Sunday, February 25, 2007

"Stranger in a Strange Land" Analysis

After two weeks of episodes that were very strong and semi-mind blowing, this week’s episode definitely failed to keep the awesomeness streak alive. In all honesty, as soon as it ended I sat there wondering “What in the world am I going to write about that?” It all seemed too simple, too neat, and didn’t drop any “clues” that got my mind wandering. But I’ve got a job to do, and I shall do my best. Let’s get analyzing…


Backlash. In reading the comments from the Instant Reactions, it’s pretty clear that a lot of people were upset by this episode. Granted, the previews were misleading about the “mysteries finally revealed”, which led to even higher expectations for this episode than we should have had – and clearly this episode was not as strong as the prior two episodes. But it accomplished what it set out to do – continue building the relationship between Jack and Juliet, separate Crazy Carl from Kate and Sawyer, and get everyone off Alcatraz. My problem was with the way they went about doing it.

More than anything, I fault the writing. There was just too much in this episode that felt clunky – Jack’s flashback in general, the Sawyer and Crazy Carl heart-to-heart, and Jack’s encounter with Cindy in particular.

While the end result of Jack’s flashback did give me the tie-in to the main story that I’m always looking for, getting there was pretty rough. The Achara / tattoo storyline just didn’t make a lot of sense. So Jack is “finding himself” in Thailand and has a fling with a mysterious woman who can “see who people really are”. She then proceeds to tell Jack that he is a “leader and a great man”, but it makes him “lonely and angry”. That doesn’t come across as seeing Jack’s true self – that comes across as a generic sounding fortune telling. How about Jack’s obsessive, self-sacrificing, altruistic nature that has driven him away from everyone important in his life? Doesn’t that more get to the heart of Jack’s real personality?

We’re also lead to assume that these tattoos carry some sort of religious / spiritual meaning to the people of Phuket (which sounds pretty hilariously inappropriate when you say it out loud, by the way) – and Jack, an “outsider”, having one of these tattoos is unacceptable. Thus, the beating he receives at the end of the episode by Achara’s brother and his friends. But why? You have to make some pretty big assumptions here with very little to go on, and even when you do the story doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.

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The writers clearly wanted to separate Crazy Carl from our Survivors – he was too liable to spill all the secrets of the Others that they so desperately want to keep secret (more on this later). But does it make any sense to have Sawyer sit down and tell him to go follow his heart and find his true love? No – Sawyer, more than almost anyone on the Island besides perhaps Sayid, should have been interrogating him hard about the Others and probing him for answers about how they can get off the Island. Even though he threw around his typical hilarious pop culture lines (“Bobby from the Brady Bunch” and “Cowboy Up”), it didn’t “feel” like Sawyer. I think it would have been much more realistic (and made viewers much happier) if Kate and Sawyer wake up to find Crazy Carl gone – taking off in the middle of the night – and then the two of them lament the missed opportunity to get some answers about the Others.

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Lastly, we have Jack’s encounter with Cindy, which I have been mega-excited for ever since we saw the Lost Moment containing it months ago… but little did I know that the Lost Moment was actually about 90% of the total scene, and that was all we were going to get out of it. Talk about a missed opportunity. What better way to finally get some reveals about the Others than by having one of the former Tailers, now seemingly a part of them, try and convince Jack that everything the Others have done to our Survivors was for a purpose, and can be explained. Talk about a great opportunity for Jack to continue questioning in the motives of the Others and having Cindy defend them, dropping hints about the true nature of the Others and what they do! We’d all be watching and re-watching that scene like crazy and developing theories about what Cindy meant in her responses.

Instead, we have Cindy’s simple explanation of “it’s not that simple” and “we’re here to watch” and then Jack flips out and drives her off. Missed opportunity.

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Lost writers are infamous for dragging out storylines to the point where the audience starts forgetting about them or caring about them – then finally resolving them without giving enough time to the aftermath (this is probably my number one complaint about the show). What am I talking about?

Remember back in early Season One when Sayid got knocked out when trying to triangulate CFL’s message to determine its source? That was episode seven. We found out that Locke knocked him out in episode twenty-one. After finding out, Sayid temporarily flips out at Locke, but is back to acting normal less than two minutes later. Where was our episode where all the Survivors question Locke’s intentions and wonder if he’s some sort of traitor? Where’s the ongoing distrust between Sayid and Locke?

It’s just one example of a story that could have had some real meat to it – and provided the audience the answer to a small mystery on the Island – somewhere around episode eight or nine. Instead, it felt “tacked on” to an episode much later in the season, when the audience has long forgotten or caring about it, and then dismissed as quickly as it is revealed.

The reason I bring it up, and I hope I’m wrong, is that it scares me that some of the other “smaller” mysteries on Lost, such as the kidnapping of Cindy and the children, will be addressed and dismissed in similar fashion – rather than answering them when they should logically be answered (in the case of these two mysteries, this episode). It’s almost as if the writers are afraid of giving the answers because they think that’s the only thing that keeps the audience watching... or that the answers aren’t that exciting. Like I said, I hope I’m wrong - and maybe in a few weeks we’ll get that Others reveal episode that somehow answers all of our questions and we’ll suddenly realize why we couldn’t get these answers prior to that point. But more than anything, I hope that when we do finally get the answers, we get time to see the characters discuss and process them, to discuss their implications, and act like real people would act in that situation – and they aren’t dismissed quickly, without any impact – such as Michael and Walt’s disappearance, Eko’s death, etc.

Enough bitching. As I said earlier this season, Lost is still the most “important” feeling show on television. This is why I find the comparisons people are making between “Lost” and “Heroes” so humorous. Yes, Heroes reveals answers much quicker than Lost – that’s also because the mysteries are not fundamental to the overall series arc of Heroes. Finding out who Claire’s real parents are doesn’t change our understanding of the show the way that finding out who the Others are would change our understanding of Lost.

Don’t get me wrong – I think Heroes is a fantastic show – I was giddy this week when Peter started using all sorts of powers to escape HRG, and my jaw dropped when the episode ended with Matt and Ted inside the Bennett household. But there’s no part of me that felt the need to analyze the symbolism behind either action – that’s not what Heroes is about. It’s a fun action show with mystery thrown in, and there’s nothing wrong with that. But comparing Heroes to Lost is kinda like comparing a comic book (nothing against comic books – I’ve actually never read one, but I think I understand how they work) to a classic novel. The comic gives you more quick, satisfying entertainment – whereas the novel slowly builds and then gives you a huge feeling of satisfaction in the end once you fully understand it. Is one better than the other? Not at all. They’re just different.

Now that that is out of the way, let’s get to the episode! Like I said, this was a pretty straightforward, so there isn’t that much over-analysis I could find – but I’ll do my best…


Achara. So it seems that the quote about Bai Ling appearing on “three episodes” is inaccurate. When it was mentioned that Juliet was going to be “marked”, I immediately thought – it’s going to be Achara marking her! How did she get on the Island?! She must really have some sort of special powers and knew Jack was going to end up on the Island with the Others – that’s why she tattooed “He walks amongst us, but he is not one of us”!

But then we found out Juliet’s mark was more of a brand, and Achara failed to appear. Suddenly, she became a far less interesting character in the grand scheme of things. She became nothing more than a secondary character in one of our Survivor’s lives who had a minor impact on them. Did Jack’s time with her fundamentally change him as a person? Not that we’ve seen so far. Will we see her again? Not likely.

Luckily, we were also introduced to a far more intriguing character this episode…


Isabel. First, let it be noted that we now have a Dr. Shephard, Dr. Burke, and Izzy on two shows on ABC. That’s funny. Second, the appearance of Isabel as the “sheriff” seems to indicate the Others actually have a complex society that isn’t purely controlled by some all-powerful “leader” (such as Jacob). Instead, they seem to have rules, laws, and people who enforce them.

The Others still feel like a religious cult to me - with their brainwashing, dedication to their “mission”, and the way that one person (Ben) can override any of their laws – but it’s more of a tempered religious cult now… maybe like a religious cult that was created by a bunch of scientists who were focused on saving the world, not blindly following some religious doctrine that they have been passed down. If you remember, Cindy told Jack that they were “there to watch”. After watching the episode, I’m not interpreting this statement as Cindy and the other Others (that never stops being fun to write!) being on Alcatraz (and not their Main Island) to “watch” the judgment / trial of Juliet – not to watch Jack. “Trial” seems like too democratic of a word for the way that the ruling on Juliet was passed down, but the fact that it is done in front of her peers seems to indicate that there is some form of “government” on the Island.

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I would look for Isabel to have a decent-sized role in the next few episodes as Jack enters the world of the Others – her calm, all-knowing, slightly-creepy demeanor fits in nicely alongside Ben’s – but she seems to be “all business”. Whereas Ben seemed much more involved with mind games and an overall mission plan, Isabel seems more concerned with the day-to-day actions of the Others. Also, with Ben looking to be on the IR for a little while during his recovery, it would make sense for Isabel to step up as the “face” of the Others.


Ethan. We also found out this episode that the Others not only have a Sheriff – but used to have a surgeon in Ethan. Suddenly, it makes a little more sense why he was the one who was sent to recruit Juliet. He would be able to “speak her language” per se, and could possibly verify the results of her tests in person to ensure their success. However, if you remember, Ethan was actually working on the plumbing of Juliet’s house during “A Tale of Two Cities”, so he likely was more of a “renaissance man”.

Actually, with the small number of Others on the Island (we assume, based on how many we’ve seen so far – I would go so far as to say the Others present at the “trial” of Juliet compose a large portion of the Others), it would be logical that each of them possessed a number of talents that would make them useful to the group… and it also makes sense why the death of even one of them would cause such a big blow to the Others. When Ethan died, they lost their surgeon… and their plumber… and who knows what else.

(PS - some have wondered why, if Ethan was a surgeon, did Ben need Jack in the first place? Well, I’m no doctor, but I think there’s a pretty big difference between being a regular surgeon and a spinal surgeon – spinal surgery seems more of an intricate specialty that was likely far out of the league of Ethan… much like dealing with infected stitches is far out of the league of Juliet).


Juliet. Speaking of Juliet, where does she stand now with her people? As Ben mentioned to Jack, even as he was about to sentence her to be “marked”, Juliet was still “one of them”. This serves as a pretty stark contrast to the Juliet we saw two episodes ago, who came across as being a prisoner on the Island who wanted nothing more than to go home and was willing to do anything (even kill someone) in order to reach her goal.

Is this just Ben being out of touch with reality? Or has Juliet been “initiated” into their group, making her “one of them” regardless of her intentions to leave? Either way, how does this change now that she’s marked?

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I searched around, but couldn’t really find anything deeper in the star-shaped mark that was placed on Juliet’s lower back. Initially, my thoughts turned to the Scarlet Letter – with the Mark being a way to ostracize a member of the Others society. But if that’s the case, why did they put it on her lower back, where it would only be visible during bikini season (which might be all the time, since they’re on an Island, but still…)? It was clear that the Mark was a bad thing based on Tom’s reaction to hearing the ruling – but why?

Based on the lack of clues from this episode, it could be anything from something signifying that Juliet is now fair game for Smokey to munch on to being a sign that Juliet is sentenced to never leave the Island. Or it could just be another way for the writers to “connect” Jack and Juliet, since they now both have markings of sort on their body. Very puzzling…


Kids. But even more puzzling is what we saw with Emma and Zack (the Tailer kids) holding in this episode - their teddy bear. Check out what it looks like now:

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It looks pretty much the same as it did before the kids were abducted:

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Which is to say - totally normal. However, remember that we also saw this teddy bear in between the time when the kids were abducted and this episode. And when we did, it looked drastically different:

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Aside from just looking different (beat up and with tape around the leg), it was also being carried by someone that clearly was not Emma or Zack. Granted, there’s always the chance that there are two teddy bears on the Island – but if that was the case, why go out of your way to specifically show it so many times?

There’s always the possibility that this is just some sort of production error with the prop folks on Lost – but to me, it seems like a puzzling inconsistency. Remember how freaky it was when we saw the mysterious feet of the “Others” walking by, dangling a teddy bear? Now that we see the kids and Cindy seemingly alive and well, the teddy bear still happily with them – it does seem as though the fear we had of the Others was misplaced. Sure, they’re brainwashing people and seem to have a strict set of rules to live by – but there’s nothing “creepy” about them at all. The writers seemed to include that image of the teddy bear as a way to mislead us about the nature of the Others… but now that we see some of their true nature – it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense – in particular the state of the teddy bear.


Jack. Lastly, this episode seemed to solidify the fact that Jack is going to be with the Others for quite some time. He’s slowly becoming more and more integrated into their day to day life, and by the end of the episode, didn’t even seem like a “prisoner” anymore. He is entering into agreements with the Others, and they’re letting him travel around the Island without needing armed guards or handcuffs. A level of trust between Jack and the Others is developing.

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It seems that we’ll eventually reach the point where Jack “becomes” an Other. To me, that would be a fascinating storyline – to have the “leader” of the Survivors of Flight 815 join the “enemy” and happily live among them. He’ll have his romance with Juliet, a valued role as a surgeon (something the Others are now lacking), and the chance to leave the Island, assuming Ben is a man of his word. Remember back when Ben said “I want you to want to help me”? What if the Others’ intentions all along were to get Jack to “join them” as a replacement for Ethan? That would help piece together some of the timeline logic of why they didn’t initially kidnap Jack, but then wanted him once they found out that Ethan was dead.

If nothing else, it’s an intriguing possibility. Our Survivors could stage a rescue operation, storm the Others camp, reach Jack – only to find that he doesn’t want to go back with them. Talk about irony!

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Okay – that’s enough for this episode. I’m not going to lie, my heart really wasn’t into the analysis of this episode (and it probably shows in the above writing). There just wasn’t a lot of “meat” from the episode to chew on. But I’m actually very hopeful for the next few episodes. We’re due to get a full blown look at the Others’ society (where they have backyards!), Sayid and Locke staging a rescue operation of Jack, and supposedly the connection between the Others and Dharma in a few episodes. It sounds like excitement is just around the corner, and when it’s all said and done, we’ll all forget how much we complained about this episode.

26 comments:

Stef said...

Brian, nice job writing an analysis of a show so many of us thought was pretty thin.

Your discussion of the teddy bear reminds me... what has happened to the speculation that there might be two sets of "Others" living on the island? The Ben-Juliet, backyard-having, Lands End-wardrobe wearing civilized folks, plus the creepier, shabbier people we've seen in shadows that seem to coincide with the whispering?

Is that theory still around? I don't know how to explain the teddy bear question itself, but I still think there's room for another set of people on the island who could become a common enemy of all of our characters.

And I'm really starting to enjoy the thought that Jack will become an Other. It fits. Let's see what they do with it.

Stef said...

One more thing. The way we're learning about the Others' society - by watching - reminds me a great deal of a really fun project we did in 5th grade. Bear with me...

My fifth grade class and the class across the hall did a weeklong project for social studies where we were trying to learn what "culture" was. We each spent our social studies hours on Monday - Thursday being really creative thinking up a new culture for our class. We came up with things like "everyone always wears blue" and identified who our leaders would be and came up with a variety of social rules and language quirks. We then used these rules (norms and mores) to practice "living" as our culture for about 1/2 an hour at a time. The other 5th grade class did the same thing.

Then, on Friday, they came over to watch us "live" our culture (and vice versa) and they had to observe and pay close attention to clues as we just went about our business. The goal was that they had to identify all of our rules just by observing, and none of us could outright explain them to them. And by watching, pretty much each class was able to pick out language rules, leaders, and other aspects of the "new" culture, it just took time.

See where I'm going with this? :-) I think it's helpful to reminder ourselves that the Others aren't going to just sit down and give us an "Others 101" lecture - we have to learn by observing. And I thought this week's example of governing and justice was a pretty huge reveal - they have a society based on a rule of law and punishment. Fascinating!

Salvar said...

I like the idea of multiple "others". It would better explain the whispers, the people who can walk through the jungle barefoot without leaving a footprint (honestly, do the current others look like they could do that?), and maybe even the disease.
Either that (and right now... more likely) or the disease, the creepy jungle others, and the whispers have just been ignored and forgotten as the writers move forward, and the audience hardly notices because it all happened so long ago.

Rebecca said...

Maybe the spooky others are just part of their dress up regime. Like with the fake beards and ripped clothing thing when they fooled Mike.
Maybe they even wanted to dress up their Teddy Bear? Who knows

Anonymous said...

Really an embarrassing episode. And get ready for a complete throwaway of an episode this week.

In re: Juliet's brand, The Tail Section has it that the brand is an upside-down scientology cross.

Joe D. said...

I have a good idea for you then..Since you obviously don't like the show, why don't you start watching American Idol instead.

senor feesh said...

Hokay... regarding the Teddy, it's possible that the bear was "dressed up" per the Others' costume standard, or it may be another indication of "funky time" (although this would necessitate actual time-travel, something I'm not to keen on happening). I hope there will be a better explanation than either of these.

Also, I feel self-importantly compelled to make a comment about comics - while for the most part you've hit it square with your summing up comics as being essentially a "whizz-bang, ooh, excitement!" medium, there are a few particluarly exceptional pieces of writing in comics (read: Sandman, Watchmen) which I recommend to anyone and everyone. These two have won huge critical acclaim (one of the Sandman stories even won an award for fantasy writing) so there's certainly no writing them off as simple flashy excitment.

Stephanie said...

Wow! You brought out some interesting points! I also second the motion of the person who said they should hire you as a writer for Lost. You're ideas for the encounter with Cindy and between Kate, Sawyer and Karl were excellent.

The biggest revelation that you pointed out was Jack replacing Ethan as the Surgeon. That all makes sense now, but not until it was revealed that Ethan was their surgeon.

The idea of the Jack not going back with the Losties is another interesting point. We know they're coming! But with this show, we're always left guessing!

One tidbit that I don'r remember reading, Karls uttering of "God Loves you as he Loved Jacob". Obviously the Rave Room had an effect on him.

Joe D, Discusion is healthy, it's when you attack others that things get ugly. Not every episode is going to be the good, even on the best of programs, Lost included, but this doesn't degrade the appeal of the show. If we didn't like Lost, why would we be here? I'm glad that you weren't disapointed by this episode, but but you need to respect the opinions of 'others'. ;)

Joe D. said...

That wasn't an attack, and I didn't say that I wasn't disappointed with Stranger in a Strange Land. Sure, the episode dropped off a little bit from the previous week, but calling it an embarrassing episode? I think that's a little harsh. What made it an embarrassment? I don't understand that.

Joe D. said...

I don't understand what Karl said: He'll kill you. God loves you as he loved Jacob."

What's that about?

Eric said...

Perhaps the barefoot days in the jungle with the teddy bear in a noose are all part of a brainwashing phase. A few new "recruits," or just the children, are taken on a kind of wacked out Outward Bound experience. They are then "rescued" and brought to the village with backyards and plumbing and Stephen King ... virtually all the comforts of home. Seems like a kind of common technique.

joe d. said...

After seeing how the others really live, I assumed that they dressed up like they did to fool outsiders like Michael when they brought him to their "psuedo camp". When they came across Jack, Locke, and Sawyer, they were dressed like hillbilly rednecks. That's what they wanted Jack and the rest to think they were all about. I think that's why Ben thought he would be safe when he traveled towards them and got caught in the net. He looked nothing like they did...or what the losties thought they looked like.

Ocho Cinco said...

I would be much more interested to see Locke and Sayid hunt for Patchy and the other hatches instead of Jack....just throwin that out there.

Anonymous said...

Jack's tattoo:

I agree the Jack Thailand journey is a bit weak but I got a few things from it. I do question it's place in this week's storyline with Juliet so maybe that is a disconnect.

In any case, I agree that the scene with Jack intensely needing Achara to tell him about himself (great acting by Fox) and her revealing that "he is a great man and a lonely angry leader" did seem like a big let down. I wanted her to say something more about Jack. Like maybe that he has a gift or something - I dunno. Anyway, Jack's reaction was interesting. It was like yet again he was hearing he was not normal and he did not want to believe that. He really does not want to hear that he is a great man and a leader. I mean if you are a natural leader like Jack and destined for greatness (Jack is a great surgeon) and your Dad constantly mocked you for it then you may not want that role. From Jack's youth, he has taken the savior role (getting beat up for a classmate etc) and his Dad was pretty rotten to him about it.

So his reaction seemed to be finally resigned to it as if he knew it was his fate all along to be a leader etc and no matter what he wanted the tattoo to seal his fate.

Even with the tattoo he still is in conflict with leaderhip on the island yet people flock to him as the leader, as Locke tells him. But he would not tell Kate what his tattoos meant... Well, no matter what we should at least all be happy to finally learn what his tattoos mean!

Anonymous said...

Whoops - that was my last post about Jack and tattoo's - forgot to sign my name...

Juliet and the Scarlet Fairy Wand Symbol:
Did it strike you that the others seem to go out of their way to "let" Jack see how they were ill-treating Juliet? Jack is led in to see Sheriff Izzie and it's timed perfectly in slo-mo so he passes a handcuffed Juliet looking quite forlorn.

He then has to rat out on Juliet or not in front of her accusers with Sherrif cult-like Izzie asking him "Why are you lying for her, Jack?" I mean they are trying to set him up to want to lie for her by challenging him like that, aren't they, especially knowing his penchant for loyalty? They do have his file...

But is Jack really taking the bait, or is he just faking it?

Later heartbroken Alex breaks the camera (why do they let Ben's poor angry child wander around?) and ends up conveniently telling Jack about Juliet's trial and that she will no doubt be killed. Jack then saves Juliet via Ben (getting to see her handcuffed in front of a jury of her peers - a very vulnerable image indeed.) Finally a weak Juliet brings him food and Jack insists on rubbing aloe on the cruel brand she got as he tells her they "will get off the island by working together". Finally in the twilight as the boat with Ben heads back to the island both Jack and Juliet are together on the prow facing the future as one. Creeeepppppy! Is Jack really going for all this? Is his fate to always have to save someone, and another blonde at that? Will the others use Juliet to keep him there by telling him they will kill her if he tries to leave? Or do they want Jack and Juliet to have babies together and this whole entire thing is about babies? Or is she really honest but also has the unique ability to kill people without feeling remorse whatsoever? Or is Juliet really a tortured person and I am totally off on this?

Or will Jack indeed become their leader because Ben will die and they need a leader and another great man. After all, they always say, "Ben is a great man".

Or will Jack come to his senses. After all, he must realise the only way off the island for all his friends is to infiltrate the others. That would be what I would expect Jack to do. That may be why he told Kate to promise not to come back. In other words, I have a plan. I mean Jack is clear about what he thinks of the others, as he told Tom.

If he is going to be true to himself, he is going to save as many people as possible, including the brainwashed others who want to leave and then he will split to get his lostie pals too. Ah, who knows!

Zombie watchers and the kids:
The scenes with Cindy and the kids wandering around as watchers was mesmorizing. They were obviously all brainwashed. I mean here is blow dried hair Cindy and the kids looking all scrubbed nice with a clean bear speaking to Jack as if it was a totally normal thing he should look like hell and be locked in an animal cage while they are free walking around. "Hi Jack, it's me Cindy from the plane! Yep. Howdy there! Hey, the kids want to know how Ana Lucia is! " Helloooo!! Ana is dead! Can't you see I am in a stinking rotten cage here?? Whew. Lots of mind candy being given here to these people.

Skate:
With Sawyer bossing Kate around (she hates that) and telling her how she feels (she hates that) - things seem back to normal there. Sawyer letting CCarl go with some sappy talk (wha'?) was odd but then Sawyer did sacrifice himself for Kate several times; maybe we were supposed to remember he loves her and is naming stars after her. Like we already know that. Sigh. Of course in the next scene he will say some rotten thing to push her away, such as "you are feeling guilty about us no doubt..." Ouch! Sawyer you are a dumb sh__!

Kate is back to wondering why she ever let him in. Is her fate to be alone? She is already focused on finding a way to get Jack back anyway. She will no doubt go off on her own and maybe run into Sayid and Locke or something to help her - even though she promised not to.

For now I am still in the camp that thinks we have one group of others, with maybe some rebels in the group keeping a low profile, plus a few rogues such as Mr Eye Patch and CFL.

- Webuffy

Anonymous said...

A plausible explanation as to why Sawyer didn't interrogate Carl was due to him apparently remaining in a trance like state from room #23. Any info he may have imparted could'nt be trusted anyway.

Rosie said...

Well done - that's a lot more than I could have come up with in this episode. Thanks for all this brilliant analysis.

One thing though - you are totally wrong about comics vs novels. :P I tend think of the very best comics (someone mentioned Sandman) as equal to some of the most complex novels. And let's face it, lots of novels (trashy airport novels, an overwhelming amount of chick lit) have little to no literary value beyond quick escapism and are completely predictable in plot and substance.

Anyway, there's really not much more to say about this episode. I didn't hate it as much as some people did, except for the absolutely horrible and cheesy swelling strings music at the end. Dear LOST music supervisor, please go back to that whole minimalist aesthetic, thanks.

lit said...

very nice!

i totally agree with you about about the storytelling thing.

cheers

Danny Mac said...

My two cents:

Is it possible, with all this time warp discussion, that the people we saw with the run down teddy bear are in fact those kids in the future? It would make sense that the Other society falls/breaks down in the upcoming years and the remaining Others have to live a primitive lifestyle. As the child wants to hold on to what was once normal, he carries around his worn down teddy bear even at an older age. To me, it all fits logically (if anything really does in the world of LOST).

Additionally, how come no one is commenting that Crazy Carl had no clue what the Brady Bunch was? I mean, it is possibly one of the most recognizable shows world-wide. Clearly he lived either an EXTREMELY sheltered life or has been on the island since near infancy.

Just thought I would finally comment- long time reader, rare poster. love the site.

Heather's Brain said...

My own two cents...

I have said before in the past that the "sickness" was a character on the show that did it's purpose and then was abandoned...I believe the whispering others and freaky bare feet scene was another abandoned idea. It served it's purpose...got us thinking bad stuff about the others , and now we are to believe they are NOT like that.

The truth is, in this type of show...we are going to have to assume several times a season that what WAS is not as it seemed. We are only seeing one perspective at a time, and then shown a "light" on the scene down the road. Each episode DOES reveal quite a bit, you just have to look beyond what you think you know and what you WANT it to be.

I think that every episode I have not yet seen is a GREAT episode, for the simple fact that it is not a repeat and it does move forward, even if it is slow. It is a WEEKLY show, what else do you expect!

Just my thoughts!

rutkowskilives said...

Brian - great analysis of a pretty thin episode

DMac - I think you have an interesting theory there. Things aren't adding up, and your idea is as good as any.

Heather's brain - Thanks for saying that any new episode is a great episode. That's very true. I'd rather have subpar episodes like the last one than repeats.

The show was really strong after the hiatus for two incredible episodes, and then had a big downer, but based on what's come out about the upcoming episode, exciting developments are in store. I agree with Brian that last week the problem stemmed from weak writing. Here's hoping they get back to the solid writing they were doing before.

pathdude said...

Did Ben ever actually tell Jack that he could leave the island (islands) and go back to the real world?

I got the feeling from this episode that when he promised Jack and Juliet that they could go home, he meant back to the Others' home on the big island, not back to the real world. What do you think?

Joe D. said...

"I would be much more interested to see Locke and Sayid hunt for Patchy and the other hatches instead of Jack....just throwin that out there."

Well, Sayid, Locke, and Kate are heading to save Jack, but where is Locke's heart? From an ABC released description of an upcoming episode, it describes tensions mounting between Locke and Sayid. Why? I think that Locke is looking to unlock the secrets of the island more so than he's trying to save Jack.

Remember, Locke just got his faith back. Season 1, anyone? He's out for his own personal agenda....finding Patchy. I think that's going to be more important to John Locke than finding Jack. That's the only thing I can see causing tension between Sayid and Locke.

joe d. said...

Yes, Ben did tell Jack that he could go home. Remember when Ben showed Jack the film of the Red Sox winning the series? He told Jack if he cooperates, he can go back home....

Stef said...

The Brady Bunch question is an interesting one. As just mentioned, the Others could watch the World Series, and they have a book club that reads Stephen King. So they're obviously not out of touch with pop culture.... so why no Brady Bunch? Is their access just to more recent stuff? (Alas, no Nick at Nite?) Or, as someone said, was Carl even more secluded than the main group?

Anonymous said...

just my 3 cents, Heroes is more than just quick mindless entertainment, just like any new show its building its own mythology, and anyone who has watched from the beginning can clearly see that the show isnt all flash, but has a Lost like knack for burying mystery and clues behind seemingly innocuous moments that when put together will make sense, unfortunately Lost keeps adding more mystery and clues that hit dead ends and never seem to reach fruition, thus the reason Heroes is be praised. Heroes takes what has come before, answers the pressing questions well maintaining over arcing mysteries(such as who is Linderman, or what are HRG's real motives, and who is behind Primatech Paper.) Lost cant seem to figure how to get out of the hole they are digging with each new mystery. Lost worked initially because there was momentum, there were mysteries, clues and there were answers and there were characters worth watching. Now any old mystery is a muddled mess when trying to fit it into the writers new mysteries. Also all the characters we grew to love over two seasons have been shuffled off the board and left to be a deus ex machina when need be. I really enjoyed lost early on, but has become a pain to watch recently as we get scant follow through to what we were supposed to care about. I keep watching in hopes that soon more than just a few episodes are good, and that momentum builds instead of being sabotage by the writers lack of faith in anything that has come before.

Now this diatribe, as it somehow has become, wasnt meant to heap praise on heroes, as that show can fall off the rails to, but to discuss that sometimes its better to just keep it simple, allow the audience into the mystery, not alienate them by just buidling to more mystery. I dont want to be like some posters here and just be glad for a sub par ep, i rather have engrossing television, and in not that than nothing would be better. At least it wouldnt tarnish my memories of early much better episodes. We the audience deserve better than haveing to explain away the writers lack of consistancy, we deserve to know more than what we are given. its because i adored the initial conceit and the true reactions from fully formed characters. Now we just have mystery for the sake of mystery. well thats what i think, take it as you will. and so sorry for the horrendous way this is written. Sorta turned into a stream of conciousness there. hehe...oh, and dont forget "Save the Cheerleader, Save the World." ;)