Tuesday, February 13, 2007

The Pompatus of Lost: 3.07--Escape from...PRACTICE ISLAND!!

Previously on LOST: JJ Abrams and Damon Lindelof created a show with fascinating characters with mysterious backstories stranded on an island of danger and wonder. It was a beautiful, potentially deep and revealing thing. But then they decided to introduce a bunch of characters who were duller and not written as well and played by people, who, in some cases, were so obviously detestable that when they were finally killed off by Michael, the scenes of celebration were akin to V-J Day. But, with all these new characters getting offed, they realized that they needed to get back to basics. And what was back to basics? Well, they saw that people really liked the show when the interesting characters first got stranded on the island, so they thought it would make perfect sense to take SOME of the interesting characters and get them stranded on yet ANOTHER island. IT ALL MAKES PERFECT SENSE!

Or so they thought, because after six episodes, here is a list of all the interesting things that have happened:
--bunny torture
--we met the Shocker! He was neat.
--fish biscuits! that was cool.
--it was fun watching Kate shimmy out of the cage.
--there was a joke about the Red Sox
--Sawyer and Kate kissed
--and, really...the fish biscuits.
--uhhhhmmmm

In short, this shit has just about run its course. And I surely hope there isn't a THIRD fucking island. Someone has GOT to escape the island tonight.

Lights up in Flashbackistan. Juliet is sitting on the beach. They've gotten so promiscuous with the trips to Flashbackistan, lately, and the reveals haven't been noteworthy (Sawyer's a CON MAN! Kate being on the lam makes it hard for her to SETTLE DOWN! Even with the captain of the Serenity!) She enters a building, passes Ethan Rom in the hallway, and ends up in a room with a woman who is revealed to be her sister. Her sister is basically a huggable, squeezably soft cancer patient in headwrap. Juliet rams a needle of something into her stomach, and they talk about moving.

Juliet throws open the window curtain to reveal they are in Miami. An Oceanic plane is landing, and, it's hard to see why anyone in their right mind would fly with them, because geographically speaking, no passenger plane should be attempting to land in that part of Miami. We only have a second to consider this before Juliet methodically puts on a pair of sunglasses, Roger Daltrey screams, and "Won't Get Fooled Again" comes blasting through the speakers.

Meanwhile, back on The Other Island, Jack is instructing Kate on how to follow his foolproof escape plan. Kate seems hesitant, so Jack deploys the tactic that has served him so well whenever a Lostie demonstrates an inability to follow instructions: restate his instructions MUCH LOUDER. Kate and Sawyer finally give up and give in and get the hell out, but not before Sawyer gets in a few nice licks on the Shocker by ramming his head into the fish biscuit dispenser button a bunch of times, giving the Shocker a shock of his own. Sawyer and Kate run off on their fruitless quest to escape from Other Island.

But back in the Other OR, Juliet isn't having any of this, convinced for whatever reason that Jack will simply not let a person die on his operating table. She orders some other Others to go after Kate and Sawyer, and, if necessary, kill them. A lot is made of the Others uncanny ability to perfectly divine the character of other people (or at least fake a good game), but one thing that's always bothered me in this regard is that you wonder why they just won't give the Losties a break--it's not their fault that they crashed on their crackheaded island.

We return to Flashbackistan, where Juliet's hair once danced about her preternaturally wide face in a gossamer bouquet of wavy curls. Juliet is using her passkey to enter a biological research lab. She's not five steps in the door when her cellphone rings. You are sneaking around put it on vibrate now! Do it! Juliet retrieves some medicine and stashes it away.

Juliet notices two people entering at the other end of the room. One of them is played by Zeljko Ivanek, who is revealed to be Juliet's ex-husband. The other looks eerily like Jessica Cutler. The decision to cast Ivanek cannot pass without some note. You don't cast Ivanek because you are looking for someone to portray a soulful, kindly, helpmate. No no. Ivanek is best deployed as the most dour, mean-minded motherfucker in the land. This is not a diss. Ivanek's eked out an awesome career playing people who fell through the diabolical tree and hit every branch on the way down. Ivanek brings Cutler into the room and starts to put his short, balding, evil-eyed moves on her.

Naturally, this is when Juliet's cell phone--which we warned her to put on vibrate--goes off with piercing ringtone reverby glory. Ivaney pauses, mid-mount, to investigate, and finds Juliet on the floor. "Oh, deary me," Juliet excuses, "I was just in the lab because I inverted some numbers, so, like always, I found a dark spot on the floor to cower in self-abasement for my trivial mistake." Zeljko knows the score, and, what's more, wants to score, so he glistens with evil and asks Juliet to hit the lights on his way out, so he can make some self-hating coitus with Cutler.

Back on the Other Island Operating Theatre, Juliet is breaking the news to Jack that his foolproof plan of "running, and later, yelling" isn't going to work unless he's got some long distance, Red Sea parting, Moses mojo on hand. She says this would be a good time to work for a "peaceful resolution." Jack lets slip to The Dude From That Kansas Album that Juliet wanted him to kill Ben. Juliet says that jack is lying. Jack insists that he is telling the truth. That Dude From That Kansas Album says, "Look, I'm just a dude from that Kansas album. I don't want to be in the middle of this, man! All we are is dust in the motherfucking wind, yo!" That Dude From That Kansas Album orders Juliet to leave the room, for no other good reason other than the fact that the next scene can't happen with her in the room.

Meanwhile, out in Fishbiscuit Cellblock, the Shocker is pissed as hell. He gets released from his cell and gives chase to Sawyer and Kate, who have both made it to the beach and have discovered that Sawyer was totally right about there being no escape. But Kate refuses to dine from the table of defeatism. She radioes Jack and tells him that they'll need a boat to get off.

Just then, the Shocker and his pals hit the beach and start shooting. In a rare moment of accuracy, the Shocker shoots the radio right out of Kate's hand. It's a noteworthy moment, because we spent two years learning to think of The Others as this gang of homicidal supra-geniuses only to learn now that they are actually a bunch of flabby, middle-aged dolts who rarely can hit the broad sign of a barn. A chase ensues, with guns, and no one hits anything, and it would seem a good strategy to simply keep running until the Others run out of bullets, but naturally, Kate and Sawyer STOP WHEN THEY SHOULD BE, UHM...I DON'T KNOW--MOVING? Luckily, Alex picks this moment to emerge from the jungle, armed with a slingshot, to save them. They duck into a camouflaged hole, which Alex must know how to build because her crazy French mom passed these skills down with her DNA, and the Others move on, flummoxed by their disappearance.

Back at the OR, Ben reveals himself to be awake, and he asks that someone go and fetch Juliet. "Why isn't she here?" he asks. "Has she been sent away for the sake of some plot convenience?"

Indeed, she has. Juliet is privately back in Flashbackistan, back at her lab, where it is revealed that Jessica Cutler is the new "research assistant" and that she has been working on some sort of research that involves impregnating the impregnable. She's like a sperm wielding Uruk-hai at the gates of Helms Deep. Zeljko Ivanek, having sussed out what she's doing, wants the two of them to collaborate. His involvement would remove the ethical taint of stealing stuff to inpregnate her sister, and allow them to win awards and drink Champagne. It'll be just like the Miami Sound Machine at the Latin Grammys, bitches! Juliet is brought out of Flashbackistan by an approaching Other, who tells her that Ben is awake.

Meanwhile, somewhere else on Other Island, Alex tells Sawyer and Kate that she has a boat, but first, they have to help her with her Heroes-esque mission. "Save my boyfriend! Win a boat!" Sawyer groans, but he should suck it up. Heroes is bringing home three times the audience share as Lost. Also: their subtitled Asian Stereotype is a good deal more charming.

We return to the Other Island Operating Theatre. I have to admit, these are well-constructed scenes. Testy, tense and weird. Ben wants Three Minutes In Heaven alone with Juliet, which jack agrees to. He and That Dude From That Kansas Album leave the room. That Dude From That Kansas Album formally introduces himself to Jack. "I'm That Dude From That Kansas Album, by the way," he says, by way of introduction. "They've got history," he adds, referring to Ben and Juliet. Jack can only look on and think to himself, "Yeah, diagnosis Duhsville." Finally, Juliet leaves the room and tells Jack to fix Ben, and in return, she'll help Kate and Sawyer escape.

Back in Flashbackistan, Juliet's at the creepiest job interview in the world. It's being given by a Mr. Alpert--but it's not the Tijuana Brass he's pitching. No. That would be cool. Who wouldn't jump at the chance to be in the Tijuana Brass? The only thing better would be to be in the Parliament-Funkadelic All-Stars. But, I'm pretty sure that they don't hire. They have a chain of succession: when one P-Funk All-Star dies or retires, they come knocking on the next person's door, and that person joins. This is why the P-Funk All-Stars don't travel together, and why whenever they give their State of the Funk Address, one member always stays at home.

Alpert works for Mittelos Bioscience (anagram for Mittelos: "Lost Time"--as in "Is it TIME for that LOST show to be on?") and he wants to hire Juliet away from her ex-husband's clutches. He tells her that private funding is the key to ultimate happiness and that they live in the PORTLAND AREA, and the PORTLAND AREA is teeming with lots of fun things to do. Oh, that PORTLAND AREA. He just loves saying it! PORTLAND AREA.

But Juliet is unmoved by the promise of mountain biking and evergreen-infused weed, so Alpert steps up his wooing. It turns out that she is hotly wanted because she successfully impregnated a male field mouse. And is there any greater gift you can give to the world through science than to make fucking FIELD MICE twice as adept at breeding? I think not. Next, he shows her the MRI of a badly degraded womb--always a good first date move. And here I am having already used my best degraded womb joke!

Anyway, Juliet says that she'll never escape her ex-husband. Unless he was hit by a bus! But there's no way that Mittelos Bioscience can help with that. OR CAN THEY?!?

Back at Other Island, Juliet uses the Other's Awesome Collection of Six Whole Surveillance Cameras to locate Kate and Sawyer. Kate and Sawyer and Alex are poised outside a building, guarded by a young guy named Aldo. "Aldo?" Sawyer asks, bemused. Don't laugh, Sawyer, it's a real name. My first year resident advisor was named Aldo! He was a Sigma Chi and terrified of tarantulas (a fear which, naturally, his dorm charges, working in tandem with his fraternity brothers, exploited to HILARIOUS effect). The three of them run a con they learned from Star Wars on Aldo, and gain entry to the facility. Alex's bf, Karl, is being held in Room 23 (ugh...like the world needed another reference to that Jim Carrey movie), where he is being subjected to loud music and what looks like a Ken Russell film festival on crystal meth. Based upon the music's lack of melody and its strong asshole vibe, one can only conclude that Steve Albini works for the Others. Somehow, I think I always knew that.

Back in Flashbackistan, Juliet learns that she has successfully impregnated her squeezably-soft, cancer victim sister. She goes to tell Zeljko. Zeljko is walking down the street on his cellphone, where he speaks what has to be one of the most hilarious throwaway lines in the history of Lost: "Because you're insufferable...and mean. Well, you asked me for the truth, mom." AWESOME! Had to have been an improv! Juliet tells him the happy news, and he starts in on collaborating again. Juliet refuses, and before Zeljko can mount much of a counterargument, the 3:45 East to Synchroncity Town juxtaposes itself rather violently with his body. Way to take a Dharma initiative, busdriver!

Back at the OR, Jack and That Dude From That Kansas Album are working on fixing Ben. Jack wants to know why they just couldn't leave the island to get Ben fixed up at a proper hospital. I mean, all that AWESOME private funding! That Dude From That Kansas Album is about to tell Jack--and, by default us--something vitally important about what actually happened when "the sky turned purple" when jack accidentally nicks an artery and the moment is, uhm...lost. Great going, Jack!

Elsewhere, Kate, Sawyer, Carl and Alex finally reach the boat--which was about ten feet up the beach from where they got chased into the woods, when they are discovered by The Shocker. Juliet told The Shocker to let them get away, but The Shocker, he wanna kill SUMFING because his girlfriend died (that actress left Lost, to die, AGAIN on ER, and, I have to give the ER cast credit: none of them freaked out as bad as The Shocker). He's about to have his vengeance when Juliet comes out of the woods and kills him, thankfully, mercifully.

Juliet tells Kate and Sawyer that they are free to leave, and they can take Carl--his drugged-up weakling ass will be a terrific asset back on Lostie Beach!--but that Alex has to stay behind, this, despite all her hard work on hole digging and boat-building. Before they leave, Kate is given the radio to call Jack. He makes her tell him The Story of Counting to Five, and we can tell by the Swelling Piano Strains of Remembering an Actual Good Episode From the First Season that her halting, grief-stricken recounting of the time Jack got all a-scurred and needed to Count To Five is working its powerful Kate-Jack magic on their unspoken connection, and Jack is thus able to stop Ben from bleeding out. Jack tells Kate to go away and never come back, and her reaction to having to make this promise tells us that in a few minutes, we'll see scenes from next week with her totally telling people that she's going back for Jack.

Sawyer, suddenly prone to speaking as if he were a salty old sea dog, and not a total douchebag, says, "The trades are coming," and they shove off for their original Island. Hooray. They've successfully escaped from the Island of Moribund Plot Contrivances.

In Flashbackistan, Juliet is crying over Zeljko's dead body and the pile of paperwork she has to complete in order to put the matter to bed. Hopefully, her HMO isn't Kaiser Permanente because those assholes will screw you to the floor for every last dollar. Juliet would probably have to file court affidavits saying that Zeljko was dead on arrival and so there couldn't possibly be cause to charge her for four days of hospital meals, only to have Kaiser pull something like saying that they are contractually obligated to smother every corpse in four days supply of Jello because that's just how they roll when they are not lining the pockets of every asshole piece of crap on Capitol Hill. Fuck Kaiser Permanente.

Back in the OR, Jack tells Juliet that the tumor has been removed. He wants to know what Ben told Juliet that made her go and help Kate and Sawyer escape and change her mind about killing Ben. Juliet goes back to Flashbackistan, where we learn that she basically signed on to work with the creepy Mittelos people, who waited until she agreed to tell her that she wouldn't be relocating to Portland, but, rather, a remote island in the middle of nowhere with polar bears and Black Smoke Stompy Monsters and resentful fucktard colleagues who were totally above enjoying a Stephen King book.

Basically, Juliet says that Ben told her she could go on home. She leaves the room, and all Jack can do is make his patented "Son of a BITCH!" face. Yeah, Jack. Just wait till you see you guys only hit a 6.5 share. Son of a bitch, indeed.

2 comments:

Jesse said...

YES!

Pompatus is back!

Paul said...

Hadn't you switched at some point to That Dude That Used to Look Like That Dude from That Kansas Album? Or did I just imagine that? (Or was it, like, blog-post word count issue?)