Friday, February 15, 2008

LOST The Economist, first thoughts

Okay, first let me say "Wow!"

Good, got that out of the way.  In my opinion, this was one of the best episodes of the entire series.  It was incredibly well written and perfectly paced.  In short, I admired it on a technical level as well as enjoyed it on an entertainment level.

When writing for television, the emphasis is on what they call Act Breaks.  These are the end of one Act, leading into the next.  The reason they are so important in television and emphasized more then they are in film is that they are also where the commercial breaks go.

I don't know how much longer Act Breaks will be considered so important, as with the advent of DVR and Internet downloading, the viewing audience is finding many new ways to watch television, ways that don't include your classic commercial breaks.

But, for the moment at least, they are still a reality, and the great television writer finds a way to use those breaks to his or her advantage.  They don't always succeed, or at best succeed at most once or twice through the episode.  Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz, the credited writers for last night's episode, succeeded brilliantly every time.  If I were teaching a class on perfect Act Breaks in dramatic television, this is the episode I would use to illustrate my point.

The first Act Break is Sayid shooting the other guy on the golf course.  Seriously, did anyone see that coming.  I yelled, "Holy..." well, never mind what I yelled.  It was my house I can say whatever I want.

The second Act Break occurred as Sayid was heading to the other side of the Island to recover C.S. Lewis (the female one).  Frank asks Dr. Jack where Sayid is from.  Our Lord of the Flies hero answers him, "Iraq." Frank asks, "What was he, some sort of diplomat?"  This gets a laugh from Dr. Jack, and presumably us, as he responds, "No.  He was a torturer."  Classic.

The third Act Break finds Hurley trapped in a closet.  You think, oh, that's how he got back on Team Jack's side.

Or at least you do until the fourth Act Break when you discover that Hurley LIED!  For the crazy John Locke! Awesome.

The final Act Break shows our man Sayid have a shoot out with the cute Elsa shortly after some nice canoodling.  (Word of warning, if you are a cute blond, I would advise against sleeping with Sayid.  Studies show it will result in a gun shot to the abdomen.)  And then the realization that she has the same sort of bracelet as, da, da, daaaaa, (that's dramatic music, in blog form) Naomi!

Literally, these were perfect Act Breaks, they were either "Holy ..." type moments, or good humorous moments. (Which they almost always are in comedies, but are okay in small doses in a dramatic show such as this.  They handled it perfectly.)

Now that the dramatic teleplay writing lesson is complete, lets look at a few of the other things that stood out.

The Clocks:

This was the most interesting part to me.  Time plays an important part of this show (and whatever my new theory will be).  Daniel's experiment appeared to show us that time off of the Island is at least 31 minutes and 19 seconds off of time on the Island.  I'm betting that this would be an even larger amount the further you are away from the Island.  Just my feeling on it.

Benry Gale:

So, a couple of things here.  I want to know what happens to bring us to the point where Sayid works for this man.  Especially since in the episode Sayid says, "The day I trust Ben is the day I've lost my soul."  Looks like that day is coming, my friend.  Sad to say, but it looks like that day is coming.

The second thing is his secret compartment of money and passports.  Did any of you notice the name on the one that Sayid looks at?  It said, "Dean Moriarty" who if I remember correctly was a character in On the Road, the book by Jack Kerouac.  I don't remember the book well enough (it's been about 10 years since I last read it) to know if that's important.  Of course, another Kerouac book is Dharma Bums, so it could be that.  Also, Moriarty is the name of the nemesis of Sherlock Holmes, and, in my opinion, the best bad guy in the history of literature, but then I'm a huge Sherlock Holmes fan.

The Bracelet:

So, it appears that the bracelet that Sayid removes from the wrist of Naomi is very similar to the one worn by Elsa in the "flash forward".  What does this tell us?  That there is some connection between them, obviously, and I'm betting it is more then just shopping at similar stores.  My theory, they both work for Matthew Abaddon, I think he's "The Economist".

Until Next Time, sure I was wrong about Claire and Aaron this time, but I still stand by my theory that they will be part of the Oceanic 6.  The real question is whether you count them as two people, or just one.

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