LOST Rewatch: “The Other 48 Days”, “Collision”, “What Kate Did” & “The 23rd Psalm”
Posted by therebelprince on July 31, 2009
This week, almost nothing happens on the Island. I know, amazing right? Second season of one of the biggest hits of the decade and not a thing goes down. But it contains some nice character moments, and we learn what Kate did, so it’s not a total loss.
I’ve said it before , but I’m not alone in criticising the overuse of flashbacks filled with redundant information, just to give the impression of storytelling while the island story moves along at a glacial pace. Certainly all four of the flashbacks this week are important, but they leave the events on the Island to feel almost like subplots when they should be, if nothing else, be the series’ reason for being.
Thankfully this week, things flow much better than the fragmented early part of season two. First, we recap the 48 days spent at the Tailies’ camp: from their terrifying crash landing to the quick realisation that there are Others on the island who are slowly picking them off. Why did the Others so quickly descend on this camp but not the mid-section one? Why are they abducting people here (reducing the field from 23 to 4) while only Claire was taken from our camp? And why, much like Walt, did they take Zack (Mickey Graue) and Emma (Kiersten Havelock), the owners of last week’s much hyped teddy bear? These are the questions that ultimately turn the shrinking group against one another. Ana-Lucia locks up Nathan (Josh Randall) but it’s Goodwin (Brett Cullen) she should be afraid of. In a great scene, Ana-Lucia interrogates and subsequently kills Goodwin, shortly before the Tailies come across our Rafties, and a legend is born.
Once the two teams are fully integrated, Michelle Rodriguez and Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje (above) take centre stage, as Ana-Lucia and Eko find their very different niches in the Island society.
Ana-Lucia is explored at length in “Collision” and I’ve gotta say, she’s the character I dislike the most out of all that Team Lost have brought us. Not that this is a bad thing; in fact I appreciate approaching a character who is eminently dislikeable. But it can also be a challenge: she’s petulant, resorts to violence for any problem, and before the crash treats her workplace and personal life as if there is no one in the world but her. Ana-Lucia needs to grow up, but the problem is she thinks she’s the only one who has. It’s nice that Jin is the first to make pacific overtures to her, since he is one of the few who knows her already. (And I appreciate that it wasn’t Charlie doing it in a predictable “welcome to the neighbourhood” style subplot. Although I’m not sure Dominic Monaghan would agree, as he continues to languish at the back of the crowd.)
Despite my dislike of her character, Rodriguez (right) gives it her all, and she’s downright scary when she reveals to an assailant that she was pregnant when he shot her, and then proceeds to unload her entire clip into him.
For the talented Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Mr. Eko gets a far more routine – and decidedly overt – flashback, which chronicles his rise from street kid to Nigerian warlord, and his troubled relationship with priest brother Yemi (Adetokumboh M’Cormack). Yemi reluctantly allows Eko to dress as a priest and ship 300 Virgin Mary statues filled with heroin overseas. At the airport, however, he turns on his brother and the military intervene. Yemi is accidentally shot and ends up dying on the plane as it takes off, while Eko is left behind. It’s Yemi’s body that Locke and Boone found in the Beechcraft, lending the question of how they got here from Nigeria, and whether this is just a coincidence. For Eko, it isn’t: he’s not really a priest, but he certainly seems to believe. Akinnuoye-Agbaje is such a striking performer (check out “Oz” to be truly terrified by his Simon Adebisi) and he makes the most of his pretty poor flashback. Every scene drips with on-the-nose comments (“You’re a born killer”, he’s told as a child; “You have no soul”, he later learns). It’s nice to see another man of faith on the island, to balance out the scientific rationalism that pervades the beach, and it’s good to have someone to play against Locke. But the flashback is contrived and perfunctory.
On the island, though, Eko serves a far greater purpose. Sitting with Locke, he explains that the Tailies too found a hatch: and he has on his person a complete edition of Dr. Candle’s Orientation film. In fact, this too is a bit of a letdown as it only further states “DO NOT USE THE COMPUTER”. Michael does so, of course, and soon finds himself secretly communicating with Walt, who we learn is being held somewhere with computer access – another hatch, presumably.
Most importantly, Eko has a close encounter with the smoke monster. This time, we see it straight on: a black pillar of smoke that moves like an animal. It confronts him, face to face, and we see images from his past in its coruscating exterior. And then it moves on. What did it want? No one knows, but the fact that Charlie doesn’t even seem that phased either shows how desperate he is for his growing stash of heroin, or that people really are accepting the bizarre nature of this island.
“What Kate Did”, meanwhile, gives us just that. To be honest, I enjoyed this more than either of the introductory flashback episodes that sandwich it. Kate’s story is plain and simple: one night, while her mother (Beth Broderick, below) was at work, she put her drunken step-father (James Horan) to bed, took her recently signed insurance papers, and blew up the house. After living on the run, she is caught by our favourite Marshal (Frederic Lane) but manages to escape his clutches thanks to the unexpected intervention of a black horse on an unlit road. It is this same horse that she meets on the Island, adding her to the list of people whose past has collided with the future. Thankfully, Sawyer also witnesses the horse, giving us further clarification in a manner we weren’t allowed back when Jack’s father was appearing around every corner.
Kate’s episode, however, is not free of plot contrivances. Her visit to her father Sam Austen (Lindsay Ginter) just confuses the matter further. We discover that Wayne was her natural father, and Sam hid this fact to protect her. (So – Diane was with Wayne, then Sam, then Wayne?) Yet, he says, he let her stay behind because at five years old, he knew she would kill Wayne. Say it with me now: What the what? Either Kate is much more disturbed than we’ve been led to believe, or Sam is an idiot. The idea that she’s waited 20 years to suddenly unleash her inner killer (and her father knew this fact) is ridiculous, and very little of the scene makes sense. I’ll wait to see how this all plays out, but I’d rather just forget Kate’s paternity if I may.
For the rest of the camp, things move along slowly. There’s a pervading aura of happiness which is aided by the return of Bernard to his grateful wife in some of the most beautiful silent performances of Lost; Jin to his equally thankful wife, where the two rekindle their relationship; and Sawyer, whose return triggers the overt beginning of the Jack/Kate/Sawyer love triangle. We see the golf course again, and life is generally serene. It’s nice to have this response after 48 days of general terror, and – as with Charlie’s acceptance of the monster – belies a gradual realisation that there won’t be a rescue any time soon. These people are players in a game larger than themselves, and while it may not be productive, there’s little they can do but wait it out.
Shannon’s funeral is the only blight on this happiness: in a rare scene, we get almost all of the Losties together in a single shot. (Rose and Bernard were assumedly making up for lost time, elsewhere).
Rumours persist that Maggie Grace was hard to work with, but if anything I’d say Shannon needed to go. With our ever-growing cast, the deaths have been necessary to prove that this is not Alias, and sometimes the stakes really are that high. Shannon was the only immediate character with no connection to the show’s mythology, so it helped to have her as a ready sacrifice to the dramatic gods. On top of this, I daresay Sayid’s future (and past) relationship with Nadia would have been either more complicated or more diluted had Shannon continued to be the (rather sudden) love-of-his-life.
Guest star of the week nod goes to Michael Cudlitz as Ana-Lucia’s no-nonsense partner, while Sam Anderson continues to tear me up as Bernard.
During season two, there were THREE recap shows. While it would start off with the show’s strongest ratings ever, by the time “The 23rd Psalm” aired after a six-week hiatus, there would be a steady ratings decline. ABC would soon learn, much as FOX did with 24, that consistent weekly airings over a shorter time period was the best method of transmitting intensely serial shows, hence the change in format to a long spring run that would start with the second half of season three. Some of the new serial shows, like Day One and V are getting the same treatment this year, and hopefully it will continue. It’s great that ABC kept the faith, and allowed LOST to be itself all this time. Let’s hope it pays off for us.
In conclusion, not the strongest of weeks. All the individual flashbacks were necessary, but all of them felt overplayed. And “The Other 48 Days” – while worthwhile and cool – was pretty self-explanatory and seemed to mostly enjoy showing us that the Tailies experienced everything our Losties did. Not a waste of time by any measurement, but not the series at its peak.
* We see Bernard respond to Boone’s distress call from last season, confirming that he actually said “No, we’re the survivors from Flight 815”.
* The knife that Ana-Lucia and Goodwin find on the island is U.S. Army. Possibly left behind by the Jughead guys?
* When, at the start of “Collision”, we were still at the moment Ana-Lucia shoots Shannon, I began to feel like I was watching endless reruns of “Dragonball Z”. Thank God things are moving again!
* It was the whispers that caused Ana-Lucia to shoot Shannon, and they remain one of the biggest mysteries of the island.
* Jin’s handcuff is finally removed thanks to the wonders of the hatch.
* Locke’s dismissive reaction to the missing pieces of the film (before he learns they still exist, that is) seems out of character.
* The main thing I respect about Ana-Lucia’s introduction is that she’s genuinely conflicted. Kate did what she did, as best we can tell, out of misguided love for her mother. And Sawyer’s entire life has been out of vengeance for his own parents. While their actions still have murderous consequences, all in all the dark side of their life is an entirely different aspect to their light one: it’s not really two dimensions, it’s two characters played by the same actor. While Ana-Lucia’s pregnancy becomes the justification for the shooting, it’s clear that she was hard before this happened to her, and she seems to be another step up in Lost’s attempt at producing actual dimensional characters on network television.
* Did Kate’s father really appear to her through Sawyer’s body? Who can tell?
* The Others snatched Cindy (Kimberley Joseph) very quickly while everyone else was around. What made her so special they would risk that? And why didn’t they care about the others?
* Charlie and Claire break up over Charlie’s perceived drug relapse. (Incidentally, would Charlie and Claire’s relationship nickname be “Chaire”?) And Hurley helps Libby (Cynthia Watros) build her shelter, the first indication the two will bond.
Next week: Michael begins his downfall, Charlie dreams, and are The Others back?