Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Lost Talk, Episode 1


My friend Mark and I used to work togther at the bookstore (before he & his wife got way cool and decided to go live in and operate a movie theatre). The morning after an episode of Lost was an excuse for both of us to come in to work early, just so we could try and figure the show out together. We now live too far apart to do it in person, so we're gonna do it online, and invite all of y'all to join in. Herewith, Lost Talk, Episode 1:

Mark: So are we gonna do this?

Peggy: Oh, we’re doing it, all right. Our regular post-Lost conversations, in handy print form, to share with all our friends.

Mark: Great! So, about the

Peggy: SQUEEEEEEE!

Mark: .....

Peggy: Sorry. Little excited about the new season. Better now.

So, I don't want to spend a lot of time on the hour-long catch-up, but I will say I liked it better than the intro to season 3.5. I found it fascinating that they got Michael Emerson to be the narrator. Given the way certain situations were described ("Ben was strong enough to do what had to be done"), it almost sounded like Ben was the narrator. Can we trust his interpretation of the events?

Mark: I think we CAN trust his narration, for the simple fact that the language was so plain and really confirmed a number of things.

Peggy: Some of the posters at TWOP seem to feel that this special confirmed that Desmond time-traveled. Did you see that?

Mark: No, I didn't see that, either. It just confirmed that he was having visions--but that's not a confirmation, so much as a "No DUH!"

Peggy: Hmmm. Lostpedia mentions a podcast where Demon & Curse state that Desmond really did travel back to relive the events of 1996. They also say that he changed those events, and so might have changed other things as well. Stupid podcasts.

Mark: Thank god superfans are out there to do all of the heavy lifting for us.

The narration, along with the pop-up video commentary on the finale re-run, locked in the idea that our castaways are all here for a reason. A purpose. They have something to do, something to fix, etc. Some people are learning that, and others (hello, Jack) obviously don't. Ever, apparently.

Peggy: Heh. Welcome to my world, brotha: all Jack-hate, all the time.

They also made a point to bring up Nadia, who they haven't mentioned in, what, 2 seasons now? And they gave Jack's ex as much screen time in this as she's had in the previous 3 seasons. I wonder if that's significant.

Now onto the show itself: a car chase with a smashed fruit cart? Awesome! The implication from later events is that this particular flash forward takes place before the one we saw in the finale. Jack is clean-shaven and working, but he's also drinking.

Mark: Yep, I caught that, too. And Hugo said something about going back for them. So did Charlie. Is it possible that the end of this season has them using Hurley's Lotto money to get back onto the island? I really love the flash forward idea. It's too cool.

Peggy: It’s a nice switch-up, all right. Will we ever reach a point, say Season 6, where we’re all caught up backwards and forwards and can just have a straight-forward narrative? Would I even want that? I’m in the minority that actually likes the flashbacks.

Both Charlie and Michael were in the credits, confirming that Harold Perrineau is back. John Terry, the actor who plays Christian Shephard, was also in the credits. One of the many Lost sites (I think it was Lostpedia again) has stated that Cuse has confirmed that the eye that Hurley saw in the cabin was Jacob, which would mean that it was, indeed, Jack's dad (or something that had taken on his appearance) sitting in that rocking chair in Jacob’s cabin.

Mark: Heh. Fans. I would have never thought to look there for answers.

Peggy: Right? Given the intensity with which all aspects of each episode are picked apart and studied, you’d think they’d be more circumspect about the credits.

Have I mentioned my overwhelming love for Rousseau? Forget Team Locke vs. Team Jack. I’m Team Rousseau all the way.

Mark: I still have a lot of affection for Benry, too. The "you beat me up. I owed you one." had such a schoolyard feel to it, but it was cool because it was still a deception--crude, yes--but we STILL can't trust ANYTHING that comes out of his mouth. What an antagonist!

Peggy: Oh yeah. Michael Emerson owns that character and can turn your emotions about him on a dime. Heck, the acting all around in this one was stellar: the acting by the entire ensemble when they first learn of Charlie's death was some of the best on the show to date--kudos all around. Hurley telling Claire about Charlie was a close second.

Mark: Yeah, to make Hurley cry, man...that's a kick to the spleen, right there. But it was great. And also nice to see Hurley asserting himself amongst the group--from the rescue in the van to the pointing out that Charlie's last act was a warning, he's come into his own on the island.

And that brings up the notion of what if the island fixed Hurley's schizophrenia? It hasn't come up since that first flashback of him, and they made a point of bringing it up now in the recap show. Hmmmm.

Peggy: Has he seen any of the "island visions" that everyone else has seen, or just the imaginary friend he already knew? If he hasn't been around any of the weirdness, there's no way they can St. Elsewhere this. TELL ME THERE’S NO WAY THEY CAN ST. ELSEWHERE THIS!

Mark: Could be worse.

Peggy: If you say Starlight People, I swear I’ll bring up Conan and the furry underpants.

Mark: *twitch* Moving on.

Peggy: Did you notice that, if, in fact, leaving the island was a mistake, from the time Jack decided to fight back his plans haven't worked exactly right and all of his decisions are wrong? He made the call. He believed Naomi. He let her get away. He followed the wrong trail. He attacked Locke. He tried to shoot Locke. And to project into the flash forwards, he's taken up his father's vice. He becomes a junkie. His attempted suicide causes a serious accident. No wonder he's a mess.

Not that I want him to stop being wrong all the time. It's quite a delightful change from the litany of “Jack can do no wrong” we’ve had to swallow so far.

Mark: Through it all, and maybe it's because of the pop-up show and the recap, I still have a soft spot for him. He didn't ask to be the leader, didn't want the role, overmuch. But he stepped up. And boy, has he been miserable ever since. But his actions have not been as random and WTF as we thought. Or rather, not as complicated. The key to figuring out what Jack's on about is to draw a straight line at what he wants. That's what he does. Simple and direct. He ain't that clever. Makes me appreciate him a little bit more.

Peggy: Just can't go there with you. While I still enjoy Matthew Fox's performance, Jack's insufferable "I'm right because I'm Jack" shtick pisses me off. And that's really the producers’ and writers’ fault, as they have certainly missed no opportunity to publicly grovel at the base of Jack's awesome hero-ness. Did you watch that last season of Buffy? Whenever there were multiple plausible explanations for something, Buffy was always right, not because she was smarter or had any knowledge that the others didn't, but because she was Buffy and the hero. I hated that then, and I don't like it any better here, which is why I am taking such delight in this episode's constant reiteration that Jack is wrong, wrong, wrong.

Mark: So, not a Jack fan?

Peggy: Shut. Up.

Mark: Heh.

Peggy: So who (or what) is Charlie? Did the other crazy see him, too, or did Hurley hallucinate that, too? Is he Hurley's conscience? The island reaching waaaaaaaaaay out? Hurley did hear something at Jacob's cabin. And did Jacob's cabin really appear and disappear at Hurley's insistence, like Charlie?

Mark: Well, I am more inclined to think that Hurley hallucinates when he's feeling guilty, and so Charlie was a figment of his own conscious--and maybe the Island triggered that, too. I think the cabin isn't always visible because it's shifting in and out on a quantum level, like Jacob. That's where Locke came from. Maybe Locke doesn't grok that yet because he can see it ALL the time. He's special.

Peggy: Could Charlie be shifting, too? "I am dead, but I'm here, too." That could apply to, oh, say, Christian Shephard as well, maybe.

Wait a minute. The Eagle-Eyed Forum Posters over at TWOP have pointed out something that I missed during the episode:

Ben is tied to the tree, Naomi is "dead" on the ground, Ben begs Danielle to save his daughter, Rousseau clocks Ben, then walks towards Naomi's body and a close-up of the knife in Naomi's back.

THEN...

Jack and Kate turn around, Ben is still tied to the tree, Naomi is gone, Danielle is gone. Kate goes scouting, Danielle returns with news about a bloody trail, Kate returns with news about a different trail, Jack ignores Kate, goes with Rousseau (who has mad jungle skillz and is an expert tracker), and travels down the wrong trail.

MEANWHILE...

Kate, on the right trail, is attacked by Naomi, who holds her at knifepoint. Lest we somehow assume that Naomi might have another knife, we are explicitly shown Naomi's back, which no longer has a giant knife in the middle of it.

Now, Naomi couldn't have pulled that knife out by herself, nor was there time enough for badly-wounded Naomi to create the false trail, double back through the camp, and take off in another direction (where she would then climb a tree and fall on Kate). Did Danielle create the false trail and lead Jack astray?

Mark: I think there is evidence to suggest that she did. Remember, this is her home now, and she is tied to the island. As much as she hates Ben for swiping her child, she also knows he's right. I could see that with the look passing between them. She goes with Locke at the end of the episode, so clearly, she's got a vested interest in keeping Jack from screwing up more than he already has. She may not have known what was going on before, but when she saw the panic in Ben's eyes over Danielle, she realized she screwed up. That's my guess.

Peggy: So is this really a conflict of Faith vs. Science? Both Locke & Jack seem pretty darned self-centered to me. They’d clearly like to believe that whole Man of Science, Man of Faith shtick, but should we? And if so, where do you fall? Team Locke or Team Jack?

Mark: While I can certainly sympathize with Jack, I gotta back Team Locke (which means that I am de facto also backing Team Benry). I mean, the man said it best when he asked Jack why he was in such a hurry to get back to his car crash of a life. Also, I think I want to believe that there’s stuff on this planet that we just can’t explain. So, yeah, I’m Pro-Island, and anti-Civilization. Provided we don’t get all Lord of the Flies, which, I think, will inevitably happen.

Peggy: Yeah, I’d have to go Pro-Island, too, for the mystery of it all. I’d like to believe that, despite appearances so far, the Island isn’t the villain of the whole story. Although that would be kind of cool, in a way.

So a big thumbs up from both of us on the premiere, then, and we await with bated breath to see what Demon & Curse have in store for us. I’ll get to work on our Team Locke shirts immediately.

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