You Taste Like Fish Biscuits

Polar Bear picture Copyright philg@mit.eduDirecTV still sucks. I’ve been trapped in my apartment since Wednesday, missing all the rich, juicy television that’s been airing, waiting for the FedEx guy to finally show up with my new receiver. Now I’ve got to be trapped in my apartment Monday as well, waiting for a service guy to come out and fix the new receiver.

The tech support person on the phone kept going on about how these new receivers were so much in demand, and every time I pointed out that they don’t work, she found a way to spin it. I’m one of the lucky few to be on the bleeding edge of technology, apparently. Ditching TiVo to make their own bug-ridden and less-functional PVR wasn’t a colossally selfish and short-sighted business move on DirecTV’s part, it’s the beginning of a brave new world.

Anyway, the point of all that is that I finally got caught up with the last two episodes of “Lost” by watching them in tiny, pixelated format on ABC’s website. I liked them better than I liked the season premiere, but the whole thing still feels weird. Not the kind of weird that you watch “Lost” for in the first place, but the kind of weird where you can’t quite tell what the people making the show are doing.

It seems like they suddenly forgot how to make a great show and are feeling their way back to it, just based on somebody else’s written description of the series. (And yeah, I said “suddenly.” Remember that I think that season 2 was great.) They know that an island’s involved, and strange things keep happening, and the characters have flashbacks, and didn’t somebody mention a polar bear at one point?

(By the way, spoilers apply from here on out, in case you haven’t seen the two episodes).

So each episode has a really cool sequence — the guy landing on Jin’s car, and Locke’s vision quest. After each, I thought, “Yes! This is the show I got into.” But by the end of each episode, I was back to thinking, “Wha? But I… huh?” The flashbacks seem unfinished; are they going to be extending them across multiple episodes now? What’s the resolution of the guy landing on Jin’s car? Did he really just jump, and that’s the whole story? I kept waiting for Sun to flash back, right before she shot one of the Others, to show her pushing the dude out the window.

And what about Locke’s flashback? The whole point was for him to say he used to be a farmer but now he’s a hunter? No sudden gruesome death of undercover police guy? The pot farmers get arrested, and that’s what he meant by “bad things happen to people who hang around me?” I can see why he waited 69 days for that flashback, because that’s a totally boring memory.

On the whole, it seems like they’ve only got enough material for three episodes, and they’re trying to stretch them out to fill six. And the big revelations are okay, I guess, but they’re stretched out to the point where my reaction isn’t “whoa!” but “whatever.” Jack is going to be tempted to betray his friends, okay, and… here, look at the Red Sox winning the World Series! How weird is that? And Desmond can now remember the future. Yep, he sure can. Look at him, there, standing there on the beach, rememberin’. Hurley sure is freaked out by that, even though that rates about a 4 on the scale of Weird Shit Happening On This Island.

There are three episodes left to go, and hopefully my TV situation will be worked out by the time the next one airs. One of the creators has said that by the end of the sixth, before the hiatus, there’ll be this major revelation that takes the show in a whole new direction that nobody saw coming. I hope they’ve got the goods to deliver.