Lost (“Live Together, Die Alone”)

Season 2, Episodes 23 and 24
Date of airing: May 24, 2006 (ABC)
Nielsen ratings information: 17.84 million viewers, 10.3/16 in Households, 7.6/18 with Adults 18-49

And after 24 episodes, let’s count the tally. Six flashback episodes were centered on characters’ experiences on the island or on characters who weren’t even among the regulars. Four of those episodes fully happened on the island, which makes one-sixth of this season centered on flashbacks that happened after the plane crashed. It means the writers knew what the audience wanted to see and the writers may also have realized that they couldn’t do much with the flashbacks in general, as they have become character studies while the audience was hoping to get their minds fracked with twists and turns and new mysteries opening up the brain waves of imagination. Who knows, maybe the statue with the feet of four toes was included into this two-parter, knowing that the viewers who have already started dissecting the entire show on the internet will analyze said statue and find an explanation for its existence, also knowing that this kind of audience participation over the summer months would most likely give the show additional free advertisement. Facebook was just about to come around and be in everyone’s mind, so discussing the show on a Facebook group was a must-do (I personally discussed the show on a German messageboard, since I didn’t have Facebook until January 2009 — twist alert: I got to Twitter before I got to Facebook). And after this episode, a lot needed to be discussed, even if the two-part season finale didn’t offer much when it comes to mysteries. We could always talk about how good or evil the Others are (they are kidnapping the three alpha personalities of the survivor group, so they are definitely evil, but they did let Michael and Walt go free, so they might be good), we could waste brain power arguing about the four toes, we could analyze the reason of Oceanic 815’s crash and its connection to the system failure at the Swan station, and we could figure out what actually happened to the island and the world when the station blew up. The world still existed, according to the final scene, but the island must have gone through something. Will we ever get the answer to that?

The island makes drunks out of anyone who has leftover booze.

Again, these two episodes are proof that the writers were mostly stalling throughout the season. I have said that multiple times now, but after 86 minutes managed to be more entertaining than the eight episodes that came before, something has to be said about how the writers decided to keep their twists and turns for the season finale, which necessitated empty running time for the regular episodes. LOST is a prime example of how to write serialized television, according to Hollywood professionals, but LOST should also be the prime example of how to write for nothing and how to postpone everything exciting happening in your narrative and to put it all into episodes that need to keep the viewers hungry during a long span of LOST-free months. I mean, what really happened ever since “Henry” got captured (the guy definitely deserved his real name in this episode, especially after Tom and Bea got theirs, although we did know Bea’s name already)? Claire closed some holes in her memory banks, Hurley almost killed himself, we found two more DHARMA stations with barely anything in it, a long-lost character returned to the beach, two other characters were killed off in return… Most of what happened over the past third of the season was character-based, which is not a wrong thing to do, but during the second year LOST never really knew whether it wanted to keep with the characters, which was the show’s strength during the first season, or go full on mysterious and deliver one deep cut after another when it comes to the mythology of the show. It tried to be both at the same time and it didn’t really work out.

Story-wise, these episodes were good enough. Probably not great, because I’m still irked over the fact that it took the season almost 24 episodes to get to the point, but there was some nice closure with Desmond’s return and how the writers must have known from the beginning that the season is going to end with the Scotsman’s return to the island, leading him and Locke to blow up the station and end the story of this very DHARMA station, and kill a set that had some interesting ideas, even after I have asked myself multiple times why only the central characters of the show — the Alpha personalities — were to be found in the station, while someone like Claire never bothered to checkout what the hatch was all about, why Rose never used it for more than the washing machine, why Libby wasn’t interested in anything else but fashion and blankets (which was her doom, and that means her going down the hatch was essentially a plot device to get her killed), why Jin and Sun didn’t think of the station as their escape after the latter got mysteriously attacked. The writers waited almost an entire season (again a sign of stalling time) to get back to the roots of said season and close the circle with Desmond, the hatch and the button. After we almost learned nothing about the function of this station, we all get it in one fell swoof, with an additional element being introduced in the very last episode of the season, which then served as the MacGuffin to get rid of the story forever. And suddenly there was a failsafe you could activate, and when Desmond did so, he probably saved the world. Or the whole “push the button” thing was still an experiment, the plane crash was coincidental, and it was the failsafe that actually led to the crazy sound and colorful sky at the end of the episode, let alone the detection of electromagnetic anomalies.

Look there, a creepy statue!

Desmond was an interesting character, and I was glad he was given the spotlight for these two hours (which makes him the first character to get two back-to-back hours of flashbacks). He was treated like a central character in these episodes, and it was almost like the writers always considered him part of the show, even if only for five episodes that bookended the season. Okay, if the writers really thought of Desmond as a central character here, they would have led him interact with more people than just mainly Locke, and for a few words even with Jack and Sayid. There was a man on the beach almost all of the survivors have never met and he is not the talk of the town? Desmond was not surrounded by curious birds wanting to know where he comes from, what he did to get on this island, and trying to convince him to give his sailboat to them? Maybe everyone was a little too scared to talk to the new guy who couldn’t stop drinking and was most likely talking our of his ass on the day after his arrival. His connection with Locke was of intrigue to me though — the two bonded over the experience of pushing the button, and they quickly developed opposing views about it and the reason for its existence, even if Desmond’s beliefs were changed quite conveniently. Only a quick look at the records and he came to the realization that everything is real — I’m actually a little surprised that he immediately figured the date of the system failure may have been connected to the plane crash, and I’m just gonna file it under plot conveniences, even if the answer of why the plane really crashed was a satisfying one. If electromagnetism can bring down a plane like that, who knows what else happened in the past and what the so-called incident was all about…

The jungles in Hawai’i are full of dangers.

Desmond’s flashbacks were satisfying as well. He became a likable person quite quickly, with his efforts to prove himself, to get back his honor that he lost when he did what he did, to accept that his greatest love Penny Whitmore would be better off without him, and that he would be better off staying away from her. Okay, I laughed a little when we saw what happened before Jack and Desmond met during their tour de stade, and I found it weird that even Libby found her way into yet another character’s back story, but Desmond was out to experience an adventure and win over Penny again by proving himself in front of her father. What a shame he crash-landed on the island as well, and was immediately groomed to be the new pusher of the button. And here we are at a point where we are certainly allowed to ask a few questions. One, was it really necessary to explain where the map on the blast door came from and why Kelvin had to paint it with invisible ink when he just could have used color (because now you have to explain what Kelvin knew about the other stations and why he never told Desmond about them)? Two, isn’t it unrealistic that Desmond (and Kelvin) wouldn’t grow crazy and develop cabin fever hocking in this hole for three years or more? Three, they never tried to figure out what was behind the wall, considering they had enough time to maybe get curious and ask themselves why they were pushing the button? Did Desmond just accept everything that Kelvin told him and he had no mind of his own? Well, I guess he just loves Penny…

Meanwhile somewhere on the island, Jack, Kate, Sawyer, Hurley and Michael went on a hike to meet the Others, and everything went terribly wrong, as expected (season finale and all). Sayid’s plan didn’t work quite well, because all he could do was make some black smoke and when the island “blew up,” he was back on the boat with Jin and Sun, because apparently he couldn’t wait until his friends joined him at the beach. I was slightly happy that the story wasn’t taking up all of the second part. They were down and out a third of the way in, and the rest of the episode was spent having them at the dock, with weapons behind their heads and “Henry” showing up to do business and make himself known as the apparent leader of the Others (Jack had the leader of the Others as prisoner, now “Henry” has the leader of the survivors as prisoner — you do me, I do you). Michael and Walt got on a boat and drove away, either never to be seen again or returning after a season like Desmond did. Hell, the characters weren’t even curious about what just happened, what the bright pink light was all about and why the noise almost blew up their ear drums. No, “Henry” went straight back to making deals with Michael and into the kidnapping business. By the way, Jack, Kate and Sawyer were chosen because they were the alpha personalities, right? In a way, the Others just made it easier for themselves to go back and attack the survivors, now that their three greatest action heroes are out of business.

Crap, now the entire station is dropping on our heads.

There was also stuff happening in the Swan station before it blew up, but most of it was kind of a waste of time, with Locke and Desmond barely having a talk about anything else than what happened on the island (Desmond was essentially caught up with what happened after he left the island), and Mr. Eko and Charlie barely doing anything to stop Locke from not pushing the button. Yes, Eko and Charlie were out cold from right after the title card of the second part until right before the station blew up — that is certainly one way to write out characters you never needed, but had to keep in the narrative somehow, because they have already been written into it by the previous episodes’ writers. Maybe the explosion of the station is a good way to get rid of some characters. Charlie obviously survived to get that kiss from Claire (seriously, Charlie just “took” Aaron for a baptism not even two weeks ago and she is already back in love with the former drug addict?), but Locke and Eko’s status of survival have been turned into the cliffhanger of the season (as well as Desmond). With Michael riding on a boat, away from the island, it would be kind of maddening to have the other African-American character be killed off as well, so you could almost be excused to believe that Eko will somehow survive the explosion and find his way from out of the rubble of the Swan station.

The final scene of the second part did deliver the first scene of LOST that was set in the outside world, at least when it comes to the present-time narrative. Yes, the world is still there, pushing the button had nothing to do with saving the world (it was just about saving the station from exploding), and Penny can remain part of the mythology of the show and be forever connected to her love story with Desmond. The Scotsman has been in the show for five episodes only and his greatest love is apparently the only person who knows where the survivors of Oceanic 815 are.

Lost (“Three Minutes”)

Season 2, Episode 22
Date of airing: May 17, 2006 (ABC)
Nielsen ratings information: 14.67 million viewers, 8.9/13 in Households, 6.1/14 with Adults 18-49

The trifecta of episodes with flashbacks that happened after the plane crash has been completed. After “The Other 48 Days” and “Maternity Leave,” this is the third episode this season making use of the roughly two months that have passed since the crash, proving slightly that the writers knew that the flashback narrative would grow tiring after a while and that the show needed refreshments in that regard sooner or later. It almost makes me wonder if the island flashbacks will continue with the third season, or if the writers were about to find a way to keep the flashback narrative interesting for the next round. It turns out the things that happened on the island are more interesting than whatever happened to the people before the crash, because that way the flashbacks can at least be integrated into the present storyline of the characters. Case in point for this episode: We finally got to see what Michael was up do while gone for almost half of the season, and how great the Others must be when it comes to pretending for the sake of looking weak and hungry for the Oceanic 815 survivors. Pulling the camp and huts thing for Michael for almost two weeks must have cost some stamina for all the extras in this ruse, but it also tends to tell you how far the Others can go to get what they want, although the question is now why they find it so important to get their man back when they would probably function without him. It also begs the question if “Henry’s” capture was an accident or not — he got captured after the Others already had Michael, so they took Michael, probably not even knowing what to do with him. “Henry” could talk all day long about how he came to get Locke, but we all know already that “Henry” is a skilled manipulator, so that could have been bullcrap as well. Then again, maybe everything was just a coincidence and Walt happened to be in the right place at the right time, when it concerns the Others.

According to that throw, Charlie could head the first baseball team on the island.

The episode was okay. Another episode was wasted for preparations, another episode was spent barely doing anything, just so the writers can bring all the excitement into the two-part season finale, which means absolutely everything will happen then and only then. An entire episode was spent on burying Ana Lucia and Libby, while it took one of the characters a whole episode to get to the realization that something is up with Michael and that he is as compromised as Orange Hitler Donald Trump is. The latter may make for an interesting plot in the season finale that could possibly lead to some action, but LOST has shown once more why it lost viewers over the course of the season and how the writers’ decision to stall time and postpone necessary story elements to the end of the season broke the show’s neck or maybe even redefined it as the science-fiction show it will become. If the writers wouldn’t have stalled, viewers may have stuck with the show, and the producers and the studio would not have negotiated an end date for the show, which seemed a necessity after the ratings were about to drop even further than they already have. LOST should be a prime example of how to not stall for time.

Michael’s flashbacks didn’t really bring anything new to the table. When it was clear this hour was about him, I was hoping for a little twist in the game, to learn something the viewers haven’t yet, but it turns out everything Michael was saying to Jack about the Others was true, and everything the Others did was purely for show. There were no interesting people among their people to let us gasp a breath of surprised air, and the writers didn’t even bother to get Michael a more complex and elaborated motive for his killing of two women. Sure, for him it’s all about Walt and getting off the island, but he was captured by the Others and kept there for almost two weeks — one would have hoped he had overheard something, seen something. But no, it was all about the mystery of Walt again, and not even in that regard the writers did a great job. I still think that the Others were behind the text messages on the microcomputer, but the fact that the episode didn’t even dive into that part (especially since the orientation video specifically stated not to use the computer for anything else but the numbers input) means the writers weren’t interested in giving answers, and the exchange of messaging was only a plot device to get Michael out into the jungle for some extended hostage situation.

Dog cuddles can’t help Michael now.

Back at the beach, Michael was moving all the chess pieces into the proper positions, while Hurley couldn’t decide whether or not to go with the group to make a surprise visit at the Others camp. It turns out that the most useless of stories here — Vincent finding Sawyer’s stash (the dog couldn’t have done that earlier?) and giving Charlie his Virgin Mary statues back for him to throw into the ocean — was more interesting here and pretty much the only moment of character depth of note. When Charlie saw the statues, I flashed back to the previous season finale and the notion that his heroin addiction storyline ain’t over yet, but with the statues in the ocean now, Charlie has finally become a sober drug addict and the writers will never bother me with this story again. Thank the heavens!

Finally, a few words about Sawyer, who seems to be on the path to redemption again: He stole the drugs, he stole the guns, he antagonized everyone on the beach, and yet he considers Jack something of a friend. It’s necessary for Sawyer to turn his luck around again and remove himself from the position of adversary, since the writers were definitely not doing anything with that status (do you remember the tree frog episode?). They must have realized that turning Sawyer bad again halfway through the season was a crap idea, so here we are, witnessing a soft reboot of his character arc again, which I’m applauding, since I never liked the move of him breaking bad again anyway.

Lost (“?”)

Season 2, Episode 21
Date of airing: May 10,2006 (ABC)
Nielsen ratings information: 16.35 million viewers, 9.8/14 in Households, 6.9/16 with Adults 18-49

Should we think of the writers being more interested in Libby than Ana Lucia, because the former got the emotional death scene while the latter just got a private moment with Mr. Eko before the story of the episode kickstarted? Were the writers trying to give both Michelle Rodriguez and Cynthia Watros an opportunity to act in their final episodes of the show by having their characters serve the message as an important plot point? And how did Watros feel getting written off a show after less than one year, especially after she moved to Hawaii just to star on LOST? And the most important question is this: Is the next episode going to be all about mourning and putting the to deceased women to rest while the writers waste a little more time until the two-part season finale rolls around? Because this episode certainly did not make the impression to have developed the story further, let alone create the threat the show promised to create with the previous episode. At the end of the day, Michael wasn’t found out and he is eagerly waiting for his sacrifice to get the payment he was hoping for (the security of his son, presumably), and the character didn’t particularly do anything wild or weird to figure out new secrets. Okay, we found a new hatch and watched a new orientation video, and the button may be a huge joke, but that there were a bunch of hatches on the island was known already, and that the writers would play on the social experiment angle of the button has been teased throughout the entire season, with the writers never making up their minds as to what the purpose of the button really is.

There’s anther concrete hole on this island.

The episode was okay. Eko and Locke went on a hike, found a hatch, climbed down into it, and found out that their station is being monitored, which means as soon as Locke or Eko come back to the Swan station, they will find all the cameras and destroy them, right? As entertaining as the find of the Pearl station was and how its function added another element of mystery to the mythology of the DHARMA Initiative and the island, it’s not like the finding of the Pearl station did anything major to the story. We may know now that the button in the Swan station is an experiment, but who is to say that the Pearl station wasn’t the experiment (people watching other people could create a status of power which may be more interesting for scientists — see the Stanford prison experiment) and that the button’s functions are still important? Who is to say that now the button becomes more important, as Locke develops a distance to it and Eko replaces his friend? And yes, that Locke is starting to reject the button and realize it’s all just a joke was the only good thing that came out of the finding of the Pearl station. For once Locke is about to develop as a character, and his faith is about to declare war on him. Faith was it that connected him to the hatch, faith was it that made him push the button. And now faith has him brought to the Pearl station to find out that faith is a fickle bitch.

Meanwhile, Eko’s flashbacks were of less interest to me. Great, we know why he was in Australia, but not even the appearance of Claire’s psychic had me wake up from the trance of boredom that was trying to find anything from the flashback narrative that could have given me entertainment. This episode could be proof that the writers were ready to dunk their heads into the mythology and the mystery of the show — Eko’s dreams that led him to the question mark, Locke’s dreams that introduced him to Eko’s brother Yemi, and finally Eko’s conversation with the miracle woman at the airport that was more creepy and mysterious than usable as a piece of story… Those are all elements that tell the writers to focus on mystery over a more grounded storyline. The first few episodes of the season has established the DHARMA Initiative and what the island might have looked like many decades ago, but because the writers couldn’t just dump all of it into one season of television, they forgot all about DHARMA (up until this episode) and instead focused on the Others again. And now they were focusing on more mystery plot devices for the characters, because maybe that was what the viewers were interested in the most during the airing of this season.

Dying women are a popular breed on this island.

The rest of the episode was okay. It was to be expected that Sawyer didn’t have a more elaborate hiding places for the drugs and guns, although it’s logical that he would want to keep an eye on it constantly, as having it hidden somewhere in the jungle would mean some of the other survivors could randomly stumble upon them and have a celebration. It was also to be expected that the writers were barely doing anything with Ana Lucia and Libby’s death, even after Libby needed a while to die and got another opportunity to look into Hurley’s eyes and finish that meaningless romance of the show. Not even Hurley seemed very much distraught over the fact that his girlfriend was shot, begging the question how much he really loved her, or how much the writers wanted for Hurley and Libby to happen. Not to mention that you cannot trust this show any longer when it comes to romantic relationships: As soon as one has been established, the writers will kill it off immediately, which means you save some time in the future by not getting too deeply involved with romantic relationships on the show. If the writers don’t care to develop and nourish them, why should the viewers?

Lost (“Two for the Road”)

Season 2, Episode 20
Date of airing: May 3,2006 (ABC)
Nielsen ratings information: 15.56 million viewers, 9.1/14 in Households, 6.4/15 with Adults 18-49

This is what happens when you stall all the time you have and push the necessary twists to change up the story and put some tension into the narrative into the final episodes of the season. Ever since “Henry” got locked up into the impromptu cell of the Swan station, the writers have been biding their time, waiting for the right moment to move that story to the next chapter, but it took them six episodes to do so, and in the meantime barely anything was happening on the beach, as the characters just sat around and lived life as a survivor of a plane crash. For six episodes LOST basically had the same continuing story going on, all while the flashback stories and the character spotlighted in those episodes could be considered filler. And here we are, everything is happening all at once. Michael returns and wakes up, tells a fantastic story about tents and huts and dry fish the Others are eating (I figured it was a lie, especially after Kate already found the costume department in the medical hatch), and then he goes on to kill two regular characters like it’s nothing, as if it was a job for him he had difficulties executing. Breaking out “Henry” is apparently the job he was sent back to the survivors’ camp to do, which makes the Others more clever and Michael a person whose conscience is hopefully going to eat him for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and then as leftovers the following day. The writers didn’t even bother with the character for a third of the season and how he just kills off two women? Consider me unhappy.

Sex in the jungle is always hot and steamy.

Even more so, the writers were pushing for the inconsistencies. Kate told Jack about the costumes and the fake beard, giving him pause to think that the Others have been playing a role all this time. None of it Jack thought about when Michael was telling him the story about where and how the Others lived. Granted, the Others could have even set up their huts and tents and dry fish to play Michael and have him believe that they are beatable (as a long con to lure the survivors with guns back into the jungle, who think they can beat the Others, only to die themselves), but I really would have loved for Jack to make a confused and worried face, to even consider thinking about the possibility that the Others were spinning their next web of traps, that what Michael was telling him could have been a lie. Jack didn’t think about any of it. Not after Michael “coincidentally” showed up in the jungle, not after Michael told him the story — and Kate is also not his best friend, because she could have reminded him about the costume department. Is everyone on this island goddamn stupid?

Ana Lucia’s story was barely of interest to me. I sort of liked that her flashbacks were a continuation from her previous spotlight episode, and I kind of was expecting for her mother to have had the feds with her when her daughter was calling from Sydney, since there was still a murder to be investigated and Ana Lucia was the prime suspect (in a way, Ana Lucia’s mother could have ratted her daughter out in a similar fashion as Kate’s mother did, giving the two survivors with a murderous past a shared experience). The latter did not happen though and the former didn’t make a lot out of the story. Instead, the writers decided to bring Christian back into the fold and tell us all why he made his way to Sydney and why Ana Lucia also made her presence there. Putting Christian straight into a soap opera storyline in which he just wants to see his illegitimate daughter is already eyesroll-worthy, but the writers didn’t even give Ana Lucia and Christian a real connection, either emotional or physical. Okay, I never expected for the two to make out and have sex for days and days, but there had to be a reason for the two to stick together in Sydney. She needed the distance from her mother, that I get, but why did she also need to stay with Christian, when she obviously could have gone anywhere?

Deadly choices being made in this screenshot.

Meanwhile, Hurley was preparing for a picnic date, but because of Libby’s sudden demise, he will be angry and in rage when he finds out that Michael killed his greatest love. Also, that’s quite a move to kill off another romantic storyline on LOST. Shannon got offed right after she and Sayid were growing closer to have sex for the first time (although now I’m wondering whether or not they had sex already). Charlie and Claire became history right in the middle of them feeling secure with each other. And now Libby gets taken away from Hurley before he even had the chance to find out what it’s like to have a hot girlfriend on the island of death. The writers developed the show with this ensemble cast, in the hopes to create love triangles. Now that they established their shows and characters, the couplings they built are immediately shot to death, both literally and figuratively, right when they were about to become serious. Considering this is happening for the third time this season, we can say for certain that this was intended. Wait, hold on a second here, it happened four times this season. I just forgot all about Sawyer and Ana Lucia hooking up midway through this hour, which could have led to another love/hate thing and a love triangle. And because I could not believe my eyes when Ana Lucia and Sawyer humped each other, my mind apparently decided to forget all about it immediately after the scene finished. And seriously, how did Sawyer not notice that he left the place of coitus without his gun? Is everyone on this island goddamn stupid?

Lost (“S.O.S.”)

Season 2, Episode 19
Date of airing: April 12, 2006 (ABC)
Nielsen ratings information: 15.68 million viewers, 9.5/15 in Households, 6.3/16 with Adults 18-49

Those supporting and recurring characters are beloved with the audience, they probably thought. We had to fill 24 hours of television this season, so let’s just not focus on anything major and give them a flashback episode, they most likely argued. This is the episode of LOST that didn’t give the attention to any of the regular characters and instead focused on two recurrings who may or may not land in the pool of regulars with the next season (spoiler: they won’t, but considering which two certain new characters would get introduced with the next season, one might wonder why Rose and Bernard weren’t upgraded to regulars instead). This is also another origins episode, in which the writers tell us how two romantically involved characters got together. Jack and Sarah’s first meet’n’greet was breakfasted in the season premiere, two episodes later we saw Locke meeting Helen for the first time, and again two episodes later we found out how Jin and Sun walked into each other’s lives. Having four of these flashback premises in the same season is a little much and may show that the writers didn’t really know what to do with those flashbacks.

They are netting each other’s affection.

Because really, if they knew what to do with them, Rose and Bernard would have never gotten a flashback episode, as they aren’t regular characters and could easily be killed off for the sake of showcasing the dangers of the island (after this episode though, they better not be killed off). This was just another attempt at stalling time, as the writers realized which kind of story they wanted to tell for the season finale, but still had to spend some time preparing for it. Not that I mind an episode centered on Rose and Bernard, but their love story isn’t really anything I was interested in, let alone was Bernard’s effort to spell out SOS on the beach with medium-sized rocks that are apparently in abundance in the middle of the jungle intriguing either. In fact, I was rolling some eye when nobody on the island wanted to help Bernard out and make their chances to get rescued by a plane or a satellite that looks down on Earth (okay, there are more of those up there than satellites helping us with navigation and communication) rise. Spelling out SOS on the beach for planes to see it is a pretty neat idea, but a) I’m surprised no one has executed said idea two months into their deadly island adventure, and b) no one was interested in helping Bernard executing that idea. I understand that some don’t want to be rescued, because they found a much better life on the island, but come on, even Jin was walking away from Bernard, and I can’t believe it was due to Bernard’s hard-ass boss-man attitude.

The writers could have used Rose and Bernard’s flashback story to reveal something new about the island or the characters, but as it turned out the episode was so filler, it even recycled an old story about the mysterious healing power of the island. It is definitely interesting that someone knows about Locke’s paraplegic status before the crash, but not only did Rose’s knowledge about it come from nowhere, but the writers just dropped it into the episode to establish that exact connection between Rose and Locke for the sake of Rose’s flashback story. This happened because the writers never believed they would give recurring characters the spotlight for an hour and they never figured they would have to create a back story for the senior married couple of the show. If Rose’s illness would have been part of her back story from the beginning, the show could have found a way to have Rose and Locke connect over something, but they never showed they were even friendly towards each other or interested in conversations.

Bernard didn’t really get far with his bossy attitude.

In the meantime, Jack and Kate went on a hike, and instead of meeting with the Others to make a new deal or do anything else than having long-lost Michael stumble into them (I was about to forget about the guy until Jack mentioned Walt to “Henry”), they had to deal with their affections for each other. Thank the heavens Danielle is on this island, otherwise Jack and Kate would not have found the opportunity and time to grow a little closer together in a confined space like a net. Granted, it was slightly amusing to see them together like this, but I am starting to lose patience with the show, and now that it’s trying to force me into a love triangle with Jack, Kate and Sawyer, all I can think of is how much I hated the show during the first part of the third season and how frustrating the narrative was in the sixth season, which does not bode well for the show as a whole. But as it’s known with LOST, the writers couldn’t hurry up with their narrative and filled the seasons with filler episodes, so Kate couldn’t make up her mind and instead continued to dance around Jack and Sawyer.

Lost (“Dave”)

Season 2, Episode 18
Date of airing: April 5, 2006 (ABC)
Nielsen ratings information: 16.38 million viewers, 9.8/15 in Households, 6.9/17 with Adults 18-49

In which we all learned that Hurley had an invisible friend trying to have him commit suicide, and in which Libby was also a crazy person, because for some reason the writers needed the story of Hurley recognizing Libby from somewhere, and Libby being involved in Hurley’s life, probably forcing herself to do so. If Libby had an obsession with Hurley ever since the days in the mental institution, and Libby started to follow and stalk Hurley, it would definitely make sense why she was on the plane. Every character with a big enough back story has gotten a reason why they were on the plane, and now another character was added to the list. Yet here is the question everyone will be asking themselves: Was it needed? Is it important for Hurley’s story to have Libby in it, too? Does it make Libby a supporting character in Hurley’s arc when she is an element of his life, instead of the other way around? Is this a prime example of how the writers lost touch with the character of Libby and realized they couldn’t do anything with her ever since the tail-section survivors united with the main group?

First say “Cheese!” and then take your medicine.

This was another filler episode. There was a little bit of “Henry Gale” saying some stuff, including “God doesn’t know how long we’ve been here. He can’t see this island any better than the rest of the world can,” which is most likely hidden messaging here for the viewers, and it’s a quote that makes “Henry” part of the Others. Since he could not elaborate on his story any longer and pretty much decided not to answer questions, it’s the writers way of telling us that the guy in the impromptu oner-person cell is one of the villains and that the writers will have to think of something else to resolve that story, as it’s sort of running on empty now. “Henry” has been a houseguest for five episodes now, which continues my thought of his story being dragged straight through the season finale, and that means time has to be wasted and five more episodes have to be filled with random stuff that develops the character arcs none of the characters’ involved in this story. Jack and Locke will continue to antagonize each other over this, but no one will do anything about it, because they’re all chicken (and Locke can’t walk, so there’s that). And “Henry” will continue to play Locke like a fiddle, including stories about how he did not enter the numbers and pushed the button. The latter is especially noteworthy for the viewers, because they are being played as well. At this point I’m wondering if the writers knew the answer whether or not the Swan station was just a big social experiment, long abandoned by the people in charge (although is it? The food delivery system still seems to be working…). If “Henry’s” people however know about the stations on the island and their functions, they knew about what it meant to enter the numbers and push the button and Henry would have done so (leaving Desmond to do the job because the Others probably didn’t want to be burdened with it). The fact that he may still lie is just another one of his ruses.

Meanwhile, Hurley went on his own little adventure. He destroyed his stash of food, but still had some more to call his own, he decided to move back into the caves (where no one lives anymore apparently, which is I guess the writers’ idea to abandon that setting even though it doesn’t really make sense, due to the security the caves gave the survivors), he lost his stash of peanut butter again, and in all that time he was having conversations with his subconscious trying to kill himself. It’s definitely a filler story and it didn’t really help Hurley’s case, let alone the writers, who suddenly dropped all of the mental institution back story Hurley mentioned once or twice throughout the show into one episode. Suddenly he’s really crazy and he sees people, and with the speed Dave was dropped into the narrative, it’s almost for certain that he will never appear again, let alone be mentioned by Hurley as part of his past as a patient in a mental hospital. Because at the end of the day, what he went through for this episode was a way to fill this hour with a story that pushes the actual narrative into the next episodes. A non-essential episode, nothing more.

Between being a hiker and a paraplegic in a wheelchair.

At least Hurley was allowed to feel an ounce of happiness with Libby, and now the island of creepiness and death has another romantic couple, which is a good thing. After all, Sawyer and Kate never seem to be doing anything, and Jack and Ana Lucia don’t seem interested in each other either, and all I want is for a little romance to happen, especially after Charlie and Claire “broke up.” It would have been nice to see this romance being developed from Libby’s point of view though. Because it happened from Hurley’s point of view pretty much the entire time, even I have to question what Libby would see in Hurley and why she fell in love with him (okay, we kind of know already: obsession and stalker-ish behavior). In a way, Hurley was right when he mentioned that in the real world, she never would have made eye contact with him.

Lost (“Lockdown”)

Season 2, Episode 17
Date of airing: March 29, 2006 (ABC)
Nielsen ratings information: 16.20 million viewers, 9.8/15 in Households, 6.7/16 with Adults 18-49

At least the story of Henry Gale crashing on the island of horrible deaths and dangers on a balloon with a smiley face on it was true, begging the question when that happened and why “Henry Gale” killed the poor sucker who probably only died so he can be part of an alibi to infiltrate the survivors for whatever reason. That “Henry” was not who he claimed he was has been obvious ever since Claire started remembering where she was when she got kidnapped (in hindsight, it seemed logical that the writers would tease “Henry’s” true agenda, who is most likely linked with the Others, while Claire takes a trip to the Others’ medical station), and I am glad that the writers didn’t wait more than two episodes to make that point absolute and sure, and to make “Henry” the ultimate villain. From here on, he could either be one of them or he could be the personification of a whole new threat. Although the question is also how he is going to function as a villain when the characters have uncovered his secret.

Henry and Locke just started during the hatch workout program.

I remembered I loved this episode when I watched it for the first time. The Swan station in lockdown mode was exciting already, but with Locke trapped under the blast doors (which finally make an appearance after Michael casually mentioned their existence once and no one bothered to ask back why this place would have blast doors) and with “Henry” roaming around like a free man, about to take the opportunity for an escape, the writers created tension that was well-deserved for the audience, after the previous two episodes didn’t really manage to be super exciting (I am just about to wake up after falling asleep to Sun and Jin’s flashbacks from the previous episode). Also, with the station on lockdown, the writers had an opportunity to put some gasoline into the mythology and serve us a map of all the stations on the island, which means the suckers in the Swan station may not be the only ones having to save the world. Still, ever since “The Hunting Party,” I am still wondering how much the Others know about the island and the DHARMA stations — apparently not enough to occupy them, or the Swan station would have been a battleground, the medical station would have still been used somehow (although it may have been evacuated, knowing that Claire knew where the station was), and the storage facility would have been raided long ago, since the Others were so keen in abducting the tail-section survivors. Now that more stations have been teased, it is only logical that the Others would have control over them.

The lockdown also served up some nice tension. First of all, seeing Locke and “Henry” work together was a treat, as it developed “Henry’s” attempt at creating a rift between Jack and Locke, and it did something with the character that could have turned him into something of a more positive character, maybe even an ally. Sure, “Henry” was always the villain and will most likely be one forever, but there were a few minutes during which I believed “Henry” could truly be a friend — at least to Locke. “Henry” not taking the opportunity to escape was obviously part of his plan to continue to work that rift between the two Alpha leaders of the survivors. It would be the only reason to even keep the character in the show after this episode.

The only thing you can do right now is spy on a poker game.

The rest of the hour was okay. The poker game was only interesting when you love how Jack and Sawyer like to antagonize each other, and the jungle trip of our favorite three second-class character at the moment (Sayid, Charlie, Ana Lucia) only became noteworthy when they found the balloon and a grave, which then turned into plot devices to make sure that even the last viewer realizes that “Henry Gale” is not who he claims he is. So the flashbacks remain, and even those were of no interest to me, as they essentially just repeated Locke’s conflict with his father and how the former’s life was screwed all the way through his life before the crash on the island. Locke finds his birth parents and he gets robbed of a kidney as a thanks. He gets a girlfriend and he has to pay for that with his obsession about his father. Locke is essentially the do-good kinda guy before the crash (he readily made himself available to get the cash for his asshole father) and that didn’t really help him with anything, as he stood there all alone by the end of the flashback story. It’s probably a good thing for Locke that “Henry” still plays the part of the trusting friend, otherwise Locke may have had his mental breakdown already — first his father steals his kidney, then his girlfriend leaves him, then he gets into a wheelchair, then he gets bullied for his hobbies involving military strategy, then he crashes on a deserted island and now he has to deal with a button, Jack, and a whole lotta people who would love to get “Henry” out of the station. If “Henry” wasn’t Locke’s friend at this point, Locke would be all alone on the island as well.