Thursday, March 01, 2007

Lost – Season 3, Episode 10 – Tricia Tanaka Is Dead

Okay, so this was suppose to be the return to proper form we’ve all been waiting for. All season long – including the early half-season that focused mainly on Jack, Kate, and Sawyer – we waited for an episode that featured some of our old favorite characters prominently. The LOST writers listened and they gave us all kinds of Hurley, Jin and Sun being cold to each other, Sawyer freaking out over his lost pornos, Sayid and Locke being mysterious, and Charlie in a panicked mood.

And “Tricia Tanaka is Dead” had all that! So why did I fall asleep half way through? I’m not entirely sure why, but let’s see if we can figure it out together.

The episode starts on a busy residential street somewhere in Los Angeles. A young Hispanic boy drops a bundle of tools by an old car. He pops the top and waits expectantly. His father (Cheech!!) shows up, only to say he’s not interested in fixing the car, rather they should “Use a little hope” to try and start it. Young Hurley and his father get in the front seat of the car. Hurley turns the key in the ignition, but of course, nothing happens. His father then takes this opportunity to tell Hurley he’s moving to Las Vegas for work and – even though we’re not given any real info here – we know it’ll be the last time Hurley sees his dad for a long time. Before he leaves, Hurley’s dad gives him a bar of chocolate and tells him to “live a little.”

(Aside: I think Lost should stop starting episodes with flashbacks. No particular reason, I just think they should stop.)

Finally, we open on the Island and a teary Hurley talking about fear and how afraid he is all the time. It’s a touching moment, especially when we realize he’s standing over Libby’s grave and reminiscing about the brief time they were together. He goes to find Charlie and tries to get him to reveal why he’s been so “glum” lately. Charlie reveals that Desmond has put a large ticking clock over his head and he’s afraid he might die at any moment. Hurley consoles him by saying, “It’s my fault, dude. I’m cursed.”

As if on cue, Vincent (Walt’s Wandering Pooch) shows up with half a skeletal hand in his mouth and a key – with a lucky Rabbit’s foot (irony!) – on one of the fingers. Hurley dashes after Vincent through the jungle until he finds an overturned van with… you guessed it, a Dharma logo.

Back in the past, the namesake of the episode shows up, a reporter by the name of Tricia Tanaka at the McCluck’s Chicken Shack that Hurley use to work at, doing a “fluff” piece on Hurley post-lottery win. Hurley isn’t playing along, though. He’s being quiet and sad about all the bad luck he’s been having. Tricia Tanaka shouts, “Cut!” and then yells at him for being too damn serious. She decides to go inside the restaurant to take some B-roll. Hurley doesn’t think that’s such a great idea. He follows the manager, asking him about all kinds of different things that could go wrong. Well, it doesn’t take long. Behind him, a meteor streaks down from the sky and destroys the McCluck’s in a ball of fire.

On the Island, Hurley returns to the camp excited by his find. He tries to recruit help to getting the van started, but nobody is as excited by the prospect of “fun” as Hurley is. Everyone walks away, except Jin who doesn’t understand anything Hurley is saying. Hurley has his ally. Elsewhere, Kate and Sawyer are walking through jungle on the way to the camp. Kate says, “All you have to say is Sorry.” Both Sawyer and I don’t know why he has to apologize for anything. Nobody offers a clue to explain. They reach the camp and are greeted by excited No-Name’s.

Jin and Hurley start to examine the van. They find a skeleton named Roger with the tag Work Man underneath (Maybe a Space Quest reference?). They also find a case of Dharma beer. Sawyer shows up angry about his pilfered stash and Hurley gives him a big hug and then asks him for help with the van. Sawyer, of course, asks “What’s in it for me?” Hurley shows him the beer. Deal.

Back in flashback-land, Hurley returns to his mansion covered in soot. His mother is concerned, but quickly gets over it and says, “We have a visitor!” It’s Cheech, of course.

In reality-time, Kate, still pissed about something, tells Locke and Sayid she’s going to find some help to rescue Jack. She sets off into the jungle alone. (I wonder who she’s going to looking for…*mysterious raised eye-brow*)

Jin and Hurley and Sawyer manage to right the van and start to rummage through it looking for stuff. They find a big mess and a road-map to the Swan station. Jin opens up a panel to attempt to fix the van but finds it covered in vines. In his broken English, he says, “No fix.” Hurley says they have to get the van running again because it will give them all hope.

Back in L.A, Hurley’s father, upset about his son’s constant talk of doom, gloom, and curses, takes Hurley to see a psychic. The psychic is amazingly accurate and even quotes the famous numbers. Disturbed, she brings out a huge pot and asks Hurley to disrobe so they can start to rid the curse. Hurley is skeptical. He offers the woman a thousand dollars to admit his father put her up to this. The psychic is terribly offended. Hurley ups his offer to ten thousand. She admits to lying.

Back on the island, Sawyer and Jin are drinking while Hurley is contemplating luck and hope. Sawyer throws some rocks in his direction which roll down a nearby hill. Hurley gets an idea and goes back to the beach to get Charlie to help. The four of them push the van to the top of a hill and then Hurley gets in. He says a silent prayer and they all load into the van and head streaking down a hill. They end up in a large valley and go on a wild joy ride. It’s a fun moment, reminiscent of when Hurley made a golf course.

Back in the past, Hurley is getting ready to go to Australia, to confront the curse and hopefully find a cure. Hurley’s father comes in and tries to get him to reconsider, to stay back. He says they’ll fix the Camaro (which Hurley saved all these years. awww) and go to the Grand Canyon. Hurley refuses. He has a destiny.

In the climax and only real plot point of the episode, Kate is in the jungle at night. She finds a strange net on the floor and is startled by Sayid and Locke who followed her and say something about a compass and Mr. Eko (which really should have required a full scene) before Rosseau shows up with her gun raised. Kate tells her to relax, they need her help. She relates the story of how she escaped from The Others with the help of a girl, about sixteen years old, named Alex.

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Blogger Shawn said...

So why did we both fall asleep during that episode? It happened to me during the psychic scene. What is going on Lost?

March 02, 2007 8:41 AM  
Blogger Elad said...

I think it has to do with the thrust of the overall storyline, or the Mythology. Take Heroes, for example. Every episode pushes the whole storyline further and doesn't take sidetracks through random characters' histories. So the show feels so fast and fresh because things are always happening.

Granted, Lost was the same way in its first season: constantly pushing forward with the mystery and the intrigue of the Island.

But I feel like the structure of the shows (the flashbacks), which once provided great fuel for character drama, is now impeding the story from advancing in an interesting way (read: quickly). What progression happens seems to happen on the outskirts of what we're watching. And even then, slowly.

March 02, 2007 9:44 AM  

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