Lost: Season 4 - Ji Yeon (Review)
Review by Jack Foley
INDIELONDON singles out notable episodes from our favourite television series for stand-alone reviews. On this occasion we take a look at the latest episode of Lost: Season 4 entitled Ji Yeon.
What’s the story? Juliet (Elizabeth Mitchell) is forced to reveal some startling news to Jin (Daniel Dae Kim) when Sun (Yunjin Kim) threatens to move to Locke’s camp. Meanwhile, Sayid (Naveen Andrews) and Desmond (Henry Ian Cusick) begin to get an idea of the freighter’s crew when they meet the ship’s captain.
Why so good? Lost‘s ability to mix intrigue and thrills with heartfelt emotion has seldom been so pronounced as in the episode Yi Jeon, the latest instalment of the series. But while certainly involving and consistently gripping, the producers could be accused of pulling a pretty mean trick in its use of the flashback/flash forward device.
That said, there was plenty to mull over once the credits flashed up, not least the revelations from the captain of the freighter that Sayid and Desmond now find themselves on (played by newcomer Grant Bowler) and the return of a long-lost character… (please note, the rest of this article does contain SPOILERS if you haven’t been keeping up).
Digging a little deeper: Firstly, let’s consider the main thrust of this week’s story: the ongoing relationship between Japanese couple Jin and Sun and the impending threat to Sun’s unborn child.
The episode began with Sun deciding that she wanted to flee the beach and head to Locke’s camp, having lost faith in both the island’s rescue party and Juliet. Jin agreed to go with her. But then Juliet – in a desperate bid to protect Sun’s pregnancy – revealed to Jin that Sun had previously had an affair before arriving on the island, prompting Jin to storm off for some soul-searching and allowing Sun the time to properly weigh up her options with Juliet’s guidance.
Underpinning this story were flash forwards to Sun’s birth – a difficult experience, to say the least – in a [supposedly] Japanese hospital off the island? and comical scenes of Jin running about the city attempting to buy a giant panda for his newborn child. So far, so easy to follow… or so we thought…
Come the end of the episode, however, viewers were left with an emotionally devastating realisation. Back on the island, Jin eventually forgave Sun after realising that her affair had been prompted by his own lack of affection. He then promised to protect her and their child forever.
Jumping back to the future, Jin finally arrived at the hospital, only to ask to see the ambassador’s child, before presenting her with the panda. When it was suggested that he may one day become a father by a hospital clerk, he smiled and said “maybe one day”, only to reveal that he’d only been married for two months.
No sooner had that revelation hit, then viewers were presented with a scene involving Sun in a black dress, being greeted by Hurley (Jorge Garcia) and then being escorted to a graveyard (baby in tow) to pay a visit to Jin’s burial site. And so the extent of the producer’s trickery became clear.
It was a nice trick (mixing flashback footage with flash forwards) but it was also cruel. And amidst the inevitable tears, you couldn’t help but feel a little bit cheated.
Lost‘s writers and producers would, no doubt, insist that it’s yet another way of keeping viewers on their toes, so that they never quite know whether we’re glimpsing into the future, or the past. But with these two tragic characters, in particular, it provided a particularly devastating blow.
Elsewhere, and just as crucially, Sayid and Desmond were charged with propelling the main mystery surrounding the series a little further forward. And there were some pretty mind-bending revelations – not least the re-appearance of Michael Dawson (Harold Perrineau) as a cleaner on the freighter.
Michael only appeared fleetingly but his presence suggests that he could be the spy that Ben Linus (Michael Emerson) has on board the vessel – and he’s now masquerading as Kevin Johnson. More is sure to follow on that one…
Prior to that, however, the ship’s captain, Gault, revealed a couple more neat twists, including a black box flight recorder recovered from the underwater wreckage of Oceanic Flight 815.
Why, he asked, would someone go to the trouble of staging an elaborate crash site under the sea, complete with over 400 bodies? Why had so many of his crew began to suffer severe forms of cabin fever while in close proximity to the island? And why was the rescue freighter in question financed by Charles Widmore (Alan Dale), the father of Desmond’s love interest, Penny?
Once again, the show cleverly revealed a little, but posed questions surrounding a lot more, hinting at a wider conspiracy surrounding the island. And just why do all roads seemingly lead back to Ben Linus?
Interesting questions, indeed, and further proof of why this fourth season of Lost has enabled the show to underline its status as one of the very best shows on television at the moment.
What do you think? Any theories?
- Buy Lost: Season 3 (HMV)
- Buy Lost: Season 3 (Amazon)
- Lost: Season 4 - The Constant reviewed
- Lost: Season 4 - The Beginning Of The End reviewed
- Lost: Season 3 - Review