TV Club

Season 6: Countdown to Boredom

Seth: In your dandy roundup of Lost formulas, how could you miss my favorite: death by gunshot? Not since Westerns ruled the airwaves in the 1950s and early ‘60s has gunplay served such an important dramatic purpose on a television series. This time it’s Jin blasting translator Mikhail after first landing some expert kung-fu punches (one of this year’s formulas) on him. But instead of letting the translator have it in the torso, he plinks him in the eye. It also appears that the gun battle left Sun wounded. Ricochet shot in the torso? We can only hope.

The unifying theme you look for, Seth, is hidden in plain sight: With “The Package,” Lost returns to its procrastinating lameness that was temporarily relieved last week by the terrific “Ab Aeterno” episode. Nothing of immediate importance to the resolution of this six-year-old series seems to have happened. Oh, as you note, the viewers get to witness Jin’s point of view (or lack of a point of view, if you prefer) of the restaurant kitchen shootout. And we’re treated to a soft-porn survey of Sun’s chest. But does the episode advance the 2004 “sideways” story line? No. Does it advance the 2007 “frontwards” story line? No, unless you count Charles Widmore’s claim that “everyone we know and love would simply cease” to exist if the Man in Black escapes as a crucial plot element.

Other examples of dramatic procrastination. Ilana remains on tape-loop: “Jacob has never lied to me before.” Oh, thanks for the update, Ilana! Sayid, who was a zombie the last time we saw him is slightly more zombie. (Riffing off of your joke about Evangeline Lilly’s limitations as an actress, wouldn’t it be funny if in the last couple of episodes she throws off her zombie act and puts on a great performance?) The very troubled Claire is slightly more troubled. Hugo and Miles are still wise-cracking. Dr. Jack is still trying to tell people about the lighthouse. (Is Matthew Fox, the actor who plays Dr. Jack, perpetually constipated?) As you note, Sun’s new inability to communicate in English slows the dramatic pace to a crawl. And the episode blows its chance to do something special when the Man in Black takes an outrigger trip to Hydra Island to confront Widmore. Widmore’s people shoot at his feet!

Meanwhile, back on the mainland, Jin rushes the injured Sun off to the hospital—where I fully expect she’ll be treated by Dr. Jack next week.

It was such an inconsequential episode that, unlike you, I was grateful for the countdown to V. running in the corner of the screen if only to keep track of the minutes of tedium that awaited me before I could go to bed.

And didn’t you find the dart-gun attack by Team Widmore on the Man in Black’s encampment to be ridiculous, even by Lost ’s standards? Are Team Widmore’s tranquilizer darts so accurate that you can hit the exposed skin on a score of people inside of 15 seconds, without missing one of them? Would not at least one person escape the attack in the real world? As dedicated Animal Planet viewers know, it’s hard to hit a single lion with a tripod-mounted, high-powered dart gun and turn his lights out. It’s silly dramatic action like this that makes me think that the fanboys will choke down whatever crap the creators serve them.

Face it, Seth. Face it, Chad. There’s nothing that happens in this bloated and plodding episode that couldn’t be stuffed into a “Previously on Lost” recap. Maybe we can get the Slate V crew to boil it down to 30 seconds. Calling video producer Andy Bouvé!

The only bright spot in an otherwise drab episode was a chance to revisit Room 23 over on Hydra Island. Did somebody redecorate it? As a holding tank for Jin, it looks like an empty equipment hangar. The last time we saw it (“Not in Portland,” Season 3, Episode 7), it was done up as a George Orwell-inspired home theater. Karl, Alex Rousseau’s boyfriend, was strapped to a chair and attached to an IV-feed, while being bombarded with a grind-core soundtrack and quick-cut video images, which he viewed through blue LED glasses.

Lost’s version of the Ludovico treatment, obviously.

Oh my broothas, would it be too much to ask for Lost’s producers to install countdown clocks on the remaining episodes?

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