Thursday, March 13, 2008

Lost: "Ji Yeon"

I'm taking the time to post yet another one of my increasingly irregular posts to talk about tonight's episode of Lost, which was one of the most emotionally powerful episodes the series has yet produced. Spoilers ahead if you haven't watched it; maybe one or two spoilers even if you have.

I have to admit, I guessed the flashback/flash forward twist immediately. I knew Sun was in a flash forward, having been rescued from the island (the pregnant belly was a hint); and somehow I knew Jin was in a flashback the second I saw him, even though it wasn't explicitly spelled out till the end of his flashback scenes. There were hints throughout his scenes, though: his old-style cell phone (as opposed to Jack's ultra-sleek cell phone in the very first flash forward, at the end of last season); his incredibly violent threat to the man who stole his taxi (indicating his thuggish pre-island persona); the mere fact of his separation from (what we were supposed to presume was) Sun when she went into labor, and his stalling over a stuffed animal rather than rushing to her side; and the toy shop proprietor's mentioning of the year of the dragon -- I had to Google the fact that the last year of the dragon was 2000 (Oceanic 815 crashed in 2004), but it felt very obvious to me that the blatant insertion of the year into the dialogue was meant to be a telling detail.

It feels like we haven't had a Sun or Jin episode in a long, long time, and the last time we had one, I felt like I'd had enough of them for a while. But this one just knocked me over. It was absolutely heart-wrenching the whole way through: during the flash forward scenes, when Sun was calling for Jin, and I knew he wasn't going to be showing up; when Juliet spilled the secret of Sun's affair to Jin, devastating both of them; when Bernard had his talk about marriage and commitment on the fishing boat with Jin; when Jin finally forgave Sun, and told her he would never leave her... all tremendously moving. And finally, when we see Sun by herself in the flash forward, and know for sure something must be wrong... when Hurley shows up at her door, as though he's the only friend she has in the world (and maybe he is)... and when Hurley at last says, "I guess we should, like, go see him," I knew where they were going, and I was already fighting back tears. Man, when they got to the gravestone, I just started saying, "Oh, no. Oh, no." They just wrecked me. It really, really worked. I was torn up. Jin doesn't make it. Jin's dead.

The rest of the episode had plenty of nice moments packed into it as well. Back on the boat, we finally get to see Zoe Bell, whose voice we've been hearing through the satellite phone all season. And what does she do almost immediately? She wraps herself in chains, steps off the edge of the boat, and drowns herself. Holy crap! You'd think, after the trouble of teasing her appearance (via the phone calls) for so long, she'd stick around longer than two scenes. Guess not! Nice shocker, guys. And they pulled off a similar shock a couple weeks back, with Fisher Stevens. He's appeared in the main cast credits for every episode this season, despite never being seen. I don't know about you, but I was really looking forward to his showing up. And the first episode he appears in, he dies! They even took his name out of the credits to hammer home the finality of his death. Damn you, Lost! Quit screwing around like that! No, wait, don't. It's things like that which are making this season so freakin' awesome.

Another new appearance on the boat: Captain Gault, whom the rest of the crew (and, presumably, Ben's spy on the boat) have been warning Sayid and Desmond about since the second they set foot onboard. Yet he seems to be the most straightforward of the whole crew. And, if he is as straightforward as he seems, we know Charles Widmore, Penny's father and owner of the boat, was not responsible for the fake Oceanic 815 wreckage discovered at the beginning of the season (as I had been leaning toward); rather, it seems Ben may have been behind it. Interesting. What can't that dude do?

And one more surprise on the boat: the return of Michael. We all knew he was coming back; like Fisher Stevens, his name (well, Harold Perrineau's name) has been in the credits all season long. And we all knew (I think we all knew, didn't we?) that he'd be coming back on the boat, as Ben's spy. Not that he's confirmed as Ben's spy yet, but I'm sure he will be. Now, we just need to find out why he's on the boat, spying for Ben; undoubtedly, it will prove to have something to do with Walt.

A few other nice tidbits: in Sun's flash forward, when Hurley shows up, he asks, "Is anyone else coming?" When Sun says no, Hurley lets out a deeply relieved, "Good." Wow, seems like the rift between Hurley and the rest of the Oceanic 6 is pretty dramatic. Speaking of which, the show's creators have stated that by episode 7 of this season, we would know the identities of all the Oceanic 6. Tonight's was the 7th episode. And we know for sure only five of them: Jack, Kate, Hurley, Sayid, and Sun. Who is the sixth? Are thy counting Aaron (Claire's, now Kate's, child), who wasn't even born when the plane crashed? Or did Ben pose as one of the survivors? Interesting, interesting.

Also, when Sun and Hurley visit Jin's grave, his date of death is 9/22/2004. That's the date that Oceanic 815 crashed. So the story, apparently, as far as the rest of the world is concerned, is that Jin died in the crash. Which makes me wonder... is Jin still alive? Is his grave only a cover story? Are Sun and Hurley at the grave not to visit his dead body (or a marker for his dead body), but rather to use it as a proxy for speaking to Jin directly? Because, for some reason, he's still on the island? Oh, wow, man, wow. Fingers crossed.

Lost is better than ever in this fourth season. Every episode has been full of teeth-kicking twists and turns, and wonderful character moments. After all the hand-wringing (much of it from me) during the beginning of last season over whether or not Lost had lost its direction, there hasn't been a wasted episode from the second half of last season through tonight. This is a show at its peak, and it's absolutely the best show being produced by a broadcast network. I'm so glad my devotion to this show never swayed, even when my bitching about it was the loudest (as I've said many times: no matter what, I'm in till the end), because it is paying off in spades, every single week. Great, great stuff.

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