Thursday, April 12, 2007

Where Have You Gone, Jacob Other-Man? The Island Turns Its Lonely Eyes to You...

Well. I guess I called this episode pretty well. One of Us was one of the most revelatory episodes so far. A crucial episode, I think. Not a particularly pleasant one. The beach scenes last week were so wonderfully light; we barely got any of that this time around. There was Sawyer's obligatory fat joke ("three men and a baby - I counted Hugo twice!" - rude, of course, but benign and expected, and I'm amused that Sawyer insists on calling Hurley Hugo now, taking the no-nickname thing one step further); his "we cleared our schedules; we've got all the time in the world" (which was actually rather ominous, but made me chuckle); Charlie's "absolutely" in response to Claire's "Do you mind?" inquiry (though I don't know if he was goofing around or if he meant "absolutely not"; probably the latter, since it was his idea, after all...)... Ahem. Actually the moment that made me laugh the most was when Ben took Juliet to see Mikhail and exasperatedly said, "He never has his walkie on." And shortly thereafter, shouting to him, in a slightly unnerved, very put-out manner, that they were approaching and not to shoot. Ah, Mikhail, you're such a renegade. And Ben, you're such a wimp. He seemed way intimidated by Juliet in the tumor scene; of course, anybody would be after that slap-the-glass-of-water-out-of-the-hand maneuver she pulled. That was vicious.
Anyway, bad stuff happened here. Claire got sick. She recovered, though I wonder if whatever was wrong could flare up again? If so, I guess they're probably figuring it won't happen within the week, or the survivors would turn on Juliet. They're on pretty shaky ground already. When she was sitting there all by herself, after having been shunned by the beach folks, I said, "Come on, Hurley. Step up." And two seconds later, there he was, offering the olive branch. Well, he didn't offer quite as warm a welcome as I'd hoped; didn't even introduce himself, though maybe he figured she already knew who he was. But he was perfectly civil to her, which is more than most could say. And again, where is Rose? We could really use her at a time like this. Granted, Juliet is a mole, and perhaps she has no qualms about betraying everyone, but I wish Rose was around to offer her wisdom and try to bring everyone together. Where'd she and Bernard run off to?
This episode was irritating, because it spent the whole time trying to get us to sympathize with Juliet, to show how she'd been played by the Others, particularly Richard and Ben. Ethan too, I suppose, whose bedside manner is immaculate as always. I guess he's one of those who "looks fair and feels foul"; there's malice under that friendly smile, but I still can't help being sorry that Charlie killed him. Especially when it turns out abducting Claire was at least partly about saving her life. But why did he have to kill Charlie? Nearly kill, that is; he sure looked dead up there, and maybe Ethan thought he was. But why'd he have to hurt him? And why'd he have to go and break every bone in Scott's body? Gosh. Obviously it was more than Claire's welfare he was worried about. He saw her as the key to the whole baby problem. The key to the Others' survival. Still. All these secrets tend not to lead to good things. Why can't they be a little more up-front?
Here's the problem. The way I see it, it's not so much that the survivors pose a threat to the Others. If they were assured Jack and the gang would just live out their days on the beach, I don't think they'd even need to cross them. They could just keep their distance, and it wouldn't be a problem, aside from the whole thing with Claire. The trouble is that maybe, just maybe, the survivors could find a way to get rescued. And then Civilization would charge in and ruin everything, take over the island, claim it for some country or another, turn it into a resort or a golf course or some other nonsense, but destroy the sanctity of the island and wipe out the Others' way of life. History has taught us that. I don't know how the Others got there, but for all we know they were the first to inhabit the island, so they have a right to protect their well-being. I hate what Europe did to the Native Americans, the Aborigines, the other indigenous peoples. Obviously the Others are a little more modern than that, but it's sort of the same principle. And that's why Locke belongs with the Others. Because unlike Jack, unlike Juliet, he does not want to get off the island more than anything else in the world. Instead, he wants to stay.
Anyway, they want us to trust Juliet, they want us to sympathize, they want us to believe she's acting alone. And then they end with that whole creepy conversation with Ben, which seems to suggest that something big is coming. "Salvation or annihilation?" Wow. That's cheery. Seems Ben's planning a massive assault on the beach or something. I hate that idea. What is he up to in a week? So much for him being benevolent in leaving Jack, Kate and Sayid behind and letting them go back rather than somehow disposing of them. He has something up his sleeve. I'm disappointed in him. He's so manipulative; the more I think about it, the more I doubt Rachel ever had cancer again at all. I think he lied about that to make Juliet think he'd cured her. Probably wouldn't be too hard to doctor a few medical files. Anyway, who are these people? How long have they lived here? If they've been around for a long time, why is everyone suddenly infertile? If they just settled around the time Ben was born, that may be another matter. Then it's more like Watership Down, and the primary preoccupation becomes how to propagate so there's a next generation. It's not a shortage of gals so much, though, as a shortage of babies. No wonder they're abducting children. They're desperate to continue the line, even if only by adoption. But that only delays the inevitable by a few years...
I had it in my head that the fellow we saw with Juliet in the operating room, and later canoodling with her, was Jacob. I don't know what put that idea into my mind; maybe I just was really jazzed to see him finally. I did think, "Gosh, Jacob looks familiar. Wonder where I've seen him before?" And then, of course, once we got to the plane crash scene, I realized I'd seen him before on this show, and that it wasn't Jacob at all, but Good Man Goodwin (well, if he hadn't gone and whacked Nathan). Unless Jacob and Goodwin were the same person. But I watched it again and realized I had no basis for such an assumption. I guess he's still a mystery. Maybe Jacob is the Smoke Monster. That theory makes little sense, but I sort of dig it. So I'm sad there was no Jacob - and no Danny and Tom for that matter - and I'm bummed all over again that Goodwin got the axe, because I really did like him. And he really shouldn't have killed Nathan. Jerk.
Soooo much Ben in this episode. It filled me with happiness, even though half the time he was being shifty. Probably all the time, actually; you never can tell with Ben. But he was in most of Juliet's flashback scenes, and that made them compelling. I was quite annoyed when the cable cut out twice, both times when he was talking. Turns out I didn't miss much, but you've got to figure about everything he says is important. Actually, both missing sentences were a bit revealing: he finds Carrie depressing, and he thinks there might be a pregnant woman on the plane who Juliet can experiment on. Lucky Claire...
Speaking of whom, that was such an incredibly sweet moment, when Charlie was lying there with Aaron clutching his finger and playing with his Drive Shaft ring and Claire clinging to his other hand, the three of them blissfully asleep, and the sheer joy on Charlie's face when Claire awoke unscathed. Hurley got some nice bits: the talk with Juliet, the oatmeal with Charlie, the ecstatic hug with Kate. Dear old Dezzie got a grand total of two lines: "You don't look so good, Claire" and "Where did John go?" Thanks for the insight, Captain Superfluous. Was it just me, though, or did Juliet linger on him longer than the others during her end-of-the-episode music-montage survivor survey? Plus, the previews singled him out, so I wonder if he might be up next. It would follow a pattern; Dez followed Kate and Juliet the first time around in the season, so by that token he should be on deck, though they're usually a bit more scattered with the distribution of flashbacks. I want another Desmond flashback. I yearn for one. And yet I'm afraid of one, because as long as we know he has one coming up, he can't die. Flashbacks have a way of doing in whoever is having them... Still, I think he's safe. They can't kill him off with Penny still looking for him. Charlie, however, is another matter, and if he kicks the bucket in the second-to-last episode - which I'm positive is his - I will need to cry profusely on Nathan's shoulder for the rest of the night.
That look on Sawyer's face when Jack and the gang returned... First, I think he was disappointed, because he was just starting to step into a leadership role, to look out for the good of the many instead of just himself for a change. Then along comes Jack to stunt his personal growth. But then... Kate. And someone needs to screencap his eyes in the moment he saw her, the mixture of grief and joy, despair and hope, this swirling pool of emotions all reflected in one perfect facial expression... He was so unsure of himself, not knowing whether Kate even wanted to see him. It was heartbreaking. And then it wasn't, because it was the tenderest of reunions, with the feeling obviously mutual. I also liked the man-hug between him and Jack; incredibly awkward, like season four Lex and Clark, but they both made an effort, which was very nice to see. I had visions of them rolling around in the sand with fists flying.
Jin and Sun are kinda getting lost in the shuffle. They welcomed Jack back and scorned Juliet; that was about it. I'm not seeing any evidence that Sun has it in for Charlie, though I'm not getting much to the contrary either. We know she's on the rocks with Sawyer, but for some reason I have the feeling she's placing the blame only on his shoulders. Maybe she figures Charlie's too puny to defend himself, too open to coercion. I don't know. I feel like there must be more to it, though. And if Claire gets wind of what Charlie did, there will be consequences. I wonder if we'll get a glimpse of Liam in real-time, like we did with Penny. Probably not, because I can't see how it would be of really great significance, but the title Greatest Hits just makes me wonder if there will be any mention of how Charlie's apparent death has affected the sale of his albums. He's probably gone hugely popular now, except how could he have a greatest hits album when he and Liam only really had one hit to speak of? Doggone it, I want a finished recording of Funny Now!
The previews called the finale "cataclysmic". That is not a good word. If the entire island is wiped out by the tsunami... Well, they've announced season four, so I don't see how that can happen. But maybe it could wreak some major havoc. Guh. I don't want the tsunami coming in and flooding out half the isle's inhabitants. That would be terrible. And, I would assume, terribly hard to film... I want a Christmas episode. Someone realizing that it's Christmas, and having this really warm, wonderful, mostly light episode where all these good things happen, and everybody feels much more content and secure than they have in a long time. And then... tsunami. Talk about a 180...

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