Thursday, April 2, 2009

"Lost" recap: So Doc Brown WAS crazy!

This week on "Lost" we learned a bunch of important things about time travel. First, if Ben is alive in the future, then it's impossible for Sayid to kill him in the past. Because, somehow this is the way things always were. Sayid always shot Ben. The Six always came back. The future island people always joined Dharma, blah blah blah. That means that, despite what Hurley believes (and what Doc Brown so convincingly told us in "Back to the Future"), Sayid shooting Ben doesn't mean that the people Ben brought back to the island will slowly start to evaporate with the help of poor, 1980s-era special effects.
We learned these very important facts during a conversation between the two great scientific minds of our times, Hurley and Miles. As always, the "Lost" folks found a way to make a subplot that was almost entirely exposition entertaining and informative at the same time. Basically, Hurley served as the audience proxy, desperately trying to get a handle on what it all meant. Miles was a stand in for the show's writers, trying to explain, and generally making Hurley feel like a moron. Until, of course, Hurley asked the same question we've been asking since the first time Ben brought Sayid a sandwich: how come Ben didn't recognize Sayid when the two met again years later?
Miles can't answer that. Luckily, the writers did answer it in last night's episode. Due to Jack's sudden decision to get all Locke-like and let the island sort things out for itself (more on that later), Mini Ben is at death's door. With the island's only surgeon flaking out on her, Juliet decides to go to The Others for help. Kate and Sawyer end up taking Ben to Richard Alpert, who tells them that, if he helps, Ben won't remember anything. But he'll also lose his innocence.
Ah. So that's how Ben became Ben. And it's why he doesn't recognize Sayid later. Does this mean we won't see Sayid on the island again? Or does it just mean Ben won't see him? I'm thinking he did recognize Kate and Sawyer. Maybe that's why he held them hostage later. I also think he recognized Juliet, which is why he became all obsessed with her.
In spite of all this head-spinning mumbo jumbo, this week's episode was, like last week's, basically a return to the season one format of using flashbacks to explain a character's actions. This week, we learned how Kate ended up on the plane. While her scene with Claire's mom was touching, I wasn't really that surprised by Kate's actions. Most careful viewers have guessed all along that Aaron is with Claire's mom. I was a bit surprised that Kate has gone to look for Claire. Apparently, her guilt about taking someone else's child -- and leaving Claire behind -- has gotten the better of her.
Anyway, here are some more thoughts on episode 11 of season five, "Whatever Happened, Happened."
* Is it just me, or does Horace make a really unconvincing Tommy Lee Jones? When he started calling for a hard target search of every Dharma station, jungle tree and polar bear cage (I'm a paraphrasing, of course), I kind of just wanted to laugh. Maybe it's the long flowing hair. At any rate, despite the best efforts of the Dharma-ites, Sayid is long gone. We don't see him for the whole episode.
* Once again, "Lost" takes a character that we should hate -- Ben's dad -- and makes him sympathetic. Roger is genuinely nice to Kate, and shows real remorse about his treatment of Ben. When he realizes that Ben stole his keys and helped Sayid escape, he's genuinely heartbroken, and I felt really bad for Roger. I know, I'm a sucker.
* What's up with Jack's new direction? Though it has been foreshadowed over the past few weeks, we finally saw Jack dump his old savior complex for good. He refuses to save Ben, pointing out that, according to Miles, it's impossible for Ben to die. Kate points out that maybe Ben lives because Jack saves him. Jack isn't having it. The island has a way of working things out, he says. Oh, he and Locke are SOOO going to be BFFs if they meet up again!
* Another nice moment in the Jack transformation: Kate says she liked the old Jack better. Jack reminds her that that isn't really true. Nice.
* The Kate flashbacks mostly bored me, but I was intrigued by a few things. When Kate takes Aaron to see Sawyer's mark/old flame/baby mama, Kate's singing "Catch a Falling Star." We know that that's what Christian used to sing to Claire when she was little. It's one of the two musical cues in this episode, the other being good ol' Patsy Cline, who always pops up in the Kate flashbacks. This time, it's Patsy singing "She's Got You" -- a great song, but, personally, I prefer the Dean Martin cover, "He's Got You."
* The other thing that intrigued me (Ok, mostly it kind of made me laugh) was that the woman who finds Aaron in the supermarket is clearly supposed to look like Claire. And she does look like Claire -- if Claire had been assembled by Picasso. Seriously -- didn't her face look sort of crooked or something? Odd.
* Even though I don't like Kate, it was sad to see the parting between her and Aaron. Moms (even fake moms) leaving kids behind always gets me.
* Back to the island. Why did that one Other tell Richard that Ellie and Charles wouldn't like him helping Ben? Has someone else undergone this same treatment with disastrous results? What happened?
* Nice transition from Richard and Ben entering the Others' secret hideaway to grown-up Ben waking up in the future and seeing a very much alive Locke at his bedside. I always coo about the perfect work by Michael Emerson and Terry O'Quinn, but come on -- they deserve it. The expressions on their faces in this scene are perfect. Ben totally looks like he's going to crap himself. Fantastic.
* As an aside, I just switched from satellite to cable a week ago (didn't want to. Had to. Long story.) and we have this crappy new DVR that always cuts shows off in the previews. So I only saw a little bit of what's ahead next week. Arrrgh!


Bill Scurry said...

He would forget everything?! C'MON! I don't want a cosmic Etch-a-Sketch shaken up -- I want Ben to remember everything, so that when Sayeed F's his S up in the Henry Gale episodes, Ben knows very well how dangerous Sayeed can be and submits to it nonetheless.

This was disappointing as far as eps go, only because we haven't had any forward motion in weeks. Let's hope next week's ep -- Ben's time before the plane trip -- gives us at least the illusion of momentum.

TV Writer said...

Refresh my memory: At what point did Sayid Fix Ben's Sink? (that is what you meant, right?)