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Josh Holloway (#110 of 26)

Lost Recap Season 6, Episode 8, “Recon”

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Lost Recap: Season 6, Episode 8, “Recon”

ABC

Lost Recap: Season 6, Episode 8, “Recon”

Sawyer episodes are usually a lot of fun because he usually gets into a lot of mischief. This one proved no different. And, for once, I was totally into the sideways story where Sawyer’s Jim, an LAPD detective working with Miles, for the simple fact that it played like a parody of the buddy cop genre. Sure, it was kind of cool to see Charlotte show up undamaged, and the final chase to throw Kate against a fence was lively, but mostly it was hilarious to see these two dudes play these roles. Only problem with it is that is that Ken Leung is a better actor than Josh Holloway and seems in on the joke a bit more. Not to say Holloway’s no good, but he mostly scowls through the episode.

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”

ABC

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”

ABC

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.

Tribeca Film Festival 2009: Stay Cool

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Tribeca Film Festival 2009: <em>Stay Cool</em>
Tribeca Film Festival 2009: <em>Stay Cool</em>

Invoking every John Hughes movie under the sun, the Polish brothers’ Stay Cool chronicles the return of a successful writer, Henry McCarthy (Michael Polish), to his hometown and high school, reunited with longtime friends and confronted with his past—and still clinging—inadequacies. Pulling up to the airport in a flamboyantly decorated mini cooper are Henry’s two old high school buds, a supremely gay hairdresser (Sean Astin) and a rebellious tattoo artist (Josh Holloway); despite the 15-year leap forward, everyone appears frozen in a mundane, unchallenged existence, and when Henry reemerges he cleanly slips back into that role of nerdy son that everyone was used to, even with a bestselling novel on the shelves and an ever-expanding bank account. Flipping through an old yearbook, he comes across the photo of Scarlett Smith (Winona Ryder), the popular girl he once fawned after and who inspired his book How Lionel Got Me Laid. With his planned commencement speech coming up for his alma mater’s graduating class, Henry now must make a decision: leave his hometown with dignity intact or reconnect with an unrequited old flame that more burned than lit ablaze.

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

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

ABC

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 11, “Whatever Happened, Happened”

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Lost Recap: Season 5, Episode 11, “Whatever Happened, Happened”

ABC

Lost Recap: Season 5, Episode 11, “Whatever Happened, Happened”

When I was easing my way back into the TV criticism game late last year, I started thinking about how many shows on the air right now balance a sense of inevitability against the unexpected to generate their conflict. A large portion of the conflict on, say, Mad Men derives from the fact that we, the audience, know what’s coming for the characters, but they do not. We also know that the characters are on the wrong side of history, and that throws most of their actions into a new light. Or look at Breaking Bad, where we usually know the end before we know the beginning, and the ride is all about seeing how the characters try to escape the fate laid out for them but are unable to. There are shows like this all over the dial. All of it had happened before on Battlestar Galactica, and all of it would happen again. Even something as disappointing and all-over-the-place as Damages balanced its storytelling with flash-forwards that let us know (sort of) what was to come. I tentatively grouped Lost in with these shows after its fourth season, since its flash-forwards also offered this sense of inevitability, but it was only a supporting piece of evidence in my case for the new TV fatalism. Interestingly enough, however, Lost’s fifth season is practically all about inevitability and fatalism, in a way that very much casts a new light on events from earlier in the show. A show that purports to be all about the unexpected has become very much a rumination on the futility of trying to escape your predestined fate.

Lost Recap Season 5, Episode 10, “He’s Our You”

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Lost Recap: Season 5, Episode 10, “He’s Our You”

ABC

Lost Recap: Season 5, Episode 10, “He’s Our You”

Sayid Jarrah (Naveen Andrews) has always been one of Lost’s most under-served characters. If you go back and look at the Pilot, the revelation that he’s an Iraqi is played for friggin’ COMIC EFFECT, for God’s sake. Andrews’ performance is so solid (to the point where he’s one of the few Lost cast members to score an Emmy nomination, somewhat inexplicably) and his presence is so great that he’s been kept alive long after other characters the show had no idea how to service would have been killed off. Every season, the series tosses in an episode that pretty much boils down to, “Hey, Sayid used to torture. Isn’t that MORALLY AMBIGUOUS?!” and calls it a day. Without Andrews, most of these episodes would be complete yawns (only “Solitary” and “The Economist” are really worthy of his talents), but the actor has managed to save most of these by just gritting his teeth and pushing through the pain. Like, pretty much all I can remember about Season Three’s “Enter 77” is that the Sayid flashback was ridiculous (I think it involved a mystical cat?), but Andrews was SO GOOD that I liked it more than I probably should have.

Lost Recap Season 5, Episode 9, “Namaste”

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

ABC

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 8, “LaFleur”

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Lost Recap: Season 5, Episode 8, “LaFleur”

ABC

Lost Recap: Season 5, Episode 8, “LaFleur”

Let us now sing the praises of Josh Holloway and Elizabeth Mitchell.

Lost’s cast has always been there to carry us through the show’s rough patches. Even when the writing was especially weak or making the characters go through bizarre contortions just to push the various players into the right places on the chessboard, the actors almost kinda made you buy it. Now that the show’s plotting has (mostly) caught up to the actors and the writers are giving them subtler stuff to play, people like Holloway and Mitchell are proving week after week that they’ll make the most of what you give them, so just give them better stuff, and you’ll have a better show. Holloway, in particular, who had a tendency to get lost in the shuffle last season, has what might be his best episode in the series’s history with this one, where he manages to play his character, Sawyer, as both a man who is forced into a leadership role in an almost de facto fashion and a man who is content with himself and his place in the world. This dude should be a movie star.

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

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

ABC

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.