TV REVIEW Lost 4.08 "Meet Kevin Johnson"

Original US airdate: 20/3/08

Written by: Elizabeth Sarnoff, Brian K Vaughan

Directed by: Stephen Williams

Rating:

Flashback: Michael, having escaped the island and now living in New York, receives an offer he can’t refuse from Ben: to go undercover on Wedmore’s ship so that he can destroy it.

In the Present: Locke tells his group what he’s learnt from Ben and Miles, and Sayid – on learning that Michael is working for Ben – shops him to the boat’s captain.

Verdict: After a couple of episodes treading water, Lost gets back into its swing, amazingly with a story that spotlights Michael of all people. Let’s be honest, he was never the most scintillating character. That all changes here. Watching the desperate, self-loathing Michael driven near insane by being incapable of suicide is riveting stuff. You do wonder if the island can really stop him from dying, or did Tom just tamper with the gun in some way? Sayid’s decision to turn Michael over to the captain is also a shocker, but logical. Again, though, we’re being forced to reassess who really are the good guys? Sayid may be making the wrong decision for the right reasons, or he may still be doing the right thing. That we don’t know is what keeps the show fascinating.

Well, that and cliffhangers like the one we get here. WTF?!

There are loads of cameos from already-dead characters as well, which adds to the fun – Naomi, Tom, Libby and George. The only real minus point is that the scene in which Locke tells his mob what’s been going on serves no real purpose and lacks any dramatic bite. It comes across like a piece of necessary script housekeeping.

Day: 98-99, 28-9 December ’04 (26-7 December on the boat, with the same qualification we gave for the previous episode).

Cliffhanger: Someone shoots Danielle and Karl dead, leaving Alex pleading for her life.

Trivia: This episode features the longest ever flashback (beating the one in “Flashes Before Your Eyes”). Michael listens to the track “It’s Getting Better” by Mama Cass when he’s trying to kill himself in his car; Cass also sang “Make Your Own Kind of Music” which kicked off the season two in the scene introducing Desmond.

Did You Spot? An answer to a question on a quiz show that Michael’s watching is “Kurt Vonnegut”, an SF author whose book, Slaughterhouse Five, seems to have been an influence in the plotting of Lost (see, especially, “The Constant”). Also, Michael’s false passport (on which he’s named as Kevin Johnson) has the same number (HNS012153) as Ben’s false passport seen in “The Economist” (on which he’s named as Dean Moriarty).

Revealtion: Tom tells Michael that the Island won’t let him die, and events in this episode seem to bear this out.

Best Line:
Sayid: "Why are you on this boat?"
Michael: "I'm here to die."

Dave Golder

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