Quick Hits: LOST S6, E8 — “Recon”
I’m entirely uncertain on what I thought about this episode. I’m totally wiped out from a long day and not enough sleep and watched it after 90 minutes of good hooping it up. So I’m a little weary typing away in bed with the beginning of the episode playing through again for a second time. As I type, FLocke/Not-John is addressing #TeamSmokeMonster, saying (paraphrased) “you’ve been through a long night and I know you have a lot of questions. I’ll get to those, but first we’ve got to get moving.” This was one of those episodes where “Darleton”, like FLocke/Not-John, said that very thing and, like the character, failed to answer pretty much anything.
I fully understand that sometimes you need an episode that serves a purpose of simply advancing the story. That’s all well and nice, but the end is nigh and we still have a long ways to go to get to where this show ought to end and this episode did little to tie up loose ends or move the plot along besides getting us to where Team Widmore is back on Hydra Island. The title of the episode, “Recon,” should have given us enough pause to realize that this wasn’t going to be the most action packed of adventures, but rather would establish the necessary basis for episodes to come. As a result, it’s not surprising that I fell asleep before getting this written and am now typing away in the morning.
After the jump, I’ve got my quick hits:
- I can’t believe I’m saying it, but I wish they’d never brought Claire back. You should never go only halfway in making a hot chick ugly; you go hard or not at all (for the full effect, see Charlize Theron in Monster). With Claire, they’ve given a challenge an actress with unfortunately limited capacity to play crazy a role in which she is still good looking, but appears to have just crawled out of a dumpster. She just doesn’t have the acting chops to really pull off the role. Nowhere was this better reflected than in the ridiculous scene in which Claire attacks Kate.
- I don’t doubt that Claire’s bizarre behavior is intentional. She goes from holding Kate’s hand in a tender and… well… exciting moment to trying to stab her (in a scene that was absolutely not exciting) with no intervening factors. It’s just poorly done, which is a rarity for LOST. It reminds me a bit of the scene where Sawyer nearly falls off the rope ladder to be saved by FLocke in the season premiere. Yes, I acknowledge that they accomplished a story telling goal, but the production quality and acting in each scene was just far below the standards set by the show. I just don’t think Emilie de Raven has the skills to pull off this character and you could almost see the same belief in Kate’s eyes during the scene where she asks Claire about the doll in her hut. It’s painful and distracting to watch.
- Speaking of painful and distracting, how about the over-interconnectedness. I’ve griped about this in past Quick Hits, saying that the interconnectedness in the Island universe was acceptable because the Island was a force driving the characters together and pinballing their lives like Hydrogen atoms in a star… fusing and burning off. But in the off-Island universe, that force presumably no longer exists. Unless, and I’m starting to believe this has to be the case, the off-Island universe is being drawn back toward the forces that exist on the Island, these coincidences are just a painful nuisance. Featured in this episode were the following: i) Miles and his family (who presumably left the Island before it went down — as did Ben and Roger Linus) are in LA; ii) Miles is Sawyer’s detective partner with the LAPD (anyone else expect Ana Lucia’s mom to be their Captain during the next Miles- or Sawyer-centric episode?); iii) Miles’ dad (who knows what his real name is at this point) works at a museum in LA with Charlotte Staples Lewis; iv) Charlotte and Sawyer hook up; v) Sawyer runs into Kate a second time; vi) Charlie’s older brother tries to bail out Charlie at Sawyer’s precinct; etc. (you get the idea). It’s just a bit much, unless it has an overriding purpose.
- I actually greatly enjoyed that they did not materially change Sawyer’s youth storyline. He’s still chasing after Anthony Cooper and intends to kill him, yet ironically he tells Charlotte he chose to be a cop because he came to a point in his life where he had to either become a criminal or fight against criminals. This bloodlust is still passionate despite the fact that he has chosen to otherwise lead his life for good. It dovetails nicely with the failure to make a similar decision by Sayid in the Sundown episode. It also shows that not all of the candidates lives were predetermined for or by the Island. The definitive elements of their personal histories, the formative building blocks of who they are, were not simply brought about by Jacob or the MIB and their interactions with history. So perhaps the interactions by Jacob and the MIB are also subject to course correction, just as Desmond could not change who Charlie was and what his fate would become.
- The zombification of Sayid is something that must mercifully be put to an end. His character, right now, is just useless. Either don’t feature him in the episodes until you turn his character around or just go ahead and kill him off if this is all he’ll be.
- I’m not quite sure what to make of FLocke’s tale of mommy issues as shared with Kate. Yes, Claire represents the crazy mother and, yes, FLocke may have been talking about his own MIB-mommy issues; however, there are also some significant mommy issues shared by Locke and Kate in their backstories. Both mom’s compromised their children (with Locke’s mom feeding her son to the preying Anthony Cooper and Kate’s mom turning her in after she kills her abusive step-dad). In a show that has always obsessed with daddy issues, this is a bit of an interesting change in focus. As a side note, the only other immediate mommy issue that comes to mind is Jin’s somewhat evil whore-mother who blackmails Sun.
- I’m also at a loss with the use of a clip of Michael Landon from Little House on the Prairie, but I know there’s something to it. Also, Sawyer was reading Wuthering Heights. Not sure of either connection yet.
- As a final parting thought, we now have Widmore pitted against the MIB. I find it somewhat ironic, as we’ve been so attuned to binary structure (good/evil, black/white) and yet there really is a complex dynamic of more than one side on the Island now. In particular, we’ve got three distinct groups. Widmore, #TeamSmokeMonster and #TeamJacob. There is no love lost between any of the three and there’s really no idea which two will emerge to fill the semi-vacant ying-yang relationship.
I did think the episode generally only touched on one truly strong theme — the concept of the con and playing both sides. Sawyer was the obvious character with which to accomplish this (although Ben has done it well in the past). With the playing of both Widmore and the MIB on-Island and the idea of being both cop and planned killer in the off-Island world, this actually was one of the more subtly strong parallels in this season; nevertheless, the episode itself clearly wasn’t the season’s best. I want to post this now, even though I suspect I’ve forgotten to touch on some quick hits that I’ve forgotten. I’m already a day late in getting this up, though.