Sunday, February 10, 2008

Outside Looking In

Arguably one of the few saving graces of the writers' strike (evidently now settled) may have been forcing the creators of Lost to no longer dally in showing their cards. This season's second episode chose to lay four big ones on the table -- the would-be rescuers of our castaways: Daniel (Jeremy Davies), Miles (Ken Leung), Frank (Jeff Fahey), and Charlotte (Rebecca Mader), each one with a economically-conveyed backstory and personalities distinctive from each other as well as the established characters. (Leung, in particular, registered the strongest in his debut; I remember him as an intrepid scene-stealer as far back as the Ed Norton/Ben Stiller comedy Keeping the Faith.)

As for the storyline itself, it seems a bit of a letdown that they're on the island to come after Ben. (Michael Emerson continues to do creepily effective work, but he's about to outlive his purpose on the show.) On the plus side, it's great to see the show's expansiveness with this new corps of characters, pulling us off the hermetically-sealed events on the island to something resembling terra firma. It's also fun to see just how far the protagonists have come since their hellish experiences with "the Others." When Sayid and Juliet -- aided by Jack -- get the drop on Miles and Daniel, they show a resourcefulness that has been lacking in too many contrived idiot plots. I don't know where Lost is going or what all the clues mean (though, as usual, some seem to be overthinking it), but for the first time in a long while I'm happy being in the dark.


Ed Howard said...

Starting with last season's finale, "Through the Looking Glass," Lost seems to have really gotten back on track. The flashbacks had long outlived their usefulness and were just being used to stall things and slow down the storytelling, so the shift to flash-forwards (along with the quick, economical flashbacks for new characters like in this episode) has been a great change, re-injecting some urgency into things. It also seems like the creative team has settled on a definite endpoint and is now moving towards it. They're obviously aiming at a point when the island's present catches up to the flash-forwards, and the "Oceanic Six," whoever they turn out to be, will have to return to the island to set things straight, whatever that turns out to entail. This new directionality is a nice change since the show, though almost always entertaining, stalled and faltered quite a bit the last two seasons. The last three episodes have actually gotten me really excited about the show for the first time since the season two premiere's introduction of Desmond.

Agreed about Ken Leung, by the way, he was great (and hilarious), and seems like a truly original character. I thought Jeremey Davies was equally intriguing, though his flashback didn't give up much information about him -- his jittery, awkward energy definitely brings something new to the show as well.

And next week, Zoe Bell should be making her first appearance (she was just a voice on a phone this time around) so I'm very excited for that as well.

Craig said...

Great comments, Ed. And thanks for the heads'-up on Zoe Bell -- I saw her in the opening credits but thought I'd missed her!