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Lost – “The Last Recruit”

With only four episodes left until the series finale, Lost fans should feel a palpable tension hovering in the air; every Tuesday is one week closer to the date that one of the best television shows of all time signs off for good.  Each moment from here on out is important, even the seemingly pointless dialogue between supporting characters.  Tonight's episode was an anomaly.  It had all the great elements of a Lost episode, had tense moments that reminded me why I curse the television every time the show cuts to a commercial and some great acting courtesy of Terry O'Quinn, Henry Ian Cusack, and Matthew Fox.  However, it also had the misfortune of being one of the last episodes of Lost to air, meaning there was more plot points crammed into this episode than an entire season of Damages (well, perhaps that's an over-exaggeration, but the episode was bulging at the seams with different scenes focusing on different characters). Thankfully, the writers found a way to focus on each group of characters an equal amount, but I couldn't help but feel as if Lost was suffering from the same virus that “V” is, cramming in as much material into forty minutes as humanly possible.

Tonight's episode was called “The Last Recruit,” and the writers keep their cards held tightly to their chest, not revealing the eponymous recruit until the last few moments, and even then, there's no definitive proof that this person was actually the recruit.  Seeing as the episode descriptions for Lost are purposely vague, I tend to be blind going into a new episode of Lost, which is just the way I like it.  Before spoilers and teasers swept across the internet and infected audiences around the world like a bout of swine flu, the experience of watching a television episode meant not knowing what was going to be happening from episode to episode, and that's what this entire season of Lost has felt like.  Tonight's episode picked up exactly where last week's left off: Jack and Locke have a little chat alone, where we are given confirmation that Locke has been impersonating all sorts of dead people, including Jack's dad.  We also learn that Sun and Locke are heading to the same hospital, where Sun seems to recognize Locke.  The episode bounces back and forth between the alternate universe and the Island, where the characters continue to collide with one another.  

Tonight’s episode was interesting, as usual, but it reminded me of the episode “The Package” from a few weeks ago.  Both of these episodes represent my only complaint about Lost.  At times, the show is like a car careening out of control towards its destination, sliding across the road, nearly crashing and burning before correcting itself and regaining its composure.  Both “The Package” and “The Last Recruit” suffer from an excess of adrenaline; every scene on the Island feels too short and “to-the-point.” Near the end of the episode, Jin and Sun finally reunite after nearly three years of being apart, yet the episode was cruising at such a rapid pace that what should have been a powerful and emotional moment ended up falling flat on its face because it was crammed into the middle of a slew of other events.  In fact, I completely forgot that Sun and Jin still needed to be reunited, and when it finally happened, it was less of a surprise and more of a disappointment.  Everything on the Island was much too fast and inconsistent; the opening scene between Jack and Locke was great but too short (hopefully, future episodes will give us more interaction between these characters) and the scene between Sayid and Desmond had the potential to be much more powerful, but suffered from being crammed into the second section of the episode, where the pace was much faster. 

Off of the Island, things were much more intriguing.  The best thing the writers could have done is make Desmond aware that there are two universes in which these men and women are living.  This provides tension as he goes around from place to place, attempting to push these people towards some kind of understanding or comprehension.  The pace here was also much slower, easier to soak in the scenes between certain characters.  Seeing Claire and Desmond talk was great, especially when we see what his true motives were in introducing her to the lawyer.  The reunion of Jack and Claire was frustrating, if only because we now know that they’re siblings.  The emotional impact, much like Sun and Jin’s reunion, was deadened by poor episode placement.  However, the alternate universe is on a roll.  It’s succeeded where the Island events have fallen short by advancing the plot while things on the Island have remained nearly the same.

I’ve mentioned it several times before: writing reviews and analyzing Lost episodes just a couple days after they air is a sure-fire way to miss key details and important moments.  Even now, as I’m writing this (late as usual), words are filtering in and out of my head too fast for me to interpret. Lost is a show that requires essay-length articles, but there’s not enough time in the day to write the amount of analysis a show like Lost requires. However, this week’s episode was interesting, fast-paced (perhaps a little too fast-paced), full of plot development and a great lead-in to next week’s episode, which based on the title (it involves candidates) should be very compelling.



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