Wednesday, March 3, 2010

There. Will. Be. Questions.

Judging by the way "Sundown" has been rated on some of the various Lost websites and gathering the initial smattering of comments from Swan's entry, I think I'm about to be a very unpopular person.

I didn't like this episode.

Part of this (a lot of this) is my fault. I came into this episode in a bad mood from the instant that I saw last week's promo for this episode. If you didn't see it, the general message was "There's going to be nothing in this episode but answers and ass-kickings!" I just knew we were going to get "Stranger in a Strange Land"ed last night. If you don't remember that episode, it was the one in Season 3 when ABC was promoting it by saying "Learn the answer to three of Lost's biggest mysteries!" and then they proceeded to tell us about Jack's tattoos and burn Juliet.

This episode wasn't nearly that bad, in fact I wouldn't call it a bad episode at all. But it did sort of just feel like they mailed it in for 45 minutes and then spent the final 15 having the smoke monster kill things. But I think the biggest reason I just didn't pee my pants over this episode has to do with something I'd like to take a moment now to address. My local ABC affiliate sucks. HARD.

Disclosure: I live in Amarillo, Texas. We are served by our ABC affiliate KVII-TV. I won't get into the LOL terrible news coverage from KVII (Ok I guess I just did), but they are the worst station in America to have to rely on when it comes to watching my all-time favorite show. I've literally cringed for the last two years thinking that the Lost series finale - the most anticipated television event for me in my lifetime - rests in their hands.

To make matters worse, last night was primary election night in Texas, which meant that KVII was also going to try to juggle airing election returns during Lost. That means that the most pompous characters I saw last night weren't Dogen or Locke Monster, but rather anchor Lisa Schmidt and reporter Mitch Roberts. So every so often during Lost, I would have half my screen filled with results of the election and an advertisement for a local bank. I wouldn't bitch about it (oh yes I would) if it didn't mean that they had to turn their HD feed off to do it. They lack the capability to put up their graphics on the HD feed, so I'm forced (oh the humanity) to watch standard-def on half a screen while they air the results of a rural county treasurer. And then there are times - in this case the last 10 minutes of the episode AKA THE BEST PART OF THE ENTIRE THING - in which KVII will just forget to switch back to their HD feed.

I know it sounds like I'm bitching about small stuff, and in the grand scheme of things I am, but this is now the third episode (out of five) that they have basically butchered as an affiliate. We literally all started sending e-mails during my premiere party this year.

Ok, I'm sorry but I just had to get that off my chest. To be honest, I really need to catch this episode again online so that I can watch it without being pissed off. It's hard to feel positive about an episode when you spend the entire hour watching it on a half-screen and in a bad mood. Maybe I'll love it as much as you all did...

I could've saved us all a bunch of time by just driving down there and telling these two to fuck off.

That said there were things to be discussed about this episode so I guess I better get to it. For as much as I loved Jack's story (and particularly the scar) in the LAX timeline, I thought that this episode sort of reverted back to the same pattern of the first couple of episodes. Seemingly irrelevant story, but look we made Keamy an ass and put Jin in a closet. Cool, huh? I still have faith that they're going somewhere with it, and that I'm gonna look like a fool at the end of the season for saying that the LAX timeline was boring but it's just not doing anything for me. This is hard to believe, but do you realize that we're now one-third the way through this final season? Six hours down, twelve to go. I think that the LAX timeline is eventually going to work itself out so that all of these people end up together anyways, and the sooner they can do that the better. Because the resolution to that story I think will kick ass.

Ok, one thing that I did truly love out of this episode: is there a better actor playing his role on television than Michael Emerson playing Ben? I was thrilled when he won his Emmy last year and truly admire his work on Lost. And I don't even know anything about acting. That look of horror on his face when Sayid said "not for me" was brilliant. And as for Ben himself, I'm really intrigued by the way he, Lapidus, Sun, and Ilana came storming into the temple to save people. Keep in mind that the last time we saw these four together they had nothing in common. Really the only "alliance" would be Sun and Lapidus, just because they're in the same boat of not having a clue what's going on. The fact that all of these four are acting in unison without any questions being asked show that things are getting pretty serious and stopping the monster's quest is pretty damn important.

One of the more interesting conversations from last night was Dogen explaining to Sayid how he came to be on the island, and the deal that Jacob made him. It was obviously a carbon copy of the deal that the monster tried to make Sayid, and was the same deal that Ben made (perhaps on behalf of Jacob) to Juliet to get her to come to the island. So here's my theory that plays well with my current narrative of Jacob being evil. We learned in Lighthouse that Jacob has a way of monitoring people and sort of controlling things that push them in a certain direction in life. So what if Jacob not just offered them a deal to come to the island, but also put them in that situation. In other words, what if Jacob influenced Dogen's job promotion, knowing that it would cause him to celebrate, drive drunk, etc.? I still maintain that both Jacob and the monster are evil and self-serving.

Things are pretty interesting now that basically everyone but Hurley and Jack are teamed up with the monster right now. So I guess I did like this episode more than I thought, and I look forward to the rewatch online. But as for now I'll pass the torch over to Pearl and maybe I'll add more in the comments section or in an additional post. But until then, here's to more happy Lost Tuesdays!

-The Arrow


  1. I admit I wasn't too hot on this episode either. It certainly wasn't as bad as "Stranger in a Strange Land," which for some reason I just rewatched the other day. Was horrid, at least for Lost. This episode I wouldn't call horrid, just not very exciting for me. I feel as though we were a dog that did a trick for its master and was only given plain old dog food instead of a really tasty treat, if that makes sense. I did really like Sayid's kung fu fight with Dongo (As my family affectionately calls Dogen--don't ask.) and I was actually shaking a lot when the smoke monster attacked the temple. I wonder, just how big can the smoke monster be? Because it seemed mad big this episode. I agree that the whole bit with Sun/Lapidus/Ilana/Ben was really intriguing. They did seem very coordinated. Highlight of the episode? Ben's scared face. But that's no surprise. I'm a hopeless Ben lover. My second favorite character (Behind Rose. Dead serious. That lady is AMAZING. I hope she and Bernard got through the bomb okay.)

  2. The LAX timeline isn't doing much for me either. :/

  3. My least favorite Lost episode ever is still the one with Nikki and Paolo from season 3. It was almost as if the writers said, "Hey! Let's introduce two new characters we've only showed in the background before, give them some history, and then bury them alive at the end! Oh, and we might as well not have any of the other characters ever remember them again." What an absolutely pointless episode.

  4. Did anyone else get the "There's a good chance this guy is about to die" vibe when Dogen started giving his backstory? Or was it just me?

  5. @ kala33

    Thank you! Nikki and Paolo were the most pointless characters ever.

  6. See I actually liked "Expose" as a singular episode. Don't get me wrong I hated the fact that they tried to introduce these characters like they had been there all along and then had to waste an hour to kill them off. But the execution was pretty good - dramatic story, gruesome death, a shout-out to the fact that it was still Lost by having them visit the Pearl Station. That episode was like if you sent your significant other out to buy a new car, and instead came back with a new TV. It wasn't want you wanted, but still cool tv right? Well "Stranger in a Strange Land" was like if you sent them out to buy a car and then got a call later telling you that you need to help them push your new Yugo down the block.

    And I think that the LAX timeline is a sticky thing for the producers. Obviously it serves a point, but it sort of seems like right now they're putting more into it than they're getting out....if that makes sense. I understand that they have to establish that these characters are going to end up entangled with each other, but Sayid getting those kids a boomerang? Sorry, we've already seen their life stories. It was called your first five seasons. I guess that showing some of this stuff is the necessary evil to getting these characters where they need to be, but right now it seems to just be taking airtime away from the Island where cool things are happening.

  7. Arrow - I think this is the first time that I have disagreed with you at all. I've been reading weekly, and hopefully I'll be more involved with comments from now on, but I thought this was easily one of the strongest episodes of the season.

    The tee-hee moments werent that lame, and the idea of Keamy as a gangster in LAX actually made sense. As for Jin the freezer, who knows. I thought the on island stuff was amazing though, and that the episode moved forward the whole way through. The Ben/Sayid moment was brilliant as well. And Smokey just owning everyone in the temple was incredible. It was a really action packed episode and none of it felt extraneous. It felt just right.

    I do agree about the producers spending a whole lot of time on this LAX timeline that isnt really giving us too much in return.