I'll admit it: Sometimes I get so obsessed analyzing Lost's mysteries (why is Hurley's hair in a ponytail?!), I forget that this show is also a poignant drama full of subtle, heart-tugging moments.
That's why the highlight of the February 23 episode was easily the "flash-sideways" featuring Jack's paternal struggles. In his Oceanic-Flight-815-landed! universe, the spinal surgeon has a difficult time communicating with his adolescent son named David. (I'm guessing there's a David vs. Goliath theme here. Too lazy to Google).
There are arguments, high expectations and repressed feelings -- shades of Jack's own relationship with his hot-headed dad, Christian -- until the two have a heart-to-heart in the wake of David's successful music conservatory audition. (Jack's big confession to David: "My dad constantly told me that I never had what it takes.") It's a truly touching scene; and quite frankly, one of the few times in the entire series -- flashbacks, flashforwards, whatever -- that Jack actually seems at peace.
Sure enough, back on the island, Jack goes on a mirror-smashing tizzy upon learning that the all-powerful Jacob has been monitoring his entire life from a lighthouse. The I-spy revelation was meant to be an OMG moment; instead, it felt painfully obvious. Of course Jacob kept tabs on the castaways. He already appeared in a Kate flashback when she was a kid. So what's the big surprise here? Island architecture?
The rest of the episode was a frustrating exercise in pre-finale water-treading. Viewers finally got a good look at the "infected" Claire, now sporting a fright wig and a flannel shirt from the Gap circa 1993. Living on her own for the past three years on the island, she's turned into a violent loose cannon desperate to find her son Aaron. (She's so narrow-minded, she doesn't even notice that Jin now speaks perfect English). Claire kills a temple-dwelling Other -- but she doesn't become interesting until the new John Locke pops into her makeshift living quarters. Unfortunately, their brief interaction comes 59 minutes into the episode.
And that's about it. Sawyer? Ben? Sun? Richard? Sayid? That new actress who's in the opening credits yet has only had five lives of dialogue the whole season? All MIA, sigh. So much fragmentation, so little time.
11 episodes, to be exact.
-- By Mara Reinstein for UsMagazine.com