Thursday, March 02, 2006

New Precedent Set on LOST

For the first time in its short but complex history, LOST aired an episode in which the flashbacks experienced by the focal character of the episode took place after the plane crash on the island. Last night’s episode “Maternity Leave” used the format that we are used to, by honing in on one character –in this case Claire, and then cutting back to past events in flashbacks that are relavent to what the character is dealing with at the present. The only other episode that has broken the mold of “action on the island, story in a flashback” was “The Other 48 Days” which aired earlier this season. However that episode was more a snapshot of the tail section survivors and their experiences. While some could argue it was like one large flashback, I found it to be a fairly straightforward storyline, which just jumped through time to show the action on that part of the island.

“Maternity Leave” was not only unique because Clarie’s flashbacks took place on the island, but because they dealt with a secret we’ve all been dying to know since last year. We’ve all wondered what the heck happened to Claire when she was taken by Ethan, and finally after last night, we have some clue.

I think for anyone who has watched the show in its entirety, it was difficult not to be on the edge of one’s seat during at least part of this episode. I liked that they brought Rousseau back in a more logical manner than with the Sayid episode, and I liked that Ethan played a large part in the flashbacks. I also liked that fact that Rousseau’s daughter was woven into the plot (or at least a Red Herring for her character.) I myself, am not convinced the woman who helped Claire out of the bunker was Alex. Not to mention the fact I thought she looked much older than sixteen.

The most intriguing reveal of all to me about the episode was the moment when Kate went into the locker and discovered what appeared to be the props of the head “seabillie” who took Walt and challenged Jack in the jungle. We saw his worn cap, his beard and the “theatrical glue” he uses to stick it on his face. There are some interesting implications here, including the fact that the OTHERS may not be these savage tribe like people, but all part of the larger Dharma collective research group. I’m also glad that they finally wrapped up the scratches on Rousseau’s arm from Claire. I had forgotten about this whole story line and I think Rousseau’s choices here add an extra element of depth and contradiction to her character. She didn’t wish Claire to be harmed by the Others, and saved her, yet in her distraught state still took Claire’s baby to trade it into the Others for her own, Alex. While I had suspected Rousseau wasn’t trying to harm her, I’m glad this loose end finally got tied up.

I still can’t make heads or tails of the whole “infection” and “vaccine” element; and every time someone starts to go into particulars about it my eyes glaze over because none of it makes any sense. Claire’s insistence that she remembered “them” injecting her baby with something, and her vying to get the vaccine from “them” was patently ridiculous. Why would they do this? And why would Claire think they had a vaccine as well? How could they inject the baby when she was pregnant but not have the substance get mixed into Claire’s bloodstream? After all babies and mothers share blood, oxygen, and other bodily fluids. It’s unclear as to what the parameters of the infection, quarentine, and vaccine are, and so it all feels like garbled nonsense. Also assuming Claire didn’t know that the bunker was going to be deserted, how on earth did she really expect to get anywhere with the dangerous freaks who took her? And why would Kate go with Claire so readily? Did she really think that a single 9 mm would protect them, especially after everything she’s seen and experienced on the island?

I appreciate the fact that the writers finally wanted to show us what happened to Claire when she was taken, but the way they worked in into the episode felt somewhat forced and clunky. In a show which I had easily numbered as one of the best written on TV for a while, I find the overall quality of writing episode to episode declining a bit.

Still in an ocean of blah episodes, as least I could get invested in this one. I’m glad that they didn’t drop the story of the mysterious balloonist in this episode because I think it has interesting potential. The scene between he and Locke was interesting, and I like the balloonist’s meek comment on the power structure of the island. Though I wasn’t necessarily buying that Locke would express his anger by wrecking havoc in the kitchen afterwards. I think that Locke would have been a bit more controlled in his reaction, especially since it had just come up that the balloonist has good ears and can easily hear what is going on on the other side of his door. But I certianly like the idea that the balloonist is slowly and subtlely leaking out the poison of suspicion and mistrust among the other survivors until it becomes an all hell breaks loose Lord of the Flies situation.
I think it would be great to see some huge divide develop among the survivors, particularly since there are so many characters on the island at this point. While I I can see how this provides more fodder for story, it’s also easy to loose track of main characters entirely. I mean does anyone even care that Michael has vanished? Does anyone even remember? No one has mentioned his name in the past couple episodes.

All in all still a troubled episode, but at least one which I could sink my teeth into a bit. I really am curious to see what the rest of this season has in store; I’d love to see my sinking suspiciouns proved wrong and have them make some crazy revelations within the next five to eight episodes. I am also eager to see how and if the show’s flashback format will evolve and change in the future.


Blogger jeremybgg said...

i've been saying all along that "The Others" are not who you think they are; and that there's never been a given that "they" have anything to do with the island's general weirdness. last night doesn't prove anything; it just proves that there are more threads and complications than people have thought.

also, my opinion is that "planting seeds of distrust" is exactly what henry gale is supposed to do. i wasn't convinced he was a fraud until he let slip that little business about jack and locke -- why would he give a shit, unless it was his reason for being there. plus, he's named after uncle Henry in the Wizard of Oz and claims to have traveled in a balloon. wtf?

we'll be back on track for the end of the season, you mark my words.

1:40 PM  
Blogger The New Yorker said...

Hah, that Oz connection is pretty funny. Maybe one of the writers was reading Wizard and Glass from the DT series, what with the Stephen King reference and all...

2:21 PM  
Blogger New York Anthony said...

It was a pretty good episode, msotly because the flashbacks actually held some interest. That is the key to the show, when those suck, the rest of the show sags. And this season they have mostly sucked.

DId you watch the Next On (I would call it a next week on, but Lost tends to have huge lapses of time between episodes. Another big problem I have with the show). Sun might be pregnant!? Since two seasons have taken place over two months, that means that she won't have a baby until season 8 or so. Sounds like a dumb plot point to me.

I really do like this show, even if it has been way lackluster this season. Of course, since it is a network show, it will have to fall into disrepair eventually. And in some sick way, I am looking forward to when it becomes downright terrible.

4:19 PM  
Blogger The New Yorker said...

You sadist you. There will be something that will be bizarrely satisfying in watching it tumble from the steeple of the hot new items. Because at this point we're (at least I) are locked into watching until the bitter end.

Also good plot point about Sun and the pregnancy. LOL.

4:55 PM  
Blogger DoorFrame said...

I hate that it feels like elements come together not because they were supposed to come together but because it occurred to some writer that they were combinable. The show doesn't feel planned, it feels haphazard. And yet I watch.

I think you're misunderstanding Claire's interpretation of the injections. Ethan was injecting her baby with the "vaccine" to prevent it from getting the "infection" that is part of the whole island-living experience. Without continued injections of the "vaccine" the baby will surely die. There aren't two different injections, it's not a "vaccine" and an "infection." Just a "vaccine."

"Quotation Marks"

8:57 PM  
Blogger The New Yorker said...

Aha, interesting point about the vaccine issue, I think I see what you mean, but I also think you give them too much credit. :)

10:31 AM  

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