"There's No Place Like Home, Part 1," the first of the tri-part season four finale, is the first "Lost" seg of the season where I had believe-ability issues with the plot that were nettlesome enough to take me out of the thrall of the storytelling, ever so briefly here and there.
Jacob's mouthpiece tells Locke to move the island? I can dig it. Ben is a master manipulator who has secret rooms and stashes of "Doctor Who" props all over the island? I'm down with that. Polar bears in the jungle and black smoke monsters with gnarly tempers? Sure. But Aaron is five weeks old? Give me a break!?! That baby is at least three-four months old if he's a day.
(Saturday afternoon update: A reader with impeccable credentials on all things "Lost" makes two good points that should be noted. First, in the "Lost" chronology, Aaron is actually only seven weeks old at the time of the press conference, given that he was born in season one on day 38. Second, and this I really should've remembered, Screen Actors Guild rules and other labor laws make it virtually impossible to do scenes of any length with infants younger than two months. So we gotta allow some slack there.)
None of the reporters at that press conference would've bought that, and they would've charged that dais to get at Kate with questions about her giving birth on the island. They would've challenged Sayid's assertion that there were "absolutely not" any other crash survivors. How could he possibly know?
Jack, as Kate says earlier in the episode, is a horrible liar and Sun is no better. The press would've smelled the B.S. and pounced. There would've been no decorum or quick exit for the survivors -- there would have been a riot, and the story would've turned to skepticism about the claims of the Oceanic 6. I thought that was where they were going when the reporters started to ask Kate about giving birth and Sun about her husband. The only thing worse than Jack trying to lie to the press was the awkwardness of him instructing the other five how to lie just before they landed. I noticed they weren't looking at Jack with quite the same reverence as before.
Second major hole in the "Lost" ozone layer for me this week: Sun and the business about buying up a controlling interest in her father's mega-conglom. I'm sure each of the 6 got fat settlements from Oceanic Airlines once they turned up, however they turned up. But enough to swoop in and steal control of a multinational conglom from its meglomaniac leader? Oh come on. Those South Korean firms are huge -- it'd take billion(s) and it would not be the kind of transaction you could do in a single morning.
They could've still had what was otherwise a hell of a showdown scene between Sun and her father without that flight of fancy. We know Sun's got plenty of reasons to despise her father. For starters,
I can't swear to it but I don't think Mr. Paik was in that opening scene of the Oceanic 6 reuniting with family members on the tarmac of the military facility. (I'll check in the ayem.) OK, he was there....sorry Mr. Paik.
All that said, once again, it was still a mighty entertaining hour of television delivered in the seg penned by our "Lost" leaders, Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse, and helmed by Stephen Williams. We learned a lot.
**I'd been wondering, like every other "Lost" fan, about what to make of Ben and his whining about losing control to Locke and his faux emotional trauma over his daughter. I don't buy it now. I think he's still the puppet master, manipulating every situation he's in for own nefarious ends. Granted, Ben's got more of a challenge these days with all the unruly factions on the island. But as he informed Locke toward the end of the seg: "I always have a plan." He also admitted once again to not being "entirely truthful" with Locke. Duh.
**In the flash-forward scene of Hurley's surprise party, Hurley appeared to have the same style of ceramic Virgin Mary statue that bedeviled dear old Charlie way back in season one, only Hurley's was painted gold. Great line from Mama Hurley: "Jesus Christ is not a weapon" as Hurley holds it over his head ready to strike a charging polar bear or something with it.
**So Jack finds out about Claire, at his father's long-delayed funeral no less. He just can't catch a break. I confess to wishing that they would use Claire's surname more often on the show. It has such a familiar ring to it...
**The 108-day time frame that the Oceanic PR exec gave for the castaways' saga seemed shorter than the time frame of the show's narrative. Chalk it up to the time-travel business, I suppose. I'm sure there's significance in the locale and the names of the Indonesian islands where they supposedly made their way to. I don't recall hearing the Oceanic flak mention that 815 was 1000 miles off course, but that's not something the airline would want to spread around, either. And maybe that doesn't square with Widmore's version of the crash (if it is indeed Widmore's version).
**So Jin gets on the first boat to ferry castaways to the freighter with Sun; Kate and Sayid do not and get captured by Richard Alpert and the Others (Didn't they have a pop hit in the mid-1960s? Oh yeh, it was called "LSD."). Jack's probably bleeding to death as he and Sawyer search for Hurley and madman Keamy, not to mention mad men Ben and Locke. Yet Kate, Jack, Hurley and Sayid are Oceanic 6-ers but Jin's supposed to be dead. Got it, for now.
The opening scene of the 6 on the cargo plane and the reunions with the families was incredibly touching. The way they all looked at the sky as the hatch of the plane opened. It was quite emotional, especially the realization that there was nobody there to see Kate. Even Hurley brings Sayid over to his mom to get a hug. But Kate is kinda out there on her own, albeit with precious cargo in her arms. It was quite moving - reminded me of the heart-tugging, slo-mo scenes they tended to run at the end of first season episodes.
I am never disappointed by the sight of Cheech Marin (pictured below), however brief his appearance, in anything. I love the casting of him as Hurley's dad, and it was a great scene with him in the restored car (with the ultra-cool black and gold vintage California license plate) as Hurley flips out over the numbers on the odometer. Nice touch. I tried to no avail to figure out what was on the T-shirt Hurley was wearing in that party scene. Anybody catch it?
Pilot Frank Lapidus we know by now is a true friend of the castaways. He's there to help, I'm convinced. I'm still not entirely clear on Faraday -- he seemed to be doing what he promised in ferrying groups to and fro the freighter. But I dunno -- he seems to be smitten with Charlotte, which is a black mark in my book.
Miles was in the seg only for a sec -- love Sawyer nicknaming him "Genghis Khan" -- but he's still a mystery to me too. Sawyer had a great line that of course evoked the season two finale, "Live Together, Die Alone," when he barked at Jack: "You don't get to die alone."
Speaking of mysteries, what to make of the Orchid station and its secret elevator that Locke needs to find? And how does the resurfacing of the Others figure into all this? Was Juliet being entirely truthful when she said she didn't know of any Orchid station?
And what to make of all those explosives packed into the freighter? Credit Variety's Justin Kroll with deducing that the device strapped to Keamy's enormous forearm last week is probably some kind of trigger for all those plastic explosives -- like if his heartbeat dies, the boat goes kaboom.
It's gonna be a long two-week wait for the two-hour finale on May 29.