This place is AWESOME

Okay, “Lost,” I can see how watching a bunch of French-speaking scientists slowly going mad and shooting each other might not be the gripping, edge-of-your-seat drama that I’d been imagining all this time. Thanks for letting me discover that for myself, though, and showing us only the cool parts.

For at least the first 20 minutes or so of this week’s episode (“This Place is Death”), I was back to loving “Lost” at near-they-just-opened-the-hatch levels. Not only was there pay-off on the long-awaited “So whatever happened with Rousseau, anyhow?” question, but it involved dismemberment! Considering how I’ve stuck with “Heroes” solely because of the promise of scenes like the one where the cheerleader wakes up in mid-autopsy, you might think that all it takes is some TV-level gore to keep me interested in a series.

And you’d be right. But this episode, if not this whole season, has been like finally cresting the lift hill of a roller coaster that I’ve been on for three years now. Spoilers start now!

In addition to pulling the arm off the Frenchman (another suitable euphemism for wanking; I should start a list), this episode had more time-skipping and a return to the big wheel and the death of annoying red-haired British woman in a manner that was good and creepy and actually made me feel a little sympathy for her.

I was really impressed with how they handled the backstory for Rousseau’s group: I’d expected it to comprise an entire episode, or be an ongoing story over the course of a few episodes, but taking advantage of the time skips meant that we got to see just the interesting parts. When they first introduced the flash-forward, I’d thought that was an ingenious way to keep the gestalt of “Lost” but put a spin on it; stuff like this takes it up another notch. (And Stemmle pointed out that the writers did their due diligence: earlier in the series, Rousseau mentioned the place where one of her team lost an arm, and having to remove the firing pin from her husband’s gun, exactly as it played out here).

My lack of interest in the goings-on off the island continues; the episode kind of lost steam as soon as we cut back to LA. What started out as the makings of a tense standoff turned into the usual “we need these characters to be somewhere else right now, so just get them off-screen.”

I was a little disappointed by the end of the episode: a couple of weeks ago, when Ben told Mom Farraday that he couldn’t get everybody together, the cliffhanger was “Then God help us all!” Apparently she’s loosened up since then, and it’s now, “Well, we’ll see what we can do.” And even though they’d set it up extensively, it still seemed like Desmond came out of nowhere. By that point, even the Jesus statue was agreeing with me, throwing up his hands at the whole thing. “Hey, don’t look at me. I just work here.”