Wednesday, February 3, 2010

"Lost" season premiere recap: WTF?

"Lost" has always been a high-degree of difficulty series. I mean, asking fans to accept multiple timelines, enigmatic characters and MONSTERS, FOR GOD'S SAKE -- it's demanding a lot from an audience.
But, on last night's season premiere, "Lost" -- to paraphrase the show itself -- brought crazy to a whole other level by practically splitting into two separate shows. That's right -- none of this flashforward/flashback baby nonsense. Now we're into full on alternate realities, which may or may not converge at some point.
Argh! My brain! Ow! Ow! Ow!
Spoilers on the season premiere, "LAX Part 1 and Part 2," below.
The show picked up where last season left off, with Juliet covering the world in white light by detonating the hydrogen bomb in the yet-to-be-built Swan site. Quickly, the white light transformed into the view outside the window of a plane -- yep, we're back on Flight 815, with a fresh-looking Jack sitting in his seat. The bomb has re-set everything! Rose is sitting next to Jack, waiting for Bernard to come back from the bathroom, just as she was before the plane crashed on Crazy Ass Island. And hey! It's Cindy the stewardess, before she was kidnapped by the Others! The plane shakes. Jack is tense. Rose consoles him. Jack is still tense and the plane continues to shake stops. Nothing. The plane crash doesn't happen. We've officially entered into an alternate reality, where the plane doesn't crash and Bernie finally gets to finish going to the bathroom and make it back to his seat. Of course, there are few things different about THIS 815 flight. For one thing, Desmond's on it. There's something else different, too. As the camera pans out the window, it heads down, down, down into the water. Underwater, we see what looks like a sunken city and...Oh my God! Is that the four-toed foot statue?? Is the island under water now? WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON?
To make things even more confusing, when we return from commercial break, we're back on the original, non-sunken island, where our heroes are no  longer in the 1970s following the blast. They wake up and realize that...they're standing near the pit left when Desmond blew up the Swan. So, the Swan was built. The bomb didn't work.
OK, so, now we're dealing with two separate realities: what happen if the bomb worked and what happened if it didn't work. It's sort of like the Gwyneth Paltrow movie "Sliding Doors," only with gunshot wounds, hippie monks and druggie rock 'n' rollers.
Gotcha. So how long will this last? Will the show just keep tooting along in two separate realities, never telling us which one is "real"? Or, will it, just like in the Paltrow movie, finding a way to eliminate one of the realities, revealing one of them as the truth path? Who knows? But, for the purposes of expediency, I'm surmising the rest of the episode in two parts: If the Bomb Worked and If the Bomb Failed.
If the Bomb Worked:
In this new 815 flight -- the one that doesn't crash -- most of the characters are back to behaving the way they did when we first met them. Jack is earnest and helpful and hasn't yet become the self-righteous asshat we now know. Kate is in cuffs, seated next to a very much alive marshal. Sawyer is rakish and nicknamey (he calls Cindy "Earhart." Ha ha!). And Charlie -- wait, Charlie is alive! And Boone! Boone is alive, too, and seated near a still-paralyzed Locke. The two of them talk that Frogurt in between them, taking a nap? Ah, Frogurt. My only regret about this alternate reality so far is that you might not get hit with a flaming arrow. We see other familiar faces, too, including Dr. Arzt, who is still in one piece, and still annoying. He's chatting with Hurley, who, apparently, still owns Mr. Cluck's. Which, apparently, didn't blow up. Whah? Why? Well, as he tells a mystified Sawyer, "Nothing bad ever happens to me. I'm the luckiest guy alive." Really? What happened to the cursed Hurley we all know and love? Perhaps, if the Swan was never built, then Hurley's lottery numbers didn't come from the lid. Maybe they weren't cursed. Maybe they were just numbers. OK, now I'm starting to wig out a little.
Later on, Jack and Sayid help save Charlie, who's choking on a bag of drugs in the bathroom. Guess if the plane doesn't crash, he can try to get his fix after all. When Jack saves him, Charlie is arrested. As he's led away in cuffs, Charlie ruefully tells Jack that he never should have saved him. "I was supposed to die," he says. Jack is taken aback. Clearly, those words mean something to him. Something deeper than what Charlie intends. In fact, Jack is the only one who seems to be having deja vu throughout the flight. He panics during the turbulence. He recognizes Desmond from somewhere, though it could be from that morning run they shared back when Jack was still trying to save Sarah. But he feels...something.
Anyway, off the flight, Jack's father's body is missing. So is Locke's bag. The two of them chat while waiting in the airport. It's funny to see the two former enemies enjoying each others company. Locke shows that he's still the philospher he was when we first met him, telling Jack it's just his father's body that's gone -- not his father. Jack, grateful for the comfort, tells Locke to come by for a free consult. Maybe he can help Locke with his spinal injury. Hmm. Could we be setting up a future where Jack is obsessed with saving Locke, rather than with besting him in a game of Island One-Upmanship?
Meanwhile, Kate escapes the marshal, makes a break for it and ends up sharing a cab with...Claire!Yay! Claire's back! And sitting, terrified, in the back seat of a cab with the woman who will steal her son in an alternate reality that may or may not be the true reality.
Oh, brother.
If the Bomb Didn't Work:
Back in "we're still on the island" land, Sawyer is pissed at Jack for getting them involved in the whole Dharma-pocalypse and, he thinks, killing Juliet. Even worse, he thinks the whole thing was for nothing, as they're still on the island and the Swan was still built. Jack is devastated and mortified. But there's a glimmer of hope when the gang hears Juliet scream. They unearth her and Sawyer goes down to see her. She tells him about the bomb, and how she detonated it, because she wants him to be happy. She says she has something important to tell him, then dies in Sawyer's arms. Meanwhile, Sayid is also dying, and Hurley gets a visit from Jacob, who suggests taking Sayid to the temple. So wait -- Hurley isn't crazy? He really can see did people? Or can he only see magical dead people, like Jacob?
Anyway, he tells Jin he needs to go to the Temple, and they head there with Jack and Kate. Meanwhile, Sawyer and Miles stay behind to bury Juliet. Sawyer wants Miles to talk to Juliet. He does, and he finds out what she wanted to tell Sawyer: "It worked." Sawyer is confused. What worked? Well, of course, we know that the bomb worked, and that there's another reality where Sawyer is flirting with a handcuffed Kate in an elevator. Or, possibly dead Juliet is talking about something else. I don't know. The dead are so cryptic.
Speaking of which, Hurley and co. arrive at the temple, which appears to be populated with monks and hippies. Oh great -- just what this show needed. Yet another society living on the island. There, they see a familiar face -- Cindy the stewardess. Also, John Hawkes from "Deadwood" and "Eastbound and Down" is there, and sporting a disconcerting hairdo. They ask what the gang wants. Hurley replies that Jacob sent him, and hands over the guitar case which, as it turns out, contains a giant ankh, which, in turn, contains a note. The head monk and John Hawkes read the note and agree to help drowning him? Where's the logic, guys? After being submerged in an icky pool somehow doesn't help Sayid, all seems lost (hey, that's the name of the show!). The monks also drag in Miles and a roughed-up Sawyer. Through all this, Jack is uncharacteristically quiet. He seems morose. Beaten. For once, Jack doesn't have a plan. The monk asks to talk to him. Jack resists and, as the fight, Sayid pops back to life. What the hell is going on!!??
Meanwhile, on the other side of the Island, we learn that Fake Locke/The Man in Black is actually the smoke monster, and he unleashes hell on a bunch of the "What lies in the shadow of the statue" crew. Apparently, they're Jacob's bodyguards, or something.
Ben is mystified by all of this, and Michael Emerson gets ample opportunity to try out his wide repetoire of "Oops, I crapped my pants" expressions. Awesome. Smoke Monster Locke tells Ben that he wants the one thing that real Locke didn't: to go home. But where is home? Seriously, does the monster really have, like, a nice little cape somewhere in the midwest? Where is he planning to go?
Ben and Smoke Monster Locke exit the base of the statue to see a pissed off Richard. SML tells Richard it's nice to see him out of his chains. "You!" exclaims Richard. "Me," replies SML, and then he clocks Richard.
OK, I'm totally confused. But I'm really intrigued, and fascinated to see where they're going with this.
Here are a few more thoughts:
* In alternate flight land, Jin and Sun are still having problems, and she lets the cops take him away for undeclared cash. Wait, we finally see Jin and Sun together again, and it's THIS Jin and Sun? Unfair!
* Why was Desmond on the plane?
* Furthermore, why wasn't SHANNON on the plane? We saw Boone, but he was alone. He told Locke that he tried to get his sister out of a bad relationship that she didn't want to leave.  How did the Swan not being built affect her?
OK, I have to go. Please share your thoughts below.


Anonymous said...

why was Jack bleeding on his neck when he looked in the bathroom mirror?

Bill Scurry said...

A big heaping stack of HUH? right here. The one thing I rolled my eyes at was the umpteenth variation of an armed, barefoot junta in the jungle treating our castaways like shite -- a scenario I've seen to many times to be surprised by at this point.

Bonus points for casting Johnny Hawkes and Hiroyuki Sanada, though.

Col. Mike said...

"Furthermore, why wasn't SHANNON on the plane?" Because they couldn't get Maggie Grace to come back.

Why does John Hawkes look like John Lennon and Dennis Hopper from Apocalypse Now's lovechild? Either way, he's cool.

TV Writer said...

Mike -- OK. But what is the canonistic explanation for why Shannon isn't on the plane?

Anonymous said...

Thank you! That was hilarious. Everything I was thinking!

Anonymous said...

spoiler alert: i think Jacob is now "in" Sayid... like how Jacob's enemy (can't remember his name) is in Locke! just a theory!