Wednesday, May 24, 2006

The Pompatus of Lost:2.22--Did You Ever Get The Feeling That A Season Finale Was About to Happen?

Previouslies: Michael betrayed Ana and then he lied, tried to hide. And Libby died deep inside, now we'll know the reason why.

13 Days Ago, JJ Abrams had the brilliant idea of reappropriating previously shown footage in a new Lost. Hey, it worked for those oh, so trenchant months that we spent with the Tailies, going back in time, marvelling at their crapulence, not being won over by Ana Lucia or her backstory or her drunk driving habits. And now they've had to off Libby, too, so that the whole killtastic Michael moment carried some emotional weight with us viewers, who really couldn't have cared one way or the other about her.

But anyway, 13 days ago, the Losties had themselves one seriously fucking laissez-faire policy when it came to checking out guns for personal use. Michael, twitchy and nervous as if he had just bathed in crack, approaches Locke and asks for a gun. Locke's like the friendly neighborhood soda fountain guy: "Sure, clammy, sweaty, agitated friend of mine! Here's a nice rifle!" He does ask what Michael intends to do with it, to which he replies he's going to continue taking target practice. "Gotta stay sharp," Michael avers, adding in the most awkward way possible, "Say, Locke, you got any of those...what are they called again? Hmmm. Right on thr tip of my...oh yeah! Bullets. Am I pronouncing that correctly? Bullets? You got any of those bullet thingies? Because I hear we're just made of bullets around here, and, heck, it's not like we're in any kind of deadly danger. I just want to shoot at some mayonaise jars for a while."

And Locke, idiot that he is, gives Michael the bullets, whereupon Michael brains him in the back of the head with the butt of the rifle. He runs to the computer, frantically trying to communicate with Walt. He doesn't realize what we know, which is that he's probably being watched on camera and manipulated by the Others or the Dharma people or whoever. Finally, he gets a message back, ostensibly from Walt, saying to head north and look for a rock with a hole in it. Like obscenity, he'll know it when he sees it. That's when Jack walks in and discovers Locke all knocked out and bereft of rifle. Michael tells Jack that he's going after Walt and he's not going to wait around. He locks them both up in the armory. This is where Jack and Locke get the idea of locking Gale up in the armory--they remember how much it sucked to be stuck in there.

Today: Michael has a piece of paper, entitled "Plan for the Season Finale." He stares at it, tantalizing us with it's content. Those sorts of people who have the immediate need to know what's on it ask, "Wait! What's on it?" The other sort of people say, "Shhh. Just wait." Jack walks outside, his keen observational skillz failing to see that Michael was burning something, and calls him into the Hatch.

In the Hatch, the group is totalling up the whole of their artillery. They've lost a considerable amount of firepower this season, and, ironically, Michael is the reason why. Nevertheless, they have what they need to move out and launch a season ending strike on the Others and their kidnappy ways.

That's when Michael starts acting really steaky, telling them that his idea for the season finale is to take Jack, Sawyer, Kate and Hurley and sneak over to the Others' camp and ambush them. It's a strange idea even if you forgive the fact that "Hurley" and "sneak" go about as well together as " a souffle" and "those weird faces on Easter Island." Jack sees no reason why the season finale shouldn't find them with a considerable posse, seeing as Michael says there's about twenty of them and they're armed. Michael counters that if they bring an army, they'll be heard, but, again: one Hurley=10 Charlies (or seven Jin's if you are using the metric system.

Speaking of Hurley, he finally pipes up in this scene, loudly declaiming, "They're dead!" Of course, he's referring to Ana and Libby. This sort of kills the mood as far as the whole strategic planning session goes. Jack and the gang start hauling bodies to the surface. Mike stares at the bloodstains on the floor as we go to commercial.

13 days ago: Michael flees the Hatch and heads north, bumbling across the jungle at top speed. Suddenly, he happens upon a man with his back turned to him, peeing on some shrubs. Michael, figuring that maybe all the larger problems of life on La Isla Encanta could be solved by declaring war on quality of life crimes a la Guiliani's "Broken Windows" hippy-shit nonsense, decides that it's up to him to threaten the man with his gun. Besides, it's for his own good. he shouldn't be out here pissing all willy-nilly like that. Hasn't he heard about the polar bear?

But it's a trap! Pissing man is just a distraction to keep Michael stupidly transfixed long enough for the Dude From That Kansas Album to get up close and grab him. Michael notices just in time and manages to pull away, blindly firing back over his shoulder. One of the Others returns fire, but Dude From That Kansas Album angrily calls him off, saying, "I need him." That's when Dude From That Kansas Album busts out this wicked ass bolo and starts swinging it over his head. He lets fly and sure enough, he's able to rope up Michael's legs on the first try. Motherfucker must have been in that same gang with Napoleon Dynamite or something! I'm going to put "wicked bolo skillz" on my resume right now. Not because I have any, but because it would mean a lot to be asked. Dude From That Kansas Album tells his fellows that they got to "bag him" really quick. Which they do. These motherfuckers can bag. Gotta hand it to them.

Today: Michael is limply attempting to clean up the blood from the floor of the hatch when in pads Eko, quiet as a mouse. He startles Michael with his Ekoesque ways, and watches as Eko gets down on the floor and starts helping to sop up the blood. Eko is a lot better at it than Michael. Michael, feeling guilty with all the tell-tale blood and knowing Eko at the very least contains priest-like substance, asks Eko if he believes in Hell. This prompts Eko to launch into one of his patented somewhat-helpful but somewhat-disturbing stories, this one about a boy who beats a dog to death and worries that the dog will be in Hell waiting for him. That Eko, always one to lighten the mood.

Outside the Hatch, Michael is barfing up a lung when along come Jack. You can see the gears in Jack's mind get the sense that everything's not adding up. He checks up on Michael, and that's when Michael starts in again with his "It's gotta be just the five of us, man! It's what the audience wants to see. Just the five most important characters. Think about the deep ties I have with all of you! Me and Sawyer totally bonded at sea, and I really missed you and Kate and Hurley while I was running around the woods! We need to hang out more! That's not why I think it should be the five of us...exactly. I mean, we should TOTALLY hang out more, Jack, maybe go golfing again when this is all over or something...yeah...uhm, something. Look, it's my rescue plan! Okay! I am the decider!"

Back at the Beach, Charlie approaches Claire for the first time in a long time. He's looking for Eko, because the two of them are supposed to be building a church on the beach. Claire is at first standoffish, but Charlie, for once, seems relatively calm and at ease. He's not dithering around or acting all needy. He's just seems to have a little backbone and a little confidence, is all. He even looks better. It's a pretty nice bit of acting from Dominic Monaghan. Of course, Charlie being at peace has fueled a lot of chatroom banter about people worried that Charlie may meet his demise in the season finale. We remind you that JJ Abrams promised to never kill Charlie. Though it's not like his word is worth much. He rebooted Alias three times and, as a commenter pointed out today, he also wrote Gone Fishin'. So don't accept everything Abrams says as a guarantee.

Charlie has managed to recover a suitcase full of vaccine, or what should be referred to as "vaccine." There's no telling if there's actually any truth to the persistent talk of some sort of disease, but Charlie, charitable soul that he is, and obviously wanting to get back in Claire's good graces, tells Claire that she and the baby probably needed it more than anyone else. How sweet! And Charlie's thorough-going knowledge of drugging with all manner of needles FINALLY pays dividends in that he knows how to use the injector. Shit, Charlie can probably nail someone with a heroin tainted blow-dart if he needed to.

Charlie's gesture leads to an overall lightening of the mood, and you can sense Charlie's about to make his big play, but just then Claire catches sight of Michael. That's right! Most of the beach-dwelling lollygaggers don't know he's back. Everyone seems really happy to see Michael again--after all, he's their buddy who'd never kill or betray anyone. But just before celebrations can get underway, the Buzzkill Island Gang emerges from the jungle bearing the bodies of Ana Lucia and Libby. Slowly, the gathered Losties start formulating excuses for why they can't help dig the graves.

13 days ago, Michael was dragged to a point in the woods for the great unbagging. There is a campfire, and Dude From That Kansas Album, Pissing Man and Alex Rousseau are there. A couple of other Others bring a bound and gagged Kate into the clearing, so we know that we are dovetailing with the earlier episode "The Hunting Party." Dude From That Kansas Album tells his goons to get ready with the torches and orders Michael to be regagged. Then, they are off to relive earlier adventures through the magic of stock footage.

Alex, though, is filled with a bunch of chatty questions for Michael about Claire and her baby. She seems a little unclear on the whole concept of a "gag", however and seems to be frustrated by Michael's inability to answer. When she's ordered to bring Kate out, she's so bamboozled by Michael's silence that she demurs and sends Kate out with someone else. This is why we may have thought momentarily that the Alex of the Others was not Alex Rousseau. Anyway, the episode unfolds the same way it does when it first aired, and, the matter concluded, Dude From That Kansas album returns and orders Alex to coldcock Michael with her rifle, which she does after apologizing. I suppose we are supposed to think that there's hope for some sort of fifth column within the rank of the Others, but this Alex...she not so bright.

Meanwhile, back at the beach, Mike is petting Vincent as Jack and Sawyer discuss matters various and sundry, such as the recent night they spent together yelling at the woods. Sawyer basically implies that Jack and Kate made the Namaste Nasty while they were together. Jack tells Sawyer that they were caught in a net. And so Sawyer learns a great new metaphor, and the clock is ticking on him getting to deploy it.

They happen upon Sayid and fill him in on the details. Naturally, Sayid offers to help, citing the fact that the Ladies who Love Lost Dig Cool Sayid, and why would you not want to have his brooding looks in the Season Finale, but Jack test-drives Michael's whole weird five-man team idea and tells him that he won't be coming on this adventure. Sayid rightly thinks this is bananas, as does Sawyer, who, in all fairness, has a pretty good point to make about Hurley not being the ideal candidate for island-based Metal Gear Solid action. Sawyer settles the matter by handing Sayid a gun and welcoming him to the team. Now they just need to get Jin, Charlie, Don Cheadle, Casey Affleck and Elliot Gould and they'll be all set to knock over the Bellagio.

Back in the Hatch, Eko is checking out the place where he's going to spend the next part of his life, entering the numbers that Locke no longer wants to. Charlie comes in and is all: "Where ya been, dude. We got churches to build." Eko tells Charlie--or Chally, as he calls him--that church building is out, number crunching is in.

This pisses Charlie off. After all, as far as Charlie's concerned, the number-entering nonsense was what turned Locke into a mega-douchebag and now Eko's going down that road as well. This is why the numbers are bad. The numbers take more or less reasonable and affable and useful people and turns them into lame bitches. The numbers are like Amway. One day, you and your friends are all building churches like you got Amish in your ass, and the next day, all your friend wants to talk about is "great opportunities."

It's funny, but in the past few days I've had more than one occasion to talk about this dude I went to grad school with who got mixed up with Amway and was never the same again. He was one of the other actors in our graduate program--very talented, super dedicated. I'll never forget the Sunday afternoon that I got a call from him--which was itself weird, as we lived next door to each other--and he told me that he fell into a money making opportunity. I was on the phone, figuring that summer was coming and maybe this was the old gang who staged Good Morning Desdemona (Good Night Juliet) getting the band back together to mount some sort of summer throwdown.

That's when he told me that he and his fiancee had recently stumbled upon a fantastic way to earn a living and the best part was "you earn the money by sharing." At the very enunciation of that phrase alarm bells sounded in my head like air raid claxons and my agile neural network opened up a socket marked "Quickest Way Out of this Phone Call." See, I knew full well that there ain't no motherfucker on the planet who ever made any scratch by "sharing." You make money by TAKING. Sharing money is for people who live on ashrams. So I immediately knew i was getting pitched by a sales cult. Deep inside, I thought to myself: "You bastards. Why'd you have to come for [name of friend]. Why couldn't you leave him well enough alone."

The effect was almost immediate. My colleague was never the same again. Overnight, it was like he had become enveloped in an invisible cloak of lame. The trajectory of his studies levelled off and plummeted. People made a point of avoiding getting locked in a one-on-one conversation with him. was like SHIRTS DIDN'T EVEN LOOK GOOD ON HIM ANYMORE. And along with the lameness was the slumped shoulders, the bags around the eyes, and this profound sadness itching from just beneath the surface. And it is really sad. I just Googled him, and he should have a ton of theatre credits that pop up next to his name. But instead, it looks like he's just moved back to his teeny hometown in Pennsylvania. This is a tragedy, and Amway, be warned: I shall one day avenge this great wrong, V for Vendetta steez.

At any rate, I can see where Charlie is coming from. He's definitely a Hatch-hater.

Back at the beach, Sawyer tells Michael the good news that Sayid is going to be part of the rescue effort. Michael, hearing this, freaks out like crazy, saying that it's not a part of his grand and mystifyingly short-sighted Season Finale. Michael wants to go to war with the cast that he has, but Sawyer ain't having no truck with his Rumsfeldian reasoning and tells Michael that he's straight batshit and that it makes sense to go to war with Sayid because he's the one guy on the island who's got war skillz. Jack's handling the stoic leadership role, Kate's got the whole femme fatale thing going on, Hurley's got a quiver full of witty non-sequiturs and Sawyer's ready to dispense nicknames with a fury. Michael agrees to this arrangement, but when Sawyer walks off, you can tell that this does not sit well with Michael.

And why is that? Well eleven days ago, Michael finally arrived at Camp Others. He sees the rock with the hole in it and, based upon what we see, the Others' sorry-ass existence and basic camp set-up is more or less exactly the way Michael described it. Dude From That Kansas Album tells someone to "Tell her we're here," and Pissing Man draws some blood from Michael, which is gross because, let's face it, I never saw him wash his hands after handling his junk. All the while, the Others continue to talk in that jaunty, hipster sort of lingo that just infuriates me.

Michael is taken to meet with Mrs. Klugh-pronounced-Clue. I guess they've arrived too late for Mr. Parcheesi's office hours. Klugh peppers him with questions about Walt: is he Walt's biological father, has he ever appeared in a place he wasn't supposed to be. All the while, Michael is demanding to see Walt. But Klugh is nonplussed, telling him that he seems strangely concerned about someone he barely knows. Like that's Michael's fault. Hasn't Klugh been to Flashbackistan?

Back at the beach in the present day, Michael approaches Sayid to tell him that he can't be on the team, it has to be done his way, blahdeeblah. Sayid appears to relent, but it is with great relief that we finally see evidence of one of the Losties actually clearly wondering why Michael is acting so strangely about who he brings on the season finale.

Over on another part of the beach, lonely Charlie struggles on his now solo mission to construct Our Lady of the Misplaced Polar Bear. Suddenly, Vincent runs up to him with one of the heroin Marys in his mouth. Charlie's understandably agog and aghast, but he follows Vincent, who leads him right back to Sawyer's tent and the stash of heroin. Charlie gathers up all the Marys and heads down to the beach and starts winging them one by one into the ocean. So, note to Losties: try to die quickly and painlessly from now on, because ol' Doc Shephard's got nothin' fo' ya. The upside? Maybe some sort of boat will grow where Charlie planted all the heroin. You know, maybe. Just a crazy idea. Charlie tosses the last Mary in, and turns to see the leonine Locke watching approvingly from afar. You get the sense that something maybe thaws between Charlie and Locke at that moment, but I was too distracted by JJ Abrams painting what looked like a target on Charlie's back for the Season Finale.

Back in the Hatch, Jack and Sawyer are still ginning up for the big season finale when they discover Eko. Jack tells Eko that they are going to have funerals for Tequila and Tonic around sunset. Eko says that he shall mourn them in his own way. Whatever, Eko.

Sawyer then takes a moment to confess to Jack that he tapped Ana Lucia's ass in the woods, and that's how she came to get the gun off him. And, yes, Sawyer gets to deploy the caught in a net metaphor. Jack's all: dude, why are you telling me this? And Sawyer's facade cracks a little bit when he tells Jack that he's the closest thing he has to a friend. Awww. I'm sure Jack feels that you're the closest thing he has to a seedy grifter that lives in the same neighborhood as him.

Back at the Lostie Cemetery, Hurley and Kate are digging graves. Everyone else wanted to help, but they had prior engagements. Michael comes up to them to once again explain his crazy plan, as if saying it again and again out loud is going to make it sound less crazy. Well, bad news, Mike. Hurley tells him that he's not going on any farkakte rescue mission. Michael acts incredulous at the thought that Hurley wouldn't take this awesome opportunity to sneak up on a band of murderous douchebags, but it seems that Hurley would rather have some time to himself to grieve as well as being seemingly aware of the tactical shortcomings he poses. If Michael really wants to sell the idea of Hurley as Tom Clancy hero, he ought to start teaching him drunken style kung fu or something.

Three days ago: Michael has been a prisoner of the others for just over a week now, and you get the impression that the daily routine is wake up, eat, don't shower, spend the whole day getting asked pointed questions from Ms. Klugh, reply mainly with shrill demands to see son, Lunch, resume litany of questions, watch Seinfeld reruns, dinner, quiet time, story time, sleep. Only today, there has been a development in the plot.

Due to the massive demands of Michael's one track mind, he once again demands to see Walt. Klugh tells him that he is right outside and he can see him for three minutes. During that three minutes, Walt tells Michael that they are making him take tests--presumably the MCATs, because who wouldn't want to see their kidnapped child grow up to be a doctor. He also tells Michael that the Others are not who they claim to be. "They're pretending!" But since we have little context for what they may or may not be pretending at, it's a little tease that must be saved for later. They hug, are soon put asunder, and Walt is dragged out again.

Mrs. Klugh has a proposition for Michael. "Basically, Michael," Klugh says, "We want you to go back to your camp and whip up what we like to call a season finale." "What's that?"Michael asks. "Well," Klugh says, "We'd like for you to go back to your camp and do something uniquely odd and out-of-character. Answer some questions. The rest, just answer with more questions. be revelatory without revealing much. Come up with an interesting, semi-crazy plan that'll end up being seen through, almost thwarted, until something happens like a twist or a cliffhanger. And if he can kill Charlie on the way back, that'd be awesome.

Klugh gives him a list with the names of four people: Jack, Kate, Hurley and James Ford, aka Sawyer. Why those four? Well, they've been testing well. The one thing they share in common is that they are the ones that have had waking psychic encounters with someone or something from their past. Jack saw his dad. Kate and Sawyer saw Misty of Chincoteague. Hurley saw whosit from Sex and the City. Since then, Eko may or may not have seen his brother, and I believe Charlie was asleep when he went to Mindfuckzembourg. Any other ideas? Oh, and The Losties have captured Henry Gale, and the Others want Michael to free him. In return, he and Walt will be permitted to go free, they'll win a boat and other parting gifts, including a copy of THE OTHERS board game and a gift certificate to Botany 500.

Today: Back at the beach, everyone is gearing up for the double-funeral of the season, which they wouldn't even be having if it weren't for Libby. If it was just Ana Lucia, they'd have likely dumped her in the woods for the polar bears as Sawyer scrambled around his stash for a bottle of Axe Snake Peel. On their way to the funeral, Jack is telling Sayid about his father. Seems like a pretty random thing for them to be talking about--but keep it in mind, it could be something the writer's wanted our attention alerted to.

Anyhoo, Sayid finally comes out with what we've been hoping he would say, that in his opinion, Michael's attempting to play them. Sayid checks off a few things that I guess you'd have to be a viewer or an Iraqi to notice, like: 1. Michael's acting all steaky. 2. He wants Hurley on the team. 3. For a plan dear to his heart, it's really not much of a plan. Sayid suggests that for the time being, they allow Michael to believe that he is in control, so that they might gain an advantage.

The funeral begins and neither Jack nor Hurley seem to have the whole toastmaster thing going on. Hurley, flustered by the loss of a budding paramour as well as what could have been a few interesting flashback episodes, changes his mind and tells Michael that he will, in fact, be on board for the Season Finale. Things seem to be winding down when Sun sees something on the water-it's a sailboat, and it's looking very Desmondtastic.

NEXT: Season finale. Why'd the plane crash? What's with the boat? Who the fuck is Desmond? Will Charlie die? Will JJ Abrams promise to not end up taking four episodes to introduce all these new characters? You'll find out, and because of a rehearsal, you'll find out before me. So no spoils, if you please.


jordan said...

In everything in which I've seen April Grace (Miss Klugh), she has played some sort of interrogator: Magnolia (interviewer of Frank "T.J." Mackie), A.I. (asks Dr. Hobby a question in the introductory scene), that one episode of "The O.C." (Marissa's first shrink in the first season)...and it creeps the crap out of me!

Also, I'm watching a tivo-ed epsiode of the X-Files with Bernard!!!

Gary Freedman said...

I survived the crash of Oceanic Flight 815 in the South Pacific. Can you get us some help? We're desperate!

Red Line said...

I love your Lost recaps. Probably my favorite recurring feature that you write.

Kathryn Is So Over said...

Nice seeing you last night! Can't wait to see the Pompatus finale...

Brent Hirose said...

Just want to let you know that you have a Canadian fan who is also an actor, also a fan of 24 and Lost and who has also lost friends to the dreaded world of Amway.

One more strange conincidence and we may end up locked in motal combat.

jolene said...

Anxiously awaiting your final installment of the season!