Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Review: Lost 2.17: Lockdown
Locke plans on using a crowbar to open a
nuclear blast door. Clever. From Wikia
Lost - Season Two, Episode Seventeen - Lockdown
Written 5/11/13

How do you capitalise on your show's best asset when at best it's a side-plot that's been happily rumbling along in the background for a month? Well, you shove it to the front, that's what you do, with a few nifty sideplots underneath for packaging, a semi-relating flashback and the overall sense of desperation and sadness that only a John Locke episode can really bring us. That is Lockdown in a nutshell, and while Michael Emerson's performance feels a bit less omigosh amazing for the most part, the relationship between Henry Gale and John Locke continues to be a tragic and interesting one.
     On the Island, and an unsuspecting "Lockdown" event sees Locke and Henry sealed in the habitat room of the Swan, which makes Locke paniccy at not being able to reach the station's apocalyptic timer. He employs Henry's help to try and lift up one of the station's blast doors, but on attempting to get through he manages to become trapped beneath it. Time ticking (as it is in every episode of this season, it seems), he sends Henry through the vents to push the button. Meanwhile, Jack wins the meds back from Sawyer in a game of Poker. And Sayid, Ana-Lucia and Charlie find Henry Gale's balloon. As a mysterious package drops in the jungle, the three return to the Swan and reveal that Henry Gale - the real Henry Gale - was buried underneath that balloon, and that all of "Henry"s protestations of innocence had been lies.
     In Locke's flashback, we saw him attend his own father's funeral before discovering that he had in fact faked his death, and wanted Locke to help him out in a final scam before he left for good. To this end, Locke lies to Helen. Refusing to take a cut of his ill-gotten gains, Locke delivers the cash to his father on schedule, but they're discovered by Helen and she leaves him, tired of the his paternal obsession and the destructive effects it had on their relationship.
     Now, it's been a good three months or so since my last Lost review, so I'm probably not in the hokey pokey immersive mood that I usually am. I get that. But Locke's outspills of depressing durges usually incorporate some element of tragedy or catharsis or something that I can grab a hold of. And there's actually quite a lot of that going on at the moment - Henry (hereafter called Ben because I keep defaulting to it and fuck you it's my blog I'll spoil if I want to) is manipulating him into being standoffish towards Jack and feeling like he's being cuckolded, while he faces constant doubt over whether the timer in the Swan is real or just another pipe dream. But the episode doesn't focus on any of that - rather, it's a very, very elaborate-feeling setup for one simple revelation - that Ben is lying, of course. The episode's method of building up the "Henry Gale" persona until it's almost a certainty and then smashing it from beneath your feet probably works well when you don't know who he is, but I'm forever lost in the weary land of hindsight.
Anthony Cooper is more of an asshole than Jacob,
and that's really saying something. From Wikia
     Locke's dilemma in Orientation was quite well developed, with Locke being unable to reconcile his desire for affection (both parental and romantic) with the loathing and indignation that he held for his father. This episode has that too, except in nowhere near as clear a fashion, meaning that we can do nothing but blame Locke for the stupid shit that he does in this episode. When the Mafioso guys turn up on his doorstep, he should have pointed them towards the bank vault and told Helen the absolute truth from the off, instead of lying out of a lingering sense of misplaced loyalty to the man that ruined his life twice already and will continue to do so twice more before this show's end.
     I think in my head I hyped up Lockdown to be a bit more than it was. It introduced a few more elements to the series' mythology and it finally settled the debate surrounding the honesty of Henry Gale in the only way that a series like lost conceivably could and carry on the mystery. While its revelations were grand and well done, for whatever reason the characters were working on clockwork and outside of the interactions between Jack and Sawyer, there was very little at stake in terms of character development or progression - which, if I remember rightly, is one of the things that Lost should be good at.


NEXT WEEK: We related Hurley's obesity to mental illness because this show likes picking on fat people, in Dave.

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