26 July 2006

Last Night's Lost




The most recent episode has just aired on E4 and, as part of my new ‘get things written’ philosophy, I am commenting on it, though it will be brief.

The main character of this episode is Claire who, let’s be honest here, has not been either the most interesting or charismatic of characters. Indeed, I spent the first season primarily knowing her as the one character whose name I couldn’t remember. I had to think about it just then, and we’re only a few minutes removed from her own episode.

Anyway. This was a quite magnificent episode that ostensibly clarified some of the island’s mysteries but, as per usual, just created more questions for we crazy viewers to ask.

As well as making Claire a more compelling character (you know, rather than merely a breeder who bleats hysterically about her baby in that Australian accent that makes me think a dingo is about to eat it), the flashbacks have also been improved.

This is because Claire’s flashbacks, it transpires, were all of events that took place on the island! No distant past that foreshadows the episode’s tag, nor any transparent excuses to switch the genre of the show for an hour or so. No, we get explanation of what happened to Claire when she got abducted way back in season one, when she was still Preggers McGregors.

Or is it really what happened? We see the body of a doctor talking to Claire in one flashback, which is revealed to be none other than The Other, Ethan. Who was once a monosyllabic and really hard man is now a very pleasant doctor whose bedside manner far outstrips that of Jack.

Or is he?! See, Claire has had all kinds of trauma visited upon her, and starts flashing back once the clinical psychologist whose name escapes me gets her to meditate in an attempt to dig out that which had been repressed.

So was she taken to a ridiculously clean medical centre with a very pleasant pre-furnished room for baby to sleep in, with Ethan (see the pic in my first Lost post for an idea of the leap of faith here) playing Nice Doc? Or is it all a combination of the trauma of Charlie abducting the baby, and the impromptu therapy all combining to colour her memories with other experiences?

Well, it certainly (eventually) leads her, Kate and Rousseau to another Dharma Hatch Of Mystery (and given the issues the team had in opening the last one – it took weeks – this one opens relatively willingly), in the hopes she can find the vaccine for what Rousseau has christened ‘the infection’ that saw off her entire crew. Except she killed them, but anyway…

In short, Claire was apparently taken to the (a) place where The Others are (or were); she was due to have the baby cut out of her on the night she was helped to escape. Turns out the woman who helped her escape from the medical centre (played by Tania Raymonde, who was on Malcolm In The Middle back in the day and has really blossomed into a very attractive woman) is none other than the baby who was stolen from Rousseau all those years ago!

Of course, then Rousseau found Claire, confused, and in the woods, and decided to save her from the advancing Others. And Kate (and everyone else) thought she was evil all this time! How sweet she ended up being. Of course, now Rousseau will be all about getting reunited with her daughter Alex.

The use of the really-fast-edit was really well implemented in this episode, as memories raced through Claire’s head, like that cool bit in Event Horizon, every time a stimulus unearthed a previously lost memory. It offered glimpses into the potential future of the series and used jarring sound (best used in The Exorcist, natch) to great visceral effect.

Also interesting, when the trio finally got to this other hatch, was the discovery of theatre glue and a fake beard. This, combined with a gruff but clean-shaven middle-aged man in the flashback, suggests all is not quite as it seems with The Others. Could it be that this perceived massive threat is nothing more than smoke and mirrors, Wizard Of Oz-style?

Back in the regular Dharma bunker, our mysterious captive (found by Rousseau, taken back to camp and beaten by Sayid) is turning into quite the fly in the ointment.

There has always been something off about this Armin Shimerman-esque character; something every so slightly unnerving. He protest complete innocence and ignorance as to whom The Others are, but he has that knowing look about him. Even when man-mountain Mr. Eko went into the room to talk to him, I feared what mind games he might play.

As it turns out, my fears were well founded. Drawing comparison with Hemingway’s inferiority complex about Fyodor Dostoyevsky, this nameless man sowed the seed of doubt in the mind of the otherwise very solid Locke. Prying into Locke’s mind, this man asks why he allows Jack to make all decisions.

Locke protests (too much, methinks) and when he leaves the cell, our favourite baldie has a temper tantrum, scattering the crockery everywhere. Now who’s going to clean up that mess?

As the insidious prisoner earlier remarked, the doors are thin, so he hears all of this and wears that self-satisfied smirk that makes me want to kill him.

I’m sure there was something else, but this post is long enough, and I’m sure I’ll remember it when I re-watch the episode. I should also revisit the Sawyer one, as I’m in the middle of writing that one up and have forgotten a story point! Terrible, I know.

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