In my previous review I said that I was glad that the premiere episode didn't start already introducing the new characters. I liked that, there was a nice bridge between season 3 finale and season 4's storyline.
Many people, however, would disagree with me and say that "The Beginning of the End" was slow, and that this episode should've been the premiere.
Sure, I can see why: "Confirmed Dead" is much faster paced, and has much much more "meat" in it. Lots of things to theorize about.
Most importantly, four new characters are introduced - four people from the freighter. Daniel Faraday, Miles Straume, Frank Lapidus and Charlotte Lewis.
Each of them have a flashback, of the time the plane crashed. Now my first issue is... why? What is the point? 2 out of the 4 flashbacks were utter disastrous.
Dan has a flashback of him crying infront of the tv screen. Ok. That's it.
Miles has a flashback of ghostbusting. Sure, that's an interesting piece of information, but could it have been any more corny? The two other flashbacks are better, though.
We learn that Frank was supposed to be the pilot of 815 originally. Now this was a good scene but it suffered from weak writing. There's no way on earth that TV would show the rotten body of a man in a crashed plane.
Charlotte's was the best - as she finds a polar bear skull with a Dharma collar in the middle of the desert.
My problem is that the flashbacks didn't serve their purpose. Not only there was no character development, but in Dan's case, we really didn't learn a thing about him. What he does, what's his life like, et cetera.
The last flashback featured Naomi and Matthew Abbaddon from the previous episode, who, really isn't a lawyer. He was the one to brief Naomi about the mission. Loved that scene, very dark and interesting.
The on island story was quite decent. Lots of interesting twists and turns, though it wasn't quite perfect.
For starters, Locke's group acting like the others when spotting Charlotte = win. Kate flirting with Dan to confuse him... epic win. Actually, I really enjoyed Dan's character. He seems to be that crazed sctientist type, which was definitely missing from the show.
Ben continues with the funnies but at the end of the episode he delivers the scene of the hour.
He reveals that he knows everything about Dan, Miles, Frank and Charlotte. Why?
"Because I have a man on their boat."
Ben, oh Ben... you bastard. You just seem to have a plan for everything!
Loved the reveal that the freighties came for Ben - to capture him. This raises lots of theories, but most importantly, once again confirms that Ben is very... important. In fact, he might just be more important and significant than what we may think at this point.
There were some other nice moments too. Locke trying to find Jacob's cabin but fails - basically, confirmation of that it really did move.
However, the writing wasn't really up to the standards of Lost. I like the new characters, but their intro was a mixed bag with the mostly pointless flashbacks. Also, some of the dialouges were extremely off. Why would Locke call the black smoke "monster"? In the previous season he said that the beach folks are calling it the monster, and that he doesn't believe it monsters.
Now, I guess it's time to rate the episode. I give it a 9.2, which is a high score and you would probably question why, after criticizing the episode so much. Well, the reason is simple. There were many, many moments that can only be found in the best episodes of the show. The beginning with ROV's finding the plane, the jump scene, Dan's and Miles' interaction with the survivors, Charlotte's huge Dharma reveal, Abbaddon's appearance in the flashback, Ben shooting Charlotte, Ben's spy... These moments were so exciting that they really made me forget inconsistency. So, exciting episode overall.