Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Talk to the Flocke: Reactions to the "Lost" episode "Dr. Linus"

I usually save my "Lost" write-up for last, but I cannot wait today. I'm like 10 pounds of happy in a 5 pound bag and I can't wait to pop all over you. That didn't sound right.

A really, really quick aside before we get into a big ole pile of juicy, which (and I totally mean to brag here) INCLUDES SOMETHING I HAVEN'T FOUND ANYONE ELSE TALKING ABOUT YET...but I'm sure they have and I just didn't find it. If you don't like "Lost" this season, you never really liked it all that much. Sorry, but you didn't. Oh, you were hoping it would turn into a show you would like. Maybe it reminded you of something or sparked something in you, but you never really identified with this show, the actual show. You didn't love the things that make it the best television program I've ever watched. What do I mean, well last night gave me a scene that can summarize my love for the entire series.

Ben is offered a mythology-heavy promise: Basically, a fallen angel/demon/smoke-monster inhabiting the body of a dead man with the name of a famous philosopher offers the ownership of a magic island to a murderer. So you have tons of sci-fi/fantasy stuff going on, allusions to the "answers" and endgames that we've been waiting for. But then, in what is one of the best acted, most human moments I've seen in an hour-long drama, Ben reveals his broken soul. When asked why he would choose to go with the abject evil, the aforementioned demon, he bleats out "Because he's the only one who will have me." Had it stopped there, I would have been blown away, totally flabbergasted. But the response of Ilana nearly broke me into flat-out tears: "I'll have you." For all its missteps and miscalculations over more than 100 hours of drama, "Lost" is a show that has great actors playing great characters against a great backdrop filled with great mysteries and great intrigue. It's all of those things, not any one of them. I shit you not, that may have been my favorite 2 minutes of television ever. I will likely be referring to Michael Emerson's delivery of that line while helping kids deliver readings of drama and poetry for the rest of my life.

Okay, now before we go into my usual point-by-point breakdown, here's the big reveal I think I thought of (nearly) first. It's a visual.
As Richard Alpert explained, he got his immortality...because Jacob touched him. I think we're going to see Ben for a long, long time.

Okay, let's dive into the phenomenal, phenomenal episode.

Things I liked

This is just insane. I may as well just snap my fingers off I'll be typing so much.
  • Michael Emerson's = Da Shit: In both flash sideways AND island world. He was just flawless. Nuff said.
  • Character matters: The reason this MAY have entered my top "Lost" episodes of all time is because of all the character developments. What do I mean? Well...Jack showed that his time spent looking out at the ocean after smashing the lighthouse up allowed him to come up with one conclusion: He has either been manipulated or chosen to do something incredible since his birth and he can't escape until he's done it. He instituted his second best plan (next to Operation Swallow Some Poison) and it revealed that he was right. Richard showed lament for having seemingly wasted not just an ordinary life but a damn near immortal life chasing around the whims of a dead man...until Jack gave him hope again. Lookie there, Jack's turning things around. Obviously Ben's stuff was wonderfully developed, including his awesome moment of redemption. Even Nikki and Paolo's deaths were used to have SOMETHING happen to Miles! He wasn't tempted by Ben's offer because of their diamonds. Seriously, every scene with every person was either revealing or endearing because they were written so perfectly.
  • Enter Widmore: It was just a little glimpse, but it sent shivers down my spine. I have concluded he is an out-and-out bad guy, based on something that the "Pop-up Video" rerun of last week's episode reminded me of. Widmore told Locke when he was trying to regroup the Oceanic Six that Locke HAD to return to the island or "the wrong side would win" the war that was coming. Well, he sure did tip the scales, didn't he. Widmore = Bad guy.
  • Alex gets her happy ending: Admit it, when she was shot in the effing head by the egg-loving Keamy, it was kind of hard to watch. Thus, it's nice to see the lovely Alex be given her Yale dreams as she wanted. Although, when I saw her last name it weirded me out.
There's so, so much more, but let's just say I loved almost everything.

Things I didn't like

  • Not much, really.
  • Lag time: The pace seemed to fall off mid episode, but that's to be expected, really.
  • Location, location, location: We leave the beach, we come back to the beach, we leave the beach, we come back to the beach. The first few times, it felt like coming home. Now it feels like writers going "where do we PUT these people while this shit happens?"
  • Lupidus: My cousin, James, is probably right: Lupidus is being kept alive to somehow fly the survivors of the series "home." Okay, but he's still useless right now. Sun isn't doing much, but I want to see her connect with Jin. Ilana makes herself useful as the de facto leader who has some mythology answers. Miles is both comic relief and the explanation machine, as he's a walking plot device. Lupidus does nothing.
Answers
  • Point to this doll where Jacob touched you: We know now why Richard can't age. Jacob touched him. This means we have a few people we know who are going to have a very long life...I'm guessing provided they stay on the island. Richard HAS appeared off island, but briefly. I'm guessing the deal is that you age regularly off island and not at all on the island.
  • Jack knows more than Jack: We've seen the man of science switch to a man of faith before, but that wasn't real. He wasn't a man of faith. He was a man of desperation. He didn't BELIEVE, he just didn't know what else to do. Now we see him realizing that this shit is REAL, Jack KNOWS he's important now.
  • Black rocked: We know now for sure Richard was a slave on the Black Rock. We suspected, but we know now.
  • Guess who's coming to dinner: We know now someone WAS coming to the island, and that it was Widmore. I wonder if Jacob wanted him to do that or if this is a bad, bad thing.
  • Dharma LIVES: Well we know for sure now that Ben and his dad WERE on the island at one point...but they didn't die in some crazy Jughead explosion, so the timeline diverged BEFORE the boom boom.
Reflections
  • Man in Black's replacement: We know now that this is all about finding a replacement for positions of "Evil asshole" and "Good asshole." My gut still tells me that Sayid is going to be the Man in Black replacement, because it works so damn well (what with the tortured soul and all). I don't know who will stay and serve as the Jacob role, I'm thinking pretty obviously Jack, but then again maybe all of this is wrong. Maybe the point is to break the cycle so there IS no "island keepers" anymore.
  • Island identities: I think the whole Elba thing in the beginning was more than an allegory for Ben and Napoleon. Abel is an anagram of Elba and I think it works here.
  • Uh oh: I have grave fear for next episode, which is NOT the Richard episode I thought it was. Nope, it's "Recon," which is a Sawyer episode. This sucks because even though I like him it's SURE to be another Kate/Jack/Sawyer issue and a lot more walking through the damn jungle trying to figure out where to go and what to do. I don't hold out big hope for it. Then again, this stretch of four episodes now are just about as good as the series has ever put together, so I hope I'm wrong.
I'm going to give this episode a strong A and say it cracks the top 10 for sure and the top 5 possibly. It just was so perfect in terms of acting, it had that great Ben redemption moment in it, and it felt like it didn't add one new question to anything. I loved, loved, loved it. I feel like I'm missing some observations, which I figure y'all will be kind enough to help me with, so have at it!

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