"Lost" spoilers coming up just as soon as I see if iTunes has the new Geronimo Jackson album...
It takes a lot to make me bored with an episode largely focused on my three favorite characters -- Locke, Hurley and Mr. Eko -- but damn if "Further Instructions" didn't pull it off. I've said it before and I'll say it again: I don't care about getting answers to the mysteries, because my default assumption is that Lindelof and company don't know what they are, and in exchange for my not caring, all I expect is for them to engage me on an episode-by-episode basis. And this one really didn't.
Start with the sweat lodge hallucination, which took up oodles of screentime to tell us... what? That Mr. Eko was unaccounted for and badly injured? We knew that, and Locke at least knew the first part (I don't remember whether he saw how badly Eko was hurt in the hatch, or if it was just Desmond). Even if you want to say that the shock of the implosion made him temporarily forget about his Jesus stick-wielding pal, that was still an entire act devoted to a very pedestrian dream sequence that wasn't visually or metaphorically interesting enough to compensate for the lack of revelations. And, no, Il Returno de Boone doesn't really count. I know he was a reminder of what Locke's obsession with the island has cost him, but then make the hallucination deal more directly with that instead of having Ian Somerhalder show up with a different haircut to play tour guide.
The flashback also didn't do a lot for me. Because the writers have waited so long to reveal what caused Locke's paralysis, ther's this weight that hangs over all his flashbacks. Every time he gets into a car, or makes someone mad -- or, in this case, picks up a rifle -- all I can think is, "Is this when he finally gets messed up?" And I'm almost disappointed when he gets through another one unscathed. At this point, they're either holding that one out on us because it's really awesome or because they have no idea and are stalling as long as possible until they can think of something vaguely awesome. Based on the previous two seasons, my money's on the latter theory.
But beyond that, I don't feel like our visit to Locke's marijuana farm really showed us anything new about the character. We already knew that he was a screw-up, that he was easily taken in by family types, and that he often lost his nerve in big moments. Now, the FlashJack from the premiere didn't tell us anything we didn't already know about Jack, but at least Matthew Fox and John Terry acted the hell out of those scenes. Terry O'Quinn didn't get much of a chance to show why he's the best actor in this ensemble.
There were some nice moments here and there, like Hurley's entrance with the canteen, Hurley meeting Desmond, Hurley listening to Locke's speech -- really, anything with Hurley was fine -- and I wasn't even that jarred by the introduction of Kiele Sanchez and Rodrigo Santoro as The Two Oceanic 815 Survivors You Never Met Before, Even Though They Act Like They're Part of the Inner Circle.
But I want Eko to wake up, and soon, and I want the next Locke showcase to be more worthy of both the character and the actor playing him.
What did everybody else think?