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"Hold Me Close Now, Tiny Dancer": Cracking the Glass Ballerina on "Lost"

After last week's claustrophobic (in the best possible way) Season Three opener, this week's episode of Lost ("The Glass Ballerina") expanded to focus a little wider, bringing Sayid, Sun, and Jin into the Others storyline, while still keeping us up-to-date about the incarceration of Jack, Kate, and Sawyer. (I'm still v. curious about what's going on back at the beach with the rest of the castaways, but we'll have to wait another week to get to the bottom of that mystery.)

What struck me initially was how much last night's episode reminded me of the classic feel of Lost from Season One. While it essentially did continue the storyline from last week, the episode was much more about the castaways' relationships and interactions (as well as the flashback) than it was about the action, plot twists, or island hallucinations, talking birds, or the like.

The flashback this week belonged to Sun and Jin (though mostly to Sun), a rarity given that their flashbacks typically happen later in the season. We learned this week that Sun did have an affair with hotel owner's son Jae after all (didn't think their friendship extended to just, um, English lessons) and that Sun's unborn child might belong to Jae rather than to the sterile Jin. (Of course, that's assuming the island didn't work a little mojo on him in the last few weeks.) Jin, meanwhile, is forced to deliver a "message" to Sun's lover Jae after her father catches her in flagrante delicto; after beating Jae to a pulp, Jin tells him to disappear forever, but Jae take him a bit too seriously and throws himself off of the balcony, clutching onto the pearl necklace he tried to give to Sun. (He'd rather die than live without her.) Also, Sun's father? Evil. Granted, his daughter Sun proved herself quite adept at fabrication, from her lie about the maid breaking the glass ballerina (she got fired even though Sun's father knew it was Sun who had broken it) to her betrayal of Jin on multiple occasions (secretly learning English, attempting to poison him so he wouldn't leave on the raft, siding with Sayid, sleeping with Jae). I loved that even after all of that, we still don't know Sun all that well or know what she's really capable of, from being able to sail a boat to shooting someone (and quite possibly killing them) in self-defense. There's much, much more to Sun than some wounded wife and she remains one of my favorite castaways.

I'm glad that Sayid had a plan, even if it ended up backfiring completely. Discovering the Pala Ferry (where Jack, Kate, and Sawyer were exchanged for Walt and then taken to the Others' compound), Sayid attempts to light a signal fire to draw the Others there and then ambush them, but the Others are far more clever than that and just avoid Sayid and Jin altogther and go after the sailboat instead. One of the Others, a woman (UPDATE: I've now been informed her name is Colleen) goes down into the berth and confronts Sun, who pulls a gun on her. Colleen knows Sun's name (they seem to know about all of them... from Ethan's list? From Michael?) and says that she knows Sun won't shoot her. The Others are not their enemies, but if Sun shoots her, they will come down on her. And--surprise--Sun does shoot Colleen and manages to escape off the sailboat through a hatch as Tom shoots her. (No worries, she only seems grazed by the bullet and none worse for the wear.) I don't blame Sun. After seeing what the Others are doing to Sawyer and Kate, I wouldn't want to be captured either. Especially since Sun is pregnant... But Danny, that Other who got all kissy-faced with the (possibly) dead Colleen is going to be braying for her blood.

The Others are very preoccupied with stealing Desmond's sailboat from the castaways so that they won't be able to find their secret village. Which, from last week's aerial shot of the plane crash, seems like it's on another island altogether. That orientation film from The Pearl also alluded to the Pala Ferry, which the Dharma Initiative workers would board to take them home after their shifts. Of course, I'm still wondering if the Village and the Hydra Station are even remotely close by to one another.

"The Glass Ballerina" gave us some crucial information about the Others. First, Juliet wasn't lying when she said that they have contact with the outside world and Jack is stunned to learn that since they've been on the island, George W. Bush was reelected to the presidency and the Red Sox won the World Series (an especially important moment for Jack given his father Christian's favorite saying). And even more shocking is Ben's offer to Jack. If he cooperates with them, he will be sent home to the real world, just like Michael and Walt. The Others are on the island because they want to be, not because they're stuck there. The fact that they do have some sort of connection (internet, TV signal?) with the outside world would seem to go along with this notion. Ben formally introduces himself to Jack, saying that his full name is Benjamin Linus, and that he's lived his whole life on the island.

Which, hello!, is interesting for several reasons. I had thought for a split second that Ben (the Other-Formerly-Known-As-Henry-Gale) had either come to the island with Dharma or had gotten stranded there like the castaways, but now it seems as though he was BORN on the island. Hmmm. Just like Claire's baby Aaron. And Rousseau's daughter Alex. The Others have quite a preoccupation with island-born babies (watch out, Sun) and went to great lengths to take Claire prisoner and keep her under their control. They wanted Aaron but, ever since he was baptized, they haven't made much of an effort to take him a second time. Curious.

I wonder if Ben is the child of some Dharma volunteers... or even the de Groots themselves. Or of the Adam and Eve the castaways found buried in the caves in Season One. Though, without consulting my first season DVDs, I believe those corpses dated further back in time than Ben's parents would have lived in.

Are Ben and Juliet former lovers? Divorcees? I loved his line about her never making soup for him and, for a split second, my girlfriend and I wondered if it meant that Ben had once been her prisoner too. (A notion disproved when he learned that he was actually born on the creepiest island ever.)

(Also, Benjamin Linus? It's an anagram for NUMB NINJA LIES. I doubt that means anything whatsoever, but I thought I'd throw it out there, just in case.)

I am sure everyone is going to be gabbing about Sawyer and Kate's passionate chain-gang kiss from last night. While not a surprise (thank you, ABC promo department), it was unexpected in the context of the scene. I'm still not sure if Sawyer just wanted to kiss her or if he was using it as a distraction to then attack the guards and rate their fighting prowess. Unfortunately, any semblance of a plan and Freckles might be cooking up will be lacking any element of surprise as Ben is watching their every move from a bank of security camera in the Hydra station. Sorry, guys, but you're on candid camera. (And was it just me or was Kate upset she didn't even know Sawyer's real name?)

Will Jack take Ben up on his offer? I doubt it as I can't see Jack leaving anyone behind, least of all Kate. But the Others seem to want something from him and he appears more valuable to the Others than Kate and Sawyer, thrown into enforced labor. (Juliet also appears quite willing to kill Kate during Sawyer's attempted jail break.) I'm also v. intrigued by Alex's willingness to help the castaways (she did set Claire free after all) as she secretly makes her way to Kate to get some information about the missing Karl. (Kate was never supposed to be in that cage.) Why would the Others give Kate one of Alex's dresses? And do the Others know that Alex is reaching out to the castaways? And just why is she being so darn helpful?

How does any of this tie into the island's visions? The monster? The infection that killed Rousseau's team? The bizarre spatial location of the island? And Penelope Widmore? No idea, but I can't wait for next week's episode already.

Next week on Lost ("Further Instructions"), we learn the fate of Locke, Eko, and Desmond as we pick up the pieces after the explosion of The Swan, the monster is sighted, Desmond has no underpants, and Locke must save Eko's life.

What's On Tonight

8 pm: Survivor: Cook Islands (CBS); My Name is Earl/The Office (NBC); Smallville (CW); Ugly Betty (ABC); Desire (MyNet)

9 pm: CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (CBS); Deal or No Deal (NBC); Supernatural (CW); Grey's Anatomy (ABC); Fashion House (MyNet)

10 pm: Shark (CBS); ER (NBC); Six Degrees (ABC)

What I'll Be Watching

8 pm: My Name is Earl.

On tonight's episode ("Larceny of a Kitty Cat"), Earl is forced to return a prize-winning kitty to its rightful owner after sabotaging a cat show for Joy.

8:30 pm: The Office.

On tonight's episode ("Grief Counseling"), following the death of his former regional manager, Michael forces the staff of Dunder-Mifflin to attend grief counseling, Michael Scott-style. Please, for the love of all things holy, make this week's episode better than "The Coup." (Shudder.)

10 pm: Six Degrees.

Six strangers discover that their lives are seemingly connected in the latest drama from producer J.J. Abrams. On the drama's fourth episode ("The Puncher"), Whitney (Bridget Moynahan) plans her wedding while the rest of the city is busy fending off a criminal who punches strangers and runs away. Sadly, the only thing running away is the audience for this show, which I fear won't be on for very much longer.

Comments

I was also happy to see that the show had returned to its Season One roots in last night's episode. I really enjoyed another peek into Sun's past and the current day interaction between Sun, Jin, and Sayid. And I especially enjoyed seeing Sun kicking some Others ass while the boys were off playing soldiers in the forest. So typical! Looking forward to seeing what the other castaways are up to next week...
The CineManiac said…
On a completelty unrelated note, have you given Heroes another chance? Because although I enjoyed the pilot (which I know you didn't) the 2nd and 3rd episdoes took the show in a direction which I had not expected whatsoever. The end of episode 2 Blew my mind and the gruesomeness of both episodes were totally unexpected. If you havn't given them another chace, maybe you should.
Anonymous said…
The woman who Sun shot is named Colleen, despite the overwhelming urge to refer to her as Trixie or worse, any one of Swearengen's memorably profane nicknames.
Anonymous said…
Oh Travis. The gruesomeness of both episodes' dialogue and acting was totally to be expected. And avoided at all costs.
Anonymous said…
At one point in the show I yelled out, "Hey - it's Trixie" and had all 3 friends look at me like I was nuts.

Clearly, my friends don't watch Deadwood.
Me said…
It's an anagram for NUMB NINJA LIES..

I lol'd!

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