Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Review: Lost 3.21: Greatest Hits

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Charlies writes his list of Greatest Hits. From Wikia
Lost - Season Three, Episode Twenty-One - Greatest Hits
Written 22/3/14

Charlie Pace - a character whose three season journey went from brilliant to disappointing and then back to okayish with a side of "that's not how you say Aaron, omg shut up". As a Manc myself, it's fantastic to see somewhere other than London actually mentioned in the rest of the world, and especially in a character who began life as complex and difficult as Charlie. The inevitability of his death and the show's constant signposting of it makes him a very interesting exception to the usual rules of TV - but that by no means diminishes the quiet poignancy that his acceptance of his death brings to this last pre-finale episode.
      There's a sense of pre-finale fever as Jack reveals his plan to defeat The Others - by planting dynamite (courtesy of a returned Danielle Rousseau) in marked tents, the Survivors can blow The Others to kingdom come without them even knowing. Sayid reveals that Naomi's phone signal is being blocked; Juliet chirps in with the fact that all signals to and from the Island are blocked by an underwater station called The Looking Glass. Desmond has revealed to Charlie that Claire and Aaron will be rescued - but only if Charlie descends to The Looking Glass and disables the blocking frequency. Charlie thus says his goodbyes and writes a list of the five greatest moments in his life - his Greatest Hits - for Desmond to give to Claire once he is gone. Karl arrives, revealing that Ben has brought the plan forward by a day, thus meaning that three things must happen at once - the spoiling of The Others' raid, a trek to the Island's radio tower and Charlie's underwater adventure. Charlie reaches The Looking Glass, but once there he is held at gunpoint by an Other.
      In previous reviews near the end of a season I've oft talked about episodes whose sole purpose is to shift the characters into the right positions for the season finale, and while they might have had quite a while to do this, the end of Season Three has been so full of character devleopment and mytharc stroking that we're only just getting to it. Considering the fact that we're only an episode or two away from where I started Lost, it's strange to think about how little the atmosphere of the show is to that - the Writers' Guild of America Strike really did a number on the show post-Season Three, and I'll be talking about that more in my overview of the whole show
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Charlie's death, while poignant, is kinda stupid. But I'll save
that for next week, eh? From Wikia
      This week's flashbacks were split up into five unrelated segments, charting the Greatest Hits on Charlie's list. On a rainy Clitheroe road, Charlie hears his band's one-hit-wonder "You All Everybody" on the radio for the first time. At Butlins, a young Charlie learns to swim with his Irish dad. Charlie's brother Liam gives him his family heirloom "DS" ring. Outside Covent Garden, Charlie saves a woman (Sayid's belle Nadia making her once-a-season appearance) from being attacked, and she calls him a hero. Finally, #1 on Charlie's list, is the moment when Charlie and Claire first meet, and he reassures her that rescue is on the way. I always get a little weary when the show tries to use Hawaiian locations for English locales, especially as it's very rarely accurate at all, but this style of flashback meant that such discrepancies were minimal and their distribution throughout the episode made them quite touching as counterpoints to Charlie's decision.
     Like Charlie, and myself, this episode felt very much like it was getting ready for the end. There was so much manoeuvring going on with the characters, elaborating on plotlines which for the past few weeks have been mere one-scene hints. But through all that busybodying, there was still room to feel something for a character whose storyline has been at times both brilliantly inspired and completely misguided. And, seeing how much he was loved by the fanbase, this was a stroke of absolute genius. Greatest Hits is an episode whose strange kind of contention in sadness is something that makes it very, very worthy of its own title.

Thanks.

NEXT WEEK: My last Lost review. Really, this time. We see the final showdown between the Survivors and The Others before the impending Writer's Guild of America strike looms and we're presented with Lost's most wtf cliffhanger ever - we go Through The Looking Glass.

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