'Lost' Wednesdays: 'You, me, Jack, Sun, Hugo and the pilot that looks like he just stepped out of a Burt Reynolds movie.'
It's rare that I'm in the lower half of scores for any given "Lost" episode, but it sure seems like a lot of people liked "The Last Recruit" far more than I did. And, honestly, that's cool. I'm fine with that. I'm fine with being an outlier, and I long ago accepted that I just liked the moving pieces episodes less than most people (and, indeed, a lot of you much preferred this episode in comments). So this week, instead of a lengthy preamble where I again reiterate just what it is that I think, let me link you to a couple of reviews I liked -- one positive and one negative -- and then let's get down to seeing just what you said.
Here's a Tweet I liked from @RevChadDJEsq:
"Random #Lost idea - Sawyer offering an apple to Kate in Sideways land - a nod towards who the Adam and Eve skeletons are?"
Honestly, that allusion completely slipped by me, though it should have been obvious. If it does end with Sawyer and Kate being Adam and Eve, I think Chad will get some sort of prize. But, at the same time, it's such an obvious allusion (once you know about it, that is) that I'd be surprised to see the show follow it down the path it seems to be heading down. I still give Chad my award for my favorite theory of the week, and I'm pretty ashamed I didn't think of it. All those years of Sunday school down the drain!
Filmmaker and film writer Lucas McNelly (@lmcnelly) shared another theory I wouldn't be surprised to see come true:
"I'm beginning to think that final image they've supposedly had in mind since S1 is just going to be an eye opening"
I would not be surprised at all if this happened, but given how much this season has been intentionally mirroring Season One, I would bet even money on the final shot being an eye CLOSING, if the show actually decides to go that way. Still, it again feels so obvious that I am hopeful they'll head in another direction, unless the final eye shot turns out to be really super cool. (And that's something I'm not ruling out, since Jack Bender would be involved, and he comes up with great images.)
The first to advance the opposite point of view from me in comments is iamnicksaicnsn, who thought last night's episode was aces:
"I personally thought this was a generally over-all much improved episode to last weeks. Everything felt so much more 'real,' the emotions, the dialogue, name it. The flash side-ways was even enjoyable, probably because it was much better paced and more characters were addressed, as opposed to them lingering when they didn't need to. Last week I truly felt was the 'fail' episode. Last week was the episode I thought basically everything was artificial. Did you really figure out that Sawyer wasn't going to be able to out-fox Widmore? Did you really figure out that Jack was going to jump off the boat? Sure, it made sense that he would meet up with Locke again at some point, but I really thought it was done in an enjoyable way.
"My only gripe is that only now, with so little time left, do they feel the need to actually progress the plots. Almost every episode before this has felt like stalling."
To be fair, I figured out that Widmore was going to turn on Sawyer simply because I knew the show had more episodes to go, and I knew that Sawyer's plan was never going to work as well as he insisted it would. It's one of those things that happens because you consciously know you're watching a TV show, and you know how these sorts of things go. On the other hand, I've long suspected that the show was building to some sort of final partnership between Jack and Locke, and I didn't think that the show would abandon the storyline of him being on Team Man in Black so quickly. I will admit that I didn't expect him to jump off the boat, and I thought that was a nice scene.
I can see where previous episodes have felt like stalling, particularly if you're not as in love with the character development stuff as I am. When you get right down to it, there hasn't been a lot of story this season, especially compared with the pell-mell Seasons 4 and 5 (where it often felt as though the show might leap the tracks at certain points). Really, all we've had to do is resolve what happened when Juliet set off the bomb (something we still haven't resolved), figure out who Jacob and the Man in Black were and watch the characters choose sides. All we're doing now is waiting for the characters to end up caught in the crossfire between Widmore and the Man in Black. There's plenty of room for character moments here, but there's not really room for STORY, which may be why so much of the season has felt so leisurely.
There was plenty of talk about how the flash-sideways are more interesting to some of you guys if they feature more of the characters than just one. I do have to admit that the flash-sideways that have been the most interesting to me are the ones where other characters end up swept up in the story along with the focus character, and I was probably marginally more interested in the flash-sideways storyline in "The Last Recruit" than I was in many of the others. And, yeah, seeing all of the characters come together was thrilling. It just might have been more thrilling if we hadn't seen this coming from several miles away.
Great catch by Laura here:
"btw, except for Aaron, I think the same people were on the boat last night as were on the helicopter, only this time Jack jumps out instead of Sawyer. I thought that was kind of interesting."
>At first, I thought Laura was exactly dead on, but Sayid was also on the helicopter in the Season 4 finale (as you can see here). That said, it makes sense why Sayid wouldn't be with our crew now, and Claire has taken Aaron's place (which makes sense as well). It's not exactly right, but the parallels are close enough that I'll call it a point scored for Laura.
Harry takes issue with the idea that the episode could be derided as one that just moved pieces into place:
"And no offense but I always think it's a big cop-out whenever a reviewer falls back on the old 'It's just moving the pieces into place' routine. Why? Because EVERY episode can be described as putting the pieces place. Every one.
"This week's episode moved the pieces into place for next week's episode. And next week's episode will move the pieces into place for the episode after that. And all the episodes of a season are doing is, guess what? Moving the pieces into place for the big finale! Wow! What a brilliant insight. That's how a TV show *works*, there'd be nothing at all without pieces being moved around every episode; it's the -reasons- and -consequences- of that very moving around that gives us a show in the first place."
I guess I could have been clearer on this point. Obviously, every episode plays off the events that happened in the last episode on a serialized show like "Lost." But the episodes where it becomes obvious that the writers just need to move the characters -- physically and geographically -- from one place to another are often ones where there are strained reasons to do so. (My least favorite example of this probably comes in the Season 4 finale, where Kate ends up running all over the place, literally, just because the show needs her to be in about five places at once. It never stops to really explain why she's doing everything she's doing, and at some points, she seems like she must have superhuman speed.) This, at times, felt like one of those episodes, particularly when Sawyer was talking about his deal with Widmore, and Locke just conveniently left the group so Jack and the others could peel off. I think they did a better job of making these choices seem motivated in this episode than they usually do, but there were still moments where it felt like the writers suddenly realized they needed a lot of characters to be in completely different places.
And let's call it there for this week. You guys share so many great thoughts every week that I can never get to all of them, but be assured I read all of 'em, and I'm always interested to hear what you have to say. I'll be on the "Orientation: Ryan Station" podcast again this week, and I'll be back for the "Lost" weekend on Sunday. So send me those e-mails and Tweets!
--Todd VanDerWerff (follow me on Twitter at @tvoti)
Photo: Sun (Yunjin Kim) and Jin (Daniel Dae Kim) are back together. Yay, Sun and Jin! (Credit: ABC)