Welcome back, Walt’s Angry Dad. I didn’t miss you.
And will you keep it down? Stop shouting. Too loud, man, too loud. My St. Pat’s hangover. Still haven’t recovered.
(Spoilers after the jump)
In the teaser, Locke promises “no more secrets” to the members of his camp. He’s the first of several characters in “Meet Kevin Johnson” who divulge plenty of info. This episode is all about coming clean. The Lost recapper over at New York magazine’s Vulture blog compared Sun’s curiosity about the freighties in “Ji Yeon” to Jack McCoy’s cross-examinations on Law & Order. With all the confessing that goes on during “Meet Kevin Johnson”—including Michael’s flashbacks, which add up to one long-ass confession—this whole ep is like the part of Law & Order: Criminal Intent when the special guest star spills everything just to beg Vincent D’Onofrio to stop chewing the scenery.
Co-scripted by Elizabeth Sarnoff and this year’s MVP on the Lost writing staff, Brian K. Vaughan, “Meet Kevin Johnson” fills us in on what Michael’s been up to since he left the island on that boat with Walt 31 days ago (or in our time, about a season and a half ago). They returned to New York, but when Walt found out from Michael that he killed Ana-Lucia and Libby (Cynthia Watros) to save him from the Others, he stopped speaking to his dad.
Racked with guilt over the double homicide and upset that Walt now hates him, Michael has made several suicide attempts and failed every time, like Jack Lemmon in The Odd Couple. Michael also wrote out his entire will on half a roll of toilet paper, but that apparently was deleted from the ep.
Others member Tom (M.C. Gainey)—like Ben, he’s able to travel back and forth between the island and civilization—interrupts Michael during one of his suicide attempts and tells him he can’t off himself because “the island won’t let you.” “Mr. Friendly” seeks Michael’s help in stopping Charles Widmore from finding the island and assigns him to infiltrate Widmore’s freighter as deckhand “Kevin Johnson” and kill everyone aboard with a bomb.
With nothing to live for anymore, Michael proceeds with the mission and activates what turns out to be a fake bomb, which releases a note that reads “Not yet.”
Communications officer George Minkowski (Fisher Stevens) summons Michael to the radio room to answer a call from someone claiming to be Walt. The caller is really Ben, who explains to Michael that he planted the fake bomb to show the difference between himself and Widmore.
“There are people on your boat who are innocent. They have no idea that the man they work for is a monster, a killer without conscience or a greater purpose,” Ben says. “When I’m at war, I’ll do what I need to do to win, but I will not kill innocent people.”
“Ana-Lucia and Libby?,” Michael says. “They were innocent.”
“You killed them, Michael. No one asked you to,” responds Ben, who orders him to compile a list of the freighter’s crewmembers and sabotage both the radio room equipment and the engines. “That way, the boat can never get to this island, and your friends will be safe… Consider yourself one of the good guys.”
Days 98-99 on the freighter
On the deck, Sayid tries to get Michael to drop the Kevin Johnson act and explain his reason for being on the freighter, but all Michael can say is “I’m here to die.” Later, Sayid confronts Michael in the engine room and demands to know more about the circumstances that brought him to the ship. Michael comes clean and confirms he’s working for Ben. Sayid goes to Captain Gault (Grant Bowler) and outs Michael as a mole.
Locke releases Miles from the boathouse (the grenade that Locke stuffed in Miles’ mouth was fake) and brings him to a camp meeting to share with the rest of the Locke flock the freighties’ real purpose for coming to the island (to take Ben). “We kinda like knew that forever ago,” says Hurley. Then the Others leader divulges to the Lockeaways that the freighties have been ordered to kill everyone on the island and reveals that Michael is his spy.
Ben tells his daughter Alex (Tania Raymonde) that she must hide from the freighties and proceed to the Temple, “the last safe place on the island.” She takes her boyfriend Karl (Blake Bashoff) and her mother Danielle (Mira Furlan) along with her to the location provided by Ben, only to find that it’s a trap. Karl and Danielle are shot dead by a sniper. The ep concludes with Alex surrendering and shouting that she’s Ben’s daughter.
“Meet Kevin Johnson” was originally intended to be an emergency season finale in case the strike continued into springtime. Had it ended up being the finale, it still would have made for an okay cliffhanger because so far, the fourth season has been Lost‘s strongest season since the first. The season’s shortened length must have forced the writers to step up their game and tighten up the pace. I wish Lost produced only 13 eps per season because then there wouldn’t be much filler eps. Look at Battlestar Galactica‘s first season: 13 great eps, and not a single dog in the bunch. When the Sci-Fi Channel increased Galactica‘s order from 13 to 20 per year, we started seeing filler stories like Apollo’s out-of-nowhere relationship with the Colonial version of “Kristen.”
When Lost returns on April 24, we’ll be treated to five more fourth-season eps, all filmed after the strike.
-Whose story should we believe? Gault’s claim that Ben staged the Oceanic 815 wreckage or Tom’s version, which attributes the ruse to Widmore? Tom says Widmore planted a lookalike plane and the 324 bodies to distract everyone else from the real plane, allowing him to have the island to himself.
-Michael tried to off himself via car crash to the tune of “It’s Getting Better” by Mama Cass. In one of my favorite teasers of the entire series, the quirky “Man of Science, Man of Faith” teaser, Desmond kicked off his daily routine in the hatch to the strains of another Mama Cass song, “Make Your Own Kind of Music.” Desmond’s song was also featured in “Adrift” and “Flashes Before Your Eyes.” How fitting that a singer who died under mysterious circumstances (did she choke on a ham sandwich?) has been frequently referenced on a series in which the public is misled to believe 324 missing people are dead.
-Michael is haunted by visions of Libby everywhere he goes, just like how Future Hurley keeps seeing Charlie back on the mainland. And like the Oceanic Six, Michael is forced (by Ben?) to conceal certain details about his return. In Michael and Walt’s case, they have to hide the fact that they’ve survived and assume different identities. Michael’s mother (Starletta DuPois), who’s taking care of Walt, has to pretend she doesn’t know Michael or Walt.
Libby, Libby, Libby on the freighter, freighter, freighter
-I much prefer Harold Perrineau’s role as Augustus Hill on Oz to his more famous role on Lost, where he’s the shrill, sad-sack Beecher to Ben’s Schillinger. Only replace getting raped to save your neck with being ordered to kill people to save yourself and your son or your friends.
-I have a feeling we’ll be flashing back again to the first few days on the freighter, possibly to see when “the sickness” first affected the crew and because Zoë Bell is too juicy of a guest star to appear onscreen only once as Regina. The engraved message from an “R.G.” on Naomi’s wrist bracelet—and Regina’s suicide in “Ji Yeon”—indicate that Regina is Naomi’s lesbian lover. Speaking of same-sex couplings on the show…
-Tom is gay. Didn’t see that one coming. I bet some gay viewers will be asking, “But did Lost‘s lone gay man have to be that guy?” “Mr. Friendly”‘s creepy delivery of “We’re gonna have to take the boy” in “Exodus, Part 2″ remains one of the series’ most despicable moments of villainy.
-Was Ben in on the ambush? Did he try to have his own daughter killed? Or did he want Alex’s life to be spared? (Here’s a wild theory: maybe Alex was behind the ambush, but her shock at seeing Karl and Danielle die looked genuine, so scratch that theory.) I wouldn’t be surprised if Ben sent Karl and Danielle to their deaths because it’s similar to how he sent Goodwin to be killed. So unlike everyone else in this ep, he didn’t come clean about everything. Because he’s Ben. As Miles says of Ben to Sawyer and Locke, “Considering a week ago you had a gun to his head and tonight he’s eating pound cake, I’d say he’s a guy who gets what he wants.”
On a scale consisting of Lost‘s cursed numbers, 4, 8, 15, 16, 23 and 42 (4 being the lowest, 42 being the highest)…
“Meet Kevin Johnson”: 16 (could have been 23, but I’m not much of a fan of the shouty Michael character)