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Thursday, October 26, 2006

Lost: Women and Children First

Oh no, the episode was Every Man For Himself .... that's right. Personally I love a good con story so as a standalone piece of television, I'd rate this episode pretty highly. A little predictable perhaps - both the Warden twist and fakemaker was pretty well broadcasted I think. I am, however, glad it turned out to be a fakemaker. If the writers had wanted us to believe that Sawyer had chest surgery, recovered in a few hours and than survived being outside in a filthy cage and having the tar beaten out him ... I think they may have crashed their own plane of plausibility. That kind of sloppy writing would probably make me stop thinking about the show completely.

We didn't learn anything particularly new about Sawyer, other than he has a kid and fans of the show will now have another character to suggest that "maybe X is Sawyer's kid" to go with "maybe X is Him" or "maybe X is the real Sawyer" or "maybe X is Jack's dad's hooker" or "maybe X is the monster".

We learned Kate may or may not love Sawyer and that's it is good to be flat-chested sometimes. Personally, I'm just darn glad the whole episode didn't pan out as some kind of elaborate ruse to get Kate to profess an emotion.

Oh, and before I rail against the machine for a few paragraphs - some of the dialogue here was just top notch. Jack's scenes with Juliet were brilliant and Michael Emerson (Ben) is proving to be simply golden in nearly every moment he has.

Now, the questions, caveats and concerns:

Question: How could they not know Sawyer's age?
The have everyone's full names. They had a complete bio on Jack. They seem to know if you are bad or good - but they didn't have a birthdate for "James"? Seriously? It would have made more sense for Ben to walk up to Sawyer and state, "You are thirty five years old and weigh one ninety four." And then break into a comedy routine with Sawyer debating the obvious truth.

Caveat: No crash cart?
I'm assuming this is a plot point to be explained - but a co-worker this morning informed me I assume too much. She might be right. I mean, The Others have a book club, cartoons, tapes of recent baseball events, a submarine ... but not basic medical supplies? They've got the big freakin' needle from Pulp Fiction but they don't have a critical piece of hospital equipment?

Question/Concern: Why can't Bernard play golf? Or Rose? Who needs a Paolo?
The introduction of Paolo and Nikki feels forced and artificial - and sadly so does the delivery of most of their lines so far (all like five of them). Why the producers felt the need to pad an already large ensemble with a couple people that look like they wandered in from the set of a underwear ad really escapes me. The possibilites don't feel good - either they are tapping out on flashbacks for the main characters or Pool Boy and Hot Girl have been introduced just to get killed off ... which means the show has completely surrended its edge. Either way, doesn't feel good.

Concern: Desmond
Desmond was such a neat character - until he got crushed into a small ball by the implosion of several feet of concrete around him and was somehow transformed in the Messiah. These kinds of characters quickly devolve into a "thing" and not so much a "person". Desmond will become the "link to the island" or "the speaker of the true way" or some such. What sucks is that Desmond is now such a left turn from what most of us consider reality that the show hardly feels worth analyzing anymore. To quote from Green Wing - next week on Not Making Sense, I'll wax an owl. What's the point in trying to figure out what happened or will happen when miracle saves and precognition is on the table?

Concern: Why was Pickett so shocked and surprised?
No, I get that he was angry for losing his wife. That makes sense. There is, however, I think a fundamental contradiction with The Others. They do everything they can do to scare and intimidate the Losties. Kidnapping, killing, mind games and funky costumes. They're also smart, as Ben is often good about saying. They can think well in advance and form complicated tactics to meet their end goal. I wouldn't be surprised if Ben didn't get himself captured just to have the groundwork ready for Michael to betray Jack & Co.

So why do they constantly act shocked when the Losties defend themselves? They seem so annoyed that anyone might pull a gun to keep from being pulled into the jungle. They launch a stealth attack to steal a boat from frightened armed people - but it's the Losties fault that "Cole" died? How can they be so clever and fundamentally stupid at the same time?

Perhaps there is a twist down the way to help explain much of this. Problem with having faith in the show is it seems to be willing to bury the past pretty quickly. Much of Season One's questions seem to revolve about Walt and his relationship with The Island and his potential and whatnot. Then he disappears and later is whisked away on a boat. Season two is all about the hatch - but it implodes before we can get a full understanding of what was going on there. Both aspects seem to be completely left behind as we move on to understanding the Book Club now.

Hopefully we'll get more answers before they go imploding away onto a boat (or some such).

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Clamatius said...

They have a defibrillator, but Juliet specifically said it was broken. They may have access to pretty much everything but they're still on an island in the middle of nowhere and presumably don't have a tech that can repair complicated medical equipment.

Unknown said...

I enjoyed it. The point, for me, was the fight for control that The Book Club must maintain. They are one step ahead in some areas, not in others. That kind of wounded but clever enemy is great.

Also, Desmond (?) may not have psychic powers. He might simply have seen things happen in a certain way before. Go back to your Gaia theory for a moment. Suppose he knows that a storm brewing on the horizon means that the island is going to cause trouble. He looks around and notices that Claire's tent is the most vulnerable (I don't know if it is, I'm just speculating here) or that the island has a thing for little kids (that fits with first season, right?) and decides that he'll take action to head it off. He's got experience that may help the Losties fend off attacks from the island, because he's observed the island's behaviour before. It's like an animal handler knowing how to read the animal's behaviour.

Spam out.

Josh said...

"they're still on an island in the middle of nowhere and presumably don't have a tech that can repair complicated medical equipment."

Which baffles the mind on how they can keep a sub running, methinks. And if they got new laundry machines ...

But I'm wondering if there is a specific reason they wouldn't get the supplies for that. I hope that this isn't a convenience as much as its a clue about the relationship they have with the outside world.

"I enjoyed it. The point, for me, was the fight for control that The Book Club must maintain."

I may not completely sound like it - but I am enjoying this season in general and last night's episode was one of the better so far. Most if not all of my concerns could be chalked up to overthinking the entire show ... but I do think Lost has begged to be overthought (but I'm debating that now).

"Go back to your Gaia theory for a moment. Suppose he knows that a storm brewing on the horizon means that the island is going to cause trouble."

I'll bite - it's plausible. It might even be a microcosm example to help illustrate "fate" down the line when they need to start explaining all the weird coinkydinks. It would actually be my favorite explanation for Des's "ability" - even if it was shifted around to fit whatever is going on in case the Gaia thing is flatout wrong.

Still, he's pretty specific. He knew what Locke would say. He knew exactly when the rain would start. But - I suppose that could just be a factor of knowing enough of what's going on around him to make a logical (and highly accurate) guess. He was confused about Locke's speech not because he knew it would happen or had heard it before, but he just assumed it would occur and figured it already had.

Or some such.

Josh said...

Oh and on the defib machine ... I am of course making an assumption that has been broken for some time (years maybe). That was just the impression I got from Juliet.

Weefz said...

As for the fakemaker: Pacemaker insertions are actually a day-case procedure these days. There's no sternum-opening involved and you can go home by 3pm.
here's a leaflet (pdf) for a patient in the UK. OTOH, pacemakers just pace. ICDs (internal cardiac defibrillators) are the devices that shock you based on your heart rhythm but even patients who have those are discharged the following morning. And yes, you can get ICDs that also pace the heart.

Since Sawyer was otherwise healthy, he actually probably would survive a beating, although he'd be in a shitlot of pain when walking and moving his arms around. Also, his scar was in a very strange place but hell, he wouldn't know that anyway.

(I used to work in the cardiac department of a hospital)

Josh said...

I guess I was thinking ripped stitches and infection would be a pretty significant concern in the round of Sawyer's events ... although I guess technically that might be true with the fakemaker even.

I suppose it's also true that we might not see the whole timeline. Maybe Sawyer was out longer than it seemed.

So can an ICD really explode one's heart? That seemed a stretch to me, but a plausible lie that Sawyer might buy into.

Weefz said...

Explode? I doubt it. It's basically a couple of wires stuck into the muscle and with a battery and some fancy programming. Works by delivering an electric shock directly to the heart. You could probably burn the heart muscle quite badly if you programmed it in a malicious way and you'd trigger all sorts of nasty arrhythmias.

So explode, no. Kill, most probably. I've heard that when the device does its job, it's like being kicked in the chest by a donkey.