Henry Ian Cusick, who plays Desmond on ABC's LOSTMy friends tell me I'm the worst person to watch LOST with. Apparently I'm too cynical, though I think with good reason. For one thing, the plot has gone too far and too wide for me to care any more about the mysteries of the island. And for another, the big "suprises" they throw at us every once in a while to keep us hooked have become totally predictable. Who could possibly be behind that door?? Could it be ... Locke's father?? Juliet is still conspiring with the Others? GASP! In any event, I was just about ready to write the show off until this week, when Brian K. Vaughan's long-awaited first episode as a member of the show's writing staff aired.

**SPOILER ALERT--But honestly, if you haven't seen it, this might not make that much sense anyways...**

On the whole, I found it to be a competent story. First of all, Vaughan was right to focus on really the only interesting plotline so far this season--Desmond and his sickle-shaped foresight--for his inaugural run. It automatically put his in the top three episodes of the season before he even wrote a line.

Cover of DC Comics' Green Lantern/Flash: Faster Friends Part 1Secondly, I loved the conversation Hurley and Charlie have about who between Superman and The Flash would win in a race around the world. Not only was it a nod to his comic book fanbase--to whom, as my colleague John pointed out in a previous post, he has vowed to stay loyal--it also hearkens back to the first season. You remember, when everyone was obsessed with the clues? And Hurley was reading a comic book, that just happened to have a polar bear in it? And the comic book ended up being Green Lantern/Flash: Faster Friends? Get it? Faster? Anyways, it was nice to be reminded of a time when I was a little less cynical and actually cared about LOST. And for the record, at the time I did buy the comic book, and Supes would definitely burn the Flash.

Moving on. If there was one thing I expected going into a Brian K. Vaughan episode, it was that someone was going to have sex. I mean, we're talking about the guy who wrote Y: The Last Man. Brian K. Vaughan IS sex. So I was happy to see a few gratuitous cleavage shots for Kate followed by her best attempt at revenge humping. She sure showed the whole world, if not Jack.

And finally, before I get into my thoughts on the theme of the episode, I loved watching Charlie get an arrow to the throat, even if I knew it was only in a vision. Of all the useless storylines LOST throws at you to stretch out a season's worth of material, his are the worst. His heroin addiction was mildly entertaining until, of course, he kicked it. His romance with Claire has gotten tiresome, and that whole epsiode when he was having visions of angels? Why do you suppose the writers haven't ever returned to that sub-plot? In any event, we comic book readers are a visual sort, so it was nice to finally SEE what Desmond's been going on about.

Which brings me to the themes of sacrifice and commitment threaded throughout the episode. Vaughan does a rather elegant job of weaving the story of Abraham and Isaac into Desmond's life, proving his unwillingness both to commit (to women, to charity) as well as sacrifice (himself, his women, his friends). The monk tells him he must walk his path, which we take figuratively in the past in terms of his destiny, as well as literally in the present in his journey to find Penny. Desmond needed to prove--perhaps to God, perhaps the Island--that he was committed to sacrificing Charlie in order to walk his path. In the end he failed, just as he failed at proving his commitment to the monastery. And he ends up failing to achieve his goal. In effect, Vaughan has turned Desmond's vigilantism--dashing to Charlie's rescue every couple of episodes--into a sort of weakness. Not that this is an absolute weakness--after all it's Bruce Wayne's own demons that allow him to become Batman. But as Desmond says, if you do one thing differently the picture changes, so I can't help but wonder who would have crashed down on the island if he had proven his faith and Charlie had died...or not...

My guess would be a pack of Amazons.
Cover from Brian K. Vaughan's Y: The Last Man

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