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Yunjin Kim (#110 of 8)

Lost Recap Season 5, Episodes 16 and 17, “The Incident, Parts 1 and 2”

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Lost Recap: Season 5, Episodes 16 and 17, “The Incident, Parts 1 and 2”

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Lost Recap: Season 5, Episodes 16 and 17, “The Incident, Parts 1 and 2”

Back when I reviewed the first part of the Battlestar Galactica two-part coup series, “The Oath,” I introduced a critical conceit called “8-year-old Todd.” Now, 8-year-old Todd comes from the idea that an episode of television can be so skillfully, perfectly, shamelessly entertaining that it leaves you feeling like a kid, grinning goofily at what just went down. There’s time for critical analysis, sure, but what you really want to do is just break down the episode in order of awesomeness. “The Incident” was so entertainingly winning for so much of its running time (a few minor character caveats aside) that I’m pleased to reintroduce the 8-year-old Todd rule and say that it is most definitely in effect. “The Incident,” written by Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse and directed by Jack Bender, is a hell of an end to what’s been Lost’s best season, the perfect capper to a season that wandered all over the map of space and time and then wandered even more.

Lost Recap Season 5, Episode 15, “Follow the Leader”

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Lost Recap: Season 5, Episode 15, “Follow the Leader”

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Lost Recap: Season 5, Episode 15, “Follow the Leader”

When I was a young kid, probably around 9 or 10, I was on the town baseball team (and the town I grew up in was small enough to field a “town” team), despite all evidence that I should probably give up on my athletic dreams. I sat on the bench through most of the games, and once they were over, the next-older team of kids would take the field and we younger kids would have to make our own fun. This usually involved watching the next game, but it occasionally took on other forms of general kid excitement. One week, somebody said, “There’s a CAVE in the woods behind the park,” so, naturally, we being young boys, we went to take a look. The cave was more of a hole in the side of a big hill, dirt encrusted on all sides, but it yawned before us, dark and foreboding and slightly terrifying. The idea of what might be on the other side, what worlds might be opened up by entering it, was, honestly, more exciting than the actual expedition, which only revealed that the cave (or, more accurately, a tunnel) opened up in the field behind the woods. When I think about why I like sometimes shoddy genre entertainment like Lost, I think it’s because I want, more than anything, to recapture that sense I had as a kid growing up in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by empty space and millions of possibilities. What makes the show speak to me, more than anything, is that sense of standing on the cusp of something unexpected, torch lit, ready to go.

Lost Recap Season 5, Episode 13, “Some Like It Hoth”

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Lost Recap: Season 5, Episode 13, “Some Like It Hoth”

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Lost Recap: Season 5, Episode 13, “Some Like It Hoth”

Father issues are to the Lost flashback what cancer is to a diagnosis on House. There’s always a tumor somewhere on that show, and if someone has emotional trauma in their past on Lost, it almost always stems from their dad doing them wrong somewhere along the line. One could type up an exact recounting of whose father wronged them how, but that would take up the whole of this piece, and no one would want to read that. Suffice it to say that when Lost confirmed what we all suspected and let us know out front the parentage of Miles Straum, we longtime fans probably braced ourselves for another vaguely dissatisfying hour of a character working through a variety of complexes all linked to the man who walked out on them. Or, y’know, threw them out a window and paralyzed them. Whatever.

Lost Recap Season 5, Episode 12, “Dead Is Dead”

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Lost Recap: Season 5, Episode 12, “Dead Is Dead”

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Lost Recap: Season 5, Episode 12, “Dead Is Dead”

When Michael Emerson’s Benjamin Linus came along midway through Lost’s second season, the series was having a bit of an identity crisis. In its first season, Lost had been a show full of gently sweet character moments and goofy pulp excess. This became a recipe for a really big hit, a show that blended a big ensemble with a few sci-fi and action-adventure trappings. In the manner of most successful science fiction shows, it managed to build a genre show atop the trappings of a previously successful television template. In the broadest possible terms, Lost basically just took what made The Love Boat so successful (a huge ensemble with weekly storytelling that delves into various characters’ backstories), stripped out the guest stars and added a smoke monster.

Lost Recap Season 5, Episode 9, “Namaste”

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Lost Recap: Season 5, Episode 9, “Namaste”

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Lost Recap: Season 5, Episode 9, “Namaste”

At this point, midway through its fifth season, Lost is about as consistently good as it’s ever been. It’s not hitting the highs its capable of (no episode this season rivals anything like “The Constant” or “Walkabout”), but it’s also not sinking into the really stupid lows it used to alternate those highs with. It’s just a fun, poppy show, a blend of pulp, goofy sci-fi and basic character drama. I don’t know how long Lost can keep this up, but episodes like “Namaste,” written by Brian K. Vaughan and Paul Zbyszewski and directed by Jack Bender, have been among the most unbridled fun you can have watching TV. Lost, at its best, is just a terrifically good time, and “just a terrifically good time” describes most of Season Five to a T. When a title came up early in the episode reading “Thirty Years Earlier,” it made me giggle with glee because, c’mon, where else are you going to see that on a TV show?

Lost Recap Season 5, Episode 5, “This Place Is Death”

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Lost Recap: Season 5, Episode 5, “This Place Is Death”

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Lost Recap: Season 5, Episode 5, “This Place Is Death”

If Lost’s greatest romance, the one between Desmond (Henry Ian Cusick) and Penny (Sonya Walger), is all about a couple that is always connected by some sort of deeper link, even when time and space conspire to keep them apart, then the show’s other fine romance, that of Jin (Daniel Dae Kim) and Sun (Yunjin Kim), is all about a couple that has traditionally been disconnected. Even when Sun and Jin were on the Island together and rebuilding a marriage that had been hurt by infidelity and bad job prospects, they were frequently separated from each other either via language barriers (what with Sun able to communicate with most everyone else and Jin only able to communicate with Sun) or through simple plot mechanics. It’s this quality that drives a lot of Lost fans nuts when they watch Jin and Sun episodes, but I tend to really like that sort of thing. It’s as though Lost takes two hours or less per season to tell a really tiny story about people struggling to overcome domestic issues that may as well be written by John Updike or something (except for the occasional gangster riffs), and it’s in Korean, no less.

Lost Recap Season 5, Episode 4, “The Little Prince”

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Lost Recap: Season 5, Episode 4, “The Little Prince”

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Lost Recap: Season 5, Episode 4, “The Little Prince”

There’s a deal we make, we Lost fans and appreciators. We agree to watch the show and find it generally enjoyable, and the show agrees to keep giving us our weekly fix of obscure symbolism, time travel weirdness and big plot twists. But there’s a devil in the details (isn’t there always in deals of this sort?): Once or twice per season, the show hands over to us a Kate (Evangeline Lilly) episode and leaves us grumbling. And with “The Little Prince” (as with last season’s fourth episode, “Eggtown”), we got us our Kate episode for Season Five. Fortunately, “Prince,” written by Melinda Hsu and Brian K.Vaughn and directed by Stephen Williams, was nowhere near as boring as “Eggtown,” but it was still a step down from last week’s terrific “Jughead.”

Lost Recap Season 5, Episode 3, “Jughead”

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Lost Recap: Season 5, Episode 3, “Jughead”

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Lost Recap: Season 5, Episode 3, “Jughead”

When Lost had the idea to reveal that there was a man living down the hatch, a second season premiere development that emerged from much of the back half of the first season’s mysteries, I doubt anyone had any idea that character would prove as integral to the show as Henry Ian Cusick’s Desmond already has. If Hurley (Jorge Garcia, not in tonight’s episode) is the show’s soul, as I argued last week, then Desmond has evolved almost accidentally into the show’s wildly romantic heart. This has been quite a feat for a character many fans never thought would turn up again after he split at the end of season two’s third episode, “Orientation” (and, indeed, Cusick turned up on a few OTHER series in that TV season), but the amount of pathos the show is able to wring from the Desmond/Penny (Sonya Walger) pairing, a relationship that even the forces of space and time often seem to be against, makes the show’s clumsier attempts at relationships seem that much more ham-handed. The interminable Jack (Matthew Fox)/Kate (Evangeline Lilly)/Sawyer (Josh Holloway) triangle was all right in seasons one and two when it was just One of Those Things Genre Shows Are Expected to Do, but the unexpected WEIGHT of Desmond and Penny makes it seem that much more superficial, even in retrospect. It’s tempting to just point at this pairing and say to the producers, “Guys? More like that, please.”