Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Review: Lost 3.7: Not In Portland
Even when semi-conscious and undergoing surgery, Ben
manages to be a master manipulator. From Wikia
Lost - Season Three, Episode Seven - Not In Portland
Written 1/3/14

I really can't tell you how much of a breath of fresh air Juliet brings to the series. It's not just that Elizabeth Mitchell is a fantastic actress, although that's mostly the reason, but it's also that Juliet brings yet another new perspective to the series that is really needed in order to bring us into The Other storyline. Finally choosing to focus on Juliet and her origins introduces us into the season proper with this episode, a tour-de-force of characterisation brilliance and drama which gave me everything that the six-episode arc couldn't deliver. Oh, and Danko's in it, which always makes things better.
     On the Island, Jack's ruse allows Kate and Sawyer to escape, but it's not long before Juliet points out that Jack's too much of a principled nice guy to let Ben die, and Pickett is sent after them. They meet Alex Rousseau, who gives them her boat after they help save her boyfriend, Karl, from a leftover DHARMA psychological torture device. Mid-surgery, Ben wakes up and, despite the fact that he now knows about both Jack's plan and Juliet's attempt to kill him, she asks for Juliet and has a private word with him, after which she declares her intent to help Kate and Sawyer escape in exchange for Ben's safety. As Jack finishes Ben's surgery, Juliet shoots a raging Pickett in order to help Kate, Sawyer and Karl escape, with Alex forced to stay behind to be there when her "father" Ben awakens.
     In her flashback, we find Juliet working as a timid lab researcher in a Miami fertility clinic, where all of her research is controlled by her slimy ex-husband Edmund, who despite their seperation still has a psychological hold on her. Juliet is pioneering a treatment to help infertile women get pregnant, starting with her sister, a cancer survivor who always wanted children. Juliet is approached by a Richard Alpert of Mittellos Bioscience, who intrigues her with a strange scan of a woman's uterus, but she jokes that the only way that she could go would be if Edmund were hit by a bus. The day after her sister reveals that she's pregnant, Edmund is killed right in front of her by an errant bus driver, and Alpert approaches again, pretending not to know anything about it.
The Others ensure that Juliet's oily husband gets hit
by a bus. From Wikia

     After six weeks where flashbacks were very few and far between (and rarely that good when they did appear), Juliet's flashback is given a lot more screentime. She has the advantage of not having to cover over new ground, and while contributed to the episode's success, novelty alone is not what sold it. In the time we've known her, Juliet has been portrayed as a disillusioned, scheming woman whose true motives were unclear. This episode makes the point of comparing her differences and similaries to the Survivors - she was led to the Island under false pretences, and before their manipulation of her she was a very different person indeed. What led to Juliet changing so much is explored over three centric episodes (this one, One of Us and The Other Woman.)
     Not In Portland brought back what LOST used to be, in such stark contrast to the previous episode that I couldn't quite comprehend it. Within a single flashback episode, Juliet's character became vastly more three dimensional - made even more impressive by the fact that this episode wasn't even specifically about her, as it had a lot of work to do in rapidly pushing along the storylines that the initial arc of the season left it with. And when an episode of Lost gets both its action and its characterisation so perfectly spt on and mixed together like a fine paella... that's when I'm glad to be doing this whole shebang.


NEXT WEEK: Most Lost fans love it, but I don't, even though it's a funky time-travel episodes... Desmond Flashes Before Your Eyes.

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