Media Consumed, Day 28: 05/11/10

LOST, Season 6, Episode 15 “Across the Sea”

I’m just going to come right out and say it: I thought this was the weakest episode in LOST’s history. Half of the episode was devoted to the Man in Black (still no name?!?!) and Jacob as children, asking obnoxious questions to a mysterious mother figure who is actually a murderer. And as she says, “every question you ask will only lead to more questions.” That may be the case, but I really don’t think we’re at a point in the series where that is an acceptable cop out anymore.

Besides being disappointed that there was not a single cut to the current timeline, I kind of hated this episode because we aren’t nearly as invested in the MiB and Jacob as we are in “our” characters - the ones we’ve spent six years with, learning the ins and outs of their personalities and watching them grow and evolve. Throwing us in with Jacob and MiB - especially these characters at varying ages in a single episode - is jarring and feels out of place for the show, considering the important fact that “Across the Sea” really didn’t answer any big questions for us. Look, I’m not a guy who HAS to have every answer, and I’m totally cool with being left in the dark on some things. But this late in the game, and in an episode that was heralded as a game changer? This was weak sauce.

There was an allusion to the frozen donkey wheel, but we don’t know how MiB figured out the science behind it (as if we could comprehend the science of turning a wheel and ending up in the Tunisian desert, but you know what I mean). And the Adam and Eve question was answered, but I didn’t really understand that whole reveal. If MiB is dead in a cave next to his mother, who was talking with Jacob on the beach in the Season 5 finale? Who’s been inhabiting Locke’s body this whole time? I suppose there is some sort of disembodied MiB soul floating around somewhere, latching onto bodies and such, but that still doesn’t answer the question of how MiB looked like, uh, himself while he was talking with Jacob on the beach the first time we saw him. Any thoughts? Please share in the comments section.

The only way I’ll be pleased with this episode is in a retroactive sense, and that’s only if A) this episode is referenced again in flashback and it’s revealed (as suggested by Myles) that a time-travelling Daniel Faraday suggests the Donkey Wheel to the MiB or B) this episode is referenced again and it’s revealed to take place AFTER the events of the show as we know it. Like, all of our characters’ stories come to an end, and parts of this episode are replayed as some of the final scenes in the series, implying that the entire cycle is about to start over again. I don’t know, even that sounds kind of lame. I’m disappointed in Cuse and Lindelof, but still hopeful for next week’s episode (which I’ll see Thursday night at LOST Live - thanks Amy!) and the finale.

Glee, Season 1, Episode 18 “Laryngitis”

Coming off of what I thought was a terrible episode last week, Glee turned it around with “Laryngitis” both musically and in terms of storytelling. Granted, there are the drastic shifts in tone (re: Finn’s paralyzed friend) that this show is known for, but I almost welcome those kinds of decisions if they’re supported by music that fits my personal tastes. Seeing Mark Salling’s Puck sliding across the floor singing Sammy Davis Jr. was a blast, and Santana and Mercedes’ rendition of Brandy and Monica’s “The Boy is Mine” brought me back to the good old days. (I once bought Monica’s album solely for that song, so I was unabashedly singing along tonight.)

If you know me at all, you’ll easily be able to guess my favorite song of the night: Finn’s rendition of “Jessie’s Girl.” The song seemed to fit well in Cory Monteith’s vocal range, and that song is so damn fun it’s impossible not to like. Lyrically, it was perfect considering Rachel’s relationship with Jessie St. James of Vocal Adrenaline, and in the fallout of last week’s “Run, Joey, Run fiasco” it’s clear the show wants us to start hoping for Finn and Rachel to get back together. This kind of posturing reminds me of what Community has been doing with Jeff and Britta over the past few episodes of that series, presenting more scenes with just the two of them interacting and putting their chemistry front and center.

Revisiting the whole “Kurt getting jealous because his Dad’s spending too much time with Finn” scenario seems a bit premature, especially considering they just devoted an entire episode to this topic not too long ago. I think they should have come up with another Artie story and pushed this one to Season 2. Puck and Mercedes’ relationship was almost completely useless, and essentially only served as a way to A) address the fact that Puck shaved his head and B) get Mercedes out of the Cheerios.

It’s strange that we get an episode with so little Sue Sylvester and not even a cameo from Emma, but you know what? I’ll take it. Emma and Will’s storyline always feels secondary to me anyway, so it’s nice to take a week off from that every once in a while. And I CAN’T FREAKING WAIT for next week’s episode (directed by Joss Whedon), featuring Neil Patrick Harris and Matthew Morrison singing Aerosmith’s “Dream On.” 

Justified, Season 1, Episode 9 “Hatless”

I’ve never heard of Jere Burns before, but I’m taking extreme notice after tonight’s episode of Justified. Burns plays the sadistic Wynn Duffy, a guy who absolutely looks like a malevolent maniac ready to snap you in half at any second. He brings such a scary presence to that role…I’m really hoping that Duffy sticks around for at least a full season or two.

As for the rest of the episode, it was interesting seeing Raylan in a different light. I was just talking to my friend Joe today about this show, and he said he stopped watching because Raylan felt invincible and there were never any consequences for his actions. This episode was seemingly a direct response to those criticisms. Raylan, suspended from duty at the Marshal service, didn’t have the swagger that he usually has in spades. He got his ass kicked outside of a bar, (he was wearing a Florida Gators shirt, so all is right with the world), his hat was stolen, and he was essentially acting alone trying to put together the pieces of this mystery and protect Winona from her husband’s boneheaded decision to get involved with the Dixie Mafia. That being said, of course things come to a conclusion that benefits our hero, but at least there was a true sense of danger in this episode (again, thanks to Burns’ performance) and a feeling of punishment from Raylan’s superiors hovering over the events that transpired tonight.

I also thought the T Bone storyline was incredibly effective, and I felt like I’ve known that character from the beginning of this series. The man’s willingness to help a friend in need, and his ability to withstand the brutal consequences was admirable and made for some truly empathetic TV.

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