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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

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Episode 3 - Jughead

28 March 2012

Present: Desmond arrives in Oxford but they have no record of any Faraday ever working there. He finds Daniel’s old lab abandoned and a man who tells him of a girl Daniel hurt. At Theresa’s house he finds her in a familiar coma and learns that Charles Widmore is paying for her care. He heads to Widmore’s office and demands to know where Faraday’s mother is. Widmore tells him that she is in LA and warns him to keep Penny safe. Desmond tells Penny they don’t have to go but she knows that they do.

Flashback: We see Penny give birth to baby Charlie.

Some of the remaining survivors are killed by land mines. Daniel, Charlotte and Miles are captured and taken to see Richard Alpert. Daniel pretends to be US military and when he discovers there is a Hydrogen bomb on the island he pretends to be there to dispose of it. A familiar looking Other takes him to the bomb and he encourages her to bury it.

Meanwhile Juliet discovers that the soldiers they captured are Others because they can speak Latin. They track one of them (who turns out to be Charles Widmore) to the 1950s Others camp. Locke heads in and tells Richard that Jacob sent him. He tells Richard who he is and encourages him to come see him when he is born in two years time. But the island jumps in time again before Richard can tell him how to get off the island.

The Good: There really aren’t going to be any dull episodes of Lost anymore are there? The first thing that strikes you is that aside from Sawyer and Locke, there are no main characters present who were in the pilot of the show. You can’t fault the producers for not being bold and telling the story that they want to.

Fortunately for them Desmond is a very popular leading man and it’s easy to see why. He is thoroughly likeable in all he does - hurrying to get a doctor to help Penny give birth and waxing nostalgic about Scotland to his baby son. He and Penny are a convincing couple, portraying their intimate knowledge of one another well. Her decision to help him with a quest she knows is important to him is clearly not what she wants to do. But like him she is determined to do the right thing.

Daniel Faraday is an equally likeable if less strapping man. He once again (see 405) proves adept at using his considerable knowledge and intellect to calmly deal with the life threatening situation that he finds himself in. He has to both deal with the danger he and his friends are in while trying not to mess too much with the timeline. His suggestion that the Others simply bury the bomb is disarmingly simple. His reasoning that the island is fine in fifty years and therefore burial is a safe option sounds like the perfect response to the dilemma he faces. His declaration of love for Charlotte was not the ideal reasoning for why he could be trusted but it was a heartfelt way to kill two birds with one statement. It certainly gives us another reason to care about him and Charlotte by extension. The knowledge that because of him another woman (Theresa Spencer) is suffering permanently adds a sense of poignancy to what is happening to Charlotte and how Daniel must feel about it.

As for our more familiar friends their behaviour is consistent which is good to see. The difference in priority between Locke and Sawyer is well written. Sawyer wants to rescue his new comrade Daniel, even though he doesn’t know him well. But Locke is only concerned with the island and his own destiny. Locke reminds us that he is fundamentally decent by giving Sawyer a ten minute head start. Juliet remains as cool as ever despite the stress she is under. She has clearly had a lot of practise (406).

We finally get to know Charles Widmore better. The revelation that he is the young British man who threatened to chop of Juliet’s hands is typically clever Lost. We now know how long ago he was on the island and confirm that he was once an Other. In the present we are given further evidence of his grey moral character. Far from generically evil, he helps Desmond and is genuinely concerned about Penny. We also learn that he is paying for the care of Theresa because her condition is a result of research he funded. A good public relations exercise or genuine guilt we don’t quite know but the debate about his true motives will continue. Certainly he is brutal and judgemental on the island where he kills his friend for giving up the location of the Others to Juliet.

The time jumping island is such a clever plot device. In a way it is the show’s flashbacks become a literal part of the story. Now we have a chance to see the islands past, perhaps the Dharma Initiative, Rousseau’s crew and the four-toed statue from the perspective of the survivors. Locke’s quest to leave the island is a nice driving force behind the story and gives us a clue as to when this part of the story will end. Locke not killing a fleeing Widmore “because he’s one of my people” is evidence of the timeline not allowing something to happen (Widmore dying) which must not.

Within the story we get lots of tasty revelations which will keep long-time fans gripped. It’s confirmed that the US army were on the island (as hinted at in 207) and testing a Hydrogen bomb. We now know Jacob existed before 1954 as he clearly gave Richard the order to kill the soldiers. We also see that the Others had begun to adapt to the equipment and clothing of their invaders. They are dressed in the American soldiers uniforms and using their rifles. It would seem that their consistent tactic has been to mimic or adapt to their enemies level of sophistication. So when they wiped out Dharma they moved into their hatches and used their stations. And when the survivors arrived they dressed as savages or “hillbillies” to lure the survivors into a false sense of security (222). Richard seems completely unaware of the islands ability to jump through time which suggests it hasn’t happened for a long time. The revelation that the Others speak Latin to one another has some interesting implications (see The Unknown). It’s also yet another mysterious clue to their origins and ideals.

The revelation that Widmore funded Daniel’s research gives us a clue as to why he sent Daniel to the island. Though it now raises the question of whether he knew Daniel because of meeting him now, amongst many other questions (see The Unknown). The mystery surrounding Daniels’s work begins to help us understand his knowledge and motivations. Penny and Desmond naming their baby Charlie is a nice touch (I suppose her Dad’s name is Charles too).

The Bad: I may be in a minority of one but I miss flashbacks. This episode is essentially focussed on three characters: Desmond, Daniel and Locke. Despite the compelling nature of the unfolding mystery and the enjoyable tension of the drama, these episodes haven’t threatened to really break through. Break through to when they form a bond with you as a viewer and you become emotionally invested in the story and its outcome for the characters. The flashbacks were Lost’s major mechanism for bringing you closer to a character and getting into their mindset. This episode doesn’t get close to “The Constant” (408 where Desmond and Daniel also took centre stage) on an emotional level. I see that because the focus of the show is split between its different protagonists. It will be interesting to see if this continues to be the format throughout the season. The producers have shown a propensity to change their own formula to mix things.

Within the three stories there are some questions which seem oddly unanswered. Desmond finds Daniel’s lab abandoned but not cleared out yet. For Desmond it is 2007 or even 2008. When they met in “The Constant” it was 1996. We know Daniel was with a carer, unable to remember why he was crying in 2004 when Oceanic 815 crashed. So it’s difficult to know how long he has been gone from his lab. But it’s tough to imagine the university wouldn’t have cleared out all his stuff by now. Theresa’s sister Elaine seems pretty angry that Daniel disappeared and yet she doesn’t ask Desmond any questions about Daniel and where he is now. She also doesn’t ask why Desmond is there when he doesn’t seem to know anything about her sister at all. Of course we only saw a snippet of their conversation but it was one of those awkward bits of writing which served the plot and not logical conversation.

Similarly Charles Widmore’s reaction to Desmond seems bizarrely understated. He seems to genuinely not know where Penny and Desmond have been which is doubly bizarre. Ben threatened to kill Penny (409) which surely should have spurred Widmore into some action to help her stay hidden. In fact considering the resources he must have used to find the island and the resources she used to find it (inherited from him), it seems odd he couldn’t or didn’t try to track her down. In fact we assume that he didn’t even know Desmond was still alive and yet he doesn’t ask more questions which is a bit weird. Then he hands over information to Desmond which he could only be about to use for island-related business. In fact given Daniel’s field of expertise it seems mad that Widmore wouldn’t want to know more. Again perhaps he is more informed than he let on but it’s written in a way which makes Widmore look like an idiot. Dare I say a Desmond-centric episode would have allowed for more to be done in these scenes.

Then Locke tells Richard to go find him when he is born (as we see in 411). We know from Daniel that (apparently) you can’t change events in the past. So the question is would Richard have visited Locke anyway? Would he have seen something special in him once he was older? If not then we have a pre-destination paradox. Where Locke only came to the island because of events which couldn’t have happened if he hadn’t come to the island. That is the type of twist which rapidly becomes illogical, impossible and irritating. So I hope the writing can explain it.

We also get one step closer to every non-flashback survivor being killed off. I understand the impossibility of casting actors to play all the minor roles but the flippant treatment of their deaths is not good (see 409). There really should be some mourning for people who have lived for months alongside the survivors we know well. To be fair no one knows about their deaths who would mourn for them yet (as Daniel, Miles and Charlotte were with them).

I’ll say it again (321), British people don’t wear cloth caps. Or at least not in the way they do in Lost. The phoney looking London skyline in Widmore’s office doesn’t help either.

The Unknown: It’s looking more and more like Locke is not really dead. It could be he (like Theresa and Desmond in 405) is just away or perhaps using spider-venom (see 314). Now we can guess how Daniel got into the construction of the Orchid Station. It would seem that is how he will try and stop the island from jumping. The revelation that the Others speak Latin reminds us of the many Latin phrases written on the blast door map in the Swann (217). Was Radzinski connected to the Others in someway? Why did Widmore fund Faraday’s research? Who is Ellie, the blond Other who Daniel thinks looks familiar? Her being his mother would make sense if it weren’t ridiculous that he wouldn’t recognise her. Though maybe he forgot that. Well she is English and Widmore seems to know her well. But most likely she reminds him of Theresa.

Don’t the Others have a name for themselves? Juliet calls these 50s guys Others, but surely they can’t have always referred to themselves by the derogatory names given to them (e.g. Hostiles).

Best Moment: Pick your own revelation. I will go for Locke asking the young soldier “Your name is Widmore? Charles Widmore?” The soldier looks angry and says “What’s it to you?” And with that enigmatic Locke grin he replies “Nothing, nice to meet ya.”

The Bottom Line: It’s another fine instalment from Lost. Bold, interesting, dramatic, gripping. Pick your own compliment. But something is missing. The emotional grip on the characters? The fact that we know Locke will get off the island? I don’t know but something is preventing this from being classic television. Aside from that it is very strong and it is a victim of the high standards it has set itself.

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  • Hi Mike, thanks for the comment. The Lost writers have been adept at coming up with explanations which cover these questions. I was particularly impressed with how the events of "The Constant" seemed to explain how Desmond was time travelling during "Flashes Before Your Eyes." So at this stage I am having faith that they will come up with a plausible explanation for how these time changes happen. So I am with you on the hoping...

    Posted by The TV Critic, 20/02/2009 3:06am (11 years ago)

  • I enjoyed your comments, expecially "The Bad" section. However it seems you forgot to mention another illogical plot device. If Daniel met Desmond in the past (outside the hatch) and told him about the helicopter and stuff, why isn't this memory incorporated into Desmond's mind since that moment? And how convenient of the authors make him say (at such Penny's question): "I don't know". Lame writing.
    I badly hope they (the authors) won't go this path to answer other and more poignant questions.

    Posted by Mike, 30/01/2009 2:21pm (12 years ago)

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