Friday, October 2, 2009

Season 2 Recap

And now we find ourselves at the end of season 2. Season 1 was all about the crash, the victims, who these people actually were, and how they were going to get off the island. With one exception of course – John Locke, who was determined to stay ON the island. Now, in season 2, Locke’s opened his hatch, and inside wasn’t the hope he was looking for… just a place with a crazy Scot that Jack eventually took over and assumed as his own, and a button that Locke was going to be beholden to for the next few weeks. The power struggle between Locke and Jack took up much of the first half of the season. It was a bit jumbled, but still fun, and we continued to learn more about the other characters.

The Tailies added a group of new characters, but again that was a bit troublesome, because they didn’t all have a place. As they began their trek, they consisted of Ana Lucia, Libby, Eko, Bernard, and Cindy. Cindy didn’t even make it to the beach, and AL and Libby will be dead before the season’s out. Eko will only last 5 episodes beyond that. The only one who fit was Bernard, who is married to Rose, and while some people think they’re extraneous characters, they have their place in the show and are important in their own right.

And then Henry Gale came. Michael Emerson is one of the great actors on television today (and the Emmys actually got it right for once). Lost is one of my all-time favourite shows, and the first season is fantastic, yet I was sitting there counting down the episodes until Henry Gale would finally make his appearance. And what an appearance it was. The second half of season 2 is so much fun to watch in retrospect because of what we now know. We know Gale is lying; we know Sayid is right; we know what’s going to happen; we know who’s going to die and who will live. “Lockdown” was one of those edge-of-your-seat episodes of TV for me when it first aired, and now that I know what’s going to happen, it’s more of an episode where I sit there going, “No, John, don’t do that! Don’t believe Cooper! Don’t believe Ben! Go on your damn picnic!” (You, Hurley, on the other hand… please don’t go on a picnic.)

As Gale proves himself to be a liar, Locke is caught, not knowing what to believe. In season 1, it was so easy for him to believe in the island. But now the island is letting him down, and he doesn’t know what to do. Eko is the one who attempts to come to his rescue, at the island’s behest. But it doesn’t work out, and Locke becomes the Jack to Eko’s Locke, refusing to believe him, trying to convince him the button doesn’t work. Locke is more obsessive than Jack, though: where Jack was more like, “Fine, whatever, old man. Do what you want, I’m OUTTA HERE,” Locke recruits Desmond to help him out and prove to Eko that what he was doing was wrong.

In season 1, Locke had discovered a window in the ground, and he believed hope resided within it. He interpreted it in a way the others didn’t. Now, after seeing the Pearl video, he no longer believes in it. Eko, on the other hand, watched the video and realized that Locke was wrong, that the Swan station was the psychological experiment, but the PEARL was – people were put in chairs, made to believe that they were watching people in the Swan station fulfilling a meaningless task. But it was the people in the Pearl who were doing the meaningless task – their pneumatic tubes were ending up in a clearing, not at any HQ, and someone (most likely Mikhail at the Flame station) was watching THEM watch other people. That’s what Eko saw, and he became even more convinced he was right. Locke, on the other hand, lost his faith completely.

The final episode was confusing at the time, but in retrospect contains many of the elements that have made the rest of the series so compelling – Widmore, Desmond, Ben as Leader, the hatch, Radzinsky, the statue, the island’s beginnings… from the end of season 2 to where we are now, we’ve been chasing the answers to the questions that wonderful finale posed. And now, with season 3 next week, we’ll start finding some of the answers.

What did you think of season 2 as a whole? Did it work for you? What was it like seeing it in the context of season 5?

Just a note that if you HAVE been following along in Finding Lost (which is the intent of this entire rewatch… the notes I’m putting up on the site are just talking about the eps in relation to later seasons, but the actual books have very detailed analyses of the eps), then it’s time to pick up a copy of Finding Lost — Season 3, which is where we’ll begin next week! Polar bear cages and fish biscuits, here we come!


Fred said...

I guess most of what I've enjoyed with LOST has been the twists and turns of the plot. But I shouldn't leave out character depth and development. However, in Season 2 I began to feel some characters were at times running on auto-pilot (no pun intended). Certainly we see a change in Locke's character, and the introduction of Eko, Libby and Ana Lucia greatly imporved the show (Libby's character was wonderful as a foil for bringing greater depth to Hurley). But I felt with Jack and Kate they were sort of motoring along with one or two notes to play with. Great hopes rested on Kate's flashback, in What Kate Did, but I felt she had been pushed more to the background than she had been in Season 1. Charlie's character was far more interesting, though a little erratic. On the whole, if I had one major complaint with LOST, it would be that at times characters appear erratic from moment to moment. Funny, because when I first saw Season 2 way back years ago, I was more annoyed with not knowing what some of the mysteries were, but during the rewatch character came to the forefront.

That said, LOST writers did provide some great character moments. Certainly, Sawyer was consistent and the growth of his character was terrific. In some ways he is Hurley's comic alter-ego, with the nicknames and the little jibes at other survivors. But the best introduced character has to be Ben Linus. Not only as the mysterious Henry Gale, but all the different roles he portrays from a frightened middle aged man marrooned on an island, to a Christ-like figure, to demonic con man fooling with Locke's feelings, to the comic relief he occassionaly generates. The range is terrific. In one sense, Season 2is all about Ben, but it would be wrong to omit the other actors roles. Even Desmond, who really only appears at the beginning and end, makes such an impression, no wonder he was kept on (not allowed to go to the Black Rock to handle dynamite).
I am hoping in the final Season some of the other roles will have more of a chance to shine once more, namely Sayid, whose character fades in and out of the story, or Claire, her only role was to rock Aaron to sleep, so, good to see her out and about in Maternity Leave, and vignettes of Rose and Bernard (I really do love it when those two are on screen, even the little moments).

Without character to LOST, I don't think it would have been as exciting a rewatch as it has been. Season 2 built on chatracters developed in Season 1, and now as we move into Season 3, plot seems to be taking over more and more. It's like a rollercoaster, one of the old ones. There's always a few dips before the major rush, and everything is rattling and rolling as we scream round the bend. But for the moment, it's time for milk and fishsticks. Perhaps, that's what Ben really meant when he asked Jack and Locke for milk. Foreshadowing?

JS said...

Nikki - excellent and insightful summary, as usual.

If we didn't think the writers had a plan in season 1, they certainly dispelled that (we now know in retrospect) in season two. I agree there have been dips, and some dropped story lines, but we are seeing the beginning of the arc(s) that brings us to S6. (Was it here or at s3 that they agreed they would do 6 seasons?) Though I agree there was some fickleness to the characters (we know that now), after this season, the characters are much truer.

For me, season two was the beginning of believing that there was a reason for EVERYTHING. We began to see the real intertwining of back stories, and even minor interactions or seemingly throw away comments take on deeper meaning. We've explored many examples in our episode discussions.

I am thoroughly enjoying this re-watch.

Teebore said...

Season two definitely improved for me upon rewatch. In my mind I always think of it as the "season of dropped plots" (i.e "Let's Build An Army!") but maybe because I was prepared for that this time, it didn't bother me so much.

Also, as Fred says, character really came through even stronger during the re-watch, which helped compensate somewhat for the dropped plots (though I still want more info on Libby!).

And of course, season two does so much to setup what's become the main narrative of the show that it's tremendous fun to see those little seeds get planted (I had completely forgotten until re-watching the finale that the Others were first referred to as Hostiles in that ep).

SonshineMusic said...

I think that season 2 is my least favorite season, but there are so many seeds planted here that drove the plot right up to where we stand now that I can' be completely mad at it.

Besides which, the introduction of Henry/Ben definitely drove my enjoyment of this season. Michael Emerson can deliver a line like no one else and he drops them all over the place. I am riveted to the screen whenever he comes on and he definitely made it worthwhile.

There are great moments and, as Fred pointed out, great character growth moments. I think season 2 was Hurley's biggest season. The development of his relationship with Libby and all of the ups and downs that it brought, along with his struggles with food addiction and his fear of insanity gave his character more depth and made him more than just the fun guy.

I am really looking forward to season 3 and beyond!

Ali Bags said...

Bring on the fish biscuits! I am actually a big season 3 fan- it just gets better and better from now on. I just love that opening Juliet scene - what a dream introduction to a series! Sorry, getting ahead of myself.

r.s said...

Good luck watching season 3 guys.

I watched the whole thing a few weeks back and the first half or at least the first third was a bit of a chore.

But in saying that the later half of S3 is an absolute rollercoaster ride, Lost at it's best. Not that the beginning is all that bad. The stuff with Ben getting sick and Ben kidnapping Jack to fix him and bringing Kate to convince Jack and Sawyer to convince Kate to convince Jack is all very good if not drawn out a little. Oh plus the runway :)

And rewatching "Flashes" was the most satisfying episode I've rewatched. Now that I know what exactly is going on with Desmond and his consciousness jumping.

I'm sure you'll hear from me when the recap of Eko and the polar bear episode is posted. That scenario is as bad as having to find out how/why Jack got his tattoo's.

JW said...

I think season 2 contains a lot of entertaining episodes that are great when you watch them on their own (with some wonderful new actors and characters), but the episodes don't add up to a greater whole as is the case with other seasons of Lost.

I haven't watched season 3 for a year, but in past rewatches I've noticed what r.s says: it starts slow and then kicks it into gear. It seems like Lost finally gets back on track after being a bit wayward since the beginning of season 2. I can't wait.

Nikki, I enjoyed reading Finding Lost again. I've looking forward to rewatching season 3 with the season 3 book for the second time and look forward to watching seasons 4 and 5 (when we get there) with your books for the first time. Are you going to publish an edition combining all your Lost books when the show is finished?

Jazzygirl said...

Overall I've enjoyed this entire rewatch. Yes, there times in S2 where it was erratic but overall, these last two weeks have been great. And in watching the finale, I found myself REALLY paying attention to things based on S5. And one interesting thing I noticed was that in the Pearl orientation video, Chang has his arm. In the Swan one, he doesn't. they started the experiments BEFORE the incident. I wonder what the Pearl folks were watching then? I am looking forward to S3 because correct me if I'm wrong...wasn't that the season where they lost a lot of viewers due to having weeks between new episodes? One week new, two weeks repeats, next week new, etc? etc? It was maddening. I am looking forward to Desmond's flashes...although I still don't fully understand them. But that's okay. :) What I'm not looking forward to is losing Eko. :(

Fred said...

I know this has nothing to do with Season 2, but while brousing Wikipedia I picked this up on "Canada Bill Jones." Is this were the jokes about Canada comes from? Also Neil Gaiman mentions him in "American Gods."

Some of Jones's lines seem perfect for Sawyer:
"It's immoral to let a sucker keep his money"
"A Smith and Wesson beats four aces"
"Tie? You want me to wear a tie?"

Marebabe said...

@Jazzygirl: It was even worse than skipping a week here and there. S3 was the time when we got to see the first 6 episodes in a row, and then had to endure a 13-week hiatus! What a momentum destroyer. So the cliffhanger at the end of "I Do" was more like a season-ending cliffhanger. Talk about an experiment that failed! You'll notice they never did that again.

JS said...

@jazzygirl - I had the same question, and thought maybe I missed something. The Swan wasn't built until after the incident, right? What were they watching in the Pearl??

Jazzygirl said...

Marebabe...yes now I remember that. I started watching LOST "normally" in S2. I watched S1 when they repeated it over the summer. Which was the season where they kept skipping weeks? Wasn't S2 was it? Ugh, so long ago!! But yes, I remember the hiatus. I do like having a straight run from Jan to May BUT I don't like losing a good 7 episodes out of the whole season. They've really shrunk it down over the years.
JS, I know right?? I am hoping Nikki or one of our other astute bloggers will throw their 2 cents in on that one! :)

SonshineMusic said...

@JS and Jazzygirl: re: the Pearl/Swan conundrum.

Okay, here's my theory/two cents/suggestion. I believe that in the original time line they built the Swan station and the Pearl was watching them, but there was something different - they hadn't hit the pocket of EM or they had contained it in some way. THEN the incident happened and they encased the EM and started the button experiment.

In the orientation video for the Swan, Candle makes it sound as though the station was originally being used in a different way and THEN the incident happened. Maybe they were doing experiments and that's what set it off.

So I believe that the Losties DID affect the time line in causing the Incident to happen in a different way than the original time line. Whether things course correct to keep the time line on track is yet to be seen, but that's what I personally think.

Jazzygirl said...

Sonshine...I'm trying to follow you...are you saying the Swan was already built when we saw them drilling in "The Incident"? I didn't get that impression. It looked like they were building it then, no? Or, that wasn't the original location or intent for the Swan so they built it there to keep the EM in check. I haven't seen "The Incident" since May so I can't remember if Chang said anything to our Losties about it in that ep. I'd have to rewatch it.

SonshineMusic said...

No, actually, my thought line is that in the time line without the Losties they built the Swan and were doing experiments with the EM and then the Incident happened.

But then the Losties time traveled and so they changed things and the Incident happened during the creation of the Swan station instead of later.

So I guess that makes me fall on the side of you CAN change the future by altering the past - at least in some of the details.

Fred said...

@Sonshine Music: That the Swan was originally built and then an Incident happened, seems to make sense given the film Locke and Eko, and every viewer, first saw. It also was implied that using the computer for communication may have been what triggered the Incident, but that isn't entirely clear.
I agree with you, that when the Losties arrived everything regarding the Swan seemed to change. Was it Jack's use of Jughead that created the Incident? Maybe not. Maybe Juliet sets the explosion off, but it is absorbed into the surrounding metal. Radzinsky comes back and orders work to continue, as the threat is vanished (i.e. Jack and company are gone). The Swan is quickly built, and then the Incident happens. Who knows.

But I agree, it does seem there are 2 timelines we have to follow. Like when Miles goes up to the bedroom to deal with the ghost of the woman's son. The picture on the stairwell is different each time (screen grabs showed this). However, the differences are slight--the frame is different in a small way, and the figure appears closer in one shot than the other. So whatever changes in a timeline changes as a little nudge. Time or whatever force tries to correct for these nudges.

Jazzygirl said...

Ah okay I see what you guys are saying. I was getting confused because I guess in my mind, Jughead IS/CAUSED the incident so it didn't make sense what you were saying. But we really don't know that yet, do we? :) I am SO glad we're doing this rewatch!

JS said...

Re: lack of prosthetic arm in the pearl orientation video, the most mundane reason is the film was made before 1977, but copywrited in 1980. not very exciting, but plausible

Teebore said...

the film was made before 1977, but copywrited in 1980

This is probably the simplest explanation, but it does make me wonder why it's on video while the Swan orientation is on film. Maybe someone converted the Pearl film to video at some point, for some reason?

Also, if the Pearl station was designed prior to '77, I wonder if the plan was to use the Swan to study the electromagnetism AND conduct the psychological experiment described in the video, but then the Incident happened and the button-pushing went from experiment to necessity, so Dharma simply re-purposed the Pearl as the focus of the psychological experiments.

Jazzygirl said...

That could be true Teebore. But then that means they had to reshoot the orientation video for the Swan to mention the incident. Maybe that's why it was edited? And yes, the film vs. the video tape. I hope all these things get explained in S6!