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Thursday, March 31, 2005
TV Round-Up
Lost: Dues Ex Machina
Wow--no one on this show has a good relationship with their father.

This week, the circle of having paternal issues extends to Locke, who was abandoned by his parents and left in foster care. Locke never knew who his biological parents were until one day, Mom shows up to see Locke while he's working at what looks a lot like Wal-Mart (the whole blue vest thing). Mom reveals that she's not all right in the head and that he was immacutely concieved. Shades of The Phantom Menace begin to color the show, making me wonder for a few minutes if Locke is actually the Anakin Skywalker of the island. Turns out he's not. Locke tracks down his father, who welcomes him with open arms. Dad invites him to go hunting, to hang out to and get to know him. Oh yeah, Dad also needs a kidney and that waiting list sure is long. At this point, it becomes pretty clear where the plot is going--Dad needs a kidney and boy it sure is convienent he met his biological son at the exact right moment. Locke signs up to give Dad a kidney, after which Dad jets and locks Locke out of his life. Turns out Mom was in on the whole thing as she needed money and Dad used her to get Locke to come to him. Oh yeah, in the flashback, Locke can walk and we learn in the dialogue that he was paralyzed four years before the crash. Honestly, for a few minutes I thought his inability to walk would be a complication of surgery (I'm not sure how donating a kidney could make you lose the abilty to walk, but hey...stranger things have happened!)

Meanwhile, on the island, Locke and Boone are no closer to opening the hatch, though they've dug out a good bit of it. In a dream, the island points Locke to a plane that crashed earlier. He and Boone set out to find out and Locke begins to lose his ability to walk. It also looks like he's slowly losing feeling in his legs. Not a good sign. They find the plane and Locke can barely move. He sends Boone up into the plane, sure the island is trying to tell him something. The plane is precariously balanced on a cliff. Boone finds a radio that he is able to call for some help on, but just as he makes contact, the plane drops off the cliff. Boone is injured. Locke is able to get to him, drag him out and carry him off to camp. In an interesting twist, the farther Locke gets from the plane, the better able to walk he is.

Boone is pretty messed up. To the point that Kate is stunned when Jack pulls open his shirt to look at his injuries. Locke shows up, lies that Boone fell off a cliff and then disappears. The show ends with Locke on the hatch, weeping and saying he's done everything the island asked, why won't it let him into the hatch? A strange light starts glowing and Locke looks inside...and we're left until next week to wonder what the glowing light is.

After the stunning background story of Locke last time, I guess I went into this background on Locke story expecting--well, something more than we got here. Pretty much from the time we see Daddy on a dialysis machine, we can tell where this plot is going to end up. But the storyline does reinforce some things about Locke as a character. Because of his issues of not knowing his parents and moving from foster home to foster home as a child, Locke is seeking out approval from some authority figure. At home, he looked for his father for approval, getting it when he could give something to Dad but then losing it once Dad got what he wanted. Here on the island, Locke is quick to jump through hoops to do what the island wants--he's convinced his dream is from the island and is obssessed with following through on it. This is despite the fact that the dream is pretty disturbing, featuring the image of bloody Boone and Boone railing him for betrayal. Also, it's interesting that the island seems to be taking away Locke's disciple in Boone (should Boone be the cast member who dies).

It's also interesting that Locke, who has these intense father-issues, has become something of the father figure on the island. Also, we can see why Locke has trust issues--wanting to keep the hatch a secret, lying about how Boone got hurt, etc. After being burned by his parents, it's easy to see why Locke ain't exactly running to open the doors of trust to just anyone around him. I have a feelings that all this is ging to cost Locke at some point down the road should the truth of things come out. I have to think that either Boone will die of his injuries and lack of quality medical care on the island or he'll come to and expose Locke's deceptions.

Also of interest is the way in which the flashback and island story dovetail. In the flashback, Locke does everything his father wants to win approval, only to not get it. Locke makes a sacrifice and it fails. On the island, Locke does all the island asks, makes a sacrfice and might be rewarded for it. The light coming on inside the hatch could be a reward for Locke sacrificing Boone. Also, I have to wonder--was the plane crash near the Black Rocks that Sayid referred to a while back and is it the center of the island's power? If so, is that why Locke can't approach it since he's gained the most from being on the island?

Alias: Tuesday
I'm going to stun some of my regular readers of the TV Round-Ups by saying--wow, I really liked Alias this week. Enough so that this may be my favorite episode not only of season four, but maybe the past two seasons of Alias.

The hook of the episode is an interesting one--Sydney goes to Cuba to meet with a source, who knows the location of a hard drive detailing a group called the Third Wave's nefarious plots. Dixon gets it, takes it to APO, not knowing it's booby-trapped with a virus. APO is forced into lockdown for 36 hours. Meanwhile, Syd tries to leave Cuba only to find the bad guys have realized they've been betrayed. Syd's source is killed and Syd is knocked out--only to wake up in a coffin, buried alive. Meanwhile, Marshall is running late to work and is the only one from APO not in lockdown. It's up to Marshall to get to Cuba, find Syd's position from her cell phone and rescue her.

First of all, the hook is a lot of fun because it really, really got some genuine edge-of-your-seat suspense going--esp. when Marshall arrives at the cemetary in question as Syd's cell phone battery dies. Right up until Marshall digs Syd out, we aren't certain if he'll get there in time. Great stuff. But it also works because of the characters. Back at APO, we get vengeful, pissed off Sloane who is furious that one of his own is attacked in this way. The anger we see from Ron Rifkin when Sloane basically says failure is not an option to rescue Sydney is nicely done. As is the intensity from Victor Garber as Jack, who goes between calm in trying to help Marshall get to Sydney in time and the worried, concerned parent who realizes his daughter is dying and there is nothing he can do about it. And Jennifer Garner does a good job as Sydney being buried alive and slowly succumbing to the fear, terror and paranoia of it all.

But the real star of this episode is Marshall. We see some looks into Marshall's home life as he has to lie to his wife about the real nature of his job. Over the course of the episode, we see a lot of the dilemma that Syd faced in season one--having to lie to those she loved to do her job. Add to it that Marshall likes what he does and feels it's for the greater good, even though he has to lie to his wife. And miss time with his son. Great, great stuff...especially the end when Marshall invites Syd in and Syd tells Marshall there is no good way to explain her presense there. (That did make me wonder--just how will Marshall explain that he has no car when he arrives home?) Not only do we get to Mashall rescue Syd, but we see him out in the field. His accidentally killing his contact and having to take the eyeball to use on the retinal scanner was nice. Marshall's ablity to roll with the punches is every bit as good as Syd's. And unlike a few weeks ago with average-guy-we-meet-in-bar, Marshall works well because we have some history of knowing this character.

You know, I would not be at all upset if we had a lot more episodes featuring Marshall. Heck, just give him the whole show, I say.

Meanwhile, no Vaughn pursuing his father, no Jack and Slaone being cryptic. And that is a good thing as those plots were going no where.

In short, a strong, solid, entertaining episode of Alias. Wow...who'd've figured?

Eyes: Pilot
About mid-way into the first episode of Eyes, a thought struck me--back in the mid-90's who'd've figured that the sitcom that would be a spring board for so much success after it wouldn't be Seinfeld or Cheers, but instead Wings? Look at how many of that cast are still out there, working, being succesful and getting new shows or movies.

The latest is Tim Daly, who was in one of the more underappreciated shows of the past few years, the reluanch of The Fugitive. Here, he's Harlan Judd, owner of a detective agency. Judd is immature, impulsive and will do whatever it takes to get the job done--as we see here, we he uses a fake birth certificate to get an imbezzler to return the money he swindled from a company. Daly's take on the character--calm and supremely confidence is great. But there were a few smaller scenes that grounded his character--mainly the scene where he calls in Jeff to look for the mole in the organization. Jeff is having an affair with Trish, who is married to another investigator within the agency. Turns out hubby has been taping Trish's phone calls and her in the car conversations (which is where Trish and Jeff hook up at episode's start) and only trusts Jeff to help him listen to the audio.

Jeff is a manipulator, who by episode's end is out manipulating by the mole--Nora, who is Harlan's close friend. There are seeds sewn that Harlan has tread on some toes of former associates who are out to get him and take over his agency. In the end, it appears that Nora kills him for knowing too much, but then again his character is feature on the Eyes web site, so who knows? You have to think that Jeff's death would set off alerts for Harlan.

I have to admit the show was fun, breezy and entertaining. The pilot established the characters pretty well and started some long-term plots that it should be fun to follow. Also, I have to admit I loved the character of Meg. Meg wants to be out in the field and Harlan takes her out. Her character was great and I hope we see more of her as the series progresses.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 3/31/2005 08:13:00 AM | |
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