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Lostwatch: We've Got Company

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Jack and Kate get to know the new guy. / MARIO PEREZ/ABC

SPOILER ALERT: Before you read this, watch last night’s Lost. And tell my sister I love her.

It was painful to write last week’s Lostwatch because I had to keep myself from mentioning any details about this week’s Lost, which I liked even better. This is an issue with a lot of shows–say, The Wire–but when it comes to Lost, where we’re all dying to know where this is all going to go, it’s positively excruciating. In a way, I kind of regretted having got the first two episodes in advance, and thus not having the experience of being surprised by the show and immediately recapping it.

So, ABC, please do not send me any more advance episodes of Lost. Also, send them all now, please.


So. What amazed me about this episode was the economy and precision with which it introduced four new characters, the crew of the downed chopper from Not Penny’s Boat. Each got just one flashback and a little time on the island, and yet by the end of the episode, I felt I had a true handle on what they were like as individuals. (Well, with the possible exception of Frank, who seems a bit too generic-drunk-hippie-guy for now.)

Part of this owes to the casting. I love Jeremy Davies, and they found him the kind of sympathetic-nebbish role at which he excels. His physicist Daniel not only seems like a bad liar, he makes you feel what a painfully bad liar he is, and gives you the sense (if he’s not hiding an evil-genius act) that he may be in over his head with the people who hired him. Ken Leung (who stood out opposite Uncle June in the last season of The Sopranos) also excelled as a hardass ghostbuster. Communing with the dead constantly appears to make one a mite edgy.

Speaking of which: so, ghosts? I mean, clearly we’ve been heading in that direction for some time with Lost, what with Jacob and all, despite the producers’ onetime assurance that everything happening on the island had an explanation in nature. Depends on your definition of nature, I guess. I buy this so far, though, because Leung capably handled the stock talking-to-invisible-dead-guy scene in his flashback, and it was a good move to go as far as possible from the stereotypical touchy-feely empath with him. I mean, dude talks to the dead. Why would he be a people person?

All in all, it’s hard to complain about Lost’s pacing this time out. Season 4’s doing a great job of efficiently filling in the past (the discovery of “Flight 815″), moving things along on the island, and–last week, anyway–advancing us in the future. Getting rid of the needless flashbacks for the established characters has done wonders for this show: there are now 44 minutes of story every week.

Let’s go to the hail of bullets:

* The Sawyerisms are back! Oh, Sawyerisms, how I missed you! “Mind telling me who you’re getting your orders from, Col. Kurtz?” And: “You”re wasting your time, Yoda.” And perhaps the greatest Sawyerism of all time: “Who are we to argue with Taller Ghost Walt?”

* Polar bears? In Tunisia? With a hydra logo? Any of our more hardcore Lostologists care to take a stab at that? Because I got nothing.

* A gas mask in Daniel’s pack? Do the Boaties plan to do unto Ben as he did unto Dharma?

* Not surprising, but interesting to confirm, that Ben doesn’t know what the monster is any more than Juliet does. Or says so, anyway.

* What was that machine Miles brought to his exorcism, anyway? The Dirt Devil from Reaper?

* Ben shoots Charlotte in her bulletproof vest. He shot Locke through his nonexistent kidney (which the omniscient Ben should have known was no longer there, no)? Is Snoop the only person on TV who knows enough to shoot someone in the head? Girl needs to teach Ben how to drop someone Bal’more style.

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