Wednesday, April 22, 2009

"It All Could've Been Avoided If They'd Just, You Know, Communicated..."

After all the heaviness of Dead Is Dead, Some Like It Hoth felt like a bit of a reprieve. Yes, there were corpses and impending electromagnetic disasters to deal with, but in some way this was season five's Tricia Tanaka is Dead. Male bonding with Hurley in the Dharma van (which happens to have a body in it). Father-son reconciliation. Fun 70s music. Miles' back story was darker than Hurley's, but it brought him to the same basic place - an opportunity to reconcile with the father who abandoned him. I was so glad that Hurley gave his dad a second chance, and it was especially touching to hear him talk about him here, acknowledging what he gave up to return to the Island. Hurley left his parents, while Miles has a chance to reclaim his.

Dr. Chang came across as really cranky, but threatening Hurley with the LOST equivalent of Bantha poo-doo was more silly than threatening. (And I loved how Hurley insisted he liked working in the kitchen!) Chang's got a lot on his mind; he knows things are going sour, and they're about to get worse. They're meddlin' with things that ought not be meddled with. I don't think his wife told Miles the whole story, but then she probably didn't know the whole story either. At least we were able to see that Chang was a devoted dad. I presume he gave his wife and son the boot because he was trying to save their lives. It looks like Miles and his father might just have the chance to get to know each other a bit now after all.

Hurley was just lovely in this episode. He really knows how to get under Miles' skin, but never in a malicious way. I thought their chatter throughout their excursion was a hoot, and Hurley continued to demonstrate what a nice guy he is. Making sandwiches for the Orchid folks. Carpooling to be earth-friendly. Worrying his sandwiches might be unsafe to eat. Trying to help Miles reconnect with his dad. Oh, and of course, wanting to save George Lucas the headache of working out The Empire Strikes Back for himself.

Yes, Star Wars played an even larger role here than I expected, with all the buddy banter presumably the inspiration for the Some Like It Hot part of the title. In this season, The Little Prince was the only other episode whose title wasn't lifted directly from dialogue or obvious plot points. Hoth is not a pleasant planet, and I wondered if we might be in for some nastiness involving polar bears or sub-zero temperatures, but in retrospect the title feels purely playful. The idea of sending that script to George Lucas is so absurd and simultaneously sweet - and I wonder what other improvements Hurley had in store? You know, you'd think a guy who lets Chewy swoop in and nab Han's glory would have a little more time for the Ewoks. Frankly, I was sure Hurley, such a teddy bear himself, would side with me on this issue. So while his Luke-Darth-inspired pep talk was fantastic, I think I died inside a little inside when he so thoroughly dismissed my beloved Ewoks. Hmph. (Also, if his version of Empire ends with Luke and Darth in bear hug, I doubt Lucas would be too grateful - way to truncate the trilogy, Hurley!)

I wonder if we're going to hear more about Hurley's "I see dead people" stuff now. It doesn't seem he's done it since returning to the Island - but does that have something to do with why he can see Jacob? Or was it just indicative of him cracking up back at the hospital? Miles' abilities seem almost more like Fringe than Ghost Whisperer. It would seem he's not communicating so much as extracting, taking a trip into the personal Pensieve of each victim he discovers. I was sure he was faking it when he talked to the man who'd lost his son, and I was hoping he'd give the money back; doing so was the decent thing to do, but I hadn't expected him to turn the act into an opportunity to lecture a bereaved father over perceived negligence. The poor dads on this show never seem to get a break. Still, Miles had a point.

Five-year-old Miles was adorable, and I felt so sorry for the poor kid. I loved, though, that as he was embarking upon a life littered with Sixth Sense-style trauma, he lifted up a statue of a white rabbit to retrieve the apartment key. Down the rabbit hole we go! As if Alice in Wonderland weren't enough, I think I got a whiff of Peter Pan via Spielberg with his super-pierced young adult get-up, which reminded me forcefully of rebellious Lost Boy Rufio from Hook, a movie that, as much as anything, is about father issues that are resolved through a trip to a mysterious island.

My focus was most definitely on Miles and Hurley in this episode, so the rest of the characters faded somewhat into the background for me. Jack and Kate probably would've been better off not talking to Roger. Ben's absence is a major problem that's really going to blow up in their faces now that Mr. Linus knows he's disappeared. The "he ran away when my back was turned" argument is awfully weak. And the security tape Phil saw is just a hair shy of disaster. How are they supposed to keep him quiet? Everything looks like it's about to blow up in the castaways' faces; it seems it's time for an escape strategy. I don't Horace is too wise to the situation yet, but I doubt he'll be in the dark for long.

I wonder if we're going to find our way back to Ilana and Bram in The Variable. The flashback would seem to indicate that Bram is working against Widmore rather than for him, which makes it seem as though he and Ilana might actually have come to the Island on Ben's orders. (Incidentally, I'm mildly befuddled by the notion of a fish taco and trying to remember if LOST mentioned them before; I recall being bemused by a reference to them somewhere before...) I want to know what that's all about, of course, but I'm much more interested in Daniel, who has finally popped up again, looking considerably healthier than last time, albeit wearing an ominous black jumper. Just from the title, The Variable sounds very much like a bookend to The Constant, and TV Guide seems to confirm that Daniel will be heavily involved, so that's something to be excited about. Another Daniel-Desmond team-up is almost guaranteed to be a frontrunner for favorite episode of the season.

Of course, we have to wait until next week for that, which as I understand it will be the 100th episode. That seems significant, but since there's some kind of special on tonight, maybe they're counting that as number 100. The recap fests haven't really been anything to cheer about so far, but I get the impression that there will be a little more to this one. Here's hoping. Till then, I shall be sitting in my cozy living room, dreaming up scathing retorts about my favorite Endor residents...

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