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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 14 - Special

8 January 2017

Present: Michael forbids Walt from spending time with Locke. He announces his intention of building a raft but Walt disappears. Locke helps track him down and he is being attacked by a polar bear. They rescue him and Michael shows him the box of letters he sent him over the years. Walt’s mother hadn’t shown them to Walt. Charlie tracks down Claire’s diary and she stumbles back to the survivors.

Flashback: Michael and Susan seem really happy to be having a son. But when he is two or so she leaves Michael and heads to Europe with her job. There she marries Brian who adopts Walt. Nine years later and Walt is demonstrating strange abilities. While talking about a bird, he is being ignored and then suddenly that bird slams dead into their window. Susan dies of a blood disease. Brian comes to see Michael and begs him to take Walt back. Michael agrees to do so and travels to Australia to meet Walt and Vincent.

The Good: We get a thorough portrait of Michael and Walt’s relationship. Michael is time and again shown to be a good guy and a good father. The makeup department and Michael’s acting deserve tremendous credit for how much younger he seems in the earliest flashbacks. His happiness in those scenes is a stark contrast to his exasperation on the island. Not only does Michael love Walt throughout his life, but he refuses to bad mouth Susan about her treatment of him. When Walt asks why his mother didn’t show him Michael’s many letters, Michael looks on the positive side and points out that she didn’t throw them away. Considering her treatment of him (see The Bad) he would have been temped to slag her off.

Michael’s anger at Locke looks perfectly justified as well. It’s not just the natural parental fears about strange old men and knives either. Locke’s language is pretty frightening: “he’s different” and “I think Walt should be allowed to realise his potential” are the kind of creepy things which a parent would be worried to hear. Locke redeems himself, not only by rescuing Walt but by honouring Michael’s wishes. It’s good to see Boone following up on last episodes events by ignoring Shannon and leaping to Locke’s defence.

Michael’s decision to build a raft makes excellent logical sense too. With a few weeks having passed it makes sense to start looking for ways of escape. And he is the most obvious character to do it. Not only because of his desire to protect Walt but because of his experience in construction.

The mystery aspect of the episode surrounds Walt being special. It’s difficult to tell what he does exactly but he has some kind of mental ability. He quickly learns how to accurately throw a knife in such a way that we can see the potential which Locke speaks of. But his ability to summon or conjure up animals is potentially extraordinary. It certainly adds to the growing evidence that the survivors were in some way meant to crash on the island.

As you would expect by this point, Lost delivers yet another good ending. Claire staggering back through the jungle is a clever hook to make sure you tune in next time.

The Bad: There isn’t much balance given to Michael’s story. He comes out as the world’s best Dad in every scene. The fact that he agreed to give up his custody of Walt is the key point in a way. Susan was presented as a reasonable person up until this point. Her request is pretty harsh on Michael, especially considering how much he clearly loved Walt. But I don’t think the writers meant for her to come across as badly as she does. Her actual line is “Consider what’s best for Walt. You can keep holding on if you want. But ask yourself why are you doing that. Is it really for him or is it for you?” From what we have seen it is an appalling thing to say. Michael has been drawing and writing to Walt, even though he is too young to understand that yet. It’s difficult to see what exactly Michael would be getting selfishly out of that. The implication is that under emotional and financial pressure from her he reluctantly gave up his rights. But is there more to that story? It feels like an imbalanced story with so little going Michael’s way.

It’s also odd that Walt has a flashback in the middle of Michael’s story. It is the first time in which the producers have chosen to put the narrative ahead of consistency with the flashbacks. After all there is no reason we can’t see Walt’s flashback and indeed it is important to the story. But so far each character has had only their flashback and no one else’s. If that consistency is important to them, perhaps they could have had Brian simply tell the story of the bird.

The “dramatic” scene with the polar bear suffers both because we know Walt isn’t going to die and because the polar bear doesn’t look very real. The camera work is sketchy so as to avoid revealing a CGI bear but that adds to the feeling that no harm will come to these main characters.

The Unknown: What are Walt’s powers? Rousseau knew there were polar bears on the island. Does that prove that Walt didn’t create them? Or was she simply reacting to a recent development? Where has Claire been?

Best Moment: Walt’s flashback. While Brian is tending to the sick Susan, Walt is going on and on about the Bronze Cuckoo. When he finally gets angry that no one is listening a bird slams dead into the window. He and Brian go over to see it and it is a Bronze Cuckoo. Brian looks disturbed; Walt seems to think nothing of it. It’s a very interesting scene and subtly hints at many things Walt may be capable of.

The Bottom Line: Three below par episodes in a row is the first sign of real weakness in Lost. Of course this isn’t a bad episode and that harsh judgement is based on how good Lost’s first eleven episodes were. But there seems to be a slight dip at the moment. Part of it is the loss of survival stories. The first few episodes had a tremendous logic because the need for survival almost wrote the plot for you. However now that the survivors are doing ok, their stories are feeling less immediate and naturally dramatic. Here a polar bear chases Walt. It’s not logical or dramatic. It feels forced to allow Michael, Walt and Locke to all bond. Let us hope it is a temporary state of affairs.

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  • Lost continues with another strong character episode, though this time it doesn't wow like it's done before.

    This episode focussed heavily on Michael and Walt finally, and it tells a good story of their relationship. There are no twists or turns here but there doesn't need to be any since the story has enough emotional impact itself. The writing is also excellent as all the characters involved behave in sensible ways.

    However there is something missing, and that is nuance to Michael's character. There are practically no deeper layers to this episode and it's very basic stuff, which is disappointing as Lost has always gone above and beyond in previous episodes. Walt's powers are interesting, but they aren't presented in a subtle way like many other small bits in previous episodes.

    Another problem in this episode is the on-island story. The polar bear attack isn't as gripping as say the torture scene with Sawyer, or Jack, Kate, Locke and Boone hunting for Ethan. There is no worry for the characters' fates and the plot feels mostly like a filler until Michael and Walt fix their relationship afterwards.

    I enjoyed the scenes with the secondary characters. Boone was excellent as he shows lots of growth from his experience in the last episode. Additionally, Charlie is great as he fights the temptation to read Claire's diary before succumbing to it and uncovering a nice tidbit of information to build up some mystery.

    Lastly, Claire's arrival at the ending is an excellent cliffhanger that really makes you want to tune into the next episode.

    As a whole this episode isn't bad, but it isn't as good as previous episodes and as such falls victim to my massively high expectations after 14 episodes.

    Viewer score: 65 / 100

    Posted by Aaronic, 07/01/2017 7:17pm (10 months ago)

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