When any TV show – especially one with such wildly varying casts and concepts as Lost – hits you up with ones of its best episodes ever, there’s a certain inevitability in knowing that the next episode is therefore going to be a bit rubbish by comparison. This week’s episode wasn’t a patch on last week’s Ben-centric Dead Is Dead – but against expectations, it was pretty good on its own terms too.
It’s rare that a member of the Kahana crew gets their own flashback episode, and it feels almost like a rite of passage for that reason – now that he’s had his own episode, it’s going to mean that little more whenever Miles is placed in jeopardy from now on. Viewers finally get answers to a few of the questions that have surrounded him – for example, how his ghost-whispering gimmick works, and why Widmore wanted him to go to the island. Scenes of Miles growing up, learning to use his powers, and establishing his lust for gold ($3.2 million, to be exact) are welcome flashbacks, each adding something to the character in a specific way, rather than presenting the general thematic links of the series’ more tedious flashbacks. However, it’s once again the on-island action that presents the bulk of the excitement.
Hurley and Miles are once again placed together, allowing their comic potential to spark off one another. With more time in the spotlight, it suddenly becomes clear that Miles is a deadpan slacker, not unlike Hurley himself, and having the pair of them on screen together works surprisingly well. The difference in the characters is also made evident – presented with the opportunity to meet his father, Miles finds only apathy and resentment, until Hurley gives him a signature Reyes talking-to.
It’s also good to see a bit more of Dr. Chang in action. We’ve seen a lot of him over the course of Lost, but usually on grainy film with missing frames. Finally getting to see the character chatting and interacting with the cast as if he were a normal person is just another way in which the early promise of Lost is being played out in current seasons. We always knew we’d see more of him – but never did we expect him to be threatening Hurley with polar bear dung duty.
However good the action in the 70s is, the most intriguing scene in the episode is actually reserved for one of the more recent flashbacks. Bram – a character we’ve already seen was on Flight 316 – bundles Miles into a van and tries to convince him to abandon Widmore’s employ, asking him if he knows “what lies in the shadow of the statue” – words that we can assume will soon come to define the next season of Lost. Whoever these guys are, they appear to know more than they should – and that’s good news for the viewers.
Overall, the purpose of the episode appears to have been to make viewers warm towards Miles as a character, and in that respect it worked beautifully. More’s the pity, then, that he was upstaged by the final scene, featuring the return of the man who’s managed to become a viewer favourite. We all knew it was coming the moment we heard that a sub had arrived with some “scientists” on board, but it’s good to see nonetheless. Daniel’s back, and now that Sawyer’s longest con of all is on the brink of unravelling, it doesn’t feel like a moment too soon.
Of course, that’s presumably why they’ve scheduled another week’s gap in the proceedings. It’s simply not in Lost’s nature to give viewers what they want, when they want it…
Check out a review of episode 12 here.