Lost S1E13: Hearts and Minds
Well, I suppose you could call this episode a boon to the series. Huh? Right? Huh? Huh? God, I feel like I haven’t heard human laughter in so long it hurts. Nothing to do with the lockdown, I’m just not funny.
Anyway! This week’s fine episode of Lost, which revolves around Boone (Ian Somerhalder), via his daddy dom John Locke spiking him with hallucinogens, going on an existential mind journey in the forest. Now, I would consider this a very pro-existential mind journey blog, so this is just an instant win for me – and, for a change, the show actually seems to have some idea what it’s doing with its central character of the week.
This is a great episode for Somerhalder – there’s nothing like an introspective jaunt through the jungle to give a character a little more meat, and Somerhalder manages to sweat and shout his way through it pretty convincingly. Seeing this slightly evil side of Locke provides a new shaft of light on what his morality is and how he’s going to push it on the people around him- his calm confidence actually seems a little unsettling when its presented against the emotional turmoil he’s caused Boone, and I like that.
Elsewhere on the island, things are ticking along in Sawyer-free niceties: Hurley and Daniel Dae Kim enjoy some sea-urchin-munching, urine-play banter on the beach, and Kate and Sun go full cottagecore lesbian on their little farm together. Jack just wanders around getting the best out of people, and even refuses to let Charlie get all emo on him, saving us from another of Dominic Monaghan’s lady-driven Angst sessions.
But, it was during this episode, Hearts and Mind, that I finally pieced together some of the issues I’ve been having with Lost’s central character episodes. And, honestly, I can’t believe I didn’t see it before. But, when Shannon, Boone’s sister, is caught up in yet another Shitty Boyfriend-slash-Husband plot, it hit me: every featured woman’s story so far has had the same central impetus.
Kate has her shit criminal ex – Claire has her abandonment-issues daddy boyfriend. Sun has her possessive, violent husband, and now Shannon is stuck with a con-artist ex who drives her, immensely creepily, into the arms of her own adopted brother, Their plots are all defined by some negative romantic relationship, and it’s just fucking…it’s just boring, honestly. The male characters have had a range of motivation – Sawyer’s is to avenge his mother, Jack’s to try and do the right thing by his father, Locke’s to fully live the life he has always dreamed of. Charlie to be a rock God, so I hear. The only man who has arguably lumped with this plot is Sayid, but his for more of the doomed-romance flavour than of the shite partner one.
I’m not saying that having any women stuck with this plot is a bad thing, but the fact that all of them have dealt with it already suggests that the writers are struggling with some actual creativity when it comes to their female characters. I’m not saying all of them have to be working in STEM fields and reciting Gloria Steinem, but a little variation would be appreciated, you know? For a show that purports such diversity, and has offered that with the backgrounds of its male characters, I’d love to see them shift out of “bad boyfriend” mode and into something a little more inventive for its women.
But that’s more a whole-series problem than one I have with this episode in particular, which is actually a pretty solid outing. Somherhalder is looking more and more like a likely sacrifice for later in the series – tragic enough to matter, not central enough to the plot to upend it – but this is a fine centrepiece for his character if it’s all we’re going to get. I’d like to see Lost push a little harder with its featured women, but, with that long-rumoured Harold Perrineau episode finally on the horizon next week, I’m willing to let that sit for now. Bring on Walt and Michael! And give me as much of that fucking dog as possible!
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(header image via SpoilerTV image gallery photos)