Zombie Politics

I drank your milkshake.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Vapors ("Lost" Recap)




Episode: "The Cost of Living"
Flashback: Eko
Original Airdate: 11.01.06

This week’s episode posted an interesting question: does the murder on Mystery Island carry with it certain moral applications? All signs point to yes: Boone was taken from us because Locke went too far into Crazytown (even though, posthumously, he admitted that the island needed a sacrifice, which oddly vindicated Locke), Libby and Ana Lucia were capped because of Michael’s corruption by the Others (although he got away – we assume – with little penalty) and in this week’s episode, Eko seems to have been killed because he was a huge bastard. (The one wild card in this line of thinking is the murder of Shannon, who was relatively innocent.)

In vividly portrayed flashbacks, we saw Eko, after the death of his brother, jumping right back into the evil doing. His attempt to sell pharmaceuticals that the locals badly needed (while violently offing a rival gang) is what set him apart. Unlike Sawyer, who we saw actually caring in last week’s episode, Eko seems to have been bad, through and through. And it’s this unredeemable mark that sets him apart from the other survivors (even though a majority of them are liars, cheats, thieves or murders). I always wondered what the litmus test would be for these characters – what was too much. It seems to be fucking over third world churchgoers. Do that, and you’ve got a date with the big black smoky column of death.

Which brings us to Smoky the Killer Cloud.

There have been numerous explanations for what the fuck this crazy guilt beast is, from Locke’s “eye of the island” routine to Rousseu’s pat “security system” line, without much convincing. I am still leaning towards something more magical (it’s just the way I roll) and while tonight’s episode didn’t give us any definitive answer, it did shed some light onto another of Mystery Island’s, well, mysteries.

I speak of course of the ‘visions.’ These have come in the form of deceased daddies (Jack’s father’s reappearance), mental patient comrades (Hurley’s buddy Dave) or power animals (Kate’s horse, Sawyer’s boar). The assumption was that these were either visions and didn’t exist at all, or that they were somehow ‘conjured’ forth by the island’s unlimited craziness. Tonight, Smoky entered in a third conceit and much more plausible one: the smoke can ‘see’ you and manifest people from your past in your physical reality. In that super-scary moment when Eko was pleading with his brother Yemi, and the beast asked “Is that who you think I am?” or whatever (my notes were a little dodgy this week) – everything snapped into focus.

We’ve never seen Smoky kill anyone else, or even pay as much attention to anyone as it did to Eko (it could be surmised that the other monster-related deaths could have been from Pinkerton the Giant Mutant Polar Bear from last week’s episode or some as-yet-unseen behemoth). Last season we saw it get all up in his grill and flash the faces of people he’d fucked over. This week we saw it manifest itself as not only Yemi, but the mutilated corpses of the rival gang in Africa.

Several people have complained about the abundance of weird freak-outs this season (so far), and I’d have to completely disagree. Not only is weirdness an inherent part of this series (if you haven’t realized that yet, it may be hopeless) but this week’s freak out was justifiable and snapped nicely into the plot (and subplots).

The downfall to Eko’s downfall is that we don’t get more of him. He was pretty fucking badass, after all. And I wanted to see him beat the bejeezus out of more of the Others. Also, it was never made entirely clear what he was doing in Australian and how he and his brother came to crash land on the same smoke monster and giant polar bear infested island. Something tells me that there aren’t going to be any Eko appearances in the future, considering the actor that plays him is supposed to be a HUGE ASSHOLE and no one in the production wants anything to do with him. Also: being shirtless and having that weird belly wasn’t doing anyone any favors. But I digress…

Oh, right.

So Locke returned to the Pearl Station, which is wear he lost his faith last season with the realization that their entire experience on the island could have been some grandiose psychological experiment. This is still entirely viable, although a lot less likely (I suspect something far more sinister and way more complicated). It’s interesting that he would go there, just a few feet away from where his faith was first tested (with Boone’s demise) to regain his mojo. He brought along Sayid and the newly precognitive Desmond but also, for some reason, Nikki and Paulo, our two new hot young castmembers (who are also completely worthless – they addressed that themselves). We now know that they’re dating. Anything else will have to wait until after the winter hiatus (I know how we are all desperately itching to learn the exciting backstory behind Nikki’s short shorts!)

The Pearl is also where they found the glass eye. Tonight it looks like they found its owner – a grizzled, scary dude who tampered with the Dharma camera just as our heroes were staring at the monitor (funny how that happened). Maybe he could see them? Who knows. My memory is straining to recall what ultimately happened within the Pearl, but nothing too extraordinary because they didn’t obtain any new information about the captives on the other side of the island (or on Mystery Alcatraz).

[Which reminds me – if Sayid is back, where the balls are Sun & Jin?]

Speaking of those pesky captives, Jack finally got to do some acting after being walled up in his little underwater terrarium for so long. He got to flirt with Sarah. He got to wear a culty little robe to Collen’s funeral. He got to go mano-y-mano with Head Other Ben Linus (in which he briefly described the process of ‘breaking him down,’ now no longer an option). He also got that interesting interlude with Sarah wherein she was signaling to him, INXS-style, that they wanted to overthrown the old regime of Othertown and that he could be instrumental in accomplishing that (by letting Evil Ben die on the operating table). Something tells me that Jack killing Ben would be too easy, and after Jack has trudged through his fair share of moral ambiguity, he may look to Ben’s surgery as salvation in some way.

We’ll probably find out in next week’s Nathan Fillion-starring, Kate-flashbacking episode “I Do.”

Then there’s the huge-ass motherfucking break (it’s so long that the marketing gods over at ABC have touted Tuesday’s episode as a ‘winter finale’ or something... classy).

When we get back, with February 7th’s “Not in Portland,” we’ll get treated to the first ever Other-centered flashback! The entire episode will be built around the defiant, adorable, Stephen King-loving Juliet. My prediction: it will rock balls. And could completely redefine what the show is (AGAIN). But typing in its airdate just now almost made me hurl. I can’t believe we’ll be away from Mystery Island for that long. But maybe “Daybreak” will be great.

Yeah, I don’t think so either.

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