Thursday, April 02, 2009

"Whatever Happened, Happened"

In typical LOST fashion, this week answered the question that we were all asking...sort of. The beauty of the show has always been to keep you hooked by dropping some major cliffhanger at the end of just about every episode. What better way to keep you wanting more. Unfortunately, as Season 5 is waning, I can't help but feel a little of what producers Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse expressed concern about following Season 4: Large chunks of recent episodes are starting to feel like filler as we bide our time for the final season. Don't get me wrong, there have been some great episodes of LOST this season, but large parts of a lot of them have seemed more like the bridge to get us where we're going and that the journey is not as impotant as the destination. I still love LOST, but it just seems like the whole of each episode isn't really as interested in the all important character development, but rather filling in missing details of the story for us that sometimes matter not a bit. Perhaps the waiting for each new episode makes me build up the story too much in my mind or maybe I want it to go a certain way and it doesn't but I have been a little underwhelmed with the past few episodes. That being said, we got a few nice nuggets of information this week, so without further ado...


As I eluded to before, the question that LOST fans who haven't been paying attention had after last week was whether Sayid killed Ben as a child. Of course the answer is no. The episode title says it all. Hurley's conversation with Miles concurred, albeit in the voice of confused fans. The rules were firmly established by Pierre Chang and Daniel Faraday at the beginning of the season: The future cannot be changed. Events of the past have always happened. The universe will correct the course of the future however necessary in order to prevent a future paradox from occuring as a result of time travel to the past. Ben grew up to take part in The Purge of the Dharma Initiative, to lead the Others, to torment the Losties, etc. If he was killed as a boy in 1977, none of that could have happened. So, per the rules outlined by Chang and Farady and summarized by Miles, Ben was always shot in 1977. For those who want to do further reading on the subject, I suggest Kurt Vonnegut's magnum opus Slaughterhouse-Five. Much of the LOST rules of time travel are borrowed from the story of Billy Pilgrim and explained by the Tralfamadorians.

I am not a big fan of Kate centric flashback episodes and that is mostly true with this one as well. There were a few moments of greatness though. The best being Kate's emotional parting with the sleeping Aaron. It wasn't so much Evangeline Lilly's acting as it was her acting combined with the beautiful and heartbreaking score of Michael Giaccino. He empolyed my favorite piece of music from Season 4 to an empotional crescendo and then the scene ended with the song being played sadly on a solitary piano. In that moment, I felt utterly heartbroken for Kate leaving the child that she loved as her own for three years. I think I have something in my eye!

So does anyone really believe that Kate's only reason for returning to the Island is to find Claire? I'm not sure if I can totally believe her, but I'm sure she feels some responsibilty to find the missing mother of Aaron. I still think she went back to the Island for Sawyer. Speaking of Sawyer, I was not surprised in the least to have seen so much Cassidy in the "Previously on LOST" portion of the intro. Of course Sawyer told Kate to find his daughter Clementine and make sure that she was okay. It also came as no surprise that Kate met was Cassidy on several occasions and confided the truth about the Oceanic 6 to her.

Doesn't Horace or anyone else in the Dharma Initiative have any suspicions about Juliet at this point? For three years she worked in the motor pool and then she helped deliver Ethan and was attending to Ben's gun shot wound. It seems like that would make Horace a little more suspect of Juliet's past as opposed to his, at this point, unwarranted suspicion of Jake, Kate and Hurley. In any event, Juliet did her best to help young Ben and Jack was a real dick when Sawyer asked for his assistance. Jack did give a good summary of his reasons, but up until now he's been Mr. Hippocratic Oath. Has Jack really been changed so much by this whole experience that he doesn't want to help a dying boy? Or is it that he hates that Sawyer is calling the shots? I think it is the latter.

The scenes with Hurley asking Miles to explain the rules of time travel were great! It is an obvious nod and/or jab at the fans for our collective confusion and frustration with the concepts of this season. I especially loved when Huley was looking at his hand to see if it would disappear "Back to the Future" style. Brilliant!

So Juliet is still holding out on us about what she knows about the Others. I hate that she keeps those tid bits secret. Of course, for all we know, she could have told all her secrets to Sawyer in the interim three years, but somehow I doubt it. She has to earn my trust and she continues to do things that make me doubt her. In any event, I liked that Kate and Sawyer took Ben to Richard to do whatever it is he could do to save the boy. I guess the creepiest thing about that scene was Richard's explanation of what would happen if he helped young Ben: "If I take him, he's not ever gonna to be the same again...He'll forget this ever happened, and his innocence will be gone...He will always be one of us." To compund what was already an interesting scene, one of the Others told Richard the he needed to ask Ellie [Hawking?] before helping Ben because something bad might happen if Charles [Widmore] found out. And then Richard dropped his most telling line to date: "I don't answer to either of them." So what does this tell us about Richard's relationship to the leadership of the Others? It would seem that at times he is taking orders from them, at times he is giving them and still other times he is actively working against them.

As Richard brought young Ben into what I can only presume to be The Temple, thirty years later, almost as if on cue, Ben awoke to find the resurrected John Locke staring at him. A great cliff hanger and set up for what will undoubtably be a Ben centric episode next week. So looking back it at now at the end of this post, I feel better about it as an episode but still feel that there seemed to be some bridge stories. As I told some of my LOST mailing list friends the other day, we shouldn't rush to judgement on this or any season as we don't usally know the full implications of things until the finale for the year. I believe I will take my own advice as I go off to read other takes and theories about this episode.

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