Thursday, May 1, 2008

Lost episode recap – “Something Nice Back Home” (S4E10) airdate 05/01/08

I regret to inform you all that this is going to be a Jack-centric episode, just in time for May sweeps. You know, I would rather watch an episode focused on anyone else, even Kate. I find Jack more whiny and annoying with each episode and it really doesn’t help that whenever I look at Matthew Fox, all I can see is Party of Five (known to me and mine as "Five Kids Crying").

Jack – wake up! Juliet, with difficulty, rouses our hero as the Losties are confronting Daniel and Charlotte on the beach, with Bernard and Rose ring-leading. Jack calms everyone, saying that he knows that Daniel and Charlotte are liars but that the Boat people will have to come back for them and that’s when the Losties will get off the Island. And then he collapses.

Flash-forward: Jack wakes up at home, a very lovely home actually. He goes downstairs, does domestic stuff like making coffee, stepping grouchily on a toy Millenium Falcon (yay, Han Solo!), picking up frilly chick underwear off the floor. When he goes back upstairs, there’s a woman in the shower. It’s Kate. When she gets out of the shower, there’s smoochies. It is remarkably chemistry-free. Bleh.

Still in the flash, Jack is reading to Aaron. Apparently he has gotten over his issues from earlier this season. Toddler Aaron actually looks like Claire. After the bedtime story, Jack and Kate talk and grope each other in the hallway. Kate is so glad he changed his mind about Aaron and is here with her. I am so bored. He scoops her up, hands firmly gripping her ass, and carries her back into the bedroom for s-e-x. At least she got a haircut when she got off the Island.

On Island: Jack revives, insisting that he’s just dehydrated. Kate is worried, saying he is burning up. Back in his tent, Jack takes some more antibiotics, telling Juliet that he thinks he’s got food poisoning. She tells him to lift his shirt – which he doesn’t want to do, knowing what’s really wrong with him – and probes his abdomen. He has appendicitis, but no rupture yet. “Well, I guess we’ll just have to take it out,” says Juliet matter-of-factly. I have an friend whose appendix ruptured when he was an adult: it was incredibly serious and kept him in the hospital for weeks back here in civilization. A rupture out there on Lost Island could spell doom for our Jack. If only.

Miles, Sawyer, Claire and Aaron trek through the jungle and Miles stops cold, seeing/hearing dead people. Turns out, they are in the clearing where Rousseau and Karl got shot: Miles hears them and then uncovers the bodies. Claire gets swoony; Sawyer gets protective (the continuing kindler, gentler Sawyer – so weird! and weirdly hot!). Miles insists that he is not a part of the people who did this. They keep moving.

Beach: Juliet sends Sun off to the medical station for surgical instruments. Daniel offers to help her. When Sun and Jin are suspicious about his intentions, Charlotte gets pissy and then Daniel calls her out for having a bad attitude. Finally, Juliet sends Sun, Jin and the two Boaties off together, giving Jin a gun and telling him to shoot the Boaties in the leg if they offer any guff. She continues to give orders, trying to set up a sterile environment for Jack’s impending surgery. Kate, who must be exercising amazing restraint to let Juliet run this show (even though Juliet actually is a doctor), asks Juliet why they don’t just take Jack up to the medical station instead. Because his appendix could rupture and he could die if they try to move him. Oh, says Kate’s stunned face.

Still on the beach: Everyone is busy helping save Jack. Rose wants to know why it is that the day before they’re supposed to be rescued, the person they count on the most comes down with a life-threatening complaint. “People get sick, Rose,” scoffs Bernard. (But if you read this interview with the actor who plays Ben, you’ll learn that the Island demands balance in all things: something good happening requires something bad to balance it out.) Rose insists that people don’t get sick on this Island – here, they get better. Juliet preps Jack and Dr. Controlfreak says he doesn’t want to be knocked out: he wants to watch the surgery and talk Juliet through it. He also wants Kate to be in there to assist, even when Juliet says she thinks someone with medical experience would be better. “No, I want it to be Kate.” Oh, whatever.

Flash-forward: Jack thinks he sees his father walking through the hospital. Then, he gets a phone call from a Dr. Stillman. Later, at what looks to be a mental hospital, Dr. Stillman tells Jack that “he” is not taking his meds and not sleeping, therapy has become useless. It’s Hurley, of course. Jack wants to know why Hurley won’t take his meds. “Because we’re dead. All the Oceanic 6, we’re dead. We never got off the Island.” Jack says that no, they’re not dead, he’s happy and living with Kate. Sounds like Heaven, says Hurley. He then says that he was happy too post-Island until he started seeing Charlie, who seems to be visiting a lot lately. Yesterday Charlie told Hurley that Jack would be stopping by and gave him a message to pass along: “You’re not supposed to raise him, Jack.” Hurley is crying a little. “Do you think he means Aaron?” Jack stands up, disturbed, snapping, “Take your meds, Hurley.” As Jack turns to go, Hurley says that Charlie told him that someone would be visiting him soon. I bet it’s Jack’s dad! What’s his name again? Oh, right: Christian Shepard.

Island/Medical Station Excursion: Sun, Jin, Daniel and Charlotte enter the medical station, Sun waxing slightly nostalgic about when Juliet brought her here to confirm her pregnancy. As they speak together in Korean, Charlotte keeps glancing at them. Jin catches her peeking – I think he thinks what I think, which is that Charlotte understands Korean.

Sawyer’s crew: The bushes start to rustle and Sawyer cocks his gun (not a euphemism). It’s Frank Lepidus, who’s got a GPS and Kimi right behind him. Frank tells Miles to hide his crew and fast. They do, just before Kimi’s smoke-monster-ravaged mercenaries burst into the clearing. Kimi hears Aaron make a baby squeak but Frank manages to get the mercenaries moving, saying he’s not going to attempt to fly at night so they’d better get a move on if they want to get back to the boat. Sawyer, in his new role of responsibility, looks sweaty and relieved. Kate would give that up for frakkin’ Dr. Pole-up-his-ass? She’s nuts.

Beach: Juliet asks Kate to assist; Kate is reluctant but agrees. Jack comes out of his tent and Kate walks him to the surgery site. He wants to talk about what might happen but she won’t oblige him.

Flash-forward: I’ll admit that I do love Jack’s truck – is it an International Harvester? Way too cool. Anyway, Jack comes home late after hanging out at the mental hospital, waiting for Charlie (or some other dead guy) to show up, and awakens Kate. He wants to know if she really thinks that he’s good at being a dad to Aaron. She does. He asks her to marry him - he’s even got a ring. They’re both crying as she says yes, of course she will. I have to pause the DVR to go throw up. This episode is, so far, such a blatant sop to the Jack/Kate ‘shippers. Ugh.

Island/beach: The medical excursion crew brings back the instruments. Jin tells Charlotte, in Korean, that he knows that she can understand him and if she continues to lie to him about it now, he’ll break Daniel’s fingers one at a time. “What do you want?” she answers in Korean. He tells her that Sun is to be taken off the Island in their helicopter. What about the rest of you and your friends? Just get Sun out of here.

Surgery: Bernard is helping too. I forget what it is he did in the real world – does anyone remember? Bernard gives Jack an injection of Lidocaine after Jack once again refuses the more comfortable alternative of general anesthetic. Juliet starts cutting and poking. The local anesthetic is not enough and Jack starts to flail around in great pain. Juliet shouts at Bernard to put him under; Jack protests, begging Kate to help him. Juliet yells at Kate to get the hell out and for Bernard to knock Jack the hell out. Kate, insipid wench that she is, just cries as Bernard puts the chloroform (or whatever) to Jack’s face.

Flash-forward: Jack is studying X-rays and recording dictation. He hears a beeping down the hall and tracks it down: a smoke detector’s low battery. And there’s his dead father, sitting on a lobby sofa. Nope, just a hallucination. As a colleague leaves the office for the evening, he hits her up for a prescription for something (anti-anxiety, I think). She obliges. And thus the prescription drug addiction begins. Jack goes home to catch Kate on the phone. When he asks to whom she was talking, he thinks she’s lying when she says just a mom she met at the park. Kate goes upstairs to bed and Jack immediately takes a pill, washing it down with half a bottle of beer.

Island/Sawyer’s group: By the light of a very nice campfire, Claire awakens to find Aaron gone from her bedroll. Scared, she looks around and sees Christian Shepard holding the baby across the fire from her. In the reveal of the very worst kept Lost secret ever, Claire furrows her brow and exclaims, “Dad?”

Commercials. Iron Man trailer. I have never read an Iron Man comic in my life and yet I cannot wait to see this movie. I love Robert Downey, Jr.

Island/beach: Bernard finds Kate and tells her that the surgery went well, and that Juliet says Kate can come in and see the patient. When she does, Juliet tells her that he didn’t lose very much blood, the appendix is out and Jack is all stitched up. Juliet apologizes for yelling at her, and then confesses that Jack kissed her the other day. “It was nice, but it wasn’t for me. It was for him. I think he was trying […] to prove that he doesn’t love someone else.” Kate gets all teary again, thanks Juliet for saving Jack’s life and rushes out. Juliet tidies up for a moment and then says to Jack, “I know you’re awake.” And he is.

Flash-forward: Kate – with her Islandesque extensions miraculously restored (yuck) – comes home to find Jack in the living room, surrounded by beer and scotch bottles. He wants to know where she was. She wants to know what’s going on. He tells her that he’d been to see Hurley and then asks again where she was. She asks him to trust her but he can’t, and asks again and again where she’s been. Finally, crying (AGAIN), she says that she was doing something for Sawyer, something she’d promised to do. Jack is all jealous and wants to know what she promised: “He made his choice … I’m the one who came back, I’m the one who saved you.” Kate throws down an ultimatum, saying he’s got to clean up his act around her son. “Your son?” Jack is incredulous, “You’re not even related to him!” Oh – snap!

Island/Sawyer’s crew: When Sawyer wakes up, Claire is gone. Miles tells him that she just walked off into the jungle in the middle of the night with someone she called “Dad.” Just then they hear the baby crying. Sawyer grabs his gun (not a euphemism) and runs off, quickly finding Aaron, cradled in some tree roots, but no Claire. The episode closes with the baby screaming and Sawyer screaming for the baby’s mother.

5/7/08: P.S. to the folks who think I'm too hard on Jack: I am not alone.

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  1. Why is this written so biased? What's wrong with Jack?

  2. Nothing is wrong with Jack per se, I just don't like the character. I find him petulant and prone to sulking when he doesn't get his way. I realize that he's been set up as the Reluctant Hero, and that the writers have written him to be in opposition to Locke - Civilization vs. Nature; Cynic vs. Mystic - but Jack is just not that interesting. In the S3 finale, when he was bearded and drug-addicted and wanting to return to the Island, then he was interesting. In addition, over the last 3.5 seasons we've seen a lot of Jack-centric episodes; there are many characters whom we haven't seen so much of and I'd like to learn more of their back stories as well.

    Also, I don't think Matthew Fox is a very good actor, which doesn't help his case any.

  3. Random comment I know but I take exception to calling Matthew Fox a bad actor. Yes the character can be dickish and yes Matthew Fox isn't the most amenable of actors but damn the man can emote the hell out of scenes. He can overdramatise but when he nails a scene, he nails it big time!

    I'll leave you with this description of Fox's performance in last season's finale. Not that you'll read it :-)

  4. 42 Inch TV: I'm not sure that saying that M. Fox has a tendency to overact helps your case that he's a good actor. I will agree with you that when he nails a scene, he's awesome, but more often than not I find him flat and completely uncharismatic. Of course, if that's just the way the character is supposed to be then yes, hush my mouth, good acting.

    That being said, I think you made some great points in your linked post about Jack as a character. He's not an anti-hero - someone who unwillingly and often unintentionally does heroic things - he's a former hero who's now a schmuck.

    (Why would you think that I wouldn't read your post? If someone makes the effort to comment on one of mine, the LEAST I can do is read theirs in return. Please visit and comment again!)

  5. Admittedly MF can be prone to over-egging scenes but it usually never takes away from what he is trying to sell. For me, the mark of a good actor is one who can convey so much while saying little or nothing at all – MF seems to deliver on that front consistently. Every nuance and flicker of emotion is etched so visibly on his face. The recent reveal that Claire was his sister is one that pops to mind. I thought that scene was played to perfection. Of course this is my own opinion and you might read something else altogether different from MF’s acting choices.

    Regarding charisma – well I don’t see how Jack can be very likeable – and MF doesn’t play him to be very likeable (which I believe is a deliberate acting choice rather than an unintentional consequence of “poor” acting) – he is controlling, he is arrogant, he does have an incessant need to “fix” things while all the while wishing to do retain some moral high ground. And so yes his “hero” status (one that was foisted on him by the other Losties rather than self-proclaimed) does seem at odds with the way he has behaved but the guy is emotionally frayed and flawed – so what? Most humans are! Having said that Jack is a vastly entertaining alternative to the cliché chiseled-jawed leading male protoganist.

    As a side note I suspect if the writers spent less time focusing on Jack and more time on the other characters that the Jack/MF hate would dial down somewhat (I say Jack/MF as I believe hate for the character has become interchangeably linked with hate for MF which is bizarre to me)

    Thanks for publishing my comment by the way. I just stumbled upon your blog and never expected a response. Cheers!

  6. No, I completely agree with you on that scene with Jack and Claire's mom (and I think I said so in my recap but can't be bothered to go back now and check). I also agree that if the show were to focus more on the other characters, like it seemed to do so well at the beginning of its run, and less on Jack (and Kate), people would appreciate/like Jack more - or at least hate him less.

    I'm not entirely changing my mind about MF/Jack but you've given me some stuff to think about. Thanks for the discussion!