TV REVIEW: LOST: "The Lie" (Season 5 episode 2)

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Tonight's cavalcade of Lost-related whimsey continues with a super-secret bonus episode that I didn't even know was coming. (I've been distracted lately). What's better than a season premier of Lost? Getting an unexpected bonus episode immediately afterwards! Ka-Ching! If you want to read a review of the season premier, you can do that here but I'm going to assume you've already done that and just move on here.

On the island three years ago, the Lostaways are confused, frightened, and disorganized. Sawyer finally gets a shirt from this annoying hippie guy he calls "Frogurt" (For "Frozen Yogurt") while Rose and Bernard try to make a fire (Is it just me or do the two of them only show up when the beach is seeming empty, to kind of make the place seem less empty. "Well, the house can't be completely empty becuase the dentist and his wife are here, right?"). Not too much happens, though Faraday lies about being lost in the woods to avoid explaining how he talked to Desmond-of-the-past. He hangs out with his redheaded girlfriend with the lantern jaw, who's suffering memory losses and nosebleeds and headaches. She's a goner, I think, though she doesn't die in this episode. Faraday seems to think she's a goner too, judging from his expression.Several white, shiny leaps through time happen, and then the beach is attacked by flaming arrows.

The lostaways are scattered, dashing for the woods. I noted three dead including "Frogurt." Who sent the arrows? Why? Later on, Sawyer and Juliette are intercepted by english men wearing US Army picklesuits (old fashioned jungle fatigues, the kind they used before camoflage). They threaten to cut off Juliette's hands unless they tell them everything Sawyer and her know. They agree to, but the guys want to cut off their hands anyway. Sawyer and Juliette both fight, killing the soldiers, but one has the drop on them. Before the guy can kill Sawyer, Locke limps out of the jungle and kills the guy.

Is there any leading man more unlikely and yet casually heroic than our John Locke? I don't think so.

My hunch is that they're now in the late 1960s or early '70s, and the soldiers were Dharma mercinaries, trying to clear the island of any 'indiginous population', as they refered to the locals in the previous season. I expect the flaming arrows were the Others fighting back. If so, this places everything prior to the time Dharma was established on the island, and long before Ben came there.

In the present, Hurley is driving an unconcious Sayi'd around, and freaking out. He halucinates getting pulled over by a cop, who turns out to be Anna Lucia. "Why did you pull over?" she asks him, "What if I'd been real?" She gives him advice - and is she a halucination or a ghost or something on the island pretending to be her, and is there even any difference at this point? - then goes on her way, giving Libby a namecheck in the process.

Hurley goes home, and part of the fun of this show is that it has such a sprawling cast at this point that even the recurring characters are like old friends. It's actually kind of welcome to see Hurley's folks. "Why is there a dead pakistani on my coat?" is the best line of the episode. Despite the fact that Hurley's dad is a right bastard, and his mom's a mess, and their entire family dynamic is loopy as hell, the scene where Hurley looses it and tells his mom what happened on the island is touching and sad and funny. Though they're all messed up people, they do love each other.

Kate, meanwhile, is on the run with Aaron, and goes to see Sun, who's in LA on her way back from London (Where she was hanging out w/ Penny's dad) to Seol. Kate admits her problem, and Sun says Kate needs to 'get rid of' whomever it is that's trying to take Aaron. Kate is upset by this, but Sun points out that Kate is a woman who makes tough choices, and we see flashbacks to the freighter and Jin's last minutes.

Though she says she holds no ill will for Kate, I still suspect that Sun is playing a dangerous game here. I suspect Penny's dad called for the blood test, and had Sun in place to play "Good cop" as a way of ferreting out Ben.

Hurley's dad takes Sayi'd to see Jack, who patches him up. Meanwhile Ben is skulking around doing Ben things, seeing his agents and whatnot. We're told he's only got 70 hours to get everyone together and back to the island. Some woman using mojo-science has predicted the next appearance of it.

Back at Hurley-Manor, Ben turns up looking actually kind of honest, and explains that they need to get back to the island. Rather than go with him, however, Hurley breaks free and surrenders himself to some nearby cops, who still think he committed 3 murders (That was Sayi'd, actually). Why? Beecause Sayi'd told him to always do the opposite of whatever Ben wants.

Alas, in this case Ben really did want what was best for everyone.

And that's kind of it for this episode.

What happens if they can't get back to the island in 70 hours? Why is Faraday's lantern-jawed girlfriend dying? Why did Ben resist agreeing that Locke was really dead? And how creepy/cool was it seeing Mrs. Hawking again? She was the creepy lady from a while back - implied to be a time traveler - who refused to sell Desmond an engagement ring, and told him his future. I like that Ben is deferential to her - when she says where and when the Island will reappear, Ben doesn't question it, or do anything "Ben-like," he just knows she's right and semi-pleads for more time. (More about her character is available here )

The fascinating thing is that this feels like we're moving to conclusions. In most shows of this sort, they just keep piling mysteries atop mysteries until the public looses interest, then they slap together a jiffypop ending that doesn't make much sense, aned we're done. With these two episodes, though, there's a feeling of going in to the home stretch. The inexorable questions have all been asked, the inscrutable oddities are all in place. From here on out, they're portioning out answers rather than riddles.

And if they can continue to pull that off, I'll be amazed and happy.

Tonight was a very auspicious start for the new season.