On TV: Lost, 'Some Like It Hoth'


The most novel element of Lost's signature flashback format is that by letting each episode explore a different character, the series effectively allows underrated supporting actors to be a show lead at least once a year. That's reason enough to like "Some Like It Hoth," which revolved around this season's barely-used Miles (played by Ken Leung, whose sarcasm-spitting is increasingly welcome as the show ventures into more and more outlandish territory). But while the episode did right by its supporting characters, it's what the show's been doing wrong with Matthew Fox's Jack that caught most of my attention.

Namely, what's Jack's motivation? In the early seasons, it was to get off the island, and the masterstroke of Season 4 was in juxtaposing Jack's realization of that goal with flashforwards that broke his will until he finally wanted to go back. But now that he is back, he's just standing around waiting for something to do, and since he's putatively the main character and the one the series has spent the most time building up, the air is slowly being let out of this show's stakes as a result. He's been utterly aimless for the entire latter half of this season -- more, if you take into account how subservient he was to Ben in his quest to return to the island.

It's right around this time that the internet will protest, "But the show is better with less Jack!" because if there's one thing the internet hates, it's main characters on television shows (especially female leads). But unfortunately, this lack of a motivation is something that's affecting all the Lost characters right now as we come hurtling into the home stretch. Check it out:

Jack: Just hanging out until someone tells him what to do.

Locke: Just hanging out until the island tells him what he should be doing.

Desmond: Just hanging out, off the island and practically off the show entirely.

Kate: Ostensibly looking for Claire, but so utterly nonplussed by the fact that she's in a completely different time period that she's just gonna hang out and look for Claire when she gets born, maybe? At that point, it'll be totally easy. Babies are a cinch to find.

Sayid: Just hanging out? Who knows, it's been forever since we've seen him.

I kind of figured that once they returned to the island in the wrong era, most of the characters would be trying to figure out a way to get back where they're supposed to be. But not really! And don't get me wrong, there's still a lot happening on the show -- it's just that it's happening to the characters, instead of happening because of them. Are the producers really going to make Jack a janitor, give him two inessential scenes (one where he's cleaning a chalkboard!) per episode, and then expect the same level of investment when they presumably reactivate him as a main character for the final season?

But anyway, how about Ken Leung's lips, huh?


  • The real question is, as all hell breaks loose, will the men be forced to set aside their jumpsuits and run sweaty and topless through the jungle? I think that would greatly help the show.

  • KE says:

    oh my god I agree completely with all of this.

  • LLH says:

    sayid is hanging around...he's HIDING...he did try to kill young ben after all, that was his 'purpose'...what ever that means.

  • LLH says:

    isn't hanging around...is not...W!

  • Inhaler says:

    He's definitely got a lil Octomom in him.

  • Little Mintz Sunshine says:

    Jack, shmack. Where the fuck are Bernard and Rose?

  • gwendemarco says:

    Bernard and Rose are in plastic surgery post-op because they need to de-age by at least two Zac Efron life spans. Got to love that Cap'n & Tenille were playing on the radio.

  • syd says:

    the strangest thing is how hot ken leung has suddenly become.
    but yeah, i agree, this season seems to be a bit off.... i don't know, after that awful cgi-smoke last week, a huge part of my lost loving heart now seems to be gone.

  • Pirulin says:

    Kyle, will you marry me? After that review, all I want os to have your children!

  • Scott says:

    Jack: No longer trying to "change" or "fix" everything. He is developing a more sophisticated understanding of reality by contemplating fate and destiny instead of choice and free will. He is "a man of faith" instead of a "man of science". You could call him lazy, or you could call him Zen.
    Locke: Already taking orders from the island. Locke knows more than we think. He COULD simply be a manifestation of the smoke monster, like Alex in "Dead is Dead".
    Desmond: Just hanging out, off the island and practically off the show entirely, UNTIL the island catches up to him. He will return and become one of the most important characters (due to his special relationship with time)
    Kate: Shes looking for Claire... or maybe shes just trying to save the universe from imploding,(or whatever the fuck is supposed to happen if the survivors don't return).
    Sayid: "Who knows" is exactly right. He could come back to serve the storyline in many, many ways.

  • LaMuda says:

    I'll just join the internet chorus and say I haven't cared about Jack since mid-3rd season (about when Bai Ling showed up--what the hell was that??), but Kyle has a great point about the rest of the island returnees. Kate especially is bugging me out. If she went back "for Claire," and/or Sawyer, why is she wasting her time putting the moves on Ben's dad?
    There's probably some obscure Buddhist lesson, excuse me, "Dharma", in this turn away from main characters. Or maybe it's the crashing ratings numbers and the blessing of a set cancellation date.