Thursday, March 22, 2007

Lost: It's my dad in a box!

"Lost" spoilers coming up just as soon as my wife and I work out our own code for "a man with a gun is holding my daughter in the closet"...

Curioser and curioser. I fully expect certain revelations like the truth about the island's Magic Box to be either too prolonged or too silly when they come, and I'm annoyed that Hurley's been AWOL the last two weeks (thank goodness he was in the previews), but I'm not going to complain overly much about any episode that features Kevin Tighe as Locke's terrifying dad, or one that has Locke back to his insanely selfish primitive man self from the pre-hatch days.

So let's see, John: You don't want to ever leave the island, so you blow up the only means of escape for everyone? That's not taking your ball and going home; that's taking your ball and then sealing everyone else inside the ball-free gym forever. If you don't want to leave some day if rescuers ever come, don't go with them. And if you're annoyed that The Others are cheating with their electricity and white meat chicken, just go live deep in the bowels of the jungle by your lonesome. Rousseau's shown that it can be done (though she did have a little cabin for a while).

But while Locke was being an idiot, he was doing it in the way that we all came to know and love in season one. I vastly prefer the zealot whose solution to every problem is a timed explosive to the guy who just pushes buttons all day.

I love watching Tighe work (and now that we know that one of his many aliases is Seward, which is only a hop, skip and a jump from Sawyer, is their any doubt that he's the man who destroyed our Sawyer's family?), but I'm glad that the flashbacks were kept at a minimum. Better to spend more time on the island, especially with the Michael Emerson/Terry O'Quinn acting duel, which was the first time a character has successfully matched wits with Ben. Locke may have done what Ben wanted, but he understood that the whole time and didn't let Ben's agenda interfere with his own, where Jack would have done the opposite just to be a dick about it.

So now Seward/Sawyer/Cooper is on the island, eh? (Along with Nestor Carbonell from "Not in Portland.") This raises at least three possibilities: first, that when The Others gathered intel on the Oceanic 815 survivors, Ben decided for some reason that it would be valuable to have a personal means of manipulating some of them and had his people on the mainland kidnap Cooper (and possibly others); second, that Cooper was on a plane or a boat that unexpectedly crashed her the same way that Eko's brother did; third, that he came out of the Magic Box.

A few other thoughts:
  • Glad somebody finally tried to tell Alex the truth about her mom. (My wife rarely watches "Lost," but she was with me for this one, and when she asked what Sayid was talking about, I said, "Her mom's the crazy French lady who lives in the jungle," to which she replied, "Of course her mom's the crazy French lady who lives in the jungle!" Maybe you had to be there.)
  • Ben's latest henchman, the one who was guarding Sayid at the playground, was played by Brian Goodman, who was the best thing about ABC's otherwise underwhelming mobsters 'n FBI agents show "Line of Fire."
  • So weird to see Kate on the island sneaking into a tastefully-decorated bungalow and hearing piano music. Also, is this the first we've seen Jack can tickle the ivories, or did it come up in one of his flashbacks?
What did everybody else think?

34 comments:

Kristin said...

I know you're right about Locke's dad being the Sawyer con man.

I think the 'box' is the thing that brings the planes, boats, etc. to the island. I think Ben 'wished' for someone to heal his cancer and the plane crashed. Not sure yet how they knew most everyone's background...Anyway, Ben said that Locke's dad "appeared." So, I am thinking Ben may have asked the box for Locke's dad or something less specific than that...and a boat or something crashed with Locke's dad in it.

Great back story. Although we all knew bad things were going to happen to Locke, I am constantly amazed what a good actor Terry O'Quinn is...the scene in the hospital when he is devastated and broken down? Loved it. What a miserable frickin' life that guy had before he made it to the island.

Thought it was interesting that what's-his-name warned Jack he was being listened to when Jack was in the room with Kate. Looks like all the Others we thought were bad are just pretending for their own survival. Wonder how many are like Ben? Only a few? Most are scared and being watched all the time?

Tosy And Cosh said...

Pretty sure we saw Jack play piano at the hotel before his wedding in a Season One episode. He and the wife played chopsticks.

Loved this episode to pieces. O'Quinn reminded us of just how good he is in that hospital scene with the physical therapist - the sheer look of panicky, rabity fear in his face as he was lifted into the chair was stunning. And agree completely on how great the scened with him and Ben were, and how clear O'Quinn made it to us that Locke knew what he was doing all along. Also love the idea that Jack and Juliet were actually (or actually thought) they were going to leave. Oh - and teh scene between Jack and Kate was extremely affecting as well - you could see him wrestling with himself and his concscious, and see him trying to delude himself into trusting Ben to let them go once he was off. Just all around a tight, exciting, ball-moving episode.

kevbo nobo said...

"That's not taking your ball and going home; that's taking your ball and then sealing everyone else inside the ball-free gym forever."

Pure genius, Alan.

Overall, my favorite ep this season so far. Locke's fall from the window was excruciating; as was his description to Ben: "I felt my back break."

The island according to Ben is giving off an Orwellian vibe; some are more "committed" than others, and a number of his peeps are only pretending to be fully on board to save their own skins.

BF said...

I missed the "Seward" line, but I came to the same conclusion based on the Tallahassee connection. And, you know, the fact they're both con men.

I'd like to know if the Others do indeed have a Magic Box, then why were the food drops still necessary? Couldn't they just order up a box of Dharma flakes Star-Trek style? Maybe it's technology that the 4-toed Giant Aliens left them....

From the previews, it looks like someone's dying next week. I haven't been keeping up with the police blotter: Did someone else get a DUI?

Zodin2008 said...

While this was a highly entertaining episode in terms of acting (especially Terry o'Quinn), action and overall Drama, the fact that Locke blew up the submarine was such a purely contrived plot device to not have people leave the island, it leaves an overall BAD taste in my mouth.

Again, give me this episode any day over the "drama" of Jack's tattoos and an appearance by weirdo Bai Ling, but, Locke blowing up the sub? Selfish, wrong and just plain asinine.

Yes, Seward/Sawyer/Cooper....all the same guy. No question about it.

Devin McCullen said...

Actually, my thought was that when they said Locke's dad vanished in Mexico, that was when he went to the island - but I don't think I believe in the magic box, exactly.

Danny said...

Absolutely didn't lose me, not this week. Which is strange because coming back to the show every Wednesday has been, for me, an excercise in frustration. But, you know, you get such fine acting out of O'Quinn and Benry Gale and, really, I can't get mad.

Loved Ben's hamster joke, probably more than I should.

Though I think "We've got a Magic Box" is pretty ridiculous/silly/dumb. And I'm sure it's going to end up having me just as miffed as ever.

And speaking of the promos, was it me or was it obvious who "has been working with The Others?"

And Death? Nikki/Paolo would be fun and welcome because they are so sloppily retro-shafted into the episodes they've been in, even if killing them off may ring a bit hollow. Maybe at least it would get us back to the only question a) I care about and 2)I can't believe no one anywhere is freaking out about:

Where the hell are Rose and Bernard? (What did I miss?)

Alan Sepinwall said...

Danny, Rose and Bernard are somewhere on the far end of the beach while the two actors who play them are off being in plays and other jobs.

Anonymous said...

Ben's "magic box" line is probably on the same level as the hamster line.

I have to agree with Zodin2008 on the explosion of the sub. Didn't Alan say in his review last week that the only reason Locke ended up with the C4 was to further some plot point? Well, here it is, and it only happened because the writers didn't want to let anyone leave the island. (Otherwise, we would have one of those show altering events that Alan wrote about earlier in the week a la Alias.). Too bad.

Anonymous said...

Oh, and didn't we figure out a really long time ago that Locke's dad had the Sawyer connection?

Alan Sepinwall said...

Everyone's been assuming it for a while, but this was all but a confirmation -- though, knowing these writers, they're going to treat the official confirmation as some kind of mind-blower that the audience couldn't possibly suspect.

Anonymous said...

What was said on the television that Locke was watching in the beginning of the episode? The woman said "The Bolivian coal deposits were stolen last night around 2am" then it sounds like two backwards words (gibberish) and then "the cobra". According to close captioning it was "Oh, that means the cobra-he's back". Isn't one of the stations called the Cobra? I didn't hear what close captioning gave other than "the cobra". Did anyone else hear?

Adam C. said...

Alan said: This raises at least three possibilities: first, that when The Others gathered intel on the Oceanic 815 survivors, Ben decided for some reason that it would be valuable to have a personal means of manipulating some of them and had his people on the mainland kidnap Cooper (and possibly others); second, that Cooper was on a plane or a boat that unexpectedly crashed her the same way that Eko's brother did; third, that he came out of the Magic Box.

I'll posit a fourth: Cooper/Seward/Real Sawyer is in with Ben on a long con of his reliably manipulable son.

dez said...

So now Seward/Sawyer/Cooper is on the island, eh? (Along with Nestor Carbonell from "Not in Portland.")

I admit I got all fangirl-y when Bat Manuel showed up again. I hope he gets more scenes.

Really enjoyed this ep (enough to stay up past my bedtime and watch--unlike last week's, which I barely finished watching before the new ep began). Locke's going back to being the Great Mystical Island Weirdo and not a moment too soon. And boy, oh, boy, is his dad ever a bastard! I agree that he's probably the one who conned Sawyer's family. I hope Sawyer gets to see him before too long.

So who's actually in charge of the Others? There was another reference to someone being over Ben in the ep, but we know it's not The Sheriff (or do we?).

Thought it was interesting that what's-his-name warned Jack he was being listened to when Jack was in the room with Kate.

Same here! I wonder what's up with that? Sure would be nice to see some Others turn on ol' Ben.

Matter-Eater Lad said...

I enjoyed how the physical therapist's line -- something like "You survived a fall from eight stories, don't tell me what you can't do" -- echoed Locke's own "Don't tell me what I can and cannot do" from his very first flashback episode.

Dan Coyle said...

I have a feeling that Richard is Ben's real boss, much like the Cigarette Smoking Man answered to the First Elder.

Last night's episode was pretty nifty, thanks mostly to Michael Emerson. Stop being so damn good, Emerson! You're raising standards the writers can't possibly meet!

Kristin said...

Jacob is in charge overall, I think. Several references to him from Alex to the flashing picture psycho room where they found Carl.

I don't see blowing up the sub as a plot device. Locke has always had a need for them NOT to be found from almost the very beginning of the show. He has been passionate about the island and its secrets, he doesn't want to go back to his miserable life...and blowing up the sub was only following through on what we know about Locke.

Now it makes a lot more sense why Ben was freaked that they found a sailboat. It would be another way for 'his people' to leave him.

J said...

It's great when the Michael Emerson character's allowed to run off at the mouth, because unlike most of the other characters, post-Season 1, Henry/Ben has reasons to lie. It allows the producers to toss a whole 'nother layer of gobbledygook over the proceedings.

The Magic Box is hilarious.

Can't wait for the episode where we find out just how Jack learned to play the piano. Or what the song he was playing really means.

Christy said...

Why was Locke soaking wet when walking back up the pier? He didn't get wet getting into the sub; why would he get wet getting out? We didn't see the destroyed sub, therefore I am choosing to believe he sank it someplace retrievable and then exploded the c-4 harmlessly. And my fingers are in my ears and I can't hear you telling me otherwise!

The magic box is too much like a Rimaldi device. Feels as though it could be a jumped shark.

Jefferson said...

Not that I really want to comment on this ep, which I enjoyed, but I have to say Alan that I cracked up when I read your title for the episode: "It's my dad in a box!" I almost fell off my chair and then started to sing the whole song with the word dad replaced in their. Thanks for making me laugh.

Zodin2008 said...

Yes, but as pointed out by Alan and other TV reviewers, why does Locke feel the need to blow the Sub up to screw everyone else?

If he wants to stay on the island and unlock it's mysteries, fine. But if Jack, Kate, et all wanna leave, why take away their only mode of transportation? Why should it matter to him if they leave?

No worries, I am sure the writers will turn Hurley's groovy mystery van into the actual "flying scooby doo machine" with the help of 'Ben's magic box' and Hurley will fly people off the island--in the van.

There maybe enough crack cocaine in the writer's room that they borrowed from Danny Tripp and Matt Albie to make this happen...

J said...

>>If he wants to stay on the island and unlock it's mysteries, fine. But if Jack, Kate, et all wanna leave, why take away their only mode of transportation? Why should it matter to him if they leave?

I had this problem, too, but have decided that Locke is convinced the island has brought them all there for a reason. He's serving what he believes are the island's interests by keeping them there.

As far as transportation goes, though -- what happened to Desmond's boat? Don't the Others have that? And even if they don't, wouldn't Locke and Sayid think that they did?

BF said...

Well, as Desmond proved last year, his boat didn't/couldn't escape the island's gravitational pull (or whatever).

As for why Locke would prevent the other Lost-a-ways from leaving, maybe he too, like Kate, is on the run. (Well, as "on the run" as a guy in a wheelchair can be...) We know he's dealt with some shady characters before (Cooper, the Compound Growers, the Mob looking for Cooper's money). Sounds like the perfect excuse for Locke's next flashback episode.

Kat Coble said...

My theory on this all is a bit complicated, but I think that

-->The Island itself is the "magic box" and exists as some type of long-running experiment base in the connection between magnetism and parapsychology.

-->There are no actual food drops. The food manifests itself as a tangible resource born out of the intangible power of the mind. Because the 815ers do not yet get the concept of the Island, they invented the rationale of a food drop as a more plausible explanation than the actual reality.

-->The Island has been fantastic at providing whatever people need. Charlie the drug addict had an unlimited supply of heroin which allowed him to work through his drug addiction. Jack had the apparition of his dad, Sawyer had his boar, Kate had her horse, etc.

I've gathered from my reading that one of the key producers recently converted to Catholocism. The Island does seem to play a God/faith role in providing that which is needed when it is most needed.

Locke has always been the Faith guy (as opposed to Jack's role as the Reason guy). He blowed up the sub real good as a way to force his fatih on the group. That action is going to backfire.

anon said...

"Yes, but as pointed out by Alan and other TV reviewers, why does Locke feel the need to blow the Sub up to screw everyone else?"

The list of people who have suffered because Locke single-mindedly pursues an obsession begins with Boone. His actions in this episode were not really out of character; it's just that we haven't seen this side of his character for a while.

Without Eko around, Rose is the only one who could call him out on his messianic behavior, but we're not likely to see her until season five. And at that point she'll probably be revealed as the big bad.

And am I the only one who assumed the magic box was just, you know, a metaphor?

Anon

Zodin2008 said...

I grant you the Boone thing but blowing up the sub the most was the most blatantly selfish act I have seen from Locke or anyone on this show, ever.

Martin said...

Maybe somebody can help me out. My wife asked me a question I couldn't answer: How come Locke and his father appear to be just about the same age???

I tried to explain that they were just continuing the tradition begun by the Cartwrights on Bonanza, but she didn't buy it....

dez said...

kat coble, interesting theory. How would Smokey the Security Monster fit into that, though?

Love your Cartwrights joke, martin! :-D I'm going to posit that running around Craphole Island has aged Locke considerably, resulting in he & daddy looking around the same age.

Anonymous said...

Disturbing point Martin. Now on the show Locke's dad is probably supposed to be somewhat older than Locke. However, according to imdb, Kevin Tighe is just 8 years older than Terry O'Quinn. Messed up.

Alan Sepinwall said...

I'm okay with the small age gap. Sean Connery was only 12 years older than Harrison Ford, and he's Indiana Jones' dad. And in "North by Northwest," the spectacularly well-preserved Cary Grant was only seven years younger than the woman who played his mother. (I had always heard that he was actually a year or two older than her, but that's not the case, per IMDb.)

Linda said...

And of course Angela Lansbury was only a few years older than Lawrence Harvey who played her son in "The Manchurian Candidate."

As someone who gave up on Lost at the beginning of the season due to the sado-masochism of those early episodes, I've been back on a week-to-week basis. Thanks mostly to ABC's archiving each episode I didn't have to clutter up my DVR with episodes I didn't think I was going to watch.

I'm sure now this whole thing is not going to end up coherently. Like the X-Files, I think the producers had a few good ideas that they never thought through fully and now they've trapped themselves in a lot of convoluted plotlines.

And why have Jin and Sun have been so scarce this season? That was my favorite backstory.

jim treacher said...

I'm with you, Alan, this was the first time Locke felt like Locke in at least a year. For the first season or so he was my favorite character, and then there was a long stretch where I didn't HAVE a favorite character. But they finally gave him a lot of great lines to say this week and crazy-ass Locke-stuff to do, and he stepped up. Let's hope he's back for, er, good.

That said, did we really need to wait TWO AND A HALF YEARS to find out what happened to him? Every feint in every Locke episode, every "okay, THIS is gonna be it!", they were just jerking us around to jerk us around. They even did that little one in this episode, where he's in the cubicle haggling over his benefits and whoa, what an incredible mini-twist, he wasn't in his wheelchair yet! Ugh. They keep trying to recreate that stunning moment at the end of"Walkabout," and it never works. Now that we know his daddy threw him out a window, maybe they'll finally quit it with that crap.

Anyway, it doesn't feel like they finally told us for any important story reasons (other than that his dad is a monster, which we already knew, and now he's in the "magic box," which is... whatever). It feels like they're just trying to stave off an audience mutiny.

Anonymous said...

Maybe Rose & Bernard are not currently in the show (on the island) because of Desmond's possible time travel / course changing shifts. Perhaps they are not in Desmond's current time? That could be why Paolo and Nicky are currently visible. Maybe Boone & Shannon will show up again in a Desmond time shift? (Not likely.)

I don't believe Locke blew up the sub. When he entered the sub he knew where to turn on the lights, etc. He really didn't even need to climb into the sub to blow it up. He could have attached the C4 to the outside of the sub. He told Ben that he had been in the navy -- maybe he could pilot a small sub to another location? And just blow the C4 to make it look like a big explosion? Pretty far-fetched, I know.

jim emerson said...

A (relatively) practical question: Anybody know the name of the actor who played Locke's physical therapist?

Oh, and I think the "magic box" is the metaphor for the whole show. Like the Schrodinger's Cat thought experiment in quantum physics: All possibilities exist simultaneously until you make an observation -- i.e., you open the box and see what's inside. That's the narrative strategy of "Lost," and has been all along.

(BTW, did anybody notice that, when Locke accused Andrew of being an impostor serial-dad who cons families into believing in him and then jettisons them, he's also describing Terry O'Quinn's title character in "The Stepfather"? In that film, the "dad" killed off his families in succession when the con started wearing thin...)