Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Last Night's Lost

After a brain-cooking, lightning-paced 2-hour season premiere, my hopes were set high that the final season of "Lost" would unfold like a freight train of tight plotting and answers to burning questions.  Alas, following last night's episode I was initially left with this disappointing thought:  "Wow, they just burned off an entire episode simply to set up the return of Claire."  With so few episodes left in the series, this is nothing to take lightly!  But upon further reflection, I recalled the producers declaration that they would be much more concerned with resolving the characters than they would be with resolving mysteries and mythology.  So what did we learn about our characters last night?

The episode title, "What Kate Does," is a play on the title of theseason 2 episode "What Kate Did."  It is also, I think, a reference to the fact that what Kate does, and has always done throughout the series, is run.  Last night she was on the run again, in both of the parallel storylines.  In the Island Present, Kate was running after Sawyer, only to discover that her "backup plan" was completely uninterested in her.  Sawyer was heartbreaking in this episode.  He quickly moved on from his bitterness (toward Jack, and even Sayid) and settled into brokeness.  He no longer blames Jack for Juliet's death, he blames himself. And he's not getting over it anytime soon.  He's clearly a man with nothing to live for and nothing to lose, and based on the preview for next week, it looks like he is perfectly positioned to listen to the pitch for whatever it is that Fake Locke/MIB/Smokey is selling.  I also liked that Jin got a few brief moments to shine as he confronted Kate on her motivation for leaving the temple.  Another highlight -- Miles telling Jack he'd be "waiting in the food court."   I like that this place has become so bizarre that everyone just takes it in stride now.

In the New Timeline, Kate actually stopped running and took a brief detour to assist Claire, who was experiencing premature labor after Kate hijacked her taxi.  Of course, we remember that Kate was also with Claire when Claire gave birth to Aaron on the Island, and I get the symmetry that Kate and Claire and Aaron are all connected to each other, no matter what reality we're in.  But was there anything else significant about this?  That was my big problem with this episode.  For an episode that was centered on Kate, I don't feel like they really they did anything to advance her character.  She was not brought any closer to the resolution that this last season is promising.

Two other thoughts in closing:  First, the inclusion of Dr. Ethan "I don't want to stick you with any needles unless I have to" Goodspeed was hilarious, but it highlights another problem.  I have to think that the audience is supposed to believe that this new rebooted timeline has consequence and significance.  But the Ethan bit is such an obvious wink-wink joke that it really undermines the reality of the reality, if you will.  It causes me to view this storyline as just an amusing "what if," which is probably not what the show wants us to be thinking.

Second, what do we make of Sayid?  After the premiere, some fans speculated that he was now the reincarnation of Jacob.  I think it's pretty clear now that that is not the case.  But what of the "infection" and "darkness" that he has?  It reminded me of Rousseau's description of what happened to her colleagues.  I suppose we'll learn more about what is happening to Sayid as we learn what happened to Claire during the last three years.  My guess is that this will culminate with Sayid having to make a big moral choice about who he really is -- is he really a killer or will he embrace the better angels of his nature?  In conclusion, this episode primarily focused on re-positioning some of our castaways for future events.  Instead of running, "Lost" was really just running in place.  I'm hopeful it regains its forward momentum next week.

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