Friday, February 6, 2009

episode: lost, "the little prince" (5.4)

These are just a few brief thoughts on this week's episode of Lost. The episode wasn't as good as last week's -- namely because there was no Desmond in it and because it involved the Oceanic 6. But I was pleased that, even though it was Kate-centric, I wasn't as aggravated by her existence as I had expected. (Note to those of you who voted: I was pleasantly surprised to find that I am not the only one who thinks Kate should die. We all know she won't, but there's something almost sweet in our solidarity of hatred for her.)

• The scene where present-Sawyer sees past-Kate delivering past-Claire's baby was sweet, but -- of course there's a but -- Lost used the same technique it always uses. There's a close-up of Sawyer's face as he looks on, a silent witness, and the music swells. It's the most basic formula for tugging on the heartstrings of viewers. I call it the "Peter Jackson technique" (because he overused it while directing the LotR trilogy), and it's very tiring after a wall. More importantly, I'm really annoyed by Sawyer's gruffly Batman voice. It's like Christian Bale's Batman voice. I understand why Sawyer had this voice in seasons one and two; he was the self-appointed antagonist, the loner, the one who pushed people away. But now he's the self-sacrificing hopeless romantic Sawyer, and giving Sawyer this deeper and huskier voice (it sounds like he's been drinking straight whiskey for all his life) detracts from this softer side that we're seeing. It's as though the director and Josh Holloway were like, "What's the easiest way to show that Sawyer's hurting? I know! We'll make him gruffly, like he's constantly choking on his feminine emotion." I do not like this new direction with Sawyer at all.

• I was wrong about Sun going over Kate. I will admit that. But Ben is TOO obvious. I knew that Claire's mother was a red herring because she's the most obvious choice out of anyone, but I still don't understand why she had to come to LA to settle a lawsuit with Oceanic. It's a corporation. Can't she sue them from anywhere? Why did she have to be in LA? As far as Ben... he was the second obvious choice because he's the manipulator. If anyone's messing with anyone else, Ben is probably behind it. He manipulated Sayid, then Jack, and when Sayid pulled out Kate's address from the assassin's pocket, I think it was obvious to everyone that Ben was behind it. Why would someone want to kill Sayid and Kate? Ben's scaring them to make them go back to the island -- or just to get them together, at the very least.

• Personally, I find most of Lost's "reveals" to be predictable and therefore anticlimactic. When Ben said, "He's my lawyer," I rolled my eyes and wondered why Michael Emerson delivered that line like it held so much weight. On that same note, every time they showed Sun, there was ominous music indicating a blatant duplicity of her character. Sun is seeking revenge. Got it.

• When Jack met up with Kate, I predicted their entire storyline, right down to the "I can fix this" line. The person I watched this with asked me, "How are you doing that?" Jack is the fix-it guy. The writers have drilled that into our heads. Every single flashback serves to tell us that he needs to fix things. Sometimes it really upsets me how Lost reduces these originally flawed and human characters to just one attribute. Kate is the screw-up who needs to be redeemed. Locke is the man looking for a greater purpose. Hurley is crazy and no one ever believes him about anything. And I had this conversation with my friend Jae last week; people cannot be reduced like this. I understand why television needs to do this, but it's like justifying and excusing people for their thoughts/actions. Oh, Jack has daddy issues, and that's why he needs to fix things. Oh, Kate has daddy issues, and that's why she feels inclined to take action. Oh, Sawyer/Hurley/Claire/Locke/Sun/Ben have daddy issues, so they ____________. No. In real life, we don't get flashbacks on people. We don't get to understand why some people are selfish while others are selfless. Originally I liked the flashbacks because they gave us an insight into them as individual people, but then the flashbacks became reductive and redundant. This is all a moot point since we don't have flashbacks anymore (only flash-presents!), but it bothers me that they're still drilling it into our heads that Jack likes to fix things.

• It surprised me that Kate came up with the idea to keep Aaron. First of all, I don't think she's intelligent enough to come up with a story like that. Second, there's really no reason or explanation as to why this is a good idea. And third, I don't believe that Jack would go along with it.

• Now, we know that Richard told Locke that he needs to bring the Oceanic 6 back (and die in the process). But when Locke explains this to everyone else -- especially Sawyer -- why does this seem logical to them? If you were experiencing time travel and someone said, "We can fix this by bringing back the people who left," wouldn't your first thought be HOW, how will that fix everything?

• After two really great weeks, this third week has brought my irritations with the show back to the forefront of my mind.

• For a really great exploration into the significance of the episode's title, I recommend reading a few pages of Entertainment Weekly's assessment of The Little Prince. An excerpt:
After a series of stops on other meteorites, the Little Prince is marooned on Earth. He is full of regret. He now realizes he should never have left his meteorite and his complicated little flower. At one point, the Little Prince learns from a wise fox that ''you become responsible for what you've tamed.'' The fox explains that these tamed ''things'' are your friends — the people who've come to trust you, love you, and depend on you because of the amount of time you've invested in their lives. In the final chapters, you get the sense that the immense distance from the place where he truly belongs is literally killing the Little Prince. As the troubled hero's wisdom and maturity grow and his existential/physical crisis intensifies, I get a strong whiff of Jack — especially when you reach the part where the Little Prince makes a risky pact with a deadly, duplicitous snake (read: Ben) that will resolve, once and for all, his homesick alien blues. Might this conclusion foreshadow — thematically or literally — Jack's (or someone's) ''Return to the Island'' story line?

1 comment:

Juanita's Journal said...

"As the troubled hero's wisdom and maturity grow and his existential/physical crisis intensifies, I get a strong whiff of Jack — especially when you reach the part where the Little Prince makes a risky pact with a deadly, duplicitous snake (read: Ben) that will resolve, once and for all, his homesick alien blues."

Actually, Jack made a deal with two snakes - Ben and Kate. With Kate, he agreed to allow her to claim Aaron as her son.