Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Lost: LA X Parts 1 and 2: Confusing, Compelling, and Commercials

Photo from ABC

The much awaited beginning of season 6 of Lost (ABC) started with a literal bang, and it was easy to find oneself lost after watching for only 10 minutes. One thing that wasn’t lost was any commercial time, this premiere being worse than any NFL football game, packing only a few minutes or actual action between tons of commercials. And although there was plenty of confusion to go around, both episodes were compelling to watch. I found myself wondering in all this confusion how many tiny little details of the show were blowing right past me. But the very last line of the second hour sums it all up – “What happened?” Despite the fact that there is more than one time line being covered here involving the same people and at various places (the plane, the temple, the hatch, the statue), it’s easy to get confused. One theme seems to come out front and center, and it was the other key line in the show, that nothing is irreversible. It appears the bomb may have set the original timeline back on track, maybe on the course it was originally supposed to take. But why do we still have some of those same people navigating both the good and the evil forces that lurk on the island? Another burning question is will we be continually bombarded with such a heavy load of commercials in the remaining episodes of this season? Lost may be a great show to DVR to watch at a later time because of the heavy commercial breaks, something I am sure advertisers hate to hear. Commercial overload aside, these two episodes of Lost were highly entertaining and pulls viewers in, wanting more.

It’s difficult to recap these two hours, seeing that we seem to be observing more than one timeline, but I’ll try my best. At the end of last season, in 1977, Juliet (Elizabeth Mitchell) had fallen into a pit after Jack (Matthew Fox) dropped the nuclear device in it, which failed to detonate - meaning the energy hole would remain open. Juliet manages to beat on the device with a rock, and suddenly, the screen is bathed in white light. Did the explosion seal the energy hole and put them back on their original timeline before the crash of flight Oceanic 815? It’s hard to tell at first, as we see a timeline where Jack is on the plane, along with fellow Islanders Hurley (Jorge Garcia ), who now calls himself the luckiest guy alive, Boone (Ian Sommerhalder), Claire (Emilie de Ravin), Charlie (Dominic Monaghan), Sawyer (Josh Holloway), Sun (Yunjin Kim) and Jin (Daniel Dae Kim ), Sayid (Naveen Andrews), Rose (L. Scott Caldwell) and Bernard (Sam Anderson ), Kate (Evangeline Lily), and the paralyzed John Locke (Terry O’Quinn). Even Desmond (Henry Ian Cusick) is there, which adds to the mystery, as at the time of the original crash, Desmond was on the island, spending all this time making sure that he pushes the button to keep the island’s pent up energy from exploding out. The flight is affected by severe turbulence, but no crash occurs. Has the nuclear explosion sealed the hole, the thing which original caused the crash of Oceanic 815, and put the timeline back in place, with minor changes? Was Desmond on Oceanic 815 because he didn’t need to be on the island to continually push the button as the energy hole never formed in the past? And Jack seems to find Desmond somewhat familiar, yet doesn’t recognize any of the others who also were on the island with them.

But wait, viewers can’t assume things too quickly, as we also see some of those same people who are on Oceanic 815 are still on the island. Jack, Kate, Sawyer, and Miles (Ken Leung) are there in what looks like the aftermath of a huge explosion. They seem to be in the same place they were when the explosion occurred, but the question is WHEN are they? The surroundings seem to place them sometime after their original arrival on the island after Desmond blew up the station. And, despite the fact that Juliet, who fell into the hole and detonated the bomb, surely had to be killed in the process, why is she found barely clinging to life in the bottom of the pit, where she seems to die again in Sawyer’s arms? Hurley, Jin, and Sayid, who is bleeding to death from a gunshot wound, are nearby. As Jin runs to the exploded pit where the rest of the survivors are, Jacob (Mark Pellegrino) makes an appearance to Hurley, telling Hurley he (Jacob) is already dead, and gives him instructions on how to save Sayid’s life by taking Sayid to the temple and that Jin would know where that was. Hurley also has to bring the guitar case that Jacob had given him.

While on the subject of Jacob, he was killed by Ben (Michael Emerson), on the instructions of Locke. Or, is it really Locke? It seems that Ilana (Zuleikha Robinson) is also on the island along with a group of others, who show others waiting outside, including Richard Alpert (Nestor Carbonell), that the box they are carrying contains Locke’s body. The “other” Locke is in the base of the remains of the giant statue with Ben, and when Ilana’s men come in with guns, Locke turns into the black smoke monster we saw in the first season of Lost. Before being killed, one of the men sprinkles a circle of some sort of sand or dirt around him which seems to have protective properties, but the smoke monster uses his power to cause something to drop onto the man from above, knocking him out of the circle and allowing him to be killed. The smoke monster kills all of the intruders, save for Ben. Locke apologies to Ben for him having to see him that way. Another question arises, though: Is Locke also the mysterious man in black who has the long time conflict with Jacob? It seems that they aren’t able to take any direct action against each other to harm the other, but Jacob, before his death, comments that it seems that “Locke” - aka the smoke monster and maybe the man in black – has found a loophole by having Ben do the killing for him.

Confused yet?

Things get more complex when we see Oceanic flight 815 is flying over what looks like our favorite island, but it seems to be sunk deep in the water. Jack saves Charlie who was choking on a bag of heroin in the airplane bathroom, Kate (in handcuffs) escapes the federal marshal after they get off the flight, Jin gets into a customs problem which is compounded by the fact that neither he nor Sun speak English, and Jack finds that his father’s body was not on the plane and they don’t know the whereabouts of his coffin. Jack also meets Locke while Locke is also trying to track down his luggage containing his knives, which the airline also seems to have lost. When Locke tries to assure Jack that they only lost his father’s body, not his father. Jack inquires about Locke’s condition, who says it is irreversible. Jack tells him he is a spinal surgeon, and that nothing is irreversible, offering him a free consult.

Meanwhile on the island, Sawyer forces Miles to get a reading off Juliet’s body (as Miles can get messages from the dead) to find out what Juliet was trying to tell Sawyer before she died. Miles finds that Juliet wanted to tell him that it worked, but Sawyer seems confused at this statement.

Jack, Kate, Jin and Hurley find a cave or tunnel and carry Sayid inside, but are quickly captured by another group of people and are led to the temple. One of the people there looks like a flight attendant from Oceanic flight 815. They appear to be ready to kill the Jack, Kate, Hurley, and Jin, but when Hurley mentions that Jacob sent them, this gets their attention. When he’s asked to prove it, Hurley tells them he was told to bring the guitar case, which they find does not include a guitar, it seems to be a large ankh of sorts. The leader of the group breaks it open and finds a note. The leader then asks for their names, and after they give them, with Jack giving Sayid's name as Sayid is unconscious - the leader decides to let them live. Hurley asks what the paper said, and the leader's right-hand man responds that "The paper says that if your friend there dies, we're all in a lot of trouble."

As they take the group inside the temple, there is a bubbling pool from what looks like a natural spring, and their captors are concerned because the water looks murky brown. Even the leader is puzzled at this, but they still take Sayid into the water, face down, with a hourglass marking Sayid’s time under water. Despite the protests from the Jack and the group, it appears that the leader is ordering Sayid to drown. The leader tells them Sayid is dead.

Still confused?

Back at the airport, Kate manages to elude the security team and the federal marshal and jumps into a cab, which is already occupied by Claire, and orders the drive, using the gun she got from the marshal to motivate him.

Back at the temple, while Jack is despondent over Sayid’s death, Sawyer, who, along with Miles was also captured by these same people, looks at Jack with hatred, holding Jack responsible for Juliet’s death. Hurley gets called in to meet with the leader and when the leader asks when Jacob would arrive, Hurley tells them that Jacob is dead. This causes shock and alarm as the leader and his group race to set up protection, including sprinkling some sort of material along the perimeter. They also send up a flare, and it becomes evident they are trying to warn others AND to keep something out of the temple area.

Back at the statue, Ben realizes that this new Locke used him to kill Jacob as he could not do it himself. But the new Locke tells him he knows what the thoughts of old Locke were when old Locke was killed, and it was that he didn’t understand why Ben was killing him. He tells him that old Locke was the only one who felt his life on the island was better than the one he left, but, unlike the old Locke, the new Locke wants to go home.

Richard Alpert sees the flares in the air and turns to see new Locke emerge from the statue with Ben next to him. Locke tells Richard saying it was "good to see you out of those chains” and takes a swipe at Richard, knocking him to the ground. He tells the rest of them as they stare at him that "I am very disappointed in all of you!" As he picks up Richard from the ground, he walks past the body of old Locke, lying on the ground.

At the temple, as Jack is going to be forced to be taken to the leader, Hurley calls out to Jack in shock, and they all stop and turn to see Sayid moving then sitting up, very much alive, asking "What happened?"

My sentiments exactly.

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Anonymous said...

This show is sooo frustrating. It requires repeated viewings just to get some of the little "easter eggs" they pitch out there.

I'm not totally sold on the SmokeyJohn/MIB is evil and Jacob is good, like so many out in the etherworld are speculating. I really think that the parallel universe being presented is quite ingenious. Juliet (my heart just broke watching her die--again and in Sawyers arms!!) said at first "it didn't work", but just before she said that she said "we'll catch coffee, sometime." I believe she was in however briefly, in the parallel universe. Then Miles read her and said "It worked." They the original Oceanic 815 will have to work with SmokeyJohn to really put an end to this endless loop Jacob wants the Island to be on.

At least this is a show that makes us think and really sets it apart from tons of shows on network tv. How fortunate we are.

Anonymous said...

by the way...great recap as always, m'dear.