Lost Round Table: “The Last Recruit”

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Bloggers Bridget McGovern, Theresa DeLucci and Rajan Khanna are back yet again for this week’s Lost round table discussion for the episode, “The Last Recruit.”  Jack! Smocke! Desmond! Hell, everyone was in this one. As usual, spoilers and links after the jump.

Theresa: So we spent a whole episode making Hurley into a leader and he backs down before the title card even comes up on this episode? Lameness.

With Hurley fading into the scenery and Jack being all wishy-washy about what to believe, Sawyer once again steps up. If Jack is (or was) a man of science and Locke a man of faith, Sawyer’s a man of action. Loved that “get off my boat” scene. Sawyer makes a decent plan when it’s needed and sticks to it. Or at least he did tonight. Or at least until Widmore double-crossed Sawyer’s double-cross. Why call off the deal? What’s Widmore playing at? There’s just so much going on all over the Island and in the other reality that sometimes I can only nod my head and go, “Okaaaay… so everyone’s going along with this now.” If I’m feeling my allegiance constantly shift from scene to scene, imagine how clueless those redshirts in the MIB’s camp must feel. And they live on Craphole Island.

How can anyone trust a word from the MIB’s mouth? That beatific smile is never to be trusted. It’s also getting a bit grating because the MIB tells everyone half-answers that never feel very satisfying. And if the first volley was made in this great war between him and Widmore, it didn’t have a lot of weight because of that.

Does anyone believe for a second that Sayid executed Desmond? Maybe he left him in the well though, similar to the way Sideways-Sayid left Jin in the restaurant’s freezer, but gave him a boxcutter. If anyone can appeal to the shred of love and decency in a jaded Sayid, it’d be Desmond. Or Hurley.

I want to believe that this story will have an ending worthy of its beginning, but I hate to say it, but I’m feeling a tiny flutter of BSG Finale Syndrome. There’s so much going on and so little time left.

Bridget: I agree, Theresa: I’m a bit nervous. In general, this episode seemed really off to me—it felt mechanical, like watching someone set up a high-stakes game of Risk for an hour. As we approach the final episodes, such positioning is clearly necessary, but the plotting and several performances seemed workmanlike at best, and some of the dialogue was lamentable. Case in point: we finally get the momentous Sun/Jin reunion that the show has been teasing out for approximately a thousand years: the music swells, and there’s laughter-huggy-tear-kissing…and then ol’ Chesty Lapidus intones, “Looks like somebody got their voice back.” And killed the moment deader than Christian Shephard.

Seriously—why do the writers hate Jeff Fahey? Did he steal someone’s parking space? The man only gets about a dozen words an episode, and somehow he ends up with the schmaltziest hunk of cornball dialogue this side of Seventh Heaven? What gives?

I’m still a sucker for a good Star Wars reference and Miles’ attachment to the term “jabonies,” and lord knows I can’t get enough of Mr. Burt Reynolds, but I expect a little bit more from Lost. I’m going to be totally irrational and blame Zoe, because—let’s face it—she’s awful. Sheila Kelley delivers lines like she just sustained a head injury, and she seems to be channeling some sort of low-rent Tina Fey-meets-rabid, wild-eyed bandicoot vibe, with a hint of Garth from Wayne’s World thrown in. I say we elect her scapegoat, kill her off as quickly as possible, and hope for the best. Who’s with me?

Maybe I’m just irritated that Hurley’s moment in the sun was eclipsed so quickly, and we’re back to the familiar Jack/Sawyer power dynamic. As long as we’re focusing on Jack, though, is it fair to say that he’s the only character in the Sideways world that really seems content—not perfectly, rapturously happy, maybe, but solidly content? Logic would indicate that they’re setting him up to have the most to lose if Earth-2 goes away, right? How else to explain the episode’s repeated insistence on his positive relationship with “David,” Jack’s very own emo Opie…that can’t end well, can it?

As for probably-not-dead Desmond, I find it interesting that Widmore’s people seem to want to keep his presence on the Island a secret, referring to him as “something” and “it.” I wonder if there’s any intentional parallel here between Desmond “The Package” Hume and Smocke, who is often referred to as “That Thing” and as a What, rather than a Who…

Rajan: I felt very underwhelmed this episode. I think Bridget got it right when she said it felt mechanical. And count me in on the BSG finale nerves along with everyone else. I feel like they’re taking the same approach, which is to figure out what you want to do at the end, then spend most of the season leading up to it moving people around. Only you can’t move them too quickly, because you have episodes to fill, so much of it seems like treading water. Oh, yes, they throw us a few answers here and there, like Smocke being Christian (which I found disappointing), but even those seem mechanical. Items to be crossed off the to-do list. Much like the whispers were explained last episode.

I also felt the same way about the Sun/Jin reunion. It lacked a great deal of weight. And while I agree that Lapidus’ line was lame, I thought Jin’s “We will never be apart again” line to be so much worse. This season of Lost has had more soap opera melodrama than any other.

And what’s with all the backpedaling? Theresa already mentioned Hurley. Then there’s Jack who decides he wants to be a follower after choosing to be a leader just an episode or two ago. Of course he corrects himself leaving him with Smocke. This makes the thing about Jack as the new Jacob seem much more likely. Especially as Jack doesn’t want to leave. But I was thinking as the episode opened that as much as I dislike Jack, there was a time when I would have enjoyed watching him and the real Locke interacting. This new configuration, not so much.

Nothing really seemed to sing here. Claire’s supposed switching of sides seemed convenient and clumsy. Sun’s reversion to English didn’t quite pay off her forgetting it in the first place. Sayid’s whole waffling bit seemed forced. And where the hell is Richard? On the other hand, the Earth-2 storyline was much more enjoyable, mostly because everyone was coming together and they seem to be leading toward…something. But still, it feels like they are running out of time.

I hope they really pull out the stops moving into the finale because I felt this was kinda weak sauce. C’mon, Lost, I know you have better in you. If you’ve been saving it up, now’s the time to let it all out.

Fun Lost Links:

Viva, Lapidus!

Volcanic Ash Cloud Turns Out to Be Finale of Lost

Lost-themed iPhone backgrounds

It’s the Hatch! It’s a cake! It’s the best birthday ever!

Lost Untangled” recaps starring Puppet Pierre Chang  (and his Facebook page)

The Lostpedia Party Planner

Lost Tarot Cards

Theresa DeLucci is a graduate of the 2008 Clarion West Writers Workshop. Her fiction has appeared in Chizine. She’s eagerly awaiting the return of True Blood. Well not so much the whole show, but at least Alexander Skarsgård in a tank top

Rajan Khanna is a graduate of the 2008 Clarion West Writers Workshop and his fiction has appeared or is forthcoming in Shimmer, GUD, and Steampunk Tales. He lives in Brooklyn with his two cats, Chloe and Muppet.

Bridget McGovern is a lit nerd, a film geek, and a complete pop culture junkie. She enjoys David Bowie, roller coasters, and the scintillating oeuvre of Burton “The Bandit” Reynolds more than anyone probably should.


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