Now that was a season premiere. Without a doubt, “Confirmed Dead” got my mind spinning and my heart pounding the way I expected last week’s episode would. Tightly paced, great twists and surprises, and real drama. “The Beginning of the End” was really the end of Season 3. Now we’re really rolling. Awestruck, Jen rightly asserts that the opening sequence with the underwater wreckage would’ve blown more minds than ten Camaro car chases ever could.
The exposition didn’t feel shoehorned in, and seemed true to the characters (and, in the case of the new characters, appropriately illustrative). Indeed, while Season 4 brings with it another batch of new faces, “LOST” wisely doesn’t waste time across four or five episodes to introduce them. While skipping through Daniel, Miles, Charlotte and Frank (and Naomi’s neat summation of the team’s members) could have been almost mechanical, we think it worked.
That things moved forward on the island was perhaps the most satisfying part. With loose ends tied up last week, tonight’s episode was sure-footed, with no hesitations. With Sawyer playing the skeptical chorus, Locke matter-of-factly reveals Taller Walt and the death-defying “Man of Faith” kidney. He was in top form, from predicting the abrupt end of Hurley’s monsoon to the chilling way he let Charlotte now that they weren’t the helpless survivors she expected to find.
But it was Ben that flooded the evening with adrenaline. I jumped when he shot Charlotte. And Jen was shocked when Ben revealed everything he knew about the “Freighties.” Doubly so when he revealed how he knew what he did.
As with the four (or five) flashbacks that introduced all the “Freighties” in one episode, I was similarly impressed that the big question of what they want on the island wasn’t stretched across half a season. Of course, knowing they want Ben opens another Pandora’s Box: Why?
The obvious guess would be that the “Freighties” are DHARMA members or allies, looking to avenge the mass murders Ben helped orchestrate in the not too distant past. But while one force got them to the island (embodied thus far by the eminently intimidating Matthew Abbadon), I’m pretty sure that Charlotte, Frank, Miles and Daniel all have different motives:
- Daniel’s introduction was the most ambiguous. He was clearly shaken by the discovery of the plane, and said he didn’t know why. While it makes sense that actually knows more than he’s letting on, I think it’d be even more interesting if he was telling the truth. He seems very skittish and bookish and probably has no idea what he’s gotten himself into.
- Miles spiritual visit (and burglary) was genuinely creepy. Jen felt it was a nicely filmed sequence. We see too much of the grandson for his identity to not be relevant, though I can’t think of what the connection might be. But given that he communes with the dead for cash, I suspect he’s in the employ of someone who lost someone in the crash.
- Frank is the pilot, not part of the team, but is also clearly motivated on a personal level. Likely overcome with guilt for having not been in the cockpit of Oceanic 815, but then mystified that his friend wasn’t the pilot on the bottom of the sea, he’s in search of his own answers.
- Charlotte found the polar bear and the DHARMA collar in Tunisia, and apparently doesn’t believe the official story about the plane crash. She also seemed to know that Claire’s on-island birth was remarkable. Of the four, she seems the closest to what Ben fears… and perhaps what the other survivors should fear as well.
Of the four, any favorites? Both Jen and I have taken an early liking to Daniel. Abbadon and Associates have obviously brought him along for whatever a physicist could tell them about our mysterious island, and not for his cunning or toughness. He’s hapless, dropped into the middle of a world he can’t possibly understand, and will probably serve as this season’s best representative of confused “LOST” viewers. If handled well, his character could be an anchor of sorts for whatever madness unfolds over the next few weeks.
Notes and Notions:
- So, who is Ben’s spy on the freighter? Our money is on the last guy Ben let leave the island.
- Loved the scene where Hurley mentions the cabin, stopping Locke in his tracks. It certainly seems like Ben and Locke aren’t the only “special” people on the island.
- What’s in a name? Daniel Faraday is a clear nod toward Michael Faraday, Mr. Electromagnetism himself. Charlotte Staples Lewis gives us C.S. Lewis, who gave us “The Chronicles of Narnia.” Miles Straum’s last name is also a city in Norway, a country that’s played a part in the mythology of “LOST.” Frank Lapidus… you got me there.
- I love that “LOST” is no longer beating us over the head with The Numbers, but still drop one in a scene now and then. Jen spotted “15” on a poster in the grandson’s room.
- A beaten, wet Ben is pretty damn scary looking. Like a pissed off cat.
- On the other hand, the scene where he gets all sarcastic “Golly Gee” with Karl was hilarious.
- Alex was described twice in this episode as Ben’s daughter, and Danielle didn’t throw one punch.
- Was it just Jen, or did everyone look impossibly beautiful tonight? A pity Naomi’s essentially a ghost, because she’s gorgeous.