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January 26, 2010

After the past two very solid character episodes, this one was a letdown. It brought in the clichéd amnesiac plot device, and was set up more as traditional action-based network television. Not that the episode was terrible by any stretch, but this is another of those episodes that makes me glad the producers got away from the flashback format. It’s not that Charlie’s flashback was as bad as, say, the last Kate one, or the upcoming “Jack’s tattoo” one (or even the bottom of the barrel “Charlie in diapers” one), but it was merely average at best, and flat at worst.

Granted, it did tie into the on-island story pretty decently at a few points (Charlie feeling guilty about lying to Claire paralleled with Charlie lying to the girl he was seeing in the flashback), but the ending, “I just wanted to take care of you” in the flashback is already beginning to sound like a broken record. This, plus the later “I need to save you,” are very two-dimensional and flat. There is no nuance, no depth. These Charlie flashbacks are very cut and dried and obvious. Here’s hoping with Dominic Monaghan’s return to the series in its final season that the writers do something with the character, as the potential is there.

Island mythology: 1 out of 10. Ethan returns and kills one of the redshirts (the ongoing Steve/Scott gag). This lends some menace to the soon-to-be-discovered Others, which is further exemplified in the Tailies flashback episode early in the second season. But overall, nothing relating to the island or its mysteries is revealed.

Philosophical concepts/ongoing themes: 0 out of 10. I decided to add the word “ongoing” to this category, as it seems thus far, a lot of the later philosophical debates and examinations just are not happening thus far. I’ve been including recurring themes within this so far, and to differentiate these from the philosophical concepts, I added a word. As for this particular episode, there’s a whole lotta nothing here.

Character development: 2.5 out of 10. This episode is not laid out like the last two, and thus Charlie’s character gets short shrift to the ongoing action. One of the worst things the series could have done at this point is introduce guns. Granted, there are episodes where guns are needed to drive the story forward before it stagnates, but in this episode, all they really seemed to do was bring the Ethan/Claire subplot to an unsatisfying conclusion. And if memory serves, this also leads to another filler plotline very soon with Sawyer stealing the guns. Yawn.

Importance of episode to series: 1.5 out of 10. Nothing really happens here. Claire returns, has amnesia, Ethan returns and gets shot and killed. If memory serves, Ethan’s death does lead to the survivors’ first real encounter with the Others, but for the most part, this is a filler episode.

Personal enjoyment of episode: 3.5 out of 10. It’s getting late, and all I could think about while watching this episode was, “I have to do 80-some odd more of these?” Never a good sign when an episode of a marathon makes you regret having undertaken it. That being said, the episode is not terrible. It’s just more like traditional television. Which is to say, the casual LOST fans probably eat this and the last Kate episode up. Those that look at the series a bit more deeply most likely think this is one of the lesser episodes. And I would agree.

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