Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Lost: Pantsless pot-growing polar bears!

"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?

22 comments:

Toby said...

The intro of the two new characters was a bit jarring, just as the first appearance of Mr. Arzt was near the end of the first season. (Although I still think he was supposed to be the guy in the pilot episode with the damaged leg, but not played by Daniel Roebuck.)

But it was only a moment of disorientation; after all, there are still over twenty other survivors in the background that could still be brought center stage eventually.

Curious about where the storyline might be going as far as Desmond's newfound "talent". Is it temporary? Is it just foreseeing the future, or can he read minds and "heard" what Locke was thinking about Jack's situation, or has Desmond been thrown into the future and boomeranged back because of the electro-magnetic discharge?

As much as I like seeing it all happen on 'Heroes' and even though 'Lost' is pretty out there, I hope they don't go too far "out there" with this. You can only stretch that suspension of disbelief so far before it snaps.

Still, if anything, I'd like it if he could read minds at least for a little while. At least that way someone could finally drag all of the secrets out of everybody and into the open so they could finally learn what they all have in common!

Ahhhh, I'm just rambling now.....

jim treacher said...

The whole episode felt like somebody was standing just out of camera range, making "stretch" gestures. "Stretch it ouuuuut..." Take away Locke's voice for 15 minutes, that should eat up some time. Throw in a dumb "shamanistic" vision, some traipsing through the jungle... Oh! And the obligatory flashback! So Locke used to be in some kind of cult/commune, and he isn't a murderer. Good to know, thanks. It actually didn't occur to me that THIS might be the episode where they reveal why Locke was in a wheelchair, because I've given up hoping they ever will.

The polar bear thing was a nice bone thrown to the fans, although Locke was the only one who saw it and he's not exactly the most reliable narrator.

So is Desmond from the future? Or was that key around his neck the one to the writers' room?

bill said...

Did anyone understand Hurley's deja vu statement? Are we supposed to know this or is it just foreshadowing? It seemed to key on Desmond on the beach, then we got the Hurley scary face.

Another problem with the flashbacks is that we've spent so much time discussing and overanalyzing, it almost impossible to surprise us. Was anyone shocked the guy turned out to be an undercover cop?

Looks like next week will be another week without Hurley. This is not a good thing.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Bill, earlier, Desmond told Hurley that Locke had given a speech about going to rescue Jack, Kate and Sawyer, so when it actually happened, Hurley got deja vu. Did the implosion give Desmond psychic powers? Is he unstuck in time? I figure we'll get an explanation about two seasons from now.

Dan Jardine said...

Hurley's deja vu statement refers to Desmond's earlier "prediction" that Locke will deliver a stirring speech about rescuing their missing compatriots. It appears that Hurley has a different understanding of deja vu than I.

When Locke started to have his vision, I was really hoping Michael J. Anderson might have made an appearance, speaking backwards of course (talk about deja vu!) Then we might have had ourselves an exciting episode.

bill said...

Thanks Alan and Dan. I must have stepped out of the room as I completely missed that conversation.

BF said...

Anyone else get the willies when, after talking to Locke, Mr. Eko went straight back to Comatown? I was almost sure he was dead at that point.

Because just last month, Adawale (the actor) got stopped by Hawaii police. Ask Michelle Rodriguez and Cynthia Watros how that turned out.

Kristin said...

I was *so* disappointed with the Locke flashback! It felt very unfinished at the end. The guy just walked away? And then what happened? Did he get kicked out of the commune? Did the cop kid take down the marijuana growing operation or what?

I was also confused as to the timeline. Where did this fit in to the rest of his life so far? It seemed like it was after the operation and after the break-up with the girlfriend...but how exactly did he end up in this place? It was just very disjointed and strange.

The only thing that saved it for me was finding out what happened after the hatch place imploded-- everyone was still alive (more or less) and the hatch was pretty much gone.

I'm also curious as to what kind of powers Desmond has now...seeing the future? or did he do some time traveling? He and Hurley were the most interesting parts of last night's episode, and they only took up a few minutes.

jim treacher said...

"Anyone else get the willies when, after talking to Locke, Mr. Eko went straight back to Comatown?"

Ah, but was he really talking to Locke at all? Or was Locke still tripping?

Toby said...

"Anyone else get the willies when, after talking to Locke, Mr. Eko went straight back to Comatown?"

I think it could be that the island itself was talking to Locke through Eko.

Isaac said...

In the comments over at ALOTT5MA, Marsha had a great point about Desmond. Hurley is the only one who has interacted with him (Locke may have hallucinated him in the intro). Charlie didn't acknowledge him, and Hurley didn't mention him to anybody else. It's possible that he's Hurley's hallucination -- like Evan Handler -- and Hurley is the one predicting the future.

Kristin said...

Uh, hate to break it to you, but Jack has had extended conversations with Desmond on the island and in the real world. Plus, there he has had his own background story. Doubt that a figment of someone's imagination would have memories of his own....

Kristin said...

OK, I'm an idiot. Please ignore my last comment. The thing about Desmond was about last night's episode only. I get it. Sorry for being a dummy!

You are right, only Hurley saw him...and no one even looked at him tossing rocks into the ocean at the end there.

Dan Coyle said...

I coulda sworn Charlie noticed Desmond when Hurley was looking at him.

I really liked this episode, then I read Alan's reaction, and now I'm like, "why do I even watch this show?" ;-)

Sadie said...

I agree with Toby, I thought the island was talking to John through Ecko. Of course, in the beginning of the show I thought John couldn't speak b/c he was really Ecko and they'd switched bodies. So take my opinion for what it's worth.

But, I love John Locke/Terry O'Quinn and I'm glad he's back to his knife-wielding self.

And I was very disturbed by the whole two-new-people-in-the-group thing. Didn't like it. Not one bit.

J said...

They need the new people, though. Someone has to say, "You lost the boat? We had a boat and you lost it? You guys with the speaking parts suck!"

anon said...

The introduction of Kiele Sanchez and Rodrigo Santoro was jarring and hilarious. I feel that one of the dropped balls on this show was Daniel Roebuck's Dr. Arzt -- Remember, mere minutes after Arzt died Jack berated Locke about Boone's senseless death -- and his comment about the cliques on the island. It would be great if the show introduced two new characters and then gave their backstory on the island just like the tailies -- completely isolated from the "cool" kids. While the cool kids run around, Rodrigo plays golf on the course they made; Kiele has taken up knitting. They have no idea who Rousseau and Desmond are, or where the hell they come from.

If they weren't so excessively photogenic (did Rodrigo have product in his hair?) I'd suggest letting Paul Feig direct these episodes, Freaks and Geeks style. In the season finale Jack, Kate, Sawyer and Locke are all killed. Season 4 reboots!

Anon

Katie V said...

I agree about the flashback--didn't add anything for me. I've always assumed Locke has MS, since that tends to come and go unpredictably, making it plausible that he would be in a wheelchair and then not need it anymore. Of course that was before the healing properties of the island were explored.

I enjoyed the Hurley-Desmond interactions, but that was about it. After waiting so long to see what happened to these people (especially after the Jack-Kate-Sawyer-centric first two episodes of the season), it was a bit of a letdown.

As for the introduction of the two new characters, I always thought it was a bit odd to have those extras hanging around with absolutely no interaction with the principal characters. It would have made more sense to me for them to have fewer survivors of the crash (i.e. just the principal speaking part characters), and certainly would have been plausible. When I heard those two new actors were joining the cast, I assumed they were Others. That is a more natural way to introduce new characters.

jim treacher said...

"I feel that one of the dropped balls on this show was Daniel Roebuck's Dr. Arzt -- Remember, mere minutes after Arzt died Jack berated Locke about Boone's senseless death -- and his comment about the cliques on the island."

Was that a dropped ball or a winking metacommentary?

I agree about the new kids. "Here are two amazingly hot survivors who you've somehow never noticed before." And they're shoved onstage to say their lines. Hey, whatever happened to Scott Paulin? He's the "Hey, It's That Guy" who popped up in 1 episode and then went back to wherever surplus Losties go.

Devin McCullen said...

The only problem with the theory about Desmond being Hurley's hallucination is that it just moves the question down a level: How did Hurley know what Locke was going to say ahead of time?

I was expecting to find out that Locke got paralyzed by being shot during the raid on the pot farm, but apparently not (or just not yet).

dez said...

ARGH eaten post (hope this doesn't show up twice!):

"I was *so* disappointed with the Locke flashback! It felt very unfinished at the end. The guy just walked away? And then what happened? Did he get kicked out of the commune? Did the cop kid take down the marijuana growing operation or what?"

I don't think it matters, at least not now. It's a sure bet that Locke was booted from the commune, and he apparently didn't lose his gullibility, even after his dad's betrayal. Plus, the cop sure talked like an Other ("You were chosen," "You're a good man").

I'm with Dan. I really liked this ep. The rest of y'all are just bitter cranks ;-)

scruffy said...

bitter crank here. i've been underwhelmed with this season so far. it feels like we're treading water until Something Big happens in episode 6 to tide us over the big break. i'm not sure i'll be back for it.