Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Review: Lost 3.3: Further Instructions
Locke versus Predator... From Wikia
Lost - Season Three, Episode Three - Further Instructions
Written 23/2/14

The show's third season hosted a number of the show's weirdest plotlines, and this episode's look back on the beach-camp set up quite a few of them. Principally, Locke's flashback this week is the first of a number of "what the fuck does this have to do with anything?" flashbacks that Season Three particularly excels in, falling as it does outside of the continuity of any of the other flashbacks that Locke has had. Like most Locke episodes, we're in for a treat of depression and vague "spiritualism" which involves copious amounts of shakey-cam, but we're also expected to swallow a few other explanations that don't quite sit right.
      Locke awakens after the Hatch implosion at the end of the last season, unable to speak. He immediately enlists Charlie to help him as he takes some funky jungle drugs to "speak to the Island," wherein a vision of Boone appears to give him a good scolding, and to tell him to save Mr. Eko's life. Able to speak again, he and Charlie go off on a trek to find Mr. Eko, whom Locke deigns has been attacked by a polar bear. Along the way they meet Hurley, who relays the news about Jack, Kate and Sawyer, who himself later finds Desmond running through the jungle naked. Desmond, as it turns out, now gets visions of the future. Locke eventually finds and saves Mr. Eko before giving a speech to the camp about how they're going to mount a rescue mission. In the past, a still-haired Locke picks up a hitchhiker named Eddie on the way back to the hippie Commune where he lives. Eddie is immediately allowed into their world, although it's clear something dodgy is behind their lifestyle - as it turns out, the Commune is a weed farm on the side. Locke is told that Eddie is an undercover cop, but when he confronts Eddie about lying to him, he can't bring himself to do anything to stop him.
      This episode sees the first appearance of background characters Nikki and Paolo, who were introduced for very dubious reasons and whom we're meant to assume have been there all along. Not too annoying yet, but they'll get there, I promise you. It's also the first showing of Desmond's ability to see the future, which is conveniently forgotten come the beginning of Season Four but which drives two or three of this season's major subplots. I discussed why Desmond's abilities can fit in with a stable time-travel model in my essay on the subject, so I won't warble on about that too much, but I will say that compared to what came before and what would come after, it's the first of a number of overtly supernatural concepts to slowly work its way onto the show.
You know exactly why the Hatch blew
Desmond's clothes off. Don't pretend you
don't. From Wikia
     And that adds into this episode's main issue - the fact that, three seasons in, we've started to stretch our suspense of disbelief. A lot of crazy shit happened in the first two seasons, I grant you, but this episode's main island plot is so weird and mundane that you can't help but wonder. Not only are we expected to believe that Desmond, Eko and Locke happily survived the implosion of an underground bunker with a few bumps and bruises, but that the show would go and do something as unbelievably naff as having Locke fight a bear. I mean, with all the evil things on this show, you had a character dragged away by a bear? It's just silly, and when you add in Locke running around the island smearing mud on his face it becomes something of an unintentional comedy.
     Further Instructions was swapped with The Glass Ballerina, and I think that works - otherwise the lack of advancement for the Others' storyline might have soured the momentum of that plotline. I think it's a problem of Lost's format that they had so many different lines set up at the end of the previous season that they've taken three episodes just to address them all. It was good to find a Locke episode which was slightly less depressing than his usual fare, this co-incided with a decicive lack of direction - at least while we're still in this six-week arc.


NEXT WEEK: Ben kills a rabbit to scare Sawyer. Ben has cancer. We find out exactly where our intrepid heroes are being kept. It's Every Man For Himself.

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