Namaste, y'all! Wednesday's episode of Lost was Miles-centric, and I, for one, anxiously anticipated its arrival. I was gagging for more information about this fascinating character, as embodied by the skilled Ken Leung, whom I've admired since his scene-stealing turn as Uncle Junior's unhinged buddy in the booby hatch on The Sopranos. We did get some answers, but perhaps more than any other recent episode, we were presented with a few more nagging questions. Let's start with the answers: We learn how Miles ended up on Widmore's freighter, why his nose bled during the flashes and why this episode's title contained a pointed Star Wars reference. As for the questions "Some Like It Hoth" raised, well, let's get to it!
WHO YA GONNA CALL? MILES STRAUME!
We open on a close-up of a 1980s-era microwave, and see an Asian woman touring an apartment. It's the same woman we saw with Dr. Chang in the season premiere, so just like that, the cat is out of the bag: Dr. Chang is Miles' dad. Thump!
Young Miles heads out to the vending machine, where he starts having what is perhaps his first Sixth Sense moment, which leads him to discover that one of the tenants has died in his apartment, and is still talking to Young Miles. The kid shrieks helplessly that the dead guy is calling out for Kimberly, who is his wife who died a year prior, which, needless to say, raises a few eyebrows about Miles.
We next see a punk-rock Miles going to visit his very ill mother — each spike in his hair and piercing in his face an obvious cry for help from the very angsty young man. He asks his mom to tell him why he has his particular talent and what, if anything, his absent father has to do with it. Mom is clearly irritated by this line of questioning, since Miles' dad never cared about them, so she quickly reports that he's dead, and that he kicked them out when Miles was just a baby. "The less you knew about him, the better," his mother says, clearly thinking she's protecting her wounded child.
But since death is not really an obstacle to redemptive daddy-issues-resolving chats for Miles, he asks where his body is. "Somewhere you could never go," she reports, which makes us all go ha-ha since the good doctor is obviously in close proximity to his offspring at the moment.
We then see Miles talking to one Mr. Gray, who needs his football-player son, Russell, who died in a car accident, to know that he loves him. But uh-oh, he was cremated, and Señor Ghostbuster needs a body to chat with the dead. So he fakes it, telling the grieving dad what he needs to hear, charging him extra in the process.
But hey now, look, it's Naomi — in a terrible wig! (Right now, Cher is all: Do you beliiieeeeeeeve that bitch stole my weave?) "My employer's been following your work and is interested in retaining your services," she reports officiously. She takes him to a restaurant, where today's special is a dead body! She tosses him a wad of cabbage and asks simply, "What can you tell me about this man?"
A lot, as it turns out. His name is Felix, and he was on his way to deliver a bunch of papers, photos of empty graves and a purchase order for an old airplane to a guy named Widmore. Aha! This information isn't that surprising, but it solidifies the theory that it was Widmore who needed to get the plane-crash infrastructure off the trail in order to clear the way for his attempts to regain control of the island. Any evidence to the contrary surely needed to be suppressed. "So, did I pass?" he asks.
Yes, he did. Naomi's employer needs Miles to come to an island to track a murderous man by communicating with his deceased victims. Miles passes, until Naomi says they'll pay him $1.6 million — interestingly exactly one-half the amount for which Miles blackmailed Ben to tell Widmore that he was dead. "When do we leave?" Miles says.
But first! Some dudes harsh Miles' fish-taco mellow by kidnapping him and throwing him in a van. A guy named Bram, who we now know was on board Ajira Flight 316 (316, right?), tells Miles he was sent to try his best to talk him out of working for Charles Widmore. "Do you know what lies in the shadow of the statue?" he asks in that same culty way that Ilana did last week, when I was still thinking that perhaps Ilana & Co. worked for Widmore. Guess not. Miles doesn't know the secret-password answer either, but Bram is a bit more forthcoming than Ilana was before she conked Lapidus in the coconut. "Then you're not ready to go to that island," he says. Huh?
Bram also promises that if he joins them, all of life's answers will be available to him. Also: an explanation of his power, a healthy relationship with his dad, 42 virgins and all the fish tacos he can eat. Miles, ever the business man, asks for $3.2 million to join them. They aren't in the pay-for-play business, so they dump him out the side of the van and Bram tells him all the money in the world isn't going to fill that empty hole inside him. (On the next Oprah!)
"You're playing for the wrong team," Bram says. "What team are you playing for?" Miles asks. "The one that's going to win," Bram replies, which speaks directly to Widmore's assertion that there's going to be a war on the island, and that, without Locke, the wrong side is going to win. Any thoughts on who the sides are — and which side we're rooting for at this point? I need to know which team colors to wear before the next pep rally.
Before Miles leaves on the freighter, though, he returns Mr. Gray's money, admitting to him that he faked it. Gray asks why he's telling him, and Miles' reply is dripping with symbolism, so pay attention! "It wouldn't have been fair to your son," he tells him. "If you needed your son to know that you loved him, you should have told him when he was still alive." Yeah, Dr. Chang, I mean, Mr. Gray!
THE BALLAD OF KATE AND ROGER
What the eff is going on between these two? I can understand Kate's mama-bear pain driving her to help an ailing Ben last week, but why doesn't the crafty Kate know to keep her lovely, lovely mouth shut?
After dropping Ben off at Hostile General Hospital (no extra charge for memory erasure and evil implantation!), Kate returns to the Dharma infirmary, where — still! — nobody is suspicious of why lady-mechanic Juliet is running the show. Roger shows up, and he's justifiably apoplectic that Ben is no longer in residence. "I'm calling security," he says as he storms off. And then with that perfect Juliet delivery (is she good? is she evil? who knows?), she simply says, "Well... here we go."
The writers want us to believe that instead of rushing off to Security, Roger had a change of heart and decided instead to park himself on a New Otherton swingset and get his drink on. Kate joins him, and in a boneheaded attempt to comfort the distraught dad, tells him nonchalantly that she's sure things are going to work out. As she cracks open a Dharma beer (which I hope tastes more like Miller High Life — The Champagne of Beers! — than Schlitz) and prepares to hunker down, she says this: "I just have a feeling he's going to be OK." Kate, you dumbass! Why would you say something so obviously shifty? Roger is obviously suspicious, and storms off again.
But — again! — instead of sounding the alarm with Dharma Security about his son being kidnapped from the infirmary, he decides to drink more and get going on his janitorial rounds, starting with Dharma Elementary School, from the looks of it. (Aside: Where are all the kids? Besides Charlotte, New Otherton is surprisingly devoid of nuggets, no?)
Jack is there, erasing the blackboards (how degrading/liberating for the heroic surgeon). Roger reveals that he thinks Kate had something to do with Ben's disappearance. "She's got some sort of weird thing for my kid," he reports. This sent my brain to thinking about that time when Ben made Kate wear a fancy sundress and eat exotic fruits on the beach. Was that him thanking her for saving his life?
Jack vouches for Kate's character, but to my eyes, Roger doesn't seem convinced at all, and he storms off again. But judging from his prior behavior, he probably won't make good on his threat to go tell Horace. Sigh. Bad writing here, methinks.
Sawyer returns from Hostile General, like a billion hours after Kate. Was he off doing something else that I missed? Jack is at "Jim" and Juliet's house, and he reports on Kate's slip-up. Jack thinks he covered for Kate temporarily (why, I'm not sure), but LaFleur is annoyed nonetheless. Jimmy Barrett, aka Phil (poor Patrick Fischler, he will forever be his Mad Men character to me), shows up to report a "development": He knows that LaFleur kidnapped Ben because apparently Miles wasn't able to erase the security tape like Sawyer asked him to (see below). LaFleur invites him in, and promptly knocks him out. "Get some rope," he tells Juliet, and you know she's all: Oh yeah, I'll get the rope, big boy.
LUKE SKYWALKER AND DARTH VADER
Miles is reading Sports Illustrated, the cover story of which is about the "New Boss in L.A.": Tom Lasorda -- it actually says Tom. (A quick eBay search tells me that this cover dates from March 14, 1977, which is interesting fodder for the Lost timeline, provided Miles isn't perusing stale sports headlines.) Sawyer walkies in to ask Miles to erase the video-security feed that reveals Sawyer and Kate's Excellent Adventure in Hostiletown. But before he can (see above), Horace barges in and needs Miles to fill in for LaFleur on a top-secret mission. "Can I trust you, Miles?" he asks, as he lets him into the Circle of Trust. Miles is to take a package out to Radzinsky, who will in turn give him a package to deliver back to Horace.
So Miles checks out a Dharma van and heads to Sector 334 (aka Hostile territory). With a gun pointed at him, Miles declares, "I'm in the Circle of Trust," which appears to appease the ever-jumpy Radzinsky. Miles gives him the package, which turns out to be a body bag, which Radzinsky and his crew promptly fill with a corpse. When Miles asks what happened, Radzinsky suspiciously reports that he fell in a ditch. But wait, the guy has what appears to be a bullet hole in his head. "The ditch had a gun?" snarks Miles. Miles heads back to Horace, body in tow, but first, he has some questions. "OK, so what really happened?" he asks the dead body.
"Pierre, if it was caused by the electromagnetism, we need to know," Horace is saying into the telephone as Miles returns with "the package." Horace asks him to bring the body out to Dr. Chang at the Orchid Station. Miles resists — and we know why — but Horace insists.
Then we get to the fun part. There is a mix-up about the Dharma van, which leads to Hurley and Miles sharing it, since Hurley is also going to the Orchid Station, to bring sandwiches out to the crew "with his special garlic mayo." This incarnation of Hurley is starting to reveal shades of Mario Batali, no? Except Batali would totally call it "aioli."
On the radio: "It Never Rains in Southern California" by Albert Hammond. It should be noted that Wikipedia, which is obviously staffed by robots, is already reporting that it appeared in "Some Like It Hoth." Fun fact! Hammond's son, Albert Hammond, Jr., is a guitarist for the Strokes.
"How do you spell bounty hunter?" Hurley asks as he writes something in a notebook, which immediately sends my nerdly brain to Ilana, and then Boba Fett, but we're getting ahead of ourselves here. First, Hurley thinks Miles cut the cheese because something reeks in the car. Miles jokes that maybe it's Hurley's famous garlic mayo, so Hurley has to check lest his sandwiches make the crew sick. Miles is nonchalant about the body in the back, as is Hurley once Miles reveals that the guy's name is Alvarez, and that he was digging a hole while thinking about some chick named Andrea when he felt a pain in his mouth, which turned out to be a filling being yanked from its socket and through his brain, killing him. Hmmm, sounds like electromagnetism to me!
"You can talk to dead people!" Hurley exclaims. Miles demurs, but then Hurley says, "Don't worry, dude — your secret's safe with me. Wanna know why? (No.) 'Cause I can talk to them too," he says. As The Captain and Tennille's "Love Will Keep Us Together" grooves on the radio and makes me giggle, the awesome twosome compare powers. Hurley plays chess with dead people, while for Miles, it's just a feeling, a sense, he just knows what they were thinking when they died. "You're just jealous that my power is better than yours," Hurley teases.
When cranky Dr. Chang sees Hurley is along for the ride, he grumbles to Miles that his instructions were to come alone. Hurley spills that he knows about the body, but also that he can keep a secret. And he better, because if he doesn't, Chang is going to ship him off to Hydra Island to weigh polar bear turds "for their ridiculous experiments," he says, revealing perhaps that Dharma exists on two levels: from the ridiculous, circus-animal level to the sublime mystical electromagnetic energy level. "Gross," says Hurley, as a phantom "dude" hangs in the air.
Wait, there it is! Hurley says, "Dude, that guy is a total douche." To which Miles replies: "That douche is my dad." We know, Miles! What we don't know is this: Why, if Miles is currently sharing a year with his infant self, did Sun not flash back to the 1970s with the rest of the Oceanic 6? An early theory suggested that she and Ben crashed in the present because their "present" selves were unable to live in the same year as their "past" selves. But, you know, there goes that theory! Thanks a lot, Darlton! New theory: Sun is actually working undercover for Widmore. Discuss.
Hurley, of course, wants to explore Miles' family ties further. We learn that on his third day here, he stood in front of his mom in line at the cafeteria. But Miles is steadfast in his Faraday-rooted beliefs that he can't change the future, including saving people from the Purge. Before Hurley can dispute his beliefs, Chang is back, and needs a ride out to a work site.
Along the way, Hurley engages Chang in some comically inappropriate chit-chat, in which he learns that Chang has a 3-month-old son names Miles, named for the jazz musician because Miles' mom is a fan. (The good doctor likes country — specifically Willie Nelson, I hear.) Hurley suggests they all go out for a beer some time, much to Miles' consternation.
They arrive at nowhere in particular, where Dr. Chang opens a gate entirely made of hedges that open to reveal a full-on construction site. (True story: In another life, I was assigned to write a story about Star Wars: Episode I — The Phantom Menace, which allowed me the phantasmagorical opportunity to travel to Skywalker Ranch, aka George Lucas' spooky Northern California HQ. And they had a creepy hedge fence just like this one out front. Coincidence? Read on.)
Anyhow, Miles and Hurley catch a significant glimpse of the goings-on inside, which includes the embossing of a serial number on a steel hatch. Yes, that steel hatch! So it's no surprise as we see "the numbers" unfold: 4, 8, 16, 23... "Forty-two," Hurley says, completing the series, much to Miles' surprise. How did he know that? "They're building our hatch — the one that crashed our plane," Hurley says with an implied thump.
After that sure-to-be-revisited moment, Hurley is still enthusing about Miles' serendipitous meeting with his bad dad. Miles is obviously resistant to any Cat Stevens-scored moment. "I'm not in pain. It doesn't matter," he says unconvincingly, turning the focus on Hurley's fervent notebook scribblings. It turns out that Hurley is writing the script, from memory, of Empire Strikes Back for George Lucas. It's a moment equivalent to Biff stealing the sports-results book so he can be a successful gambler in the Back to the Future future, and we all know how that turned out.
"That's the stupidest thing I've ever heard," carps Miles. "Well, at least I'm not scared to talk to my dad," Hurley replies. Hurley's snipe has a purpose though. He tells Miles that the best thing he ever did was give his own bad dad a second chance, which clearly gets Miles' hamster wheels turning, even in the face of Hurley's extended Star Wars metaphor. "That was Luke's attitude too in Empire," he explains. "Then the Death Star was destroyed, Boba Fett was eaten by the Sarlacc and we got the Ewoks," he continues.
"And it all could have been avoided if they had just communicated." And to top off an excellent episode by Jorge Garcia, he says simply: "Let's face it: Ewoks suck, dude."
WE ALL LIVE IN A DHARMA SUBMARINE
With incongruous visions of Ewoks dancing in his daddy-needing head, Miles wanders off through New Otherton, and conveniently spies Dr. Chang lovingly reading to Miles — that is, himself. He appears to get teary-eyed, but his tender moment is interrupted by Chang exiting his house. "Miles, I need you," he says. "You do?" Miles says, with a catch in his throat. But Chang actually just needs him to help greet the submarine, which has arrived with scientists from Ann Arbor. At the dock, Miles acts as glorified porter for the new arrivals, who include... thump!... Daniel Faraday. "Hey, Miles," he says. "Long time, no see." Indeed. Anyone else think that Faraday got his hands on that frozen donkey wheel?
What did you think about "Some Like It Hoth"? Did you like learning more about Miles? Any unanswered questions? Why is Sun in the present? Will the Oceanic 6 prevent The Purge? Any Star Wars theories for the group?
It's a clip show, or, as ABC calls it: "The story of the Oceanic 6 from a whole new perspective!"
IN TWO WEEKS!
Sides will be chosen! Some will run for cover! Some will stay and fight! "Any one of us can die," says Daniel Faraday!
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