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Thursday, May 19, 2005
TV Round-Up
Lost: Exodus, Part One
I just can't help it. But this week during Lost, I was once again have flashbacks to the hey-dey of The X-Files. If you weren't an X-Files fan, then you may not know that every season there were a set number of mythology episodes--storylines in which the on-going plot arcs would come to the fore and we'd get some movement forward in the storylines that had been on-going--Scully's abduction, Mulder's sister, the Cigarette Smoke Man and his agenda, etc. These episodes always had this almost breathless quality to them--at least at first--or a sense of urgency and that you absolutely had to pay attention to every single scene, every single detail because something exciting and revelatory was about to happen and you did not want to miss it.

Season premieres and finales were especially good at this (well, at least the first couple of years, anyway).

Watching Lost this week, I got that same feeling here. There was a sense of urgency at points in the show, a feeling that you just couldn't stop watching because something big was about to happen.

Of course, I will say this--a lot of the huge, dramatic revelations I was hoping for didn't happen this week. Instead, we got a plot that began to set things in motion. It began to draw on the threads we've seen coming all year--the Black Rock, the hatch, the raft, how everyone got to the island and why. It started to connect the dots on the backstory, showing how everyone got here together on this island. And it also three out some pretty huge hints that there are some other castaways out there--I mean, I like seeing Michelle Rodriguez flirting with Jack in the flashback as much as the next guy, but could that have been a more obvious attempt at foreshadowing? "I'm in seat 42F! In the back of the plane!" She might as well have said--"You know, the part that gets ripped off and goes flying away in the first episode!"

Also, by having a big-name guest star like Michelle Rodriguez and only having her in one scene, it pretty much sets up that she will be back next week somehow, someway.

I will admit the flashback scenes had some naunces to them I liked. Shannon's turning in Sayid for leaving his bag at the gate under her care, Jin's understanding what the tourists were saying about she and Sun, finding out that Jack is no longer married, Saywer's run in with the law and finding out how Kate got the airplane (turns out it was a trap by the marshall to draw her in, but it maddenly enough doesn't give us any real explanation for why the toy plane is so damn important to her...maybe next week or most likely next year). And Sawyer even has a nice moment in which he tells Jack the story about seeing Jack's father in the bar and the comments made about Jack. I have to admit I liked that scene a lot though I did keep thinking how fortunate it was that Matthew Fox starred on Party of Five for five years and can cry on command. I knew those days as Charlie Salinger would come in handy eventually....

Meanwhile, things are happening on the island as well. Danielle shows up in the village warning the survivors that the "others" are coming. Turns out these others kidnap babies from women who are stranded on the island. Jack decides that a place of safety could be the hatch and whatever is beyond it. It gives them a place to hide from the others. In order to get the hatch open, a group of the survivors, including Artz, who is suddenly getting a lot of screen time, set out to find some dynamite that Danielle has hidden at the Black Rock.

I will give Lost a ton of credit here. I was in no way expecting the Black Rock to be a ship so much as I expected it to be--oh, a big black rock. So, was the Black Rock her ship and just how did it get so far in-land? Of course, having it be a ship does make a lot more sense and it works well. So, it's one of those revelations that actually works well for me. It came enough of left field to surprise me, but not so far out of left that I was going--seriously, come on, you must be joking.

And the raft is ready to hit open sea and look for help. Now, I hate to be picky here, but you have four guys setting out on a raft and they never tested it a bet to see if it was sea worthy. How embarrasing would it have been had they pushed it out to sea and then it sank like a rock?

In all of this, the monster resurfaces and Danielle reveals its some kind of security system for the island. But what is it protecting and why? And the real question I still have is--is Locke able to control it or does he somehow know the override code? Also of interest is that Danielle leads to part of the group to the set of trees that protected Walt and Michael earlier this year from polar bear attack. What is the significance of them? Or am I just reading too much into it as usual?

However, it all works out, I will be tuning in next week for the two-hour season finale. I have a feeling we will get one or two answers and about fifty more questions to ponder upon over the summer.

Just like The X-Files...

Alias: The Descent, Search and Rescue
Two times the Alias just mean two times the overall frustration with the show. In the first episode, we find out that Slaone has gone back to his old Rimbaldi obsession (did we ever think he'd given it up?). We see a year earlier he failed in his quest to become the ultimate Rimbaldi nerd. So, now that Elena Derevko has all the pieces and was really the one behind the Covenant and it was never dismantled really but kept on going with it super, top-secret ultra-cool agenda, she is going to use them to do--what exactly? I'm not quite too sure on what her super secret plan is, other than sending the world into panic and setting the final stages of the Rimbaldi prophecy in motion. And since we've had more end of the world prophecies out of Rimbaldi that Carter has pills, there is no telling which one will happen on screen or if it might not be some super-deluxe new prophecy we haven't heard about until now.

In the course of the two hours, we learn that Vaughn wants to ask Syd to marry him (and how deflating must it be for Vaughn when he ask Syd to marry him and she can't even say his first name?!?), that Irina Derevko is still alive and that Jack only killed a clone of her. Speaking of duplicating people, why didn't they make Slaone-clone to look like him and then download his memory into the clone. That would be a far more effective tool for world-domination don't you think since Sloane is so well known in evil circles far and wide.

Meanwhile, everyone races around the globe to stop the evil Derevko sisters and find Mom. Intersting that Slaone goes AWOL for the last hour of the show, making me wonder if his excuse will be--hey, I went deep under cover to stop this whole thing from getting too far out of hand. Yeah, I think it's a bit late for that, don't you, Slaone?

Also, Nadia show she is the densest agent at APO since it appears that everyone from the front-desk staff to the janitor knows that Jack killed Irina except her. To pull out the phrase used so often last year for Lauren, "Worst...spy....EVER!" You know, I really expected Nadia to be a lot more angry at Syd, Jack and everyone else for keeping this from her. But she just takes it in strid.e

And I was on the floor laughing when Syd tells Jack, "Oh I know you always have my best interests at heart." Oh really? Syd, have you been paying attention to this show since day one?!?

How quickly we forget the back-story of the show so we can have a touching moment and Jack can give Vaughn the thumbs up to ask Syd for her hand in marriage. (If I were Vaughn, I'd review that DVD of what happened to her last fiancee and think twice...or better yet, look at the example of Jack and Iriana. That didnt' work out so well).

So, Alias continues to just of limp along toward the end of the season. It felt like it was trying really, really hard to make things all come togther in an intersting, compelling way to end the season and not have all of season four be a colossal waste. But, unless the season finale just blows me away, I'm afraid there is little that can be done to rescue this season from the mediocrity in which it's been mired.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 5/19/2005 07:41:00 AM | |
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