Summary: Flashbacks show Dan crying as he sees news about Flight 815 being found. Miles is revealed to be somebody who can communicate with ghosts, which he has adopted for his own business. Charlotte is an anthropologist and she finds a Dharma Initiative polar bear in the Tunisian desert. Frank watches the news of the Flight 815 wreckage being found and realizes that it is fake. Naomi is assigned her mission by the mysterious man from "The Beginning of the End". On the island, Jack and Kate quiz Dan about his intentions. Dan leads them to Miles who threatens Jack and Kate at gunpoint, demanding to be taken to Naomi. After talking with Naomi's spirit, Miles deduces that Jack and Kate are telling the truth about Locke. Juliet and Sayid arrive and turn the tables on Miles and Dan. The group keep walking and they find Frank, who landed the helicopter safely. Upon learning that Juliet is an other, Miles questions her on the location of Ben, who is the group's primary target. Meanwhile, Charlotte is picked up by Locke's group. Locke doesn't want to send her away and starts quizzing her, but Ben steals Karl's gun and shoots her. Charlotte is wearing a vest and is fine. Locke prepares to kill Ben, but Ben reveals that he knows everything about the 4 people who came in because he has a spy on their boat.
The Good: This episode's format is stellar. After the formula break established two episodes earlier, "Lost" grows bold once again and has another sharp change. This time we return to flashbacks, but we divide them between the 5 characters who came from the freighter, giving us an episode that introduces a truckload of characters in an organic and unique way. Right before we get introduced to each new character on the island, we see a brief flashback of their lives before which gives us a rough idea of what to expect while leaving out just enough information to ensure that our interests are piqued. Going around at such a fast pace learning about new characters is a tremendous amount of fun, and the episode adds on to this exciting thrill ride of an episode by throwing in tons of plot developments, dramatic twists, funny moments and even some pieces of mystery that will be essential for figuring out what's really going on with these freighter people.
The characters that are introduced are quite fun to watch. This episode's pacing makes it feel like it flies by which is impressive for an episode that does so much exposition and introduction. This is helped by the personalities that these characters possess. Dan's awkwardness is contrasted nicely by Miles' hotheadedness, and they have a really fun dramatic throughout the episode as they interact with Jack and Kate in completely different ways, revealing interesting little tidbits of information as the episode goes on. The characters are also quite fun to watch and the actors do a good job of bringing them to life. While Charlotte and Frank are introduced later in the episode, they still manage to get several scenes to stand out and show us who they are and what to expect from them, while still being shrouded in mystery. That's just the island stories though. Each character gets a gripping flashback scene which introduces some key mysteries that I'm very excited to uncover (see: The Unknown).
The Locke half of the episode covers the brunt of the survivors' storyline and it is a joy to watch. Locke's leadership style has always been a joy to watch, and it remains that way here as he communicates openly with everyone and brings up very fair points when discussing plans and making crucial decisions. The writing of his character is superb and it adds a lot more realism to the episode. Ben also has a very entertaining role as the prisoner as he remains unpredictable and extremely effective at manipulation. He has a number of well-written funny lines that allow him to get under the skin of those around him. It makes for an interesting dynamic and it ensures that Ben still remains threatening as a villain, even in captivity.
The Bad: I do question why Juliet still hasn't been asked more information about the others. In this episode, Sayid talks to her as if she were one of them and doesn't even so much as hint at how she still has secrets to tell them. Hopefully this can be corrected in future episodes, because the survivors should be much more curious about the others than they currently are.
The Unknown: Why was Dan crying when he saw the plane wreckage? Naomi referred to him as a head case. Why? What was wrong with him? He seems to be fine in the present storyline. A little awkward and nervous sure, but he seems normal. What changed?
What is Miles' ability? Has the show confirmed the existence of ghosts or spirits? Could this have something to do with the whispers? Is Miles' power even real? He seems to contact Naomi effectively so I'm willing to bet that it is.
How did a Dharma Initiative polar bear appear in the Tunisian desert? Where did it come from? How did it get there? Charlotte seemed excited to discover that it tied to the Dharma Initiative. How is she connected to them? Was she looking for this bear specifically? Why?
The mysterious man who visited Hurley in the last episode appears again. It seems that he is the one in charge of everything on the boat. Who is he? Why did he hire this specific crew? What's so special about everyone he selected? What are his goals? He also seemed to be fully aware that the Flight 815 wreckage isn't real. How does he know that? Does he have something to do with why this fake wreckage exists to begin with?
Why are the freighter people looking for Ben? Who are they? What has he done to them to make them target him? Why did these people bring gas masks?
Best Moment: The end of the episode is a wonderful piece of drama. After Ben proves to be more dangerous than expected, Locke gives in to logic and the demand of his people and chooses to kill Ben. But when Ben offers to give him knowledge, he asks him "what is the monster". It's a brilliant moment that shows a character asking a very sensible question (something this show doesn't always do) while also providing us some interesting information as even Ben doesn't seem to know what it is. And to cap things off, the episode ends with a tremendous twist as Ben reveals that he knows everything about the people from the freighter because he has planted a man on their boat somehow. It's a terrific reveal that provides a perfect dramatic climax to the episode that leaves you eagerly awaiting to watch more. Brilliant television.
Character of the Episode: It's tough to choose since so many characters are excellent here. I'll go with Ben for that final moment.
Conclusion: This is excellent stuff. While there isn't much of an emotional edge to this episode, it does do a remarkably good job of setting the stage for season 4, working at a brisk pace and giving us several memorable moments to leave us desperate for more. This is a near perfect way to get the story moving for the much shorter season 4, and the episode certainly did its job of getting me excited for what's to come.
Summary: In flashforwards, Hurley is arrested after taking off in a high speed car chase. He gets placed in a mental institution where he is confronted by a mysterious man asking if "they" are still alive. He is also visited by the dead Charlie who demands that he do things for those that were left behind. Lastly, Jack checks in with Hurley who tells him that they have to go back. On the island, Hurley is devastated when Desmond returns with news of Charlie. The group sets off to the radio tower to warn Jack that the people on the boat aren't who they say they are. Meanwhile, Naomi runs into the jungle and Kate tracks her down. Naomi covers for them and tells the people on the boat that there was an accident when she parachuted in. Naomi dies. Hurley gets separated from the group and encounters Jacob's cabin. He runs away and finds Locke who helps him rejoin the group. The groups meet up and Jack attempts to kill Locke but Sayid pulls him away. The group splits into two camps. Locke's camp, including Claire, Hurley and Sawyer head to the barracks to hide while the others go to the beach with Jack to await rescue. Jack and Kate go off into the jungle and find a man who has arrived from the boat.
The Good: As always, "Lost" subverts expectations with the opening scene of a new season and it does it again this time. While it's probably the weakest season opening scene so far, it's still quite good stuff as we see Hurley in a very unexpected situation and learn a very important piece of information about the future with the introduction of the "Oceanic Six" (see: The Unknown). It's a very interesting way to start the season, and I'm excited to see more from it.
The rest of the flashforward storyline was extremely well done. The flashforwards feel very different from the flashbacks and they make this episode feel different from the staler flashback episodes last season, giving the story a lot more momentum than it had in season 3. I really like the new formula that's being developed here. Judging from this episode and "Through the Looking Glass", it seems like the flashforwards will use a new style of storytelling where we see a character make a key decision on the island, and we will see the consequences of that decision in the future. In the season 3 finale, it was Jack's choice to call the boat, and here it's Hurley's choice to go with Locke.
The other flashforward scenes were quite good at building mystery. We see a mysterious new character confronting Hurley, hints of the island's powers extending to the real world, and a surprising arc for Hurley who seems to be haunted by his past in a very literal way. I'm really enjoying these flashforwards so far and it seems like they might be just the thing to make the series feel new and exciting again.
The island storyline in this episode is also quite good. Early on we get to see Desmond return and set up the story beats that carry this episode. He reveals that the people on the boat cannot be trusted, and also drops the bombshell that Charlie died. The group's grief for Charlie is pretty sad and I really like how the episode furthered its stories with Charlie's death. Hurley's decision to join Locke makes sense because of what happened to Charlie, so establishing the importance of Charlie's death was essential for this episode. Thankfully, the writers nailed it. The other thing the writers did really well was making it clear that the group is too disorganized to actually do something about the people on the boat. With hanging threads like not knowing who the people are, and also Naomi's impending demise, the episode created a surprising amount of suspense as everyone prepares for the arrival of these people.
The island story all builds up to a really strong climax where the group separates into two opposing camps. This split is illustrated as quite a big deal and it does feel like a major event that will have consequences (as Hurley's flashforward also establishes). What I enjoyed most about this was how every character had logical reasons for choosing the side that they did. It makes sense that Hurley and Claire would listen to what Charlie said. It makes sense that Rose wouldn't want to side with the murderous Locke. It makes sense that Sawyer would join Locke after what he learned about him in "The Brig". There are lots of nice character details here, and that added a lot to this scene.
It was nice to see Ana Lucia's partner return for a brief cameo. It's a fun return and it also serves to further cement how Hurley can't seem to escape the past in his flashforward storyline.
The Bad: The writing is quite sloppy at times though. The Naomi plot in particular is really poorly thought out. Why didn't anybody even check to see if Naomi was still alive? They all just assumed she was dead which is absolutely ridiculous, especially considering that Jack was there and we know that Jack would always do everything he possibly can to save lives. Furthermore, why would Naomi just sneak away into the jungle when she's half dead, and how did she do it so quietly? It makes absolutely no sense. What's even stupider is that she would still somehow have the physical ability and thought process to make a dummy trail in case anyone was following her. It seems to pointless to do all of this, especially since Naomi just dies anyways. Furthermore, it's ridiculous that Jack wouldn't send a second party down the trail Kate found just in case Naomi did go down that way. This entire storyline is pretty contrived and doesn't make any logical sense.
I wasn't very happy with the lack of reaction to Jack attempting to kill Locke. We saw that Locke wasn't willing to kill Jack, so surely seeing Jack pull the trigger expecting to kill him would be pretty shocking for everyone. Furthermore, this scene wasn't a private occurrence. Everyone saw what happened, and they should be legitimately horrified by it. One particularly sloppy piece of dialogue is Rose not wanting to go with Locke because he's a murderer, yet she completely ignores how Jack was about to kill Locke right then and there. There are unfortunately several pieces of lazy writing like this scattered throughout the episode which brings down its quality.
As a final note, I was confused to see that Alex and Rousseau aren't spending any time together. Surely they would want to know more about each other. It's strange to have Rousseau standing quietly with Ben while Alex chats with Karl like nothing has changed.
The Unknown: Plenty of questions. To start, who are the Oceanic Six? Which six survivors made it off the island? We know of Jack, Hurley and Kate. Which other 3 left the island?
Who is the mysterious man that visited Hurley? Was he another vision or did he actually exist? Who is he? What does he want? How does he know that the others are still alive?
Hurley's encounter with the cabin was a frightening scene (see: Best Moment). How did the cabin seemingly teleport like that? Hurley seemed to almost enter another dimension when he found it. How does that work? Who was in there? There were at least 2 people. One would be Jacob. Who was the other?
How can Charlie appear off the island? I thought this kind of stuff is restricted to the island. Or is Charlie just part of Hurley's imagination, similar to Dave?
Why does Hurley regret siding with Locke? What happens to Locke's camp?
Who is the man at the end of the episode? It's an exciting cliffhanger to end the episode one.
Best Moment: Hurley's encounter with the cabin is chilling drama. It's haunting, mysterious and surprising all at once and it left me in high suspense. It's tense to see Hurley looking inside, and every moment following this can be analyzed closely because I'm very interested to learn more about Jacob and this cabin.
Character of the Episode: Hurley.
Conclusion: This was a really strong season premier. While there was unfortunately a lot of silly writing choices, the overall episode is quite good and starts off season 4 in a good way. I'm excited for this season because it already feels far different from seasons 1-3 due to the new formula. However, the writers need to be much more cautious because more thoughtless writing in important episodes can easily ruin this season.
Summary: We see various storylines of everyone's 30th birthdays. Rachel is a mess and contemplates her future with Tag. Monica shows up to her surprise party drunk. Ross rashly buys a new sports car and tries to show it off. Phoebe learns that she's one year older than she thought she was.
The Good: This was a really funny episode and a good comeback from the very poor previous episode. The concept of jumping between various birthdays is quite fun and it leads to some strong stories and a lot of funny moments. Ross and Joey are their usual selves and have a lot of great moments. I particularly enjoyed Joey's almost childlike nature in this episode as it felt more subdued. Rachel's story is very well executed as she contemplates life and ends her relationship with Tag on good terms just so she can move on with her life. It's surprisingly well written and there are some great bits of humour added wherever it made sense. Monica being drunk is a bit cheesy (see: The Bad), but it does lead to a few really good jokes.
The Bad: There are some flaws in this episode. Monica being drunk is a very easy way to get cheap laughs, and it doesn't make for any kind of superb comedy. Ross' story tried a bit too hard to replicate the fantastic "pivot" joke and I don't think it worked at all.
Best Moment: I'll go with Chandler's horrible choice of birthday card and Monica's disbelief how Chandler messed up his one job.
Character of the Episode: Joey.
Conclusion: I was laughing pretty consistently during this episode so it was certainly quite good. I just don't think that the quality of humour was top-tier "Friends", but this was still a very strong episode.
Summary: Flashforwards show that Jack is a mess after leaving the island. He is about to kill himself after reading about the death of somebody but he stops himself to save a family from a fatal car crash. Jack is still in really bad shape and has numerous outbursts. He calls Kate and they meet up. He tells her that they weren't supposed to leave and that they have to go back to the island. On the island, Jack leads his people to the radio tower. Ben gets radioed from the Looking Glass about Charlie and learns of Juliet's betrayal but it's too late to stop the attack. Mikhail is sent to the Looking Glass. The others attack and 2 of the 3 dynamite stacks are set off, killing several of them. Sayid, Jin and Bernard get captured. Jack continues on to the radio tower despite seeing only 2 blasts. Sawyer and Juliet go back to the beach. Ben and Alex go to confront Jack's group and Ben plans to talk Jack out of contacting Naomi's boat. Desmond is shot at by Mikhail and goes to the Looking Glass where Charlie is captured. Mikhail follows suit and receives orders from Ben to kill Bonnie and Greta, the two women in the Looking Glass. He does so but Desmond kills Mikhail with a harpoon. Charlie is freed and stops the jamming and detects a signal from Penny. He learns the boat isn't hers but before he can talk to Desmond, Mikhail, having survived, blows up a grenade and the room floods. Charlie dies but he writes on his hand, telling Desmond "not Penny's boat". Ben confronts Jack and tries to talk him out of calling the boat, threatening Bernard, Jin and Sayid. Ben has them killed and Jack, fixated on getting rescue lets it happen. In anger, Jack beats Ben bloody. The group continues to the radio tower. Sawyer and Juliet arrive at camp and Hurley follows them. The others are all killed, including Tom. Bernard, Jin and Sayid are found alive. At the radio tower, Naomi calls her boat but Locke kills her with a knife, telling Jack not to make the call. Jack makes the call anyways, and Locke, unwilling to kill Jack, lets it happen.
The Good: The flashforwards twist will go down as one of the best TV twists ever made, and I certainly think it's the most shocking moment of "Lost" so far. The execution of this twist is perfect. From the beginning I thought for sure that we were watching flashbacks and I didn't entertain even for a second that the show may have changed formats so suddenly. It was fairly confusing to try to place when in Jack's life he was such a mess, and I was continuously intrigued by what could have made him like this. But then the ending scene rolled around and suddenly everything became clear and I was left speechless. The show genuinely surprised me by flipping the script and completely breaking its own rules to remain fresh. How many other shows can boast doing something as daring as this? The best part is that on rewatch it seems completely obvious that we are touching in with Jack in the future as there are tons and tons of clues. But there are just enough deceptions (the show's previously established format, Jack constantly mentioning his father) to fool you into not figuring it out. The scenes are so well written and it builds up to a perfect final reveal.
The flashforwards told a damn good story too, so it isn't all about the twist at the end. Matthew Fox's acting is great and his scenes paint a convincing picture of Jack's horrible life after leaving the island. Seeing Jack in such a bad way brings new context to the events we see in this episode. Bringing about rescue seems like a good thing worth cheering for on the island. But knowing where Jack ends up in the future allows you to look at his decisions in this episode in a completely different context. How does it all go so wrong for Jack? What happens to get him to where he is in the flashforwards? I'm very excited to get these answers.
Every story on the island is equally excellent. The others' raid is a dramatic and exciting moment early in the episode. There is some great action here and it leads to a pivotal moment that raises the stakes higher as the plan fails and Sayid, Jin and Bernard are held hostage. The escalating sense of danger ensures that we are left in suspense throughout the episode, and there is always drama to enjoy as the episode goes on. The ensuing fight at the beach was an excellent piece of action, but better yet was Jack's confrontation with Ben on the way to the radio tower. Jack is put in a really uncomfortable place here as he has to choose between saving everyone and giving up rescue or ensuring rescue and letting his friends die. The scene is a brilliant way to put Jack and Ben at odds and it leads to a fantastic release for Jack as he beats Ben to a pulp in his rage and expresses desire for vengeance to Kate afterwards.
The climax that follows this scene is superbly done. With the phone call connecting, the suspense is ratcheted up to the maximum. Ben is all but begging Jack not to place the call, and there is a real sense of dread now with Ben's insistence that there are bad people that are going to kill everyone. Charlie's final message also adds to this dread and it ends up creating a genuinely tense moment. And then with perfect timing, Locke shows up and kills Naomi, adding yet another surprising development to the episode. And after spending almost the entire season apart, Jack and Locke are once more at odds and it boils down to science vs faith once more. And Jack, still as resilient as ever, chooses science, a decision which we now know that he will likely come to regret.
The Charlie storyline was another fantastic addition to the episode. To start, Charlie is so likable the entire time. He feels really heroic the whole time as he taunts Bonnie and Greta, fully expecting to die and understanding that no matter what he does, he's going to end up flipping that switch because it's destined to happen. The character of Charlie has come off really well this season, and it has been wonderful to see him redeem himself after such a poorly written arc in season 2. In the end, Charlie was a character I was quite invested in, and his death gives this episode the weight it needed, leaving us with the feeling that there was a major loss in this mission to get off the island. Charlie's death is perfectly executed and is quite devastating despite the fact that we knew it was coming. What makes it even more painful is how heroic Charlie is in his death. He spends his final moments writing a message to Desmond, refusing to waste what little time he has left. I also really appreciated the nod to Charlie's past as a religious man as he symbolizes the cross before he dies. A final detail that I thought really made this death more meaningful is that Charlie didn't have to die. He could have left the room and told Desmond everything. But to secure Claire's rescue and to save Desmond's life, he locks himself in the jamming room and accepts his death like a real hero.
The scenes leading up to Charlie's death have some very strong drama. The suspense with Mikhail's arrival, Charlie's capture and Desmond hiding in the supply closet add a lot of drama and make it difficult to predict what happens next. The resolution is built up to perfectly as ironically it's Ben's order to kill Bonnie and Greta as a precaution that costs him as they betray him by giving Charlie the code to disable the jammers. Everything that happens in this storyline makes perfect sense, and it's a pleasure to watch the entire time.
There are a few other little things this episode also does very well. I really enjoyed the exploration of Ben's poor leadership in this episode. His people seem like they are on the verge of turning against him and I have to wonder what's going to happen at the temple if Richard decides that enough is enough. This story has been set up pretty well and I'm interested to see what happens next. I was also really happy with Alex and Rousseau's reunion. It was a moment that had been built up for a while and it was fittingly emotional, but also a little awkward which is a realistic touch as Rousseau is more than likely not a capable mother after 16 years alone. Lastly, I enjoyed Sawyer' arc in this episode. Evidently, killing Anthony has had a profound effect on him and has left him questioning his purpose. I really appreciate that this show isn't afraid to change how its characters behave in response to their experiences. Sawyer's confusion here was pretty good to watch, and we even get a final touch of vengeance for him as he even gets to kill Tom after he took Walt off the raft. We'll have to wait until next season to see how Sawyer will move on after killing pretty much everybody he ever wanted to kill.
The Bad: There are a few small things, but nothing too major. I don't buy into the idea of Bernard and Jin being selected as gunners. It seems clear that they were only chosen because they had wives who could be concerned for them when they were inevitably captured. The writers left their fingerprints all over this. It's inexplicable to me that somebody like Bernard would stay behind while Sawyer (who has nothing at this point) goes with everyone else.
Hurley's brief arc felt a little too much like fanservice. People called him fat and useless so he shows everyone how it's done by saving Sawyer and Juliet. It's a pretty generic story and it seems like it was only included to give the viewers something to cheer.
Mikhail got to Desmond's location extraordinarily fast. It took the others several days to reach the survivors' camp, so how did Mikhail get to Desmond before he even woke up after Charlie knocked him out?
The Unknown: Who was in the coffin? Why did their death cause Jack to almost kill himself? Is this a character we know?
How many others got off the island? We see Jack and Kate off the island, but who else is there? Also, who is the "he" that is waiting for Kate? Is it Sawyer? Did Kate and Jack not end up together after all?
What is the temple that the others are going to? Where is it?
What were the others building a runway for? Were they preparing for some sort of plane transport to and from the island?
Who is the person trying to find the island that Ben describes? Do they even exist? Why are they searching for the island? How do they know its existence? Is this person on Naomi's boat? Who is Naomi anyways? Apparently she wasn't sent by Penny. So who did send her? Why did she lie? How does she know Penny anyways? What's going to happen now that the survivors have contacted the boat?
How did Locke have a vision of Walt? What did Walt tell him to do?
Best Moment: There are so many fantastic moments to choose from, but the iconic airport scene at the end of the episode takes it for me. A tremendous twist for sure.
Character of the Episode: Charlie.
Conclusion: What a fantastic season finale. This was the perfect blend of climactic, shocking, intense and emotional and it provided an absolutely thrilling end to season 3, giving me full confidence that despite a slightly weaker season, this show can still pack one hell of a punch.
This season was a little rocky, especially at the beginning where the story progressed slowly and there were several filler episodes that disappointed me heavily. But I can definitely say that the end of the season was some of the best content the show has ever given us. It was dramatic, exciting and powerful which is all I can ask for from a TV show. If there was one major flaw with the show, it's that the flashbacks were quite dull this season outside of a couple of exceptions. The format seemed to be faltering and it was no longer interesting. But with this season finale, it seems like the show is correcting this with the addition of flashforwards, which I'm very glad to see. The recovery of this season has been a pleasant surprise. Earlier this season, I was thinking that the show had lost what made it special and that it may be starting to sharply decline in quality. But these past few episodes have restored my faith, and it feels like the show is once more heading somewhere that has me extremely excited. Sure this season wasn't the most consistent, but I finished it feeling more excited for the future than when I started the season. Because of that, I can say that this was great television overall despite some pretty big flaws. Is it perfect? Definitely not. But I'm left feeling satisfied overall.
Summary: Group therapy isn't working for William who lashes out at others and claims he doesn't belong there. He's signed up for AR therapy where he has a transformative experience while communicating with his past selves. He decides to move past his sins and is then woken up by Bernard and Stubbs. Meanwhile, Maeve is back in the simulation and she gathers up Lee and Hector to get some allies to fight Dolores. She talks to a simulation version of Dolores to make plans. Charlotte continues to work against Serac in secret and disobeys his orders to destroy all information on the hosts by creating backups. However, Charlotte is found out and Serac sends men to capture her alive. Charlotte manages to escape, but she destroys Hector's pearl before she leaves, killing him. Charlotte goes home to her family and tries to escape with them in a car, but the car is detonated and her family is killed.
The Good: This had good elements in every storyline. William's story is the easiest to enjoy. With so many boring, lifeless hosts masquerading as compelling characters, William remains the only human (outside of Caleb) who has an arc that feels like it's worth telling. This episode does some good stuff with him. It was nice to pull back the curtain to his childhood, and it nicely allowed for him to get over his past to move onto his future. It's an easy story to understand, and there is enough creativity in the execution to make it pretty entertaining to watch.
Charlotte's story is also decent. Her escape from Delos is action-packed and provides for some good fun. I also enjoyed seeing Charlotte become connected to her family, with there being a nice irony that host Charlotte grew to care more about Charlotte's family than Charlotte herself did. This of course leads to a big moment at the end of the episode where Charlotte's family is killed by Serac which does feel quite tragic.
Maeve's story has its moments. The biggest being Hector's death which will presumably give Maeve the necessary motivation to work for Serac and destroy Dolores.
The Bad: For the most part, this is still pretty sloppy stuff. It's so difficult to emotionally invest in any of the characters or stories this season. Everything feels flawed. Take Maeve's storyline. Maeve as a character is so, so boring right now. She doesn't have anything interesting to do and it feels like she is being used more for some "strong woman action sequences" rather than telling a story. These sequences have gotten dull fast and they aren't enjoyable to watch anymore. Her relationships with Hector and Lee feel so simplistic as well, so Hector's death didn't really effect me in any way at all. I feel a disconnect with the character and I can't say that there is anything about her that interests me anymore.
Charlotte's story isn't very captivating either. As a character, she is really lacking. I'm still a bit confused why there is such a difference between her and the actual Dolores since they are the same conscience at heart. I also never really got fully invested in her relationship with her family. While the final moments of the episode are quite shocking and will inevitably change her character, I wasn't particularly captivated by anything that happened, and it didn't feel like the killer emotional twist it was meant to be.
Serac looks very sloppy as a villain in this episode. It's absurd that he would have found out that Charlotte is a host solely from how she checked on her kid. There are so many other ways he could have found her out, not least from her awkward behaviour. It's just a sloppy piece of writing. Furthermore, we learn that Serac suspected her all along. So then he should have put countermeasures to make sure she didn't do anything that would work against him! It's ridiculous that he didn't and it makes him look seriously incompetent. Furthermore, he lets Charlotte get away which doesn't make him look good. Then, he detonates Charlotte's car and nobody sticks around to ensure she is actually dead. One or two of these little logic gaps is acceptable, but when so many stack up like this, the plot completely falls apart.
The episode is heavily focused on setting up the season's final act. That would be acceptable if I was invested in what was going on. But since I'm not, it makes set-up episodes like this one feel even more unimpressive than they already are.
The Unknown: What is Charlotte's next move? How will she respond to her family dying?
What are Bernard and Stubbs going to do with William? How are the three of them going to affect the story of this season?
Best Moment: Probably William revisiting his past. It was pretty effective character development and Ed Harris was superb.
Character of the Episode: William.
Conclusion: This was more solid stuff that moved everyone into place for the final 2 episodes, but the empty and uninspired feel of this season continues. I'm not very invested in the story right now so watching the final act be set up isn't as exciting as it should be. The show's poor character work continues to drag it down, and even though there is strong acting and good action sequences, I'm not finding myself enjoying these season even close to as much as seasons 1 and 2. I don't expect that I'll continue watching after this season since there hasn't been anything in these first 6 episodes to give me faith that this show is capable of producing great television.
Summary: Kim and Jimmy go spend the night at a hotel to be safe from Lalo and they contemplate their next moves. Kim goes to work the next day and gets 20 new PD cases. She meets with Howard who warns her about Jimmy but she laughs in his face. Jimmy visits Mike who tells him that it has been arranged for Lalo to die at night. Jimmy tells Kim it's safe and they spend one final night at the hotel, though Jimmy is visibly shaken and wants to go home. However, Kim convinces him to stay and pushes him towards coming up with a massive con on Howard so that they can collect the $2 million of Sandpiper money. Jimmy is surprised by Kim's sudden shift in character. Lalo takes Nacho to his home in Mexico and has him meet Don Eladio for a promotion. Nacho gets a call saying that he has to open a gate at 3AM. Nacho desperately manages to escape Lalo and his guards and opens the gate, letting a hit squad into Lalo's home. The squad kills everyone in Lalo's household, but Lalo manages to escape and kills them all, however he gets one of the squad to send a message that they managed to kill him. He sees that Nacho's body isn't there and angrily storms off.
The Good: Jimmy's dilemma throughout this episode is easy to understand. He screwed up massively by getting involved with Lalo, he feels immensely guilty for putting Kim's life in danger and he so desperately just wants to be safe again. So the Jimmy we see in this episode is a far cry from the bold and confident man that lashed out at Howard in "JMM". His recent experiences have changed him, and they've made him consider the possibility that he actually is bad for Kim. He tries talking about it, and he is clearly considering doing something drastic to correct this. Having Lalo come to Kim's house with a gun was the final straw for Jimmy.
But what's most surprising about all this is how Kim reacts to what just happened. She seems so normal. She takes the news of Jimmy's shooting surprisingly well, she seems quite nonchalant about getting back to work, and when Jimmy tries to discuss serious matters, she tempts him away by daydreaming about conning Howard. It's alarming and quite shocking to see this change in character for Kim. I think just about everyone was expecting that Kim would have been on the verge of leaving Jimmy, if not already gone, but this season pulled quite a twist by having Kim stay. The show has transformed Kim's arc into a tragic story of a character who isn't able to control her impulses and continues to fall further and further into the morally questionable world. This is perfectly clear when we see her seriously suggest ruining Howard's career for her own personal gain, a remarkably unethical move that the old Kim would never have even considered. Just look at how she fell apart when she and Jimmy tore Chuck down in "Chicanery". This is so far removed from the Kim we knew and it completely took me off guard. What this episode succeeds most with is making us look back at Kim's character arc throughout the series and question what the purpose of everything was. Just looking back on season 5 makes it evident that this season was as much about transforming Kim as season 4 was about transforming Jimmy.
The toughest part about this episode is that it had to make Kim's transformation feel organic. It had to make sense, and that's where Kim's horrific experiences in "Bagman" and "Bad Choice Road" come into play. She has committed her life exclusively to the things she loves most: PD work and conning people. We can see that Kim's mindset has been taken over by spending too much time flirting with the idea of conning with Jimmy. But the more she was exposed to it, the more she wanted to stay in that world. And now she has given into the temptation. And Jimmy is stunned by this. The final Jimmy/Kim scene was a masterful piece of work that directly paralleled Jimmy's "s'all good man" moment at the end of season 4. Only this time it's Kim who changed and Jimmy who's left feeling small and confused. Of course the horrible irony is that had Kim changed like this back in seasons 2 or 3, Jimmy may have been happy about it. But after all that just happened? Jimmy and Kim are on very different pages right now and it should be interesting to see how this new version of Kim will affect their relationship going forwards.
Then we get to the excellent Nacho/Lalo story which provided most of the episode's suspense and action. Clearly Kim's words have gotten to Lalo and so his first move is to ensure that Nacho is trustworthy by giving him a much more solid position amongst the cartel. But this puts Nacho in a deeply uncomfortable position. He's entered the hornet's nest and is surrounded by enemies everywhere, and yet he is being told to act like a double agent to set up Lalo's death. It's all very tense stuff for Nacho. One of the standout scenes for me was his improvisation to Eladio. He forces himself to pretend to care about joining up with the cartel, but he injects a little bit of truth when talking about what he really wants. It's a lovely little scene for Nacho who doesn't typically get many opportunities to express himself. Then towards the end of the episode, there's a lovely sequence that's filled with tension as Nacho tries to escape Lalo's house only to run into him outside in the middle of the night. The acting here is outstanding, and the suspense really builds up as we start to wonder if Nacho can actually make it out and if Lalo is actually going to die by the end of the episode. Thankfully for Nacho
This episode was a very big one for Lalo who we get to learn a lot about. He's such a charismatic guy and we see that on display while he chats with his housekeepers and when he sweet-talks Eladio. Tony Dalton portrays Lalo's cheeriness wonderfully well and makes him so much fun to watch. But that makes him all the more terrifying by the end of the episode when the laughs are all gone. After a fantastic action sequence where Lalo takes out the hit squad, we get the wonderfully foreboding moment where he realizes that Nacho has betrayed him. The final shot of the episode with a vengeful and angry Lalo storming off to make things right is stellar stuff, and I can't wait to see how he will try to exact revenge on Gus and what he may have planned for Nacho.
There was one specific detail that I really loved. Jimmy doesn't want to have mint chocolate anymore. It's fair for him to reject it considering the last time he had it was right before he was introduced to Lalo.
The Bad: The only complaint I have about this is that it doesn't really feel like a season finale. Sure, it's hard to follow up the sheer action of the last two episodes, but this one felt a bit too heavy on the set-up for my liking. I would have liked to see more resolution in this episode so that season 5 could feel a little more complete.
The Unknown: How is Nacho going to get out of Mexico? Will Lalo catch him? What would Lalo do with him? What's Lalo's new plan? Will he continue to pretend that he's dead? Will Gus believe this?
What does Kim's change in character mean for her future? What happens to her before the events of "Breaking Bad"? So much is up in the air after this episode.
Best Moment: There's plenty of choices to pick from. I'll go with Nacho's escape and conversation with Lalo which was wonderfully tense television.
Character of the Episode: It's a very tough choice since just about everyone is brilliant here. I think Lalo deserves it the most.
Conclusion: This was a great finale with several welcome surprises. This season has been all about subverting what we thought we knew about the show, and this finale fits that trend perfectly.
The season as a whole has been tremendous. I think this is easily the best season of the show yet. The combining of the show's two worlds made this feel like the most important season so far, and it gave the story such focus and suspense that the show hasn't really accomplished in previous seasons. The character growth was as spectacular as ever and every character's journey was engaging to watch. Jimmy's descent into Saul Goodman was tremendous fun in the first half of the season, and there were some genuine twists in the second half to keep us on our feet. Kim's journey also took a lot of surprising turns and I think this was the highlight of the season as Kim has consistently been one of the best parts of the show. And the Nacho/Lalo/Mike/Gus story was also much improved. I felt that the balance between these stories was much better than in previous seasons, and all 4 characters were given plenty to do and were very enjoyable whenever they were on screen. As a whole, this season worked tremendously well, with the final 5 episodes being absolutely excellent. I'm very excited for season 6 and I'm curious to see how else the writers can explore these characters.
Summary: Flashbacks show Charlie's 5 best moments of his life: hearing his band on the radio, learning to swim with his dad, getting his family's ring from Liam, being called a hero by Nadia and meeting Claire on the island. In the present, Ben returns to the others camp and declares that they are immediately going to attack the survivors. Alex tells Karl who then goes to warn the survivors. Meanwhile, Jack tells everyone his plan: the others will come to kidnap the women but when they go into the marked tents, the survivors will detonate dynamite to kill them. The camp prepares for this, but when Karl tells them that the others are coming sooner than expected, plans change. Jack decides that 3 people (Sayid, Jin and Bernard) will shoot the dynamite to trigger it while everyone else will go to the radio tower where Sayid hopes to stop Rousseau's signal so that they can use Naomi's phone. Juliet reveals that the others have been jamming signals and that a flooded underwater station called the Looking Glass must be accessed to turn off the jamming. Desmond sees a vision of Claire getting into a helicopter but Charlie dies in the Looking Glass for this to come true. Accepting his fate, Charlie decides to go to the Looking Glass and stop the jammer. However, when he swims there he finds that the station isn't flooded and he is held at gunpoint by 2 people.
The Good: This whole episode felt like a fond farewell to Charlie, who has always been one of the more well-liked characters on the show. Centering the flashbacks around the best moments of his life was a fantastic choice, one that added a lot more emotion to the episode. Because of this, the episode had a fairly somber and bittersweet vibe as Charlie looks death in the face, accepts it, and decides to relive the best parts of his life before the end. It's very sad stuff, and the flashbacks translate Charlie's best memories wonderfully. On the island, Charlie really has his best episode as a character since "The Moth". We see him saying goodbye to everyone, with particularly touching scenes with Claire and Hurley. Then once he's on the boat with Desmond and ready to die, he finally lets out some emotion in a magnificent scene. Desmond comes off as wonderfully sympathetic when he offers to take Charlie's place, and Charlie feels truly heroic when he refuses that option, resolved to give his life for a greater cause. The storytelling here is superb and it's hard not to feel anything watching Charlie prepare to die. But then in a wonderful twist, Charlie makes it to the Looking Glass and finds it isn't flooded. His glee at realizing he is still alive is a fantastic moment of relief for the character, and is neatly interrupted by him being held at gunpoint, leaving him with a pretty big problem he'll have to deal with in the season finale. The moment is an excellent cliffhanger, and I can't wait to see what happens next.
The rest of the episode is mostly solid stuff that lays the foundation for the season finale. We learn Jack's plan, and it's a very dramatic one. There's set-up for a major confrontation between the survivors and the others, and it should be very exciting to see what happens there. The plan seems safe and ingenious at first, but when Karl arrives to say that the others are coming earlier than expected, there's suddenly a sense of danger, one that will surely be explored well in the season finale. This episode does its set-up pretty well, and it's enjoyable to watch.
Additionally, there's Sayid being wonderfully logical in this episode which I was a big fan of. First he ensures that something is being done to get off the island by discussing the satellite phone, which is a wonderful piece of writing. Then he later convinces Jack to be the leader by taking everyone to the radio tower. He has a really good episode, and it's nice to see the character being used to drive the story forwards by setting up the dramatic hook of a potential rescue being set up in the next episode. With every storyline picking up steam in a big way, the show seems set to deliver a huge climax to finish off this season.
As a final detail, I liked the Easter Egg of Charlie meeting Nadia in the alleys. That was a nice little touch.
The Bad: The dynamite demonstration at the beginning of the episode was absolutely stupid. I understand that it was done to provide a more dramatic moment for the audience. But when a show does something baffling for the sake of the audience, that completely destroys my immersion and takes away from the credibility of the show. There are so many flaws with this. For one, why does Jack need to do a demonstration anyways? He could just tell them that they will use dynamite! Going out of his way to do a demonstration has so many drawbacks. For one, that explosion was pretty big, so what if somebody nearby heard that and figured out the plan? That's an unnecessary risk to take. Furthermore, it's such a waste of time and resources (dynamite, wire) to do this random explosion in the jungle instead of working to set up the trap they are actually planning to use. Hell, had Jack not wasted time on this demonstration, they might have been able to set up the dynamite trap on time!
I'm not happy with how this show treats murder. We have seen it treated seriously in a few specific cases (Michael, Charlie), but for the most part the concept of death and murder is treated so flippantly. Here Jack suggests that they are going to outright murder so many people, and nobody even brings up morality as an issue. It's so odd because surely somebody here would be against the idea of taking lives, even if it is in self defense. After all, as far as everyone knows, the others aren't even planning on killing anybody! It's inexplicable to me that people like Hurley, Claire and Juliet (she lived with these people for years!) see no problem with this.
Charlie being a great swimmer is a very poor piece of continuity as he stated back in "White Rabbit" that he doesn't swim. It's a minor gripe, but I still do wish that they found a different story for Charlie that doesn't hurt the continuity of the show.
The Unknown: Will the plan work? Or will it somehow go wrong? I imagine all of the others won't be killed in the explosions. Will they go after the 3 shooters?
Will the survivors actually be able to get in contact with Naomi's boat?
Who is in the Looking Glass? Why isn't the station flooded? What's going on down there? How is Charlie going to get away from these people? Is he still going to die or has he somehow escaped Desmond's vision? What would this mean for Claire and Aaron? Will they still escape on a helicopter?
Best Moment: Charlie and Desmond on the boat. Certainly the most powerful moment of the episode.
Character of the Episode: Charlie of course.
Conclusion: This was a strong episode of set-up elevated by the emotion from Charlie's story. There were some small flaws in the storytelling, but as a whole this served its purpose and left me satisfied and excited for the season finale.
Summary: Flashbacks show that Ben's mother died giving birth to him. When Ben is older, his father Roger joins the Dharma Initiative and they arrive on the island. Roger is a drunk and blames Ben for his mother's death. Ben is miserable in Dharma and leaves to try to join the others. He meets Richard who tells him to be patient to make it happen. Many years later, the others purge the Dharma Initiative, killing everyone. Ben kills his father and officially joins the others. On the island, Locke returns to the others' camp and demands to be taken to see Jacob, the mysterious man Ben answers to. Ben declines. Mikhail arrives and tells Ben about Naomi but Locke knocks him out and pressures Ben to take him to Jacob. Ben takes Locke to a cabin where he starts speaking with an empty chair. Assuming it's all a show, Locke tries to leave but suddenly things start flying everywhere and breaking apart. Locke still doesn't believe it though and thinks Jacob doesn't exist. Ben takes Locke to the pit where all the Dharma Initiative bodies were disposed. Ben shoots Locke and leaves him in the pit. Meanwhile, Sawyer and Sayid tell the camp about Naomi and about Juliet's nature as a spy. Jack and Juliet arrive and notify everyone that the others will be attacking in a few days time and that they have a plan.
The Good: This episode makes an attempt to humanize Ben and make us sympathize and relate to him. Not every show puts in the effort to fully humanize its villains, so this is a very respectable effort. And thankfully, it is done magnificently well. There's no denying that Ben is a bad person. His flashback arc concludes with him murdering his father in cold blood and standing by while the others wipe out the entire Dharma Initiative. He does so for his own personal gain. It's a villainous act through and through. And yet I was still able to sympathize with Ben and understand why he did it. He still feels human in spite of what he just did and that's brilliant. The episode does a great job of showcasing the misery Ben feels in the Dharma Initiative as he is trapped with his drunk, uncaring father with very little to actually look forward to. His life feels very sad and it's easy to understand why he would take control of his life and join up with the others.
I'm very pleased by the decision to give Ben a centric episode. This show has always used the first flashback episode of a character to surprise us and completely subvert what we already know about the character. This episode does that incredibly well by showing us a surprisingly relatable backstory for the main villain of the series. It changes the way we look at Ben and even gives us reason to believe that his assertion that the others are the "good guys" is genuine. He believes that what he is doing is actually justified. It's wonderful to see the show creating such a deep character as the main villain and I can certainly say that Ben is one of the stronger characters on the show at the moment.
The island story in this episode is very well done. The core of this episode focuses on the conflict between Ben and Locke which is as riveting as ever. Locke's return is a big shocker for Ben and immediately puts him in a place of discomfort as Locke has returned with a newfound confidence, demanding to be taken to Jacob and directly threatening Ben's credibility as a leader. Ben's discomfort is evident and so he agrees to take Locke to the cabin in a wonderful storyline. What makes this so good is that we can never be sure if we can actually trust Ben. Is Locke's interpretation of Ben accurate? Does he really not know anything? Is there even a Jacob? If there isn't a Jacob, then why is Ben taking out into the jungle? These questions drive the story forwards and ensure that there is always a hook during Locke and Ben's scenes together.
The actual relationship between Locke and Ben is explored very nicely in this episode. We know going into this episode that Ben feels threatened by Locke. He's jealous that Locke has what he does not, and he has already gone out of his way to humiliate him by asking Locke to murder his own father, something we now understand is exactly what Ben did to join the others all those years ago. Ben feels threatened by Locke's presence and does his best to keep Locke beneath him, trying to convince Locke that he has power, when in reality it seems like he doesn't. When Locke asks him about the island, he stalls, and when he does talk, he never reveals much of anything. It's very likely that Ben doesn't even know much about the island himself and that his actions in this episode are simply to manipulate Locke. But Locke sees through this and is hesitant to trust Ben the entire episode. They have a lovely dynamic and every conversation between them is electric. Then it all culminates in the brilliant final scene when Ben disposes of Locke the moment he gets a good chance to.
The episode also does a terrific job on the plot side of things. There are tons of great reveals here and a lot of questions are answered, and even more are brought up. We finally get to see the mysterious Jacob who has been mentioned many times in that cabin scene, and it was awesome, a brilliant blend of mystery, horror and suspense (see: Best Moment). There's also plenty revealed in Ben's flashbacks. We get to see the Dharma Initiative firsthand, and while we don't get to see much of their work, it's still fantastic to see them and get some background on their conflict with the others. We also finally learned what happened to the Dharma Initiative and how they were purged. This is all really significant plot development, and it's a joy to uncover this information.
The B story in this episode covers all the happenings back at the camp. There is more solid stuff here as the survivors act reasonably and actually communicate with each other. There's also some strong development on the Juliet storyline as Sayid and Sawyer inform everyone that she's a mole. Thankfully, the show avoids all the melodrama that could accompany this and judging by Jack's reveal that he has a plan, there is a much more interesting story that is about to be told.
The Bad: How did Roger's van move from where Ben left it? Hurley finds it in the middle of the jungle. Also, why didn't Roger simply get out of the car before Ben gassed him? He had plenty of time to save his own life.
The Unknown: Why did Ben have visions of his mom? How did she appear on the island? What are these visions? Do they have something to do with the visions of Christian and Yemi?
How did Ben become leader after he was taken in to the others? Also what's with Richard? He looks the same in the flashbacks. This could be chalked up to poor makeup, but Ben has an intriguing line about Richard not knowing birthdays which suggests that there may be more to this.
What happened to Annie? Did she die in the purge?
What's with the line of ash on the way to Jacob's cabin? What is this cabin anyways? Is Jacob actually real? Or was this all orchestrated by Ben somehow? Why couldn't Locke see Jacob? Why doesn't Jacob like technology? Why does he need Locke's help?
How does Locke survive getting shot? It seems unlikely that he'll die here.
What is Jack and Juliet's plan? What did they do while they were missing?
Are the whispers separate from the others? We see them signalling Emily's arrival in this episode and she evidently isn't involved with the others judging by Richard's reaction to Ben claiming he saw her. What is causing these whispers?
Best Moment: The scene in the cabin is outstanding drama. Once the cabin appears, we immediately begin to think that Ben may be telling the truth and that there is a Jacob. The scene is dramatic and suspenseful as we enter this creepy cabin. And then Ben starts talking to a chair, and it seems far more likely that he is manipulating Locke. And right when we doubt Jacob's existence, there's an immensely creepy "help me" line that completely shifts the tone of the scene. Then everything goes crazy for a moment in a wonderfully executed sequence, making for a surprisingly scary and dramatic scene.
Character of the Episode: Ben.
Conclusion: Another terrific episode. While it doesn't quite hit the highs of "The Brig", this one is arguably even more important because of its major reveals and the way it pulls back the curtain on Ben, making him one of the show's richer characters. This was an absolute blast and I'm very excited to see what's to come in the final 2 episodes of the season. I'm very impressed by the turnaround in quality after the season started so aimlessly.
Summary: Flashbacks show that Serac's brother Jean created Rehoboam to create a better world. The project was funded by Liam Sr. who was greedy and only in it for the financial benefit. Serac ended up confining his brother with all of the other people who Rehoboam deemed as threats to humanity. Serac kills Liam and stages his death to look like an accident. In the present, Dolores and Caleb travel with Liam to get away from Serac's men. Liam is hesitant to help them but when it becomes clear that Serac doesn't care about Liam's life, Liam gives them access to Rehoboam. Along the way, Caleb is injected with genre and the trio escape from Serac's men in a car chase. Dolores leaks Rehoboam's predictions for everyone's future to everyone in the world. With the balance towards chaos tipping, Serac is frustrated. Dolores and Caleb pick up Ash and Giggles for help. Liam is deemed useless and they debate what to do with him. Liam antagonizes Caleb, Ash and Giggles about their futures leading to Ash fatally shooting and killing Liam. Meanwhile, Martin is with Bernard and he leaks the information about Rehoboam at Dolores' request. When Serac videos in to find out what happened, Martin detonates a bomb, dying in the process. Bernard and Stubbs escape.
The Good: As ever, this show remains pretty beautiful to look at. There is a lot of creativity involved with the presentation of the show, and the show does carry an almost artistic feel from scene to scene. The heavy emphasis on slower shots, the futuristic environment, and the lovely score all give the show a visual beauty that most TV shows don't accomplish. Add in some terrific performances from the main cast, and nearly every scene provides something impressive to look at, even if there isn't very much substance. This show has always been impeccable with creating its cinematic feel and I think this episode is a great example of this. While the scenes with Serac weren't telling an incredible story by any means, I was still gripped by the acting. While the car chase sequence was pretty dull overall, the episode tried many new things, including showing us the effects of the party drug genre, to ensure that there was always something interesting going on visually.
It was nice to get a thorough backstory on Serac in this episode."Westworld" typically has had problems with keeping things too mysterious for too long, but here I'm pleased to say that they corrected that problem. It's important that we understand who Serac is and what he's about for his conflict with Dolores to mean anything. I thought his backstory was edited nicely into the episode and it did offer some interesting insights into his motives and why he is so motivated to ensure Rehoboam is a success. What I like most is that Serac isn't portrayed as purely villainous. In this episode, Dolores seems like more of a villain than he does. I appreciate that this show is blurring the lines between villains and heroes this season, even though it makes it hard to root for anybody, this does help the season feel unlike anything else on television right now. Furthermore, having the show not pick any sides makes its exploration of its themes feel more meaningful and open for interpretation.
Some other things pleased me about this episode. I thought that young Serac was perfectly cast and he did actually look like a younger Vincent Cassel. I thought the Martin and Bernard story was pretty solid as well. There wasn't anything too spectacular, but it did build to a lovely moment where Martin blew himself up and gave Serac yet another piece of bad news. The sequence of everyone getting their own profile leaked from Rehoboam was very well done and I appreciated the episode's emphasis on exploring this idea.
The Bad: Caleb's drug trip wasn't done as well as I had hoped. There were some neat bits of cinematography but I never really felt like Caleb was high on a drug. It all felt so artificial, almost like it was tacked on at the last minute. The drug also didn't have any effect on the story whatsoever which was underwhelming and made it feel like a useless addition to the episode. For an already bloated series, I don't want to be wasting time on things like this.
The Dolores/Liam/Caleb story wasn't interesting at all. There were no real storylines or conflicts for any of the characters and the whole thing was bland. The only character who had anything to do was Liam who had to debate between sticking with Serac or giving Dolores what she wants. The story wasn't any good because it was completely predictable and generic with no effort put in to make me get invested.
This issue exemplifies a much larger problem with this episode. Even though it was put together well enough and advanced the plot in interesting ways, I'm still struggling to really care about anything I'm watching. The characters are pretty bland, there aren't any interesting conflicts, and the action has no clear stakes. The show still feels as emotionally empty as the season premier. While myself and lots of other people had major issues with season 2, at least that season provided emotionally satisfying scenes, something that this season doesn't even attempt most of the time.
The Unknown: What did Liam see in Caleb's past? Who is he? What has he done? Why doesn't Caleb remember it? What were those flashes?
What's in the bag that Caleb got at the end of the episode?
How is the world going to react to the Rehoboam reveal? How will Serac fight against this?
Best Moment: Caleb's speech to Liam admonishing the entire concept of Rehoboam was the most emotionally resonant moment of the episode for me.
Character of the Episode: Serac.
Conclusion: This episode did a lot of things right, but the emotional emptiness I'm feeling is preventing me from fully enjoying anything this season is attempting. Once again I'm left feeling underwhelmed, and with just 3 episodes left to go, I'm not sure that this season has any chance of building up to a climax that will change that.
Summary: Jimmy eventually makes it back to Albuquerque, and Kim is relieved. Mike tells Jimmy to keep things quiet and lie about what happened. Jimmy pays the bail money and says he had car trouble. Nacho picks up Lalo who is ready to go back to Mexico. Jimmy returns to Kim and doesn't tell her about the shootings, but Kim find Jimmy's mug with a bullet hole in it. Eager to hide his PTSD from Kim, Jimmy goes back to work and finds it difficult to recover. Kim reflects on everything and decides to quit Schweikart & Cokely and pursue her pro bono work. Meanwhile, Mike informs Gus about what happened and Gus deduces that Bolsa sent out the attack to help protect Gus' business. Nacho drops Lalo off at the same border crossing but Lalo decides to stick around when he realizes that he didn't pass Jimmy's car and eventually finds it in a ditch with bullet holes in it. Lalo drops by Kim and Jimmy's place and interrogates Jimmy, asking him to tell the story of what happened over and over again. Mike watches over everything with a sniper. Jimmy is intimidated but Kim steps in and chastises Lalo for his sloppy operation. Lalo leaves and tells Nacho that he has a new plan and that they are going to Mexico.
The Good: What a terrific episode. The central theme of this one is obviously choices, more specifically bad choices. This episode is spent examining the consequences to Jimmy's choices, showing us how his involvement with the cartel has thrown his life into complete chaos. On the other hand, we get to see Kim making some bad decisions which will likely result in serious blowback, similar to what Jimmy is going through right now. The episode is gorgeously executed, exploring this theme in visually impressive ways with some outstanding pieces of editing.
Jimmy's dilemma is easy to understand. We saw what he went through and we understand what the problem is for him. He needs somebody to talk to about what he experienced, but having been given a reality check from Mike about involving Kim, he can't afford to go to her. The bulk of the episode is spent exploring this conflict inside of Jimmy. We can see him dealing with PTSD in numerous scenes and he is desperately searching for an escape, even going as far as to go to Mike for help with it. But nothing is helping, and his lies to Kim feel half-baked at best as he tries to will himself to leave her out of it, horrified of the consequences of bringing her into the criminal underworld. Their argument towards the end of the episode is a wonderful exploration of this idea. We can see Jimmy desperately trying to keep Kim distant to protect her, which is why he is so insistent that Kim stays with Mesa Verde. In a way, he's talking to his past self in this scene, trying so desperately to prevent Kim from making the same horrible mistake he made, trying to keep her out of this life. Because he knows better than anyone right now that becoming a friend of the cartel was a significant mistake, one that he can never undo.
But unfortunately for Jimmy, Kim has already made her choice. We've seen Kim's appreciation for Jimmy's cons since the beginning of the show, going all the way back to Jimmy's billboard stunt in "Hero". She started off completely opposed to going against the law, but as she spent more time with Jimmy, she grew more and more attached to the life of scheming and conning. If she was going to exit this world, she would have done so back in "Wexler v. Goodman", but instead she married Jimmy. She has made the same mistake that Jimmy did, walking into the morally questionable world with open arms, and it's already too late for her to go back. Her meeting Lalo and quitting Mesa Verde is just putting the nail in the coffin. And I pray that this won't end up being a literal metaphor for Kim. She has been the heart of the entire series, and one of the main hooks of the show is hoping against all logic that somehow there is a way out of the incoming tragedy for Kim. But as the show has progressed, the threat has become more and more real. At first it was just a fear of Kim being heartbroken, but now I am genuinely concerned for her life.
This episode legitimately made me think that Kim may die, which is an amazing accomplishment. Despite this being a prequel, I did not have any idea what was going to happen in the final 15 minutes of this episode, and that gave me some of the absolute best tension-based drama I have ever seen, up there with some of the most brilliant moments of "Breaking Bad". With Kim quitting Mesa Verde and dedicating everything to Jimmy, this felt like it could be the end of her character arc. There was very real suspense in the final sequence, and that made the whole thing so much more visceral than I thought it would have been.
The build up for the final 15 minutes is tremendously well done. Jimmy begins the episode cooking up lies for everyone, and yet nobody ends up believing it. There are always holes (literally), and both Kim and Lalo are able to see through them quite easily. The basis of these two lies is crucial for the final scene to work as well as it does, so these lies needed to be established and seen through in a logical fashion. And the writers absolutely nail that aspect. Kim stumbling upon the mug with the bullet holes makes perfect sense as the mug would be the least of Jimmy's concerns after what he went through. And Kim not telling Jimmy anything fits with what we know of her. She is genuinely scared about what he has to say, but she isn't able to forget about it and tries to gently prod him into telling her. Lalo on the other hand also gets some nice development. We see him prepare to go back to Mexico, but one last visit with the poor, helpless Hector neatly demonstrates why Lalo really does not want to leave. Does he really want to leave his uncle in the hands of Gus Fring? And so Lalo is hunting for any reason to stay in New Mexico, and he gets his reason when he starts thinking about Jimmy's story. After a little investigating, he quickly finds some concerning evidence, and now the stage is set for a nail-biting final confrontation, a life-or-death interrogation scene in which everybody has pieces of the puzzle, but nobody can see the clear picture. The question quickly becomes what pieces are going to be revealed, and who is going to be hurt/killed in the ensuing chaos.
The sequence in the apartment executes this suspense masterfully. The scene starts out as an argument between Jimmy and Kim and it makes you think that the argument is going to play a significant part in the climax of the episode. But then Jimmy keeps getting phone calls and it's clear that something is about to happen. The there's a knock on the door and Jimmy picks up a call from a desperate Mike, who is desperately trying to get to Kim's apartment before things go too badly. It's Lalo at the door and the stakes of the scene are immediately apparent. Tony Dalton puts in a tremendous performance here and Lalo is terrifying to watch as he pokes around like he owns the place, even going as far as to terrorize Jimmy's fish. The scene is so frightening because of its implications. The last 2 episodes saw the wall go down between the legal world and the criminal underworld, the wall that had been established since season 2. And in this episode we get to see elements from both sides mix together and interact. Lalo feels like an invader in this scene, and the clear-cut boundaries between the two worlds of this show are no more. The entire time I've watched this series, I was looking forward to seeing how both worlds would eventually come together. I didn't think that it would be so well done that I would find myself yearning for both worlds to be separate once again so that Kim would no longer be in such danger. This fear added so much to the suspense in the interrogation. The fear, mixed with the sense that Kim's life is in danger, mixed with the lies that established the foundation of this interrogation, led to a scene that had nail-biting tension. What's more, this scene managed to maintain that tension for 15 minutes, which felt like an absolute eternity (in a good way).
The resolution of the scene was also perfectly done. Jimmy is evidently shaken, and he isn't capable of making stories like he usually is. His fear is palpable and it's causing him to stop working. And so Kim steps in, and she tells Lalo off the way that she may deal with anyone else in her world. It's an outstanding character moment that both amps up the tension and shows us how largely out of her depth Kim would be if she were to get involved in the criminal underworld. Luckily for her, Lalo didn't do anything stupid, but who knows what Kim will get mixed up in next.
There were a few smaller things that made this episode even better. The score throughout the episode was fantastic and built dread in a wonderfully subtle way. The opening montage was a terrific callback to "Something Stupid" and was also quite rich in symbolism, going as far as to show us a wall being broken down with Kim covering both sides of the screen by the end of the sequence, symbolic of how Kim is now part of both halves of the show. I do like the reveal that Bolsa sent the men to take Lalo's money. I wonder how this will play into the overall arc of the story, but it does complicate the cartel drama which is becoming more and more prevalent as the show goes on. Lastly, I liked seeing Mike stand up for Nacho, who is unfortunately finding himself more and more trapped in his current life. Here Nacho gets a moment of bliss when it seems like Lalo is finally out of his hair, but it's a literal moment as Lalo quickly returns and Nacho now finds himself taking a drive to Mexico. At least Mike is on his side, but Gus isn't relenting about keeping Nacho as his guy. Mike even tells Gus a version of the iconic "fear" line from "Breaking Bad", which raises a very interesting question (see: The Unknown).
The Bad: Nothing.
The Unknown: How does Gus come to believe that fear is not an effective motivator? Does his affiliation with Nacho backfire somehow? What does this mean for Nacho?
What are Jimmy and Kim going to do next? How will they react to Lalo's interrogation? Will Jimmy end up telling Kim the truth?
Will we be seeing Tuco again? It's mentioned that he will be out of prison in about a year.
What is Lalo planning to do now? Why is he going to Mexico?
Best Moment: Everything in the final 15 minutes. Simply spectacular television.
Character of the Episode: Kim.
Conclusion: Another outstanding episode. This season started patiently, but these last 4 episodes have been incredible with some of the best character writing and drama the show has put out. This episode was a masterclass in tension and it provided what I think is the most memorable sequence of the entire series. I wasn't sure how the show was possibly going to be able to follow "Bagman", but this was a near-perfect follow-up that has me extremely excited for whatever is going to happen in the season finale. So far, this season is looking like it could very well be an all-time classic.
Just a university student who loves to watch TV. And criticize it like hell.