The Island drama hits quite the few bumps in its second run as we’re introduced to new characters, hatches and learn just how far The Others are willing to go to get what they want.
I Swear If I See Another Hatch, I Will Scream – At some point in every good series, you are gonna come across hopefully one season that will test patience and faith in the show. This happens to every single show going but when you are a show that has become a cultural zeitgeist, the critics are even more anxious to tear you down even further. Season Two is sadly the very season in question for Lost.
The show wasn’t alone as ABC’s other zeitgeist, Desperate Housewives the same uninviting fate and since then recaptured its glory. However some viewers seem less forgiving about this show’s less than stellar second year.
The first half of the second year has two major plots – the hatch discovered by Jack, Kate, Locke and Hurley and the discovery of survivors from the tail section of Flight 815.
There were plenty of things you could hope to find in a big hatch but a Scottish bloke named Desmond with an affinity for Mama Cass and a computer telling you to programme those infamous numbers every 108 minutes to avoid destruction wasn’t one of them.
Still though it opens up premiere episode “Man Of Science, Man Of Faith” pretty well but for some odd reason why this hatch would become a temporary blessing and a hindrance to the series, the more interesting things in regards to the opening episode involved Shannon spotting a captured Walt. Spooky Walk is one of the many things this season won’t bother to explain and if you think about it too hard it will lessen your enjoyment of the season.
With Desmond’s slight arc dominating both “Adrift” and “Orientation” and not really igniting much interest, the best thing from these two episodes is the introduction of the tail section. We already met the volatile Ana-Lucia from the Season One and it’s amazing for a character who seems to be a better leader than Jack that she became an instant hate figure for audience but thankfully the charismatic Mr Eko and the introduction of Rose’s husband Bernard and fellow tailies Cindy and Libby in “Everybody Hates Hugo”, you’ve got the most compelling plot to the first half of this season. The tailies first capture Jin, Michael and Sawyer when they mistake them for member of The Others and then decide to help them go back to their camp.
If the Fuselage had suffered with Claire, Charlie and Walt’s abductions, then Ana-Lucia and company’s experiences with The Others have fared worse to the point where Mr Eko is hiding in the bushes in “And Found” and Ana Lucia is more than willing to leave a wounded Sawyer behind in “Abandoned”. The sixth episode is the first one of this season with some real action and our second kill with Ana Lucia inadvertently shooting Shannon. To nearly every viewer that solidified Ana Lucia as a hate figure but at the same time any realist would’ve noted that it was an accident but still the very harsh experiences that the tail section had to suffer at the hands of being stranded on the island and routinely attacked by The Others is brilliantly highlighted in “The Other 48 Days”. Easily the best episode of the series’ entire run, this captivating episode was essentially a retelling of the two part Pilot episode but it was much better and it really made you sympathise with Ana Lucia all the more.
With keeping Sayid from killing her, Ana Lucia’s flashback episode “Collision” offered some explanation into her abrasive nature while not attempting to justify her killing of an innocent woman.
With the tail section and the fuselage all reunited, stuff that happened in between wasn’t quite as compelling. Okay we had Locke and Jack constantly fight over control of the hatch like jackals, Hurley being badgered by Charlie who in turn was badgered about Locke in regards to his addiction and co-dependant relationship with Claire and Aaron but overall the tail section drama kept these episodes more exciting.
The flashbacks this season however hit a snag in predictability. For instance with Sawyer, it’s scamming someone, Jack who just wants to fix things and Locke who seems to be consistently duped. Kate’s only flashback episode the predictably titled “What Kate Did” revealed that her crime involved doing in her scumbag biological father and only upped the by now tiresome triangle between her, Jack and Sawyer. I don’t really understand why the writers both so much with this arc when the likes of Sun and Jin, Rose and Bernard and the developing romance between Hurley and the mysterious Libby are far more believable.
Better plotted however was “The 23rd Psalm” which revealed that the silent but deadly Mr Eko was once a deranged drug lord and also had him scaring the crap out of the smoke monster to boot. Even yapping Charlie’s involvement couldn’t bring this plot to its knees along his contribution to Season Two is akin to Andrew’s in Buffy Season Seven – horrifically pointless.
After a good start the second half is less than impressive and our confrontation with The Others in “The Hunting Party” is dull. It doesn’t help a lot that Jack is an unsympathetic asshole throughout the entire episode with little cause. Even direr is “Fire And Water” which not only represents the series’ worst episode but is also just horribly all over the place. Both Charlie and Locke were characters I liked in the first season but by this year, I had grown tired of them.
The worst thing about the Losties is that if they aren’t sharing information, then they’ll resort to dirty tricks in order get power over each other. Sawyer did this in “The Long Con” by getting Charlie make it look like The Others attacked Sun so it’s a relief in “One Of Them” when Danielle re-emerges to bring back a mysterious man named Henry Gale who she believes is in cahoots with The Others despite his protestations other wise. The criminally underused Sayid doesn’t believe him and is quick to torture him but the wily man played to perfection by Michael Emerson, is soon just conflict among Jack, Locke and Sayid to his advantage. By the next episode “Maternity Leave” you’ll have already figured out which side Henry is on but honestly Danielle helping Kate and Claire and the discovery of her daughter Alex is a joy even more than Sun’s discovery of her pregnancy in “The Whole Truth” and the closeness that it brings to her and Jin but the season takes a progress with “Lockdown” as Locke managed to get duped again and we learn Henry Gale isn’t the real man’s name before Libby’s suspicious past is tapped upon in “Dave”. I liked the idea of a Hurley/Libby relationship but this episode did make me wonder whether or not her intentions towards Hurley were noble.
It’s a pity that both Michelle Rodriguez and Cynthia Watros’ drink driving offences became their undoing because once we get past the rather dull “S.O.S.” (which gave us some backstory on Rose and Bernard), the pivotal “Two For The Road” then saw both Ana-Lucia and Libby spectacularly shot by Michael, who was coerced by The Others in order to get Walt back. It’s a fantastic parting episode but surely Libby could’ve been spared long enough to give us more on her. Too bad for us then!
With this episode finally igniting some real excitement and danger back into the series, the final four build upon it and the discovery of another hatch in “?” is superfluous compared to The Others demanding to Michael during his flashbacks in “Three Minutes” to bring Jack, Kate, Sawyer and Hurley to them.
Season finale “Live Together, Die Alone Parts 1 and 2” then has our Jack, Kate, Sawyer and Hurley all bound and gagged at a pier where the captive foursome learn that Henry Gale is the leader of The Others while for a second year in a row, Locke decides to put people’s lives in danger by stopping Mr Eko from punching in the code. Frankly I’m sick of Locke’s volatile nature being excused or skimmed past. He caused Boone’s death in Season One and got away with it and here he nearly caused more deaths. As much of a pain in the backside Jack is, even he isn’t that. Other highlights included Desmond’s return which was far better than his introduction and his flashbacks involving girlfriend’s Penny’s attempts to get men to reach the island is intriguing.
Season Two has had a mixture of ideas, some were excellent, and a lot weren’t. There were some unmissable episodes and there was ones that I wouldn’t be in an immediate hurry to watch again. Some more answers, less of the daddy issues wouldn’t go amiss.
EXTRAS: Well there are the usual array of commentaries for the likes of “Man Of Science, Man Of Faith” with Matthew Fox and Cuse and Lindelof, “What Kate Did” with Evangeline Lily”, as well as ones for “The 23rd Psalm”, “The Whole Truth” and “Dave”. You’d think with episodes as strong as “The Other 48 Days”, “Two For The Road” and “Live Together, Die Alone” we’d get producers talking about them too. Disc 7 has the most material though with an extensive behind the scenes on at least ten different episodes, a smattering of deleted scenes, theories by the show’s actors and fans alike, a rundown of Sawyer’s nicknames, secrets about the hatch, the Channel 4 trailer, flashbacks we didn’t see and some hilarious bloopers. Fault the season all you want but the DVD set is once again excellent.
EPISODE RATING FROM 1 TO 10:
2x01: Man Of Science, Man Of Faith = 8/10, 2x02: Adrift = 7/10,
2x03: Orientation = 7/10, 2x04: Everybody Hates Hugo = 6/10,
2x05: And Found = 7/10, 2x06: Abandoned = 9/10,
2x07: The Other 48 Days = 10/10, 2x08: Collision = 8/10,
2x09: What Kate Did = 7/10, 2x10: The 23rd Psalm = 10/10,
2x11: The Hunting Party = 6/10, 2x12: Fire And Water = 4/10,
2x13: The Long Con = 9/10, 2x14: One Of Them = 7/10,
2x15: Maternity Leave = 8/10, 2x16: The Whole Truth = 8/10,
2x17: Lockdown = 7/10, 2x18: Dave = 8/10,
2x19: S.O.S. = 6/10, 2x20: Two For The Road = 10/10,
2x21: ? = 8/10, 2x22: Three Minutes = 7/10,
2x23: Live Together, Die Alone Part 1 = 8/10,
2x24: Live Together, Die Alone Part 2 = 8/10.
Season Two is currently available on DVD.