It’s hard to separate the euphoria over the return of “LOST” from the gleeful appreciation of a good individual episode. “Not In Portland” didn’t even give us a glimpse of the other three quarters of the cast, but nonetheless was a strong kickoff to what will be the longest stretch of consecutive new episodes ever. We got our first Other flashback, further cementing Juliet as a complex, tough yet sharp female character and Elizabeth Mitchell as a supremely talented actor. Considering how little we know about Juliet, I was surprisingly taken in by her scenes with her sister.
Oh yes, the story. A lot of meat to chew on for those who hunger to know what’s happening on the island. We get a taste of the recruiting methods of the DHARMA Initiative (or whatever its current incarnation), and the unique talents they wanted from Juliet. We learn that things definitely changed when “the sky turned purple,” and that the Others may now be in no better shape than our survivors. Karl’s punishment, or programming, via the “Clockwork Orange” style sensory overload will provide weeks of frame-by-frame analysis. Ben’s paternal relationship with Alex (a.k.a. Sheena) is confirmed, as well as some “history” between Juliet and Ben. And we get a sense of the next mini-arc… which somewhat resembles most of the previous mini-arcs of separation and rescue. There were a lot of things to like about “Not In Portland,” but again, the fact that it means “LOST” is back is the best part of all.
It was nice to see Kate, wardrobe notwithstanding, recover some of her butt-kickingness. “Actually,” notes Jen, who is not among Evangeline Lilly’s biggest fans, “Kate isn’t annoying me half as much this season as she has in the past.” Sawyer, of course, was in top scruffy, charming form, complete with nicknames and Star Wars references. We think we’re going to like Tom (he’ll shoot you, but he won’t like the blood), and we’re definitely not going to miss Pickett. And Alex’s story can only get more interesting from here.
Where is Danielle, anyway?
Surprisingly, Jack came across as the weakest of the three this week, as he almost instantly goes from badass in charge to hapless player in yet another of Ben’s schemes. Seeing him watch impotently from the observation room as Ben and Juliet talked was a far cry from the Jack of the cliffhanger closing last year.
It was certainly nice to see Ethan again, though his limited role tonight makes me wonder if there’s still more for him. Perhaps he’ll show up in other Other flashbacks, part of the recruiting team? Speaking of limited roles, though… we sure would’ve loved to see more of Zeljko Ivanek. Jen’s convinced we haven’t seen the last of Sherry the research assistant, by the way.
Location Notes: The Miami medical facility was the University of Hawaii Medical School in Kakaako. You could actually see the Honolulu skyline out the window of Edmund Burke’s office. And the bus was TheBus, the unmistakable white, gold and brown city transit system here in Honolulu. I gotta say, I was surprised the moment of impact was so sudden and brief. By all accounts, there was some impressive stuntwork staged for the collision that left the stuntman pretty banged up.