Thursday, February 08, 2007

Lost, Ep 7: Not In Portland
So after much fan criticism that we didn’t see any of the ensemble cast in the first six episodes, Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse promised the next 16 would focus on the beach and we’d see what the heck was going on over there. Um… I think I saw Hurley, off in the distance, collecting shells. Or maybe it was a bird. But otherwise, this episode focused entirely on Kate, Jack, and Sawyer… and Juliet.

And what a great episode. Forget criticism – I loved it. I hope the ratings are good for this ep, and they’re able to pull in and keep the naysayers who’ve been threatening to leave. The flashback focused on Juliet, and we saw her working in a science lab specifically on fertility experiments, under the thumb of her ex-husband, Edmund Burke. Burke was played by the always slimy, always loathsome Zeljko Ivanek, who I remember best as the governor on Oz (ANOTHER Oz refugee on Lost! We know what happened to the other two…) As he bangs his new research assistant, Juliet is stealing fertility meds that she can take home and inject into her sister, whom she’s trying to make pregnant. Her sister appears to have cancer, and everyone thinks Juliet is wasting her time… until her sister actually conceives. Meanwhile, a mysterious organization has come to recruit Juliet for her unconventional experiments, and they say they’re located in Portland and it’s research part of the time, fun fun superfun the rest of the time. She turns them down, saying her ex-husband would have to be hit by a bus before she’d be able to do it. And then… he’s hit by a bus. At the morgue, the guy returns, along with Ethan Rom (who’s looking a lot more haggardly than when we last saw him) and they ask if she’s now ready, and she comes to the horrible realization of what they’ve really done. She asks to bring her sister, and they say where she’d be going is too far away for proper treatment of her sis, that it’s not exactly in Portland. (“No, ma’am, it’s actually this small island in the South Pacific with polar bears and sharks and egomaniacal leaders and you will LOVE it!”)

Meanwhile, in the present, Kate and Sawyer are on the run, Jack’s running out of time. Tom, who’s actually kind of likable and entertaining in this episode, begs Jack to stop all of this, and then Juliet suddenly turns weird and orders one of the Others to catch Sawyer and Kate and kill them if he has to. Jack blurts out what Juliet had told him to do with the cue cards, Juliet denies all (what happened to good ol’ trustworthy Juliet?) and Tom sends her out of the room. Ben wakes up (gah!) on the table with a giant incision in his back, mutters that he needs to see Juliet, and she returns, with everyone else leaving and seeing a very emotional conversation between them. “They’ve got history,” Tom tells Jack.

Kate and Sawyer are rescued momentarily by Alex, but not so fast… she needs them to help her rescue Carl first, and until they do, she won’t give them her boat. Off they go to the compound where he’s being held, they knock out the guard (only after he radios to Danny that he’s got them there) and they enter the room where Carl is sitting. And MAN… Alex from Clockwork Orange never had it so bad. What is going on in that room is a mind-frak of such huge proportions it doesn’t seem humanly possible. Carl is strapped to a chair, with some sort of IV being pumped into his hand. Music blares from speakers so loud you’d think it would render the person deaf in two days. On the screen in front of him is a combination of the messages U2 showed on their screens during the Zoo TV tour, and a Fruitopia ad, mixed with montages of strange, iconic images. Carl is wearing goggles with some sort of fluorescent light that keep his eyes open, rather than the clamps holding Alex’s eyes open in Clockwork Orange. Flashing lights and strobes make the room look like a rave. It’s all so hostile and confusing I would have run screaming from the room after about 30 seconds if I’d been Kate. Since Alex and Ben now seem to be linked in some father/daughter relationship, it makes this treatment even more sinister. Some overprotective fathers threaten the boys who come near their daughters with a baseball bat. Others, apparently, subject them to horrific psychological torture.

In the OR, Juliet comes out of the room and says she’s going to help Jack’s friends escape, but he needs to complete the surgery. He scrubs back in, with Tom “I don’t like the sight of blood” as his nurse, and begins to pull off pieces of the tumour. Jack, Kate, Carl, and Alex get to the boat, with Danny on their heels. Just as he holds up a gun to Sawyer, he’s shot (gee, never seen THAT before in a TV show…) by Juliet, and with gratitude, they grab the boat. But, oops, Alex, you can’t go, you know what your father would do if he knew you’d left the island. Alex stands there, torn, but knows the best thing right now is to get Carl to safety. Also, her vengeful mother is on the other island, waiting to find her long-lost daughter, and if Kate can track her down, maybe Rousseau will be heading over to Alcatraz. Ben thinks he’s met his match with Jack? He hasn’t met Rousseau. Kate radios to Jack and tells him the story he’d told her in the pilot episode to prove she’s safe and then he makes her promise to not try to come after him, and they sail off, leaving Alex behind. Jack sews up Ben, and he sits and stares at him afterwards as Juliet comes in. She tells him she’s been on the island for three and a half years, and Ben has promised he’ll send her home if she can convince Jack to do the surgery.

Any Questions?: -what was up with Juliet and her cue cards? Is this part of the experiment, to see if Jack will trust her, and go along with her and try to kill Ben, going against his Hippocratic Oath? Maybe they didn’t anticipate that kidney incision? Or was Juliet really working alone, and now had to save her butt?
-is Tom out of the loop, or perhaps the best of the actors?
What is the groundbreaking research that Juliet was doing on her sister? Has her sister been rendered sterile by cancer treatment, and Juliet was trying to make her fertile again?
-how did Dharma find her? (if that is indeed Dharma)
-did Ben really tell Juliet she could leave? What else did he say to her?
-is her sister still alive? Did she have the baby? Does Juliet know?
-Juliet impregnated a male field mouse. Are they interested in impregnating a male? Is Ben’s tumour in fact a failed pregnancy?
-Danny says Ben would rather die than let Kate and Sawyer go. True? Or would Danny rather see Ben die than let them go?
-will Carl survive? How will he be affected?
-what was the purpose of the torture? Shouldn’t the Others be PROMOTING sex?? Or is Ben like Dick Cheney: ban gay marriage, but praise his own gay daughter’s pregnancy?
-what will the Others do with Jack now?

Highlights: Alex’s underground hiding spot
-Sawyer referring to the Wookie prisoner gag
-Edmund on the phone: “Because you’re insufferable and you’re mean. Well, you asked me for the truth, Mom.”
-No Nikki. No Paulo.

Didn’t like: The bus accident. Special effects were terrible, and it just didn’t make any sense. Why did he step out into the road? It wasn’t a parking lane, it was a two-lane road. Moments earlier, we saw the bus parked, letting people off. So at most, it would have been going maybe 20-30 km/h, despite the fact most bus drivers have lead feet. He was standing in the lane long enough the bus could have slowed or beeped its horn. IF it was driven by a Dharma person who was out to kill him, how could they have anticipated he would have stepped into the road and stood there like an idiot for so long? It just doesn’t make sense. Oh, and if he’d been hit by a bus going that fast, he wouldn’t have two scratches on his face. His head would have been crushed.
-the fact they made serious spinal surgery look like a 45-minute procedure.
Did you notice?: the guard Aldo was reading A Brief History of Time, and making notes. Is he studying to be a researcher?
-Carl was in Room 23.
-here were the messages broadcasted to Carl (which seem to be promoting sex, actually): “Plant a good seed and you will joyfully gather fruit.”
“Everything changes”
“We are the causes of our own suffering”
“God loves you as he loved Jacob.” (This one is interesting because of the mention of "Jacob's list" earlier in the season.)
“Think about your life.”
-as they left the room, you could see a picture of Gerald de Groot on the screen; he was one of the founders of the Dharma Initiative.
-there were two major references to The Lost Experience, the online game that happened this past summer. It was established in the game that Thomas Mittelwerk was the president of the Hanso Foundation. The group that recruits Juliet is called Mittelos Bioscience. Also, Juliet’s sister was Rachel, and the main character of the Lost Experience was Rachel Blake, who was trying to take the company down from the inside, before she realized that Alvar Hanso was actually her father.

Interesting Fact: Juliet’s ex is named Edmund Burke. Burke was a political theorist in the 18th century (same era as Locke and Rousseau) who was opposed to the French Revolution and supported the American one. He was in a Whig party in England, and is considered the father of American conservatism.

Next week: A Desmond flashback in “Flashes Before Your Eyes.”


The Chapati Kid said...

Didn't Ben already meet Rousseau on the island? I thought she trapped him. I defer to you. If Alex is Rousseau's daughter, does she remember her? And if she's Ben's daughter, wouldn't that make Ben the "impregnator" of Rousseau?
Highlights for me: Sawyer calling Carl "Cheech" when putting him in the boat. Sawyer slamming Danny against the food machine. Juliet -- in every scene in that episode. She was superb. She was emotionally abused by her husband, and terrified of him; and there seem to be echoes of that in her relationship with Ben as well.

P.S. I really liked the bus death. I thought he deserved it. :-)

Anonymous said...

"On the screen in front of him is a combination of the messages U2 showed on their screens during the Zoo TV tour, and a Fruitopia ad, mixed with montages of strange, iconic images."

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!! maybe the real leader of the hanso foundation is ... bono? ;-)

i'm still reeling over the ben/alex/rousseau stuff -- to me, that was the best part of the entire episode. i'm still trying to figure out if ben and rousseau conceived alex together (which seems weird, and i'm still trying to wrap my head around how that could be), or if what we think is true is actually true, and ben/the others kidnapped rousseau, induced alex's birth in the medical hatch and then returned rousseau to the jungle, and alex has been raised since birth to think of ben as her father. in which case, i wonder what she was told about her mother?

Crissy Calhoun said...

I agree w/ fb. The whole Ben + Rousseau = Alex equation seems a bit fishy. I thought Rousseau said she was already pregnant when she was on the boat that brought her to the island. So either Ben is lying and hasn't been on the island his whole life (and came w/ Rousseau and is the baby-daddy) OR Ben is lying and is not Alex's dad but more her kidnapper/adoptive dad. Ben is to Alex as Heroes HRG is to Claire.

Also -- why the frak would Juliet sign up to work for the crazy people who ran her ex down and show up at the morgue of all places to hound her about the job? Those are warning signs that you *may* not be back home in time to see your sister's new baby.

So glad Danny was the Other that got shot. I'd had enough of him and his Sawyer hatin' ways.

Nikki Stafford said...

I actually don't see the Alex/Ben thing as confusing. Rousseau has told us that the boat landed on the island, and her crew died (helped by her). She gave birth to Alex in the jungle, on her own, and delivered the baby herself. Two weeks later, the Others came to take her. All of this we know.

So... no, Alex couldn't possibly remember Rousseau. She was two weeks old when she was taken from her. Ben has taken her in, and raised her. I would bet he's told her he's her father, so of course she calls him Dad. Juliet's only been on the island for 3 years, so she assumes it's true, too.

OR... there's a chance Ben has owned up to it, which would explain why she also calls him Ben. He's her adoptive father, which makes him "her dad" as far as they're concerned. I have friends who've been adopted, and they call their adoptive parents Mom and Dad.

Yes, Ben has met Rousseau when she caught him in a net before Sayid took him and locked him up in the hatch. But Rousseau had no idea that he was the one who had Alex specifically. He couldn't have been the father of the child, because Rousseau acted like she'd never seen him before (unless she's in on it, which seems unlikely at this point).

Chapati Kid: Oh, I agree with you on Burke deserving it 100%. It was the execution of the scene, and the logic of how it could have been pulled off that doesn't work for me.

fb: I am SO looking forward to the Bono guest appearance! LOL!

Crissy: I agree that it seems strange that Juliet would sign up after everything they just told her. They just viciously killed your ex, whether or not he deserved it, and want to take you away from your sister, for whom you risked everything. Um... ok.

poppedculture said...

Great recap as always Nik. Of course while I watched I just snickered thinking that you now have to read A Brief History of Time now. How did the radio show go? Is there audio you can post here?

Anonymous said...

Good recap, and I enjoyed the background we got this week on Juliet. It's always fun to delve into a new character.

But I am so looking forward to next week, and catching up with the characters I actually care about.

I must say the Lindelof/Cruse show that proceeded the episode was enjoyable and informative as well.

Anonymous said...

Great post !

I had a lost marathon before episode 7 started, and during 1 week watched every episode from the pilot.

I have to say that towards the end i totally lost interest, thinking season 1 and 2 were better.

But then episode 7 aired. What really
intrigues me is the fact that Ben has the abillity to "let" people go. Is he the only one that knows which way home is ? Didn't everyone hear him give instructions to Michael when he left ? Why wouldn't these people try to escape all this time ?

I guess we'll find out more tomorrow :)

Nikki Stafford said...

Aniela: WOW, I am so impressed!! 2.25 seasons in a week? Now THAT is fandom. :) Don't you find when you watch them all back-to-back they're so much better than watching them one a week? A lot of people complained about season 2, but I thought it was because so much time lapsed between episodes.

Jeremy: The radio show went well, but no, I don't have any audio from it, sadly. It was a lot of fun! Still trying to figure out if I'll read A Brief History of Time. Ugh.

Anonymous said...

Hi Nikki
New fan here from Toronto. I'm a HUGE fan of Lost and your recaps are awesome (as is the rest of your blog!, also love Heroes). Keep up the great work, middle of watching Flashes Before Your Eyes, just wanted to say hiya!

Nikki Stafford said...

Wow, thanks Roland! It's always great to get more Toronto peeps on here. :) Keep coming back!