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Lost season four episode reviews


Season 4, Episode 1. "The Beginning Of The End" Unlke previous premiers, which tended to focus on a few characters, this outing gives everyone something to say/do. Sure, it's primarily a Hurley/Jack episode, but everyone else gets screentime. And it's wonderful. After a long break, it's like welcoming back a group of old friends.

Season 4, Episode 1. "The Beginning Of The End" Scene-stealers abound in Lost. Michael Emerson only has a few lines in the opening episode of Season 4, but he steals the show with them. His every utterance makes you laugh out loud, while at the same time you despise him and - strangely - root for him.

Season 4, Episode 2. "Confirmed Dead" Few shows could introduce 4 major new characters, make each one vivid and likable, and still manage to service most of the (already large) regular cast. So how do you even begin to praise this show? Do I start with the writing? Which is flawless. Or do I start with the casting? Which is - likewise - without flaw. Ken Leung is an immediate hit as an intense ghost-buster, while Jeremy Davies brings the sort of edgy lack-of-comfort to his role that Jennifer Carpenter brings to her role on Dexter. Davis gets more screen-time than any of the other newbies and he's a treat to watch.

Then, there's the writing. Just when we think we've figured out that "New Lost" will feature flashfowards instead of flashbacks the show does a 180 and offers up a completely new type of episode (structure-wise). This is a very confident and cool show. Taking us on a very cool journey.

Season 4, Episode 2. "Confirmed Dead" The one that introduced the four new regulars. It's also got a few supremely cool moments. Like when Jack and Kate are rescued from Miles (who had a gun trained on them). I like it when the Losties (our gang) kick ass and beat out everyone who is out to thwart them.

Season 4, Episode 3. "The Economist" Aside from the magnificence of the big story, there are many examples that prove that Lost is a truly great television series. This episode introduces us to a character called Elsa. Her first scene is her meeting with Sayid in a crowded hotel/bar(?). Her second scene shows her and Sayid leaving for a date. By the end of this second scene, where she casually fishes to find out if Sayid is staying in town to be with her or not, the audience has come to like her. Has come to be emotionally invested in the character. This is testament to the quality of the writing and the acting. We've only seen this character twice, in the space of twenty minutes, but we are being presented with what appears to be a classic love story and we are invested.

When I see stuff like this, and when I feel feelings like this for new characters, I know that I am in the hands of confident storytellers. And it's a great feeling.

Season 4, Episode 3. "The Economist" Jeff Fahey is a great additiont to this show. He brings and air of no-nonsense to proceedings. He reminds me of Edward James Olmos in that respect. Fahey's scenes with Jack and Faraday are a real highlight of the episode. Although Thekla Reuten gives the episode's best performance, by far.

Season 4, Episode 4. "Eggtown" Evangeline Lilly and Terry O'Quinn take center stage as we are told what happens to Kate after she gets back to the real world, and we get to see Locke ruling his people with an iron fist. The Kate-Jack love story get some fantastic scenes in the episode. The courtroom scene is not only filled with vital information for the Big Story, it's got a strong emotional core with the Jack being asked, point blank, if he loves Kate. The follow-up in the garage is likewise heart-breaking.

Locke, meanwhile, is having a tough time of it. Always my favourite character on the show (before Juliet and Ben showed up to knock him off his throne) it's tough to watch him out of control like this. His final scene with Miles was badass cool, but it's hard to get away from the fact that he's behaving like a total jerk to everyone.

Season 4, Episode 5. "The Constant" Lost keeps getting better. This new season is the strongest the show has ever been. It's more exciting now than it was in it's first season, and that is some accomplishment. This Desmond-centric episode is dominated (for me) by a stand-our performance from Jeremy Davies. Watching Desmond and Daniel team-up to cope with the vagaries of time travels makes for a fantastic hour of television.

Season 4, Episode 5. "The Constant" Jeff Fahey brings something fantastic to the role of Frank. He doesn't get a lot to do, just a few key scenes here and there, but he really makes the character work. His easy chemistry with Jack came to light in an earlier episode. In this one, we get a great scene between Sayid and Frank which shows how he has managed to gain Sayid's trust as well (Sayid hands over his gun willingly). Fahey is great. And I hope the show gives him a chance to dominate an episode soon.

Season 4, Episode 6. "The Other Woman" Elizabeth Mitchell rocks the planet. Again. She's amazing. I would watch this woman perform selected pages from the telephone directory. Or possibly the whole thing, if I felt I could stay awake that long. Story-wise this is a nice high concept idea. Juliet gets a specific mission, there's a mad chase across the island (with Jack and Kate in tow) and there's an action-packed climax where she has to decide what to do. The Juliet flashback episodes are always my favourites because they tend to offer up a wealth of information about things that went on on the island, that we didn't see at the time. This one is no exception. Lots of little blanks are filled in. Delightfully so. And, on the topic of filling in some blanks, Ben gives Locke (and us) a big definiton of what exactly is going on. And who the bad guy of the piece really is. Red herring or not, it now seems that we have a clear view of the big picture. Well, one of the big pictures. On a less satisfying note, I didn't really buy the kiss between Juliet and Jack. They didn't seem to have the passion that Jack and Kate have/had. Somehow I don't think this is a threat to the Jack-Kate relationship. Which makes me fret all the more for Juliet...

Season 4, Episode 6. "The Other Woman" Lost is a mainstream hit. Yet, many of it's defining elements are the things that normally prevent a show from succeeding with the masses. First off, it is science fiction. That's a big No-No. Secondly, it tends to be very confusing (such as with Episode 5 which had Desmond boucing around in time). Third, and last, most of it's episodes offer no kind of resolution. That's frustrating to the average viewer. This particular episode is built around a mission for Juliet (which means the episode is more self-contained than most). However at the very end of the episode, she chooses not to carry out her mission as instructed. Instead, she lowers her gun and kills nobody. It's very dramatic. But leaves the episode open-ended in many respects.

Yet, despite all of these "negative" points, Lost is a huge mainstream hit. I suspect that this is because the show largely tells very human stories. Stories that easy to relate to. Even if most of Episode 4 mean little to the average viewer, they cannot help but be interested in the love story between Jack and Kate which is played out in a couple of key scenes. Episode 5 (the best ever episode of Lost?) was a total mess to the average viewer, but it boils down to a very romantic moment at the very end. A phone-call call between two people who have been searching for one another for a very long time. Even if much that happened in the previous hour mean little to you, you could not fail to be a bit touched by that ending.

And this episode is very much a portait of a lonely woman. She pines for companionship, seeks it with the wrong man, fends off the advances of another man (also very definitely the "wrong man"!) and ultimately reveals her feelings to Jack. Who, I strongly suspect, is another wrong man for Juliet.

Despite all it's sci-fi elements, ingrained in the concept of Lost is a strong human element. Something vital to it's widespread appeal. Lost is lucky that it lends itself so well to these type of stories. The first season of Airwolf was the best. It was a dark show. Tales of espionage and international intrigue were the order of the day and, while critics and fan were impressed, the viewing public stayed away. CBS ordered the producers to "domesticate the show" for the second season, so new types of stories started to appear in an effort to raise the ratings. Stories of corrupt small town sheriffs, drug addicts, hijackings involving regular characters, singers-in-peril and whatnot. By season 3 the show was operating under a "More Heart Than Hardware" credo and stories now had little to do with the helicopter anymore: lost children, custody battles, paraplegic Vietnam veterans, and sundry other emotional rubbish.

Lost doesn't need to be tinkered with. It's central concept is the people. And the lives of those people. And that element, I think, more than any other has made it the huge mainstream hit that it is today.

Season 4, Episode 7. "Ji Yeon" For once I feel cheated by Lost. The dexterous storytelling of this show is never without solid reason. Yes, they have deceived us in the past (witness the season 3 finale) but there is always a sound reason for the manner in which they tell their story. I'm not so sure this time. It seems like this newest episode has combined flashbacks and flashforwards for no reason other than to deceive us. Previous storytelling deceptions were deceptions, yes, but they always yielded something important in the revelation. Not this time. This time, it appears to be a case of Lost going "Look, fooled you!" with nothing else to offer. And I'm disappointed. Why deceive us, if there's no reason to do it other than deceive us?

I'm also disappointed with the return of Michael. We knew he was coming back. We guessed that he would be working on the freighter. So, it was very anti-climactic. Of course we still don't know if he's Ben's spy or not. So that's something.

Season 4, Episode 8. "Meet Kevin Johnson" The story of Michael's time off the island. Lots seems to have happened in a very short time. Hmm. The show makes a clumsy attempt to cover up for the absense of Malcolm David Kelley and the story has a rushed feel to it. Never mind. Harold Perrineau carries the episode very well, we have lots of contradictory stuff to mull over for the next few weeks and it ends with several genuine shocks. Yay Lost!

Season 4, Episode 9. "The Shape of Things to Come" One of the most intense and action-packed episodes we have thus-far seen on Lost. Ben's transformation from scum to anti-hero is almost complete, when the writers throw a major spanner in the works. I was just at the stage where I would freely cheer for Ben and then he has to go and announce who he wants to kill. Bastard! Sure, I can understand. But still...

Michael Emerson does some of his best ever work in this episode. The scene at the window, in particular, is wonderful but so are most of the off-island scenes where we get to see him acting alone and tracking down the bad guys. Since he is alone, we can assume that this is - finally - the true face of Ben Linus. He is not pretending anything to anyone. And the final scene (the final conversation) is as good a clue as we have ever had about who is who in the big picture of the fight for control of The Island.

But, in general terms, it was just a cool episode. A fantastic gun battle at the very start, a cold-blooded murder, return of The Smoke Monster, and - in the sub-plot - a major development on the beach (with regard to the ship, the ship's doctor and the whole time-travel aspects of the show). And, finally, how awesome is it to see Sawyer defending Hugo? How cool to think that they are friends now and he doesn't want to leave his buddy behind? Nicely written, nicely played.

Season 4, Episode 10. "Something Nice Back Home" Even as Lost gives us exactly what we want to see, we know it will all go pear-shaped. This is the episode that shows us that Jack and Kate do end up together after the Island. He even asks her to marry him! And their bliss is delightful to watch. Except, of course, we can see things starting to fall apart in small subtle ways. It's lovely to see them together, but heartbreaking to watch.

Heartbreaking also describes the scene between Juliet and Kate, on the island, after Jack's surgery. It's just a classy thing for Juliet to do. And so heartbreaking to watch.

So, all in all, another fantastic episode. It's a Jack-centric episode where several character get lots of stuff to do. Sawyer has now become a good guy. His defence of Claire this week is - if anything - even cooler than his defence of Hurley last week. While, in the flashforward, Hurley's comments to Jack make you wonder if Jack isn't quite the good guy he appears to be...

Season 4, Episode 11. "Cabin Fever" Another thrilling episode in this best-ever season of Lost. A lot of vital information in this one, and a lot of super-cool moments. This show (and this episode in particular) excels at "Wow, how cool is that" moments. The journey of Locke, Ben and Hugo afforded lots of this moments. "What happened to them?" Hugo asks about the dead bodies. "Him" says Locke, indicating Ben. Later on, we get to see Hugo and Ben sharing a candy bar in a (wordless and) wonderful scene. And how about Locke in the cabin? "How do I save the Island?" he askes. Who wasn't cheering when he asked that?

Season 4, Episode 12. "There's No Place Like Home, Part 1" The other "best show on TV" delivers the usual thrills and surprises in this latest episode. The flashforward shows us the return to civilisation of the Oceanic Six. Emotional stuff. Particularly for Kate. Evangeline Lilly manages to convey a lot in this episode. One moment she's a kick-ass gun-wielding hero, and the next she's a vulnerable little waif all alone in the world. Sometimes I'd happily go into battle with her at my side, and other times I just want to throw my arm around her and protect her from the big bad world. Nice work.

The joys of this show (and this season in particular) has been the watching of all the threads coming together. Keamy is one of the great bad guys of the show and it's been a rush watching his plan come together this past few episodes. I so can't wait to see Ben take him down. Hard. I hope.

Season 4, Episodes 12 and 13. "There's No Place Like Home, Part Two" and "Part Three" Because Lost tells it's story in non-linear fashion part of the fun is in watching how the pieces of the jigsaw fall into place. All season long we've been wondering how those specific six people came to be in the one place at the one time and - thus - get off the island together. And now we know. And, to the show's considerable credit, even minutes before it all fell into place I wasn't quite sure how it would all pan out. Clever. Particularly the way Sawyer was taken out of the picture. Clever and suitable romantic. Of course, in terms of romantic moments, nothing comes close to the reunion between Desmond and Penny. That was awesome. Not a dry eye left in the house.

Ben and Locke make such a great double act. Several of their early scenes together were extremely funny. Ben's constant frustration with Locke is a great source of amusement and provides comedy when you least expect it.

The show has also teased us successfully with the idea that Jin may not be dead. Now, at last, we appear to have a definitive answer. But, then, this is Lost. What about Faraday and his people? Are they not nearby? Or will we never see them again?

And we finally know who was in the coffin last year. I can say - with my hand on my heart - that I predicted that this would be the big twist this year. In the 48 hours leading up to the finale I was part of several conversations about Lost and - each time - I put forward the theory that it would be a hell of twist to kill this character off. And, even better, not only would it be a great twist but it makes perfect sense in terms of what the bigger picture of this show is starting to appear to be. If this is the story of Jack's journey, then these last two seasons must be the story of his return to the island and for him to go back to the island there must be a void for him to fill. Now, there is a void to be filled...

So, did it lessen my enjoyment any when the camera panned down to reveal the dead body? Of course not! It merely convinced me more than ever that these writers have a very tightly plotted story to tell us.

Can't wait for it continue...

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