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I can’t be bothered writing up commentaries on the four episodes I watched in Japan, so here’s a few blanket observations about this season so far:

It hasn’t at all played out the way I expected it to. I thought the island/mainland split would continue the whole way, and the season finale would feature Locke leaving the island in the past, and the O6 returning to it in the future. “316” threw that out the window entirely.

“316” was, in fact, a pretty difficult episode to digest. I didn’t expect them to be returning via plane crash – again – and the whole exposition scene in the pendulum room was pretty bad. Lost has never done exposition before, and maybe it should stay that way.

In any case, I’m happy to see everyone return to the island, but also kind of disappointed that the time jumping adventures would appear to be over. Jin encountering the lost French expedition in 1988 (with subsequent monster attacks) was awesome, as was seeing the world of the Others back in 1954 – interesting to see that they adopted US Army equipment and clothing the same way they adpoted DHARMA equipment and clothing; what’s their true society like?

Charlotte dying was pretty lol; so long, character nobody cares about. Also, I’m realising the same thing about the guy who plays Daniel Faraday as I did about the guy who played Wayne Palmer in 24’s sixth season: he’s really not a good actor, and when he’s elevated to important status, it shows.

Predicting that Ben’s “loose end” was murdering Penny, which he did by following Desmond home. Also predicting that his injured body and saturated clothing was the result of Desmond kicking his ass right off the yacht. Interestingly, though, have Ben and Desmond ever really… met? I was wondering about something similar in the second episode, when Locke greets Juliet and Sawyer; I don’t think Locke and Juliet have ever met.

And, on a final note, Sayid’s low-cut lavender singlet is truly hideous. Now, thoughts on the most recent episode:

good luck trying to make this look like a suicide when you KICKED THE DOOR IN

1. Overall this was the best episode of the season so far. Not a lot of action, but there was some brilliant acting and on-screen chemistry. I could watch Terry O’Quinn and Michael Emerson sit around playing backgammon and be enthralled.

2. The scene between Jack and Locke was vintage Jack and Locke: Locke was all delusionally eager, babbling on about destiny and the island and getting all excited, while Jack just rolled his eyes and shook his head in frustration at the crazy old man that he cannot seem to escape. Classic.

3. Having said that, I was a little irked at the timeline stuff-ups (pedantic, of course). In “Through The Looking Glass,” Jack suggests he has been flying back and forth across the Pacific for months, whereas this episode suggests he only started after Locke showed up – and Locke then dies a few days later.

4. Sayid working for a charity organisation in Dominica was kinda stupid. What, did Ben just let him go? It was pretty clear at the end of the fourth season that he was nabbing Hurley for Ben, and then at the beginning of the fifth season it was “oh… he did it for his own motives…” and now it turns out he must have taken a weekend off from building houses for orphans, put his leather jacket on and bought a gun, flown to LA and murdered a dude before taking Hurley to a safehouse. Whatever.

5. The scene between Jack and Locke was only topped by the scene between Ben and Locke. Ben comes in, talks Locke down from hanging himself, helps him get it together, is all kind and caring, you start to think maybe Ben’s not so bad after all, and then he TOTALLY STRANGLES LOCKE TO DEATH. It is FUCKING AWESOME.

What makes Ben so perfect as a character is his dubious moral integrity: good guy or bad? He was firmly swinging towards good guy last season, with the only flicker of doubt being his evil little smirk just after he recruits Sayid in Iraq. Since then the pendulum has swung even more strongly – he’s working with Jack to get back to the island, he cried over the body of his daughter, he yelled at Jack and Sun for not appreciating his alleged protection of them, etc. But then with that one sudden, shocking act, he propelled himself firmly back into the realms of evil (and I don’t even like Locke). God bless you, you slimy, bug-eyed, creepy little man. What would this show do without you?

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March 2009