Lost Recap – "316"

Ok, this week has been really good for me. And it has been that rarest of Wednesday evenings; I am caught up on work and prepared for tomorrows class on Tuesday. Consequently, I can do this writeup.

I was actually not prepared for this episode. For me, LOST episodes fall generally into one of five categories:

  1. Setup: these episodes clearly set a scene for the next episode. They are generally fast paced and exciting, and usually are the most disappointing when they end. Usually the big conflict set up at the end of the episode is the focal point is the next episode. An archetypal setup episode is Season 3’s “Catch-22”
  2. Index: These rare episodes contain small bits of story that are expanded on for the duration of the story arc. Of course, the Pilot is by definition the best example of this type (and indeed, all of the season premieres), but also see “The Economist.”
  3. Drama & Dud: These episodes are basically the same kind of episode, but the former is successful, while the latter is not. These are the episodes that casual viewers like the most, and really are the only episodes with any rewatch factor. When they are successful, they have a fully developed character arc, plenty of good drama, and seem to move the story on the island while keeping us interested in the past. My favorite is “The 23rd Psalm.” On the other hand, if the story does not move forward, if the character does not develop, and if there seems to be more melo than drama, you end up with “Stranger In A Strange Land.”
  4. The Big Reveal: These episodes serve as the reward to Lost viewers after sticking with the long, painful tease that is the show. It brings to mind the words of Oscar Wilde, “This suspense is terrible. I hope it will last.” Every season finale belongs in this category, as well as some great episodes, like “Lockdown” and “The Man Behind the Curtain.”

I wanted to explain this, because now you understand when I say that I was expecting a big reveal, and what I got was an index. The producers have admitted that this episode and the next, “The Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham” can be placed interchangeably, and originally this was scheduled for next week. I love the suspense of the show as much as anything, so I am glad that I was OK with this episode. It also seems like a lock(e?) that next weeks episode will be a big reveal. In the official promo, several pieces of information are thrown out, any of which I would have considered big revalations, so I can only assume that there will be a lot more in the actual episode.
Episode highlights for me have to go completely to Michael Emerson and the writing team.
First, Ben’s dark comedy has become such a strong part of this season that I am actually starting to consider him comic relief. Everything about his Sahara-dry  delivery and understated wit is completely hilarious, and the more information that we know about him, the more I laugh at his pathological inability to tell the truth. His instinct is to lie first and hope that positive consequences follow.
Second, the writing team’s misdirection in introducing Frank Lapidus was nothing short of brilliant. We were all so focused on the Oceanic Five’s reunion and the potential fate of the Talies Nouveau distracted me completely from the only character that is a commercial airline pilot on the show (Sorry Greg Grundberg). Once that happened, I felt really stupid. I mean, how obvious can that be? But when the ominous music started, that was the last thing that I was expecting. It also has some nice thematic ties. How appropriate that the pilot who was supposed to be flying Oceanic 815 gets to crash the next plane onto the island. Kind of.
Third, props to the writing team for making the simplest bits of necessary plot exciting. I would have been completely and blissfully satisfied with a Justice League-esque team up of the Oceanic Five putting aside their differences and getting on a plane. Instead, I’m wondering: “Who is with Sayid? Why is he in custody?” and “What happened with Aaron? Surely she would have told Jack if he was just taken away. DEAR GOD! I hope Claire is not back!” and “Why did Hugo change his mind? Why a guitar? Has he been talking to Charlie?” So much more interesting. I cannot wait for the rest of this season to unfold.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *