Sorry this post is a little late – but Lost has a one-week layoff ahead (next new ep is Weds March 1st) so I figured I could dilly-dally. (…and it is with the use of the word dilly-dally, that any hope I would ever be renamed Testosterone Prime was lost forever.)
Anyway, the Olympics have thrown a wrench in the typical February Sweeps month. Sweeps months, for you non-industry types, are the key months in the year that the networks use to set advertising rates. Essentially, the ratings in those months are used to forecast future audience levels. November, February and May are the Big Three. During those months, networks usually avoid reruns and air their A-caliber eps, special events, and guest-star stints in a bid to draw our peepers.
With the Olympics airing on NBC, the other nets played a little loose with sweeps, realizing that despite the dwindling popularity of televised Olympics – it is still enough of a draw to sap some viewership away from their programs. With Women’s Figure Skating airing next week – always the capper to the games and a bonafide ratings draw – Lost has taken the week off.
I’ve read on some boards that people have been complaining about Lost‘s schedule this season. We get 2 – 3 new eps and then a series of repeats (the longest being a 5 week layoff.) That’s just par for the course when networks run a standard 22-ep series from September to May. There are only so many eps to fill in that long stretch of time. I think that Fox has it right. In following cable’s lead of running series straight through for shorter micro-seasons, Fox has been saving 24 until January where it then runs uninterrupted through May.
That approach seems to work best. You end up waiting a little longer for your fave to appear – but when it does – it’s off to the races. We’ll see if others nets follow suit.
All right. Onto this week’s Lost.
1. This week focused on Sayid. In flashback we learned where our fave Iraqi Republican Guard torturer first learned and plied his trade. Set in the first Gulf War, Sayid was approached by a shadowy CIA operative (played with gruff malice by the always creepy Clancy Brown) to extract some intel from his captive former commanding officer. Sayid’s trepidation and subsequent immersion into this grim business was well acted – and from a filmmaking standpoint – the cut from the torture chamber, just before the mayhem erupted, to Sayid exiting the room completely drained, (with a crimson hand the telltale sign to the levels he had sunk), was expertly crafted. That one shot of Sayid’s hand – trailing blood over his ‘tool box’ – was truly chilling.
2. Sayid’s flashback acts as backdrop to the present day capture and interrogation of a suspected ‘other’. The guy tells a fairly convincing tale. He and his wife were on a global balloon trip – headed toward Australia – when they were blown off course and crashed on the island. Eventually, the guy’s wife died, leaving him alone on the island. A fairly convincing tale until you realize that he says his name is Henry Gale. And then you recall that Dorothy Gale had an Uncle Henry – who in the land of Oz (a nickname for Australia) helped lead Dorothy back to the real world in a hot air balloon. The Iraqi born Sayid may not have studied Baum in grade school – but he has been educated in spotting a rat – and through his brutal beating of Mr. Gale we are left with one final shot where Gale – with bloodied, broken face – stares menacingly at Sayid. Another chilling shot. Yes, Gale is indeed ‘one of them’.
3. Bringing us to the third chilling moment. The counter finally hits zero – albeit momentarily. With Jack restraining Locke – in order to extract the code to the armory in a bid to end Sayid’s inerrogation – the countdown comes very close to the end. As Locke struggles to enter the numbers, the counter hits zero. At that moment, the black and white numbers start flipping to strange hyroglyphics (I spotted a raven, an arrow and a few others). What was once black and white is now black and red. At the same time, the soundtrack reveals something powering up. What is this infernal machine? Locke does eventually enter the numbers before the sequence completes – and all resets. Some may look at it as a cheat – but personally I like receiving these bits of information handed out piecemeal. It all adds to the great tapestry. I’m in no rush to know everything that’s going on – usually the pleasure is in the journey – in trying to piece together the puzzle. That brief sequence was thrilling and just opened up a whole series of new ideas in my head. Keep it coming.
4. Coming Up: The next episode is titled ‘Maternity Leave’ and focuses on Claire’s kidnapping. On IMDB, William Mapother (Ethan) is listed in the cast – no boubt in Claire’s flashback. Also on the cast list are M.C. Gainey (i.e. Mr. Friendly, the leader of the ‘Others’). I also read that the guy hired to play Henry Gale has been cast for 6 episodes – so there is something to that guy.