On this week's "Lost," we get some much-needed background into one of the show's newest, least examined and most fascinating characters, Miles Straume (Ken Leung, whom I might one day run away with. Officially love him after last night's episode). I was so excited leading into this episode and, for me at least, it did not disappoint.
The "Lost" team has gotten really good at finding out which actor/character combinations work well together. Ben and Locke, for instance, are always a great match, because it's fascinating to watch Michael Emerson's tightly wound bug-eyed performance clash against the serenity of Terry O'Quinn. Likewise, this episode teams Miles, the least sensitive man on the island (well, now that Sawyer has grown up and stopped nicknaming everyone) with Hurley, the most sensitive guy on the island. Despite their differences, both characters are sort of overlooked by the others, and both have carried a lot pain inside. Also, both Miles and Hurley (and the actors who play them) are very funny, so they're a great pleasure to watch together.
Aside from the buddy comedy of the episode, we got a lot of Miles background (yay!).
We learn that, yes, he is indeed the son of Dr. Pierre Chang/Dr. Marvin Candle/etc. etc. and so forth. We also learn that, not only was he approached by Naomi to come to the island, but Ilana's hefty sidekick, Mr. What-Lies-In-The-Shadow-Of-The-Statue, also paid him a visit. We learned that Miles is a lost (hey, that's the name of the show!) and troubled soul who, like most characters on this series, had a father who seemingly didn't give a fig about him.
What else did we learn in this episode? Well, Jack might not be a complete jerk. Kate is definitely a complete idiot. And, of course, we learned that daddy issues lead to Ewoks.
Here are some more highlights, observations, and musings from episode 13 of season five, "Some Like it Hoth."
* In the episode's first scene, it was immediately clear that all of you who guessed that Miles is Chang's son were right. We open on a woman looking for a new apartment -- and it's clearly the woman who roused Chang to take care of the baby in the season's first scene. Then we meet her son, Miles. So good for you, if you called it. And I only hope that you didn't scream "I am the smartest Lost fan EVER!" as my husband did.
* Back to that opening scene. Seemingly every week, "Lost" manages to out-creep itself. This week's scene of a terrified young Miles realizing the voices he was hearing were coming from a dead body in his new apartment complex totally made my skin crawl. Yeesh. Poor little kid.
* The rest of the Miles flashbacks were also interesting. We see his recruitment by Naomi, who has him talk to a body as an "audition." The body was delivering photos, presumably of the phony crash scene, to Widmore. Why? Does this prove Widmore faked the crash? Or does it prove someone else did it? And who killed the dead guy? Widmore? Naomi? Abbadon?
* By the way, that was Dean Norris, Hank on "Breaking Bad," as the grieving dad Miles scams. Not that important, but I like Norris, and "Breaking Bad" so I thought I'd point it out.
* Ok, so, on to Lost island. Who else's stomach did backflips when Horace told Miles he was being brought into the "circle of trust." Yikes. That is NEVER good. It never leads to ponies, rainbows and happiness. It only ever leads to crazy men in the jungle carrying dead bodies wrapped in plastic. Always.
* Love how Hurley just never takes a hint. Miles clearly doesn't want him on his body delivering mission. He even basically tells Hurley that he's up to something creepy. Yet Hurley still bull-dozes his way into the Dharma bus so he can deliver those damn sandwiches. Because Hurley is a nurturer-caretaker.
* Ok, let's talk about the dead body, aka Alvarez, for a minute. When it "speaks" to Miles, it says that Alvarez died when a filling in his tooth came out and tore through his skull. Ewww! How does that happen? Clearly some sort of magnet. Had Alvarez wandered into the magnetic field of doom? What did the Dharma-ites do with the body?
* Also, let's talk about the conversation between Miles and Hurley re: dead speakage. Clearly, we've been lead to believe that what Miles does is real, and what Hurley does is a hallucination, usually brought on by loneliness, fear or guilt. But maybe they're both real. Hurley seems to think so. Just because it's not scientific doesn't mean it's not real.
* When Miles and Hurley deliver the body, Hurley totally reveals that he knows it's a dead body, much to Chang's chagrin. Chang threatens him with something worse than working in the kitchen. But Hurley loves the kitchen! Chang is, hilariously, flummoxed. Then he vows to send Hurley off on a polar bear poop-weighing expedition if he speaks. Hurley is properly cowed.
* Miles revealing his dad's identity to the one person who would not just understand, but try to help, is yet another example of the island working in mysterious ways. Fate didn't lead him to share this with Kate, who killed her father, or Locke, who was almost killed by his, but Hurley -- the one who reconciled with his bad daddy. Hmm.
* Ok, we've got to talk about "Empire." How awesome that Hurley figured out that, since it's 1977, "Star Wars" just came out, and George Lucas must be looking to do a sequel? So Hurley, the fanboy, decides to make good use of his time by writing "Empire Strikes Back." I suspect that he wasn't looking to make money, since he doesn't need it. I think he just thought it would be cool to write "Empire." Nice touch: Hurley actually writes out "RARRRR!" as dialogue for Chewbacca. Also, what "improvements" do you think Hurley was making to the story? I have a suspicion that, in this version, Han Solo isn't a scruffy-looking nerf herder, but a hefty comic book guy with a gift for dipping sauces. Also, perhaps Princess Leia became Princess Libby.
* Jorge Garcia gets another nice, tender moment when he tries to convince Miles to befriend Chang, using "Empire" as an example. Just like Luke denied that Vader was his dad, Miles doesn't want to reconnect with Chang, who hurt him and his mother so badly. But Hurley points out that, had Luke accepted Vader immediately, Luke might not have lost his hand. In fact, perhaps all of Jedi wouldn't have happened -- which would have been fine with Hurley. "Ewoks suck," Hurley explains. Well said, big guy.
* Another nice moment when Hurley realizes that the Swan hatch is being built, and that the numbers are being etched on. Great bit -- one of the workmen can't read what number comes next, Hurley, under his breath, recites it. Devastating.
* Miles seeing Dr. Chang with baby Miles was just really sad and sweet. Leung, whom I previously knew only as Junior's crazy roommate in the last season of "The Sopranos," has a great expressive face that makes him a perfect fit with this show.
* On the non-Miles side, Kate tried to be all nice and sympathetic with Ben's dad, and it backfired. Luckily, Jack covered for her. I loved how Juliet and Sawyer were all grateful to Jack for helping...but if Jack had saved Ben in the first place, there would have been no need to take Ben to the Others. So really, it's his fault Kate is in trouble. Why would you thank him?
* Phil aka Jimmy Barrett, finds Miles' un-erased tape and figures out that Sawyer/LaFleur kidnapped Ben. So Sawyer channels his inner Don Draper and decks the guy. Nice!
* Ok, I guess we (sort of) know what happened to Daniel. He apparently went off island and stayed with Ann Arbor scientists. Why? How? What's up with him? Why does he looked all stable and serene all of a sudden? What's going on?
* It would appear "Lost" isn't on next week.