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Thursday, May 12, 2005
TV Round-Up
It's Thursday, so that can only mean one thing...

Lost: Born to Run
Let me get this out of the way first--yesterday, I pined for some footage of "Nearly Naked Kate" and last night not only did we get "Nearly Naked Kate" but we got "Showering Kate" footage. Lost, I love you!

OK, hormonal imbalance aside...

The last time we had a Kate-centric story, we learned about her prized possession of a toy airplane and that it was given to her by a man she loved, who was killed. This time out, we get to fill in a bit more of that backstory. Turn out this man was a doctor, who Kate grew up with. They buried a time capsule together, which included the little plane. Doctor-boy went on to marry someone else and have a child with her, but it looks like Kate never really got over her love for the guy. And maybe he never quite got over her either since he's willing to risk a lot for her. He gets her mom set up on an MRI and helps Kate sneak around, eluding capture (which begs the question--just how long was Kate on the run? And what did she did that precipated having to be on the run?) In the end, by helping Kate, the good doctor gets killed while Kate is fleeing.

And just to show that the women on this show have equally screwed up relationships with their parents, we see Kate trying to reach out to her dying mother and her mom not taking it that well. Yes, no one on this show has a good relationship with their parents. Again, I volunteer that this is some kind of giant group therapy session for all of them to work out their issues and the hatch is some kind of door they can exit out of once their issues are all resolved.

Meanwhile, back on the island, all kinds of interesting stuff is happening, though none of it that really advances the plot in any significant way. The boat is ready to set sail and we find out they've got to go now or else miss the north tradewinds and wind up in Antartica. We find out that Kate wants to get off the island and will do whatever it takes to leave on the boat. In fact, she's stolen the passport of a fellow castaway who didn't make it so she can establish her identity and disappear before the authorities find her. Kate decides she wants Sawyer's spot on the boat and the two start jockeying for position.

Now, here's where it all gets a bit interesting. The boat holds four people--who at this point are Walt, Michael, Jin and Sawyer. Someone poisons Michael in an attempt to get his position. But is he the target. At first, Sun confesses that she doesn't Jin to leave on this dangerous journey. But in the end, we find out she was working with Kate to mastermind the whole plot. So, was Sun really concnered about Jin or was it all an act for Jack to shift suspicion away from Kate? And did Sun really miss her target? Was she maybe really aiming for Michael since that would free up two spots on the boat since it'd be hard for Michael to let Walt go on the boat without him?

Everyone on this island has his or her own agenda. That theme is addressed in this episode by Hurley who has the best line of "I don't know who knows what secrets anymore!" And we've only been out here a month. I did enjoy Locke and Jack debating the ethics of keeping people in the dark on certain events--such as the hatch and the lockbox of guns. Both of them have completely rational, logical reasons for what they did and why they did it, but it all boils down to the same basic principle--they kept each other in the dark about certain nuggets of information. You have to wonder if this lack of trust among the island dwellers is going to lead to some kind of downfall of the group as a whole. There's not sense of community since no one will step up and bring them all together as a community for a common good. At this point, no one has any real alliances, which would seem natural to start forming about a month or so on the island. Or maybe there are some forming and we just haven't seen them yet. I can't help but think that averge Joe on the island must be thinking--so these are the people I've put trust in to get us out of here?!? I might need to rethink that decision a bit...

Of course, we get some foreshadowing (that is so obvious it only needs the neon signs shouting "Foresahadowing! Foreshadowing!" across the screen) that we shouldn't open the hatch. Walt warns Locke to not open the hatch and then is insistent that he and Michael leave the island on the raft. So, I'm guessing there is something not so nice behind the hatch. (Which I think we'd all figured out before now).

But for all of that going on, I have to admit nothing really huge happened here. I was kind of hoping for some bit of movement forward in the main storylines, but instead we got what will probably go down as a whole lot of set-up for the three-hour season finale that begins next week. I have a feeling that pieces are being put in place to be knocked down in the next two weeks as we build toward the end of season one. And while it's not an objectional way to spend an hour, I was honestly hoping for a bit more than we got here. Even the flashbacks of who Kate was before she came to the island were nothing spectacular and were, if nothing else, a bit predictable.

But when a show is as consistently great as Lost is, I can give it a week or two of just being pretty good.

Alias: In Dreams
So let me see if I've got this one. Once upon a time, a scientist who was high up in the SD6 chain of command took a brain scan of Slaone. When the scientist was allowed to escape before the CIA raided SD6, he took this info with him and created a new copy of Sloane. This new copy of Sloane is pursuing the Rimbaldi artifacts--one of which is a sedative that makes whoever injests it docile and peaceful (aka they are easier to control). You take this substance that is created and couple if with the spinning red globe device we saw a few weeks ago and you can have people or animals go from docile to violent with the push of a few buttons. If you ask me, that sounds like one heck of an army in waiting right there.

So, we test this first on bees. Because we all know that bees have never been used before on a show about governmental conspiracies and cover-ups. (Oh wait--The X-Files did it, not only on the show but in the movie!) But then again, it is easier to create a digital bee than a digital puma, I'd imagine.

This is the second threat this season that can be delivered via the drinking water. And we find out that in the hey-dey of his Rimbaldi obsession, Slaone tried to use the substance, but it failed. He was missing one vital piece which he figured he could synthasize. No word on how that turned out, though we assume it failed. And by turned out, I mean--what effect did it have on the general population? Did it suddenly turn all the water supplies into the water of Mexico with people who drank it having a lot of Matazuma's Revenge? I'm just wondering...

But yet, no one at APO seems to be at all concerned with the fact that one of the Derevko sisters made off with a lethal substance that can turn water into sludge. That is all neatly swept under the carpet this week as the whole team tries to figure out a way to get inside the mind of the Slaone-clone. They eventually decide to bring up a traumatic memory, have Sloane relive it and then upload it to Slaone clone's brain and cause a break. Thus, they will find out where the final component of the Rimbaldi formula stuff is and can go get it. Except that when they find out where it is, we see no one rushing off to find it. Nor do we assume that we're facing intelligent adversaries who the minute Sloane clone is captured might not move the orchid in question. It's not wonder their plans of global domination keep failing.

Instead, we get an acting showcase for Ron Rifkin that just screams "Please give this man an Emmy!" And I will give him credit--he does run with it. He does a great job with what he's given here and I liked seeing inside Slaone's mind a bit. We see the thing that might have led to Slaone becoming the grim, determiend S.O.B. that he is today. But yet, this incident seems to have come out of left field. There were no hints of it before now and it's like something the Alias writing staff pulled out of the air for this episode. (And yes, I know they used her name as a password a few weeks ago, but before that--nothing).

I'm not saying this was a bad episode. It was actually one I liked. It was no where near as strong as the mid-season two-parter with Anna Espenoza. But it actually was compelling for most of the hour, despite the fact that a whole lot of plot holes riddled this episode. It was good, but not great. And now Alias has two threats to the water supply to deal with in the final three episodes of the season. That is, of course, assuming they don't drop this week's plot thread like a hot potato next week.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 5/12/2005 07:57:00 AM | |
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