Friday, March 25, 2016

Lost: Season 5 Recaps

We are currently doing a weeklong tribute to my favorite TV show (or thing in general), the television series Lost.  For more articles about Lost week, click here.

(Editor's Notes: These episodes are judged on a curve.  Lost is my all-time favorite show and even at its worst, it's still better than pretty much anything I've ever experienced on television.  Additionally, Lost is a show that is built off of its mystique and mystery-if you haven't seen these episodes, SEE THEM NOW as they are the part of the best series ever put on television, and then come back and discuss because we're about to have a cornucopia of spoilers.).

Because You Left (#5.1)

Review: In re-watching these episodes, I inevitably found a large number of things that I hadn’t noticed before.  One of those things was in regards to Daniel Faraday-I heart this character completely, but I forgot how little we really saw of him in Season 4.  Instead, he became a permanent fixture in Season 5, and this was a testament to that.  This was one of the best season premieres of the show, truly.  I loved the way it carried all of the nuts-and-bolts of the previous season, and just carried us right in, not skipping out on anyone’s mystery (well, maybe the one about where Jin is).  Sure, it leaves a lot of loose threads, but that’s part of the fun.  At least we now have a sage on our side (Faraday) to guide the way.
Hurley Dude Count: 3
Desmond Brother Count: 1
Sawyer Nickname Alert: Ghost of Christmas Future, for himself
Really?!? with John: Kate, when someone mysterious shows up at your house without a cop asking for a blood sample, they likely are up to no good and there’s really no need to run.
(Still) Unanswered Questions: Why is it that some people travel through time and Others don’t?
Best Line: “Maybe if you ate more comfort food, you wouldn’t have to go around shooting people?” –Hurley, to Sayid (I also loved “I need a cool code name,” –Hurley)
Best Moment: Richard and Locke, in the woods
Episode MVP: Daniel, who does that jittery nerd thing ridiculously well.

The Lie (#5.2)

Review: Lying, of course, is an integral part of Lost.  Ben Linus would be doing Chaplin impressions if he had to give up lying.  But our favorite multi-millionaire friend trying to lie, well that’s just not something anyone can see happening.  It’s interesting to watch Hurley, as this episode rather ingeniously ends with Hurley finding a lie he’s willing to tell, but also tells something about how the line between good and evil has largely been blurred for all of the other characters.  Sun is trying to kill Ben, Sayid kills without consequence, Jack is willing to ruin the lives of 5 other people to clear his conscience.  This episode really introduced the cast to their new lives, and showed that no one, with the possible exception of Kate, has gained anything from being off the Island.  I loved the scenes with Hurley and his parents, both of which stand up in the way that Lost parents aren’t supposed to-with concern and trust.  I still have trouble believing that Jack would have so quickly told off David Reyes, but otherwise this is a decent episode.
Hurley Dude Count: 8
Best Line: “Why is there a dead Pakistani on my couch?” –Carmen Reyes, in the funniest line of her run on the show
Best Moment: I’m going to tie this one up, since they’re uniform surprises-at the beginning, we get the pure shock of Ana Lucia, and at the end, we get the mysterious Eloise.
Episode MVP: I really want to give this to the entire Reyes family (David, Hurley, and Carmen), but in the end, I suppose Hurley must take the trump card.

Jughead (#5.3)

Review: I love the way that Henry Ian Cusick says Los Angeles (I shall be adopting this shortly) and I love the way that they named their son after both the man that brought them together and the man that tore them apart.  This episode, as it features Desmond and Penny, is quite wonderful, but not nearly as capable as most of the other episodes that feature this dynamic duo.  I love that we get a little bit more Richard (and someone finally acknowledged he has the aging properties of Jaclyn Smith), and I love that Locke sets up Richard to come and visit him.  However, this episode really is a means to an ends, and doesn’t finish any ground (like, say, “Jeremy Bentham” to come).  All-in-all, a good, but not mind-blowing episode.
Really?!? with John: You know, I think Daniel is kind of cute in a nerdy sort of way, but come on-the actors playing his parents in this episode likely would have created a far more conventionally attractive child.
Iconic: For the first time, not a single member of the Oceanic Six appears in an episode (only Sawyer and Locke appear from the original cast)
Sawyer Nickname Alert: Blondie? Geek? Sawyer, you’re slipping badly.
Best Line: “Richard’s always been here,” –Juliet, to John Locke (not actually always Juliet, but 150 years is a long time)
Best Moment: You’re Charles Widmore?
Episode MVP: Sorry, Des, but you largely just ask questions in this episode, so I’m handing this one over to your better half-Penny gets the good lines, and keeps the mystery alive, so hats off to her (and her first MVP status).

The Little Prince (#5.4)

Review: Poor Kate and her sometimes rationally challenged episodes.  This has to be one of the most irrational episodes of the series, not in the sense that it’s one of the worst (though that isn’t a super stretch), but in the sense that I don’t even need a “Really?!?” segment, as that’s basically the entire episode.  Kate, darling, you of the impossible beautiful eyes, when a man blackmails you into giving up your son, the reaction is not yelling, it’s pushing him in the damn marina.  Sun had the far more logical reaction in the next episode, imho.  That said, I liked the way that Sun and Kate reunited in this episode.  I love it when my quartet of heroines-Sun, Kate, Juliet, and Claire-find time to team up together.  It always make the show far more interesting, as it seems to be a boy’s club most of the time.  I also loved that chilling look on Kate’s face when Carole Littleton is mistaken for the client trying to steal Aaron-Lilly’s eyes definitely betray a sense of, “well, she deserves him.”  It’s an interesting scene in a so-so episode, and aside from the final moments, probably the best.
Hurley Dude Count: 1
Best Line: “I am Danielle.  Danielle Rousseau,” –okay, the first time, I didn’t see this coming (which was stupid), but in hindsight, this is still a fantastic midseason twist
Best Moment: I love the confused look in Jin’s eyes as he both encounters the young Danielle, time travel, and French in one full swoop.
Episode MVP: Sun, who is so wonderful in those first and final moments.

This Place is Death (#5.5)

Review: Once again, we are treated to a transitive episode, trying to link the time moving to the eventual (oh, it’s going to happen) stop in time motion in the next episodes.  And, like all transitive episodes, we get very little in the way of proper substance.  The best aspects of this episode come from Jin’s early stories, as he sees the back story of Danielle Rousseau and how she came to go from a spunky pregnant woman to “the crazy French chick.”  I also love the symmetry between this and Jin’s first experiences in the Island, where he knows English but still doesn’t quite understand the French spoken by Rousseau’s group.  The rest of the episode sort of just skirted by, without too much progress on any front, until the very end when we see the mysterious Eloise Hawking at her candle-lighting church.  The next few weeks would be considerably more earth-shattering and better, so let’s just move on to them.
(Still) Unanswered Questions: I know it was sixteen years, but why didn’t Rousseau recognize Jin on the beach?  Mistake or something more?
Sawyer Nickname Alert: In a first for the series, there are no nicknames (and in a second for the series, there are absolutely no new characters introduced in this episode)
Main Character Body Count: Charlotte, who we spent far too little time with, if you ask me, disappeared in the haze of time.  Also, considering she grew up there, wouldn't she have clocked more island time than Jin/Sawyer-what made her die first?
Best Line: “He’s Korean, I’m from Encino,” –Miles, to Sawyer, after he asks him to translate
Best Moment: Danielle Rousseau, turning the tables and getting ready to fire her gun at Jin.
Episode MVP: Jin, who outshines everyone in this fairly routine hour.

316 (#5.6)

Review: And so the (almost) Oceanic Six return to the Island, and of course we get a Jack-centric episode to accompany it (and, it should be noted, the new silver in his hair is a welcome addition).  There’s something very cathartic about this episode-that they all went there (with the possible exception of Sayid) of their own free will, that they would be going back to the Island as a choice this time, not as a chance of fate.  It’s also cathartic that they had the choice not to go, as Desmond stays with his Penny in Los Angeles (plus Walt and Aaron stay home as well).  The opening moments with Eloise Hawking are great fun (as is basically anything involving her).  The transitive properties of this episode are all a little sluggish (we know that everyone’s going to get onto that plane-the why and how is just the question), but the last moments, with Jin in a Dharma suit-amazing.
Hurley Dude Count: 2
Desmond Brother Count: 1
Pause for Station Identification: The Lamp Post shows up, and we discover the Island’s compass.
(Still) Unanswered Questions: Why was it that Hurley, Kate, Sayid, and Jack went back in time while Sun, Ben, and Frank all stayed in the present day?  I want an answer!
Oh, Ben: I love that Ben lies about something as arbitrary as a throwaway joke (that his mother taught him to read)
Best Line: “Is he telling the truth?” –Jack “Probably not,” Eloise, both giving very honest answers to whether Ben knew about the Lamp Post
Best Moment: Like a lot of the Season 5 episodes, seeing Jin stroll up in his Dharma duds is just wonderful.
Episode MVP: Jack, who comes to terms with his own quest, and starts to become that Man of Faith he would need to be.

The Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham (#5.7)

Review: This death never felt as permanent as it should have when it first happened, mostly because I spent the remainder of a season believing that this man was brought back to life, and so I never properly mourned.  Therefore, watching this episode in repeat is a far more bittersweet thing.  I get to see the last, pitiful attempts of the man of faith, Mr. Locke, and how he left the world too trusting, too willing to sacrifice everything for an Island that seemed to care for him too little.  I loved the way that this played out in an almost perfectly linear fashion, as we get to revisit Sayid, Kate, Hurley, Jack, and (I’m ashamed to say I’d forgotten about him as a “off-the-islander”) Walt.  This is such a moving episode, one that recounts perhaps like no other one in the series, the sheer need for approval, the desperate loneliness of our most devout castaway.  Locke’s journey ended not how it began, with him howling for a new life, but instead broken down and realizing he may not have been worthy of the new life.
Hurley Dude Count: 6
Main Character Body Count: Goodbye to our Island Dreamer, Mr. Locke
Things that Make You Go Hmm…: Charles Widmore saying that if John’s on the wrong side of the war-is Widmore talking about Locke or the MIB, and if so, what does that mean for his allegiances?
Best Line: “Yeah, he’s the man who killed me,” –Locke, about Ben
Best Moment: Locke, noose still around his head, wallowing with Ben
Episode MVP: This is one of my all-time favorites.  There’s only one person who could get MVP with a John Locke themed-episode this high, and that's Mr. Locke himself.

LaFleur (#5.8)

Review: In the first Sawyer-centric episode in over a season (he doesn’t get one in Season 4), we see our classic antihero transform officially from antihero to hero.  People have mentioned how Jack slowly turned into Locke, but it’s noteworthy that while Jack was turning into Locke, Sawyer was turning into our beloved Dr. Shepherd.  This episode completed this transformation, in some ways quite literally, as Sawyer became the head of security for the Dharma Initiative, and protector of the remaining castaways and their “people” (Juliet, Miles, Daniel, and Jin).  Holloway really comes into his acting best in this episode, going from someone without a purpose, to a man of, well, destiny.
(Still) Unanswered Questions: Who the hell built the statue?!?
Sawyer Nickname Alert: Plato for Faraday and Bonsai for Miles were the best, but it seems like he doesn’t use an actual name the entire episode.
Signs of Things to Come: Sawyer doesn’t get hit by the bullet that likely was fired at him; is it because you can’t kill a candidate?
Best Line: “Let me talk to him, your buddy out there with the eyeliner,” –Sawyer, referring to Mr. Alpert
Best Moment: I always go with anything with the Statue, so that back shot of it has to be considered slightly better than the final moments, when Sawyer sets eyes on his Freckles.
Episode MVP: Sawyer, who manages to be everything for everyone.

Namaste (#5.9)

Review: I think I said “oh, snap,” multiple times during this episode.  Sun knocks out Ben (snap).  Sawyer tells Jack that he thinks before he acts, unlike the doc (snap).  It was definitely an episode with a lot of (deserved) comeuppance, which was nice, as this was almost completely transitive, and largely lacked any character development (something that you need desperately when the writers are giving you squat on the mysteries).  I loved some of Hurley’s terrific (and likely realistic questions)-what happens when they start to discuss the Carter administration or Elvis’s death or something?  I loved the “introductions” from Kate and Juliet.  But overall, I didn’t love this episode, as it just didn’t get across anything we hadn’t already known before.
Hurley Dude Count: 4
Sawyer Nickname Alert: Kong, for an appreciative Hurley
Best Line: “I lied,” –Sun, after knocking Ben out with a paddle, in a scene that’s ten kinds of awesome, followed up with “Nama-what?” by Hurley
Best Moment: It’s a close call, but I have to give the slight edge to Sun knocking out Ben (yippee!) over Sayid meeting a young Ben Linus (say what you will about Season 5, but they sure did know how to keep you coming back).
Episode MVP: I’m going to give it to Sawyer in a slight nod over Sun and Hurley, as he manages to finally say what he’s waited years to say in that scene with Jack.

He’s Our You (#5.10)

Review: Sayid episodes oftentimes get a teensy bit heavy-handed, and the Dharma Initiative episodes often seem like the castaways are running in circles, waiting for what they are inevitably going to do (the “Incident”).  Therefore, this combination seems a huge risk, and in many ways it doesn’t pay off.  Naveen Andrews is a terrific actor, though, so some of his more cathartic moments are very profitable.  I’m thinking particularly of that scene in the bar with Ilana, the interrogation, and the final scene with Ben.  Otherwise, this episode has few things to lend to it, and was notoriously one of the lowest-rated episodes of the series (though the lowest is to happen in a few more installments).
Hurley Dude Count: 1
Sayid Laugh Alert: For the third and final time in the series, Sayid laughs, though he needed drugs to do it.
Best Line: “I am a killer,” Sayid, to young Ben
Best Moment: Sayid, taking a shot at his future employer
Episode MVP: I’m going to give this to Sayid, as the only scenes that get up to a “Lost” standard are those that he elevates.

Whatever Happened, Happened (#5.11)

Review: Evangeline Lilly’s finest hour in the series will likely end up being this terrific interruption from the Dharmaville lives.  Kate frequently seems like a contradiction, a woman who is at times clumsy with her heart and her head, but also was able to con and evade the law for a number of years.  This episode, though, seems like a realistic contradiction-a mother trying to decide what is best for her son, and deciding that the only way she can save this young boy was to save his mother.  Lilly gets several killer scenes, including the one in the supermarket, the one where she is forced to give up Aaron (tears), and perhaps most impressively, the one where she must confess to Claire’s mother what they have been up to.  The rest of the episode seems a bit repetitive (Jack doesn’t want to operate on Ben…again, Locke wakes up Ben and surprises someone else by being alive…again), and though I loved the way that Hurley and Miles quarreled, this really all belongs to the divine Ms. Austen, and her constantly broken heart.
Get out the Kleenex: Kate, saying goodbye to her little man, though thankfully not forever.
Really?!? with John: The line from Richard about Ben not remembering because of his innocence sounds less like Island voodoo and more like the writers trying to figure out a way to tie up a forgotten loophole.
Best Line: I kind of want to write Hurley and Miles’s entire conversation, but I’m going to go with Miles’s “shoot me,” complete with a handoff of the gun.
Best Moment: Kate, telling Claire’s mother that she will be taking care of Aaron.
Episode MVP: Gotta go with the lovely Ms. Austen, who owns nearly every frame of this tough but superb episode.

Dead is Dead (#5.12)

Review: I love coming across episodes that I’d forgotten were, well, wonderful, and being impossibly surprised by how good they are.  This is one of those episodes.  “Dead is Dead” is a late in the game marvel, and not just because it largely sets up a strong Season 6.  We get a look at the new Locke, stronger and wilier than the last, and a Ben Linus who is far less crafty, but still quite resourceful and necessary.  I loved almost every angle of this episode-the interactions in the flashbacks with Charles Widmore, the way that Sun relies on Frank but can more than take care of herself, the way that Ben both betrays John and tries to gain his confidence.  It’s a magnificent ode to the way the Island itself can be a character, and in this case, highly manipulative.
(Still) Unanswered Questions: Why was it that Ethan was spared in the attacks?  Why didn’t Ilana and Bram tell Ben about Locke’s body (which would have prevented Jacob’s death)?  What was the rule that got Charles Widmore kicked off the Island?
Irony: Ben wants to be judged by the monster, and all he had to do was ask the man in front of him.  Also, when Ben tries to summon the Monster, it does show up, in the form of Locke.
Best Line: “What lies in the shadow of the Statue?” an impossibly iconic line in Lost, lore, followed by “I was just hoping for an apology,” –Locke, to Ben, after Ben’s soliloquy of why he killed John, coupled with Sun’s “What Temple?” a question that I love mostly because in my mind it came out as “You people have a Temple?”
Best Moment: Ben, seeing the swirling clouds of his daughter, followed by his quick reversal on Cesar.
Episode MVP: Ben, who has humility, treachery, and a little dose of, dare I say it, kindness in this episode.

Some Like It Hoth (#5.13)

Review: Miles, of the crew on the Kahana, was the most present, longest-living, and let’s face it, least interesting of the four members of the Kahana.  He doesn’t have Frank’s wit, Charlotte’s moxie, or Daniel’s enigma.  He did, however, have the makings of one decent central episode, where we discover that his father was in fact Pierre Chang.  I loved that they paired him with the Island dude, Mr. Reyes, which provided for some superb comic relief from the sluggish Dharma storyline.  The off-screen storyline was one of the most boring in a long time, only really coming alive when we see that Miles was coaxed into not coming by Bram (who is, apparently, on the side that is going to win).  The scene at the end where he realizes that his father cared was moving, for sure, but would have been more so if we’d gotten it from someone like Daniel or Jack, someone we cared about more with Daddy issues
Hurley Dude Count:  A season-high, 13.
Really?!? with John: Why is it that Kate isn’t a better liar?  Seriously-she always gets caught in lies.
Best Line: “I’m writing Empire Strikes Back,” –Hurley, to Miles
Best Moment: Hurley, trying to get Dr. Chang and Miles to go for a beer.
Episode MVP: Hurley, who gives some needed break from the march of Dharma, and some wonderful comic relief.

The Variable (#5.14)

Review: There are a lot of ways to take this episode, but perhaps we should just appreciate what a unique installment it was.  Daniel, one of the oddest “variables” (sorry, couldn’t resist) in the story, gets his own centric storyline, and perhaps more exciting, in a way, so does Eloise Hawking, one of those great enigmatic creations that can only come out of the minds of Lost.  There is some messiness in this episode (how could Daniel not see that he was falling right into the trap of fulfilling history?), but there are so many compelling moments, it’s hard to argue with what we’re seeing.  In particular, those final scenes, where Eloise tells off Charles and Daniel is shot, it’s some intensely compelling television.  I just wished there wasn’t the sense of the “obvious” surrounding it.
Hurley Dude Count: 1
Sawyer Nickname Alert: Twitchy and H.G. Wells for Daniel, and the return of Freckles
(Still) Unanswered Questions: What was Daniel working on in Ann Arbor?
Really?!? with John: Come on Daniel, even I saw that you can’t change the past, and so you did all of these things, and the “Incident” really happened.
Best Line: “Good lord, no!” –Eloise, reacting to Penelope thinking that Ben was her son
Best Moment: Eloise, shooting her son, followed by Eloise chatting it up with Charles.
Episode MVP: Eloise Hawking, the constant in “The Variable”

Follow the Leader (#5.15)

Review: This is famously the lowest-rated episode of the series, and there’s some understanding in that-this episode doesn’t really have a centric character (though Richard comes the closest).  It’s also the most transitive episode of the entire series, in my opinion, as there is little to no resolution in almost any storyline.  Jack and Sayid find the bomb, Ben, Richard, and Locke make the march to meet Jacob, Sun is still looking for Jin, and Hurley & Miles prepare for their head to the beach.  About the only thing that we really learn is that Locke wants to kill Jacob, but even that gets no resolution.  I like the interactions with the Others (far more interesting than the Dharma folks), but overall this is a rather mundane episode that marches us to our final, stunning finale.
Hurley Dude Count: 3
Awesome CGI: The Smoke Monster gets a bum rap sometimes, but the sub is awesome.
Best Line: “We’ll buy Microsoft…and bet the Cowboys in the 1978 Super Bowl,” –Sawyer, to Juliet, on what they’ll do for money in the real world
Best Moment: Sawyer and Juliet, on the sub, saying “I love you”
Episode MVP: A tough call (honestly, no one really stands out), but I’m going to give it to Locke

The Incident, Parts 1 & 2 (#5.16)

Review: Finally, after a sleepy season, we get the masterpiece we so deserved.  Everyone is firing on full cylinders (except the missing Desmond) for the entire episode.  Ben and Locke on their quest to kill Jacob, Ilana with her package full of John Locke, Juliet and Sawyer with their soon to be expired love, Jack, Kate, Hurley, and of course, the magnificent duet of Jacob and the MIB.  Every scene is filled with significance, and with a sense of impending war.  I love that all of these storylines come to a head, and some people are blinded by their own rage (Ben, Jack, Sawyer) and others suddenly see the light (Sayid, Juliet, Richard).  The next season wouldn’t have had quite the finite urgency that it did without this watchful, brilliant episode and the way that it unites all of the castaways in their fight to find home and salvation.
Hurley Dude Count: 5
Get Out the Kleenex: Sawyer drops Juliet
Really?!? with John: Roger Linus was standing twenty feet in front of you Jack, and you couldn’t at least nick him?  Ray Charles could have made that shot!
Best Line: “Do you know how long I’ve wanted to kill you?” –MIB, to Jacob, followed by Rose’s “Hell no!” and Jacob’s “you have a choice,” and Jin’s “I don’t know, but his Korean is excellent” and Sun’s “Do you have any alcohol?”
Best Moment: So many to chose from (Juliet banging the bomb, the inverse Lost title card, Jacob dying, Rose & Bernard appearing), but I have to go with the iconic opening, with MIB & Jacob finally showing their true colors
Episode MVP: While I’m giving this to the omnipotent, handsy, and rugged Jacob, I’d also like to call out Locke, Ben, Juliet, Sawyer, Rose, MIB, Ilana, Sun, and Richard for exemplary work, in roughly that order.

Best Episodes

1. The Incidents, Parts 1 & 2

2. The Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham
3. Dead is Dead
4. Whatever Happened, Happened
5. Because You Left

Worst Episodes

1. The Little Prince

2. Follow the Leader
3. Some Like It Hoth

Multiple MVP's

1. Hurley (2)

2. Sawyer (2)

Best Moments

1. Jacob, the MIB, and the Statue (The Incident, Parts 1 & 2)

2. Juliet Detonates the Bomb (The Incident, Parts 1 & 2)
3. Ben Kills Jacob (The Incident, Parts 1 & 2)
4. John Locke Dies (The Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham)
5. Alex Appears to Ben (Dead is Dead)
6. Rose and Bernard (The Incident, Parts 1 & 2)
7. Kate Giving Carole Aaron (Whatever Happened, Happened)
8. Sun Knocks Out Ben (Namaste)
9. Inverse Lost (The Incident)
10. Sayid Shoots Ben (He’s Our You)

Have So Far Received MVP Status Every Season: Hurley, Sawyer, Locke, Sun
Number of A+/A Episodes: 2 (The Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham, The Incident, Parts 1 & 2)

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