"There’s No Place Like Home, Part 1," the first of the tri-part season four finale, is the first "Lost" seg of the season where I had believe-ability issues with the plot that were nettlesome enough to take me out of the thrall of the storytelling, ever so briefly here and there.
Jacob’s mouthpiece tells Locke to move the island? I can dig it. Ben is a master manipulator who has secret rooms and stashes of "Doctor Who" props all over the island? I’m down with that. Polar bears in the jungle and black smoke monsters with gnarly tempers? Sure. But Aaron is five weeks old? Give me a break!?! That baby is at least three-four months old if he’s a day.
(Saturday afternoon update: A reader with impeccable credentials on all things "Lost" makes two good points that should be noted. First, in the "Lost" chronology, Aaron is actually only seven weeks old at the time of the press conference, given that he was born in season one on day 38. Second, and this I really should’ve remembered, Screen Actors Guild rules and other labor laws make it virtually impossible to do scenes of any length with infants younger than two months. So we gotta allow some slack there.)
None of the reporters at that press conference would’ve bought that, and they would’ve charged that dais to get at Kate with questions about her giving birth on the island. They would’ve challenged Sayid’s assertion that there were "absolutely not" any other crash survivors. How could he possibly know?
Jack, as Kate says earlier in the episode, is a horrible liar and Sun is no better. The press would’ve smelled the B.S. and pounced. There would’ve been no decorum or quick exit for the survivors — there would have been a riot, and the story would’ve turned to skepticism about the claims of the Oceanic 6. I thought that was where they were going when the reporters started to ask Kate about giving birth and Sun about her husband. The only thing worse than Jack trying to lie to the press was the awkwardness of him instructing the other five how to lie just before they landed. I noticed they weren’t looking at Jack with quite the same reverence as before.
Second major hole in the "Lost" ozone layer for me this week: Sun and the business about buying up a controlling interest in her father’s mega-conglom. I’m sure each of the 6 got fat settlements from Oceanic Airlines once they turned up, however they turned up. But enough to swoop in and steal control of a multinational conglom from its meglomaniac leader? Oh come on. Those South Korean firms are huge — it’d take billion(s) and it would not be the kind of transaction you could do in a single morning.
They could’ve still had what was otherwise a hell of a showdown scene between Sun and her father without that flight of fancy. We know Sun’s got plenty of reasons to despise her father. For starters,
I can’t swear to it but I don’t think Mr. Paik was in that opening scene of the Oceanic 6 reuniting with family members on the tarmac of the military facility. (I’ll check in the ayem.) OK, he was there….sorry Mr. Paik.
All that said, once again, it was still a mighty entertaining hour of television delivered in the seg penned by our "Lost" leaders, Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse, and helmed by Stephen Williams. We learned a lot.
**I’d been wondering, like every other "Lost" fan, about what to make of Ben and his whining about losing control to Locke and his faux emotional trauma over his daughter. I don’t buy it now. I think he’s still the puppet master, manipulating every situation he’s in for own nefarious ends. Granted, Ben’s got more of a challenge these days with all the unruly factions on the island. But as he informed Locke toward the end of the seg: "I always have a plan." He also admitted once again to not being "entirely truthful" with Locke. Duh.
**In the flash-forward scene of Hurley’s surprise party, Hurley appeared to have the same style of ceramic Virgin Mary statue that bedeviled dear old Charlie way back in season one, only Hurley’s was painted gold. Great line from Mama Hurley: "Jesus Christ is not a weapon" as Hurley holds it over his head ready to strike a charging polar bear or something with it.
**So Jack finds out about Claire, at his father’s long-delayed funeral no less. He just can’t catch a break. I confess to wishing that they would use Claire’s surname more often on the show. It has such a familiar ring to it…