Thursday, March 08, 2007

Lost: Poor cows. Poor, poor cows.

"Lost" spoilers coming up just as soon as I find my "Searching for Bobby Fischer" DVD...

Well, week two of the show's back-to-basics mission wasn't as entertaining as week one, but it advanced the plot more, so it's a wash. Things we seem to have learned:
  • That the Dharma Initiative's people are long dead;
  • That the undersea cable Sayid found way back in early season one leads to a sonar hub;
  • That Miss Clue (or however you spell it) wasn't on Alcatraz because she was keeping Andrew Divoff (who'll always be Frenchie from "EZ Streets" to me) company;
  • That there's more than one broadcast facility on the island, since Rousseau had never been to the cow farm but has previously referred to using an antenna to transmit her distress signal;
  • That The Others have a source of fresh milk (albeit a smaller one than they had before the episode started);
  • That Locke loves pushing computer buttons.
Okay, so the last few aren't exactly mind-blowing, but this was a solid example of moving the story forward and giving us some information while leaving the bigger picture still unclear. I also thought it worked on a straight action/thriller level, though it would have been even better if we didn't need to keep cutting away from Sayid and Mikhail's face-off to the flashback.

I'm not going to complain too loudly about Naveen Andrews getting an entire episode to himself after being MIA almost all season, but we know how guilty Sayid feels about his torture career. We've hit this same emotional note three or four times already, and despite good performances by him and the actress playing his victim, it's yet another flashback that felt like it was there not because the writers had anything interesting to say, but because this is the format they've established for themselves.

The ping-pong story got exactly the right amount of time, and while I thought the bet was unfairly stacked in Sawyer's favor -- a week of no nicknames versus permanent reacquisition of "his" stuff -- I'm glad the writers won't be able to lean on the nicknaming crutch for at least a couple of episodes. (The show's abandoned the strict one episode=one day timeline, but the next episode looks like it picks up shortly after this one.)

I'd be more annoyed at the destruction of The Flame if I didn't feel confident in the existence of a second broadcast place. The idea of a transmitter that didn't work but could be fixed at some point down the road is more interesting than "Gilligan's Island"-ing a potential rescue scenario by just blowing the place up.

But won't someone mourn for the cows?

What did everybody else think?


K J Gillenwater said...

The flashback was necessary to establish the cat being the same cat as he saw in his victim's lap. What was that about? Is the cat real? Why is the cat there?

My question is why would the Others have left the place rigged with C4? Wouldn't you disconnect it, if you didn't know how it was wired?

But it was nice to have a conversation where the Losties at least *tried* to get some answers, rather than just ask useless questions (like Jack).

JMC said...

Can we also now agree that Kate kicked some serious ass? First showing her marksman skills and also wielding that rifle for the occasional headbutt. No 'damsel in distress' crap this time around. Go Kate!

Anonymous said...

I thought it was a good episode. When Sayid told Kate that Eyepatch was an Other I literally said "I love Sayid so much I want to take him behind the middle school and get him pregnant."

Meanwhile, I don't speak Russian, but I kept imagining the conversation with Miss Klugh went something like this:

Miss Klugh: Pop quiz, hotshot. Gunman with one hostage. He's using her for cover. You're a hundred feet away. What do you do? What do you do?

Eyepatch: Shoot the hostage!

BF said...

Anyone got a translation on Clu yet?

BTW, the previews say next week is when we learn the "shocking" truth that Jack & Claire are 1/2 siblings.

Anonymous said...

I don't know. These episodes go nowhere. Its just create whatever distractions on the way back to Jack. This whole season will be about freeing Jack from the Others it seems, which wasn't last year about rounding up an army and getting the Others? Feels like we're on repeat.

Alan, why are we expected to think any of the inforamtion from Eye-Patch Man is true? It was all a lie, a fake cover, which means everything he said might have been a lie too?

10' oclock is bad for this show because it's hard to stay awake when it's on. It's gotten so slooooow and silly and self important.

Naveen Andrews may be the most pretentious actor on tv.

K J Gillenwater said...

My Russian is very rusty, but I went back and tried to translate as much as I could:

Ms. Clu - You know what you have to do.
Eyepatch - You have (unintelligible).
Ms. Clu - We can't take a chance.
Eyepatch - No.
Ms. Clu - You know (unintelligible).
Eyepatch - There's another way out.
Ms. Clu - (really bad accent in here, can't tell what she's trying to say in the beginning). You know what you have to do. (somewhere in here, I think she uses the verb 'obrekat,' which means 'to doom.')
Eyepatch - There's still another way.
Ms. Clu - (English) Do it!
Eyepatch - Forgive me

Then he shoots her.

Hope that helps. Sorry I couldn't get it all.

Danny said...

Just thought that blowing up The Flame was a great example of this show spinning its wheels. Sayid finds shelves and shelves of answers about Dharma, then Locke blows them up.

Also, if Dharma has long been out of the picture, why still the food drops?

Anonymous said...

My only real complaint was Locke's apparent touchy obsession will all computers. I found it unbelievable that he would leave the pirate to continue his chess game and even more ridiculous that he would push the 77 as instructed. It would have been much more feasible had Ms.Clu found a way to trip the C4 before exiting the farm house. If the writers are trying to show us how inept Locke actually is, they've played this song too many times as well.

Anonymous said...

A friend of mine speaks Russian, so if she can translate the rest before someone else does, I'll post it here.

This ep was much better than the first ones of the season, but still not worth my staying up past my bedtime. So why do I keep staying up to watch? :-)

Anonymous said...

Anybody miss Jack? Me neither.

Frenchie! Yeah, was that a Russian accent he was trying to do? It was bizarre. I was so glad when they stopped chatting over iced tea and went back to trying to kill each other.

The flashback didn't tell us anything we didn't know about the character (remember those days?), but it was well-written and acted so I'll allow it.

Favorite meta-moment: Sawyer's "Who are you?" to... whatever the girl's name is who popped up out of nowhere to add absolutely nothing to the show. At least the other one got to call Sawyer a hillbilly. Go cash your check, stupid.

Those two cats were not the same.

Taleena said...

Jim is right there are two cats. Any episode with Danielle, the neighborhood's Crazy Cat Lady, is good. That Danielle she can lay mantraps in the jungle but can't find a comb. Were I a Lostie I'd kill Patchie and take the cows back to the beach. Hell, drive Hurley's van and salvage a bunch of stuff from the Flame and then blow it sky high, but then I am a logical human being.

Anonymous said...

I'm late to the game on this one, but I'm finally getting sick of the Losties being incompetent just to advance the plot.

I would have been happier if they hadn't found the C4. Then Locke wouldn't have seemed quite so stupid to me, because I would have seen the decision to push the buttons from his point of view.

(But not keeping an eye on the prisnor for ten minutes because you're playing computer chess: ugh, what a plot contrivance.)

Todd said...

Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't Sayid get away with many of those books (and probably, conveniently, the Only Ones With Information the Plot Needed Anyway)?

Unknown said...

I think Sayid took a page from one of the books, not the entire Time-Life set.

I realized during the Eyepatch Q&A that I'm not really sure what I want to have happen on this show, any more. I have no confidence that The Answers they come up with to The Questions are going to be entertaining; I'd rather they just tossed in more Questions and random business. And I'd like them to be self-aware enough that, when Gilligan/Locke does something stupid like blow up The Professor's coconut-powered motorboat, there's a big, tromboney "wah-wah-wah-waaaaaaah" on the soundtrack.

I wouldn't mind spending a whole episode in The Clockwork Orange room. Dial that one up for me, ABC.

Anonymous said...

My Russian-speaking friend found this elsewhere online and confirmed that's what she heard as well:

Klugh: Mikhail. Mikhail! You know what to do.

Mikhail: We still have another way [out].

Klugh: We cannot risk. You know the conditions.

Mikhail: There is another way.

Klugh: They captured us. We will not give (or let, or betray) [unintelligible].

Klugh: You know what to do. It is an order.

Mikhail: We still have another way!

Klugh (in English): Just do it, Mikhail.

Mikhail: Forgive me. (shoots)

Anonymous said...

The C4 explosives were just too much for anyone to believe. If "they" wanted to rig the place to blow in case they were invaded, why the hell would they link it to a slow-to-complete chess game? So a big invasion comes, and the place needs to be destroyed to hide their precious Dharma films, and the one eyed guy is expected to piddle around moving pawns for 10 minutes so he can blow the place? How insulting to the audience.

Maybe there was a instant blow button, you say? Fine, but why even link it to the chess game at all then? Or all the other important communication functions? If you needed to communicate with the other bases, you better be very patient if you want to say more than a few words every 30 minutes or so.

I bet the Lost writers are really messing their pants, realizing that the backlash (and drop in ratings) has started earlier than expected, and that the next 10 yank-your-chain-but-go-nowhere episodes are already in the can. They are probably cringing knowing who answerless the rest of the season is going to be and how much of a mistake they've made assuming people would buy their lemonade forever, no matter how bitter it gets.

Anonymous said...

J--'Time-Life set' (of books) Absolutely hilarious! Thanks to the Russian translators--but I'm still not clear on the Mikhail shooting Clugh thing. They can still try to get info,whether it's from Mikhail or Ms. Clugh. I guess she didn't want it to be from her?

Anonymous said...

libby "but I'm still not clear on the Mikhail shooting Clugh thing. They can still try to get info,whether it's from Mikhail or Ms. Clugh. I guess she didn't want it to be from her?"

The one eyed Russian pirate tried to shoot himself in the head right after shooting Clugh, but Locke stopped him just in time. Which is another bit of complete unbelievability, of course. If Clugh and Pirate were willing to die in that scenario rather than give info to the Losties, then why not let the Pirate try to try to shoot the Losties in that situation, with nothing to lose. He has Locke dead to rights with a gun pointed at his head - one down. Clugh could be told in Russian (they allowed them to talk long enough) to tackle Kate right away - if Clugh gets shot dead by Kate or Saiyid, so what? She was willing to die anyway, at least this way she has a small chance of not dying. But with the surprise factor, lets say Clugh was 50/50 with at least delaying Kate and putting her out of action. Then its just a shootout between Saiyid and Pirate at 30 feet. If Pirate gets shot dead, Clugh just has to continue to try to wrest the gun away from Kate until they shoot her too.

This way the Others either escape with no Losties left alive to report the location back to the beach camp (not that they share information, sigh) OR the Pirate and Clugh end up dead, which is what they wanted anyway. Its a free shot at winning provided by their willingness to die for the cause.

But of course Lost assumes it can do anything and not be questioned on its believability at all times.

Zodin2008 said...

In a recent Ent. Weekly story, Lindleof and Cuse had the audacity to claim that the two useless newbies were going to become 'legendary' characters. I am still waiting.

I guess my point with these useless newbies is that they are essentially Latino versions of Boone and Shannon? Since they had already established Boone and Shannon with backstories, why not just keep them?

They get rid of those two characters and then replace them with identical characters in the middle of a weak run by "Lost" and expect us to care? Hardly.

Yes, Naveen Andrews is a terrific actor, but this really felt like re-done territory. At least it was better then the Bai Ling/Jack tattoo episode. I know we all can sleep better at night knowing where Matthew Fox's tats came from.

Anonymous said...

"Maybe there was a instant blow button, you say?"

I was gonna say cheat codes. But yeah, the chess thing didn't make sense. Just part of the show's fascination with outdated technology. Anybody remember Battle Chess? That was awesome.

"I'm still not clear on the Mikhail shooting Clugh thing. They can still try to get info,whether it's from Mikhail or Ms. Clugh."

Well, he couldn't really shoot himself and THEN her, could he?

Anonymous said...

I get what you're all saying about how unbelieveable it is that Locke left Eyepatch to go play chess, but... it's actually enitrely believeable.

Locke loves games. It's been established since the very first episode (or maybe second if it's in The Pilot Part II) when he played backgammon with Walt. It was established when he was playing Axis & Allies in "Walkabout". He was teaching Mouse Trap in "Deus Ex Machina". Locke handling the dynamite was a game of Operation. It's very apparent whenever he decides to go hunting or be "the mysterious man of faith" and mess with people's problems (Charlie's heroin addiction, Boone's incest). The man loves to play games.

So his going to play chess while this guy's rather securely tied up and unconscious? Totally in his character.

But yeah. We could've done with the C4.

Anonymous said...

Sayid's flashback was about as necessary as those two new characters (the star trek redshirts, as I lovingly think of them). Meaning, not very. Don't care, don't care, don't care. Been there, done that, torture bad. Got it.

I kept expecting him to do a Captain Picard and say he only saw four lights.

anyhoo, I'm bored with this show. If I'm promised one more "game-changing" episode *that I won't believe* I'm going to seriously start watching CSI: Whatever instead.

OK, well, I won't, but lawdy. In EW last week there was a story saying ABC execs want the show to go six seasons.

Honestly, can you IMAGINE what it'll be like in year six? Will they actually have the professor's bicycle-powered generator hooked up to an AM radio and limbo parties on the beach?

Anonymous said...

One of the advantages of television over movies is that you have the advantage to delve into character and backstory. A character's past helps to explain his current actions. This is often the point of the flashbacks - to explain behavior of a character. So, Sayid's flashback helps to explain his decision to be merciful to the captive hostile.

Sure, you could have a show that rapidly propels the ACTION forward without too much consideration for character and depth. This is a fun formula as 24 has proved. But, that's not what Lost is, and it never was.

Anonymous said...

I'm finally caught up on Heroes! That last episode was kind of a letdown after "Company Man" (Bryan Fuller + HRG = Awesome), but you can't beat Malcolm McDowell and a shapeshifting hottie. And how about that final shot? Little in-joke for all the people who wish Peter would cut his stupid hair.

Anonymous said...

Er, duh, which is exactly what Alan said now that I read it...

Anonymous said...

AND I posted it in the wrong thread. G'night, folks!

Anonymous said...

... Locke's a fucking idiot

Christy said...

Wow. I just saw where a CSI:NY rerun beat this Lost in the overnight ratings. Not by much, but still, CSI:NY, a rerun!

Anonymous said...

_brian_ said: "Sure, you could have a show that rapidly propels the ACTION forward without too much consideration for character and depth. This is a fun formula as 24 has proved. But, that's not what Lost is, and it never was."

But how many times do we need to be told that Saiyid is a former torturer who is haunted by his past, or that Kate is a bad, bad girl who gets into trouble a lot, or Jack is a hot head but great surgeon who hand wife problems, or that Jin and Sun had a rocky marriage, or that Hurley is unlucky before it gets to be obnoxiously repetitive? These "character development" flashbacks WERE good - the FIRST time they did them, not so much the second (or third or fourth).

I don't think you are giving us enough credit for having brains and knowing what the slower television format offers over a movie. Character development is fine, as long as it is new, interesting, and/or necessary. Playing the same song over and over is just lazy writing designed to stretch out things artificially so they can reach year 7 and syndication, not some great artistic expression that you are making it out to be. Stop drinking their lemonade and you might realize you've seen most of year 3's flashbacks before.