Last Night on LOST: Some Like it Hoth

For the first time this season, I was not in front of my TV at 9 p.m. on Wednesday to catch the latest episode of Lost. No, instead, I was on my way home from a reading by the slam poet Taylor Mali. But don’t let this momentary lapse in my Lost obsession fool you: I was, unlike many in fandom, looking forward to this week’s Miles-centric episode with bated breath. And for me, this one didn’t disappoint.

So, let’s jump beneath the fold and talk about why.

It’s interesting to me to watch how streamlined the flashback episodes have gotten since the end-date for the show was announced. Story points that might once have been full episodes have now been reduced to scenes. I’m thinking of the two flashbacks to younger Miles in this episode as an example. But the truth is that these scenes work much better as mere scenes than they ever would have as the inciting incident in an episode-long subplot. The producers have continued their “no more wasting time” mantra here, and I think it’s a wonderful thing.

This is not to say that those two scenes were without detail, however. In fact, they were crammed full of little nuggets of character info. The analogy that comes to mind here has to do with comic books and how they are made (or at least how they were once made, back when I was paying attention to such things). The artist of a comic book draws his or her pages on a much larger piece of paper than they are eventually printed on. The drawings are then shrunk down, and the end-result is that the reader is given a panel that looks incredibly detailed and well thought-out. That’s what I think is finally going on here on Lost. The creators have more backstory than they’ll ever need, or than they have room for in the remaining episodes. So, each flashback feels much richer and more well-drawn than any that have come before.

In terms of the A story of this episode, I found myself most intrigued to see that our characters are trapped in a time where so many important things are happening or are about to happen. The fact that the Swan station is still very much under construction is very interesting. The fact that the electromagnetic energy is already there and causing chaos, even before the Incident, was fascinating. And getting to see the look on Hurley’s face when he realized exactly what it was that they were building—that was priceless.

I also loved the father-son subplot of this episode. With Lost, where every character has daddy issues, the most satisfying moments are when we get to see exactly how unique each character’s relationship with their father is. And it’s especially satisfying to see Miles interact with his father and to have there be so much dramatic weight to their interactions. This episode took the Back to the Future premise and made it feel weighty and real and ten times more emotionally satisfying. Seeing Miles cry—the tough, arrogant, asshole of the freighter crew—that was intense. Seeing him come to the realization that his father was a much more complicated man than he’d ever thought possible, seeing him realize that his father was once a real, live human being, and not just a ghost from the stories his mother told—I don’t think you could have asked for more from TPTB or from Ken Leung.

As far as the rest of the episode went, I was pleasantly surprised at how much material each character had to work with. I loved that Hurley was trying to re-create the script for The Empire Strikes Back; that felt like a totally natural thing for him to do. And I also loved that Kate acted like an idiot when she tried to make Roger feel better, because that totally felt like something she would do. Jack was great in his role as resident asshole, Sawyer was great in his role as resident Jack-replacement, and Chang was great as an overworked scientist who I think would have much rather been at home reading stories to his baby.

The mythological elements in this episode were also quite satisfying. We got to hear that line again, that question about what lies in the shadow of the statue, and that left us (or me, at least) wondering who they hell these statue people are working for. We got to find out why Miles asked Ben for $3.2 million last season. And we even got a sense of where Faraday has been for the last three years or so.

But then we got told that we had two weeks to wait before a new episode came out. And, to that, I just have to say, “Ugh.”

What did you think about “Some Like it Hoth”? Chime in below, and add your two cents.