"Miles, I need you." -Dr. Pierre ChangWhat is it about TV writers and father issues? And, specifically, what is it about "Lost" and father issues? Amongst the notably bad dads we've met and/or heard about over the years (and I'm sure I'm leaving out somebody like Boone or Mr. Eko's father):
"You do?" -Miles
• Jack's dad is a drunk with a God complex, who helped turn his kid into his exact replica before drinking himself to death.
• Ben's dad spent Ben's entire childhood blaming the kid for the death of Mrs. Linus, and slapped him around, to boot.
• Kate's biological father (whom she thought for decades was her stepfather) was such an abusive bastard that Kate decided the best way to deal with him was burning him to death.
• Hurley's dad abandoned him for years, and only came back after Hurley got rich (and he's probably the best of this bunch).
• Sawyer's father killed Sawyer's mom and then himself after they got conned by Anthony Cooper. And speaking of which...
• ...Locke's father was not only an evil SOB of a con artist, he even conned his own son out of a kidney, then threw his son out an eighth-story window.
• Walt didn't know his dad for most of his childhood, then his father killed two innocent people to rescue him from kidnappers and wound up blowing up on a freighter after Jack's dad said it was okay.
• Penny's father is either the chief villain of the series, or at the very least such an amoral, selfish monster that Penny is traveling the globe trying to hide from him.
Compared to all that, what little we know of Pierre Chang so far doesn't make him seem too terrible on the "Lost" Bad Dad Spectrum. It's entirely possible that he may be responsible for Miles' unwanted psychic powers, but it's just as possible that he's not, and even that he sent his wife and child away from the island because he knew bad things were coming (possibly being warned by Miles himself).
What interests me in looking at that list is how many of our characters have been given an opportunity to confront their father figures by being stranded on Craphole Island. Jack chased after his father's ghost, and may yet get to converse with Christian before it's all over. Locke came face to face with Cooper, then got Sawyer (who considers Cooper a perverse replacement for his real dad) to kill him when he couldn't. Depending on what you think the black horse from "What Kate Did" was supposed to be, Kate got to make some kind of peace with the father she murdered.
And now Miles, who has the power to talk to dead people, gets to meet the very alive father he spent his childhood wondering about, only now he's as disinterested in hearing from the man as he is in hearing from the memories of the recently-deceased.
Frankly, I'm amazed we've made it this far into the fifth season before Hurley compared a father-son relationship on the show to Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker.
After the intense streak "Lost" has been on since "The Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham" through last week's "Dead Is Dead," we were about due for a breather episode. And if "Some Like It Hoth" wasn't exactly a light comic romp -- even with Miles stuck in a van with Hurley for long stretches of the episode, and even with Hurley joining a nation of millions locked together in a shared hatred of Ewoks -- it was less mythology-driven and more singular in its focus than we've seen in a while. I'm okay with that for a couple of reasons. First, I felt like we needed a breather before heading into what I assume will be the typically apocalyptic final episodes of the season.
Second, Ken Leung has been such a great addition to the show in the last two years that he deserved a spotlight already. And he delivered, proving (as Josh Holloway got to a while back) that he's good for more than just sarcastic asides. He got to nicely transition from the pierced, painfully sincere Miles at his mom's deathbed to the guy who (claims to) care about nothing but money, and will even lie about his abilities to get it... except in cases of clients who may have been just as neglectful to their sons as Pierre Chang was to Miles. And Leung made the most of his big moment, dramatically lit and accompanied by the full Giacchino strings as Miles watched his younger self enjoy the kind of father-son moment he never knew about, followed by his voice breaking as he chose to read Chang's "I need you" as something much deeper than Chang intended.
Because this wasn't as ambitious an episode as we've had lately, and because I think I can hear my pillow calling for me, I'm going to be shorter than usual and head straight for the bullet points before opening up the discussion to all of you. Some other thoughts:
• So, Hurley says his version of the "Empire Strikes Back" script would have a couple of improvements. Given that "Empire" is the one "Star Wars" movie virtually everyone agrees is great from start to finish, what exactly would you improve? Other than Leia giving a French kiss to her brother, I mean.
• God help me, but I'm starting to like New Jack. I assume that's only going to last until the island tells him why he had to come back and he starts trying to lead through impulsive bullying again, but this mellow guy who's content to leave the driving to LaFleur seems okay in my book.
• Brad Henke's character gets a name, Bram, and an intriguing backstory, as he claims to represent not only a group that knows all about Miles' history and the origin of his powers, but the team "that's gonna win." Clearly, he and Ilana haven't fallen victim to island madness, but are there with some specific purpose in mind. He and Ben haven't interacted much on Alcatraz, and Ilana hasn't acted like she knows who Ben is (and vice versa), so I have a bad feeling they could represent a third faction: not Widmore, and not The Others, but... who? A reconstituted Dharma Initiative? A hardcore Geronimo Jackson fan club?
• Does anyone really want to speculate about the meaning of the polar bear dung experiments at the Hydra, or are we all much better off assuming the reference was just there for a laugh?
• We see The Swan being built, and The Numbers are, perhaps, just random serial numbers on the hatch. Is there a deeper meaning to them at this point in time, or is "the incident" going to give them a deeper meaning after the fact, one that's going to start the chain of events that leads to Hurley's unlucky lottery win?
• Dan's back! About time! For a half-second, I wondered if he might get out of the sub and not recognize Miles (implying that Dan, like Richard, doesn't age), but instead he's just been gone from the island for a while since the events of "LaFleur."
• Phil, Phil, Phil... if the subject of an apparently incriminating piece of evidence asks you if you've told anyone else about it, you say... "Yes"! Serves you right, getting knocked out and tied up at Casa LaFleur.
• Nice to see Dean Norris (as Mr. Grey) from the amazing "Breaking Bad" in a more prominent mainstream show. Also nice to see Marsha Thomason become the latest dead Lostie to pop up again in someone else's flashback.
• Good news, bad news about the music selections in the Dharma magic buses: you can hear the great "It Never Rains In Southern California," but you might also have to listen to "Love Will Keep Us Together."
• What, if anything, can we glean from the late Felix taking photos of empty graves to Widmore, vis a vis who (Widmore, Ben, or perhaps this third group) staged the fake Oceanic 815 crash?
• Is $3.2 million the amount that Miles asked Ben for to let him go when they were hanging back in New Otherton?
• At what point, if any, during season four did Miles start to get evidence that he might have, like Charlotte, been to this island before? He had his chance to try and leave during "There's No Place Like Home," but he wanted to stay as much as she did.
As always, let me remind you of two simple rules to follow when commenting: 1)No spoilers of any kind (including the previews for the next new episode, two weeks from tonight), and 2)Make an effort to at least skim the previous comments before making one of your own, out of courtesy of those of us who are actually reading them all. If you ask "Am I the first person that's thought of...?" about something that at least six other people have clearly already thought of, it's annoying, and it's going to be deleted.
Oh, and a third one: Be nice. You can disagree with people without attacking them for not sharing your opinion. Talk about the show, not each other.
With all that in mind, what did everybody else think?