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Lost – Ab Aeterno

Some may accuse me of being biased, of not being objective in reviewing episodes of shows I happen to like a lot. And I say to those people.. you’re probably right. However, I like to give shows benefits of the doubt and not be too harsh on them, especially when their worst episodes are better than a lot of the drivel on TV right now. Long story short: tonight’s episode of Lost was incredible, an hour or so of great acting, writing and (dare I say it) explaining. Well, maybe not full-blown explanations, but anybody who’s not happy by the scenes between Jacob and Richard, or Jacob and the Man in Black at the end, are crazy, and you probably won’t be happy with anything Lost has to offer from here on out. I was very happy with the way tonight’s episode played out, and while I think an episode this dense deserves more than a few hours of thought and consideration, I feel I should write it while it’s fresh in my mind.

First off, how brave are the writers for taking this episode and filming the first half with subtitles. I know a lot of my friends and family who grow frustrated with having to read subtitles at the bottom of the screen while trying to soak in what’s going on in a movie or television show, but I’ve taught myself how to deal with them, and I have to say, it gave the show an entirely different feel. What made me buy it so much? Nestor Carbonell. He was incredible in this episode, switching from grief-stricken, to angry, to frightened, to confused and back to grief-stricken all within the range of an hour. I wrote in my review for “Dr. Linus” that Michael Emerson would most likely be nominated for and win the Best Supporting Actor Emmy, but I’m going to admit defeat and say this: Nestor Carbonell as an early favorite to win this award. He was superb, and for the first time in awhile, I actually felt as if he’s a series regular on the same level as Jack and Hurley and Sawyer. For awhile, he’s felt like a glorified extra, but he finally feels like part of this giant dysfunctional Lost family.

It was nice to see such a heavy focus on Jacob and the Man in Black as well. Fans of the show knew way ahead of time that tonight’s episode would be a Richard-centric episode, meaning answers were due to be revealed. However, I was surprised at how much the writers actually didn’t reveal. While we seem to now know, according to Jacob, what the Island is for (it acts as a cork to keeping evil from entering the world), it’s still difficult to understand the magnitude of what this “cork” is keeping out, especially when we still have no idea what Jacob and this Man in Black actually are. However, watching Jacob and the Man in Black fight for Richard’s allegiance was very fun; it was like watching two different yet equally cunning cats play with a terrified mouse. These two characters are extremely interesting and are as complex as characters can get, and the funniest thing is that we really don’t know anything about them. We only have a basic outline of them; I’m assuming that their true identities will be revealed as we get closer and closer to the finale.

There wasn’t much going on with the characters we’ve known since the beginning this week, although there was an incredible scene near the end involving Richard and Hurley. We all know that Hurley can see dead people, and it’s been referenced a lot, and we’ve only literally seen it a couple of times. However, the confidence that Hurley had while talking with Richard was great and really made me see him in a different light. People spend their time talking about Penny and Desmond and how those two have such an incredible relationship, one that stands out on television, but I believe for a character we know little about, the writers did a good job of making us believe in the connection between Richard and Isabel. If only we could’ve known about them before, they could’ve rivaled Desmond and Penny. Of course, there’s only about a half hour worth of content for me to judge this on, but the half hour we saw of Richard and Isabel was enough to convince me. We also got a pretty bad-ass Locke close-up as we see that he’s been watching Richard and Hurley this entire time, and a great flashback to Jacob and the Man in Black talking one last time. What I really liked about the interactions between them was how ambiguous it all was. I want to believe that the Man in Black is evil and that Jacob is good, but these scenes make it so hard to figure out. Based on the final scene, Jacob appeared to be toying with the Man in Black, teasing him and gloating his victory in acquiring Richard. If only the writers could focus more on these characters from here on out, I’d be happy.

Maybe in a year or so when I look back on this episode, I won’t love it as much as I did tonight. Maybe I was just excited to see Jacob and the Man in Black getting some more scenes. Who knows.. maybe I really am too biased to properly review this show. All I do know is that good television stands out like a sore thumb, and tonight’s episode had it all: superb writing, some excellent acting all around and some classic moments that will hopefully shine long after the show is over. I’m sure that tonight’s episode wasn’t enough to convince some fans on the fence to stick around, but for me, it was a reminder of how powerful Lost can be, and how they can take a risk, even in their last season. Seven episodes left; let’s just hope the end-game is as powerful as the steps leading up to it.

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