Thursday, May 03, 2007

Lost: Hello. My name is James Ford. You killed my father. Prepare to die.

"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?

27 comments:

AndyW said...

What I liked about this episode is that it was clearly the writers "F" with the audience episode.

Before the long-awaited Holloway and Tighe showdown came the "Who the hell are you?" line - clearly just messing with fans who thought they had it all figured out.

Plus, the whole Cooper, "Don't you know where you are?" thing, clearly a shout-out to the many Purgatory theories floating around on the Internet.

As an aside, if Sayid's skepticism of the helicopter pilot was misplaced, does that mean we'll have to ammend the "Sayid is always right" rule? Or should we assume she's a plant?

And has Kate supplanted Jack as the thickest head in the Southern Hemisphere?

Anonymous said...

Hey Alan -

I bet you dollars to donuts that Juliet's big secret is that Kate's preggers.

Which, if true, does bring up the point "Does Kate knowingly want to die?"

(a) She knows that getting pregnant on the island is a death sentence (b) she knows Jin was infertile but then he apparently grew the super-sperm (c) they don't seem to have much birth control on the beach.

My big prediction now that Sawyer's revenge story has come to a close is that he is the big surprise death at the end of the season but having knocked up Kate leaving Jack to protect Kate with his nemesis' baby growing inside of her. Your thoughts?

Anonymous said...

Gotta disagree, Alan. I knew that Cooper was the original Sawyer, and I knew that's who Locke had tied up, but I still found this episode extremely well done. One of my favorites of the season.

TuckPendleton said...

I agree with your assessment of Holloway in this ep, Alan...there were some looks on his face that were simply shattering, and showed a range and depth that I did not expect out of this actor, (or character) as much as I have enjoyed his performance since the beginning.

It does seem like a build-up to another letdown...I actually think the last shot of the season will be Locke opening that door...

Paula said...

i'm with alan. total drag.
the first two-thirds could have been condensed to 10, maybe five minutes. and then we just could have gotten on with things already.
The writers seem to underestimate their audience. i don't need a lot of exposition on the sawyer/sawyer business. i also don't need juliet to "hint" at having another secret. i mean, of course she has another secret!!! not that we're going to REVEAL the secret. Rather, we're going to have her give a hit-you-over-the-head hint at it, because you know, no one realized that she was a shady lady...

Jenn said...

For me, the tension was what was James going to do when me realized Locke's day was Sawyer. I knew he was Sawyer, but that didn't ruin the episode for me. I loved the James/Locke interaction, as well as the James/Sawyer showdown. It was suprisingly satisfying.

The episode was, well, not ruined, but marred, by Kate/Jack/Juliet. Of course Kate would run to Jack, and of coure Jack and Juliet have a secret. I'm sure the secret is that Kate is preggers. Why Juliet would tell Jack, I don't know. And why Jack doesn't want to tell Kate - jealousy? hope to find a "cure"? I don't care. Just reveal it and move on.

If Kate isn't preggers, then the secret is probably a stupid version of Juliet being a double agent -- reporting back to Ben, but truly being aligned to the Losties. Again, I don't care. Kate/Jack/Juliet can all be eaten by a polar bear in the last episode, and it wouldn't phase me a bit -- as long as James doesn't mourn over Kate for too long.

Homertojeebus said...

I looved this ep, how satisfying was Sawyer killing Sawyer? Awesome. Holloway was great, the Ep was grrreat, except, yes, Kate is the new Jack.
The "secret" is probably another reverse on the "mole" plot point, I don't think Kate is pregnant. I sure hope Sawyer doesn't get killed, he's the best character.
Two observations: On "Lost", if you have long hair, (Desmond, Sayid, Sawyer) you are coolass. Short hair=not coolass.
Also, any significance to the meeting of Rousseau and Locke, vis a vis their historical namesakes? Their seemed to be emphasis on their names. Rousseau was born 8 years after Locke died, so for them to have met would have required some "other" place. Food for thought.

cg said...

If they kill off James (as I've read in speculation a few times this morning), I'm done. I still enjoy the show, but I'd have to boycott on princ.!

dez said...

If Kate isn't preggers, then the secret is probably a stupid version of Juliet being a double agent -- reporting back to Ben, but truly being aligned to the Losties.

That's what I was thinking, and like you, I don't care, either. If Kate's pregnant? Don't care, but at least we don't have to worry about a "Who's the babydaddy?" plotline taking up even more time.

The best parts of the ep were the Sawyer/Cooper showdown and everyone keeping secrets from Jack. As much as I love Locke, I knew what he was up to and I just wanted them to get on with it already. I hope things move along quicker in the last few eps.

J said...

Thought it was a blast. Two characters on Daddy Issue Island finally got to deal with them. Tighe was awesomely unrepentant. Holloway made what was a non-reveal to the audience emotionally involving. Yes, the characters had to play catch-up with the audience, but they had to catch up somehow. Some catch-ups feel like cheats if they happen offscreen or through anti-climactic dialogue.

The FLASHBACKS STAYED ON THE ISLAND. It felt like 10x as much was happening, that way, even if it wasn't. It helped most of the show feel relevant, even when they were killing time.

The producers had fun toying -- "Don't you know where we are?" -- and I had fun being toyed with. Loved the torchlit Others camp as they all stood around waiting for Locke to kill his Dad. Chained to a giant column! Sweet. And at least Juliet's presence in the camp gives the writers an excuse to have folks hiding info from each other. As opposed to before, when they just didn't communicate.

Gish said...

I think that Juliet's secret is that she is working double undercover and that Jack knows she is sending reports to Ben. Of course, it is typical stupid Jack for not sharing that with everyone from the outset so they can get prepared for the raid. Whether she is triple crossing Jack or not, who knows?

james said...

The most interesting part to me was Locke's fathers story on how he came to the island and him being convinced he was in hell already. I thought it raised some intriguing points as to what exactly happened when the plane went down.

Louis said...

If Juliet is a "double-agent," then why is she providing Ben with truthful info about Sun's pregnancy?

Whatever her deal might be, I think we're building to a finish that will include Ben's death. Enough people on the island now hate, or at least mistrust him that I can see him going out cornered, like a wild animal, maybe taking a couple of "good guys" down with him. (Plus, my feeling is that his whole head-game theme is played out.)

Crewgrrl said...

I laughed really hard when Ben said impatiently, "Locke, the magic box is just a metaphor."

Damn, go Josh Holloway. Great performance. So strange to recall how much I disliked that character when the show began. I guess he's James. But he's still Sawyer to me. Like all those women the Sawyers conned, I think Sawyer is a hot name.

Devin McCullen said...

You know, I should have known better, but for some reason I was actually thinking Locke had Ben captive. Maybe I was giving the show too much credit. But it was kind of a long buildup. The surprise reappearence of the Black Rock was a nice touch.

I'm not clear what's going on with the emphasis that the helicopter crashed in the ocean, even though she came down well inland.

I wouldn't be surprised at Kate being pregnant (makes too much sense), but I really hope Sawyer doesn't get killed.

'Coma said...

I agree about Holloway stepping it up a notch.
I enjoyed it last night. Sometimes (like last week) I was sorta just shaking me head.
And, yeah, Kate was just dumb.

jim treacher said...

Juliet may just be a tool, but what a nice tool to gaze upon. Er, I mean...

Locke is pretty coolass, despite his extremely short hair.

Taleena said...

props to Josh Holloway for portraying Sawyer turned James. James is the name of the man - Sawyer the bitter shell. That was the cruelest thing Locke has ever done and the first big step in turning him into Ben.

Kate should keep her big trap shut.

Desmond and Sayyid are as handsome and canny as ever and even irritant Charlie was marginably likeable.

Anyone else think the pillar is a place where Other's ritually sacrifice to four toed aliens?

Anonymous said...

I'm having trouble with the idea that Juliet and Jack's secret is that Kate is pregnant. The episode where Kate and Sawyer were together aired weeks ago, but wasn't it just 7 to 10 days ago, as far as the show is concerned? Seems a little early to me for a pregnancy to be detected, unless Juliet has some super advanced test she can administer...and without Kate's knowledge.

Of course, there WAS the oatmeal spoon...

Dan Coyle said...

Kate being shocked that Jack was more concerned about a way off the damn island instead of the fact that his friends were keeping secrets from him was inane and adolescent even for this show...

...but other than that, I liked it.

nfieldr said...

I think my DVR must have kicked on a few seconds late. What was Locke burning at the very beginning of the show?

Kris said...

To answer the question: Locke was burning the file on Sawyer.

I don't think the secret is that Kate is pregnant. I agree, way too early...and how would Juliet have tested her for this without her knowledge?

Yes, Juliet is reporting to Ben, but like some speculated here previously, it could be she is reporting false information...perhaps Sun did *not* get pregnant on the island. She fudging with the dates for some reason.

Sawyer/James will *not* be dead at the end of this season. Too many women need their eye candy...plus, the Others need to find out that Locke didn't kill his dad like he was supposed to.

I think James is the one the Others were waiting for. Locke's dad had a connection to both him and James. James is the one that 'brought him to the island' maybe. His wishes. His desires for revenge.

Anyway, I thought it was a great episode. There was tension for me in the beginning and middle because I wanted to know how/why Locke had his dad tied up somewhere and why he needed James to kill him.

Dark Tyler said...

OK, wanna hear something hilarious? From the latest podcast:

They have been setting up the Cooper is the original Sawyer for a long time and were surprised that more people hadn't figured out this cross. They felt that this was the best time to reveal the cross as it will propel the story for the rest of the season.

*ROTF*

Anonymous said...

Does anybody else think that Ben wanted Locke to somehow have that tape recorder brought to the beach and "out" Juliet as a traitor? Why would Ben tell them his plans to kidnap the pregnant women, then let him go do what he wants to? Also, they were supposedly going to kill Juliet until Jack stepped in and agreed to be Ben's doctor, I would imagine causing trouble for her could be on Ben's agenda.

Dan Jardine said...

Again, I only got around to seeing this on the weekend, so I'm late to the party, but I think it is pretty clear that Ben is the "big death." And Locke is going to be the man to take his place at the head of The Others. And the wheels on the bus go 'round and 'round...

Parenthetically, did anyone else get a Martin Sheen in Apocalypse Now vibe from the show's opening shot, wherein we are in complete darkness except for a strip of red light (from the fire, I guess) running across O'Quinn's eyes?

Mr. Kurtz, he dead. Long live Mr. Kurtz.

Anonymous said...

I suppose Ben was just being difficult if he considers Locke a rival to his position by insisting that Locke shouldn't catch up with them if he didn't have Cooper's body over his shoulder.

Otherwise, if I was Locke, I would have just come back with his head. Easier to carry!

Toby OB

Anonymous said...

All of you who say you knew that Locke's father was the man Sawyer took his name after............ SHUT UP AND STOP LYING!
........The 1% or so that did know beforehand are you INTERNET FANSITE TROLLS AND SPOILER-READING GEEKS!

The 'PATIENT' fans, most of us - yes, like myself, who waited all season - week to week, even through the B.S. 'mid-season finale/then premiere,'BULLS#!T - but with the last several episodes of season 3 being the best ever in the show's short history, and with the 2hour season finale [w/ Jack's flash-forwards as anything but a 'HERO'] which was some of the best TV, not just of the series but really as TIME MAGAZINE put it "Perhaps the best 2 hours of television, EVER" - the rest of us fans [about 99%] who LOVE LOST, many who are even obsessed, but who don't read the internet boards or spoilers, realized it when 'The Man from Tallahassee' said to Sawyer about his son, John Locke - "He was becoming a nuisance I CONNED him into giving me one of his kidneys..."

Son of a... I can't believe I just posted on a TV show fansite!
I guess I'm now a Lost troll too! CHRIST, I'VE GOT TO END IT ALL NOW!!! WHERE'S MY GUN?

PRH,
Desert Southwest