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Lost 3.02 - "The Glass Ballerina"

I always enjoy the Sun/Jin episodes for two reasons. It's one of the hallmarks of Lost that this network series can regularly air episodes where substantial amounts of time are spent in another language, something quite daring for mainstream television. And also because Yunjin Kim is the series' most natural performer. The standard of acting is generally quite high, but with Kim I never get the sense that she's acting. It's testament to the producers' foresight that they created the role of Sun-Hwa Kwon for her after she failed to win the part of Kate.

It's also great that two seasons have passed by and Jin-Soo has still only uttered a handful of words in English - one of the benefits of the compressed time frame over which the island sequences are told. In real time two years have passed (enough for Daniel Dae Kim to have worked on his Korean accent, which seems to have gotten better as far as I can tell) but on the island it's just 69 days later. It adds tangibly to the isolation the character feels.

The last time we had a Korea story Sun-Hwa's relationship with her English teacher was was left on an ambiguous note: did she or didn't she sleep with him, and by implication, was her pregnancy another of the island's healing miracles or wasn't it? This episode answers the former and makes clear assertions as as to the latter.

Something else I like about Lost is that although the characters are unfailingly placed in compromising moral positions, both on the island and in their flashbacks, they are all essentially moral people. They may make horrendous decisions, but usually because the choice they have is a terrible one, and when they do, they are wracked with remorse. And sometimes, as we saw with Jin-Soo, they back away from the precipice ... only to have the world come crashing down on them anyway.

It's all good stuff.

In contrast to last week's season opener, the scenes on the island were less compelling than the flashbacks. The Jack/Kate/Sawyer triangle seems to be well on its way to become a line (a good thing too, the romantic tension between the three always felt somewhat forced), freeing Jack to play doctor with Juliet (who, I read, was introduced specifically as a love interest for him).

Some overt (and somewhat atypical) humour this episode too. The repartee with the work gang overseer was positively Buffyesque - "Shot? Don't I even get a warning?" "Shocked. I said shocked!" Not to mention Sawyer's faux-outraged "How dare you!" Drew Goddard's doing?

Similarly, even I, who knows nothing about baseball, knew what the gag about the Boston Red Sox would be. Usually humour is funny because it's unexpected. Other times, you laugh because you know what's coming.

Incidentally, Michael Emerson (who does creepy almost as well as Christopher Walken) looks a lot like a Henry, somewhat like a Benjamin and nothing at all like a Ben, so I'll just continue to think of him as Henry.

PS: I wonder if the opening bit of the falling, rotating glass trinket was a nod to a similar sequence in Watchmen's "The Darkness of Mere Being"? Themes of fidelity and personal revelation figured in both that issue and this episode.


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