A review of the past week’s episode of LOST from a frustratedly loyal (and loyally frustrated) fan. This week: Desmond does his best Slaughterhouse Five impersonation in “The Constant”.
This week is sort of short, and probably a little weak, because I can’t find too much to say without nitpicking. I thought it was a good episode that kept incredibly busy, and spent a lot of time focusing on one of the most compelling characters of the run so far. I’ll take lackluster Notes and a strong episode any day.
A. There might not be a more leisurely military force than the Scottish army circa 1996. You can blow off duty to make phone calls, take two days’ leave and travel all over Wales and literally space out on the job with little penalty other than 100 crunches in the rain. I’d do 100 rainy sit-ups for that kind of freedom. Ok, maybe 50.
B. I’d say it’s awfully convenient that Grunge-Era Daniel was just a train’s distance from Desmond in ’96, but I’m more interested in Island Daniel being selfish enough to send Desmond his way. Oh, help me build my time machine so I can keep making your future life miserable. Also, if Desmond’s taking a long-ass train trip to Oxford, he should have had time to do any of the following:
1. Write himself a letter to say not to take Libby’s offer of the boat.
2. Write everyone on 815 a letter to tell them not to get on 815 in eight years.
3. Include a P.S. in Locke’s letter telling him to keep pushing the button and not let the hatch melt down.
4. Include a P.S. in Chuckles’ letter telling him to not to be an assface all the time.
C. There is no place in space and time where long hair works for you, Daniel. No city, no year.
D. Can Grunge-Era Daniel control the time travel? He seemed pretty adept at zapping Eloise to the right time, if you ignore the fatal aneurysm and all that. Couldn’t he microwave Desmond’s brain back into 2004? When do we get the flashback where he hooks his glowing purple vacuum tube contraption to the rear hatch of a DeLorean?
E. Was Moneybags Widmore bidding on the Black Rock artifacts because he knew something about the ship (and by association, The Island)? Or was he just buying them because he’s a rich old bastard? And why did we skip the part where Desmond figures out that he’s going to be at the Antiques Roadshow to begin with? Do you just assume that he’s got to be out blowing his cash somewhere since he’s a rich old bastard? If you can track down Moneybags, why can’t you track down Penny?
F. In the span of like four minutes of screen time, Penny showed more emotion than any other female character on the show ever had and instantly made me feel for her. Maybe it would screw her life up a little bit, but can’t we get her stuck on the Island so she’s around more often? Orchestrate a trade? I could think of a few names we could dangle out there to swap…
II. The Love Boat and Sayid, The Deadliest Catch
A. Maybe Sayid got a big head from all the praise he’s been getting lately (I don’t know who’s responsible for that, some d-bag probably), but seriously, let the pilot do the piloting. While I don’t doubt the thoroughness of Iraqi Republican Guard training, at some point they have to be a little specialized, and I don’t think the guys who learned how to use bamboo shoots as fingernail knives also learned how to operate helicopters. Plus, a man with that sense of fashion and that disregard for personal grooming (no need for a bullet-proof vest with that chest hair) probably makes up for it in other areas, like being good at his job.
B. I’m pretty sure all the guys on the boat sent Captain Ron, Daniel, Charlotte and the Ragin’ Asian with the full expectation that they were going to die. It’s painfully obvious that most, if not all of those four, are punching bags or laughingstocks around the freighter. Faraday isn’t allowed to talk to people, Captain’s getting scolded by a tanktop-wearing guy named Kimmy, and Miles…well, nobody said anything about Miles, but if they sent him to be the muscle while Kimmy and Omar stayed back, odds are they were hoping he’d wind up dead.
C. Why does the freighter operate like a middle school, by the way? Everyone is talking about someone behind their back, people are double-crossing each other, so-and-so can’t talk to you-know-who, screen phone calls from this girl, don’t let the captain know this, etc. Every time Desmond jumps back from 1996, he must think he stumbled into an episode of Sweet Valley High.
D. In that whole boat, the only place to store somewhat-prisoners like Sayid and Desmond is the sick bay? Nevermind the logistic nightmare of anyone on the freighter suddenly needed aspirin or a band-aid, what about leaving two unrestrained newcomers in the room with a guy who a) has working knowledge of the ship, and b) was deemed unstable enough to be tied down? That’s the best you could do? Why not just tie them, back-to-back, to the mast, like normal pirates?
E. On the boat itself (not counting Miles’ extortion shenanigans from last week), there’s someone spying for Ben, someone destroying radio equipment (those two could be the same dude/dudette) and someone opening doors for somewhat-prisoners (unless said person just needed aspirin or a band-aid). I once again call into question the hiring practices of this crew, as it seems like a project weighty enough to roam the Pacific looking for a mystery island probably requires more restrictive screening process.
F. Also a note to anyone planning a long boat trip roaming the Pacific to look for a mystery island: keep your employees busy so they don’t take undocumented and unapproved personal trips and wind up going batshit time-crazy. Pack a DVD player, or maybe Scrabble.
G. Maybe I was wrong about Sayid knowing how to manage the helicopter. After all, he flashed some Iraqi MacGuyver magic here and fixed the giant wall of complex radio equipment by (as far as I could tell) plugging a phone receiver into a car battery. He and Desmond seem to be the most important and valuable characters to the Lostaways’ survival, which certainly ups the odds of them being shot in the chest by some asshole.
H. If Sayid was so good with that tech stuff, maybe he could have grabbed their GPS coordinates from Captain Ron’s iPhone? Sure, you don’t want to mess with Desmond’s call because he’s having a moment, plus he’s marginally time-crazy. But maybe you put a little “this is where we are” note on a slip of paper and slide it across the table to him. “I love you, I love you, I love you, 18 degrees south, 144 degrees…” Ok, it’s not as romantic, but romantic got you here to begin with, brotha.
III. Um, I Think I’ve Done This “Wait On The Beach Until Rescued” Thing Before…
A. Are Charlotte and Juliet posturing for the position of “constantly pensive wavy-haired chick who speaks in vagaries to give the impression that she knows more than everyone else”?
B. Given that Juliet has spent exponentially more time on the Island than any other main character (save Ben) at the moment, and that she was a de facto lieutenant in Otherville who had at least some kind of power, and that she got into her position by being a former romantic interest for Ben, the top dog in the yard, one would think that she’d be of more value and insight to Jack or the beach folks about what is going on or what has been going on, or pretty much anything. Right now she’s about as helpful to the group as Jin or Rose.
C. Is she playing dumb to make the move from Ben’s sort-of paramour (which is gross no matter which way you try to picture it) to Jack’s girl? That’s a bit of a step down. Sure, he’s a doctor and all, but in Island terms, you’re going from the guy who holds the key to most secrets to a guy who approaches every decision looking like he just ate two bowls of bad chili. For a one-time Island Queen like Juliet, Jack’s like the pool boy. He’s just her rebound guy until she shacks up with Locke.
D. A time-traveling physics genius has gotta do what a time-traveling physics genius has gotta do, but using Desmond as your constant seems like an odd choice if he just went through his own Quantum Leap ordeal. On one hand, he’s the voice of experience, but on the other hand he’s one nosebleed blackout away from going the way of your rat friend. Also, do you really care that much about Desmond that he could be your constant? Just seems like you’re playing with fire there.