in, 1 was Jack’s cell, 2 were other unoccupied hatches/cells and 1 was obscured or disrupted, which could possibly be of The Swan, since it’s gone all crazy. This was very scary and voyeuristic but I’m not sure if I know what it MEANS, exactly.

Ben showed us that he can be charming and manipulative, but also warm – he seemed genuinely upset that Jack didn’t shake his hand during their introduction. He says his name is “Benjamin Linus,” and that he’s lived here his whole life. He then offers Jack a deal: if he cooperates, sometime down the line, he will be sent home (like Michael and Walt, he assures). But why would he still be here if he could leave. “Why indeed” was Ben’s response (or something like that). He then fills Jack in: they’ve been on the island 69 days, George W Bush has been reelected (boo) and the Red Sox won the World Series. The exchange between them was wonderfully written, and it ended in an even greater way: Jack staring into a television that was replaying the Red Sox win, trying to process everything (watch the way in which Jack’s lips tremble). Ben’s last line (and the last line of the night): “When the time comes I will take you home.”




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