Thursday, May 7, 2009

TBG TV: Lost - "Follow the Leader"

The Good:

Oh, bloody-faced Jack…how I could watch the everlovin' sh*t get kicked out of you in every episode. The writers of the show are famously tuned in to the mood of their viewers and I can't help but think that the abbreviated TV beatdown of the good doctor was a nod to the anti-Jack faction of the audience.

It's early. It's very, very early…but, this "Locke with a purpose" character arc is all kinds of awesome. For the first four-plus seasons, Locke was nothing but asking questions and pathetic naiveté. Now, he knows all the answers while Ben and Richard can only exchange confused looks at one another. Love it, love it, love it.

Most of the online reaction to this episode – that I've read, anyway – has been centered around Kate and criticizing her for not going along with Faraday's (and now Jack's) grand plan. In reality (well, "television reality") this is a brilliant bit of character development. Frankly, there hasn't been enough in-show storyline skepticism of some of the more mind-bending ideas and island characteristics. Kate's reaction is the same as mine would be: the detonation of a hydrogen bomb is gonna solve all our problems? Really? Because Bushwhacker Locke and an alcoholic doctor say so? And, besides, didn't the plane crash and island experience already fix Kate's f'd up life?

Allow me to be the one millionth blogger to mention how hilarious Dr. Chang's interrogation of Hurley was ("You're 46 years old?"). Hurley's bojangling (yes, it can cross ethnicities) only works when he's got an effective straight man and, in this instance, it was a brilliantly-delivered back-and-forth.

Alice Evans – as young Eloise Hawking – stepped up with yet another powerful performance by a season five supporting character. Her promise to Jack that she'd believe anything he told her, no matter how fantastic, was a wonderfully desperate moment.

Radzinsky usurping Horace's command was appropriate and way overdue. It easy to see how an impotent leader like Horace could let his group be infiltrated right under his nose. Radzinsky's raging paranoia fit the moment and his all the right notes.

If Ben's lookaway – when Richard mistakenly surmises that Locke didn't die and Locke quickly corrects him – doesn't nab Michael Emerson an Emmy, then nothing will.

The Bad:

I'm a little surprised the Dharma guys didn't slap around Juliet a little sooner, once it became clear that Sawyer wasn't going to talk. There's wasn't even an empty threat sent her way before Phil gave her a taste of his pimp hand.

And, now that Juliet has once again been reduced to making sad faces and stuck in the role as 60 degrees of the Sawyer-Kate-Juliet equilateral love triangle, I'm beginning to come to grips with the increasing possibility of her demise in next week's season finale. I really thought the writers had established her a little more strongly than she's been written recently.

Verdict: Only a terribly disappointing season finale could ruin what's been the best season of the series, so far. Admittedly, the previews for next week didn't seem to have that singular hook that blew my mind, so I hope they're just saving the good stuff for those of us who tune in. Another terrific episode this week, kids.

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