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TV Review: Lost – “A Tale of Two Cities”

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I have been anticipating tonight since the season two finale ended. I haven’t been this excited about TV since… well, ever. The season three premiere of Lost was like some crazy primitive religious rite. Fans and friends have been hyping it up for months. I was literally shaking with anticipation.

And then it began.

There are people in a house discussing a book. Who are these people? This must be a flashback. I had heard the new season was going to focus on the Others, so maybe this is a flashback to one of their early lives. The discussion gets heated and then there is something. An earthquake.

The house shakes and the people move close together, near support beams. The shaking stops and they run outside. It is a lovely looking place, bright sun, and blue skies, like the suburbs of paradise. Then someone, a worker or someone, pops out from underneath something. Is that Ethan?

Holy shit, it is. This must be Ethan's backstory. But no, there’s Henry Gale. This must be the aftermath of the explosion from the end of last season. What’s that in the sky? It is a plane — crashing.

It’s Flight 815. We’re seeing the crash from the Others' point of view. Immediately Gale orders the Others to investigate, and specifically tells Ethan to pretend he is a survivor.

Bam, commercial. Wow! That’s all I can say. Even my wife is impressed and she has totally lost her Lost momentum this summer.

After the break, we see what the Others have done to Kate, Sawyer, and Jack. Kate is in a large cinderblock building with Zeke telling her to take a shower. She is as defiant as ever, but does take the shower only to find her clothes missing and a new girly dress in its place.

Sawyer awakes in a cage. It looks like something out of a whacky circus and there is an unknown man in the next cage. Sawyer uses his usual charm to question the man, but gets nothing but silence in return. Amongst a variety of odd gadgets located in the cage, Sawyer spies one marked with a fork and knife. Pushing it, he gets only a warning. Pushing it again, the strange man warns him not to do it again. Sawyer does it again and is electrocuted.

Jack awakes in a small windowless room with one wall made out of a strong invisible plexiglass type substance.

Commercial break number two. What the fuck? We’re 14 minutes in and already at the second break! Last season was bad enough with commercials every 10 minutes, now we’re down to seven? Those bastard network executives.

After the break we're back to Jack and now he’s pulling on some chain, trying to escape. A woman enters and offers him food. Jack refuses, playing the strong, stubborn Gandhi.

Kate is taken to the beach where she has breakfast with Henry Gale, who tells her he wanted her to have a pleasant memory because the next two weeks are going to be very unpleasant.

The unknown man in the cage next to Sawyer breaks free and lets Sawyer out. They run, but Sawyer is quickly captured by the woman who has been talking to Jack. Zeke makes the other escapee apologize to Sawyer before being taken away.

Eventually Sawyer manages to figure out the series of levers to push and the food button now releases a doggie bone (with the word Dharma on it) and some more dry food, plus a stream of water. While eating, Kate is brought to the now-empty adjacent cage. Sawyer, obviously moved to see Kate, plays it straight and is kind to her. He even tosses over his doggie bone for food.

Meanwhile, Jack finally gives in and accepts the food offered by the woman. She forces him to sit in the corner so she can open the door and bring the food. As she opens the door, Jack runs for her and manages to subdue her with a sharp object. They leave the room only to find more doorways. Stopping at one, Jack tells the woman to open it.

She refuses, saying she’ll die if she does. Henry Gale comes and states that she’s right. Jack doesn’t listen and opens the door. Immediately, a flood of water pours in. Gale closes an escape door in the woman’s face, letting her and Jack fend for themselves. They escape by pressing an emergency button and the woman knocks Jack unconscious.

I should mention the flashbacks for this episode involved Jack and his ex-wife. It is during the moments when she has filed for divorce and Jack realizes she has found someone else. Jack has gone crazy with jealousy and begins snooping to find out who this man is — calling all the numbers on her cell phone, berating her about it, and even accusing his father of knowing something, if not being that man.

Once things are cleaned up from the water, the woman begins telling Jack she knows everything about him. She begins telling him all kinds of things she shouldn’t and couldn’t know by simply paying attention to him on the island. Jack asks her about his ex-wife and is told she is happy. Then, Jack finally, fully, accepts submission and food. As the woman is about to enter, Henry Gale tells her she’s doing a good job and we fade to black.

It was a great episode. Lots of good emotional pull with the backstory, a great introduction to new mysteries involving the Others and what exactly they are doing, and plenty of 'Oh My Gosh' moments. I do wish they had spent a few moments with our friends on the other side of the island, but the teaser for next week hints we’ll be seeing plenty of them.

The episode stuck with its four minutes of commercials every seven minutes of show, which is going to completely drive me insane. I cannot believe television has gotten so greedy. Well, yes, I can. The local channel splits screens with one show's credits rolling as the next episode begins. But it is still irritating as crap.

Strangely, though I immensely enjoyed the episode, I feel a little let down. It is probably the down from a big anticipation high, but it feels strange knowing what happened after so many months of speculation.

No worry, though — I’ll be back up next week when episode two airs.

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About Mat Brewster

  • http://musical-guru.blogspot.com/ Michael J. West

    I did notice that commercials came fast and furious, but they did do a lot to keep things hanging. Although, yes, it also drove me nuts.

  • http://midnightcafe.wordpress.com Mat Brewster

    It was outrageous. There was nearly as much commercial time as there was showtime.

  • http://counter-point.blogspot.com Scott

    I felt let down at first too, but the more I’ve thought about it today, the more I found myself realizing I enjoyed it and pondering more and more questions. I think I have my theory (or theories) almost worked out…

  • http://midnightcafe.wordpress.com Mat Brewster

    I’ve definitely gotten over that feeling. I’m already getting way to excited over next weeks episode.

  • http://bonamassablog.us Joan Hunt

    Congratulations! This article has been selected for placement on Advance.net

    By the way, I have to jump in and say I’m SO GLAD Lost is back!

  • Zack

    I hate to tell you guys, but this episode was no shorter than the episodes were last season. “A Tale of Two Cities” was 43 minutes and 56 seconds, compared with 43:30 for the 2nd season premier. Maybe you just forgot how many commercials there are… w/evs

  • http://midnightcafe.blogspot.com Mat Brewster

    It certainly felt shorter. And I really did time it at a commercial every seven minutes of program, so maybe the commercials ran shorter. Whatever, it still sucked.