Everyone Loves Juliet — And Mayhem Ensues

Oh, Lost, Lost, why must you toy with me? Last week so good, this week so dull. We did, however, learn that I am not the only person holding on to VHS technology past its prime. Ben's got his secret videotape stashed away in a safe — and he also got one of the evening's best lines. I chose today's clip not only out of a sense of Luddite solidarity with Ben, but because one of the things I most enjoy about Lost is the rickety, antiquated nature of the island's technological infrastructure. We didn't get to see much of that last night, other than Faraday furiously typing code at the Tempest station. Instead, we got Juliet — lots and lots of Juliet. My least favorite character. Spoilers and discussion, after the jump.

  • I know that a lot of you like Juliet. I don't — and I'm not entirely sure why. I think it may be a combo of her constantly smug expression plus a vulnerability that makes me want to slap her rather than identify with or want to help her — because it's her passive-aggressive way of manipulating people. I'm not sure if this the way the character is written or the way actor Elizabeth Mitchell plays her. Either way, I'd be totally remiss if I didn't mention that Juliet got another of the evening's best lines. Jack expresses incredulity that Ben has a therapist on staff, and Juliet shoots back: "It's very stressful being an Other, Jack." Hah!
  • Too much Juliet wasn't the only disappointing aspect of "The Other Woman," though after last week's tour de force, anything barring full disclosure of What It All Means, explained by a naked Desmond, was bound to fall short of expectations. "The Other Woman" falls into the category of Lost episodes that seem interminably long because they do little to advance the storyline. Did we really need a whole new character (Harper) plus her not particularly interesting back story, just to get Juliet to follow Charlotte and Dan to the Tempest? Ben has or had a crush on Juliet (or chose to make people believe that). Did we need precious minutes wasted on Goodwin/Harper/Juliet to explain Ben's anger at Juliet? We already know he's ruthless and controlling, why drag Juliet up the hill to see that "the Tailies" killed Goodwin? I'm sure this was all meant to underscore the hatred that leads to Juliet's defection but, to me, this storyline felt shoehorned in and unnecessary.
  • On the other hand, I really want to know what happened to Ben's childhood sweetheart, Annie, assuming here that she is the person who Juliet looks so much like.
  • Speaking of unbelievable, let's talk for a moment about Locke, who apparently now believes everything that Ben tells him. I'm glad for the tidbit of info about Charles Widmore and his search for the island (it's looking more and more like he is "The Economist" who employed Sayid's doomed futuresweetie), but hasn't Locke learned that whenever Ben starts handing out dossiers, it's for Ben's benefit and nobody else's? Totally loved Ben's laconic "so has the revolution begun yet?" He's got Locke's number all right.
  • Ben obviously fears and hates Widmore. So because Ben = bad, does Widmore = good? Or - my take, so far - are they both bad apples, bent on the island's exploitation, each for his own nefarious purpose? And where does Penny fit into it all?
  • I assume Claire wants to talk to Miles because of her previous chats with psychics back home (who told her not to let other people raise her baby). Miles is not so stable, and it seems that Claire doesn't make it off the island — or makes it off the island and dies. Is there a connection?
  • C.S. Lewis and Dan Faraday have disarmed the Tempest station. They have either saved everyone on the island from the poison gas Ben meant to kill them with, or they have destroyed one of the island's lines of defense, making it easier for the Freighties to attack.

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merp (né pickmeohnevermind)

Perhaps I'm being charitable - ok, fine, I am - but I think last night's episode was, in a way, thematically more about Ben, and the Julia flashbacks were more about showing us (perhaps redundantly) just how low Ben will go. Julia just happened to get in the way.

For instance, it illustrated the extent of Ben's sense of ownership over the other Others, and how cruel he can be when exercising a vendetta - it wasn't just that he came up with a oh-so-clever scheme that would most likely end with Godwin's death; it was that not only did he come up with the plan, but then he rubbed, literally, Julia's face in it.

So, in this regard, I think it's really setting up just how much of a sadistic jerk Ben can/will be when he gets free, whether the focus of his revenge is Jack et al or Widmore. So, yeah, not really a plot-advancer, but some nice shading.

Also, Michael Emerson can do no wrong.