Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Review: Lost 3.5: The Cost of Living

"I ask for no forgiveness, father, for I have not sinned. I have only done what I needed to do to survive. A small boy once asked me if I was a bad man, if I could answer him now I would tell him, that when I was a young boy I killed a man to save my brothers life. I am not sorry for this, I am proud of this. I did not ask for the life that I was given but it was given none the less, and with it I did my best."
Eko faces judgement from The Monster, in the first
sign that it is an intelligent entity. (Later to be known as
The Man In Black.) From Wikia
Lost - Season Three, Episode Five - The Cost of Living
Written 25/2/14

Back in Season Two I went on a bit about how Eko's first centric episode, The 23rd Psalm, was one of my favourite episodes of the show. This week we finish off Eko's trilogy of centrics with something of a direct sequel to that earlier episode, covering similar themes and giving Eko's character a brilliant swansong before his untimely departure from the show. We're also still in the six-episode arc (yes, I will mention this in every review), and there were some interesting developments surrounding the arc's conclusion and plot points that will resurface in this season's second half. Also, Nikki and Paolo. Doing things.
     Eko awakens after his ordeal with the Hatch and the polar bear to find an apparition of his dead brother Yemi waiting for him and demanding that he make a confession of his sins - "you know where I'll be." While Locke and the others plan to go to the Pearl in order to use the tech to contact The Others, they find Eko heading off in the same direction, and follow him there. Eko finds that his brother's body is missing. When Locke's team enter the Hatch and patch through to the other stations, they see an eyepatched man staring back at them. Eko is confronted yet again by Yemi, and he gives his confession, in which he is unapologetic about the things he did. (See quote.) Yemi very quickly reveals himself to be an apparition of The Smoke Monster, who then kills Eko on the spot. On Hydra Island, Jack confronts Ben over his spinal x-rays and after a while Ben reveals that he does need Jack to operate on him. Juliet gives Jack a coded message asking him to go ahead with the surgery, but to kill Ben and make it look like an accident. In Eko's flashback, we see his brother and him as children, with Eko stealing food when Yemi is hungry. We then follow on from the flashback of The 23rd Psalm, with Eko taking on his brother's role of priest in their small village, before fighting off a gang of local militia in the Church, desecrating it in the process and earning the enmity of his entire community.
     The flashbacks in this episode were interesting for two reasons - one, because the bookmark flashbacks towards Eko's childhood were set up quite well and I think they added to the overall tragedy of the episode. And secondly because by picking up at the point where Eko first pretended to be a priest and blurring the lines between his honest intentions and his shady dealings, we not only get even more insight into the guilt that Present!Eko is reliving but also a step which makes the transition between The 23rd Psalm's guilt drug lord and "?"'s pious priest that bit more believable. And that is the genius of Eko's character - he's built on faith and spirituality, but his key character arc is one of guilt and regret and building himself into a better man. I'm not religious in the slightest, but Eko is still a character I relate to quite a bit, and his loss is one that I'm really going to feel.
Seriously, Kid!Eko, stop doing shit for this kid. It'll only
lead to trouble. From Wikia
     Elsewhere, and Nikki and Paolo are continuing their unwelcome stay by hitching along with Locke's group to the Peal, with Nikki having the initiative to point out there being multiple DHARMA stations across the Island, and Paolo... going to the bathroom. Which happens to be a plot point in their centric episode. Seriously. Their sheer existence continues to make very little sense - throwing down two random new characters into a cast of characters we've gotten to know over 50 hours of television and expecting us to believe that they were there all along is just ridiculous on so many levels it doesn't feel real to me. I'm only really talking about this because this is where they make a big impression for the first time, and they didn't really detract from the Eko awesomeness or the cool developments on Hydra Island, but I think it's important to understand where the antipathy for them comes from.
     I think it's fair to say that The Cost of Living took the previous episodes of this season thus far and blew them out of the park. Even taking into account the fact that I love Eko, this episode is just so brilliant in so many different ways that I can't say anything otherwise. Eko's arc was done in very few episodes compared to some of the other characters on the show, but it's by far the best that the show has to offer and this concluding episode showed that in its myriad layers of characterisation, painting Eko as the man he was - not a priest, or a drug lord, but a caring and regretful man who spent his life making up for the mistakes he made just trying to survive.


NEXT WEEK: The arc ends... on a Kate episode. But what's this? NATHAN FILLION? Will the Firefly star get to say I Do?

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