Lost – “Some Like it Hoth”

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“Some Like it Hoth”

April 15th, 2009

There are many things that make “Some Like it Hoth” seem almost nostalgic. First off, it’s perhaps the most simple flashback episode we’ve seen since the second season. And second, said flashbacks felt like they should have come as part of the fourth season, considering that Miles was first introduced there without explanation and that the producers have said they would have liked to have told this story if not for the season being shortened. As a result, “Some Like it Hoth” can’t help but feel like a smaller story against the larger episodes of the year thus far.

At the same time, though, I watched this on the plane on the way back from California, and it was a pleasant surprise: while it was certainly small, it showed that Lost has perfected these particular episodes. The way in which it handles the episode’s smaller moments show both that the series is operating in a good place right now, and that they know how to keep an episode light on mythology from becoming boring with just the right comic touches.

This will be short since it’s been a couple of days, but what works about “Some Like it Hoth” is how it keeps the episode from becoming stale. They figured out back in another recent episode that Hurley and Miles were a strong comic combination, so placing them together here was an ideal solution to how to bring out Miles’ flashbacks tension within the current timeline. Jorge Garcia and Ken Leung have great chemistry in scenes like this, especially when you saw them interacting over their shared visions (Hurley’s likely slightly more psychotic in nature, Miles’ a bit more supernatural), and their back and forth was the best way to keep yet another Daddy Drama (With Dr. Chang, as expected) storyline from feeling too forced onto the episode.

The show is often at its best when it mixes comedy with pathos, and here the Empire Strikes Back moment was perhaps the ideal solution: sure, it’s not an uncommon allegory by any means, but the reveal of Hurley rewriting the script (in part to alter the time space continuum to eradicate ewoks – poor Wicket!) was the right note to keep us from feeling as if they really felt that this was an original direction. We’ve already had the castaways dealing with a young Ben, awkward enough as it is, but the second half of the season is more about what these characters are hiding or have experienced that is their own personal trauma: for Miles, that’s the fact that he may have been transported to 1974 by the island in order to meet his father and provide something close to closure.

That being said, I thought that Leung did a great job of demonstrating that closure can’t exist when the idea was never really open to begin with: it’s the reason why he goes back to the kid’s father and returns his money, since he had created false closure on an opening which didn’t actually exist. He feels as if he has the same problem with his father, this desire for closure when in reality there isn’t anything to look back on but abandonment, but here he is with an actual opportunity to talk to his dead father and yet he’s reluctant to do so. His power has always been seen as a bit of a novelty, something he can use pretty much whenever he wants and is usually followed by some sort of snide remark, but seeing how he used it here to gain an upper hand shows both why Widmore would be interested in having him on the expedition and why in many ways he has trouble using it (or doing the equivalent of using it) when it is something close to him personally.

The end of the episode was the other thing we were really waiting for, and what we’ll be getting to next week: we knew Daniel Faraday was present for the construction of the Orchid station since we saw it in the season premiere, and it’s interesting that we know that that scene was not originally supposed to be the first scene of the season, a late replacement for a season with Locke waking up on the beach that later popped up at the end of “316” unless I’m mistaken. Faraday’s journey is definitely the one I’m most anxious to see, primarily because unlike Miles it is incredibly important to the island’s mysteries.

Speaking of those, despite Miles’ character work being more isolated (if strong), we did get one piece of mythology: we learned that Bram, the non-Ilana crash survivor who in the previous episode revealed that “What lies in the shadow of a statue?” is an important question for the future of the series, was not suddenly swept into this phenomenon. He was on that plane for a reason, as he tries to convince Miles not to go with Widmore in 2004. It’s an intriguing turn of events primarily because it raises the question of whether this is a 3rd faction, or something related to Ben himself, or something else entirely. War is definitely approaching, and I’m getting more excited by the episode, big reveals or no big reveals.

So, overall, a really engaging hour of television – we can’t ask for anything more than that.

Cultural Observations

  • I haven’t read much online reaction to the episode, but if anyone called it a filler episode I will throw things.
  • Hurley still needs a tiny bit more of a purpose in 1977 (everyone else kind of seems to have one), but as comic relief it’s some of Jorge Garcia’s best work. We started the season with an early Hurley episode, and I look forward to when we figure out just how he got from being in jail to being on that plane with a guitar of all things. I presume it has to do with dead people talking to him, but only time will tell.
  • The side story, about Sawyer and Kate’s removal of Ben coming back to bite them, was nice and subtle: Jack didn’t become Old Jack again, Sawyer played things cool if violently, and Kate continued to be as wonderfully flawed when it comes to emotions as she should be considering she just gave up her own fake son in order to come back here.

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