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The Great Lost Rewatch Project — More Thoughts on Season 3!

March 2nd, 2010

Yesterday I began my look back at season 3 of Lost.  Click here to check out my thoughts on season 1, and here to read my thoughts on season 2.

“This is future crap, isn’t it?”

Favorite Episodes

3.7 “Not in Portland” — Juliet gets a terrifically juicy flashback as we see her performing secret (and somehow unethical?) research on her sister, who Juliet is able to help get pregnant despite her being stricken with cancer.Richard Alpert makes his first appearance as a well-dressed representative of Mittelos Bioscience who tries, repeatedly, to recruit Juliet to come work for him in Portland.We see a few glimpses of Ethan, who has apparently been hanging around Juliet’s place of work, and who is perhaps the one who brought her to Richard’s attention.We see Juliet frustratedly confess to Richard that she can’t work for him because her ex-husband (and boss) would never allow her to take her research elsewhere, and she hysterically wishes that he’d get hit by a bus.Which he does.At which point Alpert tries again to convince Juliet to come work for him, admitting that they don’t really have offices in Portland…

3.8 “Flashes Before Your Eyes” — Click here for my detailed thoughts on this bombshell episode!

3.10 “Tricia Tanaka is Dead” — Oh my goodness do I have great and powerful love for this episode.  Hurley finds an overturned, rusted old Dharma van.  Convinced that the gang needs a win, he sets out to repair it, with some help from Charlie, Jin, and Sawyer.  And repair it they do.  In flashback, we meet Hurley’s dad, played by Cheech Martin.He apparently left Hurley’s mom when the kid was about 10, but she doesn’t seem all that sore about it, as she welcomes him back into her life after Hurley wins the lottery.I guess he’s a jerk for ditching them all those years ago, but he seems like a good-hearted fellow who is genuinely concerned with the depressive spiral that Hurley has fallen into because of the curse he feels is upon him.We see good evidence for that curse early in the episode, when an unfortunate reporter, the titular Tricia Tanaka, perishes when an asteroid (or meteor?) smashes into the Mr. Cluck’s that Hurley purchased.  D’oh!  There are so many great moments in this episode.All the silliness with the head of Roger, Workman (who, in a terrific turn, we later learn is none other than Ben’s dad, Roger Linus).Jin and Sawyer drunk on decades-old Dharma beer, and Sawyer teaching him the English phrases he’ll need to keep a woman happy.Hurley looking death in the face.Fantastic.

3.14 “Expose” — Oh boy, another FANTASTIC episode.  The wildly unpopular Nikki and Paulo get their own flashback, and we learn they’ve done some pretty terrible things in pursuit of diamonds.  In a terrifically clever series of sequences, we track back through the events of the first two-and-a-half seasons of the show and see how what Paulo & Nikki were doing weaves in and out of the events we’ve witnessed.  And, of course, we see them ultimately turn on one another and wind up being buried alive.  Rough!  The episode is filled with self-referential fun (Nikki’s line: “I’m only a guest star, and we all know what happens to guest stars”), and other silliness (Billy Dee Williams’ guest appearance!), but the highlight for me is the clever return, during the flashbacks, of many familiar faces (Shannon!  Boone!  Ethan!  Arzt!!).

3.20 “The Man Behind the Curtain” — Benjamin Linus gets a flashback episode.  In learning about Ben’s youth growing up on the island, we get our first real glimpse of the Dharma Initiative and what they were doing on the island in the ’70s.  We meet Horace Goodspeed for the first time (who will be a major player in season 5), as well as Ben’s father Roger (“workman”, who we already met as a corpse in the Dharma van in “Tricia Tanaka is Dead.”)  We see Ben’s first meeting with Richard Alpert (who we learn in this episode is apparently ageless).  And finally, we see at last “the Purge,” in which the Others eliminated the Dharma folk on the island.  This is a tremendous episode, and it fills in some big blanks of the story for us.  And I haven’t even mentioned all the goings-on in present day on the island, such as Ben & Locke’s enigmatic visit to Jacob’s Cabin!

3.21 “Greatest Hits” – This is one of my favorite episodes of the series.  Charlie makes peace with his impending death by listing the five greatest moments of his life, which we experience with him through flashbacks.  It is poignant and powerful, and a wonderful farewell to a beloved character (even though he’s still breathing by the end of the episode).  Attention TV writers: THIS is how you make the death of one if a show’s main characters have impact.

“Don’t get mad at me just because you were dumb enough to fall for the old Wookiee prisoner gag.”

Least-Favorite Episodes

3.11 “Enter 77” — There’s some intriguing stuff to be found in this episode, and it’s notable for introducing us (in person, at least, as opposed to on a screen in the Pearl) to one-eyed Mikhail.  But the episode is undone, for me, by Locke’s out-of-character behavior.  Locke acts like a total buffoon throughout the episode, becoming obsessed with the computer and allowing Mikhail to escape while his attention has wandered, and then entering 77 and destroying the Flame station.  In light of what we’ll learn in the next episode about Locke’s desire to destroy any methods of communicating with the outside world, I can sort of understand why he destroys the station – and that he did that on PURPOSE, as opposed to as a buffoonish accident.  But I cannot understand how/why he becomes so obsessed with the computer chess game in the first place, before he knew that beating the game would lead to his having an opportunity to destroy the station (something there’s no way he could have possibly known in advance).

3.12 “Par Avion” — Claire gets pissed off at Charlie and Desmond for the weird way they’re acting, the result of Desmond again trying to keep Charlie from death.  Things worsen when Desmond messes up (he claims by accident, but clearly on purpose) Claire’s plan to capture a tagged bird that she sees, so she can fasten a message to the bird to be eventually found by the scientists tracking the birds’ movements.  This episode is undone because Desmond’s actions make no sense.  He says that he saw Charlie die on the rocks.  So why did Desmond STOP Claire and Jin from capturing a bird on the beach, when Charlie wasn’t around??  Desmond and Claire only had to go to the rocky area at the end of the episode BECAUSE Desmond had screwed up the first attempt.  This installment isn’t helped by the depressing flashback, in which we see that Claire apparently caused her mother to be terribly injured when they get into a car accident while in an argument.

“We’re going to have to get that guy another button to push.”

Favorite Moments from the Season

3.1 “A Tale of Two Cities” — Tom Friendly tells Kate she’s not his type.  Such a bizarre little moment that must be seen in an entirely different light after the events of season 4’s “Meet Kevin Johnson”!

3.8 “Flashes Before Your Eyes” — Desmond sees Charlie singing on the streets of London during his flashback.  And what is Charlie singing when Desmond sees him?  “Maybe… you’re gonna be the one who saves me…”  Brilliant.

3.13 “The Man From Tallahassee” — After being crippled by his father, we see Locke’s terror at going in the wheelchair.  He says he can’t do it, at which point the orderly replies with the phrase that will become Locke’s motto: “I don’t want to hear about what you can’t do.”

3.20 “The Man Behind the Curtain” — In an early scene in the episode, Ben tells Richard that it’s his birthday and says: “You do remember birthdays, don’t you, Richard?”  That the writers chose to place this scene in the show before we’d learned of Richard’s mysterious age-less nature is a mark of how well-made this show is, and how well-designed it was for repeat viewings.

“You know something about boxes, don’t you John? What if I told you that somewhere on this island there’s a very large box…and whatever you imagined…whatever you wanted to be in it…when you opened that box, there it would be. What would you say about that, John?”  “I’d say I hope that box is big enough to imagine yourself up a new submarine.”

I’ll be back next week with my thoughts on Lost season 4!

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