"Lost" spoilers coming up just as soon as I go to the store to pick up some dynamite...
Last night's episode had a very large problem at the center of it: to anyone who had figured out a long time ago that Locke's dad and the real Sawyer were the same guy, the first two-thirds of the episode were an incredible drag. It was obvious to me that Locke's prisoner was Anthony Cooper and not Ben, else they would have shown us a trussed-up Ben in the first scene, and also because of his choice of Sawyer as his instrument of death.
Back when the producers did Claire's flashback episode this season, I gave them credit for not treating the Christian revelation as a big shock. Clearly, they didn't expect the audience to put these particular pieces together, which led to a lot of wasted time as they set up an A-Ha! moment that really wasn't. I mean, I'm sure there were a lot of viewers who hadn't figured this out, but that's the challenge when you're making a big puzzle show like "Lost." Better that they had gotten this out of the way much earlier in the hour but still made it a big act-break reveal, then spent more time in that locked room with both Sawyers...
...because once it was just Holloway and Kevin Tighe, this was something very cool, with just enough "Princess Bride" to it that I wouldn't have been surprised (and even a little pleased) if Cooper had told James, "You've been chasing me your whole life? I think that's about the worst thing I've ever heard." James had been dreaming of this moment since his childhood, and of course it wasn't going to be as perfect as he hoped, of course Cooper wasn't going to give him the satisfaction of begging or apologizing or even reading the damn letter all the way through. Spending the entire hour working opposite Tigh and Terry O'Quinn really made Holloway elevate his game.
While we were waiting for the non-reveal, there were some interesting diversions along the way, whether it was the hilarious Rousseau/Locke dynamite scene on the Black Rock, Sayid's interview with the chopper pilot and her rebuke of him, and the debate over what, if anything, to tell Jack. One of the commenters at Throwing Things believes Kate was acting on Sayid's orders when she blabbed to Jack, but I genuinely believe she's just that stubborn and stupid. (Also, as usual, I don't really care what Juliet's latest big secret is, because the character exists entirely as a tool the writers can use to pull the rug out from under the audience's feet.)
Once James (and, as the Throwing Things people say, I don't think we can call him Sawyer anymore, can we?) gets back to the beach with the tape recorder, a lot of hell is going to break loose. But as with last season, I feel like there's too much stuff that has to happen over the last few episodes, while the season as a whole dragged a lot. In that way, I suppose, a "Lost" season is like a "Lost" episode, where the writers screw around for the middle section and then spring some big razzle-dazzle at the finish to make you want to come back for the next episode/season. If they had learned to pace themselves better, macro and micro, I don't know that the audience erosion would be nearly this bad.
What did everybody else think?