Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Ridiculous Red-Shirts Turn Romeo and Juliet

This morning, after I semi-forced him to watch the spectacle that was Sanjaya's performance last night, Nathan informed me that Sanjaya was going to die on LOST tonight. He was right. Sort of.
The title of this episode is Exposé . That's the title of the Baywatch-like show Nikki was on, and it's also a reference to the fact that the show is finally blowing the lid off the tightly sealed mystery that is Nikki and Paolo. Woo. A whole episode devoted to unlocking the history of the two least intriguing characters in the show's history. (Too little too late, guys; actually, this one renewed my faith that these two had a point, but I'm too used to deriding them to stop now.)
My first thought when the episode started was "What? No 'Previously on LOST'?" No, they just dove right in. And it was Nikki. And then I said, "Nikki?" As in, "I can't believe they're starting the show with this chick nobody cares about." And then, "I can't believe they're giving her a flashback" and "I can't believe they're killing her off now, so all we'll ever get of her will be in this episode." And moments later, I thought the same of Paolo. And then I thought, "Maybe they're not really dead."
But mostly I thought the whole thing was a bit of a sly commentary on red-shirts, planned that way from the beginning of their arc, giving us these characters who are so obviously incidental that we half-expected them to go weeks ago, while also half-expecting they would develop into more interesting people. Once again LOST seems to be trying to drive home the point that every person matters, every person has value. Even the crumb bums like Paolo and Nikki. Early in the episode, in the flashback, Nikki protests to her director / lover / victim that she is just a minor character so nobody particularly wants to see her survive the season. It's prophetic. This is a high-concept episode. Or maybe I'm just reading too much into it.
Later, while Sawyer's still nicknaming the ill-fated duo just hours after blasé ly asking, once again, who the heck Nikki is, Hurley repeats his impassioned Tricia Tanaka is Dead speech and tell Sawyer to have a little respect for the deceased. Hurley is always the first to ask for people's names. He's also the one who comes up with the idea to find the flight manifest, a little project he and Locke both had a part in. It helps them both to get to know all the castaways. Because they're interested. Because they sincerely care about their fellow survivors. Locke's motivations have become a bit murky lately, but I really do think he generally wants to help everyone seek out his or her better nature. (The whole killing Mikhail thing? Way not cool. I still haven't quite gotten over that one, John Boy...)
Anyway, Locke and Hurley seem to be about the only remaining survivors who really had any idea who these two were. A small idea, to be sure, but they bothered to get to know them at least a little. Hurley speaks at the funeral because he is the only one there who even remembers what they did on the island in previous days and weeks. Hurley cares. Hurley wants to throw his arms around the world, one person at a time. Strangely, I had a dream last night about him, and somehow we met up at some kind of gathering and were hitting it off... Anyway, Hurley, you can come give me a bear hug any time. My name is Erin, with an E; I do not have a turnip-shaped head or a stand-in dad who happens to be a hot hobbit. I'm just a reclusive wanna-be writer who's always said Samwise trumps Merry. Guess who Sam is? (Forgive my increasingly loopy ramblings. It's time I went to bed...)
As if to drive home the point about there being no pointless characters, this episode was a veritable red-shirt reunion, what with Arzt (who we always knew was a goner), Ethan (who's at least managed to make more of a name for himself in flashbacks) and Shannon and Boone (who I'll consider border-line since they were the first of the major cast to vanish). Did we see Scott or Steve in some of those early beach scenes? I didn't notice, but they didn't play much of a role if they were there. Might've been nice if they had, but I'm sure they didn't want overkill. (Ha...)
Okay, and what was up with Billy Dee Williams playing himself? Talk about random! I knew almost from the start that flashback had to be a TV show because of the corny music in the background. Definitely sounded like a tacky score, and there's never music on LOST that isn't literally a part of the scene at hand. Why would anyone have that dorky tune playing in real life? Incidentally, nice touch putting Lando only two degrees away from Han, and emphasizing the connection by the reciprocal "Thanks for nothing" that reminded me of the "I love you... I know" exchange between Han and Leia. Probably shouldn't have, since Sawyer and Nikki obviously don't give two hoots about each other, but Nikki is the link between Billy and Sawyer, and doggone it, I'm taking all the Star Wars references I can get, even if I have to grasp at straws for them.
Sawyer wastes the breaking of his nickname promise on Nikki and Paolo. Totally boring names, and they can't hear him anyway. Or can they? Sawyer seems a little shifty here, and he's up to his usual tricks, but I think it's good he owns up to his part in Sun's abduction when she confronts him and probably also good that he ditches the diamonds, which seem like blood money, though it does seem a shame to see several million dollars go to waste. Not that it's much good on the island. Apparently he feels a little guilty about exploiting Paolo and Nikki's misfortune, so if tossing the stash clears his conscience, it's okay by me.
Charlie sure doesn't have much to say in this episode, but when he speaks, he makes the most of it, mustering up his nerve and serenely fessing up to his misdeeds in season two. It's a very brave thing to do, and perhaps in light of that, and the fact that he could have gone on keeping it a secret indefinitely, Sun merely stalks off coldly, sparing him the slap she bestows upon Sawyer. Jin's almost entirely out of the loop, except to suggest that the monster got Paolo and Nikki, which Hurley postulates may be true, and I thought there might be some truth to that, at least with Nikki, because where did all those other spiders come from? But then Nathan informed me that I missed a bit of Arzt's dialogue, where he explained that the spiders secrete pheromones that attract other spiders, or some similar shmoo.
Evidently Nikki wasn't paying much attention either. Otherwise why would she sic a spider on boyfriend dearest knowing a troop of spiders is on the way? Why wouldn't she think ahead and write a note that she could whip out if she did get bitten, explaining what has happened to her? What does she expect Paolo will do when he comes to and recalls that she just attacked him with a spider and ran off with his diamonds? And why, after taking none of this forethought, does she stop to bury the diamonds instead of running straight out of the woods to explain the situation while she is still intelligible? Stupid, stupid girl! Just like Romeo and Juliet... sort of...
Usually after watching a flashback, we feel more sympathetic toward the people involved. I don't, particularly. Paolo and Nikki are self-involved, deceitful, greedy murderers. But they are real people. Folks with a sordid back story all their own. I really do appreciate the fact that the writers had a plan for them all along. And I don't think we've seen the end of them. The trailer promised us that someone would die in this episode. Evidently, two people died. Three, if Howie Zuckerman counts. But you know that's not who they're talking about. So maybe neither of them actually is dead. But how will they dig out from under all that dirt? If only the beach people weren't so darn civilized! Why'd they have to be in such a hurry to bury them?
Which brings me to my grand prediction. It's not so much a prediction perhaps as wishful thinking. But note that Vincent pulls the cover off of Nikki and Paolo in this episode. It doesn't seem like much at the time, just a dog getting into things he shouldn't, but dogs have extra-keen senses. Maybe he can hear their hearts beating or in some other way be aware as the less-attuned humans are not that these two are still alive. And what are dogs famously good at? Digging. Vincent is the only major beach character not to have had a flashback. Maybe his shining moment is about to occur. Vincent to the rescue! So we can have several more weeks of Paolo and Nikki making irritating two-minute appearances. No, I think if they survive this, they'll be better integrated. Because people will just be so psyched to have them back and have a second shot at getting to know them. Nikki and Paolo can be part of the gang.
Dez still is kind of a loner. I find it odd that he refers to Sawyer as Hurley's "mate"; Hurley gets along with everybody but I certainly wouldn't say he's unusually close to Sawyer. Then again, they were playing ping-pong together earlier, so maybe that's what sparked Desmond's comment. He once again notes his lack of control over his psychic flashes, and Hurley tells him he has a lame super-power. At least Desmond has enough of an idea of who Nikki is to recall that she had a fight with Sawyer.
Ben shows us his convoluted self again, and I wish I could remember the day and whether it's after Michael was "compromised" by the others or merely after he began trying to use the computer as a way to communicate with his son. Ben's way of going about things is so convoluted. Why can't he just ask Jack nicely? Well, at this point, I guess there have been some incidents that haven't exactly made for stellar Other-Castaway relations, but still, there's no need to make himself even less popular by also abducting Kate and Sawyer. It's way too complicated, not to mention incredibly manipulative.
But back to Nikki and Paolo. Perhaps Paolo is actually dead when we see him; with all those spiders running around, he likely was bitten again, and that probably would kill him. (And wouldn't it have occurred to Nikki he might get bitten twice, even with only one spider? Then again, she wanted a gun first, so she probably was okay with the idea of him winding up dead.) Paolo could have contributed to the island, particularly by letting people know what Ben was up to. This knowledge would have saved everyone a heap of trouble. Shame on him for not spilling the beans. Shame on both of them for being such petty, self-absorbed people. And the whole thing about "Gee, maybe you won't need me anymore if you have the diamonds"? Yeah, not romantic. Just whiny. I'm trying to muster up a little sympathy for one or both of them if they are indeed dead, because I always try to give each character the respect he or she is due as a human being. But gosh, they make it a little hard, given the circumstances. I always hated Romeo and Juliet, and at least they weren't running around killing people for money. Nikki and Paolo brought their misfortune on themselves. Hooray for Jin being alive and well.
The previews seem to indicate that next week's focus is on Kate and Juliet's catfight. Apparently they're going back to the beach, though I don't know what they're up to or why they're traveling together. The title is the very ominous Left Behind, which could mean Jack and Juliet, since they were denied their escape route, or if we do see the beach, which I have a hunch we will, it could mean Nikki and/or Paolo, who were buried alive. Or... going back to my glorious theory... it could mean Vincent, who was abandoned by Michael, who knew he intended to high-tail it off the island as soon as he got his kid back. Couldn't he have said, "Oh, maybe Vincent can help us sniff Walt out" or something? But Michael never did care much about that dog. Let's see if the writers do...

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Wheelchair-Bound Ben and the Locke Box

The Man From Tallahassee. This was the episode we'd all been waiting for. Well, certainly me, anyway. We had to wait more than two seasons to find out why John Locke was in that wheelchair. When the flashbacks in this episode once again were about his father, I figured his jerk of a dad had something to do with his paralysis, a pretty logical assumption anyway. And as bad as Anthony Cooper seemed before, he was much worse in this episode, resorting to murder - even of his own son, who saved his life - in order to continue his cons. It's no wonder Locke is traumatized.
I understand his motivation for blowing up the submarine. It's consistent with his feverish desire to keep the outside world out of this island, a wish that has driven him to more and more desperate actions as the series has progressed. He has three main reasons for this, evidently. He doesn't want more people coming here and ruining the sacredness of this island - though obviously it's a little bit more in the 21st century than we thought in the first episode. He doesn't want to be in a position where he might have to leave, foregoing his connection with the island, his profound sense of purpose and the use of his legs. And he doesn't want even the slightest possibility of coming into contact with his dad again.
I understand his reasons, but I still think he's being very selfish, coming off as more of a thug than a wise mystic. It isn't fair to deny everyone else a possible escape route, since that is what most of them want. Granted, because of the implosion of the hatch - if Ben is to be believed - the sub would soon be gone anyway, with little hope that it could ever find its way back, and the only difference would be that Jack and Juliet are gone. Locke seems to be fighting violently for a sense of control over his surroundings. Maybe the sub explosion was as much about beating Ben as cutting off an escape route - except he ended up playing right into Ben's hand.
Ben... what a marvelous character. His scenes with Locke were fantastic, prickling with tension and the irony that this intimidating leader is now in a wheelchair while Locke is standing. The two share a bond because of that experience, and Ben voices the doubts I've uttered myself: Why did he get sick when the island healed Locke (and Rose)? And why is his healing process going so slowly? I don't really get all that business about a magic box, but at the very end, when he beckoned Locke to follow him and see what was behind the door, I muttered threateningly, "If they even have Locke's dad in there..." They did. Silly Others. Somehow they managed to collect the one person in all the world Locke truly fears. How'd they find him? How'd they get him there? Is it really him, or have they somehow managed to tame the smoke monster to suit their own purposes? Maybe the smoke monster has been under their control all along, and since they know everything about each of the castaways, they know just which form to have the smoke monster take in order to unnerve them the most.
If I were Jack, I'd be a little ticked off with Kate right now. Of course, she only came crashing the Others' party to save Jack, but he told her very plainly not to. Not that I blame Kate for coming to his rescue. But he was about to get away. If they'd dropped in a day later, he would've been gone. Oh, how aggravating! He's just trying to live as peaceably with the Others as he can until he can get the heck off the island and back to civilization. I don't think there was anything so strange about his behavior. But I get why Kate was upset by her chilly reception and his apparent affections toward Juliet.
Sayid sort of disappeared into the background in this episode except in that moment when he let slip to Alex the crucial information that her mother was still alive. This news is very unsettling to her and no doubt will further strain her relationship with her father. I thought it was nice that after acting like such a tough guy, Locke very gently apologized to Alex for involving her in his scheme. He apologized to Jack, too, for thwarting his escape, though this didn't seem particularly sincere. Jack and Locke have had a pretty tumultuous relationship, especially since the end of the first season; if Jack didn't have murderous feelings toward Locke before, he probably does now.
I think it's interesting that Jack plays the piano. And I found Ben's fridge amusing. I don't know, just something about this guy in combination with food tickles my funny bone. Maybe because it's just such a benign thing, eating cereal or leftover chicken, so it seems silly to show such a devious man enjoying such an innocent activity. His confession that the sub maintains "the illusion" that island residents can leave whenever they want is rather chilling, yet it also shows that Ben fears losing his grip on his community. (I just love listening to Ben talk. He's so incredibly precise in his pronunciations. Like how you always hear the "h" when he says words beginning with "wh". It's a unique and compelling speaking style.) Interestingly, we see Richard again, and he's cow-towing to Ben; somehow I thought he might be even higher up on the totem pole than Ben is.
We got a little of Tom, but not much. Not really enough to further our impression of him. He still shows concern for Ben, checking to see if he is okay and apprising him of the situation with Kate and Sayid, but he comes across as pretty harsh during the scene in which those two are apprehended. His conversation with Kate is mostly civil, if a little sarcastic. I could've done with a bit more Tom in this episode, but I'm glad he was at least a prominent background character. I don't know the name of the other guy we kept seeing, but he didn't particularly capture my fancy.
Now that Danielle has seen Alex and Alex knows about Danielle, it seems a reunion must happen before too long. Perhaps Alex will begin to pepper her dad with questions, though probably not; as much as she dislikes the man, she also fears him and doesn't want to get herself - or her mother - into any trouble. I think this episode showed she has at least a little affection for her dad, though. She protested when he said she hated him, and she did seem a little worried about what was going to happen to him, though she also warned Locke about how manipulative he is. Locke knew this but still managed to let Ben "play him like a Stradivarius," to borrow a simile from Lex Luthor. One way Smallville and LOST are very similar, incidentally - lots of father-son conflict. And father-daughter. Alex has a naughty daddy. But it would seem that Locke has a worse one.
When Locke gave the kid who came to visit him the brush-off, I was disappointed. He was in a position to help this boy and his mother a lot, and instead he just pretended he didn't know anything. But then he took matters into his own hands. Maybe by feigning ignorance, he thought he was protecting the young man from his father by sparing him the motivation for a direct confrontation. But telling off his dad was just as fatal as confiding in his future stepson would have been. Locke underestimated the depth and breadth of his dad's malice. So did I.
This was a satisfying episode. I'm not quite sure what to make of Mr. Cooper tied up in the closet, and I'm still finding Locke's behavior in general to be rather disturbing, which is very frustrating since I like him so much. But it's nice to finally have at least one mystery cleared up. Now I suppose we won't get back to Locke and his dad for a couple of weeks, since next week seems to be a beach-intensive episode. Bad things are happening. Everyone seems to be on edge. Sun whacks Sawyer something good; maybe she finds out he and Charlie were behind her abduction? The trailer promises us that someone will die. Erin is displeased. Enough with the deaths already. Red-shirts are bad enough. I don't want to lose one of the major players. Yet if it must happen, I predict... oh, I don't know. Not Charlie, Hurley or Sawyer. Not Claire, because she has to raise her baby lest he become evil incarnate. Not Sun, because she has to have her baby. Not Desmond, because he has to save Charlie. I guess that leaves Jin. Or Bernard or Rose, who have been gone so long we've almost forgotten they exist. Or Vincent, which would make me sadder than if it was Nikki or Paolo. Ahem. I predict Jin. But I won't be happy to see anyone go...

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

LOST: Mystery of the Island Jigsaw Puzzle (The Numbers) Review

After you do the Numbers puzzle, you'll never forget 4-8-15-16-23-42 again...

Monday, March 19, 2007

Read the Bird's Claire-Written Tag

It occurs to me that Wednesday is fast approaching and I still haven't said a thing about last week's episode of LOST. So I'd better hurry up and do it. I managed to get into town in time to see it - more time than I'd expected, actually; I figured I'd be cutting it pretty close. I stayed home and watched it with Nathan for the first time in real-time. I was hoping Mom and Dad would be watching it with us, but Dad had gone to Grandma's and Mom was asleep. So it was just Nathan and me.
Mom let slip a couple weeks ago that an article in USA Today had indicated that Claire was probably Jack's sister. The notion came as quite a surprise to me, who had joked about Kate being Jack's sister, just for the Star Wars factor. Though in retrospect I can see how the show might have hinted at it just a little, I certainly didn't see it coming. But I don't understand why they would put such a bombshell in an article, denying those who read it the shock value of this episode. As soon as I realized the episode was a Claire flashback, I had a pretty good notion of what was coming. I wish I hadn't.
So... Claire has daddy issues. Surprise, surprise! At least Papa Shepard was trying to relieve Claire of any financial burden resulting from her accident while making her mom as comfortable as possible. I'm still not entirely clear on whether she's still alive; the episode seemed to leave that ambiguous, but I guess I'll go with believing that she is, though there's probably not much chance of her recovering from her vegetative state. Evidently Claire went through a rather rebellious period, but other than her semi-goth appearance and her job in the tattoo parlor, we don't see much of that. She's still a sweet girl; this flashback didn't reveal her as a demon, though the crash is probably her fault. Not that she wanted to harm her mother, of course, but that she was so busy yelling at her that she wasn't paying proper attention to the road.
Dez is still running around trying to save Charlie's life. He has a way with birds, doesn't he? That seabird was remarkably agreeable to his catching it. Charlie's a sweetheart and then he's all shifty, and Claire doesn't know why, and it puts a strain on their relationship. I'm not entirely sure I know why either; because Dezzy told him he would die if he helped Claire catch a bird? I mean, he doesn't even have to help; the bigger problem for her is what a sourpuss he's being about her plan in general. I'm not really sure he ought to be acting that way, and I'm impressed with Claire for coming up with such a good idea. And I'm glad they reconcile. I'm tired of Claire and Charlie fighting. It's time for them to be a family. At least until the Universe finally manages to thwart Dezzy's valiant Charlie-saving attempts. Sniff. Anyway, the leg-tying moment was really nice. Claire's pretty poetic and altruistic, which we got a glimpse of with her pro-active stance on memorializing her fallen fellow passengers early in the first season. Her message is really wordy but quite moving as well.
Poor Sawyer. He's had a rough couple of days. He barely says a word in this episode, brooding over Kate's worrisome absence and his inability to toss nicknames around. We get a couple shots of him lazing about reading Ayn Rand, and that's pretty much it. Not much Hurley either (actually, none at all that I recall), but Jin and Sun have some nice moments.
Meanwhile, it seems my slight suspicion that Locke blew up Patchy's house on purpose may have been justified. Locke just keeps acting more and more shifty, and it seems like he and Mikhail know each other somehow. I'm upset about what happens between the two of them at the barrier because up until now, Locke hasn't killed anyone as far as we know. Now granted, I doubt he could have known that pushing Mikhail through the barrier would kill him, but I think he had a pretty good idea something bad would happen. Maybe it saved the rest of their merry band - or maybe not. Could be that Mikhail was implanted with something that caused him to react with the barrier in such a violent way. In any case, I liked the guy and I really hoped they wouldn't kill him off so soon. Especially because he was about to reveal some really important information. Which may or may not have been true, but still. And I'm tired of Locke looking like a creep. This week should be a landmark episode though, finally getting to see why Locke is in that wheelchair. I predict brilliance. I'd better get it.
Hooray for Jack playing nice with the Others! Has he been assimilated or is he just pretending? Is it a betrayal if he actually has come to enjoy life with these mysterious islanders? Maybe they're done messing around with the castaways. Maybe they mean them no more harm, and Jack's happy now too, and they should all just leave each other alone. I think the last scene was much more of a shock for Kate than for us. We already know how the Others live on the main island, so that part's no big surprise. Jack getting all buddy-buddy with Tom is a bit unexpected, but it didn't make me unhappy. There's obviously more to the story, and I'm sure we'll get some of it this week, but maybe Jack's finding out that the Others aren't so bad after all. Oh, I do hope so...
I don't know why I have so little to say this week. Probably has to do with the fact that I waited so long to write this because my writing muscles are so flabby right now. Oh well. Anyway, good episode, and this week's should be spectacular.

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Maybe Locke Should Stick to Backgammon...

Last night's episode was a strange one. Enter 77; I had to look that up to see what the title was. Interesting, since it was a Sayid flashback but the title refers to a moment with Locke. (Does the number have any significance? 7 is the number of perfection. It also isn't found among "the numbers." Given the show's obsession with numerology, it seems like it might be important...)
I don't think anything new was really revealed in Sayid's flashback. It struck me as pretty similar to his other two torture-related flashbacks, just dealing with the remorse over his semi-forced brutality. First he tortures Sawyer and is haunted by his past, then he tortures Henry and is haunted by his past, and in both cases his past experience helps him to stop rather than encouraging him to continue. Here, he once again finds himself with someone's life in his hands, and again he chooses to spare that life. The reasons are not entirely altruistic, of course; he probably figures Patchy might be able to provide them with some useful information, though it evidently won't be willingly. But he's taking a risk by leaving him alive. And giving him a chance.
It was strange meeting Mikhail, who seemed incredibly creepy over the television. I'm still not sure why Locke was so tickled pink to see this ominous one-eyed man peering out of a fuzzy TV screen, but he was, and now he had his chance to meet him. He wasn't what I expected, really. Just hanging out in this nice little farmhouse, with cows! And horses! And cats! Boy, did that excite me. So I thought, Maybe this guy isn't too bad, just a jumpy recluse, and maybe he doesn't have much to do with the Others at all. And then he shot Sayid, and I said, Darn. But he was so hospitable after that, my hopes rose again that this was a decent guy, that he could be like Desmond, an unexpected ally. Maybe he still can. But if so, he's got a long way to go. And while it seemed like they were getting a lot of valuable information from him, we really have no idea how much of it was true. But if he is to be believed, the Others are not the remnants of Dharma at all. What, then, are they doing on the island? How long have they really been there?
I'm still not sure if Sayid actually did torture that woman. I can't decide. Was he steadfastly refusing to confess like John Proctor in The Crucible, unwilling to admit to a crime he did not commit, but he finally caved, either to save his life or for the woman's peace of mind or both? Or did he know full well he was guilty and confess because his remorse finally got to him after her scathing story? I think I'm leaning toward the latter, but I'm really not sure... Nadia looks like the same cat that woman had. Is it really? If so, that's gotta be a pretty old cat, assuming Mikhail is telling the truth about being on the island for 11 years. How did it fall into his hands? And how weird that her name happens to be Nadia...
I wanted to throttle Locke. Gosh, John, I could've told you that messing around with that computer was a bad idea. But John just can't walk away from a game of strategy. As soon as I saw that computer with the chess board set up, I thought, Bad things will happen if Locke plays. And then they didn't, and for a moment I thought maybe it was really just a computer game that would have no repercussions. Until Mikhail said that bit about computers not being able to cheat, and I knew there was more to this game that met the eye. So here's John, who pounded into Michael's head the importance of not trying to use the hatch computer for communication purposes, trying to hack into Mikhail's system and... what? He of all people should know the Hanso people aren't too trustworthy, with all their subversive mind games. Why would he just take what they say at face value? Plus, couldn't the Others have somehow rigged that message up as a trick to potential infiltrators? It just seemed like he abandoned all his good sense there. But I guess it's not so unlike him, and with his sense of destiny all tied up with the computers now, he probably figured this was his chance to do something heroic. Or, he knew the whole thing would backfire, but he's just playing dumb; maybe his motivation all along was to knock out a potential means of communication with the outside world. Because John doesn't want to leave. Whether due to extreme naivety or a violent flare-up of his messiah complex, I feel as though John disappointed me in this episode. But it sure was good to see him.
It was nice to see Bea, too, but it would've been nicer if she hadn't been killed off right away. I was wondering where she'd gone off too, and apparently this was the answer, but I was expecting to see a lot more of her eventually. She seemed like one of the better Others to me, and I really hoped to see some development there. But no. She wound up with even less screen time than Danny. And killed by her own people again, though in this instance, she seemed to request it. If I read that conversation right, she was begging Mikhail to kill her so that she couldn't be interrogated. Incidentally, John is losing his touch. First that thing with the TVs in the question mark hatch, and now missing that trap door that practically jumped out at Sayid... Tut-tut.
I don't think we're done with Mikhail. I mean, he's obviously in the next episode, judging by the previews, but I doubt the fateful encounter with the force field will wipe him out. I hope it doesn't. Because he's an eccentric, one-eyed Russian farmer. And that's cool. And I really was starting to like him before he went spastic on Kate and Sayid. Iced tea... How considerate. If I liked iced tea... But it's the thought that counts.
I think it's funny that I was comparing Hurley to Forrest Gump last week, and this week he was a ping pong champion. Hmmmm... Maybe this is a connection the show wants us to make... It's nice that they gave us the light-hearted beach scenes to counteract the mostly ominous Patchy stuff. Not much nickname action this week, unfortunately, but I do think it's pretty funny that Sun came up with that idea. When she said "No more nicknames," I yowled in protest. I don't know whether she was just drawing it out to make Sawyer sweat or if she took pity on him when she realized how severe her proposal seemed, but when she added "for a week," I just laughed. Granted, a week could mean a month or even two for us, and that's a long time to go without Sawyer's savviness, but we waited longer just to get back to the doggone show, so we can handle it.
Seems like Sun's proposition - and maybe it was more Jin's idea, since he's much more often the one getting nicknames from Sawyer, though with his poor command of English he probably doesn't understand half of them - was less out of extreme annoyance with Sawyer's habit than a desire to give him a hard time. See if he could make it even a week. I have my doubts. But to demand he stop the names forever - well, that would be just cruel, like Rabbit trying to make Tigger stop bouncing. You can't just strip someone of such a defining characteristic that brings him so much pleasure. And you can't deprive the viewers of Sawyer's genius! Oh, he'll probably overcompensate with the rest of his remarks, turning his snark-o-meter up to levels that would make Simon Cowell and Hugh Laurie blush, but it's just not quite the same... But oh, what a glorious stream of nicknames shall flow from his throat in seven days!
Hurley gets cool points once again; he not only saves the day for the rest of the beachers, who are reluctant to surrender everything back to Sawyer when he just stole it all in the first place anyway, he also shows empathy and compassion for our favorite redneck by returning a few choice things and expressing his conviction that Kate will be okay. Charlie was barely there at all, mainly just cheering on Hurley, who seems to firmly occupy Charlie's best buddy slot now. I think it's sweet. Hobbitish, really... Darn Paolo and Nikki get in their perfunctory two minutes here, and when Sawyer demands to know just who Nikki is anyway, I'm right there with him. Give us something more substantial to chew on, already, or don't bother. In a show full of characters of great depth, those two are the shallowest couple of red-shirts I've seen in a long time. Somehow I get the feeling they're never going to graduate from ensign. This is getting tedious. On a related note... Where are Bernard and Rose????
I suppose we'll be getting back to Jack soon. Maybe even with Kate, Locke and Sayid - and Patchy - in tow. And Danielle at a safe distance. It seems a bit worrisome that there's no one in charge at the beach. Because given the assembly of people there, it seems like a prime opportunity for Sawyer to take charge. And then there goes the neighborhood. (Love you, though, Jimmy!)

I can't seem to come up with anything else to say right now. Maybe I'll think of more later. For the moment, hooray for LOST, even if this week's episode set my head a-spinnin'.