Lost in Retrospect: Collision

The Ana Lucia episode. It’s even weaker than I remember.

For a quick refresh on this episode, I suggest you check out Lostpedia’s excellent Wiki page.

Ugh… I wish I could say the stable centre of this episode was the brilliant performance of Naveen Andrews as he brings Sayid’s grief to life in a visceral and real sense — because he really does — but I can’t say that because the centre of the episode is Michelle Rodriguez as Ana Lucia, and as was the case with the previous episode, she’s not a strong centre for any story.

It felt that even with everything we know about Ana Lucia, about how she lashes out to cover her fear, didn’t quite cover this over the top scenario of her holding Sayid, Michael, Jin and even the Tailies hostage. And I just don’t think the actress pulled off the performance, didn’t adequately communicate the emotions of her character. Those miraciouly scenes where she was sitting and holding the gun, waiting for something to happen, it looked too much like Rodriguez was gritting her teeth and concentrating hard, saying ‘upset and guilt, upset and guilty, upset and guilty’ over and over again to herself and hoping that she’d be able to act out those emotions.

It didn’t help that in their final scenes, Andrews was acting rings around her. He was the best thing about this episode and it was great to watch Sayid run through this gauntlet of emotion as he reacts to the death of the woman he loves, from a white-hot fury to a slow burning one, and finally that acceptance at the end that they’ve all got the same troubles stemming from the same source. The flashbacks didn’t really do much to soften my opinion of Ana Lucia, though the final reveal that she’d lost her child did a lot more to explain the flat-out cynical and aggressive attitude of the character. It was just more scenes of Rodriguez getting outacted as she tried to slot herself into an episode of The Shield for twenty minutes and didn’t pull it off.

There were a lot of great little moments scattered throughout the episode. We see a number of indicators that the Hatch is starting to weave its psychological magic on Jack, from his pale, gaunt appearance (Rose even comments on it) to the increased paranoia and aggression, demonstrated when he gets worked into a frenzy during his interrogation of Eko and his snap reaction to go after Ana Lucia with guns. And I’m everyone was a bit misty-eyed at the reunions on the beach — I’m not sure who was more heartwarming, Rose and Bernard or Sun and Jin. Of course, they’re all very deliberately contrasted with the reunion of Jack and Ana Lucia, who stand at opposite sides of a very wide shot and mull over what a frakked-up relationship the Losties and the Tailies are gonna have with one another now.

Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold. An episode packed with brilliant moments just wasn’t brilliant because its core — Ana Lucia — was very weak. When I started writing the season 2 posts, I absolutely did not want to just rag on Michelle Rodriguez for twenty-something posts, but it seems I’m doing so anyway because she’s just not bringing the kind of A-game we’re expecting after a season with our regulars. It’s the downside of an absolutely brilliant cast: anyone coming in who isn’t just as brilliant looks piss-poor by comparison. So, ultimately, I think this is one of the more skippable episodes of the season.

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