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This is the End
Finally I finished rewatching LOST. Though my opinion of the show has somewhat depleted, I cannot deny that this is one of the most influential shows of all-time. It changed modern television, especially with it's intense focus on character as well as a kind of mythology that hadn't really existed until then. The music in this show is undoubtedly my favourite part about it. It's definitely one of the best TV soundtracks every created. Credit to Michael Giacchino. The majority of the technical aspects to this show, while not outstanding, were pretty godamn consistently good if nothing else. And every once and a while, you would just get one of those shots of the sunset on the island, and you'd have to sit back in amazement. This finale, whilst not perfect, probably encapsulates the show almost perfectly. Character moments taking the best moments while the mythology remains somewhat intriguing in the background. I guess now is the time to talk about it.
Flash-sideways first. So the flash-sideways this season has been a real miss for me. I haven't enjoyed the majority of the character's self-contained storylines here, because when you find out that in this world they're already dead, none of it really matters anymore. That being said, it is made much more memorable by this episode. They do genuinely create a great atmosphere and weight in the emotional scenes, which may I point out would be so much worse without the music. I'm a little sick of Jack's son to be perfectly honest, he's probably the worst character in the entirety of the show, so him being in this episode definitely sours it a bit. A couple of the remembering scenes are great, like Sawyer + Juliet, Sun and Jin and probably Jack. But some of them are a real miss for me. Why is John so happy when he remembers? His life was absolutely depressing. He should be sad- and the writers know how little happiness he had in his life due to his remembering scene being significantly shorter than everyone else's. He had nothing to be happy about. It's even sadder when he ends up sitting alone in the church. At least chuck Helen in there or something. Or, don't include Helen, and have John search for her to find her and help her remember him. The only time John was properly complete was when he was with her, so have him not move on with the rest of them. But I guess he's too much of a main to not have there. Sayid and Shannon's remembering is obviously something I don't like, and pretty much the entire LOST community agrees on this. Nadia is such an integral part of Sayid's character- Shannon had a relationship with him for a couple of weeks at the most. And no one was ever big on their relationship anyway, what were the writers smoking when they thought of this? Nadia isn't in the final scene for one reason, and that's simply that she's not a main character. It's not to do with any of that stuff that LOST fans try to justify this with. The Kate, Claire, Charlie scene was always a bit weird to me. I enjoyed how Jack's son vanished from thin air, but Charlie creepily stalks Claire backstage and it's just, I dunno, weird. Claire gives birth in about two minutes, and I get it's not real, but that part bugged me so so much. Why does Aaron exist here? Is that actually Aaron? Because if so, that sucks for him, he got to move on as a baby. It's definitely arguable whether all the characters moving on together makes sense, because for a lot of them they knew the people in the church for...what, a few months? Was there no one else significant in the lives of Kate, Claire, or Sawyer that could've moved on with them? I do like how they don't lean it toward any religion in particular, showing that through the different religious artefacts and symbols throughout the room when Jack and his dad are talking. And yes, I secede the final scene is powerful. Maybe the ending was metaphorical for the writers saying, "forget about all the unanswered questions, just move on with your lives". For this section I would give a...4-5/10. Maybe a six.
The on-Island stuff I've begun to care about less and less over the course of the season. I don't know what it is, but I've become so disinterested in everything that's been happening that I just haven't felt like talking about it. But here goes I guess. First off, I'm not so sure what Ben is up to in the majority of this episode. Is he working against the Man in Black? This is never explicitly shown. He never betrays him in any way and everyone just forgets he was working for the enemy pretty fast. Lapidus survived for the sake of the story, there's no arguing that. He's a literal plot device, he can fly a plane. Why did the island bring him back twice if that's all he had to do? Jack and Kate's kiss....kill me now. Jack and Kate haven't shown a single sign of romance towards each other since season godamn five. I just didn't buy it, it was out of nowhere and I quite frankly do not care for their relationship. Are they the worst couple on the show? Yes. Yes and yes. They have no chemistry together at all. I really liked the directing in this episode, especially during the island scenes. There were also a couple of really good emotional scenes that happened. 1, Kate convincing Claire to come back was surprisingly good. It was the first time Claire has felt like an actual character since season 3. 2, Jack and Hurley's final scene together was really, really sad. Really sad, great acting from Matthew Fox and Jorge Garcia. And finally 3, Ben and Hurley, who share the best scene in the episode. Hurley asking Ben for help was so great. It showed how Ben has developed as a character as well as Hurley's kindness. That scene was essentially Ben's pardoning, and it was fantastic.
So it's over. I'm not quite sure where I stand on this finale. It's far from one of the show's best episodes, but it's also far from the worst. A decent finale at best, and I understand why so many hate it and why so many love it.
Not as epic and exciting as it thinks it is
"Sundown", Season 6, episode 6. Definitely the most action-packed episode of the series so far, and definitely far from the awfulness of "Lighthouse". That being said, even this mid-season finale-esque episode somehow manages to be incredibly boring- so much so that I almost fell asleep while watching.
I'm not going to talk about Sayid's flash-sideways adventure for very long, because I couldn't care less if I'm being completely honest. Nadia isn't with Sayid, but she's married to his brother?! Wow?! Answer me this LOST. Who cares? Who cares that John is on a job-search? Who cares that Jack has a son? Who cares that Nadia is married to Sayid's brother instead. I know a lot of people love the flash-sideways, but I don't, at least these self-contained stories anyway. I personally find them full of incredibly cheap, predictable drama that doesn't belong on a show like LOST.
Moving on. The episode is focused entirely on the temple, and the primary goal is to be rid of this god-forsaken place once and for all. The writers rush to move away from the temple despite all the set-up and time spent there, which makes me think characters like Dogen were supposed to have bigger roles, but were killed off because the writers realised that this temple sub-plot simply wasn't working. It's their own fault for making this temple-setting so dull. Dogen has a fight with Sayid after he explains to him that his experiments placed him on a scale of bad-good. But surely even without the Man in Black's influence Sayid would be on the bad scale at least somewhat anyway? Why is Dogen so against "bad-people"? Unless you're meaning to tell me that torturing him was a way of finding out whether he had the Man in Black inside of him, which he inevitably does. To me, Sayid's reaction to the torture in a previous episode seemed like the reaction any perfectly normal human being would have. But whatever. And then he doesn't kill him because his son's baseball fell down. Wait, sorry, he doesn't kill him because the plot has to happen. He could've ordered his men to execute him or something. Why is Dogen so stupid? He could've literally ordered his execution rather sending Sayid into the hands of exactly the person that is turning him evil. And of course, by the end we get a sad and upsetting backstory from Dogen before he is killed off immediately, therefore his death seems way sadder. This is a trick that The Walking Dead is renowned for using, so now I guess we know why the Walking Dead got it from.
So the writers had no idea what to do with Sayid this season, that much is clear. He barely even appears after this episode, Frank arguably has more of a role than him. Sayid's jump to becoming Flocke's henchman seemed rushed and far-fetched for me. I get that Flocke promised to bring back Nadia (ironic that Sayid said she was the only thing that ever mattered to him, yet in the end he ends up with Shannon), but Sayid is acting completely sane and normal beforehand, and now we're supposed to believe he's crazy?! No. "Mr. Robot" utilises this trick much better, where we see Angela manipulated into working for Whiterose because she promised to bring her mother back. Yet in Mr. Robot, Angela is on the verge of a mental breakdown when this happens, so her jump to crazy is much more believable. Not once has Sayid shown any kind of evil-crazyness since he came back to life, other than his strange British-accent I guess. I suppose we have to believe that the Man in Black has some kind of super power where he can change people to his side in an instant. Also why did Claire even go into the temple? That seemed a little pointless other than forcing her to reunite with Kate I guess, as they would've otherwise probably not reunited.
This whole episode just seemed incredibly rushed and just not good. The smoke monster attack scene is well done but it isn't exciting because I don't really care. Wow, none of our people are in danger, how intense! I think the Man in Black's inability to kill the "Candidates" is so that he doesn't just murder them all instantly, or to explain why he didn't just kill them all right at the start of the show. Either way, tension is lost due to his inability to kill anyone we care about. That excludes Kate, who actually isn't a candidate but the Man in Black leaves her alive because story.
Lost: The Substitute (2010)
"The Substitute" is an infinitely more enjoyable episode than the previous one, "What Kate Does", mostly due to the fact that it's centred on a much more enjoyable actor/character and deviates from all the temple crap.
That being said, this episode isn't perfect. The B-plot of the episode involved Sun, Ilana, Frank and Ben burying John. Here we get the incredibly half-arsed explanation for why The Man in Black can't change his face. In other words, we like Terry O'Quinn and it would be weird if the main villain was just some random bloke we don't know. John's funeral was fittingly short and anti-climactic.
The Flash-Sideways storyline goes through John's alternate life, where we get the excitement of him getting fired, and then finding a new job. It's very intriguing stuff. Being serious, this stuff was entertaining, although I'm sure it was helped by the dullness of the previous episode's flash-sideways story. A couple of cameo appearances from Helen, Randy, Hurley, Rose and Ben were the highlights. I didn't really feel John's speech about adapting to life in a wheelchair, this stuff, like Kate being a fugitive, is just old now. We've seen it all before. This is my main issue with the flash-sideways: it fills up time by resurfacing old character beats and moments. It's not that interesting that John is in a wheelchair anymore. I'm just bored of it to be honest.
The on-Island stuff is better. The Man in Black is centric here, made clear through a pretty great opening POV shot of the smoke monster. That was epic, I can't lie. His interactions with James are good too, and the answer about why everyone is on the island is something that I don't find all that disappointing. I'm a little confused to The Man in Black's motivations. He could've let James die in this episode as he fell off the ladders, yet he saves him. However, later on in the season, all he cares about is killing James and his friends, so what stopped him here? The plot, that's what. Also, the child Jacob doesn't work. He shows up twice and I'm not really sure what the purpose was. The phrase "Don't Tell Me What I Can't Do!" Is so overused at this point, and for me has lost its meaning and purpose. People say it all the time and It's the LOST writers are winking at the audience like "heyyy, remember this?" every single time. So overall, decent. Definitely a 5 or a 6. Not sure yet. I'll stick with a 5 for now.
Lost: The Incident: Part 2 (2009)
The second part of this finale is when I really became frustrated with the show's logic. The first part is entertaining enough for me to forgive some of the problems, but here my issues are too huge here to forgive, despite the grandiose scale of this finale.
The flashbacks I'm pretty indifferent to in general. Like I said, they're mostly just excuses to show us scenes we've heard about or heard of before: e.g we see the aftermath of John's accident and Jack's counting story. I did like the Hurley flashback with Jacob to be perfectly honest. Something about that scene was actually pretty good to me, although I still don't really understand why Hurley completely changed his mind. The Juliet flashback was stupid and dumb and unnecessary. The links it had to the 1977 storyline were so forced I actually couldn't believe it.
So, 1977, oh boy. So Jack and Sawyer go to have a chat about Jack's plan. This is mostly a good scene, until Jack goes 'I had her, and I lost her', in response to Sawyer asking why he was doing this. So you're telling me, he's willing to possibly murder countless lives, because he's upset that Kate and him broke up? That can't be it, surely. No, I refuse to accept that. I don't understand the significance of that line no matter what it's supposed to mean. The fight between Sawyer and Jack is exciting with Sawyer's anger at Jack for ruining his life, but then it turns to dung again when Juliet arrives, having completely changed her mind. She explains to Sawyer that it's because he 'looked at Kate'. But in that case, why did it take her so long to tell him? Why did she let Sawyer take Jack into the jungle and beat up him so that he couldn't enact the plan. Why did she wait until now? For dramatic purposes? Is jealousy really the reason she now wants to reset time? Just because he looked at her once, she's willing to go back to her old life where her sister would die of cancer? Her sister would die if she didn't go to the island, because she was cured by Jacob. I dunno, it's just a stretch to me- it was only a glance, is that really enough to make Juliet go "right, that's it, I'm gonna reset time and detonate a hydrogen bomb which might kill a load of people". Similarly, Kate's sudden change in attitude was awfully handled. In the last episode, she was angry at Jack and determined to stop him, but now she's all for the plan. Genuinely, what was the purpose of her or anyone being determined to stop him if they were all going to be on board anyway. Jack's reasoning- "Aaron will be Back with his mother" is dumb and would not convince Kate. Kate would be in handcuffs and on her way to a very long jail- sentence. And don't tell me Kate is that selfless to allow that to happen to herself just so that Claire would maybe be with Aaron and not give him away for adoption. She's not that selfless, even if the show thinks she is. So Juliet and Kate's motivations are awful, and no one can change my mind on that. And then Sawyer just joins them just because. So now everyone is on board, yay. Jack goes off, alone to detonate the bomb, which was absolutely stupid and I'm not sure why they all didn't just go together. They should've assumed that the Dharma Initiative all had guns beforehand. Miles calling them all out on their crap about the plan was funny because not only was it completely right but also everyone just forgets and still goes along with it, including Miles. Come on guys that was just poor writing. Just don't have anyone bring it up, because this is worse.
The action scene we get was pretty epic, I'll give the show that. It was well directed and awesome. I'm shocked no one on the 'good team' got shot during it, but I guess it doesn't matter. I'm not sure why Chang is helping the group out at all- I guess it wouldn't be this episode without one more ridiculous character motivation. He seemed perfectly fine with Jack dropping a godamn hydrogen bomb down an endless hole in the ground, and he doesn't even know what the purpose is. To him, they would just seem like mass murderers. But he doesn't even voice a concern. The bomb doesn't explode on impact simply because it would've been less of a dramatic ending and also to extend the plot and to allow for Juliet to die. It should've blown up then and there, no argument. Juliet's death was sadder than I remembered actually. To be honest, her and Sawyer's relationship has been one of the strongest things about this season, so her death is pretty meaningful. Of course it would be more meaningful if she had a more consistent motivation throughout the episode. And then she knocks the bomb a few times and BOOM TITLE CARD BUT IN WHITE.
The 2007 stuff is much better although still problematic. They arrive at Jacob's foot, where Jacob supposedly lives. I find it odd that he's remained undetected whilst living there for so long. Surely someone would've entered there in exploration. It doesn't bother me that much though. The twist in which we learn John isn't actually John is handled way better than I remember- they do a strange amount of setup and foreshadowing for it, and it's good. I hated how the setting switched from day to night in literally an instant, that was a bit strange. I liked the line "You seem to make these rules up as you go along" was great and had a nice hint of self-awareness in it. That being said, I'm a little confused about Jacob's character. Ben delivers a huge speech (well-acted) about how he sacrificed everything for Jacob, and Jacob, who doesn't want to die, just tells him "what about you?". What?! You just sealed your own fate you dimwit. You could've tried a little bit harder to convince him at least. That I didn't understand at all. "They're coming"- now who is that referring to? The candidates, really? And then the "man in black" kicks Jacob into the fire even though they "couldn't hurt each other". Godamn you LOST.
Overall, probably my least favourite finale so far. It was dramatic and memorable at points, but also incredibly stupid. The biggest issue with the finale is character motivation- which is ironic considering that character motivation used to be one of the show's biggest strengths. Rose, Bernard, Sawyer, Juliet, Kate, Jack, Miles, Hurley, Jin, Jacob, Chang- all are out of character in this episode or have weird motivations or are just being stupid (in Jacob's case). My favourite scene was Juliet's death probably, that made me quiet sad. Oh and the music was brilliant.
Lost: The Incident: Part 1 (2009)
The First Part
The Season 5 finale of LOST is widely regarded as one of the strongest episodes of the entire show. However, I respectfully disagree. Though it is epic in scale, has great music and acting, where the finale seems to falter is in logic. That being said, the first half of the finale is less riddled with problems than the second. Let's go through everything that happens individually.
We'll start with the flashbacks. The opening scene is well done and intriguing on surface level, but the dialogue between 'The Man in Black' and 'Jacob' is so vague and they don't really say anything to each other. Other than the 'loophole' set-up, I find this scene odd based on what we learn later. 'The Man in Black' and Jacob are strangely kind to each other, despite their supposed hatred of each other after 'Across the Sea'. In this episode we see Jacob meeting Kate, Sawyer, Sayid, Ilana and Sun and Jin. The majority of these scenes are essentially the same as LOST's 'missing pieces'- significant moments that we haven't seen yet. They don't necessarily add everything to the story other than to show us that Jacob was around all along, and that he 'touched' the survivors, making them candidates. However, if that was the case, then Sayid will have only just become a candidate, same with Hurley later. But their numbers on the cave are some of the earliest in over 200 names, so were they already candidates? The reincorporation of Sawyer's flashback in the next episode felt forced, but my least favourite flashback was Sayid's, where we learn that Jacob was essentially responsible for Nadia's death. What an evil dude! He has plenty of candidates anyway, why does he have to be compliant in her death. I guess you could argue he saved Sayid, but I genuinely don't think Widmore wanted Sayid killed, therefore Jacob only stopped Sayid so that Nadia could be killed by Widmore's man. How selfish of Jacob, genuinely. You cause the death of his wife so that he can possibly become a candidate to replace you out of a large number of people. Leave him alone man. Ilana's flashback was strangely interesting to me, and now I'm disappointed that we never learned about her. In this season, shes quiet, brooding, commands respect in her little screen time. But in Season 6 they turn her into an irritating, annoying, bossy know-it-all, retconning this set-up.
So in 1977, we see Kate, Juliet and Sawyer leave the submarine and reunite with Rose and Bernard, in a scene which I guess we're supposed to interpret as 'awww, Rose and Bernard are cute!'. Unfortunately, I interpreted it as 'You two are crazy'. They state that they don't care that Jack is going to blow up a bomb and possibly kill a load of people, because at least they have each other, and that's all that matters. You self-centred ********! Since when did Rose and Bernard stop caring about innocent lives? When did they become so infatuated with themselves and their love? I thought they were good people, not a selfish couple who only care about themselves. I found the attempts to tie this to Sawyer and Juliet's relationship utterly cringe. Juliet and Sawyer have been a surprisingly great couple up until this point, but in this finale it kinda goes down the drain. Sawyer 'looking' at Kate was forced drama and I just didn't buy it- does he really still love Kate? What was so good about her, all she ever did was use him, whereas with Juliet he's actually happy. We get an exciting gun fight between Jack, Sayid and the dharma crew, and the ending twist is pretty cool. I buy that Jack and Sayid might want to detonate the bomb, but I struggle to buy Jin, Hurley and Miles just going along with Jack's plan without hesitation. Jin would never want to reset time: his relationship with Sun was a mess- he was controlling and all around terrible. The island made him a better person, plus he has a daughter now, and going along with this plan completely destroys any small chance he might have with meeting her and also reuniting with Sun. Hurley meanwhile cares a lot about innocent people, so blowing up a hydrogen bomb would definitely not be something he'd be on board with. Though lots of bad stuff happened to him on the island, a lot more good stuff happened to him than back home. Miles meanwhile is shown to be a firm believer that 'whatever happened, happened', yet he doesn't voice much concern until the next episode, where he calls them all out on the hydrogen bomb plan, but then precedes to help them anyway.
2007 probably had the best portion of this episode, where we see 'The Man in Black' convince Ben to kill Jacob, which in my opinion was set-up well. It didn't feel out of character at all for a now powerless Ben to want to kill the person he sacrificed everything for, only to be shunned and ignored for it. The scene where Sun finds Charlie's ring was a nice callback, although I wish maybe this scene had a bit more of a purpose later on in relation to Claire and/or Aaron, so that maybe he would get the ring after-all. The scene at the cabin was a little odd, it was never fully explained why that tapestry was stuck to the wall, nor why the cabin burning down didn't burn the entire forest, other than magic I guess.
Overall, there was nothing I completely hated in this first part, other than maybe Rose and Bernard's scene, I hate that scene. I found it entertaining for sure, but the second part is where I really started to get annoyed.
Lost: The Variable (2009)
I decided to post my thoughts on this episode because I'm struggling to make my mind up on whether it was exciting or whether it was a load of horse dung. 'The Variable' essentially follows Daniel's backstory, and on-Island we get a prelude to a prelude, a set-up episode essentially.
So, Daniel's flashbacks. His mother pushes him towards science, somehow knowing it would take him to the Island. How does she know this? How would she know that Daniel being a physicist and being incredibly smart with math and science would be the main reason he heads off to the island? Why does she encourage that he become a scientist so much? Maybe this is answered later on, and forgive me if it is. Some might argue that Eloise is able to see the future, and that's how. But how can she see the future and when did she gain this ability like we see in 'Flashes Before Your Eyes'. It's never properly explained. Additionally, why is his mother so under the belief that he has to go back to the island and die? Surely, after finding out it was her son who she killed, she would actually try to do everything in her power to STOP Daniel from going anywhere near the island. Personally, I think it would be much more powerful if they changed up the Daniel's mother character and made it so she did everything in her power to stop him, but to no avail, and he goes anyway. This would reinforce the 'Whatever Happened, Happened'. Just some thoughts. I hated her attitude towards Charles Widmore at the end, acting like she was forced into doing what she did. She could've at least tried to stop Daniel instead of ruining his life so that he went to the island. I can't pinpoint why she's so adamant that he has to pursue science and go back to the island. It would've made her much more relatable if she had tried to stop Daniel, and made her a much better character, rather than the vague mouthpiece she is in the show. Daniel's memory problem is a little bit under-utilised. It could've been a very interesting character trait to explore for someone, but it's just kind of convenient. Widmore notes that Daniel will forget their conversation, but when his mother brings it up later on he completely remembers it. Psychology courses go into this kind of memory loss, and it's really horrifying and crazy, to think that people who've had certain parts of their brain damaged or removed can watch a film over and over because they forget about it the next day. It would've been much more interesting if they went that route with Daniel.
In the end, I would argue that his arc with his mother only moderately works well. It works in the aspect of her essentially ruining his life and denying him the right to be a 'normal' person with a 'normal life'. It's heartbreaking when you think about it, that Daniel used to be a very different person but became who he was because of his mother's emotional abuse due to her belief that he had to go to the island and die. That arguably makes Daniel one of the saddest characters on the show.
The on-Island stuff meanwhile is a lot more exciting. I enjoy the scenes between Sawyer and Juliet, who's relationship is the strongest thing about this season. It is pretty sad for them that when everyone came back, like they were hoping, their perfect lives were ruined as a result of it. I genuinely feel for them. This episode also did create a strong atmosphere that something big was about to go down, so I enjoyed that. I'm a little confused about Daniel's sudden change of mind in regards to the rules of time travel. He tells Jack that they can die, because this is their present, but in that case, wouldn't detonating the hydrogen bomb just kill them all anyway? I'm not sure why Daniel wants to use the hydrogen bomb to set off this chain of events, because under the same logic they could do just about anything to make sure that Desmond doesn't forget to push the button. Faraday's logic is flawed here for the sake of the plot, because now he believes that we can change the future. He goes to speak to young Charlotte to tell her never to come back to the island, but he is aware that this is her past and that he always said this to her, so nothing will change for her, she will always come back to the island. Charlotte tells Daniel about a memory she had of him before she died, showing to him that he was always told her that, proving his plan wrong. My canon for Daniel's change of heart is that he's sick of the 'whatever happened, happened' thing and the fact that they can't change anything due to his mother's insistence that it was his destiny to become a scientist. He wished he could go back and do what he really wanted, and that was to become a musician. That's why he tells Jack that his mother was wrong about him returning to the island because it was his 'destiny', because he's come to terms with his mother's manipulations and emotional abuse. The re-incorporation of the scene where Daniel bumps into Chang in the tunnel was weak, he had no reason to walk down that tunnel if all he wanted to do was talk to Chang. That was just lazy. Also his whole 'Variable' explanation to Jack was awful and was very, very under explained, because the writers know Daniel's logic in this episode is flawed and they couldn't find a way to justify it other than vagueness. I guess Daniel's death is a fitting end to his character- it's weird and trippy and pretty insane.
I'm not sure why Desmond and Penny are in this episode, i guess they just needed to fit the resolution to their storyline in somewhere, and here was the easiest choice. It's a little out of place even if the scenes are good. Desmond and Penny really shouldn't be in the show after Season 4, let alone Season 5. This would've been a much stronger end for their characters than what happens to Desmond next season.
Overall, I think...hmm. I'm still unsure on this episode. It had a tense atmosphere but the same time I'm struggling to understand a lot of the logic in this episode. I think it was average, it's faults bring it down to a 5, even if it was more entertaining to watch than previous episodes- of which the lack of plot development turned out to be a strength in episodes such as 'Some Like it Hoth' and 'Dead is Dead'.
Lost: Dead Is Dead (2009)
"Dead is Dead" is an entirely Ben-centric episode that works on some aspects, but doesn't work on others. It follows on from the events of "The Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham" where Ben discovers that John is in fact, alive.
Let's start with the flashbacks, the point of which concerns the relationship between Charles Widmore and Ben. We already knew a lot about what was presented, although I suppose it is nice to get some context. The idea here is that Ben ends up becoming just like Charles, just as Charles predicted. Ben is ruthless after he becomes the leader of the others, just like Charles was. It's kind of a cheesy story, but I do understand what they were going for. Again, these flashbacks really aren't all that insightful when it concerns the character of Ben, so I generally felt a little detached and uninterested. The flashback with Desmond and Penny however does give a nice little answer to what happened to Ben on the day of the flight. I wish we'd seen more of Annie, Ben's childhood friend, who has been theorised by fans to have died in childbirth and have hence fuelled Ben's motivation for curing the Island's fertility problems. Of course, this is old news, so it wouldn't really work here. I'm a little unsure on the background of Charles Widmore. In Desmond's flashbacks, he's shown to be a powerful businessman who essentially despises those who are poorer than him (I.e Desmond). However, him being on the island raises a lot of questions unfortunately. How did he become so rich and have a business after he left? Why did he go off island and have a baby? It doesn't really add up, I find it ludicrous that Charles Widmore, who spent most of his life on the island, became a business mogul akin to Donald Trump or Alan Sugar.
The present-time stuff is entertaining enough to keep the episode afloat. Michael Emerson and Terry O'Quinn have great chemistry, the interactions between them are very enjoyable and well-written. I think that they were planning something different for the character of Caesar, who had been set-up in previous episodes to have importance, but in the end winds up being killed off pretty unceremoniously. On rewatch, knowing that the John Locke we're seeing on screen isn't actually John, is surprisingly interesting. You really can tell that the person you're watching isn't John Locke, so kudos to Terry O'Quinn on that front. I don't really understand how Ben can't remember some of the others being in the Dharma Initiative. It is arguable that he didn't see much of most of them, but it's clear that he's aware of "LaFleur", who is Sawyer. Ben's memory of Sayid shooting him is wiped clean, but then why would he forget Sawyer, Juliet and Miles, all of whom he's had lengthy interactions with? It's convenient for the plot I suppose. I'm not sure what they're trying to do with Frank, one minute he's completely concerned with helping his passengers, the next he's leaving them all behind to go with Sun, then he's going back to the survivors again and leaving Sun in the hands of Ben, and a man who just came back to life. And when he does come back, we get the cryptic line- "he's coming with us" form Llana in reference to Frank. I'm not sure why they want Frank with them, what importance does he have to their mission? The only reason he goes with them is so that in their scenes later on in the season, the audience has a character that they know, otherwise it would probably be difficult to care about what Llana and her crew were up to.
So Flocke and Ben head to the temple, where Ben wants to be "judged". This idea about Ben wanting to be "Judged" is deep filler, though it does work on a character perspective. The scene with him and the Smoke Monster was well done. Again, not powerful, but well done.
Overall, a fairly dull, if watchable episode. I don't think it was bad, because at least it was entertaining, but I struggle to find myself enjoying it anymore than that.
Emotion is at the Heart of LOST
"The Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham" is easily the strongest episode of Season 5 so far, at least for me. Of course, the plot has its issues, like with every LOST episode, but where this episode really distances itself from early Season 5 episodes is that it returns to the show's roots- in-depth character study.
Terry O'Quinn gives his best performance as John Locke in the entire series here. John's struggle to get everyone back, and his eventual suicide attempt are heart-breaking to watch, especially after knowing that he really did die.
The strongest scenes in the episode are the ones with John and Walt, John and Jack, John and Helen, and finally, the ending scene. The scene between John and Walt was surprisingly powerful, even if Walt's lack of questions about the Island seemed a little unrealistic. John visiting Helen's grave was incredibly sad- especially with John's reminiscing over the fact that they could've been married or together. Jack and John's last ever conversation was brilliantly acted too. But of course, the highlight of the episode is the final sequence, where John attempts suicide before being saved by Ben. After which, Ben murders him. Terry O'Quinn is incredible here, and though some people were confused about why Ben murdered John, I understood it. Ben, at this point, in my opinion, didn't know Eloise Hawking or he didn't know where she was, and he also didn't know that she was the key to getting everyone to return to the island. Therefore as soon as John have Ben the information he needed, he didn't need him anymore, and murdered him. I imagine some jealousy came into his motivation as well. And he also figured he could use John's death as a proxy to convince the Oceanic Six to return. Either way, it made John's death even more sad, because in the end he really wasn't special or important. He was just a pawn who throughout his life was used, manipulated and constantly hurt by others, those who he thought loved him. That makes the angry outbursts of Jack and judging words by Kate even more powerful. I genuinely believe them when they say that John was just a lonely old man. Because he was, and that's all he ever was. The mentions of Helen throughout the episode are also significant, because her relationship with John was the only time he was truly happy- the only time he ever mattered to anyone. He was never special, at least in my opinion. People told him he was because he wanted to believe he was, because he was sad and depressed, and his life had no meaning. Through being told he was special, John was easily manipulated, as we see through Charles Widmore and Ben. Emotion is at the heart of LOST. However, the issues with this episode's plot are too irritating not to discuss.
Firstly, all of the Oceanic Six, and Walt, don't seem to care one bit about the people they left behind. Why are they all so selfish. Even Sayid, who at this point, has nothing left in his life, doesn't want to go back. None of them even ask what happened on the Island after they left. Secondly, the motivations of Ben and Widmore are never fully explained. Both are playing a game, trying to beat the other one. This episode implies that both are trying to get back to the Island, but why did Charles Widmore want to kill everyone before, and all of a sudden wants them all to return? It makes no sense. It had been implied before that Charles Widmore was the one who had been watching the Oceanic Six, but now this episode implies it was Ben. Who is trying to kill the Oceanic Six by the way? Because it can't be Ben or Widmore, since both what to return to the Island and they need the Oceanic Six in order to do that. So who is it? It's never explained, and it's frustrating because the Oceanic Six being targeted is a major element in the plot from late season 4 to mid season 5.
Though this episode did have a lot of great scenes, something about it did feel..a little off. It went by incredibly fast, and didn't flow all too well. It felt more like a clip show than an episode of television, it was very odd. Even so, the powerful moments in the episode elevate it to something great. Without the plot holes and the strange pacing, this episode could've been one of the best episodes of LOST, but instead, it's just a pretty good episode.
The Strongest Episode of the Season so Far
So far, Season 5 has been oddly consistent in it's quality in comparison to earlier seasons of LOST. That being said, it hasn't reached the heights of any of those seasons as of yet. That being said, this season has some of the best moments yet.
So the story of this episode is essentially how the Oceanic Six return to the island. At the start I was relatively worried, the vagueness of Eloise and her insistence that we should "stop trying to understand everything" and just "believe" felt unsubtle and was just plain annoying. It was incredibly satisfying when Desmond had his outburst, and it was much needed as well, since not one of the other people even thought to question what Eloise was talking about.
One part of the episode that stood out as powerful was John's suicide note. "I Wish You Had Believed Me" is so simple yet so perfect. That along with the score made the penultimate scene of the episode incredibly strong.
Some of my frustrations with the episode were with Jack visiting his Grandad. Jack's Grandad was never mentioned before this episode and is never mentioned again, therefore that whole sequence just feels shoehorned in so that Jack can "recreate" Oceanic 815. Another part of the episode that irritates me is the sudden change of mind from most of the Oceanic Six to get on Ajira flight 815. We learn later on that Sayid was forced onto the plane, against his will, yet in this episode he barely voices a concern. We only see him mildly shocked that the rest of the Oceanic Six are on his plane. Wouldn't he try to escape or something? Also, Hurley and Kate's reasonings for coming back to the island both feel relatively underdeveloped.
The episode does get better as it goes along, with the most entertaining scenes coming on the plane with Jack and Ben. I also enjoyed the scene with Jack in the butcher's, that was a strong moment. Overall, decent episode, possibly the best of the season. It had its issues and was far from phenomenal, but I enjoyed it.
Lost: Something Nice Back Home (2008)
I'd genuinely forgotten how cringe worthy the relationship drama was on LOST, but here we are. Why does this show even have this kind of drama, it's so unfitting and far from what made it special in the first place.
So we have three main storylines going on here- all of which are meh at best. Jack has appendicitis, we see a bit more of Jack in the future and Sawyer, Claire and Miles trek through the jungle. Let's start with that one shall we.
So essentially Miles, Sawyer and Claire are travelling through the jungle back to the beach. At this point, we know that none of these people are going to make it back to the mainland, so something has to happen. Throughout these scenes we get Miles being creepy with Claire, who is being protected by Sawyer- who tells Miles "that he has a restraining order". The show uses this as an excuse for why Miles, who apparently sees Claire walk off into the jungle, doesn't intervene despite these very strange circumstances. The show plays it as a joke but all it does is make Miles come across as a massive prick. Also, the explanation for how Claire goes missing seems a little half-arsed. This is a huge mystery this season set up, maybe up there as one of the biggest. What happened to Claire? Oh, she saw her dad in the jungle and took off. Oh. Even though the show does explain this in a little more detail in S6, I find this pretty disappointing to say the least.
So then we have Jack's appendix. This is where relationship drama starts to come in. So Juliet is coupled with Jack right now, but Juliet thinks it's only so he can prove a point that he doesn't love Kate. However, he is madly in love with Kate. To be perfectly honest, I'm not sure why he's so madly in love with her. They had a bond towards the beginning of the show, but as it's progressed she's leaned further and further towards Sawyer, not showing Jack one ounce of affection. Juliet even tells her that she 'broke his heart'. Yet, after she rejected him over and over, Jack still loves her, and I find it incredibly forced for the sake of drama. Who is seriously rooting for Jack and Kate? The worst part about this sub plot is Jack's Insistence that Kate be the one to hold the mirror. What would that accomplish Jack? Is it so you can think about her while you're undergoing surgery? If he truly loved her why would he want her to see him go through surgery. Juliet and Kate's interactions in this episode are similarly cringe worthy, with almost every conversation between them revolving around Jack. I know this show is old, but this was written in the late 2000s, do they really know how to write strong female characters yet. I can't think of a main female character in this show that doesn't revolve around men, pregnancy or any other strictly feminine topic. I do understand this little sub-plot thematically- Jack "isn't supposed" to leave the island, hence why it makes him ill. But I guess all those pregnant women did something to offend the island too eh? This whole sequence just feels like it was ripped out of the most cheesy and terrible early 90s sitcom- never has LOST felt less like LOST.
So the flash-forwards are a mixed bag. And by that I mean, the flash-forwards juggle with so many plot points and themes that it winds up feeling a little defocused. I do like the idea of showing Jack's descension into what we see him as in "through the looking glass", however it winds up feeling rushed. At the start of the episode Jack is completely normal and by the end he's crazy. So something seriously bad must've have happened to him right? Well, he starts to see his dad again, even though he was completely over his dad's death- which was the whole point of the episode "White Rabbit" might I add. So that seemed a little out of place personally. Also he goes to visit Hurley, in a fantastic scene that really should've had more weight. Seeing Hurley in that state was creepy but the next time we see him in the future he's pretty much back to normal. Also, he proposes to Kate out of nowhere before they break up because Kate was doing a favour for Sawyer. Yet again, it all seemed a little forced and didn't feel very natural at all. Why is Jack so suspicious about this? Whatever, I'm sick of talking about Love triangles. I'm not really sure what the primary focus of these flashbacks are- are they about Jack's descension into madness or Jack's struggles with being a father and fatherhood in general? Or are they about his and Kate's relationship and how it fell apart, the day after he proposed to her. I can't put into words how meaningless the proposal scene is.
So yeah. Not a fan. This episode still isn't the worst of this very frustrating season, funnily enough- "The Other Woman" takes that crown. Although, the romantic sub plots in that episode are eerily similar to the ones in this one. Coincidence?
Lost: The Shape of Things to Come (2008)
Action Packed Albeit Confusing
"The Shape of Things to Come" is up there in terms of Season 4's episodes. It's exciting, action packed, emotional. It has all a great episode of television needs. Unfortunately, LOST just can't help itself in creating confusion and unanswered questions. These are what really hold it back from being something special.
One of the most jarring parts of the episode is Ben's attitude when he teleports to the Sahara desert. I can accept that he understood what would happen to him once he turned the "donkey wheel". But how he does he know this? The show implies that he's done this before, hence the pre booked room at the hotel. But when did he do this before and for what purpose? When he goes to the wheel at the end of the season they have to blow open a wall to be able to get inside, so he can't have done it before. Maybe he's just aware of what would happen if he ever has to move the island. But again? How is he aware of this? Also how did he have the very specific passport on him that he had to use in order to get into the hotel? Does he take it when he leaves the barracks? But then how would he know that he would need the specific passport that he would need in order to get into the hotel that was in the Sahara desert? It doesn't make a whole lot of sense. Also I guess he knew that it would teleport him one year into the future. Obviously this was poorly thought out, and though I imagine the writers may have had plans to explain all this....they didn't.
Point number two. What are the rules? Like, what are they? Genuinely, I am curious LOST. What are the rules? Even the show itself doesn't seem to know what "the rules" are. My personal theory is that the rules exist to explain why Ben and Charles Widmore don't just kill each other. Because with the amount of hatred they have for each other it makes no sense why they wouldn't just try to have one another Murdered. The show obviously wanted to setup this epic conflict between the two but they needed a reason for why they couldn't just have each other killed. Hence why Charles Widmore wants Ben alive for some reason. I mean, what was Charles planning on doing with Ben if Keamy had succeeded and taken him off the island? I struggle to think.
Point number three. The smoke monster is cool, but the existence of season 6 means that every scene with the smoke monster in the previous seasons makes absolutely no sense. The explanation for who/what the smoke monster is, is in my opinion the worst answered question on the show. How does the smoke monster from season 6 relate to anything it does in seasons 1,2,3,4,5. Answer: It doesn't. Case in point, this episode. Ben summons the smoke monster using some old thing, and it comes and distracts the mercenaries. In S6 they explain that, in reality, it had no control over the smoke monster and it just came by it's own choice. But in that case, how would it know to come to the barracks anyway, and to also stop all the mercenaries? Also what motivation does "The Man in Black" have to attack these guys. It doesn't kill them, but it attacks them. Why would he want them to escape if they're supposedly "Jacob's candidates", because in that case he would want them all dead like in s6 right? The answer to this question is simply, whatever the smoke monster became in season 6, it is not the same thing that we see in this pivotal scene. The smoke monster is essentially used as a plot device in this episode to explain how the characters escape.
Albeit the frustrations, there are some genuinely great moments in this episode. It's exciting throughout, especially on first watch. Keamy murdering Alex specifically stands out, with the swelling music and last ditch attempts by Ben to save his daughter especially tragic. I like that, for once, Ben wasn't able to talk his way out of a tricky situation. The flashbacks were good and enjoyable enough, not much more than that. Overall I did really like this episode despite the numerous issues that hold it back. It's up there with "The Constant" as the best of this surprisingly lacklustre season.
Lost: Meet Kevin Johnson (2008)
Another Poorly Written Outing
In "Meet Kevin Johnson", we follow Michael's story following his departure from the island, and how he came to be on Ben's boat. Personally, Season 4 has been a bit of a letdown for me on rewatch. I was really expecting a massive improvement over Season 3 but it's been just as inconsistent, if not worse. "Meet Kevin Johnson", like the majority of the episodes in this season, has numerous plot points and elements that just don't add up. That being said, it's nowhere near the worst of the season.
Let's focus on two main elements of this episode. Michael's flashback, and the stuff on the boat in present time. So, the first scene in the flashback is easily the best moment in this episode. Though the editing was a little choppy, the inclusion of "It's Getting Better" as a song choice was inspired and pretty much perfect. It doesn't really get talked about as much as the other famous needle drops in the series, such as "Downtown" and "Make Your Own Kind of Music". Lots of people hate Michael, but I honestly don't. I understood what he did much more on rewatch, therefore I was pretty emotionally invested in Michael throughout. However, one thing that really holds back this flashback is the timeline. Tom Friendly makes a return in this episode, but I struggle to see when and how this could've happened with him simultaneously being on the island. On Lostpedia it says he was off the island for 4 days in-between the season 3 episodes "Stranger in a Strange Land" and "Par Avion". Emotionally, I understand why they wanted Tom to be the one who recruits Michael, based on their prior interactions. However, it struggles to fit into the timeline. Let's assume Tom left on the submarine after they got back to the main island in "Stranger in a Strange Land". We have to assume that he left immediately, however at this point Ben is still bed-bound so this plan must have been concocted after Ben's surgery. Or, it was concocted before, but Tom decided to stay on the island until Ben had recovered. Either way, it's obvious that the writers hadn't come up with this particular storyline yet. I won't hold this against the writers though, I can't accuse them for having not planned out the entirety of season 4 by early season 3. I mean, at this point they were intentionally making terrible episodes so that the producers gave them an end date. Back to Tom, I imagine the submarine left as soon as Tom got back. The sub would need a couple of other people on, as well as a driver, although we don't see any of them- only Tom. In fact, we never meet any others who can operate a submarine or who are implied to be able to operate one. But I can accept the fact that the others' submarine guy is just an off screen extra. So how fast is this sub? Surely it would take one to two days at least to reach mainland? And that's if they're travelling to the nearest land. Then Tom would have to take at least a 12 hour flight to get to New York. So he gets to New York, but instead of immediately finding Michael he hooks up with a guy. Who this guy is, I have no idea. He seems to already be in a relationship with Tom, but Tom lives on the island. He can't just be a male hooker, so maybe he's just an old friend who Tom hooks up with anytime he's on the mainland. Then he tracks Michael and confronts him. At this point I would assume it's at least been 2-3 days since he left the island. He gets himself a bunch of food and is staying in a luxury apartment. Then Michael shows up again and he lays down the deal. He asks his guy to leave, proving he's not another other. Now, the only way he could possibly be back on the island in time for "Par Avion" is if he leaves immediately after he gives his instructions to Michael. But then why would he go through all the trouble of meeting up with a guy and getting all this mainland food if he was just gonna leave as soon as his mission was over? Even if he leaves right then after Michael leaves the apartment, he's still cutting it very short to getting back to the island to play football with Jack. But, he calls Michael after he arrives at the freighter, implying he hasn't left the mainland yet. What?! He should be miles under the ocean right now. It makes no sense whatsoever. Jack is implied to have bonded a little with Tom over his time in the barracks, but in reality Tom was gone the whole time and as soon as he gets back, his first priority is to throw a football around with Jack. Right, ok. This really doesn't add up. I overthink stuff, so I imagine this didn't bother most people, but in my opinion it wouldn't have taken that much effort to have this make any sense. It was poorly thought out by the writers. But the stupidity doesn't stop there.
So Michael arrives at the boat and we get a bit more needed context about the freighter folk, such as why Naomi flew off by herself. Her helicopter crashed into the water, implying that there were two on the freighter. But we've seen the freighter, and it just barely fits one helicopter...so how did it fit two? More plot holes are showing. But in my opinion, the biggest crime of the episode is the scene between Michael and Ben. This scene is so utterly ridiculous that it blows my mind. Firstly, when did this conversation happen? Apparently, it happened during the night of the episode "The Man from Tallahassee". I guess Michael has been on the boat about a day at this point, considering this is the same day in which Tom gets back to the island. So every single conversation Michael has on the boat took place in a day. I find that hard to believe. Also Ben's wheelchair was nowhere in sight from his perspective. Then, Ben reveals that the reason the bomb didn't go off is because "there were innocent people on that boat" and he "wanted to show the difference between himself and Charles Widmore" to Michael. This is so stupid. Why go through the trouble to have a FAKE bomb delivered as part of Michael's luggage on there boat, which is suspicious enough anyway. Why couldn't he have just told him that they weren't going to blow it up? Also, Ben would never do this. The boat only doesn't blow up for the sake of the plot. Since when has Ben cared about innocent lives? He wiped out multiple innocent members of the Dharma initiative. He tried to have Jin, Bernard and Sayid killed! He told his man to kill the island's men if they got in the way of his plan to steal the pregnant woman. The obvious assumption is that Ben is just lying here, but the show actually tries to use it as an excuse for why Ben hasn't just had Michael kill everyone yet. Also the "I needed to show you the difference between me and him" part is just stupid and I don't even need to explain why. If Ben was true to his character here, he would've had the boat blown up as soon as he could. It stops anyone getting to the island, including Charles Widmore. In fact, through Ben not having everyone killed on the boat, it indirectly leads to Keamy getting off of it in a helicopter and murdering his daughter! He should've at least had Michael sabotage the "helicopters" (wink wink). Massive plot holes right here. I guess Ben really isn't as smart as we thought. Also, Charles Widmore is just as incompetent. He's clearly an incredibly rich man if he can stage an entire plane crash, so when he finally finds the island he sends.....one freighter. One! Was he low on cash. If he wanted to capture Ben and regain control over the island, why didn't he just send a whole bunch of freighters? Why didn't he go himself? What's his endgame here? What's his plan? Why does he want to kill everyone on the island but in season 6 he wants to keep all of them alive because they're Jacob's candidates? Excluding season 6, why does he want to kill everyone anyway? To make sure no one escapes it and his staged plane gets found out? Honestly this whole episode is just plot hole after plot hole after plot hole. It should've been centred around the emotional aspect of Michael's decision to become Ben's spy. That's the strength of the show. We didn't need the scene with Ben, Tom could've just given instructions to Michael about finding out names and destroying the communications.
On surface level, this episode is fairly enjoyable, but the more you think about it, the more stupid it becomes.
A Real Mixed Bag
"D.O.C" is a generally enjoyable episode of LOST even if it has some glaring issues.
For one, you can clearly see the minds of the writers' with the decision to bring back Mikhail. Personally, I think they originally wanted him to die at the barrier, but when they realised they were in a bit of a knot they decided to bring him back. You see, Mikhail had to either die, or join back up with the others. If he escaped, he would have found the others again. The writers chose the die option. And he's very clearly dead in "Par-Avion" because Sayid, Kate and Locke are all pretty knowledgable people. I don't think we saw it on screen, but I imagine Sayid checked his heart rate and/or breathing just to be sure. They wouldn't just leave him there without checking. So he's dead, great. However, at this point I imagine the writers had already layered out their plan to conclude the season. However, with them planning to have Juliet betray the others, she couldn't be the one to tell Ben that Naomi had parachuted onto the island, so how would be find out? Answer: Mikhail. I guess he was just knocked out before, or paralysed? Not only that, but Naomi is clearly very injured, and none of the crew that went out to find her are doctors or have any proper medical experience. Answer: Mikhail. He has medical experience. So, they can just bring him back to life and it kills two birds with one stone. Also isn't it weird that he was the ONLY person who happened to see the flare go off, as well as being at a relatively close distance? And of course, he makes a deal with the group that he's allowed to leave and go back to his people. This is all so the finale can make sense. But, wait...in the next episode he returns to the others' camp. How did he know where they were? How could he have any possible idea where the others were if he had been knocked out from the barriers? I assumed he was just wandering in the jungle and it's just a coincidence that he was near Desmond and the boys. But maybe he has tracking skills, maybe he was following the others from the barracks, to see where they went. So in that case, if he was on their trail, surely the others would have seen Hurley's flare? He couldn't have been that far away if he arrives at the others' camp fairly quickly afterwards. Wouldn't the others have been suspicious. They specify that they're an hours' walk from the beach, but surely someone would have seen the flare, surely. It just doesn't add up. I can see why Mikhail was brought back but bringing him back to life causes an array of plot holes and inconsistencies. With all that being said, this section is moderately entertaining to watch if you ignore all the plot holes. It was some standard drama for a drama show, "someone important is dying and we have to save them". Also Jin is suddenly a karate master, even though we've never seen him do any of this before. Whatever, it's fine, it isn't awful.
So, let's move on to Juliet and Sun. This is a decent little story, which could've been incredibly dull. Yet, the writers made it work for the most part. I like Juliet, but at times her character frustrates me. People are always asking her "why are you taking children, why are you people here, what are you doing" etc. And she always dodges the questions. Let me rephrase, the writers always dodge the question. It's irritating, because the writers know that the survivors would be itching for answers about the others, but they also know that they haven't come up with an answer yet, hence the consistent cryptic responses from Juliet that don't tell us anything new. "They all die." We know this from Juliet's flashbacks already, but we don't know why they all die yet. I know it's probably from some sort of radiation or electromagnetic nonsense and I can accept that. But in that case, why does the Island have healing powers? Why does Jacob heal Juliet's sister? Why can't Jacob just heal all the pregnant women on the island if he can heal Juliet's sister who has cancer? Ugh. I can understand why the writers don't really focus on the pregnancy storyline in future seasons because not only is it uninteresting but it's also confusing as hell. So I guess the island has healing powers...except when it comes to pregnant women. The island/Jacob must be evil if they give men 5x the sperm rate and at the same time make women die during child birth. Enough about the mysteries now, let's move onto this storyline specifically. It's good. Juliet is good, and Sun is good. There isn't much more to it than that. I like that this episode has a significant emotional moment for Juliet (who finally makes a pregnant woman happy by telling them they're pregnant) as well as for Sun. This episode is the logical conclusion to the drama about Sun's baby and "who's the father", although I'm pretty sure it still gets brought up in a later episode anyway. It bothers me how Juliet at first seems to be really connecting with the survivors, and then becomes cold and lifeless every time we see her doing traitorous 'other' stuff. I wish the writers had set up her betrayal of her people a bit better, maybe have the emotional moments she has with Sun, Claire and Jack clearly affect her emotionally, and instead she maybe seems a little more reluctant to continue to do Ben's bidding. It's important for the plot that she leaves that voice message for Ben, because it enables Locke to tell Sawyer who'll confront Juliet later on, but she still seems 100% loyal. The droning, dramatic, evil music doesn't help either. I like to think the connections she makes with the survivors is what leads to her changing sides, but we just don't see it unfortunately. Anyway, Great acting in the D.O.C scene from Sun and Juliet, it was a great emotional moment that this show thrives on. Let's move on.
So there's one other storyline in this episode- the flashbacks. I can't really seem to make my mind up on them. They come really late in the "flashback-timeline" of the show, and it's one of the last flashbacks we'll ever see from the main survivors. In some ways, it's not as useless as some of the other flashbacks we see. Desmond was a monk? Wow, how interesting. Oh yeah, Kate said she was married! How interesting. Strangely though, the themes of Shame in relation to Jin and his father actually work. Through Jin's fathers shame about who his mother was, we better understand his complete forgiveness of his son when he decides to tell Sun he is dead, because he is ashamed that he's a fisherman. It plays quite nicely into the "like-father, like-Sun" trope. This flashback isn't amazing or anything, Season 1 and 2 have some incredible flashback episodes. But this one is surprisingly good. It's much better than the Sun-Jin flashback in season 2 where Jin works at a hotel and then meets Sun right at the end. Because everyone meets their true love during a random encounter on the street. Any normal person would just say "sorry, I'll help you" and then leave. But no it's a TV show so they look deep into each others' eyes as they immediately recognise they are soulmates. I wonder how the conversation went after that stare. "You wanna go out" "Sure, you could just be a creep I randomly met on the street, but I'll go out with you!". I'm getting side tracked. I like that Jin's mother isn't really his mother, she's just the person who gave birth to him. And for someone who dumped a baby they have birth to in a fisherman's hut, it makes perfect sense to me that they'd try and blackmail an incredibly rich family when they realised their son they abandoned married into it. The best scene in the episode is Sun meeting Jin's dad. Without a doubt, there is no character as pure and as likeable as Jin's dad on this show. Every scene he's in (which is only two now that I think about it) is made better just by his presence. And I'll state again, I like how his own actions (keeping a secret from loved ones) are reflected directly bu Jin. The one part I don't like is the interaction between Sun and her father. The episode tries to rewrite it as Sun's fault that Jin got a promotion into a hitman. Why? What's the point? Why are they making a point about him being a "floor manager" before? Why is it now, when Sun randomly asks him for money, that her father is like "right. That's it. Now he's gonna be a hitman that beats people up for me." There's no reason to change what we already know here- Sun's father would only let Jin marry Sun if he did some very classified and secretive work for him, because he doesn't have anyone else to fulfil that duty on a consistent basis. Also he knows that Jin will be 100% loyal to him because otherwise he loses Sun. That totally makes sense to me.
Let's conclude. Overall, I enjoyed this episode. It was above average and was a little more enjoyable than the previous one, which only really had one storyline out of three that wasn't painfully boring. I liked all three of the storylines, even if I had some issues with some of them. It's far from my favourite, it's not super strong emotionally and it isn't that fast in terms of story development, but it's a decent mid to late season filler episode. 6/10.
Mr. Robot: shutdown -r (2017)
Moments of brilliance hidden away under general mediocrity
Let's get this straight. I love Mr. Robot. I love the style, the music, the acting, the story. Season 3 in particular has been a blast to watch, and reaches heights the show has never even come close to reaching in the past. Yet as this season has come to an end it almost feels as if the direction of the show has teetered off a bit. The season peaked in episodes 5,6,7 and then dwindled down into a fairly predictable and bland last few episodes. Considering the critical perception behind the finale I was expecting something pretty mind blowing but I ended up feeling fairly underwhelmed.
I did enjoy "shutdown -r " as a whole and it wasn't difficult to watch. It still had the show's usual great directing, acting and cinematography, even if it wasn't the most flashy episode in any of those aspects. But the plot and story structure is the most inconsistent part of the show as a whole and that's where I found issue with a lot of this episode.
So the general plot of this episode is that the stakes are at an all time high - all the characters we care about are in danger and the resolution to that is that everyone is being brought to the safe houses' barn, presumably to be killed. It is nice to see all the major characters (excluding Tyrell, but we'll get to him later) interact and be in the same room, though for this show it felt oddly out of character. Maybe this is just personal taste but it just felt all too convenient and simple to have the main action take place in this setting. Also the "setting" of a barn is fairly bland and mostly uninteresting and ended up taking away from lots of the tension this episode tried to build up.
Let's move onto the FBI. This is the part of the episode that I thought was handled the best. The sheer hatred the viewer has for Santiago for being a mole is massively turned on it's head when we see the exact same thing happen to Dom, and we realise that all of our hatred was misplaced. Dom's general development across the season has been great but I think that her new status really put Santiago's character into perspective and developed him despite him being brutally murdered (which at first seemed satisfying but now after we learn what likely happened to him seems much more horrific). Sam Esmail was extremely clever with how he portrayed this whole "mole" situation and it didn't feel like he was just reusing his same bag of tricks that he always uses.
However one of the more confusing parts of the episode for me was everything going on with Grant/Whiterose/Irving. Whiterose is a great villain who barely had any presence in this episode- and her whole romance with Grant seems very much underdeveloped and really took away from the twist at the end. It didn't seem all that shocking that Whiterose would dispose of Grant considering the viewer doesn't really know whether Whiterose truly trusts him- and their love for each other is similarly underdeveloped. Before this we've only really had one scene exploring their romance and before that he only seemed like an assistant of some sort. Grant is probably one of the least interesting characters on the show to me. Irving has been a great character this season and he was good again this episode- although his reveal that he was once with Whiterose seemed to come out of nowhere.
Let's move onto the main action point of the episode; the barn shootout/Price's reveal. I've already spoken about the barn being a fairly dry and uninteresting setting to have this big event take place in- it didn't seem very Mr. Robot at all. Yet this episode did create a generally tense and exciting atmosphere at times. But when I think back, episode 2.8 used a very similar technique with the same soundtrack and was much more effective in creating atmosphere and tension. This episode felt like it was trying to recreate the closing scene from that one, and it felt much less purposeful. The decision to contrast the reveal of Price being Angela's father with Elliot/Darlene about to be executed is baffling. Both moments could be great on their own, but each constantly swapping between each other just took away a lot of tension, especially in the Price/Angela section. How am I supposed to care about Price being Angela's father when two of the show's most important characters are seconds from death? Elliot's last minute plea to help Whiterose move her project to the Congo quicker also seemed way too easy to me. I imagine this sequence will lose its effect on rewatch because ultimately it didn't amount to anything particularly interesting. And I don't like to go on about killing off characters; but come on man! Don't become game of thrones Mr. Robot. Characters died in this episode but not any main characters and it somewhat bugged me and generally felt too Plot-armoury to me. Especially Darlene, who I love, but who's time as a character feels like it's been running out since the start of this season. I was sure she was going to die when her and Elliot made the "revenge" deal, but I guess the show kind of forgot about a lot of things that happened this season, which is especially out of character for Sam Esmail who's attention to detail is part of the reason I got hooked on the show. But something else the show kind of forgot was what to do with certain characters, especially Tyrell.
Tyrell's lack of appearance in this episode is telling. I may be wrong by the next season but it definitely feels like Esmail ran out of ideas for him, and because of that reason I thought his time was also up. But similarly to Darlene he's still just hanging about. Maybe Esmail has a plan for all the characters he kept around in season 4, and I bloody well hope he does because at times it honestly seemed like very little planning and thought went into the majority of the characters' conclusion this episode.
Following the focal point of the episode, we get a couple more scenes to finish off, which make it very clear that Esmail is doing a "reset" and that this final season will mirror season 1 in a lot of ways. The scene with Elliot and Mr. Robot mirrored season 1 in an especially obvious way, and while many people loved that scene I found it quite cheesy and forgettable. But the fact that they are on the same side is an interesting plot point and I'm admittedly intrigued to see what they do with it in season 4. Vera's return feels very odd, though I imagine Esmail wouldn't bring him back without a plan in mind. The idea of reversing the hack is something I have mixed feelings on though I can't really comment on it until I see what they do with it.
I know I've given a lot of complaints about the episode's story- though a lot of it really comes down to personal taste over all else. For me this episode didn't feel like mr robot at all. This show has always struggled with finales- season 1's is very much a Segway into season 2 and season 2's is confusing as all hell. But at least those two finales still felt like Mr. Robot. This episode in turn makes the previous episode feel all the more rushed. Season 4 has got glowing reviews, so I'm still hyped, but the best season of this show has one of the most disappointing episodes too.
Avengers: Endgame (2019)
Grand though Not Without Problems
Just saw the movie, so I thought I'd review it while it is still fresh in my mind. If you don't want to hear my whole review, I'll just give my overall non-spoiler thoughts here. Watch it. Try not to think about it too much like I did. Appreciate the epic scale of Endgame, because boy it was epic. But don't think about the plot too much, because you could ruin the movie for yourself. Anyway, now onto my review, from start to the end.
So, the film begins dark. Just as infinity war ended. We see Hawkeye's family dust away, as everyone predicted. This is a great opening to the film actually and really brings the darkness of the snapping straight back into the film. So the plot moves very quickly from here, and Iron Man is rescued by surprise surprise Captain Marvel who happens to find him in space by luck/convinience. I have literally no investment in Captain Marvel, so this bugged me a little, but whatever. He arrives back, and it's difficult to watch him finally lose all hope as he doesn't even care about going back to stop Thanos anymore. Robert Downey Jr's performance here is great, and he ends up being the film's best performance. Keep in mind that this is pretty much only 15-20 minutes into the film, and they rest of the gang are already off to stop Thanos. They arrive quickly and learn that Thanos destroyed all the stones- because he's not an idiot. Then he is brutally beheaded by Thor, and the first act ends. I actually really like this first act. It's really good and doesn't have any glaring issues or problems except Iron Man's return to space. It's dark and depressing just like Infinity War. Then we move onto a very long and tedious second act.
So 5 years after the snap everyone is still pretty depressed but they have all moved on. Iron Man now has a family and doesn't want to sacrifice that to save the universe again, which he will inevitably end up doing. Thor is kind of a joke character now, though with some pretty dark undertones. He gets fat and drinks beer all the time because the guilt that he couldn't kill Thanos before the snap has consumed him. Hawkeye is on a killing rampage and there is a really epic scene with him set in Japan, where the directing had some interesting style to it which is something that many MCU films don't have. Hulk is now one. He is both Banner and Hulk. I kind of like this, as it ends the whole Banner vs Hulk arc but it's sad we never get to see an actual Hulk smash so the pay off with his character is less satisfying. Ant-Man then returns through sheer luck- a rat saves him by luckily activating the quantum thingy. This bugged me, but again if you don't think too hard it shouldn't bother you- but still it's far fetched. Anyway here comes the time travel. All the people decide to group up again because reasons (not good ones) and then they time travel each splitting up to the past. So time travel is a difficult concept to put in a film, and unfortunately End Game executes it quite poorly. The fan service is great but the avengers change the past quite significantly and this has no effect whatsoever on the future. They all retrieve the infinity stones, yet when they return to the future everyone is still dead....what? If they stole the infinity stones, even just one of them, Thanos couldn't have snapped and therefore when they got back everyone would be fine....NOPE. Everyone is still dead and everything is the same. So anyway they resnap and everyone comes back yaaaaaaay. However they are quickly interrupted by another plot hole, Thanos. Onto the third act.
The third act is epic. But Thanos returning makes no sense. So the Thanos from the past discovers the plan the avengers from the future are having, and goes forward in time. There's a lot of plot holes with this, but I'll only talk about the obvious one. How did he do this? He doesn't have anything on his ship to go forward in time and all Nebula does is use the machine and he appears with his entire army out of it. Oh well. This is saved by the rest of this act. Which is very exciting and epic. It's a massive fight scene, and the scene when all the snapped people return is absolutely phenomenal. The only thing that really bothers me is Captain Marvel. They win and ironically Thanos is turned to dust by iron man. Then Iron Man dies, and that's the end of the third act.
The rest of the movie is essentially the pay off, and details where everyone goes and reuniting with each of their respective families and friends. Then we also learn about Captain America's ending, which is actually perfect when you don't think about it, but when you do more time travel nonsense messes with my head.
As a whole, the plot hole that is the second act is saved by the first, third and epilogue. If I wasn't a fan of this universe I probably would have disliked this film, but really if you have no investment in this universe- don't watch this, because you will hate it. The finality of this movie is what makes me like it, and even with all it's issues, it's epic, grand, and a heart-warning ending.
The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (2018)
Unique and Fun
The latest Coen brothers film is extremely entertaining and may just be my favourite film of 2018 so far.
The directing is pretty phenomenal in this film, as it is in nearly ever film Joel and Ethan Coen make. The dialogue was probably my favourite part of the film, they really managed to capture the Wild West theme in a way that I haven't seen for a long time. The acting was fine, though nothing special, though Tim Blake Nelson was hilarious. The whole concept behind this film is pretty unique and it's nice to see a movie that goes against the formula for once.
The first segement, "The Ballad of Buster Scruggs" was easily the best and hammers down early on to not take this movie too seriously. The second segement was also very funny and entertaining. These first two really reminded me how brutal the Wild West used to be and it was quite surprising to see some very unsatisfying endings to both of these stories. Segement three is much slower and darker and I think that they maybe could have put this one 4th, because it felt like the tone changed way too quickly from the 2nd segement to the third. If they maybe put the 4th segement there instead which is very much in the middle in terms on tone it would have felt much more natural and wouldn't have felt like the tone switched so quickly. I like that the movie included different tones though, I just wish it was handled a bit better. The 4th segement is also great, and so is the 5th segement despite it being the longest one. The 6th segement of the film is interesting, to say the least. It's pretty much a dialogue based section with a very dark and underlying theme to it, and it's an interesting concept although I felt it didn't grasp me as much as it could have.
Overall, what really brought this film life and character was it's phenomenal screenplay, which is so well written and yet simple at the same time. Great film, 9/10.
Breaking Bad: Pilot (2008)
An Intriguing Beginning
I'm fairly embarrassed to say that I'm watching this critically acclaimed show for the first time. The hype around Breaking Bad is something I've never been able to understand. The premise behind the show has never been that interesting to me. Sure, it's a creative idea, but would it work as a show? Apparently it does according to critics and the general public. But i finally decided to sit down and watch it, and I can definetly say I'm intrigued.
While this definetly wasn't the ground-breaking pilot i was expecting, it was far from bad. It was actually pretty good. The main focus I found to be the Tragedy on this character, Walter White, who just seems to have the most boring but also tragic life ever. I disliked a couple of the scenes involving his character towards the start, mainly the birthday party scene, which involved a pretty annoying and unbearable character wishing Walt a happy birthday in the most condescending way I have ever seen. It was quite sad seeing the life of this character, and what I found great is that all we needed were a few scenes showing Walter's daily routine to see how depressing his life is.
The other character, Jesse Pinkman, I'm assuming is going to be a secondary character, has a lot of room to become an interesting character. I'm hoping we don't get any flashback sequences explaining his backstory and that it's included in clever dialogue and writing.
The reason a lot of Pilots don't seem to impress me often is that they don't really give a scope of the rest of the show, but this episode definetly did. Whilst the character moments with Walter were upsetting, they were a little bit slow and had it been on in the background I probably would have turned it off out of boredom. But past that first section the episode picked up, and I'm very glad it got straight to the action and point of the show instead of spending a few pointless episodes building it up. I'm expecting big things from you Breaking Bad.