'Lost': Gonna miss you, Eko

Adewaleakinnuoyeagbaje_lost_240_002I'm of two very separate minds about Lost this week. On the one hand, best episode of the season to date, with an illuminating flashback, some heavy island juju and a nice mix of the campers and the Others.

On the other, though, Eko is dead. And because of that dramatic choice, the show has lost one of its most compelling characters and best actors, which just flat-out sucks. Sucks hard, and loud, and long.

Feel free to mourn in the comments section. But I'd like to believe Eko would want us to focus on just how good the episode surrounding his death was, so let's do that, starting with the man himself.

After the opening shot of Eko and Yemi as boys, Eko's flashback picks up almost right where the one in "The 23rd Psalm" left off (has the show ever done that before? I can't think of any other incidents). We see the uneasy mix between Eko's sense of duty to his brother and his darker nature, as well as the reason for his seemingly quixotic construction project on the island ("You owe him one church"). In the present day his final "confession" was instead a defiant statement about a life lived to the best of his ability. Adewale Akinnouye-Agbaje sold both Eko's delirium and his conviction tremendously; I'm really going to miss his consistently strong performance.

That said, I have to wonder: Are we to take his beating at the hand (literally) of Smoky as the island's punishment for his lack of penitence? Or was Eko, knowing his time was short, choosing his own manner of dying?

Onto the living now: Once again, we have a lot to chew on, thanks chiefly to Ben and Juliet. I have to say I share the opinion of some of my fellow Lostafarians in wondering why, if all Ben really wanted was to have Jack remove his tumor, he didn't just ask. Although, if we choose to believe Juliet's Bob Dylan homage, there's probably more to it than that.

And that's a thorny problem in its own right. In enlisting Jack, via silent video message, to take Ben out, is she merely playing the good doctor as a pawn in her own power grab? Her kind eyes aside, I wouldn't trust the woman as far as I could throw her.

(By the way, here's the full message: "Ignore everything I'm saying. Ben is a liar. And he's very dangerous. Some of us want a change. But it has to look like an accident. It has to look like we tried to save him. And that's up to you, Jack. It's a complicated surgery, no one would ever know. And I would protect you. Now tell me to turn off the movie.")

Earlier, Ben had told Jack that "I want you to want to save my life." To me, Juliet's engaging in the same kind of manipulation: Surely Ben's X-rays weren't there by accident in the last episode, and she needs Jack's help to put whatever her plan is into motion.

A few random thoughts before I turn it over to you:

  • Who's the dude with the eye patch, and what hatch was he in?
  • What is it with the area around the Pearl? Boone died there. Charlie got back on the horse thanks to the heroin stash in the plane. Locke lost his faith after seeing the Pearl video. And now Eko. Is that spot the island's proverbial ancient burial ground?
  • Still not sure what the purpose of Kiele Sanchez's and Rodrigo Santoro's characters are, although I did like that she thought to ask the obvious question of, "Hey, what are all these other TVs for?" I guess, though, that I'm willing to wait until after the hiatus to really delve into their lives.

OK, folks, your turn: How are you grieving over Eko? Why was the monster stalking him? And are you steeling yourselves for three months without Lost after next week's episode?