Re-Lost: In Translation

Jin

Jin can't read this caption.

Jin is one of my favorite characters on Lost, because his language barrier makes him a perpetual outsider. His actions are inscrutable to those around him, because he can’t express everything that’s going through his head. In the very good “House of the Rising Sun,” we were finally given some insight into Jin and how he works, and “In Translation” continues that same arc. And a curious thing occurred to me while watching the show. By making Jin incapable of understanding and speaking English, the show basically put us in the same position as the other Losties. We don’t understand why Jin is so protective of Sun. We don’t know why his rivalry with Michael is so strong. It’s only when we get to see and hear things from his perspective that the pieces finally come into place. It’s like looking on two different sides of soundproof glass, and I loved it. Continue reading

Re-Lost: Outlaws

Derpy Sawyer

If Josh Holloway reads this blog, he'll wish I'd found a better picture.

I complained last time that at this point in Season 1, Lost seemed to be spinning its wheels, unable to proceed with anything the audience has much interest in. Well, “Outlaws” doesn’t even try to advance the overall plot of the show. It exists almost entirely as a standalone character study, aside from some housekeeping from last episode. (Apparently, Charlie was as surprised by his own actions as we were.) But I don’t necessarily mind standalone episodes, if they can give us some good stuff to chew on. And “Outlaws” gives us some terrific stuff. Continue reading

Innovation: The Mother of Invention

Innovation

Looks are deceiving.

When you’ve been in the hobby for a while, ennui can set it. It’s easy to become jaded and cynical about designer games. It seems like everything is a slight variation on something else. Heaven forbid you should ever be actually surprised by anything. So imagine how shocked I was to discover that there was a game that came largely out of left field to become what is perhaps my very favorite card game. Innovation is many things, but above all, it is blessedly surprising. That’s a quality that almost no game can claim, aside from the estimable Cosmic Encounter. Continue reading

Re-Lost: Homecoming

Charlie and Lucy

Charlie woos Lucy and her father

So, where were we? At the end of “Special,” Claire staggers out of the jungle, and that’s right where “Homecoming” picks up. Conveniently, she can’t remember anything that has happened to her since the crash. Perhaps she was attacked by a plot device. That sort of sums up the main issue I have with “Homecoming.” It keeps edging up against some forward momentum, but it never really provides that lurch forward that the show could really use right now. It’s just too busy screwing around. Continue reading

Re-Lost: Special

Walt and Michael

Michael plays with baby Walt.

Let’s come right out and say it: some things in Lost just never get tied up. They give us plenty of answers (sometimes too many), but it’s a pretty messy narrative. That doesn’t matter as much when you watch it for the first time, since you can enjoy the foreshadowing and not know any better. But when you are writing on every episode and trying to see how everything hangs together, an episode like “Special” is kind of sticky. How does one judge an episode where the hints and threats will remain largely unresolved?  Continue reading

Tintin et Moi

Not many people know this, but in middle school, my dream career was that of a cartoonist. Not that I was much of one, but for the 6th grade, I wasn’t half-bad. Most of my stuff was simply re-drawn pictures of Snoopy and Garfield, but I did invent my own strip (sort of), and I was a great lover of the funnies. Since we lived overseas for most of my developmental years, I did not get to read most of my favorite strips. It was only for the generosity of Jeanne Rushton, an elderly lady that my dad used to pastor, that I was able to keep up with the Sunday comics at all. She would bundle several months worth of Sunday funnies, and mail them to us in a big envelope. These were treasured by my sister and I. We read and re-read them until the newsprint disintegrated. Continue reading

Re-Lost: Hearts and Minds

Boone and Shannon

Boone is understandably taken in.

I swear that Boone is engineered purely to annoy me. He’s like Jack with none of the upside. He jumps into any fight, even ones he will certainly lose, he has a shrill tendency to stand up for pointless things, and he’s really kind of a jerk to his sister (who, to be fair, dishes it right back at him). For the second week in a row, we’re faced with a problematic flashback that makes the character thoroughly unlikable. Suffice to say, I did not go into “Hearts and Minds” expecting to enjoy it. Imagine my surprise when I actually found it to be pretty okay. Continue reading