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Lost

Lost is a drama about a group of plane crash survivors. They land on an unknown Pacific island and have to learn to live together. ABC 2004-2010

65
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Viewer
68
/100

Episode 22 - Three Minutes

9 May 2017

Present: Michael insists that only Jack, Kate, Hurley and Sawyer go with him to get Walt back. He goes so far as to tell Sayid not to come with them. Eko takes up residence in the hatch. The survivors bury Ana and Libby. Sayid tells Jack that he thinks Michael is lying in order to get Walt back. A boat appears in the sea near the beach.

Flashback: Michael gets instructions from “Walt” to go north. He locks Jack and Locke in the armoury and heads off. He is captured by “Zeke” and some Others. They tie him up while having the confrontation we saw in The Hunting Party (110). Michael is taken to the Others camp where Miss Klugh questions him about Walt. After a week of questioning, she offers Michael a deal. If he brings Henry and four of his friends back then he and Walt can go free.

The Good: Lost’s flashback formula has allowed us to sympathise with our characters regardless of whether they are cold conmen, foreign torturers or drug addicts. In this episode Lost manages to make us sympathise, at least a little bit with a murderer and a bunch of heartless kidnappers. That’s no mean feat.

The highpoint of the episode is Walt and Michael’s reunion (see Best Moment). That is when we understand how Michael was broken. After spending a miserable week expecting death and doubting that Walt was alive he is given hope. He gets to see his son again and although he isn’t hurt, there are things going on which he clearly needs to protect him from. It’s a beautifully acted scene and everyone deserves credit for Michael’s crying at the end (again see Best Moment). We may not be able to see Michael’s rational for his actions, but we can at least see his emotion. It’s difficult to imagine viewers not feeling sympathy for him.

Similarly we see more evidence of how the Others can think of themselves as good (as Henry claimed in 220). “Zeke” is positively friendly to Michael and understands why Michael is so angry. Miss Klugh doesn’t torture or beat Michael and it looks like Walt hasn’t been hurt either. Even her threats about not seeing Walt again can be looked at in a strange logical light. After all, if he really wants to see Walt again, why wouldn’t he deceive his friends? The Others are conducting tests on Walt and the fact that they take Michael’s blood (and indeed their interaction with Claire in 215) indicates that they do plenty of experiments (see The Unknown). If they somehow consider the work that they are doing to be more important than the happiness of the survivors, then we begin to understand their morality.

There are several smaller things here which are good. Michael does give us plenty of evidence of his guilt in the present too. He tries to wash out the blood stains and dig the graves before vomiting in the jungle. Miss Klugh’s question about whether Walt was ever somewhere he wasn’t supposed to be is fascinating. This seems to be a reference to his appearances to Shannon (201 and 206) and is very intriguing as it seems the Others don’t know how he does it either. Locke watching Charlie throwing the remaining heroin into the sea is very interesting. Is Locke having his faith confirmed or denied? Does he see Charlie’s breakthrough as confirmation of his behaviour on the island or evidence that he wasn’t really needed after all? Either way it’s a very clever scene. Sayid steps up at the end to offer us some hope for the season finale, which is a good move. It gives the viewers reason to believe that the Others aren’t going to always win and reminds us that Sayid is smart, especially in the face of Michael’s bizarre request.

The Bad: Jack looks like a fool for agreeing to Michael’s plan. Regardless of the merits of Michael’s argument, taking Hurley instead of Sayid would make no sense to anyone.

Michael uses a compass to head north. But Sayid established that compass’ don’t work on the island (113) and thanks to the electromagnetic hatch we have reason to guess why.

Charlie finally getting rid of the heroin would mean more to the viewer if we had properly seen him going through withdrawal. But we never did and since his dreams sent him down the wrong path (in 212) he has behaved badly (see 213), so it's difficult to sympathise with him too much.

 

The Unknown: Once more Vincent behaves less like a dog and more like an agent of the island when he brings Charlie a heroin statue. Could it be true?

All the science the Others are involved with once more raises the question of their connection with the Dharma Initiative who were scientists. Walt implies they are lying about who they are. Does he mean their appearance as we already know is suspect? How does Walt appear where he isn’t meant to be? Why can’t the Others get Henry back? Do they think the survivors would kill them if they came and asked? Do they not violently attack Jack’s camp for a reason? Do they not want to go into the hatch for a reason? Do they not know that it exists? Why do they now want Sawyer, Jack and Kate when they didn’t try and grab them in The Hunting Party?

Best Moment: Michael asks Miss Klugh when she will kill him. She questions whether Walt is really alive. She claims he is outside the tent. She says that if he frees Henry, she will free him and Walt. Michael screams at her to bring in Walt if he is really outside. So she does. Walt comes in held by Pickett. Michael asks if he is ok. Walt says they make him take tests. When he says they aren’t who they say they are, Klugh threatens to put him in “the room again.” Walt breaks free and hugs Michael. Michael promises to get him out of there. Walt is dragged out screaming “I love you.” Michael starts crying. Sorrowful, broken, crying. Klugh says once he frees Henry he must do something else. “Whatever you want” he sobs. She writes the four names on the list and says if he doesn’t bring them all back he will never see Walt again.

Michael’s crying is perfect. It is well acted, it is well written and directed. Michael has been so angry and disbelieving for the entire season. Since episode two he has been screaming and angry about Walt being taken. He has vented his anger and frustration at Sawyer (202), Jack (210) and the Others. But seeing Walt again and once more being separated from is too much and so he cries. Like Ana Lucia (in 208), the Others have broken his spirit and he weeps. His crying sounds so real in a way that his angry voice somehow doesn’t. He looks so broken that you can just about accept his murderous deceit as being somehow understandable. Great stuff.

The Bottom Line: This episode feels like a setup for the season finale. It asks lots of questions and presents us with the story of Eko and Locke, the mysterious boat and presumably a trek to the Others camp.

Essentially it does its job very well without ever seeming hugely vital or interesting. Aside from the last scene Michael’s flashbacks aren’t very interesting. They tell us information we might have otherwise guessed and if it weren’t for his tears, it might have been a dud episode. As it is, it is fine for what it accomplishes.

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  • This was a decent set-up episode made even better by that excellent Michael/Walt scene which you mentioned in detail above.

    The Others delivered in this episode and continued to be mysterious. Once more I'll say that I absolutely love ho well the Others were built up in this season. It's a damn sham that season 3 didn't give us enough information on them.

    So Charlie gets an arc where he turns to the dark side, builds a church of screen for a while and then throws away some heroine and that's his story? It's clear that the writers didn't know what to do with him, so I definitely understand why he was killed off in the next season. At least there he received an excellent storyline.

    This episode feels more basic and simple in its storytelling than most Lost episodes. On re-watch I hardly picked up on anything I hadn't noticed before on my first run through.

    Viewer score: 68 / 100

    Posted by Aaronic, 05/05/2017 12:22pm (3 months ago)

  • Hi Rosie, thanks for commenting. It's been a long time since I watched Season 2. Can you remind me where I said that about Michael?

    Posted by The TV Critic, 05/04/2011 9:15pm (6 years ago)

  • Although I believe what Michael did was wrong in killing Ana-Lucia and Libby, I managed to sympathize with his situation thoroughly. After all, if there is one thing I do not want to experience is watch a loved one be taken from me by force, right before my eyes.

    As for turning to Jack and the other Losties for help . . . why should Michael? They sat on their collective asses throughout most of Season 2 doing squat in helping Walt, other that going after him to prevent him from finding Walt or that idiotic action that Jack and Kate took in "S.O.S.".

    Posted by Rosie, 05/04/2011 8:26pm (6 years ago)

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