(Spoilers after the jump)
Jeremy Davies’ new Lost character, Daniel Faraday—the gaunt, possibly bipolar physicist from the “rescue team” that Locke, Hurley and Desmond believe to be liars with no intention of rescuing the Oceanic 815 survivors—would likely be called “Scarecrow” or “Helter Skelter.”
Spiritualist Miles Straume (new regular Ken Leung), the hot-tempered second member of the “rescue team,” would be “Ghost Whisperer” or “Angry Asian Man.”
Charlotte Lewis (new regular Rebecca Mader), the team’s British anthropologist, would be “Tomb Raider,” “Jane” or “Kidman Jr.”
“Confirmed Dead,” the second episode of Lost‘s fourth season, introduces these new additions to the cast—all part of “Naomi’s people.” We get to see what they were up to before Matthew Abaddon (Lance Reddick) sent them and their leader Naomi (Marsha Thomason) to the island to retrieve only one of its inhabitants, Ben Linus, for some yet-to-be-revealed indiscretion.
“Once upon a time, there was a headcase, a ghostbuster, an anthropologist, a drunk and a hot sista from England, and they were each assigned very hazardous duties. But I took them away from all that, and now they work for me. My name is Matthew.”
Back on civilization, in Essex, Massachusetts, Daniel goes all Deputy Andy while watching news footage of a salvage ship discovering the underwater remains of Oceanic 815 in the Sunda Trench.
Miles, jokingly referred to by Naomi as a “ghostbuster,” is seen gabbing with the unseen spirit of an Inglewood woman’s murdered grandson, who leads the exorcist to a stash of money and drugs he kept hidden in an air vent in his bedroom. Miles’ pocketing of the dead teen’s cash makes him more of a frightener than a ghostbuster.
In the Tunisian desert, Charlotte bribes a local into letting her glimpse a secret discovery, the skeleton of a polar bear. She unearths a collar that carries the Dharma Initiative logo. Is this the same polar bear Sawyer shot in the pilot ep, and if so, how did its remains wind up all the way in Tunisia?
Over in the Bahamas, Frank sees footage of the supposed corpse of 815′s pilot, Seth Norris, who was played by J.J. Abrams good luck charm Greg Grunberg in the pilot ep (the smoke monster snatched the captain from his downed plane’s cockpit and had itself a Grunburger). Frank phones the National Transportation Safety Board to tell them the corpse isn’t Seth’s because he’s missing a wedding ring, and Seth never took off his ring. He also reveals that he was 815′s original pilot—Seth substituted for him. Frank must have been too busy drying out at Cirque Lodge.
On the island, the lostaways have split into two factions: Jack’s followers, who just want to get the hell off the island, and the Locke flock. They’re certain that Naomi’s freighter companions—the “freighties”—are coming to attack them, so they’ve gone off to hide in the Others’ abandoned barracks, which Locke says is the safest spot on the island.
Before the Locke flock can even reach the barracks, they stumble upon Charlotte, who has landed in a river. The Lockeaways don’t believe her claims of rescue and threaten to hold her prisoner. Ben—the only one who knows who the freighties really are and why they’ve arrived—makes a more extreme move when he shoots Charlotte. But the bulletproof vest under her jacket saves her life.
Jack, Kate, Sayid and Juliet may be more optimistic than the Locke flock about their chances of leaving the island, but they too have their doubts about the supposed rescuers, due to Miles’ tendency to pull a gun on them and his lack of empathy for the castaways’ plight.
“Confirmed Dead” was scripted by two staff writers who are utter failures outside of Lost: Drew Goddard, a veteran of Joss Whedon shows who wrote the Abrams-produced Cloverfield, the most successful January movie release ever, and comics sensation Brian K. Vaughan, the Eisner-winning creator of the just-recently-ended Vertigo gem Y: The Last Man.
There are some nice Goddard/Vaughan moments of wit in “Confirmed Dead.” Both writers excel at penning witty dialogue. BKV must be having a ball coming up with nicknames for Sawyer to utter (“Yoda” for Ben, “Colonel Kurtz” for Locke).
The addition of Ken Leung to the cast is an exciting development for Asian American Lost fans like myself who latched onto the show for several reasons, like the opportunity to see Asian characters on prime-time who aren’t hookers, caricatures or one-dimensional villains. Leung (who stole scenes in Edward Norton’s Keeping the Faith eight years ago and starred in one of the best unsold TV series pilots ever made, Spike Lee’s Sucker Free City) becomes Lost‘s third Asian American regular and the first to play an actual Asian American.
Alright, so Miles appears to be a villain too—and a rather shrill and shouty one. So far, Miles seems to be nothing more than a paranormally powered variation on the twitchy mental patient character Leung played on The Sopranos last year (Leung’s guest shot made some headlines when pundits absurdly complained that Leung’s Sopranos character too closely resembled Virginia Tech shooter Seung-Hui Cho). But I wouldn’t dismiss the Miles character as “another typical Asian villain” just yet because on Lost, villains are given as much as dimension as the criminals on The Wire (Lost even raises questions about the supposedly heroic actions of Jack, Sawyer, Sayid and Locke—as last week’s A.V. Club Lost recap noted, “nothing to date indicates that the ‘heroes’ we’ve been following for three years actually are heroes”).
Some last thoughts:
-After two consecutive eps of juicy flash-forwards, I initially dreaded the show’s return to the flashback format, but then I didn’t mind it because the ep gives us an interesting glimpse of how civilization reacted to 815′s disappearance (Lostpedia notes that this ep marks the first time we see off-island flashbacks that took place after the crash).
-Fisher Stevens is listed in the guest star credits again and is still M.I.A. What’s up with that? (Same thing with absent guest star Zoë Bell, the stuntchick who bravely dangled from the hood of a ’70 Dodge Challenger in Quentin Tarantino’s Death Proof and was one of the subjects of a past Cinequest entry, Double Dare, an insightful and entertaining documentary about Hollywood stuntwomen.)
-Sawyer calls Ben “Yoda” before giving him the first of two beatdowns in this ep. Lately, the Others leader and master manipulator, who’s provided much of the snark in the first two eps (“Karl, now if you’re going to sleep with my daughter, I insist you call me Ben”), has been acting more like “Dr. Smith.” But without the swishiness or the cowardice. He’s not afraid of Charlotte and he planted a spy on her freighter. Ben’s a badass.
-After Ben tells a gun-toting Locke, “I have answers,” I love that “Kurtz” asks Ben, “What is the monster? The black smoke. What is it?” Because that’s the same thing everybody always says to me whenever Lost is discussed.
-Another weird animal sighting on a show that defined weird animal sightings: After crawling out of the bushes, Frank is greeted by a cow.
“Frank? Are you alright? Pull my finger.”
-Daniel’s last name must be a reference to Michael Faraday, the British chemist/physicist who discovered electromagnetic induction, diamagnetism and electrolysis (I Wiki’d it). If there’s anybody who could figure out all the electromagnetism-related mumbo-jumbo on the island, it’d be Daniel.
-Sawyer gives everyone multiple nicknames, so you have to input your name over and over again into the Lost site’s nickname generator in order to get the full Sawyer experience. Here’s how I wound up with “Stubby”:
Then I removed “Smart” from the equation…
…and wound up with:
If I added “Slow” to “Creative” and “Thoughtful,” Sawyer would have probably called me “Wave.”
Evangeline Lilly runs beautifully, unlike Roger Moore.
On a scale consisting of Lost‘s cursed numbers, 4, 8, 15, 16, 23 and 42 (4 being the lowest, 42 being the highest)…