At the prompting of Michele I'm going to lay down my thoughts on this week's season premiere of Lost. I also have another post about my thoughts on the show generally after two seasons, which will come at another time. Here's the short version of my recap: Disappointing.
Here's what happens:
The opening sequence starts with a kind-faced blonde woman (they're adding kind-faced blonde women to the cast like it's going out of style) getting up in the morning, playing a CD of "Downtown," almost crying, and then pulling herself together. We then see her hosting a book club meeting in her suburban home, in which one guest rails against the chosen book. The blonde woman says it's her favorite book and she's glad the guy hates it. The book is by Stephen King, but I couldn't make out the title ("The Stand" would be appropriate, but the books the people were holding looked a little thin for that).
The meeting is interrupted by an earthquake, after which the members go out into the street. We find them in a nice-looking suburban neighborhood where everyone is coming out of their houses to see what was up with the earthquake, including Nothenry(!), Ethan(!), and Goodwin(!). The people look up and see an airplane falling out of the sky, which promptly explodes into two pieces. Nothenry orders Goodwin and Ethan to find the respective pieces, pose as survivors, and bring back lists in three days. They scamper off, and Nothenry looks at Blondie and says coldly, "I guess I'm out of the book club," thereby planting the seed of tension between Blondie and Nothenry that will no doubt be beaten to death all season. The shot widens and we see that the quaint suburban neighborhood is actually built on a hillside on the Island.
This was one of the ass-kickingest opening sequences of the show so far.
In the rest of the episode, (surprise) not much happens.
Jack is kept in an empty aquarium and gently interrogated by Blondie (whose name is actually Juliet, and who is played by the actress who played Angela Jolie's girlfriend in Gia). Jack ends up taking Juliet hostage and trying to escape, only to be met by Nothenry. Nothenry appears to be unbothered by Jack's threats to kill Juliet, and both Juliet and Nothenry insist that the door Jack plans to open will kill them all. Jack opens the door anyway, water rushes into the corridor, and Nothenry escapes and traps Juliet and Jack in the flood. Juliet closes the door, punches out Jack, and brings him back to the aquarium. Later, Juliet reveals that she has a whole dossier on Jack's entire life, and in the end Jack submits to her and agrees to behave while she brings him food. Rather than bring him food, however, Juliet allows Nothenry to go into the cell. Nothenry tells Juliet she did a nice job breaking Jack, and Juliet coldly but respectfully thanks him.
In the flashback, meanwhile, we learn that Jack's stubbornness and obsessiveness about finding out who his wife is banging leads him to accuse his father of banging his wife, and physically attack him at an AA meeting. This results in Jack being arrested and Jack's dad falling off the wagon. So the big revelation from Jack's past this week is that Jack's dad's death was Jack's damn fault.
Meanwhile, Kate is made to shower and put on a pretty dress by Beardy, who then takes her to the beach where Nothenry is waiting with a fancy breakfast for her. Nothenry tells her that he's doing this for her because "the next two weeks are going to be very unpleasant" and he wants her to have something nice to hold on to. Kate is understandably upset by this. Nothenry also notes the fact that Kate asked about Sawyer before she asked about Jack, something nobody cares about except the Others.
The comic relief portion of the episode is provided by Sawyer, who finds himself trapped in a dilapidated outdoor bear cage with a set of switches and buttons that, when pressed in the correct sequence, promise food. As Sawyer tries to figure out the "gizmos," a teenaged Other in the opposite cage pretends to help him escape. Sawyer is re-captured by Juliet (using the stun darts from the season finale) and the teeanged Other is made to apologize to Sawyer through the blood flowing from his nose. It's not spelled out that the kid is an inside man, but come on. We know that Sawyer is as stupid as two bricks when it comes to figuring out who to trust. "What? That bitch stole my gun? Son of a bitch! I thought she just wanted to randomly have sex with me in the middle of the woods because I'm that hot. Villainy!"
Sawyer finally figures out the experiment (indicated by the sounds of Stars and Stripes Forever playing from the loudspeaker) and does a little celebratory dance. Sawyer's reward is a biscuit in the shape of a fish, a large pile of peanuts, and water. Sawyer is disappointed by this but timidly takes a few bits from the biscuit.
This leads to what may be the funniest line of the show so far.* At the end of the episode, Beardy brings Kate to the cage opposite Sawyer (recently vacated by the kid), and kindly says that he'll bring her some antiseptic for the cuts on her wrists from her handcuffs. When Sawyer cracks wise at him, Beardy supportively says, "Hey! You got yourself a fish biscuit there, didn't you? Howdja do that?" Sawyer proudly says that he figured out the gizmos, and Beardy tells him that "It only took the bears two hours." Sawyer asks how many bears they were and Beardy doesn't respond. (Sawyer actually wins this argument, I think. He clearly figured out the sequence early on, but he was too small to press everything at once, so most of his time was spent figuring out how to hold one of the switches down -- which he does by laboriously obtaining a large rock from outside the cage. Multiple bears wouldn't have had this problem.)
Once Beardy is gone, Sawyer asks Kate if she's okay and offers her his fish biscuit. Kate is very upset (presumably the conversation with Nothenry continued after the "next two weeks" comment and didn't go well from Kate's perspective), but seems happy now that she's with Sawyer (Who the fuck cares???), and accepts the fish biscuit. Personally, I thought it was shitty of Kate to take Sawyer's food after she had just been offered a full-on breakfast, but hey.
It seems that the Others are pairing Jack, Kate, and Sawyer up with people who represent their respective personal difficulties. Juliet is a proxy for Jack's wife, Beardy (who's really nice to Kate throughout the episode) is the father figure that Kate's been looking for all her life, and the kid is the child version of Sawyer that Sawyer is trying to help by killing the man who killed his parents. This may be a stretch (it seems to work best in Kate's case), but that's the sense I got. In any case it does seem that the Others are trying to build trust on the part of the prisoners in the three separate people. We still have no idea what their plans are. And we're not sure whether Juliet is really committed to the Others cause, since she's already shown plenty of signs of (1) hating the fact that she's there and (2) hating Nothenry. Also, when Jack mentions the Dharma Initiative to her, she says something like "It doesn't matter who we were..." with an air of wistfulness and regret in her voice.
Next week, the other castaways plan a daring rescue of the three main characters, and Nothenry is livid when he learns that they have a sailboat (indicating that the Others never knew about Desmond). There's also some confrontation between Jack and Nothenry which probably won't be interesting at all.
And so, here's my prediction of how this story arc will pan out:
Kate: I know it sounds crazy, but I think we can trust Beardy to help us escape.
Sawyer: Naw, fuck that. That's the son of a bitch that shot me. We can trust this kid, though. He tried to help me escape once, and this time maybe it'll work!
Jack: I say we do the opposite of whatever Sawyer says we do, because I'm a prick like that. Besides, I know Juliet betrayed me once already, but she also saved my life, and I think I may have "fixed" her and now she's with us.
Sayid: I'm Luke Skywalker. I'm here to rescue you!
Jack, Sawyer, and Kate: Betrayed!
Michael: Hay guys! I brought the boat back let's go to Hawaii LOL.
And let me also say that the Jack/Kate/Sawyer love triangle is the single boringest and most distracting plotline in the show. Enough already. It's the most hackneyed thing in the world. Will she go for the nuturing, stand-up, doctor-type or the scruffy dangerous outlaw? She's so conflicted!
And that's what I'm talking about.
* The previous funniest line, for my money, was from the finale of the first season where Sawyer refers to Michael and Jin as "Han" and "Chewy." Though Sayid's line in season two where he walks in on Hurley and Charlie(?) listening to a record and says, rigidly, "This music is extremely depressing" was also gold.