Thursday, January 22, 2009

TBG TV: Lost - "Because You Left" & "The Lie"

The Good

Some of the geeky nods to the most loyal Lost fanboys hit the target – most notably the Dharma Initiative opening sequence ("I don't need a script!") and Hurley's absolutely spot-on nonsensical explanation of the show's first four seasons.

•Michael Emerson's "Ben Linus" continues to be the single most consistent performance on the show. Even in a week where the dialogue was positively George Lucas-ian at times, Ben's snarky quips ("That's the spirit."), overt manipulation and terrific reaction shots (the nonverbal cues that he and Hurley exchanged right before Hurley surrendered to the police especially stood out) have me rooting for the bug-eyed bastard to outlive everyone else.

•As someone who loathed the Ana Lucia character from season two, her cameo at the end of the first episode was pretty damn cool. The whole thing was one big inside joke, but still an effective bit of tension breaking.

•I'm usually one of those guys who roll his eyes whenever the media uses pandering platitudes like, "I was holding my breath…" to describe an action sequence, but, damn that flaming arrow scene was bad ASS! It actually turned me into one of those guys who screams, "RUN!" at the TV.

•Gas isn't $3.22/gallon anymore.

The Bad

•OK…I'm really going to be open-minded about this whole time travel thing. Really. It's just that the writers have spent four years easing into every major plot point with a deliberate (to say the least) storytelling style. The whole time travel thing was hinted at towards the end of last season, then sledgehammered to death before the first episode of this season was half over. Yeah, yeah…everyone wants the show to be faster paced, but a leap of THIS magnitude that's so hastily incorporated has me already worried about ye olde deus ex machina at some point.

•I don't know who was responsible for last night's script(s), but…yoikes. Sawyer's sloppily melodramatic, "I wanted to make sure she…they got off the island…"; Farraday's predictably frenetic "I don't have TIME to explain…"; the entire Kate/Sun sequence and the inevitably cheesy "WHEN am I" line… Dialogue has never been this show's strong point, but last night was the worst it's been in awhile.

•I was a wee bit disappointed with the (almost) immediate payoff from Sayid's "Whatever [Ben] says, do the opposite" warning to Hurley. In the end, it fit the sequence, I guess, but it still would've been something I'd have kept on the back burner until we get closer to endgame.

•I love Sayid's character. I feel he's been one of the more underutilized and underwritten personalities on the show. But, Lost writers, come on. If you want me to take him seriously as a soulless assassin, can you stop with the one-guy-charges-him-at-a-time fight sequences? TWO guys with guns are laying in wait and second guy attacks only after the first one's been dispatched?

•And, I don't care how pervasive cell phone cameras are within society. If a behemoth with a gun is looking over the railing at a dead body below, I'm not sticking around to take his picture.

•Cheech Marin has been wonderful in his cameos as Hurley's dad. That said, there's just NO f'ing way that Hurley beats the cops to his house. No f'ing way the cops leave Hurley's house with only a "here's our card" gesture to Hurley's dad. No f'ing way Hurley's dad isn't followed by the cops to his meeting with Jack. And, no f'ing way that the license plates on whatever car Hurley used to GET to his house wouldn't have been run by the cops.

Verdict: In an email to Movie Joe Reid this morning, I called last night's season premiere "busy". Joe responded that he didn't love it nor hate it and that pretty much sums it up for me, as well. There was a LOT going on – I'll probably watch it again tonight with Mrs. Bootleg, who passed out early on me – and even though it wasn't all good, it beats the hell out of inertia.

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