>TV Round-Up

>Lost: Expose
I have to wonder if this episode was written in some way to quiet the very vocal fans who have complained long and hard all season about the sudden appearance of Nikki and Paulo. Or maybe the writers felt that it worked well last year, giving us an episode that examined the backstory of characters we’d only just met. But the reason that worked was because it was the Tailies and there was a reasonable explanation for why we’d not seen them before now.

Not so much with Nikki and Paulo, who showed up with no explanation and then we got this looking back at the backstory with these two inserted. In a way, it was almost like the old clips episodes on most 70s TV shows where everyone sat around, talking about the good old days and we saw clips of classic episodes. Of course, we live in a more sophisticated time now and can digitally insert the new characters into the classic scenes.

Creatively, I liked what they were trying to do here. The thing is I don’t think the overall execution was as successful as the producers were hoping for.

Maybe I was just a bit tired when I saw the episode, but it took me a while for the connection between what Artz was telling Nikki and what she did to Paulo. It was a bit chilling to think that Nikki and Paulo were buried alive, the castaways effectively killing them both. It was an intersting, unneerving twist that reminded me of an old episode of the “Suspense” radio show I heard years ago that unnerved the tar out of me. Basic plot is guy has a condition where he looks dead but isn’t. Something happens, he loses his medical bracelet and gets to almost being autopsied before someone realizes he’s alive and stops it. It’s a pretty intense episode (at least it was when I was much younger) and it worked well because we could hear our heroes internal dialogue as he begged and pleaded for someone to notice he’s still alive. I have to imagine deep down inside that Nikki and Paulo were yelling at the top of their lungs. Not that it did any good.

That said, I didn’t find their backstory all the compelling. Again, with the theme of clips from other episodes, that is what the flashbacks felt like. Oh we’re con people and we’re on a job. And we encounter everyone before they get on the plane and man, wasn’t Shannon a witch with a capital B before she got to the island? Yeah, been there, done that and got the t-shirt.

It was fun to see most of the main cast feature in an episode, I will give them that.

On the better side of things, Sun finds out that Charlie and Sawyer were behind her kidnapping. Now that was interesting though I managed to see a preview at some point during the week that ruined that twist. I did like her comment that she wasn’t going to tell Jin because they’d have to dig another grave. The violation of trust and the betrayal she must feel should be interesting to see how it plays out. It was also nice to know there might be some further consequences to this and I have a strange feeling Jin is going to find out…and then it’s not going to be pretty.

This episode was pretty uneven. It was no where nearly as compelling as the last two, but it wasn’t necessarily that bad. It was just sort of there and while it did have an interesting revelation or two in the final act, I’m not sure it was the most solid episode we’ve had all year. But if we can return to form next week, this minor hiccup will be forgiven.

And at least we’ve got rid of Nikki and Paulo…unless one of them comes digging up out of the sand like some kind of crazy island zombie.

24: Day Six, 8 – 9 p.m.
If you’re president of the United States, you have the best medical staff on the planet. Witness here where Wayne Palmer goes from being in cardiac arrest and not ten minutes later is up, around and mentally alert enough to find out Daniels is nuking the unnamed country and to put a stop to it. That is some seriously great health care right there.

And before you go telling me that it’s standard procedure for time to mean nothing on 24, but only service the necessities of the plot, I must remind you that, yes, I know that. It’s just sometimes when the show slaps you with such a moment that strains credulity so that I have to point it out.

I don’t quite get why Daniels is being portrayed as such the war-monger. I’d love to find out a bit more about his agenda and why he feels so strongly about it. I suspect that we’re going to find out he’s in on the plot, though at this point I’m not sure. Maybe someone else is pulling the strings on him. The thing is, I am not sure the writing staff knows quite where this is going either.

Which leads me to wonder–can this day of 24 be pulled out of the tailspin it’s in? It was getting better but the past two weeks have settled back into 57 minutes of just OK with three compelling minutes at the end, leading up to the cliffhanger.

But I have to say this–everything going on over at the White House was far more interesting than anything going on at CTU.

Can we just flash the word “foreshadowing” on the screen in neon any time anyone mentions Denver? I swear, it feels like every conversation about that goes like this..

Person 1: Do you remeber Denver.
Preson 2: Yes, something huge happened there.
Person 1: It sure was huge.
Person 2: Yes, yes it was.

OK, I exaggerate a bit…but not much. At this point, I get it–something happened in Denver. But it’s maybe time to start hinting at more than just that something happened there.

Of course, it’s not like Mike Doyle is coming off as all that great or interesting a character. This week he hides evidence that exonerates Nadia (boy howdy, that was fast)….only it was revealed he was making sure. And I don’t quite get why his buddy was trying to set him up. I mean, other than to have Milo and Mike almost come to blows about how Nadia was treated.

Speaking of which, did anyone else find the Milo kisses Nadia scene disturbing? I think it was the way she was kind of saying he stood no chance and the way he grabbed her, pulled her to him and almost forced the kiss on her. I don’t know, but while I think the intention was to make Milo looked rugged and manly, to me it came across asa bit creepy and that the next scene will be Nadia filling out the sexual harrasment forms. (In real time, no less…it will totally rock and Jack will have to shout a lot).

And that brings me to Jack Bauer, the hero of our show who can do anything–including getting an autistic kid to help trap Gredenko. I will give the show credit–I expected the kid to blow the CTU cover and have Gredenko escape again. At least we didn’t go there.

That said, watching Jack walk in and say to Gredenko, “You know who I am and what I will do” was totally awesome and completely Jack Bauer. Of course, it assumes that we forget that earlier today Jack was doubting his own Jack Bauerness…..but there you go.

I think I’m going to have to start adopting the stance I take with Smallville for this show–just stop worrying about it and just go along for the ride. Thing is, I can do that when the ride is great as it was last year. When it’s not the rollercoaster that we’ve come to expect from the past five years, it is that much more glaring. Of course, I am rapidly coming to the conclusion that the odd number years of 24 are great, while the even numbered ones aren’t quite as good. Sort of like a reverse of the Star Trek movies…

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