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Thursday, November 10, 2005
TV Round-Up
Lost: Abandoned
After weeks, possibly months of rumor and speculation on who would be leaving the cast of Lost this season (it got so big the New York Times even ran a long article about it yesterday), the big episode is finally here--one of the castaways will be lost forever. But the question is--who will it be? Thanks to the ABC promo department, we knew it was potentially one of three characters--Sawyer, Ana-Lucia or Shannon. By process of elimination, I knew Sawyer couldn't go since the rumors had been comfirmed that a female cast member was leaving (plus the legion of female Sawyer fans would riot in the streets, much the same way I would have had it been Kate shuffling off this mortal coil). I also figured it couldn't really Ana Lucia, because why go to all the trouble of bringing her in, trying to establish her character and giving her some chemistry with Sawyer only to kill her off immediately. So, that really only left Shannon as the castaway who could be lost in the course of the episode.

And from the start, you could pretty much tell Shannon was doomed. First of all, the flashbacks focused on her which isn't necessarily a death knell on this show. But to make matters worse, she finally gets a few moments of happiness, consumating her relationship with Sayid and then him telling her that he loves her. Yeah, at that point, I pretty much figured it was time for Shannon to whip out a red-shirt because she was pretty much gonna be on the business end of a phaser by story's end. Of course, this was only about three or so minutes from the end, so it's not like she had to wear the red-shirt all that long really.

Now, by process of elimination, I pretty much figured that Shannon was red-shirting it the entire episode. So instead of the speculation on who was going to die, I could now sit back and enjoy the ride of how we get to the death.

And I've got to admit--my reaction to Lost this week was the same as my reaction to Gilmore Girls on Tuesday. We had about 40 minutes of treading water to get to the point where in the last 20 or so minutes things actually start to happen and plots are finally progressed forward. Isn't it interesting that bad things seem to happen to Shannon after she's been screwed--in the literal and metaphorical sense? Follow me on this one. In the flashbacks, she gets screwed by her step-mom out of her inheritance, thus closing off an avenue to follow her dream at an internship in New York. In the flashback last year, Shannon and Boone got together and then boarded flight 815 and now look where we've ended up. Then, last night, she and Sayid enjoy an evening in the hut and before you know it, Shannon has shot in the stomach by Ana Lucia. I'm just saying--it's an interetsing pattern and probably one that only I saw because I'm just weird like that.

One question I had watching the flashbacks--how did we get from the relatively sweet, well-adjusted Shannon of the flashbacks to the more self-absorbed Shannon we saw in last year's flashback story and the first couple of days on the island. (Recalll if you will, this is the woman who refused to eat the candy bar at first, instead preferring to eat on the boat when they were rescued). I guess we may never really find out since, well, she's dead and there won't likely be anymore flashbacks to fill in these details. It'd be easy to say that Shannon's death of her dream at the hands of the wicked step-mother could have caused this, but that seems too obvious a plotline and train of thought for the show to follow. One of the things I've like about Lost (well, besides nearly-naked Kate) is the complexity of the characters. Yes, at times, the backstories and character stuff can get a bit predictable (Sun and Jin's story last time) but the series at least seems to be trying to surprise us a bit from time to time with how certain things develop. So, maybe we'll find out more about Shannon's descent from a nice young lady to the spiteful and just plain contakerous woman we saw in the flashbacks last year.

But, I'm not holding my breath on that one. You add in a whole new set of castaways, all of whom need some good backstory time and I bet Shannon gets lost in the shuffle.

Which is ironically what her character had been this year. I found myself wondering--did Shannon actually find the bottle in the previous episodes? Or were the writers inserting that bit of trivia in there to give her some reason to really believe that she's seen Walt? And now that Walt has potentially led Shannon to her death, do his appearances now take on a whole new and sinister context?

I guess we'll see.

Meanwhile, there's a whole new level of tension being brought into camp. Seems to me that Sayid ain't gonna welcome Ana Lucia with open arms, what with her killing his girlfriend and all. The trek across the island was interesting as we slowly find out a few more tidbits of why the tail passengers are so skittish and untrusting. I have to wonder if when they find our group of heroes and find out the Others have left them pretty much alone, if they're not going to be a bit bitter about the whole thing. I hope we have some continued conflict between these two tribes and we don't all become one big happy family. There are some ugly wounds here that may never be truly healed.

And I will give Lost some credit--or maybe this is my own ignorance, you decide. When I heard the gunshot, my first thought was--who fired the gun? I never put two and two together to think it would be Ana Lucia until we had the dramatic pullback to see her holding the gun, looking shocked at what she'd done. So, Lost, I will give you some credit--you sucked me and totally pulled the wool over my eyes on that one. Not easy to do and definitely appreciated.

Meanwhile, in the subplot that just seemed to fill time but I am sure will pay dividends down the road--Locke gives parenting tips to Claire and finds out that Charlie has one of the Virgin Mary statues from the ungle full of heroin. This leads to one of those great TV conversations where one person knows more than he's telling and tries to confront the other about it without letting the first one know that he knows. They got literally every episode of Three's Company out of this wacky fun, but there it was played for hilarity and here it's played for dramatic tension. Yeah, except not so much. I think it would have been interesting to see Locke keep an eye on Charlie more rather than just coming out and lobbing a grenade in the conversation.

And we Rose makes an appearnce as well. I have to hope the reunion with Bernard will be worth the build-up. Though at this point, I have to wonder if will be nearly as good as any of us have hoped it would be. I mean, that has to be one killer scene or else we're all going to be a bit disappointed.

If you're a Lost-aholic and want to read some more analysis and a different insight on the episode (including the theory that Libby is the Taillies equivalent of Ethan and why) surf on over to EWs' wrap-up. Also, USA Today's Whitney Matheson's blog has a running comment thread on the epiosde.

Veronica Mars: Rat Saw God
So, how do you make Big Orange Michael giddy as a schoolgirl to see a new episode of one of his favorite shows? OK, beyond having some nearly naked Kate footage...

You feature Joss Whedon in a guest star turn.

I have to admit it--the news that Joss was going to cameo on one of my new favorite shows was just way too exciting and then made me realize--you know what, I desparately need a life.

Suffice it to say, I was pretty intrigued and excited about last night's episode of Veronica Mars. And not just because Joss "The Man" Whedon was guest starring. It was because the show continues to get better and better, not only in the way the two mysteries of the season are unfolding but also in the way that this show sets character dynamics in motion and continues to evolve them. I love how the relationship Veronica has with each of the supporting characters continues to grow, change and evolve not only in the course of the series but in the course of an episode.

Abel Koontz comes back--his daughter, Amelia DeLongpre has gone missing and he wants to find her before he dies. Veronica tracks her down trying to figure out why a woman who got a payoff of $3.5 million six months ago would need to extort more money from the Kanes. In the end, we find out that Amelia has met with foul play due to a boyfriend who killed her and put her in the ice machine at a hotel that makes the Bates motel look nice. Wow, that was a cool moment (no pun intended) when Veronica dug into the ice and found Amelia....it was one of those great moments when you realize right as the character does where the body is. At least that's how it was for me. In the end, Veronica ends up lying to Abel to ease his last few days. Interesting that Veronica feels the need to lie to a father, after being caught in a lie of her own.

Keith finds out from Lamb that Veronica is keeping details of the bus crash from him, such as maybe he was the target. You had to love the scene where Keith goes down to the jail and tells Aaron Echols that if anything happens to Veronica, it's very easy for Keith to exact revenge on Aaron. It seems a bit too obvious to me that Aaron is behind the bus-crash--sort of in the same way that it got obvious in the first season of Lois and Clark that Lex was behind every villanious plot in Metropolis. Also, the scene of Veronica taking the motel paintings and putting them together to create an art gallery to send a digital photo to Keith was priceless.

And then, there's Logan. Logan gets hauled into jail again on charges of murdering Felix. He gets out of jail on bond and the already tense situation at Neptune High continues to escalate. Weevil burns down Logan's house, thus forcing Logan to move in with Duncan. On a side note, I had to love that Rob Thomas teased us in yesterday's TV Guide Insider that by episode's end, Veronica would end up in Logan's arms...and she literally does. That is a nice way to play the spoiler card and yet pull a bait and switch with your audience and the expectations.

Also, I am beginning to wonder whose undoing the bus crash will be--Lamb's or Keith's? It seems as if the investigation could get Keith into some trouble and maybe lose a lot of his credibility that he's just won back in Neptune. And now with his suspecting that Veronica was the target, will he become even more blind to how far he's going in investigating the accident?

posted by Michael Hickerson at 11/10/2005 07:39:00 AM | |
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