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

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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

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-

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+