Monday, March 24, 2008

If Mikhail is Rasputin, then Michael is Wile E. Coyote - persistent yet epically incompetent

Because of a trip home, I missed my normal Saturday early afternoon window for a re-watch of LOST and a post on the episode, so I apologize for this being a little later than usual as a few of you have pointed out. Anyway, I have lots of little thoughts on the mostly satisfying "Meet Kevin Johnson", an episode that reminded me of "Flashes Before Your Eyes", but maybe that is only because the flashback in both occupied almost the entire episode - although I do feel like it was time well spent.

We'll start with "WAAWWWW-ELLLLLAWTTTT!"'s dad. As I pointed out last week, I am not a huge fan of Michael and wish that Jin had rearranged his face Mr. Potato Head-style now, especially since Jin's watch was used to pawn a gun in order to commit suicide, an act Michael can't even effectively complete. Seriously, can this clown do anything right? I was impressed with the performance of the post-Island Michael and his strained relationship with the son he desperately wants to be a father to. That being said, I couldn't entirely buy his motivation for accepting the ride on the Flying Dutchman. Perhaps the producers painted themselves into a corner on this one, but it was tough to swallow. Michael is dangerously single-minded, his only goal being getting Walk back. Fine. Michael gets on the freighter to help his fellow 815 survivors and subsequently redeems himself for going Hannibal in the hatch, and is then reunited with Walt who realizes that his father is a hero. Fine. I buy that. What I don't buy is that Michael would get onto the freighter thinking "OK, I am going to show Walt what a redemptive soul I have by blowing up the entire ship and its crew, including myself, but never get to be reunited with my boy." That doesn't make any sense. Why would he want to continue on his suicidal path if he sees a way to right wrongs and ultimately show Walt the man his father truly is? Suicide before he meets Zeke in the alley = OK. Suicide afterwards = no sense. This was the most difficult part of the episode to swallow and it served as an obstacle from truly suspending my disbelief, a vital buy-in when you are watching LOST.

That being said, we now know why Jack could jump off the bridge on-ramp in the opening minutes of the season three finale - the Island wouldn't let him. This is also the second time "the Island" is said to have some mystical, controlling power off its rock - Hurley made the first allusion shooting hoops at the end of the season premier. I'm not sure where this is going, but it is an interesting thread to keep an eye on.

A couple more things Michael related. Zeke acknowledges that the Others have been keeping tabs on Michael since he returned to the mainland. This is the second time in three episodes - along with the Widmore beat down caught on tape - there has been an indication that the Others have an active network off the Island that serve some unknown purpose beyond 815 survivor espionage. Again, no huge insight here, but important to note and keep tabs on. How do they get off the Island? Was the sub the only way? I still think there is a landing strip somewhere on the Island.

I also think Michael gets stuck back on the Island, otherwise he would have been hailed as a member of the Oceanic and used that opportunity to serve as his coming out party - although the logistics of doing that and including Walt so he wouldn't have to hide in his bedroom under an assumed name could be difficult. And while Sayid coldly outed Michael to Cap'n Gault, I'm not entirely sure that the big guy didn't already know that Michael was an 815 survivor. Sayid clearly doesn't think Michael can be trusted more than those on the freighter and his nicely written - but cryptic - note about not trusting the captain clearly didn't do the trick. And I loved Ben's chilling reminder that Michael killed the insufferable Ana Lucia and tender (yet apparently mentally unstable) Libby. Speaking of Libby, I hope her brief flashes in Michael's conscious serve as a harbinger of future appearances. I still hold out hope that she has more impact on LOST's overarching story motif. We still don't know her last name.

More confusion on who put the plane at the bottom of the Pacific. This week evidence was shown to implicate Widmore as the reverse treasure hunter, but I'm still not sure you can discount Ben as the culprit. First off, that "evidence" was sort of flimsy and easily falsified. And why exactly would Widmore want the flight data recorder if it exposed the wreckage site as a fraud? There is always the possibility that the flight data recorder supports the crashed and sunk at sea with everyone aboard sequence of events, but by no means do I think the photo and order form discounts Ben/the Others from staging the 815 fuselage. When Lapidus was discussing with who he believed to be Kevin about 815, Lapidus subtly indicated that he is the reason that Widmore doesn't believe that 815 has been found. This web is getting awfully tangled.

Finally Rousseau and Carl. Carl was a logical choice to bite the bullet, a peripheral character who is clearly expendable, but Rousseau's death seemed sloppy and ill-timed, much like Eko's (although there were other reasons as to why Eko needed off the show). I had always hoped for a Rousseau back story, recounting her first few days on the Island, the illness that her fellow crew members succumb to, and properly placing her tile in the larger LOST mosaic. Her untimely end will not likely afford ourselves that opportunity and her storyline will almost without question feel incomplete. While I think most people will assume that Ben deliberately sent the trio into an ambush to separate Alex from her mother and dispose of the troublesome Carl, I'll leave you with an alternative theory...Cap'n Gault and Widmore have sent Lapidus and Keamy to the Island in order to capture Alex so that she can be used as leverage against Ben. We don't know where the helicopter has gone off to (one can assume the Island) and there's likely a reason to have shown Keamy practicing his shot off the side of the boat during the episode...

Also, if you want to irresponsibly speculate how Aaron ends up with the Oceanic 6, take a closer look to the preview shown at the end of the episode. 30 days until a new episode. It is going to be very interesting to see how the final five episodes of the season are paced.


Rob WG Jackman said...

I think the fake plane can be layed at the feet of Ben or the others. That evidence against Widmore? A purchase order? I can see the conversation going something like this:

Salesperson: So, that's one Boeing 757. Do you have a P.O. number I should include?

Ben: Yes... let me look it up here... it's 38709.

Salesperson: Great! I'll have a reciept sent to you today. We appreciate your business!

Leah said...

you know what--that is a really brilliant point that it was probably lapidus and that huge boat guy that killed karl and rousseau...i never put that together. they showed him shooting probably for that reason.