Summary: In flashbacks, Claire is in a car accident that leaves her mom in a coma where she may never wake up. She meets her father, Christian, who had been paying all of the medical bills. Claire sends him away but Christian tells her not to keep her mom alive out of guilt. Many years later, Claire's mom is still in a coma and Claire apologizes for everything. On the island, Claire sees birds that are tagged and plans to catch one to send an SOS message. Desmond, having seen Charlie dying because of these birds, prevents this. Claire follows Desmond and forces him to explain everything to her and he does. Claire sends out a message with a bird caught by Desmond. Meanwhile, Locke, Kate, Sayid, Rousseau and Mikhail reach a sonar fence encircling the barracks. After Mikhail threatens to reveal Locke's paralysis, Locke sends him into the sonar fence, killing him. Sayid discovers that Locke smuggled C4 out of The Flame. The group climbs over the fence and reach the barracks where they see Jack playing football with Tom.
The Good: Everything surrounding Locke and co. was the strongest stuff in the episode. The drama was engaging, and it was more than enough to overcome the fact that there wasn't very much character exploration done in the storyline. Mikhail's presence added a lot, particularly during the scene where Kate started quizzing him. Just like last episode, it was fascinating hearing what Mikhail has to say, and he offered us some very interesting insight about the others. Additionally, it was very interesting to see Locke's behaviour. Evidently, he seems to be following his own agenda and I have no idea what that is. I'm excited to find out what he's up to, and I think there's a lot of potential for strong character conflict if Locke continues to work on his own, away from Sayid and Kate's attempt to save Jack.
Claire's story was fine. I was pretty happy to see somebody making a conscious effort to find a way off of the island, and I wish that the show explored the idea of trying to get off the island more often than it does. It was good to have Claire learn that Charlie is destined to die as I think this prevents a lot of more melodramatic stuff later in the season.
The flashback story was good as well. Claire has always been the least interesting of the main cast, mainly because her character has hardly been explored. Here we finally delve into her backstory and we're given a nice story of Claire learning to come to terms with her own mistakes. Furthermore, we're actually given a good reason for Claire's poor treatment of Charlie last season. We learn that her father abandoned her, and adding on how Thomas abandoned her back in "Raised by Another", it's easy to determine that Claire has trust issues and likely finds it easy to believe that the men in her life would betray her, even if they haven't actually done so.
The Christian twist works very well. We now know who Christian was visiting back in "Two for the Road", and we also know that Jack and Claire are half-siblings. This is an interesting twist as I'm uncertain about its significance to the story. It seems like more of a character detail for both Jack and Claire, knowing that they are connected through Christian. I imagine that this connection could be explored in an interesting way, particularly for Jack who would be forced to deal with even more turmoil from his father's messy life.
The cliffhanger was pretty effective. It should be interesting to catch up with Jack and see how his feelings for the others have changed since we last saw him.
The Bad: Did Desmond have to be so needlessly vague and ominous throughout the episode? He should have just told Charlie not to go bird hunting or he would die, and that could have solved so many of the episode's conflicts. Instead Desmond loses the ability to communicate normally so that the episode could have drama. No scene encapsulates this more than when Desmond explains to Claire that Charlie died after falling and breaking his neck. Why on earth would he tell her about his visions like this? This is so much more likely to cause her to panic, and it's done exclusively so that the episode could be more dramatic. Dialing the drama up to 11 and sacrificing any sense of immersion is a common problem of this episode.
It's obvious that the birds won't lead to a rescue, so any drama centering around them doesn't work. The reading of the letter is another scene that didn't work for me because it didn't sound real and was overly dramatic in an attempt to make the episode more powerful. The letter should have been much shorter than it was, and surely there was more important information to write about instead of talking about what life is like on the island.
Mikhail being interrupted right when he was about to reveal Locke's paralysis was very cliched. Furthermore, it made no sense that Sayid wouldn't inquire more about what Mikhail was saying, regardless of what Rousseau wanted to show them.
The Unknown: Why isn't Kate capable of understanding why the others want to stay on the island? Why isn't she on the list? Is this the same list that Danny mentioned?
Who is the magnificent man? Is it Jacob, who has been mentioned a few times before?
Apparently the others can't return to the island now because the beacon has been shut down. Do they have any way of fixing this? How badly have they been impacted by being isolated from the outside world?
What is Locke planning to do with the C4?
Will Kate and Jack find out that they are half-siblings? What impact will this have on the story?
Best Moment: Mikhail answering Kate's questions was a wonderful way to spoon-feed us more mystery, while also setting up conflict for the characters.
Character of the Episode: Claire.
Conclusion: This was a solid episode. There isn't anything particularly special and the excessive drama makes this feel like a pretty generic episode, but it's an easy watch.
Summary: In flashbacks, Sayid is apprehended by a man named Sami, who claims that he tortured his wife Amira. Sayid denies it out of self preservation and is beaten for it. Amira speaks with him alone and asks him to admit what he did. Sayid does and Amira chooses to forgive him and lets him go. On the island, Sayid, Locke, Kate and Rousseau follow the bearing and find a Dharma station called The Flame. They see the eyepatch man and head in to investigate. His name is Mikhail and he claims to be the last member of the Dharma Initiative. Sayid interrogates him and quickly determines that he's lying and is an other. He also determines that he's not alone. Kate and Sayid knock him out and investigate the station. Locke gets really interested in a computer chess game and Mikhail takes control of the situation while he's distracted. Sayid and Kate find and capture Bea in the station. In a confrontation with Mikhail, Bea convinces him to kill her which he does. Mikhail is taken captive. Sayid finds an electrical diagram showing a place called the barracks and decides to head there. Locke beats the chess game and accidentally causes The Flame to self-destruct. Meanwhile, Hurley beats Sawyer at ping pong, banning him from using nicknames for a week.
The Good: Finally, plot movement! I normally stand by the fact that character and story is more important than plot movement. But for "Lost", the show's best character work and storytelling always comes when there is interesting plot movement. So the return to relevant storytelling after two dull episodes is a breath of fresh air, and it gives the story some momentum again.
The scenes in The Flame were fantastic to watch. This show does a wonderful job of getting the watcher intrigued and invested whenever there is some mystery to explore. I had my eyes peeled when Sayid, Kate and Locke were poking around The Flame, and I was analyzing every word said by Mikhail in an effort to get some answers and discover who this mysterious guy actually is. Sayid's interrogation was a joy to watch, filled with suspense and mystery. With every conversation, the tension was ramped up as it became clear that Mikhail wasn't who he said he was. The scenes had an almost Tarantino-esque vibe at times and built up towards a tremendous climax as Sayid and Mikhail get into a brutal fight. This episode was certainly the most action-packed of the season thus far, and it used suspense and action perfectly to tell the story.
The character beats were also done really well. Sayid's use of logic was superb and he came off as even more smart and realistic than usual. The writers were at their absolute best with Sayid in this episode. Locke playing the chess game also fit with what we knew about the character and his love for games.
I was also quite pleased by the amount of answers and background info we got in this episode. We learn where the submarine came from, we get hints about a mysterious purge that wiped out the Dharma Initiative (see: The Unknown), and we even find out what the cable going out into the ocean is for. This episode gave out these answers organically without ever giving us heaps of exposition, once again exemplifying how well written this was.
The flashbacks also told a really powerful story. Despite not being essential to Sayid's character (see: The Bad), the flashbacks were a joy to watch. The story of guilt and forgiveness is new territory for "Lost" to explore, and it does a terrific job. The performances were tremendous, and I was particularly moved by Amira's speech about forgiveness towards the end of the episode.
The B-story is good fun and it's the perfect place to put the Hurley/Sawyer comedy stuff.
The Bad: The flashbacks and B-story aren't important at all unfortunately. They exist only to kill time, and while they are fun, they never have as much drive or engagement as the main storyline.
The Unknown: What was the Dharma Initiative purge? What's the full story behind this conflict? Why did the others wipe them out? How did they wipe them out?
Why was Bea so willing to die in order to protect the others' secrets? How important is the others' work? What are they actually doing on the island? Why would Bea go to such extremes in order to protect her community?
Best Moment: I'll go with one of the Sayid/Kate/Mikhail scenes. Sayid just explained to Kate that Mikhail is an other and most certainly isn't alone. The ensuing scene is tense and dramatic as Sayid and Kate play normally, quizzing Mikhail gently to see if he gives anything up. Then things slowly escalate until everything explodes in a great action scene. The sequence delivered some of the best tension-based drama in the entire series.
Character of the Episode: Sayid.
Conclusion: This was a fantastic episode that got "Lost" back on track. This season has been inconsistent, similar to season 2, but thankfully it's still more than capable of creating some superb drama.
Summary: Flashbacks show that Hurley's father left when he was a kid. After Hurley wins the lottery, he returns and Hurley is upset by it. His dad tries to make things right for Hurley but Hurley doesn't give him the chance. On the island, Hurley discovers a Dharma van in the jungle and vows to get it running. Jin goes to help him. Kate and Sawyer return to camp. Sawyer ends up helping Hurley and Jin with the van. Kate goes into the jungle to find Rousseau to plan a way to bring Jack back. Hurley gets the moping Charlie to join him as they try to force the van to start. It works and everybody celebrates.
The Good: The best thing I can say about this episode is that it was entertaining. There is a lot of humour here and most of it is actually really good. Hurley is a really fun character who is almost impossible to dislike. The lightheartedness that results from the focus on Hurley makes this episode a joy to watch across both the island and flashback stories.
The deterioration of Kate and Sawyer's romance continued from last episode and it felt a lot more final in this episode. It was quite sad to see them drift apart, and over practically nothing. The acting from Josh Holloway and Evangeline Lilly was as great as ever and I felt the impact of their split.
The Bad: Unfortunately this was in no way a good episode. Following a filler episode, we get what is essentially another filler episode. Nothing of importance happens here outside of Kate and Sawyer returning to the camp, and that's not even the central focus of the episode. To put it bluntly, this whole episode felt like a waste of time and it didn't tackle any sort of interesting themes, character development, or plot movement.
The deeper exploration of Hurley's character didn't work at all. Now, just like many other characters, Hurley has been given the case of daddy issues. His problems aren't particularly interesting, and they are worse off because it has taken nearly 3 seasons to unveil this detail about Hurley. His relationship with his father has never been important to Hurley and it simply feels tacked on in an attempt to inject some emotion into the episode. Furthermore, the themes about making your own luck are hammered on too hard and are explored with far less subtlety than they were in "Numbers".
Kate and Sawyer's return ended up being a major anticlimax. We got the happy reunion scene which was fine, but nobody asked anything about the others. In what world would Kate and Sawyer not be expected to provide information to everyone? I was stunned at how they were both allowed to simply wander off in the jungle without providing any help. Additionally, I was surprised to see that Locke and Sayid still hadn't followed up on the hint that Locke found back in "I Do". They were both talking about immediately doing something, yet here they are 4 episodes later having done absolutely nothing. It's very odd storytelling, and I find it absurd that Locke agrees with Kate about them having no motivation, despite him making it clear that getting Jack, Kate and Sawyer back would be a top priority back in "Further Instructions". The storytelling is odd and makes no sense.
Another case of the survivors acting strangely is when nobody shows any interest in checking out the Dharma van. Why wouldn't they want to learn more about the island technology? Perhaps there is information that would help them, or something else valuable to find. The fact that nobody showed even the slightest bit of interest is unrealistic.
The scene with Hurley and Charlie in the car as it goes down the hill was shot extremely poorly. It was hard to determine how far the car was from the rocks and there were several moments where it looked like the car was right about to hit the rocks despite it apparently being extremely far away. Additionally, do they have to turn the car on to swerve away from the rocks? Just turn the damn steering wheel.
The Unknown: Who was Roger? Why is there a Dharma van on the island? Were there roads on the island at some point? Are there other Dharma settlements?
Best Moment: The comedy was really the best part of the episode, and the funniest scene was Hurley's mom covering Jesus' ears and telling Hurley "I have needs". As poorly executed as this episode was, I can't deny that it was hilarious.
Character of the Episode: Hurley.
Conclusion: This was another meaningless filler episode. But thankfully, unlike the last episode, this one wasn't boring and it at least had some great comedy going for it. Granted, that's not enough to give this episode a passing score, but it was at least pretty funny. Outside of that, the poor pacing of this season continues and the follow-up to "Flashes Before Your Eyes" has been atrocious so far.
Summary: In flashbacks, Jack meets a woman named Achara in Thailand. He is too insistent on learning more about her and follows her, forcing her to "mark" him which gives him his tattoos. Jack is hated for this and Achara's friends force him to leave Thailand. On the island, Kate, Sawyer and Karl reach the main island. Kate and Sawyer fight as Kate feels guilty for sleeping with him. Karl leaves them to go back to Alex. Meanwhile, Jack is moved to the cages to accommodate Juliet who is being punished for killing Danny. The plan is to execute her but Alex frees Jack who goes to Ben and cuts a deal to spare Juliet. The others pack up and leave for the main island since their position is now compromised.
The Good: Jack has some pretty solid moments here. Matthew Fox has been consistently great as Jack and that continues here. Jack gets some very good moments expressing his frustrations to everyone. His back-talk to Tom is very good, and it's nice to see somebody calling out the others for having the gall to act like good people after what they have done. Another great scene was when Cindy arrived and asked Jack about Ana Lucia. Fittingly, Jack flips out and snaps at everyone, frustrated by the gall of the others.
It was nice to get more information from Karl about the others. I do wish that he had spent more time with the survivors to give us more insight on how the others operate, but if we learn this stuff later then there is no problem here.
The Bad: This episode is an incredible waste of time. Hardly anything of importance happens here, and the whole episode is both slow and boring. There really isn't much to talk about because not much even happens.
The flashbacks are also a waste of time. We learn nothing new about Jack here. We already know that he's a stubborn prick sometimes, so getting yet another case of him acting like this is underwhelming. Furthermore, the characters aren't interesting at all and there is no drama produced int he flashbacks. Learning about Jack's tattoos is hardly essential to the story and it feels similarly superfluous to Kate's marriage from "I Do".
The island plot is also pretty bad. The investigation on Juliet produces no drama whatsoever, and it's hurt by the fact that we still know next to nothing about how the others operate. We aren't able to understand how serious Juliet's offense is, and it doesn't help that nobody seems to be particularly upset about what happened. We have no stakes or context to get us immersed in the plot, so why should we care? The show tries to draw parallels between Jack and Juliet as both of them get marked, but there isn't anything significant enough to make these comparisons feel worthwhile. The attempted character dynamics of this episode fall horribly flat.
If Ethan was the others' surgeon, why the hell did they risk his life instead of sending somebody more expendable? This makes the others look like morons for risking the life of their only surgeon, especially knowing that Ben had a tumour.
The Unknown: The others have a sheriff apparently. Why? Is this how they solve infighting issues? What else does the sheriff do?
What does it mean to get marked? What's the significance of Juliet's new mark?
Is the home that the others are going to the village that we saw back in "A Tale of Two Cities"?
Best Moment: Cindy and the kids appear to Jack and it's the first time we have seen them in ages. Surprisingly enough, they seem to have been treated well and assimilated amongst the others. Emma asks Cindy to ask about Ana Lucia and she does. Angry, Jack snaps at them and shouts for them to leave him alone. It's a well-acted scene that is the closest to drama that this episode gets.
Character of the Episode: Jack.
Conclusion: This was a failure of an episode. It was slow, boring, and provided very little of interest to think about. A filler episode if I've ever seen one.
Summary: Locke, Sayid and Desmond tell Charlie and Hurley what happened to Eko. Desmond suddenly runs off and saves a drowning Claire. Confused how Desmond knew she was in the water, Charlie and Hurley get Desmond drunk in an attempt to get answers from him. Desmond recalls what happened when he turned the key. He went back in time when he was living with Penny. He relives his life and realizes that he remembers everything that happened and that he has somehow time traveled. Attempting to correct his mistakes, Desmond decides to ask Penny to marry him but a mysterious woman tells him that he is supposed to leave her. Desmond resists but eventually gives in, thinking he is crazy. When he realizes he isn't crazy, Desmond is knocked out and sent back to the present. Desmond tells Charlie that he has continually had flashes of the future since then and that he has been seeing Charlie's death. Desmond can try to hold it off, but eventually Charlie is going to die.
The Good: The format break once again does wonders for "Lost". This episode is a spectacular standalone experience that works both as a piece of the overall story and as its own thing, similar to "The Other 48 Days". It worked extraordinarily well in that episode, and it does so here too.
The plot is the most fantastical and complex that this show has ever been. The introduction of time travel to this story is wholly unexpected, but it works tremendously well since the show doesn't go too far with it and establishes a simple rule (the universe course-corrects) to ensure that things make sense. The mysterious nature of what's happening to Desmond is conveyed excellently throughout the flashbacks as Desmond has bursts of memories from the future which interrupt some fairly important conversations with Penny and Widmore. It's an effective way to keep us in suspense without taking away from the emotional importance of each of these scenes. Then when Desmond meets Charlie in another excellent scene, the story blows up and suddenly we are immersed into a time travel epic. The build up is superb, and I'm impressed at how much care was put into providing the viewers with a logical flow of information to prevent any confusion. Moments like the Charlie scene do this perfectly without ever feeling expository. Despite such a complex story, things always make sense and the stakes are always clear.
Then we get to the emotional core of this episode which surrounds Desmond's decision to leave Penny because of his own cowardice. This story is a really powerful one, and it's a logical continuation of Desmond's character arc after what we learned about him back in "Live Together, Die Alone". Here we focus on the pivotal decision in his life that led to him coming to the island. Desmond's inner conflict is presented in logical fashion, and we can see both sides of the coin. We are given ample reason for him to propose to Penny, but then we also understand his doubts which pop up in outstanding scenes with Widmore and the mysterious exposition lady who shows up in the back half of the episode (see: The Unknown and The Bad). In the end, Desmond chooses for the second time to leave Penny. And by the time he realizes his mistake it's tragically too late for him to make amends (see: Best Moment).
The opening scene with Locke and Sayid was another case of the show giving us some satisfying leadership. I liked that Locke pulled over Hurley and Charlie because he planned to tell everyone what happened to Eko instead of keeping it a secret.
The Bad: The mysterious exposition lady was a wonderful addition to the episode, and provided a wonderful surprise. However, there are some big problems stemming from her introduction. It's going to be very tough for the writers to answer this character's existence and how she knows everything, and I'm not certain that the writers have any intention of answering this. If we never see this lady again, or if the provided answer isn't satisfying, it will make this episode feel weaker.
Claire would have died in the time it would have taken Charlie to notice she's drowning, get in the water and save her. How would he have noticed anyways if she was already unconscious and needed CPR? It's a sloppy bit of writing.
The Unknown: How and why did Desmond get a time traveling experience? Is this somehow linked to the visions he is getting of the future?
How does the universe course-correct? Is this a confirmation that fate does exist in this show?
Who is the mysterious exposition lady? How does she know all of this information? How does she know who Desmond is? Why is she working in a jewelry store? Just, who the hell is she?
Is Charlie destined to die then? What does this mean for his story? How long will it be until he dies? Can it somehow be prevented?
Best Moment: Right after deciding to go back to Penny to fix his mistake, Desmond gets knocked out by Jimmy Lennon. Once he wakes up on the island he realizes that he missed his chance, and upon finding the picture of him and Penny, he begs the world to give him another chance to do things right. It's a really powerful moment that is easy to empathize with, and it provides the strongest emotional beat of the episode.
Character of the Episode: Desmond.
Conclusion: Finally season 3 returns to form with a tremendous effort. This episode was unique, memorable, dramatic and poignant. Everything went together smoothly, resulting in an episode that not only delivers a fantastic experience, but also takes the series in a new direction.
Summary: In flashbacks, Juliet is a researches who is running a secret experiment on her sister in an attempt to get her pregnant. Juliet's horrible ex-husband Ed finds out and forces his way in to reap the rewards. Juliet gets a job opportunity from Mittelos Bioscience (the others) but refuses them because of Ed. Ed is hit by a bus and killed and Juliet takes the job offer. On the island, Juliet sends everyone to bring back Kate and Sawyer, revealing to Jack that they are on a different island. In turn, Jack reveals that Juliet plotted to kill Ben. Kate and Sawyer are attacked by Danny but Alex helps them escape. After a quick stop to save Karl, Alex takes them to a boat. Ben wakes up during surgery and tells Juliet to ensure that Kate and Sawyer escape, promising that she can leave the island in exchange. Jack works to complete the surgery. Kate contacts him and tells him the story from "Pilot Part 1". Jack completes the story and Sawyer, Kate and Karl escape.
The Good: This episode felt refreshing in a lot of ways. From the start, this proved to be a return to form as we were treated to a surprising opening scene that presented a twist similar to the season's opening twist. We see Juliet going about her life on the island (we even see Ethan!) and many questions are raised on what her purpose on the island is. But then we get the shock twist that we were watching Miami all along. It's an effective opening scene that gives us the pleasant reveal that we would be seeing what Juliet's life was before the island, promising a return to the mysterious storytelling that made this show so good.
And that's exactly what we got. Juliet's flashbacks were great television. It's an effective surprise to see this cheerful and openly emotional Juliet in comparison to the cold, stoic and intimidating woman that we met on the island. It's clear that her time with the others has changed her completely and this episode lays the foundation for another episode down the line showcasing Juliet's transformation. But that's not to say that this was exclusively a set-up episode fro Juliet's character. She has been a complete mystery thus far, so learning more of her background is essential for the story. This episode builds up to the reveal that Juliet wants to leave the island just as badly as Jack and we can now see why that is. She left her sister behind to take on this job, so she has something back in the rest of the world that she needs to get back to.
Furthermore, the flashbacks also serve to add more mystery to the others. We see Ethan off the island following and gathering information on Juliet. It's evident that they are far more resourceful and dangerous than what we have seen on the island which is refreshing to see. The portrayal of the others in the flashbacks is much more reminiscent of how they were portrayed back in season 2: intimidating, resourceful and scary. The plot point of Ed getting run over by a bus only for Mr. Alpert and Ethan to extend the offer to Juliet again conveyed all of these traits perfectly.
On the island the story was pretty solid. As expected, this episode served to be a dramatic escape episode following last episode's sudden cliffhanger. There isn't too much to say about it other than the fact that there was some solid drama inserted into the episode. Some highlights included the mysterious brainwashing room (see: The Unknown), the tense chase sequences with Danny, and the emotional high point of Kate telling Jack the story from"Pilot Part 1" as he rushes to stitch up Ben and save his life.
The Bad: The start of the episode continued exactly where we left off in terms of the incompetence of the others. Sawyer and Kate easily overpowered Danny, making me question if Jack's call was even necessary to initiate an escape anyways. Danny and the others come off as absurdly weak after this (though I can't deny that Sawyer giving Danny an electric shock was immensely satisfying).
Most of my gripes come from individual moments that didn't work for me rather than problems with the story as a whole. Kate threatening to shoot Aldo's kneecaps was a weird moment because we hadn't seen this side of Kate ever before on the island. Had the show been more consistent at portraying Kate's role as a fugitive, this would have worked much better. Another weird moment is Ben waking up during the surgery. It's absurd to think that this would happen and it comes off as an unnecessary way to manufacture more drama. Juliet outright murdering Danny is another strange moment. Surely this should be a bigger deal than it was treated as. I mean, she just killed one of her own people for pretty much no reason (just shoot his leg or something!). Lastly, the writers went out of there way to go to unreasonable lengths to portray Ed as an asshole. Having him call his mother insufferable was a step too far for me.
The Unknown: What's the history between Juliet and Ben that Tom alluded to?
What is the brainwashing room? Why was Karl in there? Is this the same room that was referenced back in "Three Minutes"? Who is Jacob? We see his name come up again in the brainwashing room. Is he some sort of deity that the others worship?
Did the others somehow organize Ed's death? How did they do that? How much power do they have off of the island?
Ben has seemingly adopted Alex as his daughter. Does she know that he's not her real father? What is their relationship like?
Best Moment: The opening scene was wonderful.
Character of the Episode: Juliet.
Conclusion: This was really good stuff. Juliet is an interesting new character, and centering an episode around her led to a compelling story in the flashbacks mixed with a dramatic on-island story. This isn't yet "Lost" at its best, but with Kate and Sawyer out of captivity, hopefully the story can move in an interesting new direction.
Summary: In flashbacks, Kate falls in love with a man named Kevin and marries him, hiding her identity as a criminal. She tries to make the relationship work, but she realizes it's doomed and ends up leaving him. On the island, Locke sees a message as he buries Eko and plans the group's next move. At the Hydra, Danny lets Kate know that Sawyer is going to die. The others take Kate to visit Jack and she tells him to do the procedure or else they will kill Sawyer. Jack still stubbornly refuses. Upset that Sawyer is on borrowed time, Kate goes over to him and they have sex. Jack manages to escape his imprisonment and sees Kate and Sawyer on the TVs. He decides to do the operation on Ben. As Jack starts the operation, Danny goes to the cages to kill Sawyer.
The Good: On the surface, this is a very good story. The emotions that stem from our investment in the Jack/Kate/Sawyer relationships carry the episode. After two full seasons, we understand the relationships between these three characters, and it is easy to root for them to escape and find a way out of captivity. Furthermore, the acting from all three is superb. The performances are very strong, and a number of scenes are really brought to life because I'm able to connect to the emotions that are being expressed. Some highlights include Kate's conversation with Jack, Kate and Sawyer arguing and ultimately having sex, and also Jack's reaction to seeing Kate and Sawyer together. These moments were done very well, and made the episode quite enjoyable.
The climax of the episode is very engaging. The tension amps up naturally throughout the episode until Jack actually starts the surgery. What makes this so good is the sheer amount of things that are going on. Ben's life has been put into Jack's hands, and he has the motivation to do a lot of different things (save Ben, kill Ben, do something else entirely). The unpredictability gives this episode a lot of extra drama, making up for the fact that Ben is unlikely to die. Also adding to the drama is the situation between Danny and Sawyer. With this episode serving as a midseason finale of sorts, there is a nagging sense that Sawyer may die which adds even more drama to an already exciting climax. Things heat up to an extreme amount by the episode's end, and then we are left with a stunning cliffhanger in the middle of the surgery. Ordinarily, I would be appalled by cliffhangers like this, but I think this one works. The story of this episode does feel completed, and I get the sense that there is a lot more to Ben's surgery that is being saved for the next episode. Furthermore, instead of feeling cheated by the sudden end to the episode, I felt satisfied. Jack has essentially secured an escape for Kate and Sawyer, so the next episode will likely focus on their actual escape. And hopefully that can be just as exciting to watch.
Some other things were very good. I loved Sayid and Locke's conversation. It makes perfect sense that Sayid wouldn't easily submit to Locke's lies, and it was also refreshing to hear Locke openly tell his plan to Sayid instead of keeping meaningless secrets. I wish that more time could be spent with Locke and Sayid this season since there has been some interesting developments on the main island. The flashbacks saw the return of Edward Mars, which is always welcome. Fredric Lehne is a joy to watch in the role.
The Bad: Unfortunately two big problems heavily detract from this episode, and they are the same two problems that have hurt this season the most so far. The first is that the flashbacks are hugely underwhelming. We finally learn about Kate's marriage that was hinted at back in "Outlaws", and unfortunately it doesn't do a whole lot. Once again we see that Kate has a penchant for running away, but we knew that already. There really isn't anything special about these flashbacks and the story is really dull. Furthermore, the romance between Kate and Kevin isn't fleshed out at all and I don't understand why they love each other. The most important part of these flashbacks should be to explore Kate being in love, so it could tie in to her love for Jack and Sawyer on the island, but the episode doesn't even attempt to explore this.
The other major issue is the portrayal of the others who continue to look woefully incompetent. All they have done so far in this season is senseless mind games, which have now become utterly pointless since Jack discovered the plan anyways. Furthermore, Ben is on extremely borrowed time so it seems absurd that he would waste his precious time on playing mind games when he could simply put a gun to Kate's head and get Jack to do the surgery. Outside of this worrying plot hole, there's Alex's unexplained role in the others' society. What is her purpose there and why is she allowed to do whatever she wants when she is seemingly just a loose cannon? It screams disorganization and it diminishes the threat of the others. Furthermore, Alex's escape attempt in this episode would have fit in with any typical bland drama. Additionally, Ben looks horribly incompetent as a leader since Juliet is openly plotting against him, and now Danny goes strictly against his orders to kill Sawyer. Why is Danny in such a powerful position if he is capable of flying off the handle so suddenly? He doesn't fit with the strict organization of the others at all.
This episode does feel more melodramatic than the usual from "Lost". This show has made its mark by being unpredictable and different. With an episode that conforms more to your average TV show, "Lost" is no longer playing to its strengths and that hurts the show's ability to reach the heights that it has reached before.
The Unknown: What's Alex's role as part of the others? What is her relationship to Ben? Why did they kill her boyfriend?
What does the John 3:05 message mean? Where is Locke being led now?
Who is Jacob and what is his list? Why wasn't Jack on it? Is Danny referring to the lists from "The Other 48 Days"?
Will Kate and Sawyer somehow get away? How will they get off the island? What happens to Jack now that he's acted out? Will he still be allowed to leave the island afterwards? Were they going to allow him to leave anyways?
Best Moment: The Jack and Kate scene resonated the most with me. They both haven't interacted at all this season, so their reunion is an emotional moment. They are both evidently concerned for each other, and extremely happy to see each other. The performances from both are outstanding. Kate is clearly hurting because she doesn't want anybody to die, while Jack is as frustrated as ever when he realizes that the others have broken Kate. It's unforgivable for him and the anger is evident on his face. This scene helps make Jack's decision to hijack the surgery (ordinarily an out-of-character moment) make total sense.
Character of the Episode: Kate. Evangeline Lilly gave her best performance of the show here.
Conclusion: This episode did a lot of things right, and on the surface this is great stuff with an emotional core to it. But when you look under the surface towards the poor handling of the others and the underwhelming flashbacks, this episode doesn't hold up nearly as well. It's an effective episode but it's still far from "Lost" at its best.
Summary: Flashbacks show Eko returning to Yemi's village to take up his job as a priest. Eko doesn't fit in and comes face to face with a group of people who take 80% of the vaccine shipments from the village in exchange for "protection". Eko kills these men to secure the vaccines for the village but he is shunned by the villagers who are angry at him for sinning. On the island, Eko wakes up to a vision of Yemi who tells him to find him in order to confess. Eko goes after him alone. Locke, Sayid and a few others decide to go to The Pearl in an attempt to find a way to communicate with the others to get Jack, Kate and Sawyer back. They find Eko on the way. Eko stays outside while the others go in and sees Yemi. He reveals that he is unrepentent and Yemi reveals that he isn't actually Yemi. The monster then appears and kills Eko. Locke, Sayid and the others manage to get a glimpse of a man in a different Dharma station. At the Hydra, Jack asks Ben about his tumour. The others hold a funeral for Colleen. Juliet secretly asks Jack to kill Ben during the surgery and to make it look like an accident.
The Good: This episode tells a really strong story for Eko as he makes his exit from the show. The flashbacks are very nicely done and they complete Eko's story in a very satisfying way. In previous flashbacks we had seen Eko as both a crime lord and as a priest in training, and now we get to see Eko trying to make the transition from one to the other, and how the person he was has influenced the person he became. We get to see that despite being a religious man, Eko isn't somebody that regrets the crime he has committed. He's a very pragmatic man who became religious to pay respect to his brother. He isn't a priest at heart, and that shows when he mercilessly slaughters people in a church for the betterment of the village. Eko has always done horrible things with good intentions, and he's never shown to care at all about what the morally correct thing is.
The flashbacks do a wonderful job of building up the story for a big climax with Eko's confession. While the tension doesn't build as superbly as some of the best episodes of the show, Eko's emotional state is developed perfectly to set up for a big moment of redemption at the end. The tone of the entire episode is quite dark, be it in the flashbacks, or with Eko on the island. It becomes clear that there is a nagging memory that Eko must atone for, and the episode builds its drama by slowly unveiling what it is, and whether Eko actually feels any guilt for what he has done.
Everything culminates in a fantastic scene where Eko pours his heart out for "Yemi" (see: Best Moment). It's a powerful scene, but perhaps more importantly, it develops into a truly stunning character death that raises many questions, and promises that the show will soon start delving into what's really going on with the island.
A few little things were done very well with the Locke storyline. The interesting visual of a man with an eyepatch is immediately memorable and excites me with the possibilities of what's to come this season. I was also a big fan of Locke inviting everyone to come with them to the Pearl. It never made sense why Jack only invited a few people on every mission, so it's nice to see Locke making a logical decision by following the principle of strength in numbers. I was also very happy to see that Locke immediately starting working towards finding a way to save Jack, Kate and Sawyer. Seeing how nobody did anything when Claire and Michael were missing, it feels refreshing that something is actually being done now. Lastly, I'm enjoying Nikki and Paulo so far as some random side characters. I always liked it when "Lost" gave some attention to the random other survivors instead of shifting them to the background and ignoring them.
The Bad: Unfortunately, Eko's story isn't entirely consistent with what we have been shown about him, and it's clear that the writers invented the concept of this episode after introducing his character. The unrepentant Eko that we are treated to in this episode would never have taken a 40 day vow of silence like he did in "The Other 48 Days". It's common knowledge that "Lost" wasn't a planned TV show, and things like this continually prove that point.
Furthermore, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje leaving the show did not make things easier for the writers to conclude Eko's character arc. His death was always going to feel anticlimactic considering the circumstances, and it's unfortunate that the actor didn't want to stay on the show. Still, I feel the writers did an impressive job giving Eko a fitting send-off, but I am left feeling like there was still more that could have been done with the character. Furthermore, 3 of the 4 tailies have been killed off now which makes me question what their role in the overall story was if they were all just going to die.
The storyline with the others isn't very interesting in this episode. The mind games all amounted to nothing since Jack figured out the truth anyways, which is pretty frustrating. Also, the others continue to look pretty incompetent. Now we learn that there is infighting between Ben and Juliet, which is a boring development that made me roll my eyes. The show has taken the least interesting route with its handling of the others.
The Unknown: What's with Colleen's funeral procession? What kind of religion do the others follow?
Why did the others see it as necessary to break Jack? Was it just because Ben wanted to recruit him as their doctor, or is it something else?
What happened to Yemi's body? My mind immediately goes back to Christian's body being missing back in "White Rabbit". Is this somehow connected? It can't be a coincidence that Christian has also appeared on the island, just like Yemi has.
Who is the eyepatch guy? Where is he located and what is he doing there?
Eko's death has raised so many questions. If Yemi isn't Yemi, then who is he? Has he always been a fake? Does this have something to do with how Yemi's body disappeared? Also, the monster killed Eko immediately after this reveal. Why? Was Eko deemed a bad person for not repenting his sins? How is the monster connected to "Yemi"? Does the monster serve whatever being "Yemi" was? I'm very confused, but also extremely interested to learn more about what happened here.
Best Moment: Eko follows Yemi out into the jungle to make his confession. Then Eko hits us with a big twist by revealing that he does not believe he has sinned. The whole episode had seemingly built up Eko's guilt for having murdered so many people, so it is a surprise when his character takes this turn. It's a very welcome surprise wince it provides us a very unique take on morality, and it allows Eko to deliver another wonderful speech about the hardships he has endured. But then in another massive surprise, "Yemi" hatefully tells Eko that he isn't his brother at all. The tension immediately ramps up and we get hit with the shocking spectacle of the monster brutally murdering Eko. This sequence of events was outstanding, developing the mystery of the show in a huge way while also sticking to an emotional core. Brilliant television.
Character of the Episode: Eko. He will be missed.
Conclusion: This was easily the best episode of the season so far. It still had its flaws, but this was the first time this season that it felt like we had watched a story that was worth telling. And boy did Eko's final story deliver, as it developed the mystery in a big way while showing us a strong character journey. This had the classic twists and turns that we've come to expect from "Lost", and this episode did more to set up for the rest of the season than any of the previous 4 episodes.
Summary: In flashbacks, Sawyer is in prison. He befriends a guy who stole $10 million and when he learns the location of the money, he gives it to the warden to secure an early release. On the island, Colleen arrives in critical condition and Juliet goes to operate on her. Sawyer tries to orchestrate an escape, but it fails and Ben has a pacemaker put into him. Defeated, Sawyer returns to his cage without any fight left which unnerves Kate. Juliet brings Jack to operate on Colleen but she dies anyways. In his anger, Danny beats up Sawyer. Ben visits Sawyer and takes him out of the cage. He reveals that there is no pacemaker and that the Hydra is located on a separate, much smaller island. Meanwhile, Desmond behaves strangely and gets lightning to strike a structure that he built.
The Good: Sawyer's story is decent fun and there are some very good moments. I especially liked his failed attempt to electrocute Ben which showed both how resourceful Sawyer is and how cunning the others are. The relationship between Sawyer and Kate is explored in a meaningful way. We don't see much attraction between them, but they are both trapped together and concerned for each other. It's easy to buy into their emotional state, and the scene where Danny beats down Sawyer in front of a crying Kate was certainly a highlight of the episode (see: Best Moment). Lastly, I really liked the ending twist that the others are located on a separate island. This nicely explains why the security is so lax (since there's nowhere to escape to) and it also adds another layer to the mind games that the others are playing on Jack, Kate and Sawyer.
We do learn some interesting detail about the others. There are some hints that these people aren't as together as it initially seemed. They were woefully unprepared for injury, so much so that they had to bring in Jack to help. It's evident that despite their resources, they may not be as well off as it seems.
The Bad: Unfortunately I wasn't a big fan of this episode. Sawyer does well in the lead role but unfortunately he isn't explored in a particularly meaningful way. There is the nice irony of the con man getting conned, but there isn't much for his character to do. On the island he's the same plucky hero that he has been in the past few episodes, only now he's hit a low point. There isn't much more to it than that unfortunately, and even the flashbacks don't add anything of value. This episode really drops the ball from a character perspective and I found it tough to remain emotionally engaged.
The plot had several issues as well. The most frustrating of these problems were the flashbacks which suffered from the exact same drawbacks as the last episode. We learn literally nothing new about Sawyer, and the plot line is completely uninteresting. We are introduced to characters that we have no reason to care about, and we aren't given a story that rewards getting invested at all. It's such an empty plot with no real twists or turns, and I found myself looking at my watch during almost all of the flashback scenes.
The island story is similarly problematic. The others are still persisting with their mind games, but the impact is lessening dramatically. As we begin to see more incompetence and disorganization within the ranks of the others, they become less intimidating and frightening, which almost entirely removes all of the drama in the episode. All we're left with is an organization of people who think that they are smarter than they actually are because they play mind games. I have no more fear for these people. Furthermore, these mind games are not making for good television. It's quite dull to watch, and if it wasn't for Michael Emerson's great performance as Ben, the others would be a total bust.
The pacemaker plot is a perfect example of why the storylines this season haven't clicked with me. There just isn't any good drama produced from the pacemaker outside of one scene (see: Best Moment). And the whole thing serves no purpose in the overall story. We get a big twist that the others have taken drastic measures to control Sawyer, but then it turns out that nothing actually happened. So what was the point? The story has meandered too much this season.
The Unknown: What's with Desmond doing his "experiment"? Did it have something to do with his strange ability to predict the future in the previous episode? It seems like lightning was going to strike Claire's tent, so did Desmond just save her life?
Is Juliet saying the truth when she says that the others have no leader? Because Ben absolutely seems like a leader, and everyone seems to acknowledge it. Is there more to the hierarchy than what meets the eye?
Apparently the others have a submarine. Is this how they can leave the island? Where is the submarine? Could it be taken by Jack, Kate and Sawyer for them to escape the smaller island?
Whose scans were those? Apparently somebody has a tumour on their spine and it seems that this is why Jack has been held captive. Is it Ben's scans?
Why are the others so unprepared for any kind of medical emergency? They had an entire town back in "A Tale of Two Cities" and they even had control of a Dharma station full of medical supplies. Are we really supposed to believe that they don't have any doctors or medical equipment? I won't put this in The Bad because there may be an explanation, but on the surface it seems like sloppy writing.
Best Moment: In a rage following Colleen's death, Danny goes to Sawyer and viciously beats him in front of Kate who begs him to stop. Danny demands that Kate admit she loves Sawyer, and she does so in order to stop the beat down. This scene is the most intense the episode got, and it was the only time I was ever at the edge of my seat.
Character of the Episode: Sawyer.
Conclusion: This episode fell victim to all of this season's biggest weaknesses. This is watchable television, but the show's much simpler and far less exciting than it was in season 2.
Summary: Flashbacks show that Locke found a new community after leaving Helen that has helped him find peace. He picks up Eddie, a hitchhiker, and introduces him to the community, who are illegal weed growers. Eddie turns out to be a cop, and Locke ends up ruining the community by bringing him in. On the island, Locke wakes up unable to talk. With Charlie's help, he builds a sweat lodge and receives a vision from the island telling him to save Eko who has been captured by a polar bear. With Charlie's help, Locke saves Eko and brings him back to the camp. Hurley also returns and finds a naked Desmond who seems to have had a premonition about Locke. Locke returns to camp with Eko and Charlie and announces that they are going to work to bring back Jack, Kate and Sawyer.
The Good: This is an effective reset episode for Locke. After losing his way last season, this episode fulfills its purpose of restoring Locke's faith and having him return to being the wise leader he was looking to become at the end of season 1. The story is well done and has plenty of island mystique to go along with Locke's mission to save Eko.
Charlie has a pretty good episode too. He's consistently funny and I enjoyed watching his utter disdain for Locke as he throws out sarcastic replies to almost everything. I don't like that Charlie has been made into such a prick, but I do commend the writers for going along with the direction they sent his character instead of inexplicably returning Charlie to his season 1 self.
I really liked the editing in this episode. A lot of this episode was shot very well and a couple sequences strike me as particularly effective. The opening moments of the episode obviously paralleled the opening moments of "Pilot Part 1", which nicely symbolized how this moment was like a rebirth for Locke. I thought that the scene was filmed perfectly to reflect this feeling and it conveyed the point of this episode perfectly. I absolutely loved the sweat lodge/airport sequence with Boone. "Lost" is really good at these dream sequences and I think that this one is the best one we have seen so far (see: Best Moment).
The Bad: The polar bear threat didn't work for me. After such an exciting start to the episode, it felt disappointing to have the main dramatic hook be saving Eko from a polar bear, something that feels extremely irrelevant after all that has transpired in recent times. I never felt like anyone was in danger throughout the episode and the tension was never up to par. It also doesn't help that the few shots that showed the polar bear were quite atrocious.
The flashbacks also failed pretty badly for me. The whole story was completely uninteresting to watch, and now that it's over, I still don't know what purpose it serves in the long run. It's just another case of Locke putting his faith in something only to be let down. The only "twist" this time is that Locke tries to clean up his own mess. The story does mirror the island story in some parts which I give it credit for, but it completely fails at creating a story that is worth telling. We don't learn anything new about Locke from this, making this flashbacks feel meaningless and unnecessary. In the end this episode falls victim to the biggest problems that flashbacks cause: disjointed pacing, repetitive storytelling, and a decrease in suspense and overall interest in the story. It's a shame because "Lost" is usually so good at avoiding these trappings.
The complete lack of concern from the camp regarding everything that happened continues to bother me. Nobody cares enough to ask Locke where he has been or what has happened, and it feels so awkward. Furthermore we see Hurley arrive in camp and nobody even asks him what happened to everyone else. Then when Hurley finally reveals what happened (why didn't he just tell everyone immediately????), people have the nerve to get angry at him for not telling them. Well why don't you guys just ask him yourselves! The people in the camp completely fail to behave like normal humans in this episode and it is frustrating to see.
As a final quibble, Locke nearly kills Hurley in this episode yet it is brushed off like nothing happened.
The Unknown: How and why did Locke lose his voice? Was this a test from the island, similar to when he lost the ability to walk back in "Deus Ex Machina".
Did Desmond get a vision from the island about Locke's speech? He definitely had a premonition of some kind based off of his comments to Hurley. Does Desmond have a connection to the island now? How did this happen? And why? I'm curious to learn more about this.
We see another case of somebody being possessed while unconscious. First it was Sawyer back in "What Kate Did" and now it's Eko. How does this keep happening? What is causing it? Is it the island?
Best Moment: Boone appears to Locke in the sweat lodge and wheels him around in a wheelchair in an airport. The scene is shot superbly well to feel dreamlike and strange, creating a fantastic atmosphere. And then we are treated to some wonderful pieces of visual storytelling as all of the main characters are shown in situations reflecting their current positions on the island. The scene is done so artfully and the strangeness in its presentation makes it impossible to look away, and immensely satisfying to experience.
Character of the Episode: Locke.
Conclusion: This episode has a purpose and it accomplishes that purpose. Unfortunately, the episode doesn't do much else to wow me and is a fairly ordinary episode overall.
Just a university student who loves to watch TV. And criticize it like hell.