Last night, Lost fans were treated to a prolonged sneak preview of a pitch for a new pilot: Josh Holloway plays a LAPD detective with a dark past, Ken Leung is his partner, Rebecca Mader is his spunky love interest—
all some of your favorite Losties, together again!—and together they solve crimes and grapple with their personal dramas. If it gets picked up, it’ll be like how Twin Peaks fans could tune in to Seinfeld and still see Mrs. Palmer, Jacques Renault and Dr. Hayward, acting wacky.
Or, at least, that’s the only reasonable explanation for the flashsideways during last night’s episode, “Recon”. Otherwise, it would have been the show’s stupidest sideplot since Jack went to Phuket.
After two solid episodes in a row, Lost regressed last night, re-reveling in its worst tendencies, such as a flashsideways with only the most tenuous connection to the Real action. The detective storyline served mostly to wow the (unimpressed!!!) audience with the discrepancies between the two realities, and the overlapping details: hey, d’ja hear that code word? Did you see Sawyer’s books? Did ya catch Charlie’s brother? See that Charlotte, all dolled up? (I’m just glad Daniel’s not around to see this.) It’s basically just a series of winks and nudges.
The endgame storytelling has been so sloppy this season, as it often has been on Lost. (Oh, Clare’s not mad anymore, all of a sudden, soooo…forget those last few episodes.) I was hoping the final season would be different, but once again the writers seem to have only a few hours worth of action planned, and 18 hours over which to spread it out. (Thank God it's no longer 24. Can you imagine!?!) So you get episodes like “Recon”—get it? Sawyer will revert to his pre-LaFleur persona? He will con again?—which is basically a STOP EVERYTHING episode, the equivalent of the writers taking a coffee break.
That’s not to say the episode was a total waste. Sawyer’s discovery of Kate’s old flowered dress in the polar bear cages was especially poignant, an excellent example of how to revisit the show’s past—as opposed to three episodes ago’s “oh, hey, remember the caves? Huh? Do ya? Huh?” And it was another instance of Josh Holloway’s expert handling of wordless grief. While, acting-wise, this season has conspicuously belonged (as always) to Terry O’Quinn and Michael Emerson, Holloway has been quietly earning himself an Emmy.
Uh, except when he’s doing the parallel universe Bruce Wayne thing, becoming a law-and-order vigilante in response to his parents’ death. Hey, that parallels the way he can’t let go of Juliet’s death! Except, Juliet's passing only appeared in “Recon” as the slimmest, most obscure subtext. Ostensibly, and even a little deeper, the flashsideways and the Real reality had nothing to do with one another, so that by the point Sawyer X made up with Miles X, it was laugh out loud ridiculous. Who. Fucking. Caaaaaares?