22 February 2007

Lost Goes Weird(er)

My Comic Book Guy Moment, vol. 2


Anyway, if The O.C. this week jumped the shark, Lost seems to have given the shark a pair of legs, a tuxedo, and taught it to do a soft shoe routine while reciting the complete works of Shakespeare, backwards.

[Insert disclaimer here about how I love Lost, and that it is my favourite dramatic television programme ever ever ever.]

It seems almost churlish to decry an episode of Lost for being insane. After all, it started out madder than a colony of hatters who spent their teen years taking too much acid. Still, there was a twisted kind of internal logic that made tropical polar bears and deadly columns of living black smoke totally believable. This week, though, I say in my dorkiest possible tone that they have gone too far!

The flashback in this episode concerned the excellent Desmond character, and his past in what looks like London (complete with crap accents and army recruitment posters that mention the word ‘HONOR’ – seriously; researchers please). In keeping with the week’s theme of everybody being totally telepathic and charging about like Tetsuo from Akira, Desmond already knows about the island, the numbers and the hatch.

OK, I can sort of get behind that… maybe. It sounds stupid, but his recent clairvoyance has been engaging, so I’ll see where it goes from here. I suppose there is a similarity between this story arc and Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse 5. See, Desmond keeps getting thrown back to the time he split up with his gyal because he thought he was destined not to be with her. Regretting that, he gets the chance – Quantum Leap style once more – to literally ‘put right what once went wrong’(!). Perhaps he does hope that his next leap… will be the leap home. Anyway, he ends up pinballing between the moment of break up and being on the island. Like Vonnegut’s Billy Pilgrim, Desmond is stuck in time!

I tell you, this really looks a lot better in hindsight than it seemed on Sunday night. I think I’ll have to download the episode and give it a re-watch. Oh how I wish I was in Charlie Brooker’s shoes, able to phone up broadcasters and get tape sent to me. Perhaps this episode is a grower after all, and is going to lead somewhere really good. So far, all we really have in terms of black marks on the episode is a shit sense of continuity and poor casting.

As if to intentionally save my argument from falling on its face, Desmond bumps into fellow islander Charlie, who is busking outside his would-be father in law’s building (I’ll mention the absolutely terrifying ubiquity of Alan Dale in every US TV show in my impending Proper Lost Post). As if Charlie busking the brain-drainingly mediocre un-song ‘Wonderwall’ wasn’t bad enough, Des grabs him by his lapels and shouts about how he recognises him from the island and the hatch and the numbers and everything. Of course, everyone’s least favourite smarmy, Evangeline Lilly-dating hobbit reacts as if he has been accosted by a madman.

And maybe Desmond is mad. But still, as bad as that little encounter was, how come Charlie has no recollection of this event? I am positive that if I was busking and some Scottish bloke ran up to me yelling about an island, hatches and numbers, seeing him later on an island with hatches and numbers might ring the tiniest of bells. Maybe? Admittedly, this theory ignores how much of an oatmeal-brained oaf Charlie is, but I feel forced to give him some credit for sentience.

Best case scenario is that Charlie does recognise him and is wondering what Desmond’s (PORK PIE) game is. Desmond turns into a frothing Celtic Tetsuo as his psychic powers engulf him and it gets really bizarre, but with adherence to the compelling Lost internal logic. Meanwhile, Jack’s head explodes as his sceptical face-twitching reaches critical mass, and he takes that annoying old couple with him. Now I think about it, the show seems to have looked away from that pair thus far in this third season, so maybe passing conversation in a future episode will reveal that they neatly died somewhere.

Or maybe they’re just in a parallel universe, where everybody in the back half of the plane didn’t end up dying senselessly.

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