The 'Lost' Hour: Season 3 Review -- "Further Instructions," "Every Man for Himself," "The Cost of Living"

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Jen Chaney and Liz Kelly
Washington Post "Lost" Bloggers
Thursday, October 22, 2009; 3:00 PM

Join "Lost" bloggers Liz Kelly and Jen Chaney this fall to discuss "Lost's" third season. Each week, we'll assign a few episodes to watch. Then join Liz and Jen each Thursday at 3 p.m. ET to talk about what happened and how those early shows tie in (or not) to "Lost's" looming final season.

For the Thursday, Oct. 22th chat watch the season three episodes "Further Instructions," "Every Man for Himself" and "The Cost of Living."

Liz and Jen, both obsessive "Lost" fans, have been writing their weekly dueling analysis of the show since 2006. When not debating the merits of Sawyer's hotness, Liz Kelly writes the Celebritology blog and Jen Chaney acts as movies editrix and DVD columnist for washingtonpost.com. For episode analysis, discussion transcripts and more, visit washingtonpost.com's Lost Central.

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Liz Kelly: With this week's episodes, we have reached the much-maligned (and for just cause) Nikki and Paolo era. Just remember that it doesn't last long, their demise will be satisfying and some key stuff does happen in between their goofy asides.

In fact, this week we got to take a second look at the death of Mr. Eko, killed by the smokemonster after being tormented by someone in the form of his dead brother. Lots of mythology packed into that episode. Let's talk about it.

Jen Chaney: Nikki and Paolo -- man, after all this time, they still annoy the heck out of me. Every time one of them talks, I just want to scream: "What are you even *doing* here?" at my TV. Not the actors' faults at all, just a badly handled arrival, as the writers clearly realized in retrospect.

In addition to the Eko issues Liz mentioned, I also want to get your thoughts on a present-day "Lost" matter. News broke earlier this week that one original "Lost" character may not return next season; the actor is the lone hold-out. Who do you all think it is? Liz and I -- and most of the Internet-reading world -- think it's Harold Perrineau, aka Michael.

Lastly, if any of you can come up with a good "Lost"-related Halloween costume for me, I'd be appreciate. All right, I'll shut-up now.

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Massillon, OH: If one were in the mood for some spoilers, they could check out IMDB and find out a couple of Seas. 6 episode titles and the actors that are in them... I found it by accident looking up an actor and didn't feel spoiled, but rather excited.

Jen Chaney: One could do that. One could do indeed.

This isn't so much a spoiler as a factoid -- heard a rumor that the start date for next season will be Jan. 27. "Lost" blogger JOpinionated gets credit for sharing the info. Don't think ABC has officially confirmed it yet, but I wouldn't be surprised if that turns out to be night one. Just telling you now so all can mark their Outlook calendars accordingly...

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Lexington: How creepy was that whole "Locke in the sweatlodge dream in the wheelchair with Boone" thing? I love weirdness and randomness of LOST, but, I can see where that kind of thing was a turn-off to some of the viewers they lost (heh) in that season. Just got so out there.

Thank god we're all back to normal now, with our time-traveling island and all ;)

Liz Kelly: I'm thinking Boone in the sweat lodge was the least of the turn offs that season. It was nice seeing Boone again -- as I'm sure Jen will echo below since she has a big-time crush on him -- but the scene was pretty much filler. Along with things like Sawyer's pacemaker (or lack thereof) and the entire Sun/Jin "Glass Ballerina" episode.

Jen Chaney: Yes, thank God we got so on track and now just deal with the space-time continuum rupturing. So much more normal.

I don't mind "Lost" being weird, but that particular dream sequence seemed weird for weird's sake, to some degree. Boone's hotness made me less bothered by that, though. As we mentioned last week, these first few season three episodes -- while hardly terrible -- felt a little off somehow, and I think that discouraged less patient viewers. Who, let's be honest, should have been more patient.

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Nicknames: Could we talk a bit about Sawyer and his nicknames. His use of nicknames is obviously sarcastic and unpleasant for the victim, excepting, maybe, "Freckles". Our previous President used nicknames and there was controversy about whether it was mean or cute. Is the use of nicknames good, bad, depends on the speaker, what?

Liz Kelly: It's all context, Costanza. As you say, in most cases, Sawyer uses his nickname power for bad -- to log subtle (or sometimes not-so-subtle) digs at his adversaries. But, as you also mention, he is equally capable of using nicknames as terms of endearment -- a way to show his affection for Kate without coming out and declaring his love.

Me, I'm for a clever nickname. That's why I don't mind when Jen calls me "Angelina."

Jen Chaney: Agreed. I think Sawyer can use nicknames to be mean or cute, depending on his motives. I refuse to draw parallels between him and W., though. I'm sure some enterprising media studies student could write a thesis on that topic, but I won't even wade into that territory right now.

And as for nicknames for both me and Liz, I think Thing One and Thing Two is probably about right.

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Start Date: If the were on Tuesdays they could have a Groundhog Day episode. (But a Bill Murray cameo would be official grounds for jumping the shark.)

Jen Chaney: I think it's going to stay on Wednesdays.

But it would be nice to see Bill Murray on the island, wouldn't it? He could play golf with Jack and Hurley. ("It's in the hole!")

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Lost costume: Your best bet for a recognizable costume is the Dharma initiative jumpsuit. Just get a garbage man's uniform or ghostbusters uniform and put on the Dharma logo - perhaps the Pearl? Did you see the Top Chef w/the Lost challenge (they wore jumpsuits)?

Why are this hate for Nikki and Paolo? I love the episode where they die - not because they die, but because it was like it's own vignette/fable in the midst of Lost choas.

Liz Kelly: All the hate is because of the fact that Nikki and Paolo were ill-advised additions to the cast, probably required by network suits who wanted two more hot bodies on the show and, hey, while we're at it let's have them ask dumb questions all the time. Blech.

As for the costume, I think you'd make a fab McPatchy, Jen.

Jen Chaney: Man, I can't believe I didn't consider McPatchy before. I'd kind of prefer to be either a. female or b. a non-gender-specific entity, though.

There are Dharma jumpsuits for sale, and I did consider that. I just don't think I can pull off a jumpsuit. It's not a good look for me. I may have to bail on this and go as Molly Ringwald as part of a Halloween-oriented tribute to John Hughes.

But Nikki and Paolo: here's the problem. They suddenly show up on the show with no explanation and we're supposed to believe that they've been there all along and would care if, say, Eko died. And we, as the audience, have no reason to believe that.

It's like when you go out for drinks with friends and some random, weird person muscles into your group and starts laughing at all the inside jokes you're telling even though he/she couldn't possibly understand them. It's like, who are you? Who invited you here? And how can I politely make you leave?

The answer, apparently? Write in a scene about a fatal spider bite.

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Seattle, WA: Hi Liz and Jen!

Totally off the 'Lost' topic - but have either of you been watching 'Flash Forward'? It's still in the early stages of laying the groundwork for the story to come, but I think it's going to hit it's stride very soon and hopefully become the next show we all obsess about after 'Lost' is off the air. Though I wonder if it's really got staying-power, as the 'flash forwards' are in March 2010 - what happens after that? Can the show continue?

Liz Kelly: Nope, and I'm starting to think that maybe I'd better take a peek. Jen, have you been watching?

Jen Chaney: No, I keep meaning to. I saw part of the pilot and now I'm so far behind that I don't know if I can jump in and understand what's happening. I might give it a shot tonight.

The pilot didn't impress me, but I have heard it's gotten better.

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Washington: Eddie the stowaway cop wearing a Geronimo Jackson shirt! Ha!

I love Geronimo Jackson, by the way. Turn it up!

Jen Chaney: Nice detail. Turn it up, indeed.

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Reston, VA: In Further Instructions, I thought the comment by Boone in Locke's hallucination about Aaron being okay "for a while" was interesting. At this point, nothing bad has happened to Aaron, although perhaps there was a bit of foreshadowing in Season 5 (can't seem to remember the episode) when Kate lost him in the grocery store and for a split second, thought he was kidnapped. I'd like the Aaron storyline to be better explained in Season 6. Any thoughts on whether it will be wrapped up?

Oh yeah, keep up the great work ladies!

Liz Kelly: I think we've talked about this here pretty recently, but yeah, it would be unusual for the story of Aaron to somehow not find closure in season 6 -- especially since the island (or the show's writers) have made such a point of babies and children being possessed of special status. The fact that the Aaron thread was pretty much dropped over the course of season 5 was pretty frustrating, but there was so much other good stuff going on we didn't really notice until the season was over.

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FlashForward: It's good, but not as artful as Lost. And I think the subsequent episodes haven't been quite as good as the pilot, which I thought was very good.

Jen Chaney: Really? Maybe I was too distracted during the pilot. I got kind of bored. I'll give it a shot again, though. That's the one episode I DVR'd.

Thanks for the feedback.

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Costume: I think you should be the smoke monster in the form of Jen Chaney.

Liz Kelly: Oooh, good one.

Jen Chaney: So just go as myself with some sort of Smokey-looking hat? Possible.

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Not Michael: It's not Michael who is holding out. Plus his TV show got canceled and I would think he would like some high profile work.

Liz: If not Harold Perrineau, then my next guess would be Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje -- Mr. Eko -- who we know left the show not because the writers wanted his character gone, but because he wanted out.

Jen Chaney: Other people guessed Maggie Grace, but I don't think that's right.

Eko's a good guess, too, although I assumed for some reason that the person was someone who was on the show in season one. I could be wrong, though.

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Go as Kate: Draw freckles on your face. Tousled hair (that's messy perfect in a pony tail). Tight jeans. Wear a little plastic plane around your neck and carry a handgun. It's a subtle costume.

Jen Chaney: That would be a good one, too, except my hair isn't long enough for a ponytail. And me in tight jeans is definitely not happening. (It's for the good of the nation, trust me.)

If I got a ponytail wig, though, and found some other pants option, maybe I could do it.

Jen Chaney: Added bonus: Liz could walk around with me on Halloween night and berate me repeatedly. I think it would be very therapeutic for her.

Liz Kelly: For you, Thing One, I'd do it.

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Beltsville, Md.: The spider bite wasn't fatal. It was the being buried that killed them.

Jen Chaney: Right, fair point. The seemingly fatal spider bite is what I should have said.

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Alexandria, Va.: If it's on Wednesdays, it's either going to be at 10 or ABC is going to have to move the comedy block they've been building up this season, which seems to be pretty successful so far.

I'm probably in the minority, at least among the chat participants here, but I think Lost is a 10 show.

Liz Kelly: It may be a 10 o'clock show, but I'm hoping for 9 -- just to avoid staying up working on our analysis until past 2 a.m. each week.

Jen Chaney: Agreed. 9 p.m. is late enough for our work flow. And really, shouldn't they schedule the show at our convenience?

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Juliet: I realized how much we'll miss Juliet next season. She had a good dynamic with Jack at first then Sawyer in the most recent season. Juliet was a strong character who wasn't always content to let events control their destiny. She was a decider.

Liz Kelly: Agreed... but don't we already know that Elizabeth Mitchell will be back in at least a limited capacity for season 6?

Jen Chaney: Yes, but I am guessing her appearances will be pretty limited. We won't see her in every episode, so in that sense, she will be missed for sure.

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OK - I'll ask it...: Regarding Nikki and Paolo - didn't anyone else wonder for a second just who was among the lot of other Oceanic survivors? Nobody else wanted to know what those other folks were doing while Kate was trying to decide between her two boyfriends? If the answer is yes, is the issue more one of the sudden lavishing of time on previously unseen characters? If the answer to that is yes, didn't anyone get at least a flicker of a sense of the same thing when we were suddenly with the Tailies in Season 2?

Liz Kelly: No, because the addition of the Tailies to the show was done beautifully and it made sense for the story. Not so for Nikki and Paolo, who may as well have been wearing Baywatch costumes.

Jen Chaney: Right, and the Tailies were on another side of the island. We weren't expected to believe that Michelle Rodriguez had really experienced everything we saw in season one, but just happened to be off-camera the whole time.

Same goes with the freighter folks. They had plausible backstories, were introduced gracefully and were intriguing characters. I mean, for non-newbies, compare the character development of Paolo to the character development of Faraday. Rest my case.

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Arrow Station: Do you guys know when ABC will repost the back half of Season 5 on their site? I kind of watched the first hundred episodes in about three weeks this summer and really really really want to get caught up.

Also: Why didn't Charlie just reopen the damn door? Gah.

Liz Kelly: Nope -- no word yet. My guess: At some point after the season 5 DVD release, in December.

Jen Chaney: Good guess, Liz. I don't know either, but the imminent release of the DVD must be a motivator here.

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Not returning (possible spoiler): Ausiello on EW.com has confirmed that while Claire will definitely be returning, season 6 will be sans Rousseau b/c of scheduling conflicts. The actress who plays Rousseau will be out of the country (off the island?). I don't know if you'd call her an original "Lostie," but for what it's worth, I thought I'd share.

Jen Chaney: Thanks for this. Not surprising since Mira Furlan is another actor who wanted to leave the show. (If I remember correctly, she was sick of having to travel to Hawaii.)

Liz Kelly: Yeah, that would clearly suck.

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Seattle, Wash.: Does watching these again change your opinion about who/what is controlling the characters and their motivations?

I find that, having seen the later episodes, I ascribe different motives to the characters and what is going on then I do when first watching them.

Except for Hurly, most of the time.

Liz Kelly: Yep, there's some of that going on. For me, a key instance of that was the scene where Sawyer and Kate are set to work breaking rocks at the runway site. Juliet tries to play nice and give the overheated Sawyer a canteen of water. Sawyer looks at her intensely, dumps the canteen, then walks over to Kate and lays one major kiss on her. That one scene is pretty much a road map for what happened between Juliet, Sawyer and Kate in season 6. And it made me sad for Juliet, who we know is destined to lose in love.

Jen Chaney: I also ascribe different motives to Ben about every five seconds.

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Re: 'Flash Forward': Interesting idea, but terrible, terrible, terrible scripting. Utterly telegraphed and cliche-ridden. Slate has a very good writeup about it today.

Jen Chaney: Ooh, will have to take a look. Thanks.

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Vienna, Va.: I think the "Glass Ballerina" episode was meant to show that Sun had a tougher and more scheming personality than we had first suspected. And we saw that when she got off the island. But then she seemed to lose it when she came back. Still, I'm guessing that it might return this season in the form of a "I'm not doing what the island wants, I'm going to do what I want" moment that will imperil the rest of the survivors.

Liz Kelly: Yes yes, but it was filler all the same.

Still, it did remind me that Sun was basically responsible for the death of someone -- her lover. Which makes Aaron the only member of the Oceanic 6 whose actions led to the death of another human being before arrival on the island (cuz he was in vitro and whatnot).

The rest of them, though, did -- Jack had patients die in surgery, Kate's choices led to the death of a childhood friend, Sayid was a torturer who we know killed at least one Iraqi prison guard, Hurley's lottery win (and bad luck) led to the death of his grandfather and Sun, as I just said, is somewhat to blame for the death of her lover because she failed to own up to the affair.

And, after watching today's third episode, in which a villager tells Eko that god exacts payment from those who take life, well, it does provide some food for thought...

Jen Chaney: Jack and Kate both did things that, indirectly and directly, led to their father's deaths, too. Interesting point, Liz.

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Burlington, Vt.: So for the next few chats, should I expect to hear endless, repetitive and pretty much gratuitous belly-aching about Nikki and Paolo? I think it's well-established how most people feel about them?

I'm growing a little tired of it, since there's so much more to talk about. I mean, if no one found them interesting to begin with, why keep re-hashing it? Or are these chats stuck in their own time loop?

Jen Chaney: Very, very good points, Burlington.

Absolutely not. We will only occasionally belly ache about Nikki and Paolo, but would be happy to touch on other topics.

I'll start: what did people think about Eko's death? We know that Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje wanted to leave the show, which makes the character's death seem that much more abrupt. It particularly struck me as out of synch with where Eko was going in season two.

In "The Cost of Living," he seems stubbornly unrepentant for his sins, whereas everything prior to that made it seem like he really had become a man of God, and one who felt a great deal of sorrow and regret about his past.

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LOST holdout: I think I read somewhere that the chick who played Rousseau (SP?) wasn't coming back. It might have been Ausiello on EW this morning. Maybe she's the holdout. Was she on the first season? I don't think it's Eko - he didn't show up until season 2.

Jen - as far as costumes go, you could come up with just about anything as far as LOST goes, but unless you come across a true LOSTie, it probably wouldn't be appreciated. I think you should go with your John Hughes tribute.

Jen Chaney: Several of you reported the Rousseau thing. (Sorry, totally missed Ausiello's report ... and I follow that dude on Twitter! Busy week.)

And agreed. I only want to do a Lost costume if I can do it right. So I'm thinking I may have to go another route. Sigh. Oh well.

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Liz Kelly: Okily dokily, that's it for this week. Thanks for the good questions. Keep 'em coming. For next week, we'll be watching "I Do," "Not in Portland" (a good one, for sure) and "Flashes Before Your Eyes."

Jen Chaney: Of course, I threw out that Eko question and now we have to close the chat. Maybe we can talk more about his demise -- and less about Nikki and Paolo, at Burlington, Vt.,'s request -- next week.

Thanks, as always, guys. See you next time.

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Editor's Note: washingtonpost.com moderators retain editorial control over Discussions and choose the most relevant questions for guests and hosts; guests and hosts can decline to answer questions. washingtonpost.com is not responsible for any content posted by third parties.


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