"Welcome to the circle of trust."
That line from Horace in tonight's ultra-fabulous "Lost" seg, "Some Like it Hoth," applies to all of us humble viewers at home. As "Lost" winds down its penultimate season, we are indeed getting the answers and the backstories that we've craved for so long. Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse are men of their words.
Carlton has often referred to the "Lost" saga as a mosaic wherein the shiny tile pieces will be gradually be laid down, not in a methodical, finish-off-this-corner-first way but rather a let's-sprinkle-them-in-as-we-see-fit way, which has made for some astounding and confounding television for the past five seasons.
To my mind, tonight's seg completely made up for the shortcomings of the storytelling in last week's installment (mostly I felt it was too rushed). Darlton prepped us in last week's podcast that they felt the need for an episode with some lighter moments -- kind of like a "Star Trek" fourth episode -- and in that "Hoth" delivered.
Hurley and Miles (GREAT work by Jorge Garcia and Ken Leung) are the Cheech and Chong for a new generation. Instead of dope and rock 'n' roll, they riff about Star Wars and daddy issues. (I'm sure ABC's already thinking: Hmmm, how about a half-hour spinoff with a couple of time-traveling cut-ups in cute Dharma overalls?)
Kudos to writers Melinda Hsu Taylor and Greggory Nations for giving us the levity that some of us sorely needed (it's been a rough week at Variety, lemme tell ya), mixed with a generous helping of revealing OMG moments. And I've said it before and will surely say it again -- but folks, when you see the words "directed by Jack Bender" on an episode of "Lost," you know you're in for a good time.
There's something about the way the camera moves, the way the actors act, the way the frame of each scene is captured just so that makes television a joy to behold whenever Bender's behind the camera. Besides, what other show could pay homage to George Lucas and Billy Wilder in the same breath?
(No pics of this ep available from ABC but check out these snaps from "Lost's" recent 100th episode party. The Big 1-0-0 seg airs April 29.)
I couldn't help but notice a strong animal motif running through the seg: The picture of wild horses about Miles' mom's bed in the scenes where she's old and Miles is a heavily pierced angry young man; Miles the young boy picks up a large rabbit figurine to get the key to get into the apartment with the dead guy; Miles the young adult working as a journeyman medium (sort of) was wearing a shirt with a big whale on it; Dr. Chang back in 1977 kept harping on the polar bears and was reading infant Miles a book about polar bears. I'm sure there were more that I missed.
Biggest reveal of the episode, of course, was that the big burly guy Bram from Ajira Airways flight, the muscle for Ilana, is somehow wrapped up in the mystery and not some random big guy who got unlucky on his flight. Do you know what lies in the shadow of the statue? Hell no.
But part of me wonders if Bram may actually be working for Widmore -- and trying to use reverse psychology on our prematurely gray boy wonder by kidnapping Miles (briefly) and telling him not to go on Widmore's boat? And just like Darlton promised, we did get the rationale behind Miles' request for $3.2 million from Ben way back in season four. And we got more hints of the big war Widmore warned Locke about a few segs back with Bram's statements to Miles that "You're playing for the wrong team" and that he is on the side of "the one that's going to win."
Second biggest reveal to me was what seemed like proof positive that Charles Widmore set up the fake Flight 815 wreckage. I pretty much figured it was him but you just never know.
Third biggest reveal was the numbers! Our friends 48 15 16 23 42. They're a serial numbers! To what, I don't know. The hatch lid itself?
Was I lost in reverie or did they not get specific about what the serial number was from.
I won't know 'til I have an encore viewing sometime this weekend. How creepy to see the Dharmas building the hatch, eh? The look on Hurley's face as he realized what the construction site said it all.
Frankly the explicit confirmation of the connection between Dr. Chang and Miles didn't come as all that big a reveal to me, for obvious reasons. But it was worth it just for the Miles line: "That douche is my dad." Hurley's line a little later is also priceless: "How weird is it that your dad is that dude in all those movies?"
Interesting statement that Chang makes late in the episode as he's admonishing Hurley to keep quiet about everything he's learned. He threatens to pack Hurley off to Hydra island where he'll be surrounded by polar bears and their waste, and he'll be stuck having to "weigh turds for their ridiculous experiments." Who's the "they" that Chang is belittling -- some Dharma types that he doesn't like or a whole other group? The mind reels...
I don't get at all the significance of the "Mr. Gray" who hires Miles to get in touch with his dead football player son. But it's not an incidental encounter...
Clearly, with Ben's disappearance and Faraday's return, we are building to a great big blowup in Dharmaville, one that they'll be talking about for as long as they live -- which as we know is about another 15 years. Sawyer and Juliet are so desperate to keep things as quiet as possible that they're going to hogtie poor Phil (Patrick "Jimmy Barrett" Fischler has a habit of getting punched out in his roles, eh?) and hold him prisoner?
Juliet wasn't in this episode much at all but didn't Elizabeth Mitchell look radiant in her scenes? Maybe to remind us what she has at stake if her domestic bliss is disturbed. Evangeline Lilly also deserves more kind words for her work in this seg, and for her willingness to allow Bender's lens to make Kate once again look like hell in most of her scenes.
The entire "Empire Strikes Back" scene with Hurley and Miles was inspired, and surely had bigger "Star Wars" geeks than I in stitches. But you don't have to be a Lucas freak to appreciate the genius of a line like: "Let's face it, Ewoks suck."
All of this fun stuff kept me completely off guard for the segue into the return of Daniel Faraday -- without his skinny tie askew! And the fact that he recognizes Miles and seems to know exactly what he's stepping into as he emerges from the sub begs a lot of questions, natch. "Long time no see," he tells Miles with a mad-scientist's grin.
** Loved the shot of the Sports Illustrated cover feature Tommy Lasorda as "the new boss in L.A."
** Noticed the chalkboard references to "Old Egyptian" somethingerother in the schoolroom scene with Jack and Roger Linus. ("Dharma Students Make Learning Fun!!!")
** Noticed that Naomi's surname is Dorrit -- another Charles Dickens reference, to his serial novel "Little Dorrit," now playing as a 9,000-part miniseries on PBS.
** Noticed that Miles patronizes taco joint La Vida (the life) just before he's abducted by Bram and the boys.
** Hurley's nod to Earth Day? Suggesting to Miles that their sharing a ride will "help global warming. Which hasn't happened yet, so maybe we can stop it."
** Mr. and Mrs. Chang: He's a little bit country, she's a little bit Miles Davis. Miles, eh?
** Loved infant Miles' Dharma onesie.
** Ever notice that a lot of things go down when adults sit on the Dharmaville swing set?
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