First, I love the flash forward devise. It seems to pull the story forward at a breakneck speed. Last season felt mired and sluggish to me, like the writers were struggling to drag the monolithic beast ahead step by agonizing step. Okay, maybe it wasn’t that bad, but with all the great stuff on television, Lost’s lethargy made it easy to let go.
Also, story was strong in this episode, weaving in jaw-dropping revelations while introducing more questions. That kind of writing is impressive. More than once, my hand flew to my mouth or I drew a quick breath. Those kinds of reactions are part of what drew me to the show to begin with. I love to be surprised in a television world where so much is predictable.
And kudos to Jorge Garcia, who portrays Hurley. He deserves recognition for this one. Through him, we really grieve and feel the absence left by Charlie’s death. And one of the things I like about the character-centric episodes is the invitation to see the island, other characters and the overarching story from their point of view. Hurley’s heart is authentic and good and this episode lends some grounding in contrast to the slippery slopes some of the others are skidding down. (One additional note: I just about had a heart-attack when Hurley did his cannonball into the sea because the scene was too much like a baptism; that kind of symbolism in this series usually cuts a character’s life expectancy way down—and usually within the same episode. But not this time. Hmm.)
Speaking of slippery slopes brings me to another subject: Jack and Locke. One of those quick-intakes-of-breath moments was when Jack pulled the trigger on Locke. Oiy, this man is descending quickly. From the flash forwards, I glean that Jack is finding his way back to the path, but this episode shows just how far he’s strayed.
And Locke. Sheesh. While I’m drawn to this character, let me just say it again: I miss Mr. Eko. For both of those characters, faith is central—but what they place their faith in is drastically different and that affects their actions. As it’s been said before, Eko’s faith was more Christian-centric while Locke’s is more pagan in nature. And that gives Locke a lot more leeway in terms of his moral actions (ie, attempting to kill Naomi). And that makes me wonder how Eko would have handled all this. I miss that guy, and I can’t help thinking maybe Rose (another character associated with Christian elements) does too. Her comment about Locke should not be dismissed: “I wouldn’t follow that man anywhere.” And we shouldn’t miss the fact that Hurley’s decision to go with Locke doesn’t have much to do with Locke himself—as he tells Jack: “So, I’m not listening to you. I’m listening to my friend. I’m listening to Charlie.”
But, between Locke and Jack, I think Jack is farther from the path than Locke. It seems both Lock and Jack will do anything to protect the islanders, but Locke would never have pulled the trigger on Jack. And that, in my opinion, puts Jack a lot further down that slippery slope than Locke.
So, they’ve got my interest back—enough to make it part of my Thursday night viewing. For now. It remains to be seen if Lost can keep up this pace and quality, but I’m willing to give it a shot.