Tuesday, August 2, 2011

PCP on TV - Lost Season 4 better late than never

Welcome back to Pop Culture Panorama.  Today I’ll be talking about the TV show Lost.  I never watched Lost when it was first on the air, and by the time I wanted to watch the show, all I heard about it was that it was confusing and if you were jumping in to it late, you would be totally… well, lost.  I knew this would be a show I’d like, because I love the work of J.J. Abrams, especially Fringe, and I love sci-fi in general.  So this summer I resolved to watch the entire run of the show on DVD.  I just completed power-discing through the 4th season now, and these are my thoughts and observations about this show. (WARNING:  mild spoilers ahead if you’re like me and never saw the show before).

  • They’re getting even less subtle with the characters’ names this season:  Charlotte S. Lewis (C.S. Lewis), the physicist Daniel Faraday shares the same last name with physicist Michael Faraday.  Of course having characters with the last names Locke, Rousseau, Shepherd, Hume, and Hawking isn’t exactly subtle in the first place if you get the references.
  • I love how they show us a polar bear skeleton in the Tunisian desert with a Dharma collar on it in the 2nd episode, but don’t give us a clue as to how that happened until much later in the season when Ben also wakes up in Tunisia, but they still don’t show us how he got there until the finale, when he moves the island and is teleported to Tunisia.  How did the bear make it there though?  That part makes no sense (but when has this show made full sense?)
The rest is after the jump!
  • It looked like the bracelet that Elsa in the future had was the same as Naomi had on the island.  I was wondering if they were going to show if it had an inscription that matched Naomi’s but they didn’t. 
  • Ok, I’m starting to believe that the characters on the island are not indeed dead like I’ve been thinking since the first season, simply because of the whole thing with the payload rocket being shot from the ship onto the island.  I guess the island is just somehow out of synch with time, and that’s why it can’t be easily found.  That was a cool reveal about the island being a half an hour off from the real world, but I was surprised they didn’t make it 23 or 42 minutes off from the real world and have it be in line with The Numbers.
  • I knew as soon as Sayid said he’d sell his soul before he trusts Ben that he’d be working for Ben in the future.  I guess he did sell his soul.
  • I loved how Widmore was buying the diary of the Black Rock at an auction in 1996, 8 years before the events of the show, in Desmond’s time jumps.  Now we know how long the Black Rock has been on the island, over 150 years.  I’m assuming that Widmore knew the ship was on the island because he has in fact been there before.
  • I’m digging the crew of the freighter.  A lot of very recognizable actors fill their ranks.
  • Ben is seriously deranged and creepy, as shown in Juliet’s flashbacks when he revealed that Goodwin was killed.  The way he snaps at Juliet “You’re Mine!” was downright evil and sadistic.
  • I loved Hurley and Sawyer’s reaction to seeing Ben out of Locke’s jail.  The stunned look on their faces is one that I’ve worn myself on a number of occasions while watching this show.
  • Also great was the gag open that appeared to have Hurley, Locke, and Sawyer having a super-serious conversation, until the camera panned out to show they were discussing the board game Risk and not actually anything important.  I think that was the first time the show used that gag, it’s a common trope on other shows.
  • Loved how the Doc’s body washed up on the beach several episodes before he was actually killed.  Apparently there are multiple types of time dilation going on – as the helicopter trips take longer than they should, the 30 minute discrepancy with the payload clocks, and the body washing up days earlier than when he actually died.  Very weird.
  • When 3 nameless survivors of the plane crash were shot by the mercenaries, it had a comedic feel to it, as one would run outside, Sawyer would yell “Get back inside” and then blam, down they’d go in a hail of gunfire.  This happened 3 times in a row.  I was wondering how many of them they’d have die that way, it was quite comical the way it was happening.
  • Wait so Ben had the Smoke Monster just locked up under his house?  WTF?
  • The way Ben snapped when Alex was killed was creepy.  Great acting by Michael Emerson in that episode.
  • So Miles knew that Charlotte had been to the island before?  He also knew Michael was not Kevin Johnson.  That guy knows a lot about people, but seems to keep his info that he gains to himself.
  • Also, how the heck does Charlotte know Korean?
  • I loved watching Sun tell off her father, having bought a controlling interest in his company with the settlement money from the Oceanic crash.  How rich must that settlement have been to allow her to afford that?
  • I thought that it was really interesting that Richard had been involved in Locke’s life dating back to his birth.  They just knew he’d wind up on the island some day.  Also, loved how the kid Locke drew the smoke monster without even knowing what he was drawing.
  • So Claire is just hanging out with the ghost of her father?  She appears to be under some sort of thrall or trance.  I wonder how they’re gonna explain that.
  • One thing bugging me – so Hurley freaks out when he sees the odometers in the old Camaro are displaying The Numbers, yet earlier in the season when he was running from his vision of Charlie, he was driving the car.  I’m surprised he’d even get behind the wheel of it at all given the way he freaked out when it was given to him.
  • Wow, Walt really grew up quickly.  No wonder they had to write him out of the show, the kid had a major growth spurt.
  • When they moved the island, it appeared that the boat with Daniel on it was in the middle of the ocean between the freighter and the island, but it was nowhere to be found afterwards.  I’m guessing it was pulled along with the island when the island moved?
  • How did Locke get off the island?  I liked the reveal that he was the dead guy from the funeral all the way back in the first episode of the season; that was a great cliffhanger to leave us on between seasons.
  • Yay!  Desmond finally found Penny.  That was such a great touching moment when they kissed.
  • Sci-Fi actors from other shows on Lost:  Matthew Abaddon is played by Lance Reddick, who would also start starring that same yearh on J.J. Abram’s other hit sci-fi show Fringe.  Daniel Faraday is played by Jeremy Davies, best known from Saving Private Ryan, but he was also in Solaris.  Frank Lapidus is played by Jeff Fahey who has been in a number of straight to DVD sci-fi B movies, and also The Lawnmower Man.  Miles is played by Ken Leung, who was in X-Men 3 and Artificial Intelligence (A.I.).  Charlotte is played by Rebecca Mader, who would have a recurring villain role on ABC’s No Ordinary Family after being done with Lost.  Elsa from Sayid’s flashforward was in Highlander: The Source.  Kate’s attorney from her flashforward was Shawn Doyle, who has been in Frequency, Earth: Final Conflict, & Darkman 3.  George Minkowski is played by Fisher Stevens, who has been in Hackers, Super Mario Brothers, & Short Circuit 1 and 2.  Desmond’s Drill Sergeant in his time shift is Graham McTavish, who is going to be playing the dwarf Dwalin in the upcoming Hobbit films.  Martin Keamy is played by Kevin Durand, who has been in X-Men Origins Wolverine, I Am Number Four, Legion, Andromeda, & Stargate SG-1.  Dr. Ray is played by Marc Vann, who has been in Angel & Spiderman 3, but he’s best known for his work on CSI as Ecklie (but that’s not sci-fi).  Gault is played by Grant Bowler, who showed up on True Blood’s 3rd season.  Regina is played by Zoë Bell, a stuntwoman who has doubled for Lucy Lawless on Xena & Hercules and was an actress in Ultraviolet.  The guy who killed Sayid’s love Nadia was Faran Tahir, the villain in the 1st Iron Man movie, and was also in the recent Star Trek reboot.  The spokeswoman for Oceanic Airlines was played by Michelle Forbes, who was Ensign Ro Laren on Star Trek TNG and Admiral Cain on Battlestar Galactica.
  • Body count for the season (on the island or freighter, not in flashforwards, and only confirmed on-screen deaths, not off-screen):  18 confirmed deaths, and a boatful of hypothetical deaths.  Naomi died from her wounds inflicted on her in the 3rd season finale.  George Minkowski dies of an aneurysm from his mental time jumping.  Gina drowned herself, wrapping herself in chains and jumping overboard from the freighter.  Karl and Danielle Rousseau are shot and killed by Keamy’s mercenaries.  3 nameless survivors of Oceanic 815 that had gone with Locke are also shot and killed by Keamy’s mercenaries.  Keamy shoots and kills Alex in cold blood.  One of Keamy’s men is killed by the Smoke Monster (he dies of his wounds on the ship).  Keamy kills the ship’s doctor to force Frank to fly them back to the island.  Keamy also shoots and kills Gault when Gault tries to stop him after killing the doctor.  The other 4 members of Keamy’s mercenary team are killed in the attack by the Others (including Omar getting blown up by a grenade that Keamy kicked away from himself, and it landed at Omar’s feet).  Ben stabs Keamy to death.  Michael is killed by the explosion of the bomb on the freighter.  Presumably, so is everyone else that was onboard the freighter, including the rest of the freighter crew (but I don’t have their numbers so I’m not counting them in the death toll).  Jin’s status is unknown – he was still on the freighter at the time it blew up, but he’s not clearly shown as dead or alive.  He was on the tail of the boat, so he could have been thrown clear, but I have no clue how he could have swam back to shore before the island moved.
  • Items from prior seasons resolved:  Naomi didn’t die in season 3, she held on until season 4’s premiere.  The Black Rock is about 160 years old.  Jack (in a flashforward) learns that Claire is his sister, and Aaron his nephew.  The Other Tom was homosexual, which explains why he said to Kate that she wasn’t his type when she was afraid he was going to assault her.

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