Friday, April 10, 2009

TBG TV: Lost - "Dead is Dead"

The Good:

How could anyone NOT love the horrendous hairpieces featured this week? We open with a younger Charles Widmore – on horseback, no less – looking like a permed-out Prince Valiant. Later, we get a flashback of younger Ben rocking the k.d. lang look. I didn't want the wigs to end!

I've never known what to make of the John Locke character. He's got a terrific back story and a compelling presence, but he's been so easily duped over the years, that it's hard to wholly get behind him. (And, don't give me that "it's a part of his charm" jibber-jabber.) Well, it appears that death has finally smartened him up. Locke's cynical, disbelieving tone towards everything out of Ben's mouth was awesome. And, the subtlety of Locke putting his feet up on Ben's old desk (along with Ben's quick WTF look of disgust) was a clear rewrite of the island's org chart.

I'll concede that it was WAY over the top, but Ben's hasty, overt manipulation of Caesar was hilarious. I'm a little disappointed that, on appearances, Caesar doesn't seem like the type who'd trust anyone – especially someone who's so obviously is in it for himself, but I guess we're too late in the game for the slow burn-style of storytelling.

Ben's brilliant bit of double-talk to Sun ("I didn't know this would happen!") and Locke ("I KNEW this would happen!") was a kick. Here, now, are some original suggestions on how to make Lost even better: One, Poochie Ben needs to be louder, angrier, and have access to a time machine. Two, whenever Poochie's Ben's not onscreen, all the other characters should be asking "Where's Poochie Ben"? Three...

"I was just hoping for an apology."

The Bad:

Sorry, Losties…I know you've flooded your little message boards and viewing parties with unrestrained rage for Caesar, but I was intrigued to see where they were going with him. That he was gunned down so ignominiously (how do you NOT know that the sawed-off shotgun in your satchel is missing?!) has me hoping there's more to his story.

The whole sequence with the ghost of Alex confronting Ben was ridiculous. I mean, come ON. This deceased delicate flower is tossing Ben around like a rag doll and making threats? Was this supposed to be scary? The writers (and make-up team) couldn't have left the gaping bullet wound in her head or something?

I also wasn't feeling the Ben/Desmond/Penny scene. It's obvious that Ben could've killed Penny whenever he wanted, but he (1) calls his archenemy and announces his intentions (2) he opts for broad daylight (3) it's only a few hours before he's got to catch a plane (have any of YOU ever tried to fly out of LAX?) (4) he doesn't make sure Desmond is dead and (5) he doesn't kill Penny. Look, I'm fine with a more nuanced motivation for Ben, but don't try'n cram a few flashback moments of "Gentle Ben" and think I'm going to buy that this monster has a heart.

Verdict: Easily one of the best episodes of the season. The role reversal between Ben and Locke was long overdue and worth the wait. No Jack, Kate or Hurley, either? Woo! I still don't have any reason to give a damn about Ilana or the latest batch of castaways, but next week is lined up to be all about Miles, anyway. That's worth another "woo".


Tom said...

No mention of the retroactive absurdity of Rousseau not recognizing Ben when she caught him in the net in Season 1? Am I really the only one who was bothered by this?

I considered all the new people on the plane Red-Shirts, so I've been actively not forming connections to any of them.

SHough610 said...

I think next week is about Hurley, actually. It wasn't Alex confronting Ben, it was Smokey. And the Ben/Penny scene worked for me on several levels: Widmore is estranged from Penny, how is he going to get in contact with her? Also, remember, Ben grew up without a mother, would he want to do that to another child?