Lost Round Table: “What Happened, Happened”

We continue with our round-table discussions of Lost. This week, we’re joined by Bridget McGovern and Melissa Frain. As always, spoilers abound, so stay away from this post if you haven’t watched the latest episode of Lost, “Whatever Happened, Happened.”

Melissa: I am relieved to say that after last week’s episode—which was mediocre enough that I only got around to finishing it earlier tonight—I thought this week was pretty fantastic. This is despite the fact that we were subjected to that godawful “Catch a Falling Star” song as performed by Evangeline Lilly in the first five minutes. That was hard for me.

Once we got past that, though… I have to say, I thought Matthew Fox was pretty stellar this episode. I mentioned two weeks ago that I was intrigued by how willing Jack seemed (to me) to step back and let Sawyer take over as leader. He spent all that time complaining about having to make decisions for everybody before, and now he is finally able to let the others pick up some responsibility. He doesn’t quite seem to know how to do that, does he?

(Side note – I really love when both Jack and Kate make attempts to be their old badass leader selves and the Dharma folks are all, “The hell? Go sit down.”)

Anyway, this is a great, bizarre new thing they’re doing with Jack relinquishing control. That whole Locke dying situation has finally made him question his Man of Science identity. But does anybody else feel like having Jack thinking more like Locke is going to turn out badly? He’ll probably start thinking he doesn’t have to do shit because whatever’s meant to happen will happen anyway.  I envision Locke a few episodes down the line, running around flailing and demanding to know why Jack always insists on taking things too far and getting it wrong.

On another note, I was offended on Richard Alpert’s behalf when Kate seemed unsure whether he’d be able to save Little Ben’s life. Uh, he’s Richard Alpert. I’ll go ahead and credit him with saving MY life numerous times merely by existing (…on a television program); of course he can save Ben. I predict that next week we will see the child Ben emerge fully healthy and sporting some fashionable new eye makeup. Resurrection by Extreme Makeover. (yesIknowthatNestorCarbonellisnotwearingeyeliner)

Bridget: Agreed! I know a lot of people aren’t too fond of Kate (since, yeah, she’s kind of boring, can’t sing, and cries all the damn time) but for a relatively Kate-centric episode, this did a fantastic job of filling in vital backstory while exploring the complexities of the survivors’ “present” reality (namely Dharmaville, 1977).

The developments in the Jack-Kate-Sawyer-Juliet Tetrahedron of Love don’t feel as inevitable or hackneyed as one might expect (or at least, the tensions don’t seem completely recycled yet), and I liked all the exploration of various people’s motives. Jack thinks he came back to the Island to save people, but Juliet argues that he came back for himself. Kate thinks she took Aaron because he needed her, but Cassidy (the always fantastic Kim Dickens) informs her that she actually needed him, in order to get over Sawyer. And like Melissa, I also am intrigued by how much Jack seems to be echoing Locke lately on the topic of The Island and its Will.

My favorite parts of the episode, however, centered on the ongoing conversation between Miles and Hurley (beginning with a “Back to the Future” reference which, hilariously, directly echoed fellow blogger Jason Henninger’s comment on last week’s thread). Their debate over the finer points of time travel played out like “Rosencrantz and Guidenstern meet Bill and Ted”—it was, frankly, awesome. Once again, the writing really helps the audience to feel like we’re all in this fascinating mess together, characters and fans alike, trying to sort out this crazy puzzle and make some sense of all the angles. It’s brilliant.

Did anyone else feel that there was something almost vampiric about Richard’s warning before accepting young Ben into his care? Ben will never be the same again, he’ll forget this ever happened, and his innocence will be gone: “He will always be one of us.” Creepy, right? Followed by Locke’s greeting to the adult Ben, “Welcome back to the land of the living,” there seemed to be a supernatural tinge to the whole affair. Maybe.

Anyway, I can’t seem to stop over-analyzing everyone’s motives now, especially in regards to the “Save Our Ben/Let Him Die!” controversy. Thoughts?

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