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Thursday, October 19, 2006
TV Round-Up
Lost: Further Instructions
This is how you do a great episode of Lost (notice I don't say perfect here).

It's not that the first two episodes were necessarily bad, but when viewed next to this one they pale in comparsion. Of course, part of that may be that I find Locke to be one of the most interesting characters on the show and any time you explore his connection with the island, you're almost guaranteed a gold mind of great character development. In the past, the Locke episodes have been some of the strongest stories the show has done, including the episode that got me permaently hooked on this show three years ago when we had the huge Locke reveal.

I will say this--I still find it frustrating that we haven't yet found out how Locke got into the wheelchair. It makes watching his flashbacks a bit more frustrating because I keep wondering is this the time we find out just what happened. Honestly, at this point, I'm not sure they can come up with any reason that will meet the lofty expectations for how he got in the wheelchair that the fan-base has built up in our minds. But you know what, I'm game for them to at least try. (I have a feeling this will be one of the last backstory details we ever find out on the show).

And let me also throw in this criticism--the flashback pieces this week were a bit repetative. I get that Locke trusts too easily and that comes back to bite him in his life pre-island. I'm not quite sure what the overall point of the flashback was supposed to be since it really told us nothing new. We've known that Locke fancied himself some kind of hunter and adventurer before he got on the island, but it was only on the island that the desire became a reality. Here we see Locke on a commune where they're--plot twist shocker--growing marijuana in the green house. I guess having seen this plot two weeks ago on Veronica Mars, I wasn't necessarily picking up my jaw off the floor. Also, it was telegraphed way too early that the Locke's new buddy was more than he let on when he took a big interest in the green house and wanting to know what was being grown in there.

That said, the rest of the episode was great. The storyline on the island of Locke's getting a message from the island and going to rescue Eko was great. I am sure there will be those who quibble about the the polar bear plotline, but I bought it. It's Lost for heaven's sake. The polar bears have been there since the beginning. I do have to wonder just why the bear drug Eko off to his cave and then left him there to snack on him later. I think part of this may have been the island giving people what they need--in this case, Locke needed to get back to what he was in season one--a hunter and a leader on the island. With Jack in the grip of the Others, our main group has no real leader or authority figure. And Locke is finally being granted what he's always wanted--the chance to be looked up and lead this group. And he's taking advantage of it as we saw in the final scene.

Also, the show seems to be pushing forward and giving us some hints as to what's to come. I loved the Locke hallucination in the sweat lodge where Boone shows Locke a vision of most of the castaways in the airport. The images of which characters are with who and were in the airport was nice, as well as the hints of who is safe for now. Then later the island seems to give Locke a second message via Eko--that Jack and company need to be rescued and Locke is the one to do it. Having restored Locke's faith in himself and the island, he can now move on and lead the group. This could be an intereting dynamic shift when and if Jack returns to the group. Also, if Jack is being tempted by the Others, it could be that the group won't trust him anymore, wondering if he's become one of the enemy now.

And then there's Desmond, who has hints of the future. It begs the question of why was he naked, running around the island. Is he from the future of the Terminator where they send people back in time sans clothing. He knew about Locke's speech before he gave it and it brings up the question--what else does he know? And is he going to allow it to play out the same way or will he try and somehow change the future he's seen?

So many questions and all of them intriguing. For at least this week, Lost is back to form. I just hope next week continues to build on this momentum.

Jericho:
Federal Response
Unless I blinked and missed it, this is the first time since the bombs fell that we don't have the show tell us how long it's been since the bombs feel.

But for the first time on the show, Jericho felt like it was realistically dealing with how things might unfold and how people would react in the wake of such a devestating attack. To see how everyone reacted to the phone ringing (though I don't buy that everyone in town waited to the right moment to pick up..but that' s TV for you) and the power being restored was nice. The teaser portion of this week's episode was as solid as anything they've done on the show so far (I know, that's kind of damning with faint praise).

The town's reactions to the fires worked well, with the resources being to certain areas but not others. It leads to the destruction of Eric's house and he and the wife moving back in with his parents. Now the whole dysfunctional family is back under one roof and wackiness can begin. I did like the scene at the dinner table when the family talked about the food they'd missed having in the days since the attacks. And while it's a nice moment of family bonding, it doesn't make much sense since it's been, what six days at most since the bombs all fell? Add in that three days ago we had the world's biggest BBQ to save the meat and it seems a bit odd that Skeet is already missing a cheeseburger. But then again, part of that could be the whole you don't miss it until you can't have it thing.

Of course, it was one of many things about this episode that stuck out like a sore thumb. It was also frustrating to hear everyone talk around why Skeet left town but never address is. "Gee, Skeet, you left town and that sure is a good story." "Yes, we should tell that story." "Dad, I"m ready to talk about why I left town." "Oh son, don't tell me why you left town yet..let's just have some scotch." Seriously, the only thing missing was a huge neon sign that said, "Plot development! Foreshadowing!" And then while it was nice to see Skeet discover Hawkins is up to something, we are no farther along at figuring out what that is, except we now know that Hawkins knows Skeet was some kind of....well, something. I think there is going to be an X-Files tie-in and Skeet is one of the super soldiers that Chris Carter and company came up with in seasons eight and nine. And that Hawkins is really the CSM in disguise. Any day now, we can expect Mulder to show up and start investgiating....

OK, maybe not.

But back to Jericho. I also had to wonder about the common sense of some people on this show. I can see why we'd rush into the fire to save various people but I kept going--come on now. And then you have Eric who promises his mistress he's going to leave his wife only to have the house burn down, find she'd filed for divorce but now she doesn't want it. How much y'all want to bet that the wife ends up pregnant and that will be the first child born in Jericho following the disaster?

That said--the show knows how to keep you. The scene at the end as everyone is gathered in the bar, awaiting some sign of governmental authority and then seeing the missiles go up....man, it's got me intrigued enough to tune in for yet another week, not matter how clusmy the foreshadowing is and how colossially idiotic these characters act and react.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 10/19/2006 07:40:00 AM | |
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