Not without my daught… well, okay then.

I’m always hearing people (sometimes it’s me) complaining about a TV or comic series, saying, “They’re making it up as they go along!” Most of the time, I don’t see the big deal about that — they don’t have everything planned out? Cool! It means they’re “nimble,” right? But sometimes it gets awkward.

This week’s episode of “Lost” was called “The Shape of Things to Come,” and it felt like they had to saw a few of the rough edges off before they could get everything to fit with The Shape of Things That Have Been Coming So Far. There was a lot of awesome stuff going on, and the episode itself had a solid story. But it also felt like they had to prune out a few characters instead of following through on them, and that they suddenly decided which of the two dozen storylines they were going to run with.

Everything else is a spoiler:

Either I’m getting softer, or TV series are getting better at ratcheting up the tension. The scene with Ben, Alex, and boat guy actually made me sick at my stomach. Last week, “Battlestar Galactica” had my heart pounding and had me yelling “don’t do that!” back at the screen. I always thought you were supposed to sit and stare blankly as television washed over you.

I guess it’s exactly what people are talking about when they talk about the power of episodic entertainment: I was at least as upset at the thought of the stories getting messed up, as I was about the characters getting messed up.

I suppose that as a character, Alex had outlived her usefulness (assuming there ever was usefulness intended for her character). But if they were going to write her out as a plot contrivance, I wish it were doing something other than making the whole story a revenge story between two characters I don’t care all that much about. Ben and Widmore aren’t really interesting characters on their own; interesting characters do stuff in reaction to them. It’s like making a movie starring Brian Dennehy.

And it makes the speculation last week, about whether Danielle was really dead, seem kind of silly. We sure as hell better get a flashback for her, though.

In the B storyline, we found out how Sayid ended up working with Ben, which is just tying up a loose end more than telling us anything we were dying to know. I think it would’ve been fine if they’d just had a line like “Remember why you’re working for me: blah blah blah,” and then went back to Sayid doing cool Jason Bourne type stuff. And also: the whole searching-for-Nadia thing? Yeah, that’s over, forget about it.

And in the C storyline, weasely boat guy is lying, and Jack has appendicitis. Yeah no duh, and I don’t care. Hopefully something neat’s going on at Jacob’s house.

And yeah, turning the smoke monster loose on the bad guys was one of those “oh HELL yeah” moments.