written by: paul zbyzewski and graham roland. these guys also wrote this season's 'sundown,' and 'the package.'

directed by: stephen semel, who is primarily an editor on the show but has also directed the season 4 sun/jin episode 'ji yeon.' stephen's inherent understanding of pacing really helped this episode feel less like last week's ho-hum bridging episode and more like the steadily rising action and tension required to get us to the big finish.

cinematography by: stephen st. john. i'm starting to think that the variances in picture quality have less to do with who is actually behind the camera than the cooperation of hawaii's tumultuous weather. this episode was graced with beautiful, clear blue skies, and the return of desmond/libby's boat! there were also several very nice crane shots in the jungle, which coupled with the driving action of the plot gave the whole episode a nice sense of momentum that was missing last week.

basically: i really liked this episode - it paid off all the planning that went into plotting the parallel story threads, finally showing us how the alternate picture weaves together. in a way, the season 6 parallel story is a microcosmic mirror of the structure of the entire show. this episode also reminded me of the season 1 finale, giving each character a moment to shine.
  1. the weave of the parallel
  2. great musical moments
  3. the sun/jin reunion
  4. smokey's motivation
  5. jack's jump
  6. preboomer
1. the weave of the parallel

so many things got me excited in the parallel. locke is finally on jack's operating table - a seed that was planted in the season premiere. sawyer and kate's interaction was terriffic (i love kate best when she's playing a card). sayid's been arrested now. claire has coincidentally found jack! desmond continues his quest to awaken the 815ers.. i can't help but wonder about the other people on that flight. desmond has a list of 324 people to get through! only 71 of those people actually survived the crash, and only about 20 of them are important. at this point, desmond doesn't know jack from doug or gary - so what happens when doug or any of the other people on the flight 'wake up?' do they just have irrational fears about being sucked out the back of a plane?

jack and david could now be cover models for balboa bay window magazine. after 6 years of nearly every character on the show having daddy issues, it's shocking to see a healthy iteration of this relationship. we were reminded again of david's mother, but given no clues about who she might be (juliet???). i'm anxious to find out how the parallel is going to wrap up - because once everyone 'wakes up,' what is left to do? in that world, the island is underwater. is that truly the end of the show - an 'it was all a dream - in that we lived this complete other life and then erased it, but we still remember it' kind of way? the parallel has been building towards the reunion of the characters all season, but with four hours of show remaining, what remains to happen in the parallel? will everyone truly go on 'happily ever after,' armed with memories of an alternate experience?
    2. great musical moments

    i think this episode and 'ab aeterno' had the best music of the season so far - some great moments:
    • the 'coincidence theme' as ilana discovers claire has walked into her office
    • when desmond asks sayid 'what will you tell her?' the music is a dark, tremulous variation of one of the show's classic love themes
    • a new adventure theme when kate and sawyer swim out to the elizabeth
    3. the sun/jin reunion
    my only complaint about this episode was the handling of this reunion. before i tear the scene apart, i'll first say that yes it made me cry. but that's despite everything that these two actors (and characters) had to work against in the show that seemed determined to ruin and undermine their moment.

    first: jin just randomly is walking to the beach along with armed zoe and nerd brigade? why?
    second: zoe gets on her walkie and requests that the sonic fence be turned off - we get no confirmation that the fence is off as sun and jin run toward each other - also, there's a big wide shot of them both running directly for the sonic pylon standing between them. why didn't kate, or hurley, or anyone shout 'wait!!'?? so, everyone standing on that beach was perfectly happy to watch sun and jin run to their deaths?

    i have to wonder if some moment dealing with the fence was cut from the final version. the lost opportunity is upsetting - it could have been funny, frustrating, and great if sun and jin ran towards each other and then had to stop suddenly, wait for the fence to be turned off, and then get their reunion moment. it would have at least added something a little more clever and interesting to this event we've been waiting for nearly as long as the characters have! to finally decide to allow them to coincidentally meet on the same beach feels lazy to me. both of them worked tirelessly to find each other (when the writing allowed for them to do those things) but the eventual meeting required nothing of either of them other than to just be present.

    also - sun gets her english back, giving her plot contrivance handicap a duration of exactly two episodes. i will forgive this on one condition: that sun's loss of english on the island is foreshadowing that sun and jin might regain their english in the parallel once they fully 'wake up.'

    4. smokey's motivation

    i loved the scene between jack and locke that finally, officially laid out some ground rules about how smokey operates. we now know that yes, smokey requires a dead body on the island in order to assume the form of that person.

    which means that the 'enhanced' airing of 'ab aeterno' from last week was operating entirely on assumptions (as it often does.. sigh) when is stated quite frankly 'this is not isabella. this is the smoke monster taking isabella's form in order to manipulate richard.' wtf, enhanced episodes?? i don't know why i watch them. they do nothing but infuriate me, especially when the enhanced commentary could actually help casual viewers understand the show better. instead, it's confusing them. arghrhag.

    back to smokey - smokey tells jack that when he appeared as his father and led him to water in season 1, he was trying to 'help' him. uhh.. really? it's a nice idea, but i'm not sure we can truly trace this kind of 'helpful' motivation  through all of smokey's appearances as either ghost or smoke. if smokey wanted all the candidates to either die or leave the island, why didn't he prevent the freighter from exploding? he was perfectly capable of appearing on it in christian shepard's form.. that freighter could have taken every last candidate off the island instead of just the o6.

    another thing that's puzzling about smokey - is whether or not the parallel is actually the result of smokey getting off the island. several things are evident in the parallel that are in line with what we're told will happen if smokey gets off the island: 1) 'everything in this world will end,'  - the parallel presents an entirely different universe. 2) sayid will be reunited with nadia - which happens in the parallel. but! jacob promised dogen that he would see his son again if he joined him, and voila, in the parallel dogen is back with his son.. hmm.. what if at the end of the show everyone gets on the ajira plane, and as it exits the perimeter of the island, it flashes right back to the start of season 6, with jack and company back on flight 815 in the parallel, and jack discovering that strange cut on his neck?

    5. jack's jump
    another scene with jack that i loved. jack is basically going through and winning back each character. he has had trust-building conversations with sun, hurley, kate, claire, and sawyer. now that he's back on the mainland, i'm sure he will be winning over the b-team of ben, miles, and richard who are still planning to blow up the ajira plane.

    jack proves to sawyer that he can follow orders, and goes a step beyond by jumping off the boat with the same decisiveness that sawyer showed when he jumped out of the helicopter three years earlier. i love how there is no fight between these men anymore. jack's guilt over juliet's death is as deep as any blame sawyer might lay on him. i also love how jack has 'joined' smokey purely to oppose him. it seems pretty clear now that it is jack who is meant to take jacob's place. it makes me wonder what jacob's original story was - how did he end up being smokey's watchman? was there a previous list of candidates? if jack stays on the island, will he have to rebuild the lighthouse mirrors in order to find his successor? 

    6. preboomer

    locke: you're with me now

    man, another episode that felt about 15 minutes long. no wtf-faces or major revelations here, just pure cliffhangery rising action. the music on this preboomer is great - it perfectly punctuates the line before the boom.

    why did widmore go back on his deal with sawyer, and why are the candidates now being held by him at gunpoint? is he planning to use them as leverage to get desmond back? i think it's pretty clear that sayid did not kill desmond - hurley hinted at it by referencing anakin's return from the dark side. i think we'll also see a big payoff when sayid 'wakes up' in the parallel and finds himself actually faced with the conundrum desmond proposed to him: what will he tell nadia that he did in order to be reunited with her? how would nadia react when sayid says to her, 'i don't deserve to be with you because in an alternate timeline i was in a plane crash on an island and i tortured a guy because i thought he had an inhaler that belonged to a whiny blonde girl who i banged.'

    7. next episode

    it's billed as jack and locke centric. i imagine we'll finally see locke's father at the hospital, which might also draw sawyer into the picture. i would love to see juliet, but i have a feeling she is being saved for the finale, to bookend the season. on the island.. i have no idea what's going to happen. 


    1. Anonymous said...

      ugh! Finally!  

    2. Sugarblimp said...

      Thanks for the recaps! About not getting confirmation that the sonic fence was deactivated, there is an audible powering down noise immediately after Zoe's request. Kind of hard to hear over the waves crashing though.

      Also for what it's worth I noticed at 38:44 of the ABC online streaming episode the whispers occur briefly just as Jack recognizes Locke in the operating room.  

    3. Burritoclock said...

      Yeah, there was a sound, but that was added in post and does not discount the other points in my opinion. I had pointed out myself that the Jin/Sun reunion was very undramatic and lowkey. Then add in what happens in the very next episode and it feels even worse!  

    4. Juanita's Journal said...

      jack proves to sawyer that he can follow orders, and goes a step beyond by jumping off the boat with the same decisiveness that sawyer showed when he jumped out of the helicopter three years earlier.

      Jack had jumped off that boat, because he realized that leaving the island would be a personal mistake for him. Sawyer jumped off the copter in S4 in order to escape the possibility of a relationship with Kate.  


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