So the promos promised that three of the show's biggest mysteries would be solved last night. After sitting through the show and rolling it around in my head for a while, I think I've figured out what the silly promo people were talking about:
- What's the story behind Jack's tattoos?
- What happened to Cindy, the kids and the other abducted Tailies?
- What happened to that fancy bungalow colony The Others were living in when Oceanic 815 crashed?
The other two are things of actual concern to the viewership at large, I think, but "Stranger in a Strange Land" didn't so much answer them as clarify a few minor details about them. Most of us had assumed that The Others' village was somewhere on Craphole Island proper, because Ethan and Goodwin were able to run to the respective beaches, but at least it was definitively established that the Alcatraz aquarium is only a place they go on occasion to "work," whatever that means. And we at least got a glimpse of Cindy and company, just not enough to establish whether they were prisoners, brainwashed, or what.
Here's the thing: this is a show that already has major trust issues with its audience. People have been screaming that they want answers already -- and it's here that I repeat my mantra that I'm okay with no answers so long as the individual episodes are entertaining, which has rarely been the case of late -- and everyone in production and at ABC knows this. When I saw that promo last week, I thought, "Hey, they finally get it. They're going to give the people what they want." Then I saw the episode and realized that the delusion or willful ignorance remains firmly in place.
I thought this was a bad episode for a number of reasons, most of them having to do with Jack's tendency to be a pig-headed idiot who'd rather yell than actually solve a problem or listen to what people have to say to him. (That's what makes him the ideal leader for the producers' purposes.) That said, you don't promise an audience starved for answers a three-course meal and then serve them these table scraps. Bad, bad, bad move. Without those ads, it's a mediocre Flashjack episode. With them, it's a symbol of every single thing that people have been complaining about this year.
I could spend time wondering how The Others got their boat back from Michael and Walt, or where Diana Scarwid (the episode's only highlight) was keeping herself during the spine surgery drama, but I don't much care right now and would rather move on to write about "Friday Night Lights." So I open it to you. What did everybody else think?