I've said it before and I'll say it again: I want a Mr. Eko lunchbox, a Mr. Eko t-shirt, and Mr. Eko Underoos. I want a Mr. Eko & Locke spin-off where they kick ass and debate philosophy every week. I think the only "Lost" episode I've ever anticipated this much was the first Hurley lottery episode, and this one was just bursting with coolness.
Start with the usually annoying Charlie getting off a great one-liner in "What, you're gonna beat me with your Jesus stick?" Then there was Eko's backstory, which explained away both Eko's spirituality and his massive ass-kicking prowess, and also established a thematic link with Sawyer, who also took on another man's identity out of massive guilt. The first time you see an actor in something, especially if it's as a really strong character, there's a tendency to assume the actor and character aren't too dissimilar, and while I never imagined that Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaie wandered around in a tiny wool cap killing and raping everyone who annoyed him, I still didn't expect the level of gentleness he can bring to Eko when he's not breathing fire out his nostrils and threatening to beat people with his Jesus stick.
But, much as I hate to descend into slobbering fanboy mode, the scene where the black smoke took the measure of Eko and vice versa was TOTALLY FUCKING AWESOME! I usually don't let myself get sucked into the show's bogus mythology, but that was just perfectly shot, edited and played by our large new friend. This is the kind of reveal of "the monster" I was hoping for back in the first season finale, and it was worthy of the build-up -- especially since I hadn't seen any spoilers or hype about us finally getting a real look at the thing. I imagine several dozen bloggers, podcasters and webmasters have been up all night Zaprudering the sequence of flickering images as the smoke and Eko get nose to nose.
Rest of the episode did a good job of checking in with most of the other castaways. I'm still waiting to find out why the producers bothered bringing in Cynthia Watros (who I like but hasn't had anything to do), but I liked that Jack seems to have quietly accepted Sawyer's victory in the Kate love triangle, that Jin is fitting in more and that the Walt/computer cliffhanger wasn't completely ignored.
I have to take Julia to the toy store today to get some new alphabet refrigerator magnets, since she's hidden so many that we can no longer spell words with A's, E's or O's. I'll have to check the action figure aisle for any Eko-related merchandise.
Oh, and links: Matt's still blogging from press tour, and he reviewed the return of "24."