It's strange that with the DVD release, key episodes being rebroadcast, and at least two recap episodes this summer before the premiere, that this episode did little more than recapitulate events that happened last season.
Barely any of the mythological plot was advanced. Though, after reminders about Hurley's numbers and Shannon's worthlessness to both the island and the show, and the luminescent property of the hatch, we get a slow... not a build, because the dramatic tension remained fairly even (since it was preoccupied with summary)... Well, the emotional payoff of the episode came from the flashbacks, when we see Sarah come out of the surgery with feeling in her legs...! Oh my god, information we had last season! Riveting drama!
To be more forthright, the dramatic tension of the episode barely rose above the ground. Each act limped into the commercial break having ended with some character, probably Jack, looking constipated because of the dialogue that amounted to no more than the spoiled leftovers from the end of last season. And the final cliffhanger, the pillar on which the series made its reputation as a must-see show, was entirely shallow since it ended on an action note, not an emotional. Another great practitioner of cliffhangers, comics writer Brian K. Vaughan, explains that "the cheapest cliffhanger is pointing a gun at a characterÂs head." Which was exactly how the episode ended.
Besides cliffhangers, the cherry on top of the sundae of a season 1 was the levity interspersed in the creepiness. Again, this episode was humorless. Hurley, usually amusing, was stuck being the straight man. And the go-to guy for guffaws and one-liners, Sawyer, was completely absent.
One last admission: I didn't come in very high expectations (the drama of this night was spent on learning that JAMILE WAS NOT VOTED OFF SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE! HE'S GOING TO WIN!), so I'm not stung with disappointment. I'm just upset that I was left so bored for a television hour.
Indie rating: Mono - Karelia (Opus 2)