Following Desmond's last two centric episodes, both of which are favourites of mine, the earliest of which, "Live Together, Die Alone", Season 2's finale, is currently at time of writing this review my favourite episode of the series, the anticipation of "Catch 22" was well-deserved. So too was the payoff that this episode should have rewarded us. However, this episode is a slight disappointment. On one hand it provides us with an old fashioned adventure, something that prior to perhaps the Enter 77 arc, was sadly absent from the series. The adventure had been something that had been missing from the first half of the season when we were stuck in the cages of the Hydra Island. But once Kate decides to embark on her "Rescue Jack" mission [perhaps the best thing that Kate has done for the series so far] the adventure we all loved from the first seson returned.
And even though there have been more stalls in between the sense of adventure has returned. In "Catch 22" the adventure feels like it was inspired by Season 1's "Numbers" and so it is rather ironic that "Rousseau's spiky death traps" and the Cable, two things that were memorable parts of that episode return here. Unfortunately, the same excitement that "Numbers" generated from that Jungle quest isn't mirrored here and this brings up the other hand of "Catch 22", which is that despite the promise of adventure the episode doesn't feel adventurous enough. Much of the first half of the episode is spent amongst the survivors arguing over Desmond's visions and his attempts to form the camping party. All this provides some comic moments but is also largely uneccesary and only stalls the adventure to come. When they do start their trek all that seems to happen for a while is whistling, ghost stories told round the camp fire and more arguments over the visions Desmond has. It is not until Charlie's near death that things start to get interesting.
Elsewhere on the island thelove triangle or quadrangle now, is given some quality time, which drags the episode even more.
The potential for the episode, as promised with the shocking teaser, doesn't reveal itself until the very end when Desmond sees the fallen Parachutist in the tree. This moment when the identity of the parachutist is revealed is perfectly mixed with the flashback in which Desmond meets Penny. The emotion and anticipation of that final moment builds well and Henry Ian Cusick's performance in this moment is great to behold. You're left wondering who the hell the parachutist is when it is revealed not to be Penny. If it wasn't for this final moment, the mini-adventure, and Charlie's near-death experience then this episode would have fared less for me. It was particularly nice to see the Cable again. The last time we saw it was Season 1 and since then some fans were wondering what the heck is was for and if it was connected to an underwater station. Mikhail mentioned an underwater beacon and that cables run down to it in "Enter 77" and "Par Avion". Despite not giving us any information on the cable and its purpose, in light of the exposition that had gone before, fans convinced in themselves that an underwater DHARMA station existed and that they would one day see it. Their prayers were duly answered by the end of the season.
For all those fans that didn't lie awake at night thinking about Cables, the rest had forgotten about it. Despite Hurley and Sayid respectively discovering the cable only 2 months ago island time, it feels like an eternity for the viewers, even without the live first broadcasts.
The writers keep risking showing us something and then not raising it back up until several seasons later. We don't even know what Adam and Eve are yet and they were discovered before even the Cable.
However, returning to the cable in this episode, onlyt helps to allay fears that the writers don't know what they are doing. Even if they don't know what they are doing at least they don't forget things that have introduced seasons ago and this is a good sign.
Lost gets sexed up again in this episode as a seductive Kate visits Sawyer's tent for some sex. All this lovey-dovey stuff is not necessary to the Lost plotline but it does help keep Lost an all-rounder. Lest we forget that the series isnot just a sci-fi series and not just about an island. One thing that did peturbe me was the fact that there wasn't that much tension with Juliet this episode. Sawyer was all over Juliet with threats in "One of Us" but in this episode he remains at bay and any suspicions with Jack are held off too. Why would Sawyer be so reticent with Jack, enough to play Table Tennis with him or joke to him in front of Juliet. Luckily suspicions are raised again soon but this seems a little inconsistent, reminding me of when Claire was abducted and the next thing that Jack and Kate did was argue over a case.
Lost does not want to repeat this literary technique too often. Lost is a series which relies on its momentum and you feel that it is building at this stage of the series. And it would only get better.....