You thought it wouldn’t, nay, couldn’t happen. Yet here it is: Lost’s first crappy episode.
Episode #2.02, "Adrift"
Written by Leonard Dick & Steven Maeda
Directed by Stephen Williams
Guest Stars: Adewale Akinnoye-Agbaje, Henry Ian Cusick (Desmond), Saul Rubinek (Custody Attorney), Tamara Taylor (Susan).
Air Date: September 28, 2005
I won’t say “shitty” because Lost at its worst (to date, anyway) is still superior television. Besides, I’ll save those invectives for the episode where the survivors discover a pair of aging Japanese soldiers who still think they’re at war with the Allies. This was a filler episode, packed with redundant information and even footage from the last one. It’s almost funny after my rant last week about how Lost doesn’t succumb to soap opera tactics.
On the raft, or what’s left of it, we see Sawyer pull an unconscious Michael out of the brine and perform that time-honored Hollywood life-saving technique: beat the snot out of the guy. Well, it works and they float along on a current as they blame each other for what happened to Walt. Meanwhile, something in the water is stalking them, but what? A shark? Polar bear? That homeless dude that stabbed Anna Kournikova?
Speaking of polar bears, we see Michael giving a stuffed one to young Walt in a flashback. I’m sure that will have significance in a later episode. But certainly not this one. The flashback parallel’s Michael’s current drama as his baby’s momma (Taylor) tries to take Walt away from him. They fight it out with lawyers at first, but eventually she convinces Michael to sign away his son “for Walt’s own sake.” How noble of her. But we more or less knew all of this, so what’s the point? About the only thing this flashback does is remind how chilling it still is to see the World Trade Center in the background of shows and movies.
In the bunker, we see what happened before Jack arrived, some of it from Kate’s perspective in another Hollywood staple: the ventilation shaft. Desmond asks Locke if he is “him.” Locke suddenly looks unsure of himself, perhaps doubting his faith about the island. Locke says he is, but Desmond calls his bluff and Kate gets locked in a giant food pantry. While Kate’s expression as she chows down on that candy bar was priceless, I don’t like the presence of all that food. If it becomes the survivors’ main source of sustenance, one of their main struggles has been overcome a little too easily. I want them hunting boar, not struggling to open the pickle jar.
Locke tells Desmond about the crash and Desmond lets out that he believes the outside world (the whole thing, not just the island), to be infected with some disease. As they try to extract more information from each other, a tone goes off and Desmond brings Locke over to the computer. There is a counter on the wall that is ticking off the seconds, currently down to less than three minutes. Desmond tells Locke to enter the mysterious numbers and hit “execute.” Now Locke really looks unsure, even hesitating to hit the key. But Desmond insists and when the key is pressed, the counter resets to 108. What happens if the counter runs out? Does Desmond have to do this every 108 minutes? That’s less than two hours. One irrefutable fact is that 108 is the sum of the numbers, so now we have an equation, not just a sequence. What does it mean? Who the fuck knows. I suspect that there is little to no mathematical meaning behind the numbers, or else one of the legions of Lost fanatics would have discovered it by now.
At the end of the bunker scene, Jack, Desmond, Locke and Kate are all right where they were at the end of last episode. Michael and Sawyer wash up on the island (or “home” as Sawyer says) and reunite with Jin, who is being chased by a club-wielding gang. We are left with few new answers, and not even that many new questions. I’m sure this episode was a fluke, a transition from the season cliffhanger to regular episodes, but I hope it doesn’t continue. I’d hate for Lost to be the new Seinfeld: a show about nothing.
Matt Baker can’t understand how Adam Carolla keeps getting gigs.