It was inevtable: after weeks of high-octane drama and intense backstories, Lost has finally had what could be described as a slow episode. “Greatest Hits” followed the story of Jack and the rest of the castaways preparing for the arrival of The Others, which had its timetable moved up much to their chagrin. And, based greatly on its structure, the episode has officially done it: they’ve broken the streak of kickass episodes. Why? Well, since Charlie developed his own Top Five list, I figure I should only do the same. Thus, without further adieu…
The 5 Reasons Why “Greatest Hits” Broke the Streak
5. Charlie’s Life Still Seems Inconsequential
Look, I liked Charlie better in this episode than I have in weeks, and I actually thought it was a strong arc for the character. His trip down memory lane was perhaps his least offensive set of flashbacks yet, and it added some needed depth to his character (although not enough to match up with drug addict Charlie which was much more compelling). The problem is that such an emotional arc required me to care…and I don’t. I don’t care if Charlie lives or dies, and although he becomes more important at episode’s end I just wasn’t getting the sense of loss the episode was asking of me.
4. A Lack of Inner-Castaway Tension
Things smoothed over too quickly between Jack and everyone else, even though Sayid is clearly still at odds with him. There was a lack of drama in their proceedings outside of their rush to prepare for the Others’ arrival, and the result was a rather conflict-free scenarios. People seemed to accept the Juliet thing far too easily, and we never really got to see anyone’s emotional reaction to things. I would have even liked to see some romantic triangle stuff, as it would at the very least have been something more diverse and interesting compared to the rather dull series of characters we had paraded in front of us (It was nice to see Rose and Bernard back, though).
3. The Lack of The Others
I’ve argued in the past that the first six episodes of this season were not a complete failure because they allowed us to understand and engage with the world of the Others. I believe that those episodes have allowed for the last series of episodes to be that much better, because we start to believe Ben and Juliet, specifically, as real characters. We’ve become as tangled up in their pasts as we have that of Jack or Sawyer or Locke, and I think that it’s been something fresh and interesting about them. While we’ve spent three seasons with Charlie, we’re just getting to know Juliet and Ben…and then we got nothing about them in this episode. We spent all of “The Man Behind the Curtain” learning titillating clues about who The Others are, and then we see them for only a minute the next episode. That’s a problem, and one that’s tough to ignore.
2. The [Mostly Absent] Looking Glass
I put this here not because it was a negative part of the episode, but rather that it never really got a chance to be a part of the episode. I know that I personally was keeping in the back of my mind that Juliet had mentioned some sort of event taking place at the station found underwater down the beach, but it just seemed to take a backseat too much of the time to Charlie’s journey as opposed to his end goal. It was clearly the real jumping off point (Next week’s finale is titled “Through the Looking Glass”), and I couldn’t help but be impatient for them to return to it as I watched the rest of the episode. That resulted in even more annoyance with the above three problems, and further struggles to match the efforts of previous weeks.
1. Dude, Where’s Locke?
We have no idea what happened to Locke. Terry O’Quinn took the episode off, apparently, and the result was just a brief scene of post-gunfire Ben to satisfy our curiosity as to what happened to our favourite character. Seriously, Lost, you can’t do this to me. The episode certainly set things up for the finale (“Beach goes boom!”, “Looking Glass = Occupied”), but what about Locke? I had admittedly forgotten about him by the time we first saw Ben mid-episode, which shows that the beginning of the episode wasn’t terrible by any means, but once I realized he was missing…I was pissed. I feel like I did back when we finally returned to the beach earlier this season after spending so much time with The Others. I felt like it was good to be back, but part of me longed for what I left behind. I guess you could say that, for me, the greatest hits have changed, and I want more of Locke, Ben, and the mysteriously un-aged Richard. And I want to know what the hell happened to Locke, damnit!
Next week, Lost heads “Through the Looking Glass” for its two-hour finale. What will we learn about Jack that we haven’t learned already? Can the finale regain its momentum heading towards an apparently show-changing end? And who exactly are the people guarding the Looking Glass? We’ll find out at 9pm EST next week, when Lost has its third season finale.
For a recap of the episode’s major moments, click on the link below.
– The episode opens with a person, male, running through the woods. It’s Karl, Alex’s star-crossed lover. He quickly reaches his outrigger canoe and dashes off into the ocean.
– Meanwhile, Jack is taking pretty well every principle character (Even Claire, abandoning Aaron likely with Rose) out into a clearing. Everyone wonders why they’re there, while Desmond appears to be lost in a flash of sorts (As noted by Charlie). Jack calls out for Rousseau, who emerges and then blows up a tree with her dynamite (Was that demonstration really necessary? It was a bit overdramatic and really a waste of good dynamite…but anyways, Jack reveals that when the Others come they’ll be ready. And, with vengeance in his eyes, he says that they’re going to “Blow them all to hell.”
– Charlie’s Greatest Hits – #5 – It’s raining, and Charlie and Liam are trying to fix a flat tire on their van. It’s the early days of Drive Shaft, and success is hard to come by…but to their delight (and just as Charlie reaches a peak of frustration), “You Are Everybody” comes on the radio and their spirits are raised.
– Back on the beach, Sayid has figured out the problem with the satellite phone: Rousseau’s signal is blocking it. Juliet, however, tells him he’s wrong: it’s actually The Looking Glass, an underwater hatch, that is blocking all signals other than Dharma’s. However, something happened there which Ben has not quite informed everyone of, and it’s a bit suspicious. Sayid realizes that this underwater hatch is what lies at the end of the wire down the beach, and realizes that it is amongst the files he took from the Flame hatch. He runs off.
– Charlie asks Desmond about the flash he had earlier, and learns that Desmond has indeed seen his death, but that he’s also seen Claire and Aaron getting into a helicopter. But, Desmond warns, they both need to happen. In order for Claire to be rescued, Charlie has to die. Charlie seems scared, sure, but he also seems oddly determined to know and understand his fate.
– #4 – Charlie stands at the edge of a pool, while a man (his father) encourages him to jump in. He resists, refusing to jump. Liam goads him, but eventually he finally jumps…and his father, as promised, helps him to the surface and teaches him how to swim.
– Desmond sits with our doomed hero on the beach: Charlie wants to know how he dies. Desmond informs him that he is going to die inside a hatch, a room full of equipment, with a blinking yellow light about a switch. The light goes off, and he drowns. That sounds oddly like something that could happen in a certain underwater hatch.
– As Sayid scours over the plans for The Looking Glass, Jack says that it’s too dangerous and a suicide mission and they shouldn’t worry about it. However, just at that point, Charlie volunteers to go down into the Looking Glass, knowing that it is his fate. Jack refuses to give him permission, but there is no final answer given.
– And no final answer can be given since Karl has finally arrived on the beach with word that the Others are coming…right now. Not tomorrow. Ruh-roh.
– Six Hours Ago – Meanwhile, back in The Others world, Ben returns to camp with his gun and a newfound rush to take the Others’ beach (“Take all the women, kill the men if they get in the way”). Alex realizes this new schedule, and informs Karl to take the outrigger (And questions her parentage).
– Back on the beach, Karl reveals Juliet’s status (Which was kind of funny), and Jack realizes they’re in a rough spot in terms of time (Rousseau lets him know that they definitely don’t have enough wire for their full blown blow-up plan yet). As a result, Sayid has a solution: they shoot dynamite enclosed near the tents. Jack sets it up: Charlie dives to the Looking Glass, a group stays behind to shoot, while the rest go to the radio tower.
– #3 – Charlie, having bagged a set of girls the evening before, wakes up on Christmas Day to his brother bearing a gift: a family heirloom (A ring bearing the initials D.S. (D. Stratton) from which their band name, Drive Shaft, came from). There’s some nice irony as his brother claims that Charlie should take it because he’ll have a family while he, Liam, won’t make it to thirty…and the exact opposite has happened.
– Charlie stops in at Claire’s tent to see Aaron, and says his own goodbye. And then, finally, he and Claire make out a little.
– #2 – Charlie, busking on the streets on the day Desmond went back to in Flashes Before Your Eyes, saves a woman from a mugging. She calls him a hero.
– Bernard gets himself hired as one of the shooters of dynamite by proving his ability with a rifle (Pheasant shooting = Win). Rose is worried, but Jack assures her that he’ll be fine as long as things go to plan. Sayid then informs Jack that it is he, not Sayid, who will be taking the group to the radio tower. He fears that Jack cares more about killing the Others than actually getting them rescued, and Sayid believes that this is a mistake. Jack seems to agree, and realizes how that might be for the best.
– As Charlie and Desmond prepare to depart for their trip to the Looking Glass (And Charlie’s inevitable doom), Hurley wants to come with them. Charlie makes fun of his weight to keep him front wanting to come, but he can’t leave it like that and tells Hurley he loves him (Claire didn’t even get that). Awww.
– Jack hurries everyone together and ensures that they are prepared to depart as everyone works on getting water for their trip and Jin is revealed as the third shoot (Sayid and Bernard the other two). Hurley helps Claire with Aaron for a moment, and we see that Charlie has left his DS ring behind in Aaron’s crib, knowing that he won’t be carrying it on within his own family.
– Charlie and Desmond have reached the wire, and attach their boat to it. They begin to pull themselves out, and prepare to enter the Looking Glass.
– Charlie’s Greatest Hits – #1 – Charlie spots Claire, pregnant, amongst the wreckage of Oceanic Flight 815. They have some playful plane crash-related/blanket related banter, and Charlie prophesizes helicopters flying into the rescue them.
– He writes on his piece of paper he’s been using to collect all of his hits: “The Night I Met You” and then asks Desmond to give the list to Claire upon his return. Desmond broaches a new plan: he takes the dangerous dive instead of Charlie, maybe he’s getting these flashes for new reasons, all sorts of other BS. Charlie says that’s a great plan, but then nails Desmond over the head with the paddle and dives down himself as planned.
– Charlie struggles to find his way into the Looking Glass, and when he finally finds the area where he can breathe he’s excited. He yells that he’s alive…and then a door opens, and a blonde woman emerhes with a gun pointed at him. Another woman has a rifle, and aims it in his direction as well. Charlie quivers.