>TV Round-Up: Lost

>Not in Portland
After three months of waiting, Lost is finally back. Seeing this episode, I wonder if the show would have been better served to have run this as the final episode of the fall season instead of where they did. “Not in Portland” was a far more satisfying episode than the fall-season finale becuase it actually provided some answers to lingering questions as well as resolving some storylines.

We’ve had a lot of questions answered about the Others–we’ve found out how long Juliet has been on the island and how she was recruited to come to the island. It seems to tie into the Others interest in children. Juliet has come up with some kind of drug that appears to induce pregnancy–first on male mice and then on her sister. I have to wonder what illness her sister had in the flashbacks. Was it cancer? It was also interesting to see what Juliet was like before she came to the island–a lot more meek. Her interview where she gets visibly upset that her ex-husband has so much power over her was well done as was her breaking down when she had to go identify his body. Interesting that Ethan would show up to provide Kleenex at this point.

And it appears that Juliet is a prisoner on the island. Or do they just have really good contracts? Or are they holding her sister and the baby?

Another question is how did Juliet go from so meek to the woman of action and the leader we see here. What changed her in the three years on the island? Was it being around Ben? Or are we seeing Juliet slowly starting to assert herself in this run of seven episodes? (I am thinking not, since we saw her as fairly dynamic during the flashbacks to the plane crashing earlier this year).

I do have to wonder what it is about Ben that makes everyone so loyal to him. What power does he have? Does he hold something of value to each of the Others he uses against them to keep them there on the island, following his orders? The other Others seemed a bit distressed that Juliet was plotting with Jack to kill Ben. Could it be that he’s the only one who can reverse whatever it is that holds the Others on the island? And is it easy to leave? Exactly how does one leave and get back to the outside world? Was Ben lying to save his own life? And are we trapped now, since it was hinted at during the surgery?

I’d forgotten that part of the Lost fun was that it just asks so many questions.

That said, I’m not sure if this arc has been the best thought-out the show has gone down. For one thing, I liked the Others as a mysterious group. I’m not sure opening them up and exploring their society and power structure has essentially been all the helpful to the overall show. Yes, we get that they are rotten, horrible people, but this whole seeing the internal petty squabblings may not help things. It reminds me of X-Files tried to humanize the Cigarette Smoking Man in the later years–something I didn’t like that much. I prefer the air of mystery and speculation around the central “villian” figure for the show. Plus a huge part of this is that every fan has his or her own theory on what such and such is evil…so any time you give definitive answers, it will not mesh with what the fans have decided. And, thus, suffer as a whole.

And, at least, it appears the whole holding people prisoner plotline is over. Jack has apparently decided to stay of his own free will, even going so far as to tell Kate not to come back for him. Has he made some kind of deal with them or Juliet? Or does he hope to stay and find some way off the island for himself and the rest of the castaways? And do we really think Kate will listen to his “orders” and not come back for him?

That brings up the question of what will the rest of the castaways make of the knowledge that Sawyer and Kate bring back? With Jack still gone, Locke can use this as a further way to insert himself into the leadership role he’s wanted all his life. Will Locke want to rescue Jack or will he now be consumed by the quest to go north and find the guy with the eye-patch that we saw earlier this year.

The good thing is–Lost is back. So, that means instead of idle speculation, we can look forward to the next fifteen solid weeks of episodes that may address these issues. I’m looking forward to it and I have to admit that I’m glad the trio held prisoner plotline has run its course. I’m ready to find out more about the castaways we all got to know the past two seasons and where those stories are headed. Oh yeah, and if they could tell me why Locke was in the wheelchair, I’d appreciate it.

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