Saturday, January 23, 2010

"Nobody says anything bad about the dead": Lost, Season 2, Episode 17


Synopsis: When Jack leaves Locke and Henry behind in the hatch, the blast doors shut, catching Locke's leg and forcing him to rely on Henry to press the button. Meanwhile, Ana Lucia, Sayid and Charlie find the balloon. Jack and Sawyer play poker. And Locke remembers how his father destroyed his relationship with Helen. It involves his dad faking his own funeral, some laundered money and the mob.

Comments: And then, after that amazing episode with "The Whole Truth", we get a more mixed bag with this one. I don't know if it's the pun in the title or the way the cliffhanger gets squandered or the fact that Locke's daddy issues don't really take any new turns, but this episode falls a little flat for me.

On the plus side, I appreciate the Henry/Locke dynamic that develops, first reluctantly and then blossoming into full-blown trust... until the end. And I also enjoyed the poker game and Jack and Kate's night conversation. We even get some new meta-plot clues (what's that ultraviolet map for? what does the question mark represent? who is dropping supplies?). Finally, the final reveal is well-played. [SPOILER ALERT] The balloon is there, but the grave isn't for Gale's wife. The body buried there belongs to a guy named Henry Gale! [END SPOILERS] Fade out.

On the negative side, the focus on Locke and Henry comes off as Keystone Cops-ish more than claustrophobic. Sure, I buy Locke injuring himself in his eagerness to escape. But stuff like the shelf collapsing... yeesh. I half expected Henry to keep stepping on rakes while he stumbled into the computer room. And Locke's interactions with his father didn't really expand much on the last few episodes. Worst of all, Katey Sagal was wasted, except for that moment at the end during the proposal. Anyone could have said no. But the expression on her face, that mix of pity and sadness, that was great.

I don't mind that the plot-heavy/thriller episodes need to alternate with character development episodes and quieter moments. But when those quieter episodes come up, I want them to actually tell me new things about characters. "Locke is searching for someone who'll stay with him" doesn't cut it.

Grade: B-

Other Comments:
  • When Hurley said that the food in the hatch would only last a month for a single man 5 or 6 episodes ago, I wondered how Desmond and his partner had lasted as long as they did. Nice to know that wasn't an error.
  • So, did all the Lost writers have daddy issues? Because, between Kate, Jack, Sun, and Locke, we already have a lot of explicitly bad fathers. And I'm not even counting the people whose fathers haven't shown up or are absent. And of course, Michael and Walt's relationship... blarg.
  • I became kind of suspicious how Henry knew the numbers after being told once. I've got a pretty good memory, and I can never remember the sequence.
  • Two con men in the Lost backstory. You know Locke's dad has to have run into Sawyer at some point. [Older Mr. K retroactive spoiler: Yup, I kinda called this one right. Emphasis on kinda.]
- Jack: "When I want the guns, I'll get them."
- Anthony: "Two hundred thousand gets you a great honeymoon."
Locke: "I didn't do it for the money"
Anthony: "I guess some maid's going to get a helluva tip."