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The Great Lost Rewatch Project — More Thoughts on Season 4!

March 9th, 2010
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“She’s not my daughter. I stole her as a baby from an insane woman. She’s a pawn, nothing more. She means nothing to me.”

Yesterday I began analyzing Lost season 4.  Here are some of my favorite and least-favorite moments from that over-all terrific season!

“Is he talking about what I think he’s talking about?”  “If you mean time-traveling bunnies, then yes.”

Favorite Episodes:

4.2 “Confirmed Dead” — A great episode that begins to introduce us to the “Freighter-Folk” and raises a whole heck of a lot of new mysteries.  We see Daniel Faraday watching the discovery of the Oceanic 815 wreckage and crying.  We see Charlotte investigating an archaeological dig in Tunisia, where the skeleton of a polar bear (with a Dharma collar!) has mysteriously been found in the middle of the desert.  We learn of Mile’s ability to communicate with the dead.  We see Laipdus, who was also watching footage of the Oceanic 815 recovery, at which point he becomes convinced that the bodies are not actually those of the survivors, and we learn that he was supposed to have been the pilot of 815 that day.  We see Naomi being recruited by the mysterious Abbadon.

4.5 “The Constant” – A phenomenal episode, without question one of the very best of the series. Leaving the island, Lapidus is forced by a storm to shift slightly off the precise bearing that Daniel gave him. As a result, Desmond’s mind is somehow thrown back in time and exchanged with that of his younger self, still serving as a soldier in the Scotts Royal Regiment. Over the course of this mind-bending hour, we are given an enormous amount of information about Daniel Faraday’s time-traveling experiments (information that will prove critical to our understanding of season 5).  We also see, in an intriguing scene, Charles Widmore at an auction, bidding on the first mate’s log from the Black Rock (the ship we know is beached on the island), which we learn had formerly been in the possession of Tovar Hanso (an apparent ancestor of the founder of the Dharma Initiative).  Suddenly we are forced to reconsider Mr. Widmore — he’s not just Desmond’s troublesome potential father-in-law, he’s a man with some sort of connection to the island.  But, of course, none of this fascinating back-story would matter at all if not for the episode’s emotional center: the star-crossed love story of Desmond and Penny.  Their tearful reunion, when Desmond calls her from the freighter’s radio room after having obtained her phone number in the past, is wonderfully powerful stuff, and a highlight of the season (and the series).

4.9 – The Shape of Things to Come – In one of my favorite flashforwards of the season, we see Ben appear (wearing a Dharma parka!) in the middle of Tunisia. (We’ll soon learn that this is where he went after turning the island’s wheel in the season 4 finale – and this explains how the Polar Bear skeleton that Charlotte found in Tunisia in “Confirmed Dead” wound up there.) Ben kicks the ass of some locals (using a weapon familiar to readers of Y The Last Man – a nice nod since this episode was written by Brian K. Vaughan), and then sets out to recruit Sayid’s help. It seems that poor Sayid finally found and married his love, Nadia, but that she was soon after killed when she was hit by a truck. Ben tells Sayid that Charles Widmore was responsible. Desperate for vengeance, Sayid agrees to work with Ben to kill all of Widmore’s men.  The story-line on the island is every bit as tragic and compelling.  The dead body of the freighter’s doctor washes up on the beach, an apparent result of more island-related time dilation, since when they radio in to the boat they learn that the doc hasn’t died yet!  Keamy and his men attack the barracks, killing most of the castaways hiding there,and blowing up Claire’s house. Keamy demands that Ben surrender or he’ll kill Alex. Ben refuses, and in a shocking moment Keamy shoots Alex in the head. A furious Ben enters a secret compartment in his house and summons the smoke monster, who decimates Keamy’s men.  At the episode’s end, we see Ben off the island, paying Widmore a visit in his bedroom and vowing to kill his daughter, Penny, in exchange for Widmore’s killing his.  Filled with I-can’t-believe-that-just-happened moments, this episode is a great example of season 4’s renewed narrative intensity.

“You’re more lost than you ever were.”

Least-Favorite Episodes

4.6 “The Other Woman” — In flashback, we meet Harper Stanhope, the Others’ psychiatrist, assigned soon after Juliet’s arrival on the island to meet with her regularly. The two women seem to take an instant dislike to one another, exacerbated when Juliet begins an affair with Goodwin, Harper’s husband.While the humanization of Goodwin is interesting, Juliet comes off looking pretty poor here (sleeping with a married man).  I also found this episode’s depiction of the cruel love-sick Ben (who declares to Juliet “you’re mine”) to venture too far into over-the-top moustache-twirling villainy, far less interesting than the more subtly manipulative Ben we have previously seen.

4.8 “Meet Kevin Johnson” — This is a fun episode, and it’s great to have Michael back on the show. But I have serious problems with the events portrayed in Michael’s flashbacks. It seems to me that the events depicted would have had to have taken place over MONTHS. When we first meet up with Michael in this episode, he is already suicidal over his guilt and his split from Walt – the implication is that Michael has already been home for a while. And it must have taken additional weeks for Michael to prepare for his task of infiltrating the freighter and then travel to the port in Fiji, and then we must consider the time it would have taken for the freighter to find the island. As I wrote, all of that seems like it would have taken MONTHS. But if you think about it, Michael left the island during the season 2 finale. The freighter has already found the island two-thirds of the way through season 3 (when Naomi parachutes onto the island). Since every episode of Lost pretty much takes place during a single day, that means that only 2-3 weeks, maximum, elapsed from the time that Michael left the island until the time that he returned, disguised as Kevin Johnson on the freighter. I don’t think that tome-line works at all, and it really undermines this episode. I also hate the ending, in which Rousseau and Karl are gunned down in the jungle (by Keamy’s men, which we’ll learn later) and Alex is taken prisoner. I can’t believe how easily the tough, cunning Rousseau – who survived all by herself on the island for 16 YEARS – walks right into the trap set by Keamy’s men. That’s pretty weak.

“Those things had to happen to me. That was my destiny. But you’ll understand soon that there are consequences to being chosen. Because destiny, John? Destiny is a fickle bitch.”

Favorite moments from the season:

4.3 “The Economist” — Daniel Faraday’s rocket experiment that clues us in on the mysterious bubble of time-dilation surrounding the island.

4.4 “Eggtown” — Hurley’s response when he realizes that Kate has tricked him into revealing where Miles is being kept: “You just totally Scooby Doo’ed me, didn’t you?”

4.8 “Meet Kevin Johnson” — Libby’s blink-and-you’ll-miss-her split-second appearance in Michael’s nightmare!

4.9 “The Shape of Things to Come” —  Keamy forces Alex to deactivate the sonic pylons, which causes a phone to ring in Ben’s house, something which really perplexes Locke & the gang! They ask Ben about it, and Ben immediately realizes what has happened – so, in another great moment, Ben quickly whips out the gun he’d apparently been keeping hidden in the seat at his piano!

4.11 “Cabin Fever” — Richard Alpert’s enigmatic visit to the home of a young John Locke.  (Eagle-eyed Lost viewers couldn’t have missed the young Locke’s drawing hanging on the wall, of what appears to be the smoke monster!)

4.12 “There’s No Place Like Home” Pt. 1 — At the memorial service for his father, Jack meets Claire’s mother and learns a staggering secret: that Claire was his half-sister.

“I’m here to tell you that the island won’t let you come alone. All of you have to go back.”

I’ll see you back here next week for my thoughts on Lost: Season 5!

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