I know just how Bill McKay feels.
I know just how Bill McKay feels.
In the words of Hurley: “Whoa.” Just when it looked like tonight’s episode was going to be yet another week of unfortunate filler, that happens. And by that, of course, I mean Smokey’s devious plan to sneak a bomb onto the submarine in order to kill all the Losties in one fell swoop. I was under the impression that Smokey couldn’t harm any of the candidates (Jack, Hurley, Sayid, Sawyer and Sun/Jin), but apparently, that isn’t the case. Sure, one could argue that he didn’t directly kill any of them, but that’s kind of like saying that bullets kill people – not the ones who pull the trigger.
The events leading up to the explosion weren’t particularly engaging, either. In fact, it was more of the same stuff we’ve been hearing for weeks now. Smokey rescues the Losties, Jack tells Smokey that he’s not leaving the island, Sawyer tries to double-cross Smokey because he doesn’t trust him, yadda yadda… only for Smokey to get the upper hand in the end. So how was Smokey able to do it? I’m a little curious to hear the explanation for that one (as well as how he was able to survive a dip in the water when he couldn’t even travel by boat a few episodes ago), but go ahead and add four more Losties to the death tally while we wait.
Lapidus was knocked out by a steel door when the water came rushing through, and Sayid (after informing Jack of Desmond’s whereabouts) sacrificed himself by absorbing the bulk of the blast. At least he died honorably. The same could be said of Jin, who refused to leave Sun to die on her own after she became trapped under all that wreckage. Of course, the fact that the writers would do this only a week after their half-assed reunion is pretty damn mean. If there was anyone I was hoping would get off the island safely, it was those two, but now that they’re goners, I really couldn’t care what happens to the rest of them. Jack clearly doesn’t want to leave, Kate has become as useless as an asshole on an elbow, Sawyer is a selfish prick again, and Hurley, well, he’s just unlucky.
It’s gotten to the point that a happy ending on Earth-2 just isn’t going to be enough anymore. I love these characters (at least, most of them) – I don’t want to see them all die. Unfortunately, that’s the way it’s starting to look with only a few episodes remaining. Stay on the island or die trying to leave. Hopefully, that won’t be the case, because then what would have been the point of telling their story? There has to be something that makes all this worthwhile, but I don’t think we’re going to get a hint of what that could possibly be until the finale. For now, it looks like we’ll just have to keep guessing as the pieces slowly come together. The fact that Jack is starting to notice the strange connection between everyone on Earth-2 is certainly a start, but while it’s fun getting to see the different paths that each character has taken in the mirror universe, I’m left wanting more. Here’s hoping the writers can deliver whatever it is we’re expecting.
In the mood for an inspirational sports story? You won’t get it in this hard-edged, documentary style 1969 sports film starring Robert Redford (a star but not yet a superstar) as a reckless Olympic-level skier who is utterly selfish and cold-hearted. A pre-“French Connection” Gene Hackman is his coach, probably a good guy and a bit off-put at having to deal with this grade-A douche who, like it or not, might be a champion.
As the DVD extras in this typically strong Criterion package inform us, “Downhill Racer” was originally conceived by Redford as a film to be directed by a hot new European director who shared his passion for skiing. Roman Polanski, however, was too busy with “Rosemary’s Baby,” so Redford concentrated his efforts on working with writer James Salter and first-time feature film director Michael Ritchie (“The Bad News Bears”) to craft this deliberately cold lack-of-character study. The ski footage is as exciting as you can imagine and “Racer” is often as intriguing as it is chilly. Still, it’s primarily a cerebral experience, hobbled by a protagonist who is incapable of changing and a bit dull. Redford and Ritchie inverted the formula in their next collaboration, placing a well-intentioned idealist in conflict with the morally dangerous world of electoral politics in “The Candidate.” That made for a much more engaging movie, but “Downhill Racer” remains worthwhile — and notable historically. Redford says the troubles he encountered making it ultimately led him to conceive of a project to help emerging filmmakers called “Sundance.” That’s more than a footnote.