Lexifabricographer For when the right word just won’t do…

November 4, 2011

Back to the Island 2.07 – The Other 48 Days

Filed under: back to the island,fitter/happier,joey,wombat — lexifab @ 10:49 pm


Three straight nights of fractious and grizzly children have left me in a pretty grumpy mood. The little one has been getting harder to get to sleep as she gets more and more snotty; she has a cold coming in. The older one is exploiting our desperate need to have him graduate from toilet training to wrangle extra hours of wakefulness after bedtime and (increasingly frustrated) parental attention. I suspect either problem would be more manageable on its own, but with them tag teaming on a more or less constant basis, my already-pretty-limited store of patience is gone, gone, gone.

It’s the Wombat’s first birthday tomorrow. I would like to think it will be a joyous occasion with family and cake, but with the Joey already in trouble for disobedience and the Wombat herself caked most of the time in snot and misery, I am not optimistic.

Bloody kids. They can’t just be adorable all the time why now? Yes, I know I have to manage my expectations. Yes, I know they can’t help being sick/bratty. That doesn’t mean I can help being pissed off about it though. I’ve had to forgo yet another night of novel writing, because the mood I’m in by the time I actually do have the freedom to sit down to write is not conducive to good writing.

Well, I suppose it might work for a scene with a fistfight or a car chase or a shouting match, but I’m working on trying to make a discussion about weird magic and ghosts not sound like exposition. That sort of subtlety is hard to access when I’m in a foul mood. Trouble is, by the time I’ve got the irrits out of my system every other night this week – and tonight’s looking no different – it’s been too late for a decent writing session. Which makes me frustrated all the more.

So instead tonight I wrote a Lost review, because nobody cares if I’m extra-snarky in one of those, right? I’m behind on rebuilding my backlog. This one has crept up toward the length of the Season One reviews. It may have helped work some of my shirtiness off but at some cost to brevity…

Back to the Island 2.07 – The Other 48 Days

“There are no survivors. This is our life now. Get used to it.” – Ana Lucia Cortez

Summary: The story of what happened to the tail section survivors (the Tailies) while Our Heroes were off doing drugs and having adventures.

The Best Bit: The opening shot of an idyllic beach suddenly pummelled by aircraft parts dropping like meteorites is spectacular. The following few minutes of survival chaos, shown from the perspective of POV character Ana Lucia Cortez, is every bit as effective as its equivalent in the pilot. The scene, all fast cuts, briefly glimpses corpses, atonal soundtrack, panicky extras and random background screams of terror, serves as introduction to most of the principal Tailies – Ana Lucia, Mr Eko, Cindy the Stewardess and Libby Smith (Rose’s missing husband Bernard gets his own scene later, in the obligatory talking-the-panicky-guy-up-a-tree scene that should have been a clear clue as to Ana Lucia’s profession). The tail section of course included children, two of whom are shown to survive, which adds a layer of tension to their situation not felt by the other camp. Of course, then they get kidnapped along with most of the rest of the cast…

The Worst Bit: The episode is structured a little strangely – the climax, in which Ana Lucia confronts and kills Goodwin the Other, comes about 8 minutes before the end of the episode. The remainder is a montage of small scenes filling in the gaps of footage that we’ve already seen – the arrival of the raft survivors, the pit interrogation, the exodus across the Island to the fore section survivors’ camp, Sawyer getting sick, Cindy’s kidnapping, and finally, of course, Ana Lucia shooting Shannon. It’s a long, drawn-out denouement, like the one at the end of Return of the King that philistines complain about. Of course, this is all a misapplied complaint – the actual climax of the story is the emotional one at the creek, where Ana Lucia finally cries and Eko finally breaks his self-imposed silence. It just feels a little off, is all.

The Mythology: The Others feature prominently, although only one is seen – Goodwin. He is the wolf in the fold equivalent to Ethan Rom over at the other camp, checking out the survivors and making lists. In this case the Others are kidnapping more or less everyone, not just the pregnant women. The question is why, but as Ana Lucia observes right before she spikes Goodwin, a better question is why not all of them? There seems to be no common thread among those untaken – Ana Lucia and Eko are strong and dangerous, but Libby and Bernard certainly aren’t. Why are they spared? Ana Lucia retrieves a US Army-issue knife dating back at least 20 years from the body of one of the Others that Eko killed – she makes a point of it when confronting Goodwin. Finally, there’s the curious loot from the Dharma Initiative Arrow Station: a Bible (appropriated by Mr Eko, in the midst of his understated religious conversion); a glass eye (owner unknown); and the radio (used later by Bernard to contact Boone).

In other minor notes: we hear the other half of the radio conversation with Boone, before Ana Lucia cuts the radio because it might be “them” playing mind games. We hear the Whispers in the jungle again, just before Cindy is taken – what’s their connection to the Others? And the Numbers show up again, in the title and elsewhere, but we’re used to that by now, right?

The Episode: Exciting, though patchy. The middle of the episode, showing Ana Lucia’s growing paranoia about an Other infiltrator in their ranks, comes across as a little overdone. Perhaps that’s because the twist – that Ana Lucia has the wrong guy, and potential-romantic-interest Goodwin is the real Other – is not that surprising. Her imprisonment and ruthless treatment of Nathan (whose evasiveness, provoking Ana Lucia’s paranoia to escalate from suspicion to viciousness, borders on the ridiculous) goes so long that it becomes obvious the only purpose for its lack of economy is that it lays the groundwork for the twist.

It ends at the same point as “Abandoned”, marking this as yet another Season 2 episode which does not move the timeline forward at all. The lack of progress feels less intrusive here than it did in “Adrift”, probably because it’s filling in so many gaps. This is another rare episode in that there is no flashback plotline. Everything happens on the Island. The exception doesn’t stand out so much because the episode is itself a recap of much of what we already learned in the previous six episodes.

“The Other 48 Days” feels more like a supporting act than a lead performance in its own right. The agenda of the Others continues to intrigue, especially given the differences in modus operandi between the camps, but this episode is otherwise straight-up gap filler. It has cool moments and strong characters. Those aren’t enough to make it stand out. Seven out of ten (or, for Clam – this is the clavicle that more interesting body parts hang off).


  1. I completely empathise with the tagteaming and toilettraining. Abi finally got somewhere with the toileting, but is maddeningly cruel to her little sister just to get attention mostly. Tamieka on her part is refusing to go to sleep at a reasonable hour and I invariably feel like a walking Zombie (or at least what I imagine a walking zombie would feel like)

    Comment by Marco Parigi — November 8, 2011 @ 2:54 pm

  2. It’s getting better, thankfully. The Wombat’s problem was mainly around being sick, so as that has passed she’s settled back into her regular routine (at least, she has so far tonight). Looking on the bright side of the Joey’s toilet shenanigans, he hasn’t had any real accidents in the couple of weeks since we just stopped putting him in nappies. His big problem is that the lack of sleep cause by his little sister’s restlessness puts a real drain on our reserves of tolerance for acting up. He ends up getting in trouble mainly because of bad timing – when he’s coming up and down the stairs every few minutes on toilet visits, it’s the end of the day and we’re all exhausted.

    I know the zombie feeling all too well. Am stqarting to get it now, as a matter of fact, so I think I’d better crash before one of the wee bairns gets it into their heads to wake up and complain or ask for a drink of water.

    Comment by lexifab — November 8, 2011 @ 11:35 pm

  3. Tamieka was sick, and we had 5 days of practically no sleeping on her part, then as she got better she slept for 6 to 8 hours during the day, and 10 hours at night, for a couple of days. Now that she is completely better we are back to her normal routine of sleeping for about 3 hours during the day, and 6 hours at night, staying up until midnight. She’s planning to be one of those super rich tycoons when she grows up, who don’t need more than a couple of hours sleep, and keep her parents in the manner to which they would like to become accustomed. That is if we survive that long.

    Comment by Kylie Parigi — November 9, 2011 @ 1:55 pm

  4. Watch out. She may decide to become Batman (before or after the super rich tycoon phase of her development).

    Comment by lexifab — November 11, 2011 @ 7:03 pm

  5. “The Other 48 Days” is my favorite “LOST” episode of all time. My only complaint is that I wish the producers had allowed the Tailies’ story to be spread out in more than one episode. Quite frankly, I found their story a lot more interesting than the Season 1 characters.

    Comment by Rosie — November 17, 2011 @ 10:49 am

  6. Hi Rosie, thanks for dropping by!

    I’m inclined to agree with you in part. One of my big complaints, that I will get into more as Season 2 progresses, is that the Tailies are woefully underdone. The worst example is Libby, of course, but even Eko and Ana Lucia could have stood more exploration. I definitely think the producers could have shaved back a couple of episodes (Jack and Kate’s backstories, for example, were already beginning to wear out their welcome by the start of season 2) to give Libby and Eko, in particular, more room to breathe.

    Comment by lexifab — November 17, 2011 @ 11:48 am

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