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lost 3.17 'catch-22' *spoilers*

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so i wrote an unnecessarily long comment on ryan's blog about this week's episode.. long enough to be my main post here, so i'm gonna copy it over.

i understand how one of the dramatic arcs of this ep centered around just how much power desmond has to change things. it seems to me that if he can't really stop charlie from dying - eventually he will fail, unless he finds an 'out' - then he similarly wouldn't be able to change the identity of the woman who parachuted to the island.

wow. that was a really simple way of saying what took me pages and pages on ryan's blog:

hrm. we need some more rules about what exactly desmond's meddling can't and can't do - i mean in real-time terms.

as an audience we are seeing the story from an outside perspective. occasionaly we will see things distorted, from a character's perspective, like when walt appears, or when characters have visions, but when these things occur, the perspective quickly switches back to third person, and the audience is informed that what we've seen is indeed a 'vision.'

so here's my trouble with desmond 'changing' the woman's identity by saving charlie - he followed his vision all the way, right up to the moment before charlie would have died. the mystery woman had already fallen from the sky, and was already in the tree.

i'm not saying it's impossible that desmond might have changed things, but if that's the case, then i think the storytelling is sloppy. if a change did indeed happen, if the episode was *really* about desmond losing penny because he had to make a sophie's choice, it would have gone this way:

act 1: desmond has a vision of charlie dying, and we -see- him unmask penelope.

act 2: filler

act 3: desmond saves charlie and we get a fancy stylized 'we're seeing inside desmond's head' montage of his visions. dez realizes the picture is changing as it's happening. he knows instantly what he's done, he sits there holding charlie, crushed. he says 'the body's over there,' disinterested. hurly, jin, and charlie rush to it, cut it down. desmond already knows it's not her. he doesn't care who it is. 'it's not her,' he even says, before they take off the mask. he's right. but she looks at him and says 'desmond.'

boom, logo.

that's the 'desmond has the power to change the timeline as we're watching it' telling of the story, but that's not what we got.. instead, dez isn't sure if it's penny at all. he only has an idea of it being her.

because most of the story was told from a third person perspective, it makes me think that desmond is a bit delusional about just how much he can change the timeline. it seems more likely to me that penny was never on the helicopter, and had her portuguese team has been doing all the grunt work from the start. desmond has doubts about saving charlie, but the tone of the episode tells me it wouldn't have mattered either way (from a penelope angle.. it matters to charlie!)

penelope just doesn't seem like someone who'd be jumping out of helicopters anyway. penny is more about getting phone calls in the middle of the night from the people who jump out of helicopters.

for a second i thought the mystery woman was ana lucia and just about had a coronary.
some things i loved about this episode:
  • sawyer asking jack and juliet, 'arguing over who's your favorite other?'
  • the ping pong scene
  • the mix tape
  • jin's korean ghost story
  • the revelation of how desmond met penny. scripted simply, and elegantly performed. making us care about this couple is crucial, and so far they've done a great job.
i still believe that jack is on to juliet, playing her own game on her. we'll find out how much he knows in the season finale.

i thought it was interesting that the writers made two deliberate efforts this season to remind us of the cable running into the sea. mikhail mentioned it as powering the submarine beacon in 'enter 77,' and now this reminder that really didn't serve any integral part of the story. the writers could easily have made desmond go to any other locale we haven't seen in a while - rousseau's original hideout, the black rock, the caves (why have we completely abandoned the caves?).. so something important is gonna happen regarding how the submarine was linked to that cable.

other things introduced this season that we shouldn't forget about:
  • the losties have a satellite phone
  • the losties have one of the other's walkie talkies (thanks nikki/paolo for the only tangible thing you contributed)
  • the losties have a van
i'm willing to bet that in ben's flashback, we will see roger alive and well, and see little boy ben riding in that van.

the absolute worst thing about this episode was this embarassingly badly photoshopped pic sitting on the monk's desk:

it's so bad that it makes me wonder if it was worth putting in. it clearly must have been a last minute decision to include it - because none of the three elements in the picture are even close to matching. the shot of the monk looks like a costume/makeup reference photo of the actor, an actor they had on hand and could have lit and posed properly to match ms. hawking. awful. i mean, a very very simple two-click hue adjustment would have at least made them look the same color.

so it means that ms. hawking's peripheral presence in desmond's story is important enough to slap in at the last minute, but not thought through enough to put proper effort into.

while i may be pretty critical of that one slip-up, it's pretty amazing that the standard of the show is reliably high enough to stand up to that level of scrutiny. a bad photoshop prop in heroes? eh, not surprising.

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