Sunday, July 27, 2008

Lost – Season 3 Review

US Airdate: October 4th 2006- May 23rd 2007 on ABC.

It’s the third season and for the gang it finally means knowing more about The Others as they have Jack, Kate and Sawyer in their clutches. With the remaining survivors manning a rescue and more deaths along the way, things continue to get very interesting for the islanders.

Friend And /Or Foe? – Like many shows out there, Lost suffered the difficult second album syndrome with an incredibly disjointed and all over the place second season. Although Season Three would come to the show’s strongest season yet, it’s not entirely impervious to faults.

In fact opening episode, “A Tale Of Two Cities” continued the tradition of just downright boring Jack centric episodes. In flashbacks Jack’s divorcing his wife Sarah and behaving like a jerk to his irritating father. On the island he’s been sweet talked by a female Other named Juliet. You don’t have to be blind to see that immediately Juliet is attracted to Jack and is even a bit hurt when Jack makes a piss poor effort to use her to escape. Also when we’re not learning that Henry Gale is actually Benjamin Linus, Sawyer’s getting the shit kicked out of him by everyone and Kate is put to work. The first six episodes of the season are built around this. However there are some breaks in the story. For instance we get to see a more duplicitous side to Sun via flashback in the excellent “The Glass Ballerina”. Sun even manages to kill an Other in Colleen, something which Colleen’s husband makes Sawyer pay for repeatedly in “Every Man For Himself” and “I Do”. “Further Instructions” on the other hand is one of two genuinely boring episodes, even though this one is a Locke centric episode. There’s a nice return of Boone but with the introduction of two of the most pointless characters in Nikki and Paolo, it’s hard to get completely invested in the episode.

The other woeful episode of the season is “Stranger In A Strange Land”. It’s another Jack episode (which unfairly gets four episodes this season) but it’s so bland, I just wished they hadn’t bothered with it. Also because this season cannot go a few episodes without the death of a major character, it’s Mr Eko who becomes smoke monster fodder in the disappointing “The Cost Of Living”. Given how much time the writers had spent building up Mr Eko as a strong player, his death in this episode is both lazy and cartoonish to say the least. However despite some sluggish stuff at the start, there is a lot to recommend. Locke trying to involve some of the characters in rescuing Jack, Kate and Sawyer is a good move, Desmond quickly becomes one of the best characters on the series and the cat and mouse antics with Ben and Jack are actually quite compelling. The writers also manage to make Sawyer and Kate more sympathetic as characters when you take into account the treatment they have to endure. Their episodes “Every Man For Himself”, “I Do” and “Left Behind” are brilliant in giving more of both character’s inner working and I’m sure they were plenty of people happy to see Kate and Sawyer engage in some naughty cage sex.

Juliet is also another joy in the season. Elizabeth Mitchell is a great find as the character and it’s brilliant that throughout the season, you’re constantly guessing which side she’s genuinely on. When she’s not trying to emotionally engage with Jack, she makes an attempt to coerce him into killing Ben and it’s something that nearly costs her as well. In “Not In Portland” and “One Of Us”, we learned more about how and why Juliet was reeled into joining the Others and while Ben does seem to harbour feelings for her, it’s blatantly obvious that she’s repelled by him. We also learned that she’s quite the brilliant fertility doctor, what with her successful attempts of getting her sister pregnant but even Juliet’s skills can’t save the mothers on the island from dying and by the end of the season, it’s Juliet who has no problems in betraying Ben and giving Sun a warning about her pregnancy in “DOC”.

Ben is definitely the man of the hour throughout the third season. Like many classic foes, Ben doesn’t consider any of his actions to be immoral whatsoever. It doesn’t matter that he stole Danielle’s daughter Alex and raised her as his own. Nor does it matter that he tries to brainwave Alex’s boyfriend Karl or makes with psychological threats to Sawyer’s well being or during the final moments of “The Man Behind The Curtain” shoot Locke and dump him in the same pit as the corpses of the Dharma Initiative. In a lot of ways, Ben is dangerous, smart, scary but also kind of stupid given how easily in the finale that Jack and company were able to grab him in “Through The Looking Glass Parts 1 and 2”.

Getting to the most compelling character this season, it really is Desmond when all is said and done. His episodes “Flashes Before Your Eyes” and “Catch 22” might have succeeded in getting viewers to care about his relationship with Penny and the desperation he has to get back to her in the real world but his abilities to see into the future also strikes a note, particularly as the increasingly annoying Charlie is dragged into this plot.

With Nikki and Paolo making no impact and quickly dispatched in the so-so “Expose” (an episode which also attempted to give their character’s history during crucial events in the first two seasons), Charlie was the next marked character in the series. With him and Claire slowly getting back on track, it probably couldn’t have come at a worse time for Charlie but at least the writers thought his demise out. Bringing in Naomi in the last seven episodes with the hope that her people could get everyone else of the island led Charlie to making a sacrifice in the finale. As someone who grew increasingly bored of the character, I have to admit to finding his death sad. It also didn’t help that the episode before the finale, “Greatest Hits” did a far greater job in making me care for Charlie than any of his other flashbacks. In fact a lot of the characters that I care about got hit and miss flashbacks. Hurley had daddy issues in “Tricia Tanaka Is Dead”; Sayid had to deal with the wrath of a woman he tortured in “Enter 77” while Claire more or less confirmed that Jack was her half brother in “Par Avian”. Although Locke was quite detestable this season, his remaining episodes “The Man From Tallahassee” and “The Brig” were absolute stonkers, especially given that Anthony Cooper was responsible for crippling Locke and setting Sawyer on his con man path. Anthony’s death at the hands of Sawyer were traumatic but deserving. With 23 episodes in and confirmation around this point that the show was to end in 2010 after it’s sixth season, the sudden move to introduce flash forwards was inspired. In fact, the more I think about it, the more it occurs to me that this season was often too good at times. After all only two episodes out of twenty three were genuinely not worth watching. The rest were gems.

EXTRAS: Well every season the commentaries seem to lessen and here we only got commentaries on the episodes “A Tale Of Two Cities”, “Expose” and “The Man Behind The Curtain”. Thankfully while commentaries might not be this show’s strong point, the rest of the extras on offer are just superb. “The World Of The Others” gives a great look into the main villains of Season Three while “Lost Flashbacks” and “Lost On Location” are successful in filling in the blanks. “The Lost Book Club” gives us a look into the numerous literary references throughout the series and the “Crew Tribute With Evangeline Lilly” is rather cute. Elsewhere other good extras includes “Lost In A Day”, “The Next Level – Inside The Video Game” as well as the “Cast In Clay” and usual array of entertaining bloopers and slightly revealing deleted scenes. Overall an incredibly satisfying package here.


3x01: A Tale Of Two Cities = 7/10, 3x02: The Glass Ballerina =9/10,
3x03: Further Instructions = 5/10, 3x04: Every Man For Himself = 8/10,
3x05: The Cost Of Living = 6/10, 3x06: I Do = 9/10,
3x07: Not In Portland = 8/10, 3x08: Flashes Before Your Eyes = 10/10,
3x09: Stranger In A Strange Land = 4/10, 3x10: Tricia Tanaka Is Dead = 7/10,
3x11: Enter 77 = 7/10, 3x12: Par Avian = 8/10,
3x13: The Man From Tallahassee = 9/10, 3x14: Expose = 7/10,
3x15: Left Behind = 9/10, 3x16: One Of Us = 10/10,
3x17: Catch 22 = 7/10, 3x18: DOC = 9/10,
3x19: The Brig = 10/10, 3x20: The Man Behind The Curtain = 9/10,
3x21: Greatest Hits = 8/10, 3x22: Through The Looking Glass Part 1 =9/10,
3x23: Through The Looking Glass Part 2 =9/10.

Season Three is currently available on DVD.

1 comment:

Pete said...

Cool review. Well thought out and some great points. Gotta say though I really enjoyed "The Cost of Living", but I can see your argument. Good stuff.:)