Saturday, January 24, 2009

>: 84 THE LIE

Great to see Lapidus, if only for a second. Was sure that he was gone. I like the idea of him getting a beer for Desmond while the 6 decide whether or not to lie. We’re catching a buzz, Brother! Penny’s boat is called SEARCHER, pretty sure that was the name of the ship in the second season of BUCK ROGERS IN THE 25th CENTURY when they basically ripped off STAR TREK's premise. I dug Hurley’s refusal to ever help Sayid followed by the opposite of same. And funny to see Ana-Lucia, guess it wouldn’t be a Hurley episode if he didn’t have an imaginary friend, even for a minute. Her advice is a bit ominous on the rewatch, “Whatever you do, don’t get arrested.”

So, looks like we will have at least somewhat character-centric episodes this time and Hurley’s up first.

Claire is no longer listed in the cast, I’m noticing, even though Jin still is. Guess I won’t hold my breath for her and her pop showing up just any week now with all the answers.

What did Ben have hidden in the A/C vent?

Cheech’s caviar burger is almost as funny as the same recap voice saying “Previously on EXPOSE.” No sign of Nikki, though.

Strange, seeing Aaron as a toddler.

And Ben gets a 42 at Jill’s butcher shop. She's a champ. Also, a reference to Gabriel and Jeffrey. Don’t know them as of yet.

Meant to comment on Charlotte last time, wondering if her nosebleed had anything to do with her maybe being a native, and then she turns around and says she hadn’t had a nosebleed since she was little. Now the bit about her mum’s maiden name this time. Wonder if we're heading for a flashback getting to know her here pretty soon (Apparently, the Charlotte, Miles, & Faraday-centric episodes were what got cut last season when the writer's strike sliced the episode count from 16 to 13).

And Frogurt rocks the death by fire irony. That guy will always be the dude with his tongue cut out in THE PEOPLE UNDER THE STAIRS, that movie was some formative trauma for me in all the right ways.

Was that Vincent on a leash, fleeing the fire-arrows? Who’s been taking care of him al this time? How much is happening off-screen that the Nikki and Paolo fiasco is making the writers afraid to show us?

Cheech’s wave to the officers as he drives by has got to be one of the most suspicious of all time.

And not to keep bringing my kid into this, but compare Ji Yeon to Miller Li:


I tell you, we, well mostly Catherine, grew an entire kid since the last episode aired and this show does not miss a beat.

Oh, we do get that flashback to Jin from the finale, maybe that’s why he’s still lurking in the cast credits.

Heavy exchange between Kate and Sun. If you believe the latter about not blaming Kate, that leaves either Ben or Jack as the other person besides her father that she holds responsible for Jin’s death (if it’s not Widmore, which, why not?). Interesting that she asks about Jack in the next line of dialogue. Or, maybe it's just to transition to him in the next scene. They've been doing that a lot more lately, the Alan Moore transition, like Juliet saying they'll get the water, cut to Hurley throwing water in Sayid's face. It's the little things.

Hurley’s breakdown of the first four seasons is priceless, great delivery.

Very grim, Sawyer stepping on the nail. Him telling Juliet not to be a wiseass is pretty funny when you stop to think about it.

Boy, never wake Sayid up after a hard night out. That is one hell of a default mode.

Whereas Hurley throws a Hot Pocket at Ben. Wild how Ben is completely telling the truth. Believed Hugo was going to buy it and sign on for a second there. Great strategy, confessing to murders he didn’t commit. And yeah, he really does look crazy in that last shot, looking across the way at Ben.

Really thought Juliet was going to lose the hand. But you know when a knife gets thrown, John Locke can’t be far behind.

And Finoula Flanagan returns. She sold Desmond his wedding ring back in 3.8 and most famously in my mind had a great turn in Alejandro Amenabar’s Kidman flick THE OTHERS (2001), which I always thought was a fun little extratextual joke. Was pretty sure in those first few shots of her in the Jedi robe that we were looking at D. Faraday’s mum in Oxford rocking some equations to probably locate the island. And that might even be the case. Dig the 70s-looking DI computer she has going on there. And Ben seems to be reporting to or at least deferring to her. 70 hours, she says. Is that going to be the off-island timeline for the rest of the season? Madness. Good thing for Ben that everyone's in LA, even Sun. Hadn't even thought about how hard it will be to get her to sign up for an island return with her kid back in Seoul. Chloroform might have to play a part.

Most interesting, is Finoula's last line of the episode. Ben asks her what will happen if he can’t get Hurley back on board. “God help us all.” Beneath the Orchid, when Marvin Candle/Pierre Chang admonished his foreman not to drill one centimeter farther or risk releasing the energy beneath the Orchid station, he used the exact same phrase. Just a nice bit of symmetry on a double premiere, or indicative of something more?


And we're back.

I would say best opening episode of a season since the beginning. They always manage to do a pretty excellent opening scene (even though Hurley’s chase last time wasn’t quite as much thunder as usual, the only big deal being the universal shrug at the first utterance of the phrase “Oceanic Six”), but then it tapers off somewhat. After the genius Desmond/Mama Cass bit, we had to wait another two weeks to see our first orientation tape, but the truth is, after such a long wait, I usually feel just the least bit let down when we hit those four letters at the end as it takes a couple of weeks to ramp everything back up (biggest example was that incredible Juliet opening for 3.1, the plane crashing, Ben sending Ethan and Goodwin in undercover in a matter of seconds, tapering off to . . . who’s Jack’s wife cheating on him with? (and what was the point of that, unless it’s still relevant, which I can’t imagine that it is, hope not, at least)(don’t let the door hit you on the way out, Julie Bowen).


All of which to say, not only did this one deliver an insane opening scene, the quality remained high. Let’s break down that first bit: opening shot of the clock changing to 8:15 with immediate allusion to the Swan’s timer/alarm, and yeah it wakes up an unspecified fella who pushes the button like a good boy and is married to an Asian woman. He heads to the turntable for a bit of Willie (his third appearance of the series, I believe), and what a brilliant way to set up the season with all the time-shifting, as Faraday tells us, “like a record skipping.” Dude fixes a bottle (which, aside from freaking us out over here at our place as we’d just spent the past hour feeding the kid and trying to get her to go to sleep and stop soaking up the insane energy that her father was just streaming into the room, lots of pacing [and for that matter, the kid and I have listened to a fair share of Zeppelin and McCoy and, yes, RED-HEADED STRANGER on vinyl in the past month, so just weird all around], aside from that, let’s not ignore what the baby tells us: that pre-Incident [one presumes] on-island newborns were viable and carried to term with no ill effects for Mother). So, we still don’t know who the guy is, but then everyone gasps when he says his first line and turns around to start filming the Arrow orientation tape. But “there’s somethine wrong!”, aside from his name being Chang and not a candle-derivative, there’s initial drilling beneath the Orchid and a worker just convulsed himself to death. He catches a ride in Ben’s dad’s/Hurley’s VW bus, but I don’t think that’s young Roger “Workman” driving. I love how Chang’s (you know, he’s always going to be Marvin Candle to me, I remember he showed up for like five minutes in one of those Eastwood WWII flicks a couple years back and afterward I could never dial back into the movie, just wanted to know what the hell was going on with the DI) demeanor shifts by the time he hits the elevator for the ride down so that by the time they hit the bottom, he’s pretty much rocking full-on Bond mad scientist mode. Seems to be running the DI, at least day to day, at this point. And we get Ben’s frozen donkey wheel on sonar, how long’s it been there? But, of course, the kicker of the scene (and the two episodes, as far as I’m concerned) is Faraday just striding in undercover carrying a tank of something, bumping into Candle, even. What could his agenda be for being then? He goes on over the course of the episode to make a point to communicate that you can’t change the past, but he either changes his mind about that or figures out that he’s responsible for some pivotal island nonsense in the first place. Anyway, it’s a fascinating kernel to throw in at the end of the first scene of the season, can’t imagine it’s going to pay off until May sometime.

(and all right, wow, here on Saturday night, I've just found this video they played at Comic-Con this year, glad I didn't see it beforehand, but it's fascinating after this opening scene, particularly in light of the cameraman's voice...)

And we’re not even to the title yet!

Right back to Bearded Maniac hanging out with Ben and Dead Locke. Sorry to see the beard and pills go. Was a little surprised that they flashed back to the finale in such detail, it’s not like we hadn’t all watched it SEVEN TIMES to get ready. Anyone? Anyone? The “Three Years Earlier” title was also a bit strange. All of a sudden, they're not going to give us credit for knowing when everything is? The sound of a wave was always good enough for me. So, did the island move at the end of 2.23, when Desmond hit the failsafe? Same white flash. But then cutting to Locke, in the rain as ever, beautiful moment.

Ha, Frogurt’s actually wearing a red shirt even on the raft, can’t believe I missed that the first time through.

Did Rose say she was back at church, when she ran over to Bernard in such a panic? Eko’s church? I’m curious to know.

Wasn’t worried about Daniel for a minute, after THE CONSTANT, he’s got a lot more to do, even without the opening scene (and that video, that's freaking me out the more that I think about it).

Jin’s still listed in the cast. Does that mean they’re going to use that cheat of him not being in the last shot when the freighter blew?

The list of guest stars put me down, opening with Rose and Bernard who, no big deal, but then dropping Widmore, Richard, Ethan, Penny, serious stuff. Ha, all capped off by industry heavyweight Sean Whalen.

And Kate, still able to pick up and run on a moment's notice, great long shot of her packing, I liked the frame of it.

Shirtless Sawyer definitely cracked me up as soon as we saw him after the title, well before they started referencing it. You’ve got to love the Faraday bitch-slap. Explain yourself!

And Locke can’t get shed of that damn Nigerian plane! So, at this point was the island off the west coast of Africa a few years back, just a little while after Eko’s boys took off? Yeah, we didn’t need to actually see a Virgin Mary statue, got it. Enjoyed the black smoke coming out of it, thought the Monster was going to return. Also thought Locke was back to a cripple for sure this time. That daffy bastard.

Has any beloved character in the history of television returned more times postmortem than Ethan Rom? This appearance was a little light, but I’m awfully sweet on how he handled himself with Claire and Juliet back when. A bit deus ex machina to have the flash hit just as Locke fails to convince Ethan not to kill him, but I guess we are back at the plane, after all (non-acolytes, check the title to 1.19, said plane’s first appearance!)

Sawyer’s post-flash “Great” is pretty much a reprise, down to the shot, of Charlie’s “Terrific” before the first-ever commercial break.

Wonder if Sun was calling Kate in that first shot of her. How do any of the O6 get the “Wait just a moment” treatment from anyone at any time and not just start running?

Enjoyed Widmore’s “I will be respected, Sir,” to her. Man, what is her game? Does she really want to kill Ben or just setting Widmore up? I remember googling Widmore Labs after maybe 2.16 when the name showed up on Sun’s pregnancy test. Come quite a way since then.

Oh I miss you, Bearded Jack. Take some pills and walk into traffic. It does my heart good.

You have just got to respect Sayid’s use of balconies, lamps, frying pans, and kitchen knives in a fight. I’m betting that the only people that ever get sent after him never get a full dossier workup because, come on, who wouldn’t flee to Mexico when faced with completing that assignment?

And how about the balls on that guy who, when confronted with the specter of Hurley in his bathrobe on the balcony holding the gun, ACTUALLY TAKES A PICTURE WITH HIS PHONE and then runs back through the parking lot. I feel like I would dive over the dead assassin underneath the ledge as a knee-jerk, photographic evidence b’damned.

So Richard, looking like not immortal at all just a very experienced time-jumper. He gives Locke that compass back from the boyhood Dalai Lama test last season (4.11). And wow, it actually points North, they don’t sell those at Sears Roebuck.

John’s going to be “moving on soon”, any chance that’s not a Dark Tower shout-out?

Are we going to stay unstuck in time on-island all season long? I certainly hope so.

And the return of the Hatch! What a joy, though I thought we were going to get to play around inside one last time. Wonder if Daniel’s appeal to Desmond is the beginning of him realizing that you can work around the rules. And, honestly didn’t think we’d see Desmond or Pen for this entire season, that felt like a Goodbye last time out. Wonderful, of course. And Faraday’s got a mother to hunt down. Potentially serious meeting, there.

Loved this premiere. Of course, it was only 53 minutes long with commercials and onto the second episode before the end of the hour. I can deal with that.

Guess I need to shave. Might have popped some pills if I'd realized that this was my last evening to play along. Bearded Jack, you and Season One Locke and Mr. Eko, you were always the best.