Tuesday, February 27, 2007

The Pompatus of Lost: 3.09--The Perils of a Bilingual Education

Previously on Lost: There's this whole other part of Lost, that has nothing to do with Desmond, that's struggling mightily to keep up its end of the bargain. Jack did what he could, threatening to kill Ben Linus. But it was Juliet who actually drew blood, killing the Shocker. This episode, I guess, will deal with the ramifications of these actions. Goody.

Lights up on a boat. Sawyer and Kate are listlessly paddling home. Kate wants to go back for Jack, but Sawyer isn't having it. "Do you know what Captain Bunnykiller will do if we go back? Besides, Kate, the GOOD storylines are in that direction!" Sawyer couldn't be righter. I mean, motherfucker's gonna get to play PING-PONG in a few episodes (it's all a part of Hurley's plan to add on to the golf course and make the island into the most existential dread-filled Dave and Busters ever). Carl, who they recently rescued from the worst Big Black concert in the world, concurs by babbling something about God and Jacob. Sawyer seems to regret it, but he tells Kate that Jack is on his own.

Speaking of, Jack is back in his cell when the Guy Who Used To Look Like That Guy From That Kansas Album--and, yes, we were calling him by the incorrect name, but we're back now--comes in and tells Jack that they are moving him. Jack concludes that he means that they are going to kill him. The Guy Who Used To Look Like That Guy From That Kansas Album looks a little taken aback. I mean, they are supposed to be crazy geniuses, right? Surely they'd have a better secret euphenism for "we are going to kill you" than "we're moving you." Like, we're going to take a walk in our Glass Pyramid of Memory, or, "Hey, Jack, who wants Funnel Cakes?" And the funnel cakes turn out to be delicious but packed with arsenic.

Jack's all indignant, saying that he's perfectly within his rights to expect to be killed given the fact that they are the types of people who abduct pregnant women and hang Charlie from a tree and otherwise kill and kidnap and maraud their way around the island. Also: bad fake beards. Though, it should be said, only the Others had the balls to do what needed to be done w/r/t Ana Lucia. That said, just once I'd like someone to tell the Others, "You realize we were in a PLANE CRASH, right? I mean, the least you could have done was, you know, bring some food and some band-aids. Get to know us before you started all the killing a kidnapping."

The Guy Who Used To Look Like That Guy From That Kansas Album raps on the glass wall and says, "Love the glass house you're living in, Jack. Let me get you some stones!" Jack, obviously tired of this, doesn't call The Guy Who Used To Look Like That Guy From That Kansas Album out for such a lame quip. I mean, who put him in the glass house, asshole?

They move Jack, and yes, they actually move Jack. Along the way, Jack passes the handcuffed Juliet along with another imperious blonde woman with a bad hairstyle. It's worth pointing out that we have been promised three big reveals tonight that are supposed to answer burning questions. Let's see if we can spot them.

Now, Jack has been, basically, the hero of this show. He's faced down any number of dangers--the stress of surgery, the harrowing plane crash, black smoke stompy monster, the Others, Michael's betrayal. In Flashbackistan this week, we learn that before Jack faced any of these problems head on, he first tested his mettle against one of the planet's great dreads...one of mankind's most fearsome foes..a terrifying enemy to decent people anywhere, and, by that, I mean the actress Bai Ling. No one knows how Bai Ling came to be famous or important or worthy of having television cameras pointed at her for any other reason than to film something so morbidly horrific that it could be blasted into space and sent to evil alien invaders as a warning on what's in store for them.

Bai Ling is perhaps best known for that time she appeared on one of those celebrity singing shows...I think it was called, So, You Think You Can Sing, Asshole? Ling's singing voice can best be described as the sound a foal makes while being simultaneously born and strangled to death. Her acting is not quite as good as her singing. But, she has a talent for wearing clothing that would shame the skankiest of meth-addicted poopwhores and flashing her nipples all over creation like a strobe light that only blasted white-hot nipple images and made epileptic children's eyes bleed. In Flashbackistan, she sidles up to the vacationing-in-Phuket Jack and helps him assemble a kite, and right away we know something horrible is going to happen to Jack.

Back on Other Island, The Guy Who Used To Look Like That Guy From That Kansas Album brings Jack a sandwich, but he places the Others' Zagats rating in danger when he forgets to grill it. He tells Jack that the blonde, imperious woman with bad hair (and it is bad--it's like she's glued blonde muttonchops to the sides of her face despite it being long in the back) is The Sheriff and that Juliet's in a whole heapa trouble. The Guy Who Used To Look Like That Guy From That Kansas Album wants to know what Jack was thinking, letting Kate and Sawyer go, but Jack brusquely demurs, slinking off to the back of the cage with his sandwich and making fuck-off faces.

Speaking of, Kate and Sawyer's relationship is getting off to a rocky start. The path of true Skater love never did run smooth, especially when they have such divergent opinions on what to do, boatwise. Kate wants to circumnavigate the entire island in the dark, whereas Sawyer wants to make camp, get some food, and get some sleep. For the second time this episode, I'm siding with Sawyer. "You two shouldn't fight," pipes up Carl, like he was the kid caught in the middle of some island-based Kramer vs. Kramer.

With Carl awake, Kate and Sawyer press for some intel on the Other. He tells them that they kidnapped the kids in order to give them a better life, that they live on the main island and use the smaller island for projects, that he and Alex named a constellation "Ursus Theodorus" because they are totally teh lame. Sawyer, dumbfoundedly asks, "You all have backyards?" The Others do have backyards. So, there you have it: earthshattering revelation #1--THE OTHERS HAVE BACKYARDS.

Back at the outdoor cages, Juliet comes over to Jack to tell him that Ben's sutures have become infected. But Jack's sick and tired of the melodrama, and he tells her that he isn't going to help him or help her, or help her help him, or help her help Jack hurt him, or hurt Ben to help her and help Jack, or anything. Fuck off, it's over, I live in a cage, suck it.

Jack heads back to Flashbackistan, where he and Bai Ling are eating somewhere straight out of Anthony Bourdain's A Cook's Tour. Jack eats something that looks like mesculin greens. Jack eats it and the waiter applauds him for daring to eat a run of the mill plant. "Way to go, American!" he says, "Allow me to patronize you by pointing out that you have accomplished something our people do several times a day!" Bai Ling makes a point of telling Jack that "everyone likes him." Just then, some dude wanders over and hands Bai Ling an envelope full of money. Jack is curious about the whole exchange, but Bai Ling offers only, "I have a gift."

And right about now, I could probably guess what you thought. "Oh, she's a prostitute." And then somewhere, deep inside you, your sensitive self said, "Now, now. That's unfair. Just because they are in a country reknowned for its sex trade and this anonymous woman just got paid under the table for something doesn't mean you should jump to the frankly racist conclusion that she is some sort of whore." But of course you can and should jump to that conclusion. Remember, they cast Bai Ling! One small step, and there conclusions were!

Back at the cages, the imperious blonde has wondered over to Jack and is reading his tattoo in Chinese. What a know-it-all bitch. I hate people like that--"Oh? You mean to say you don't read Chinese? My, my! Yes. I read it. As you can see, I even pronounce it perfectly as well. I'm the sort of person who says "Nicaragua" as "nee-car-agh-you-wah" even when the standard pronunciation will suffice."

She introduces herself as Isabel and takes Jack to an office, where he sits between Juliet and The Guy Who Used To Look Like That Guy From That Kansas Album. Isabel explains that she is investigating an incident that took place and asks Jack if Juliet every approached him with a plan to kill Ben. Jack lies, saying that it was all his idea. That's when Isabel stands up and says, "Why are you lying, Jack?"--leading me to wonder if she's so goddamned prescient why they couldn't have just avoided the attack in the first place.

In Flashbackistan, Bai Ling comes into Jack's shack, and they start to shack up. But, Jack, being a sensible man, knows deep down that there are only so many times even the most adventurous person can dip his cock deep down into Bai Ling's ichorous abyss of a babyhole without entertaining the bleak thought that something scaly this way burrows beneath the velvet flesh of his once proud, healthy penis. He tries to get Bai Ling to answer some questions, but she tells him that there are things in Phuket that he will never understand. Well then, Bai, don't call your "gift" "your gift". It only makes people wonder what the fuck it is!

Jack awakes in the cage to find the place crawling with people. One of the people is the late and lamented Cindy from flight 815. Jack asks Cindy what the fuck she's doing there, and she replies that they are there to watch. She says that the little girl wants to know where Ana Lucia is. I immediately despise this little girl for mentioning Ana Lucia's name. Jack freaks out on them, and they leave him alone. Still, that's earthshattering revelation #2: The Others have kidnapped various people from Flight 815 so that they might inpanel a focus group.

Meanwhile, out in the Jungle, Kate and Sawyer are waking from sleeping in perhaps the worst positions possible. Kate at first fears that Carl has gone, but he's just moved somewhere private where he can cry his tears of long distance relationship. Sawyer moves to comfort Carl, and despite the fact that he opens by punching Carl in the arm, and continues by trying to teach him about the Brady Bunch, and concludes by telling him the even if he returns for Alex and gets killed, it will be worth it.

Back at the Cages, Alex destroys the surveillance camera so she can talk to Jack. She wants to know why Jack saved Ben's life. Jack first wants to know about Juliet, so Alex tells him that they are about to read a "verdict" against her, and, in all likelihood, get killed. Jack asks Alex is Ben is still in charge and whether Isabel will do as he says. Alex says yes. Jack instructs her to get him the hell out of the cage.

They go to the Other Island Operating Theatre, where the fourth string doctor is about to inject Ben with Rhode Island style clam chowder or something, because Jack is all, "Nuh-UH!" from the moment he walks in the door. Jack mocks them for not having a good surgeon, to which Ben responds by saying that Ethan was their surgeon. Nice attempt at a guilt trip, but as far as the kidnappings and the nearly murdering Charlie go, we're not as inclined to celebrate the awesome surgical prowess of a confirmed dickhole like Ethan. Ethan needed to perform a great big opthalrectomy on himself--a procedure that disconnects the tube the run's from one's eye to one's asshole in order to improve one's shitty fucking outlook.

Basically, Jack offers to guide Ben back to good health if he'll put a stop to her execution. And let's face it, she only killed The Shocker, and it's hard to see exactly what he brought to the Dharma Initiative table other than anger issues and a massive cholesterol problem. But Ben makes a big, grand stink about it, telling Jack that she doesn't care about him and no matter what happens, he'll always be the non-Other. But Jack'd recognize the feeling of that familiar downward spiral into a codependent relationship ANYWHERE. There's no stopping him from boarding the bus to The Same Mistakes I Always Makesvershire. In the end, Ben agrees to write down instructions to spare Juliet.

Back in Flashbackistan, Jack is wandering through the seedy underbelly of Phuket (or, simply, Phuket) looking for Bai Ling. He's drinking out of a bagged bottle, in order to show us just how low and unkempt his desperation to know Bai Ling's secrets have gotten. Eventually, he spies her, wearing a dress that screams skank at the top of its lungs and at a frequency that causes dog's ears to bleed. He follows her down a blind alley and up into a room that we're supposed to believe always has a million candles burning in it at all times.

Bai Ling emerges, horrified that Jack has followed her. But that's life with Jack: the more you keep the things that will only end up hurting him away from him, the more he pursues his own undoing like a rabid ocelot. Jack remarks that the room appears to be a tattoo parlor, but Bai is no mere tattoo artist. She's got a gift, remember? And that gift is: "I am able to see what people are." So...she's learned to use eyes? "And I mark them."

So you're a fucking tattoo artist with tits and gimmicks.

Jack, now behaving as if there was suddenly something at stake, presses the issue further, asking Bai Ling if she can see what Jack truly is. "A leader, a great man...but lonely," Bai offers, adding, "But you are frightened and angry."

Jack, naturally, wants a tattoo of whatever the fuck Bai is speaking about. She cryptically offers, "This is against my people," and "There will be consequences." Mainly genital sores.

Back at the Others Island, Jack and Alex race to break up the trial of Juliet. Alex hands Ben's order to Isabel, who considers it for a minute. Ben commutes the sentence, but orders that she be marked. That doesn't sound good.

Back in Flashbackistan. A newly tattooed Jack wakes for another morning of kite flying on the beach, soda buying, maybe a little light whoring. Only this time, the happy little soda selling kid doesn't want to have anything to do with him. Jack turns around, and sees Bai Ling's friend from the restaurant approaching him with about five other guys. Bai's friend lifts up Jack's sleeve to look at the tattoo, and then they all proceed to beat the shit out him. Thanks a lot for making sure our image abroad was still beloved and respected, President Bush!

The friend tells Jack to get off the beach and leave the country. They walk away, taking a sad Bai Ling, and her many, many STDs, with them.

Back at the cages, Juliet is back, walking funny and bearing Jack's favorite grilled sandwich, thus saving the Others from another round of disappointing reviews on Chowhound. Jack wants to see where they marked Juliet. She shows him a bloody starburst brand on her back. Jack rubs aloe on her mark and vows that they will make sure Ben let's them go home. That's when Juliet basically intimates that when Ben says "home", he actually means the main Island.

The Other's take Jack down to the beach where they are preparing to disembark. Isabel, who never stops being self-important and patronizing for even second, translates Jack's tattoo as, "He walks amongst us, but he is not one of us." Jack says, "That's what they say. That's not what they mean." Is that the Third Earthshattering reveal? That the Chinese characters on Jack's arm, when translated, form a sentence? These have not been answers to BURNING questions! Not even itching questions!

This precipitates a montage of shoving boats off and fires being lit and people staring into the sky to symbolize the great emotional distance between people who love each other. The scene ends with Jack and Juliet standing on the prow of the boat, gazing at each other as if to say, "Let's enjoy this calm moment before thousands of Lost fans hit the interwebs complaining with one voice that they totally got gypped in the revelation department tonight.

2 comments:

Brownpau said...

I was really, really expecting Bai Ling's character to turn out to be a dude. I've been to Phuket. They're all dudes.

Rusty said...

I hate Bai Ling as much as the next disease free guy, but, Jack, you can't just go strangling bitches. Uncool. He went all Ike in her shit.