The look of this seg, "Something Nice Back Home," was fantastic -- sharp enough to cut glass. You never saw so many shades of green in the jungle. The sweat and stubble on Jack and Sawyer's faces was palpable, and it seemed like many of the shots were framed more tightly than usual -- heightening the sense of being inside a character's head.
If last week's "Lost" seg, "The Shape of Things to Come," was an "Indiana Jones" episode packed with action and adventure, then this week's was the John Cassavetes' edition, an intense, intimate look at the dark side of love and relationships and betrayal.
Scribes Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz did a fine job of writing was was essentially a multi-pronged character piece, though the plot pace surely picked up in the last few minutes. The operating room scene where Juliet overrules Jack on the anesthesia was quick-cutting at its most effective.
The episode had plenty of crowd-pleasing moments. The sight in the first flashforward of Jack and Kate enjoying domestic bliss, however briefly or tenuously, must've cheered many fans (same goes for the lingering shot of Kate's butt), though true to real life, Sawyer does seem to still cast a long shadow over their lives.
As if we needed more reasons to like Rose, she gave us one early on in the seg when Bernard is pressing Faraday on whether he's being honest about the freighter failing to answer their radio calls and Charlotte starts to get snarky.
"Just watch your tone, Red," Rose scolds. Thank you, Rose, thank you.
Before he gets laid out by his appendicitis, Jack makes it clear he's plotting an attack for when the freighter folks inevitably send a helicopter or something to fetch Charlotte and Faraday. I go hot and cold on Faraday -- I do think he was totally sincere in trying to help fetch the supplies for Jack's surgery -- but Charlotte I still can't stand. Even if she does speak Korean.
Frank Lapidus, on the other hand, the old-hippie helicopter pilot, is growing on me. No doubt about it, his warning and quick thinking when he came across Sawyer, Claire and Aaron and Miles on their way back to the beach saved the foursome from the mercenary Keamy.
I still don't know what to make of Miles. He's certainly out for himself first and foremost, but he sounded sincere -- and sincerely confused -- when the whispering pines** alerted him to the shallow graves of Rousseau and Karl. I kinda believe him when he tells a seething Sawyer "I didn't sign up for this."
Sawyer is turning into more of a father-protector and Mr. Fix-it than even Jack. Love him issuing a "restraining order" on Miles re Claire and Aaron. Sawyer sounds like he's familiar with the process. "When we get back to the beach, everything's going to be fine," Sawyer says in an effort to soothe Claire's angst after the dead faces of Rousseau and Karl are exposed. Creepy.
As for Hurley's momentous scene in the mental hospital in the flashforward, it's interesting to hear him voice a theory that Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse have said is not true -- that they're actually dead. However, to get all technical about it, Hurley did say they're all in "heaven" and if memory serves, I think Lindelof and Cuse were specifically responding to the suggestion that our castaways were all really in purgatory since the crash. But I kinda don't think they'd split hairs like that.
Obviously, Hurley has been majorly rattled by his visit from Charlie earlier this season. Jack appears to be sent off on the road to ruin of pills and booze in the flashforward by the sight of his father popping up around the hospital -- but then again I suppose there's no assurance that Christian Shephard is actually the "visitor" Hurley referenced. Either way, Jack is majorly spooked by it, just as he's obviously perturbed about Hurley's message via Charlie that "you're not supposed to raise him." Friday afternoon update: Other big thing that stands out in those scenes of domestic strife between Kate and Jack -- when Jack needles Kate about how Saywer "chose" to stay on the island -- interesting word choice there, no? One thing that bugs me about this scene is that Jack would be swigging prescription drugs back with beer? C'mon, as a doctor Jack knows how toxic a combination that can be.
As Kate observed, Jack finally finds one kind word to say about his father -- noting that the story he was reading to Aaron "Alice in Wonderland," was one that his father read to him
(anybody catch what it was?) I'm an idiot, with a hearing problem) -- and look what happens.
Wonder what the significance of Hurley's mental hospital being in Santa Rosa, which is hundreds of miles away from Los Angeles. (Only thing that comes to mind about Santa Rosa is that it is the setting of one of Hitchcock's best pics, 1943's "Shadow of a Doubt.") For the record, this thinking-out-loud question is not meant to suggest that Hurley's hospital being in Santa Rosa is new info introduced in this seg. It's just something I've been wondering about.
There's a lot more to chew on, but the hour is getting late. Two more things before I sign off on this first pass:
Jin -- He's one smart son of a fisherman. I loved him calling Charlotte on her B.S. about understanding Korean. He's so damn perceptive. I'm glad he was able to shake her up a bit by insisting that Sun (was it my imagination or did they give her a slight baby bump in this seg?) get on the next helicopter out of Dodge or Faraday's fingers start popping. And did Charlotte's response amount to a tacit admission that she knows that someone will be coming for her soon? I just can't stand her...
Juliet -- really incredible stuff from her this week, in an understated perf from Elizabeth Mitchell. The scenes with Kate around the operation were really tense -- and with all due respect to Evangeline Lilly, Mitchell runs circles around her as an actress. I'm convinced Juliet let loose with "Jack kissed me" stuff at that seemingly inopportune moment as kind of test for Kate, which she passed. Kate does love Jack. If not, she probably wouldn't have thanked Juliet for saving his life right after she learned of Juliet and Jack's lip-lock. Juliet is damn perceptive too.
Friday evening update: Ran out of steam on Thursday night before I could get to the exclamation point of this episode. What is up with Claire? I have to admit that in episode 4 of this season, "Eggtown," when it was revealed that Kate was playing mother to Claire's baby, I jumped to conclusion that Kate had done something nefarious, snatching Aaron and leaving his mum high and dry on the island.
As always on this show, it appears the story is going to be much more complicated. It somehow involves the lanky Christian Shephard, who she seems to now recognize as being her long-lost dad. Kinda brings new meaning to the term "deadbeat dad," doesn't it? John Terry plays the craven Christian just right. Even in a brief appearance, he gives you goosebumps, and you hate him for being such an amoral self-centered, hypocrite. Claire was better off growing up without him in her life -- she can ask her half-brother Jack about that.
In the closing scene, the sight of a panicked Sawyer holding Aaron and screaming "Claire" brought to mind the season one finale of Michael in the water screaming "Walt."
A wise old bluesman said it best: "Motherless children have a hard time..."
(**I know that there are no pine trees in the jungle -- then again, in this jungle... -- but every time the whispers start, I can't help but think of the Band's beautiful rendition of "Whispering Pines.")