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I think this episode "got the job done" with moving the plot forward, which was good. But after drawing us in last week to the stories of Juliet/Sawyer/Miles, it felt like we didn't spend enough time with them this week.
Overall I think they did a good job of setting up the "let's maintain the status quo" characters vs the "let's shake things up" characters. The best example of this was Juliet piping up with the access code so she wouldn't have to deal with Kate. Other posters have mentioned they thought Sawyer's con falling apart so fast was weak, he would have tried harder especially after his speech about thinking before he reacts. This was not a big deal for me, since we've established Ben and others (lowercase o) from the future don't remember these people.
And they might as well have put "Daniel is going to Die" on a billboard. When he said "Jack, any one of us can die" I thought of Frogurt on the beach - "We need fire" and here comes the flaming arrow. Then there was also his comment about a gun for beginners, his mother's talk about destiny, the Pollyanna-like speech about "gee we can change our lives!" etc.
I am on the fence on this ep. There is much that is good, much to think about, and a few things that are bad.
-Finally, the meeting that should have happened when they first showed up. Everyone gets together and tries to hash things out. This would have been the first thing I did when I got to the Past Island.
I- love that Hurley is tasked with asking the questions that a fan would ask
"Why didn't you tell him it was a big misunderstanding?" That's what I would have asked.
-Juliet making a decision based on her jealousy of Kate.
-A Lostie admits he can't handle a gun
-Jack goes back on the offensive.
And then there is all the stuff about Variables and Constants, changing things, not changing things. I have my opinions....But to enter into the Cage Match that is the forum about this is fruitless. People throwing the same points at each other with different conclusions. Last week I had an argument that dealt with Jack's beard that sent the other party into a tizzy, no thanks....Still, food for thought.
But Dan showing up at the last minute, with no time to spare, running to and fro without answering any questions is cheesy TV. That no one grabs him and says "sit down for seven minutes and explain yourself" is cheesy TV. That he fulfills his part in the opening of s05E01 just to fulfill it is lame. (To whit: I came down here to talk to Chang, but what I'll do is pick up this tank and bump into him first. Then I'll set it down and go talk to him twenty six seconds later" )
And, while I have no issue with Faraday dying. I have issue with his thinking in going to the camp. The man has never handled a gun and has gone into this camp before without one. Now he tries to overpower an entire camp? It's nonsensical!
Last thing: Kudos to Jeremy Davies....I've said it on other threads. It's hard to do the dying eyes thing from alive to dead, without movement. He pulled it off really well. Nice acting there.
I agree with a lot of what you said, and I posted for the first time ever in the "didn't like it" thread for this episode. But despite that I think the actor did a great job, he was actually a strong point of the episode, it was the writing that was so unbelievably off the mark.