Saturday, 3 April 2010

LOST 6.10 - "The Package"

Saturday, 3 April 2010
WRITERS: Paul Zbyszewski & Graham Roland
DIRECTOR: Paul A. Edwards
GUEST CAST: Alan Dale, Andrew Divoff, Sheila Kelley, Anthony Azizi, Kevin Durand, Natalie Garcia Fryman & Larry Joshua
[SPOILERS] I make no bones about the fact Jin (Daniel Dae Kim) and Sun (Yunjin Kim) are two of my least favourite characters – through no fault of their own, it's just that the writers appeared to get slightly bored of them after season 1, and Desmond/Penny became a more engaging romantic pairing. I quite enjoyed the Kwon's troubled relationship during the early years, and Jin's apparent death at the end of season 4 certainly landed an emotional slap, but most of their episodes have been rather forgettable. For that reason, I wasn't looking forward to the Kwon-centric "The Package", although it became more entertaining than I expected, if very unsurprising. Like a few other episodes this year, the flashsideways storyline was salvaged by events on the Island...

X-Timeline '04: Jin, Sun & Keamy

After last week's traditional flashback, we're back to the contentious flashsideways again. This one revealed exactly how Jin came to be locked up in a restaurant refrigerator by Keamy (Kevin Durand) at the end of "Sundown", but it sadly wasn't anything more interesting than what's been widely predicted. Jin had arrived in the US to deliver Martin Keamy $25,000 from his boss Mr. Paik, but after the money was confiscated by airport security, Keamy came after Jin for his payment. We also learned that Sun and Jin aren't married in this reality, but are keen to elope together, and that Mr. Paik had become aware of his employee's love for his beloved daughter, so had closed Sun's bank account and paid Keamy to kill Jin.

The Island '07: Locke, Widmore, Jin & Zoe

Battle lines are being drawn, I sense. Locke (Terry O'Quinn) makes it known to Claire (Emilie de Ravin) that he needs all the "candidates" to leave with him if he's to escape the Island – similarly to how the Ajira Flight needed all of the Oceanic Six escapees onboard to return to the Island. After Locke's group are knocked unconscious by darts and Jin's kidnapped by Widmore's (Alan Dale) team, Locke travels across the the Hydra Island on an outrigger to ask Widmore for Jin's return, but prevented from crossing the sonar fence that's been erected to keep him out. But is Jin the "Kwon" listed as a candidate on the cave's wall, or is it really Sun?

Jin himself found himself in the brainwashing "Room 23" (remember that?) from season 3, asked by Zoe (Sheila Kelley) to help her trace the electromagnetic pockets on the Island, which he surveyed as part of DHARMA during season 5. Perhaps the best moment, from an acting standpoint, came from Jin finally seeing his young daugher Ji Yeon on a camera handed to him by Widmore, with Dae Kim doing an excellent job selling Jin's swelling emotion at seeing her for the first time. And, plus, it was revealed what the titular package is in the locked compartment of Widmore's submarine: Desmond (Henry Ian Cusick), who must surely have been brought to the Island because of his innate ability to transcend time (and reality?), which must be part of Widmore's plan to prevent Locke leaving the Island. But why hasn't Desmond come willingly, if Widmore's plan appears to be exactly what Jacob (the good guy) wants? Again, I keep thinking the twist to this season is going to be that Jacob's the villain, and Smokey's the wronged hero of the piece... but I guess the ambivalence is very intentional, and the uncertainty between Good and Evil is perhaps a double-bluff.

The Island '07: Sun, Locke & Jack

Sun was approached by Locke while he was away from his own followers, as he's clearly not sure if she's the candidate he needs to take with him to escape the Island. Not unusually for Locke, he promises Sun the one thing she desires most right (to see her husband again) in an effort to secure her allegiance, but Sun's not easily coerced and makes a run for it. Unfortunately, she's struck by a tree branch during her escape and falls unconscious, only to wake up having lost the ability to speak English! It seems to me that this is proof the flashsideways are some kind of split consciousness scneario, so Sun's bang on the head has blurred the edges of the two realities somewhat. Curiously, she can still understand and write English, but just can't speak it, prompting Jack (Matthew Fox) to diagnose her with "aphasia".

Meanwhile, after the events of last week's "Ab Aeterno", Richard (Nestor Carbonell) has returned to the beach camp with renewed determination and plans to stop Jacob's Enemy leaving the island. He plans to destroy the Ajira plane Locke must surely intend to leave on – but that's something Sun's totally against because she likewise wants to leave the Island, but is unable to communicate her feelings to anyone because of her aphasia. Of course, that shouldn't be a problem now she can write her thoughts on a notepad, but will anyone listen? They can't let "evil" overwhelm the world, just because the Kwons want to get back to their daughter, can they?

In Summation

I guess "The Package" was just another example of a season 6 episode where the flashsideways did very little for me, beyond make some fun callbacks to earlier years -- particularly the return of Mikhail (Andrew Divoff), who aptly died by getting shot in the eye. I'm hoping we'll get a decent explanation for the nature of these flashsideways that will aide the stories in retrospect, but it's still disheartening to me that they feel so redundant. A few have given us enjoyable stories, or acted as clever thematic support to the Island's parallel plot (see: "Dr. Linus"), but overall they just don't feel relevant. I'm sure they are -- they must be, right? -- but I question the decision to keep them so inexplicable for so long. We're over halfway through the final season already, and I can't help treating them as fun "what ifs?" that are distracting from the current Island situation.

Questions, Questions, Questions!
  • Why can't Sayid feel emotions now? Does the fact Claire can mean she's not suffering from whatever's infected Sayid?

  • Why does Zoe need Jin's help with the electromagnetic survey maps of the Island? I suspect they plan to sink the Island by triggering a volcanic eruption, personally.

  • Why does Locke need all of Jacob's candidates to leave with him? And why does he need Claire if she's not a candidate? Is the fact she's Aaron's mother significant?

  • More a query: but whatever happened to the original Mikhail? He was responsible for killing Charlie in the season 3 finale, but I always assumed he survived that and should have reappeared at some point. Did the writers just forget about him, or did he actually drown?

  • Why has Charles Widmore brought Desmond back to the Island? We know he he's a "variable" when it comes to time-travel matters, so will he likewise be able to sense what's going on with the flashsideways reality?

  • Last week, Jacob claimed that releasing the Man In Black would mean evil will spread throughout the world, so has that happened in the flashsideways universe where the Island is underwater? If not, was Jacob lying, or is that another sign the flashsideways reality is a subconscious reverie?

2 APRIL 2010: SKY1 (HD), 9PM