Archive for the ‘Drama’ Category

Summer Recap
July 21, 2008

So, I gave myself the summer off.  Yeah, it makes no sense, but I did it.  With the fall TV season ramping up, I thought I’d check in and give you quick hit reviews of new and old shows from this summer.  New show watches to come in a month of so.  Enjoy.

The Middleman

ABC Family, Mondays at 10:00PM

Genre: Sci-Fi Comedy

Conceit: Meet the New Avengers, Funnier Than The Old Avengers

So, this was my first ABC Family Original show (though, honestly, I couldn’t tell you how many original shows they’ve had before), and I’ll tell you, the network is off to a great start in winning me over.  The Middleman follows the exploits of Wendy Watson, a early 20’s Art School graduate who’s wandering through life aimlessly until a temp job puts her in science fictiony danger.  Next thing she know, “Dub-Dub” finds herself being apprentice to The Middleman, a super-secret espionage type who saves the world from natural, supernatural, and just plain odd danger.

Sounds campy?  Sure is.  And that’s one of two reasons this show really works.  Its self-awareness is the basis for 60% of the humor on the show.  Middleman and Dub-Dub find themselves in the most ridiculous situations and acknowledge it with snarky comments galore.

The second reason this show soars is newcomer Natalie Morales, who makes you want to watch her with a quirky sensibility and a Sahara-dry wit.  Her interplay with all the supporting cast, and especially The Middleman, is a pleasure to watch in a Summer of mediocrity.

The two negatives of this show are minor but real.  The first is the fact that this is an ABC Family show.  Even with a TV-14 rating and a fair share of double-entendres that raise eyebrows for a “family” station, The Middleman is on a family network and is limited by it.  This isn’t fatal as the limitations rarely ever come into focus.  But its there.  The second problem is a tendency to suffer from Diablocoditis.  This usually results in 3 too many clever lines strung together, without giving the viewer a chance to breathe; this illness was last seen in the movie “Juno”.

These minor gripes aside, The Middleman is a winner of a summer show.

Final Grade: A-

Watch the forth episode of this season:

The Secret Life of the American Teenager

ABC Family, Tuesdays at 10:00PM

Genre: Drama

Conceit: Life if Juno Happened In the Town That 7th Heaven Took Place In.

Yeah, I know, two ABC Family shows in a row.  This show is an odd duck.  I am well aware that I am not in the target demographic for this show, which I assume is split between 8-18 year olds and 35-55 year olds, representing contemporaries of the characters as well as their parents.

What drew me in was the notion of a show that has an honest discussion of sex from the prospective of a high school teenager.  You do get that.  Sort of.

The story starts with Amy Juergens finding out that she’s pregnant after having sex for the first time with a random guy at band camp.  The first episode really does this starting point justice as being very believable both in the set up and the reactions.  If this was the main focus of this series, as commercials lead you to believe, this show would be excellent.  Unfortunately, TSLotAT (by the way, a thought provoking, but way-too-long- title) wants to represent all views on sex.

So we meet all the supporting characters, who each represent a different view on sex.  How convenient.  Now I applaud ABC Family’s attempt to show all sides of the discussion.  Unfortunately, everyone is a caricature.  We have the promiscuous girl (who is having sex to fill an empty emotional void); we have the promiscuous boy (who is having sex to mask his hurt from childhood sex abuse); we have the virgin girl (who is not having sex out of respect to her faith and her parents); we have her football boyfriend (who was a virgin for the same reason until he cheated on her with the aforementioned promiscuous girl); we have the virgin boy (who has a mega crush on Amy and has just started dating her, unaware of her maternal ways).  And they’re all connected.  Mix in some awful acting by half of the adults on the show and what could’ve been a very source of dialogue melt into just awful PG-13 rated soap opera.

Final Grade: C

Watch the second episode:

My Boys

TBS, Thursdays at 9:30PM

Genre: Sitcom

Conceit: Sex and the City.  Just With More Guys And Less Sex.

The TBS summer-time hit is back for another run.  I always enjoyed the premise of this show: tom-boy’s life.  Very simple.  But here’s the problem: from the very first episode of the series, Jordana Spiro’s PJ has never seemed like an authentic tom boy.  The show gave her a “male” job (sports writer), a bunch of friends who are guys, save one, and a love of poker.  But none of this stuff makes a girl a tom-boy (which, by the way, seems like an antiquated phrase even as I type it).  PJ just always seemed like a bland character who didn’t seem any different from any other female character on TV.  The show used Kellee Stewart’s Stephanie Layne as a foil, showing how un-“girly girl” PJ is. No one buys it.

None of that has changed this season at all.  In fact, we barely see PJ do any sports work or play poker, so the two fake guy things are gone, making PJ even less compelling than before. 

The one thing TBS did right this season was bring more focus onto PJ’s supporting cast.  While Stephanie’s new status as an author is completely random and should be ignored, the male cast really shines in their goofiness.  Its almost as if the best bits of the show are when PJ is merely the hinge by which the guys rotate on.

Final Grade: C+

Watch this season’s episodes:

In Plain Sight

USA, Sundays at 10:00PM

Genre: Action-Comedy

Conceit: Mary’s Got A Gun

USA Network has really pioneered the Summer Television season movement.  In Plain Sight is their latest entry into the movement.  Honestly, I only turned on this show because it stars Mary McCormack.  I consider The West Wing to be the best television show of my time (thus far) and McCormack became a regular character in the shows lesser, I mean later, years.  So that alone earns at least an hour of my time.

McCormack stars as Mary Shannon, a US Marshal attached to the Witness Protection Program and stationed in Albuquerque, New Mexico.  That’s pretty much all you need to know.  From their, you’re introduced to the classic cast of characters for this type of show: the quirky male sidekick; the uncoordinated boss; the hot but flighty sister; the good-for-nothing but caring mother; and the tense on-again-off-again love interest.  Sprinkle in some random action and McCormack talking about how her life can’t seem to get together and you have any given episode.

Its not that the show is bad.  In fact, its got the feel of what a summer show should be: light and easily accessed.  Unfortunately, it veers to far into that region.  There is really nothing to be gained by watching an episode and nothing to be lost by missing one.  But what it does, it does well.  So basically, if you’ve got nothing else to do, and you have space on your TiVo, its worth an hour of your time.  

Final Grade: B-

Watch this season’s episodes:


USA, Fridays at 10:00PM

Genre: Comedy

Conceit: Lethally Funny Weapon

This summer gem managed to get me excited for its new season with (at least what I thought) a hilarious ad campaign:

For those unaware, Psych stars James Roday as Shawn Spencer, a son of a cop who uses his psychic abilities to solve mysteries.  Wait, before you reach for the remote to change channels, Spencer isn’t really a psychic.  Instead, he uses his hyper-observation skills to make it seem like he has the abilities his clients wish he did.  Spencer is teamed with Dule Hill’s Burton “Gus” Guster, a childhood friend and the straight man in this comedy.  This show had really mastered the light summer feel that USA really wants.  Spencer and Hill’s chemistry sealed the deal and the supporting cast is excellent.

If you think there’s a huge “but” coming, there is.  We’re only one episode into the new season and things are not looking good.  The premiere featured a very disappointing payoff for the mystery of the week.  That would be forgivable, except for the B-story, involving Shawn’s long absent mother.  While the story itself suffers from serve predictability, in general, Shawn is portrayed as extremely…well…serious, throughout it.  And while that makes sense for the story, it doesn’t work for the show.  I’ll reserve judgment until a couple more episode air, but I have to continue with cautious optimism.  Psych, please work your magic.  Soon.

Final Grade: Pending

Watch this season’s episodes:




Lost: There’s No Place Like Home
May 16, 2008

ABC, Thursdays at 10:00PM

Genre: Sci-Fi Drama

Conceit: The Thinking Man’s “Gilligan’s Island”.

There was this moment while I watched “Greatest Hits” last episode, where I started getting inexplicably excited.  Maybe its not inexplicable.  That episode really started moving stuff into place for the finale.  And Charlie’s life was or wasn’t going to end.  And it was all racing towards the end.  That’s exactly how I feel during hour one of this three hour finale.  

Jack and Sawyer.  Cyclops and Wolverine.  One is the only one who can lead.  The other is the only one you’d ever want in a fight.  Both men reached the helicopter and were one step away from just taking it back and saving the world.  Except one thing: Hurley is with Ben.  Ever since the first episode this season, we’ve been trying to figure out what Hurley meant when he told Jack he was sorry he went with Locke.  Is this it?  Is this the decision that changes everything?

I guarantee that you could not have guessed who it was doubling back on Kate and Sayid’s trail.  And when Nestor Carbonell walked through the leaves, all you thought was “that’s the missing piece; that’s what we need to make sense of this.”  Meanwhile, back on the tanker, we may be setting out for quite possibly the most tragic finale Lost has had yet.

Our flash forward went only a couple days into the future as the Oceanic 6 finally touch down in civilization.  Jack finds himself finally burying his “dad” and giving a very touching eulogy, only to be blindsided moments later with the revelation that he left his half-sister behind and he’s staring at his nephew.  Kate returned to the real world to remember that no one loves her except Claire’s baby, who she’s claimed as her own.  Hurley cannot escape the numbers, no matter how far from the island he gets.  His psychosis is just around the corner.  Sun shows that she has inherited her father’s ruthlessness.  And Sayid finally gets the girl.  I said before that Desmond and Penny are the “under the radar awesome couple”.  Sayid and Nadia are 2nd place for that award.  

I know this is only hour one of what was probably meant to be a three hour, one-shot finale, but I’m facing two realities.  First, I will be miserable waiting one week for the next episode.  Second, I will be beyond words, waiting for 8 to 9 months for the next episode.

Final Grade: A

Smallville: Arctic
May 15, 2008

CW, Thursdays at 8:00PM

Genre: Sci-Fi Drama

Conceit: Superboy Meets World.

Supergirl was always an iffy concept, even in the comic books.  It was basically a girl Superman, who was more immature.  Not terribly compelling.  In Smallville, Kara Zor-El was suspect because Laura Vandervoort is not much of an actress.  From her introduction in the beginning of the season, it was obviously that Vandervoort was cast more for her looks than for any acting ability that she may have.  But give the girl some edge and she’s actually interesting to watch.  Flying out of exploding planes, double dealing Lex, this is a Kara I can get with.  Unfortunately, it wasn’t Kara, was it?  It was Milton Fine, Brainiac.  Kara was sent to the Negative Zone  Brainiac.  He has been the villain of choice this season.  I know that Brainiac is an important character in the Superman universe, but I’ve been terribly bored by him this entire season.  Which is why I took so much personal satisfaction in Clark’s slow motion punching him in the face.  I also took personal satisfaction in Clark killing Brainiac.  This has always been central to the Superman mythos: when it means more than who he is, can Clark break his own moral code?

And Lana is gone.  Man, what a lame way to get rid of her.  I mean, I know that Kristen Kreuk wanted off the show, and I know the reality is that Lana and Clark don’t end up together, and I even know that Clark and Chloe are more entertaining that Clark and Lana ever were, but that was a weak send off.  Here’s hoping for the occasional guest appearance.  

We finally got the face off we’ve waited seven years for.  Lex finally knows.  No gimmicks.  No memory wipes (yet).  Michael Rosenbaum shows why he knows the character of Lex Luthor so well.  An even balance between a desire to do the right thing and flat out narcissism.  To “save” the world, Lex needs to control Clark.  And so the fortress collapses in on itself, in this less spectacular special effects.  And that’s it. 

I know that season finales are supposed to be cliff hangers, but that was just…meh.  I mean, the show faded to black with no real pay off.  With nothing to wonder about.  Sure, Kara’s in the negative zone.  Yawn.  Chloe’s been arrested.  Ok semi-interesting.  Black Lex cradling Clark in a dying Fortress.  Lame.  Here’s hoping that next season (which I’m pretty sure is the last season) finds a workable path and sticks to it.

Final Grade: C

House: House’s Head
May 12, 2008

FOX, Mondays at 9:00PM

Genre: Drama

Conceit: Who Needs Bedside Manners?

Every season, an episode begins with House, as oppose to a hapless individual who’s one ridiculous moment away from being House’s patient.  Those tend to be the best episodes in the season.  One such episode, the season two finale, was one of the best in the series.  Tonight’s episode started with House and ends with a bang.

House finds himself at a strip club, with no idea how he got there or how long he’s been there.  After realizing he has a concussion (based on his open head wound), he stumbles into the street to find that he had initially stumbled away from a bad car crash.  And try as he might he can’t piece together what happened.  More importantly to House, he can’t piece together what he’s sure was the medical problem that caused the crash.

House lets Chase put him under hypnosis to see if he can reach into his brain and remember what happens.  I’m not sure how medically accurate real this is, but I’m willing to bite.  And yes, that was Fred Durst playing the bartender.  The hypnosis ends up taking a back seat to increase Vicodin usage, which allows House to hallucinate back to the bus.  When that wears off, he drops himself into a sensory deprivation tank.  Lisa Edelstein, way to keep in shape.  They have such great chemistry.  Part of me wishes the show would get it over with and put them together.  The other part of me knows that the second they’re together, the chemistry is diminished.  Anyways, lesson learned: sensory deprivation may be good for the soul, but its not good for the body.  Though House gets it done, as he always does, not everything is as it seems.  A mystery woman keeps popping up into his visions.  A woman who wasn’t in the crash.  But a woman who keeps pointing to something bigger that he’s missing.  And so the entire cast…er, staff…finds themselves sitting on a bus as house drugs his brain into overdrive.  And when he realizes who the woman is, things go crazy.

Final Grade: A+

Lost: Cabin Fever
May 9, 2008

ABC, Thursdays at 10:00PM

Genre: Sci-Fi Drama

Conceit: The Thinking Man’s “Gilligan’s Island”.

Penultimate episodes generally go one way or another.  Either they do such an incredible job preparing you for the finale that you just can’t wait 7 more days or they end up being a lead balloon and you take comfort in the fact that the finale will be that much better.  Cabin Fever was the latter.  

First off: stop with the flashbacks.  Unless its really going to add something huge to the story, don’t do it anymore.  This is the second flashback this season (not counting Desmond’s travels) and it was just as good as the first one, by which I mean it was not good at all.  John Locke is special.  Fine.  We know that.  Its been beaten into our heads. Apparently the island’s original inhabitants have been interested in his since he was born.  Amazing.  Apparently Richard Alpert never gets older.  Ok, well that is kind of interesting (and gets added onto the list of really sci-fi things about this show).  But still, this episode was truly a throw away.  Locke, Hurley, and Ben wander around the jungle, looking for the cabin, each thinking the other is going to lead them there.  Eventually Locke has a dream and finds the cabin.  That’s pretty much it.

There were two bright spots of this episode.  The first was Ben.  Michael Emerson continues to make a great argument for deserving an Oscar.  His transition from evil-ish mastermind who’s always one step ahead of the curve to helpless participant who’s accepted he’s not special anymore is brilliant.  Its filled with nuance and one of the most compelling roles on television.

The other bright spot happened at the very end.  I was right when I thought I saw Christian in Jacob’s Cabin during the season premiere.  But what was interesting was that Locke saw him too.  And he even identified himself as Christian.  For the first time, a character who “shouldn’t be on the island” has been seen by someone who doesn’t have a personal tie to them.  Is Christian actually alive?  And that shot of Claire just sitting there was brilliantly creepy.  How could she leave her baby, be with her estranged father, and be so at peace?  Brilliant.

And then they ruined it.  I let out a rather deep “ugh” when Christian told Locke what he had to do.  I’m sure it wasn’t to be taken literally, but still, lame.  Oh, and all heck is breaking lose on the tanker and people are coming to kill the island.

Lets hope that this three hour finale spread over the next three weeks (1 hour next week and then 2 hours in a row in 2 weeks) makes up for it.

PS: If this whole series ends up taking place in Locke’s mind while he’s on his walkabout in Australia, with each character representing another aspect of his persona, I will flip my lid.

FInal Grade: C

Law & Order: Strike
May 7, 2008

NBC, Wednesdays at 10:00PM

Genre: Drama

Conceit: The CSI of Procedural Shows.

I figured I would give Anthony Anderson a week to settle in without review.  Everyone deserves at least that much when they’re replacing a favorite co-worker.  Well, for starters, he delivered quite possibly the worst “Boy, is it hot our here” line i’ve ever heard.  Other than that, Det. Bernard didn’t do much in terms of investigation.  However, he did find himself at odds with the district attorneys office.  Still, even then, it wasn’t much.

No, this episode was ADA Rubirosa’s time to shine.  The defendant, Ted Sanderson, was a county employee, who was recently exonerated of his wife’s murder.  Lups and Bernard were after him for having run over and killed a public defender who was on strike.  In classic L&O, the murder seems to have been a “wrong place wrong time” kind of thing. But, as always, things are not what they seem.  Turns out the victim had an affair with Sanderson’s wife right before she died.  As Legal Aid was on strike and he couldn’t afford a lawyer, the Judge asked Rubirosa to step across the aisle and handle only the bail hearing.  But of course it wouldn’t only be for the bail hearing.  Sanderson successfully moved to have Rubirosa made her attorney for the case.  It is sweeps after all (well, sweeps in this abbreviated season anyways).  Things go the way they should.  It turns out this guy is innocent.  The episode wouldn’t have worked if he wasn’t.  And in classic fashion, Rubirosa chars bridges trying to defend him.  Unfortunately, she tries to play both sides of the field, when she uses her district attorney badge to get evidence she wouldn’t have otherwise.  This completely backfires as the evidence not only implicates Sanderson, but it makes Rubirosa look bad.  No wait, Sanderson is guilty.  But apparently Rubirosa feels his wrongful conviction earns him a shot.  And so she returns to bridge charring.  And she gets him a deal.  But wait, he’s even more guilty than she thought.  Classic.  The one thing I didn’t like about this episode was, for the sake of making Rubirosa seem stronger, ADA Cutter was uncharacteristically inept.  This is usually how these episodes go.  To make a supporting cast member a star, the stars seem dumber.  And they have to constantly compliment the supporting cast member.

I’ll be honest: I never really thought anyone could take Sam Waterston’s place as executive ADA, but Linus Roache does a pretty good job of it.  He’s just a little more aggressive than Jack McCoy, but it works.  McCoy, meanwhile, finds comfort in getting to add a cynical quip here and there when he gets the chance.  Unfortunately, the producers make him grandstand for a scene, which is very not Jack McCoy.  He also wanders around the office more than Adam Schiff or even Arthur Branch ever would.  However, he does redeem himself with Adam Schiff advice at the end.  Its not the perfect formula, but its as good as it can be if we want Jack McCoy as Manhattan’s DA.  And we definitely want that.

Final Grade: B

House: Living The Dream
May 5, 2008

FOX, Mondays at 9:00PM

Genre: Drama

Conceit: Who Needs Bedside Manners?

House kidnapping someone to treat them.  Well that’s random.  Mostly because House doesn’t care about the patients who come in for treatment.  Turns out the actor who’s pivotal to his favorite soap opera may have a tumor.  Or so House divined by watching episodes.  It was pretty funny to watch House run tests on Evan Grier himself, while digging for plot spoilers.  It was even funnier to watch him drug the Grier so he couldn’t leave (when’s the last time House went that over the top?).  Jason Lewis turns in a rather compelling performance as a soap opera actor who is well aware that he is merely a soap opera actor.

Cudday is taking an accredidation inspector around the hospital, which means she needs to keep House on a leash.  This means Cameron has to sit and do file work in House’s diagnostic room.  That actually was nice.  Since she placed herself on equal footing with House near the end of season 1, no one handles House better.  It was also nice to see that Cameron desperately wants to be in diagnostic medicine again, even if she won’t admit it.  It was nice to see her out of scrubs again.  It was even better when Cameron pointed out what we all know: 13 and Cameron are really inter-posable.  The problem with this is that it really shines a light on Foreman’s impotence in his new role.  He doesn’t really do anything anymore other than run interference between House and the crew.  And it backfired this episode.  It wasn’t until the end of the episode that we saw classic House-Foreman sparring.  We need to see more of this.

Wilson and Amber.  This was rather…well…interesting.  House’s theory that Wilson is dating She-House really proved itself tonight.  Amber gave Wilson a choice on picking their joint mattress.  Wilson did what Wilson does: he picked the one he knew would make Amber happy.  And she yelled at him, in true House style, though more lovingly.  Apparently Amber believes Wilson’s relationships fail because he feels the need to take care of the lady.  She doesn’t need to be taken care of.  She just wants Wilson.  This also leads to a rather endearing moment when Wilson final makes a decision of his own.  Didn’t really work out, though.

But in the end, House was wrong.  And he admitted it.  He figured it out in the end, but he was wrong.  And he admitted it.  Hmm.

Final Grade: B+

Lost: Something Nice Back Home
May 2, 2008

ABC, Thursdays at 10:00PM

Genre: Sci-Fi Drama

Conceit: The Thinking Man’s Gilligan’s Island.

Man, Jack and Kate just can’t get it together, huh?  Tonight’s episode found Jack on the verge of having a perforated appendix.  Juliet rushed to his aid, only to be swept aside as Jack revealed who the real girl in his life is.  We flash forwarded to Jack’s future (our past or our present?).  This takes place after Hurley’s flash forward and after Kate’s flash forward.  Jack has made his peace with who Aaron is and has taken to shacking up with Kate and playing house.  For once, all is well in Jack’s life.  And then Hurley fouls it up.  Jack goes to visit a mentally sick Hurley who refuses to go back on his meds.  He tells Jack that Charlie came to him and told him that Jack can’t raise “him”.  Of course Jack takes this to mean Aaron and loses his mind.  This is a great reference to Claire’s story, where the fortune teller convinces Claire that she must raise Aaron.  Combined with constant visions of his father Christian, Jack begins his downward spiral towards drugs and alcohol we all know he’s going to hit.  And he ends whatever he and Kate had.  Finding out that Kate secretly ran an errand for Sawyer she promised she would, we get a reference to something that’s going to happen soon, when Jack says that Sawyer chose to stay back while Jack saved Kate.

Speaking of the man named James, Sawyer leads Claire and Miles through the jungle when Miles has one of his visions and finds the bodies of Carl and Danielle.  This was only done to remind us that Miles has a weird connection to the dead (which is one of only two really sci-fi things we’ve seen so far, Desmond’s time travel being the other).  This was important because when Miles saw Christian lead Claire away, we are still lead to wonder whether he’s alive or dead.  Either way, Claire is gone, leaving Sawyer with Aaron.

Jin proved again that there is no one more brave and completely dedicated to his loved one than he is.  

Final Grade: A-

House: No More Mr. Nice Guy
April 28, 2008

FOX, Mondays at 9:00PM

Genre: Drama

Conceit: Who Needs Bedside Manners?

Huh.  Well that was something, eh?  Before we get into the nitty gritty of the episode, lets talk about the strong dynamic shift in this show.  For a solid 3.5 seasons, House was above everyone.  He never needed anyone.  Never tried to.  It was only in brief moments that he showed even the slightest bit of vulnerability.  And even then, it was only to one person per episode.  But tonight, House played with everyone on an even playing field.  He went bowling with Chase…by choice.  They actually talked and House was struck by something Chase said.  In what was a rather hilarious, House and Amber set up visitation times with Wilson, who played the neutral “child” to a “T”.  Cudday even got to play Solomon to House and Amber’s dispute, and House respected it (though not without a particularly funny insult).  

The show started off on a rather odd note.  For some reason, the camera kept switching from 3rd person to House’s 1st person.  I had this fear that the show was going to be completely done in 1st person, but three minutes in, it stopped.  Which made me wonder why they did it in the first place.  The patient of the week, a generally nice guy who may be nice because he’s sick, really wasn’t the star of the episode.  In fact, it was the possibility that House had syphilis and that the disease was what accounted for his less than pleasant demeanor.  Moreover was the deeper question: if the clap causes his demeanor, but the demeanor makes him the doctor he is, do we cure the disease?  The debate was cut short when House revealed to Wilson (who revealed to Amber who revealed to Kutner) that he did the old bait and switch.  This was rather predicable.  In fact, this was done before, when House was trying to cure a patient and made it seem like he was sick.  But while that served a higher purpose, this didn’t.  That normally wouldn’t matter, except there didn’t seem to be ANY purpose for this at all.  For all the back and forth, it didn’t do anything.  And that just took the air completely out of the episode.  It kept building and building, and that payoff was just too much of a let down.

One of the highlights were extended scenes with Cameron, Chase, and Foreman.  Since Christmas found old meeting knew, I’ve been hoping that we’d see more of the original group.  I was glad to see just that.  The allusion that House slept with Cameron was a bit unsettling though.  It was also good to see Foreman put in his place by the new trio, only to have House remind him that he’s still on his side (kinda).  But the problem with putting the old trio next to the new trio is the latter fails in the presence of the former.  Taub just did nothing the entire episode.  13 (31 cause she works both ways) is the exact character as Cameron.  The only person who had a good episode was Kutner.  To the surprise of all.

Final Grade: B

Lost: The Shape Of Things To Come
April 25, 2008

ABC, Thursdays at 10:00PM

Genre: Sci-Fi Drama

Conceit: The Thinking Man’s “Gilligan’s Island”.

Man, never ever ask Lost to bring the action, if you’re not prepared.  Because last night, they brought with both barrels.  And what a ride it was.  It turns out that it was indeed the ship’s crew who killed The French Woman and Carl last week before they kidnapped Alex.  And sure enough, they made a bee-line straight to Ben’s front door with an ultimatum: surrender himself or she days.  Simple enough.  Ben, thinking he knows all at all times, calls their bluff.  And they shot Alex.  Man.  Its not as shocking that they shot Alex, as the fact that Ben was wrong.  Since his introduction in season 2, Ben has thrived on the fact that he just knows more.  He seemingly knew everything.  And he knew they wouldn’t shoot Alex.  But he was wrong.  “He changed the game.”

Flash forward and we find Ben face down in the desert.  We learn that he is in Tunisia, and we see a news story of Sayid burying his wife in Iraq.  Soon enough, we find Ben in Iraq, monitoring a man who is in fact monitoring Sayid.  Sayid catches up with Ben, who reveals that it was Charles Whidmore who caused Nadia’s death.  This is how Sayid and Ben start working together.  And it clarifies a big point: Ben is still on the island with the Oceanic-6 get off the island.

What was even more exhilarating than all the gun play and chases was the final show down between Charles Whidmore and Ben.  First of all, Ben can’t kill Whidmore.  Why?  Second, Whidmore claims that the island was always his and everything that Ben has he took from him.  How?  This show absolutely knows how to give answers with one hand and give questions with the other.

Sawyer really proved that he is a hero.  Maybe a conflicted hero, but a hero through and through.  Even though his roll in this episode was minor, he really used it well.  Also, in Hurley’s flash forward, when he tell’s Jack he’s sorry he went with Locke, did he mean going to Locke’s camp, or going with Locke and Ben to find Jacob?  Oh, and Ben entered what looks like a temple thing and moments later the smoke monster comes roaring back with a ferocity we have yet to see.  Awesome.

Final Grade: A+