Monday (4/13/09) 10:34am - ... wherein Peter posts a Weekly Media Update.
TV: LOST [5x10-5x11] [spoilers]
Looks like I've been shirking my LOST
-reviewing duties lately. Since last time
, I've seen three episodes of LOST
; for now, I'll discuss the first two: "He's Our You"
and "Whatever Happened, Happened"
In my mind, I conceptualize season five of LOST
as a big ledger sheet. In one column, you have the convoluted setups, such as "The Oceanic Six have to get back to the island because... um, just because!" In the other column, you have the payoffs, like when the Ajira flight just happens to land on a convenient island airstrip. The setups feel strained, like the showrunners are marionetting characters hither and yon so they can get the overarching plot going the right way. Then the payoffs let the characters do what comes natrually. ("Okay, guess we'll land the plane here.")
These two episodes felt like setup.
You could see the seams: Lindelhof and Cuse clearly want the Lostaways to become the people who turn Ben towards being an Evil Other, or whatever it is he becomes when he grows up. It starts out straining disbelief a bit: okay, would Sayid really shoot Ben as a kid? Hadn't anyone told him that there was just one timeline? And more importantly, don't people who get shot by Sayid stay dead? (Doesn't anybody in the LOST
verse know to aim for the head?)
But that part was more-or-less okay. Okay, maybe Sawyer never mentioned the mechanics of time travel to Sayid. They did take the 'curse off of' Sayid's actions a bit by showing us Sayid's flashbacks, and reminding us just how much Sayid hates (adult) Ben. And okay, maybe just this once Sayid can't bring himself to finish off his target with a headshot. (In Sayid's defense, in "He's Our You," Ben's wound is on the heart side; in the next expisode, it shows up on the other side.)
But then we have "Whatever Happened, Happened". And that's where things get *really* wobbly. Okay, Jack just won't operate on Ben? I mean, sure, maybe Jack is in that headspace now. But doesn't he already know there's no way he can kill Ben? and if it's a fait accompli
, doesn't he have that whole Hippocratic Oath thing to conform to? Okay, fine. Jack doesn't operate. And they can't call the other island doctor because... of something. We're not sure. Fine.
And then... then they decide to put this shock-y teenager in a big minibus and go off-roading, to take him to the Others.
Now, don't get me wrong. There are explicit explanations as to why Juliet thinks this is the right thing to do. (What didn't occur to me on first viewing: Juliet was an Other, and probably knows a fair amount about their Otherly technology.) But the whole thing *feels* illogical. And if it feels wrong, then it doesn't matter how many explanations they dump into the script.
And even if it had felt logical, the Ben storyline still would have felt stale as we got into "Whatever Happened, Happened." Once I knew that Ben didn't die and the single-timeline-no-paradoxes theory still prevailed, I knew that it was just going to be one of those Twilight-Zone
-ish stories where well-meaning time travelers bring about the awful outcome they so dreaded. O-ho, the irony!
It resolved the "Sayid shoots Ben" setup in the dullest way possible. Ben lives, everything we knew about time travel is still true, and Ben doesn't even remember the shooting (a memory which would have recontextualized Ben's initial capture and torture scenes rather brilliantly).
Another problem: sadly, I can't cotton to Kate episodes in general, and "Whatever Happened, Happened" was a Kate episode. I suppose I don't much like Kate as a character. I'm not sure why. Evangeline Lilly is certainly appealing (more so in interviews than in character -- the actress seems about a billion times smarter than her character).
For a while, I thought that I didn't care about Kate much because, at least in the last few seasons, they mainly show Kate in two situations: "OMG my baby is in danger!" and "OMG which man shall I choose?" Since my life is rather bereft of both children and romance, I thought maybe those were just not relatable storylines for me. But then I realized I've never been stranded on Craphole Island either, so that can't be the whole story. Still, harping on those two old setups makes her character feel kind of static and prevents me from learning anything new about her.
I doubt I'll ever really get why I don't much like Kate-centric episodes.
There were, of course, things to like. I enjoyed the momentary possibility that the shooting of Ben was a legitimate game-changer and not more plot churn. I loved the argument between Hurley and Miles about the nature of time travel -- it provided much-needed levity.
Side note: I tried watching "He's Our You" at the Alamo Lake Creek this time around (I was still bitter towards the Village for botching the Battlestar Galactica finale
). It was a bit different: they show the episode live, which means that (1) they can show it in HD
(yay!), and (2) they include commercials (boo!). Also, the food was more expensive. The 8pm showtime is another disadvantage. I have trouble getting anything done after going out on a weeknight, and watching LOST
at 8pm means that I get home at 9:30pm and accomplish nothing for three hours. Plus, I like being able to watch LOST
on alternate weeks at the Village. *And*, the Village just started showing their episodes in HD. Ergo: Village wins.
Additional side note: I need to make a facebook event for watching the LOST
finale at the Drafthouse.
I've been kind of disappointed with PodCastle
. The narration (ptevis
's narration excepted) has often been noisy, overacted, and overenunciated, and the stories tend to be a bit anvilicious
with HELLO THIS IS AN ALLEGORY FOR REAL LIFE. For the moment, I've discontinued PodCastle so I can listen to Shakespeare productions from speak-the-speech
For next time: more Richard II
and more PodCastle
. Apart from that, it's mostly middlebrow movies: Rachel Getting Married
, When We Were Kings
, and A Very Long Engagement
Music-wise, I'm starting in on Robert Schumann.
 Or theoretically they could -- that night's freak hailstorm knocked out the theater's HD satellite.
 I always hate how the moral of such stories seems to be, "Never bother trying to accomplish anything, because nothing you do matters."
contemplative · Music: