A Case of the…. Lost

This will probably be a short column (at the very least, it will be quickly written), but I wanted to comment on this past week’s episode of Lost, in addition to the past few weeks.

First, I’d like to discuss two critical matters: Namely, those who criticize the show, and my own personal critique of the show (sounds kinda backwards, doesn’t it?) Anyway, there are many, many fans out there overly frustrated with how the show doesn’t provide “any” answers to the mysteries it presents. First off, you’re naïve if you think that they’re going to just spell everything out for you. Quite simply, there is no show if they do that. Secondly, they’ve given an awful lot of answers, but they’re done it in small bits and pieces, and in subtle ways, so many fans either ignore it or miss it.

I was just discussing this matter with one of my co-workers. I asked him if, when the show first began, he’d ever guess that The Others are actually consists of a group of renown doctors. The fact that this could not be foreseen, at the very least, shows how far the show has come in making certain revelations.

Consider this: In the past few weeks we found out (and, again, this is providing that what we learn is truthful) that The Others and the Dharma Initiative are not only NOT one in the same (a long time theory), but they are actually adversaries of sorts. We also found out that The Others are not responsible or behind the smoke monster (admittedly, this is debatable considering the source). We also essentially found out how Desmond gets his flashes of the future. And that the survivors are being watched by The Others through surveillance. And, again, this is ignoring most of what we’ve discovered about that faux-grisly crew.

Not to mention that last season we discovered what’s in the hatch, what the hatch does, whether the button serves a purpose, and why the plane crashed. It’s also interesting that the season everybody raves about is the first, which, without question, asked the most questions while providing the least amount of answers.

Now, as far as my own criticism of the show, which should come as no surprise. Basically, this past season I have found the flashbacks weak. I felt that they offered little in the way of new information, and actually took away from the action going on in “real time.” I suggested that they either need to rethink the formula, or consider completely abandoning it. I actually felt pretty strongly about this matter following Sayid’s flashback episode, where he opted not to torture the Russian Other because of his remorse over torturing a woman. Well, that’s fine and dandy, but are we not supposed to remember how he has already brutally tortured Sawyer, Ben, and highly contemplated doing the same to Ana Lucia?

That said, my outlook on this matter has changed, mostly, since I feel like the writers have done a very effective job of tweaking the formula. I especially liked the Nikki/Paulo episode, how they spliced in previous scenes, and recorded new ones, to shed light on past events. This past week’s episode, with Juliet, did something similar, splicing in scenes of Ethan’s abduction of Claire, while Juliet narrated his motives. I also liked how they flashed back to just days earlier (normally a rarity) to fill in the blanks of what Juliet is actually up to. I’m also predicting that next week, which I do believe is a Desmond episode, will actually feature “flash forwards” and not “flashbacks.” I haven’t read any spoilers (in fact, I read articles about this show with extreme caution), but I think that’d be a very creative way of changing up the formula even further.

Anyway, about this episode

Perhaps I’m biased, because I really do like the Juliet character, and I do want her to be good. Therefore, I don’t necessarily believe that the revelation at the end, that she was in cahoots with Ben, is confirmation that she is evil. I consider two possibilities: First and foremost, what if Juliet is playing Ben? After all, she (allegedly) wanted Jack to go through with the surgery so that he’d kill Ben. Remember that video she was showing Jack, all while verbally going on and on about how great Ben is? Seems to me like she was playing him there.

Another possibility is that we’re all misreading Ben and Juliet’s motives. Obviously, the stuff with Claire wasn’t completely altruistic (they did implant some sort of chip that can seemingly kill her), but there does seem to be some truth in their story that women on the island die a pretty gruesome death when they get pregnant. Therefore, I wouldn’t be surprised if they really were trying to help Claire (even if they did have their own selfish reasons). So, perhaps Juliet needed to find a way to get onto the camp in order to monitor Sun’s pregnancy. It makes perfect sense, especially since she’s the only person who could conceivably do it, due to her close relationship with Jack.

This is also what’s great about Juliet’s character: Namely, that she’s so exceptionally untrustworthy. She has been caught in a lie (either by the characters or the viewers) countless times, to the point that every time we finally come to trust her again, she gets caught in another lie. She just seems too sweet and emotionally tortured to be bad, but time and time again, we’re forced to question our optimism. It seems like, for the most part, people want to root for her, even though she seems to give a lot of reasons to give up on her.

Juliet also had some pretty good one liners, most notably the “I had the day off” comment to Hurley. I also enjoyed the way she called out Sayid and Sawyer on their not-so-righteous past deeds. Speaking of Sawyer, I found his reaction to Jack’s return particularly touching.

Some additional random notes of interest: I continue to enjoy how Ben seemingly always stays true to his word. Out of all of The Others, he seems more on the evil side, yet he stayed true to Locke when he promised him he wouldn’t leave the Hatch, he kept his word to Michael about taking Walt home, as promised, he saved Juliet from being executed in exchange for Jack’s assistance, and he was willing to send Jack and Juliet home. He also apparently saved Juliet’s sister of cancer in exchange for her staying on the island. However, I want to note that we really don’t know for sure that her sister’s cancer really did come back. He certainly is a complex individual.

I’m also curious as to what means The Others have of finding out all this personal information about the survivors. I mean, not even the police knew about Sawyer’s cold blooded murder, so what methods did The Others have in finding this out? It’s not as if these people are well known, and getting access to private information is just a click away on the internet.

Anyway, a very enjoyable episode, and I’m definitely looking forward to what is in store for the next five or so episodes until the finale. Oh, and Heroes is back in just a couple weeks!