Yes, I finally got my computer back and was able to see this. Haven't caught this week's TAR yet, but I was a weak person and got someone to tell me what happened, so I may never get around to watching that one. Lost, though... I may have a little difficulty staying away from spoilers in the form of promo pics, but otherwise, if you try to tell me anything about future episodes of the show, I will plug my ears and yell "LA LA LA LA LA" at you until you go away. Nothing comes between me and my visceral, unsullied Lost experience.
And now, my comments and observations on "Special", in random order:
Harold Perrineau is a really terrific actor. I just ached for Michael in this episode. As usual when you get these backstories, a lot of little details suddenly make sense and I find myself much more compelled by and sympathetic to his character than ever before. Especially when he took the entire blame on himself for coming to collect Walt, rather than tell the truth and give Walt cause to feel he'd lost both of the only parents he'd ever known -- that got me right. here. *thumps chest*
Baby!Walt was the cutest. baby. ever. And I am normally unmoved by babies in diaper ads and such, but aw!
We have a lot of artists on this show, don't we? Con artists (Kate, Sawyer, Shannon), musical artists (Charlie), and of course the classic, starving kind, as represented by Walt and Claire's ex-boyfriend.
The scene where Charlie tries to resist Claire's diary was cute, but predictable -- or maybe, as yahtzee63 suggested, it just went on a couple beats too long. Dom does a good job of the character and I do like him, but I'm not as compelled by Charlie as I feel I ought to be. He's sweet, like Claire said. That's about it. I'm not hungering for another Charliecentric episode or anything.
Hurley, as always: hilarious. When does this guy get his own episode? Is his backstory that irrelevant/boring, or is it actually so explosively relevant that they're saving it for sweeps?
More Sun, please. Sun is always good. Unless they're going to cook up an adultery plotline between her and Michael, which I really hope not. Mind you, I suspect that Jin is not long for this world island, which would be sad because Hurley + Jin = comedy gold, but on the other hand, makes sense in terms of freeing Sun to take a larger role in the plot.
Okay, there is a difference between Sawyer being his usual snotty, bratty self and just being mean for no good reason at all. I mean, nicknames and things said in the heat of the moment are one thing, but that snipe at Charlie was pretty cheap. On the other hand, it did give us that delightful comment, "You hit like a ponce." Now that was a great Charlie moment. I need a "hits like a ponce" Sawyer icon now.
More with the Sawyer thoughts, I've figured out why I like him. It's not just because his snark is sometimes funny, it's because he's so completely uncool. People over on TWoP have been comparing him to Sark, but frankly, the two characters couldn't be more different in this respect. Sark is the essence of cool (and this may be why I've never quite warmed to him). He always lands on his feet, and he doesn't break or bend easily. If he screws up, he's always very good at covering it and making it look like somebody else's fault. Sawyer, on the other hand, tries very hard to be cool, but it's all bluster -- he's just a mouth on legs. And the thing is, he knows deep down that he's not cool, and everybody around him knows he isn't cool, and he makes a fool out of himself so beautifully (like wearing those girly sunglasses, or trying to open Kate's suitcase by dropping it out of the tree) and other, even more obviously uncool people like Hurley get to mock him for it, and you're never quite sure whether he's really seething with resentment over his own failures or whether there's a rueful, yeah-I-know-I'm-a-dork quality to his smile. I have to say I like that about him, in spite of all his other and less easily borne faults, both as a person and as a character (i.e. I don't really buy into the guilty-conscience-leads-me-to-self-isolation-and-self-punishment thing, it just seems too contrived. I am no more moved by Sawyer's angst in that respect than I am by Kate's).
The best part, at least for my personal amusement: Boone has "sidekick" permanently branded into his forehead. He and Locke are totally like Batman and Robin, if Batman had a serenely sunny disposition and Robin needed to lighten up. Also, I never really paid attention to Ian Somerhalder before in any respect, but I have to say, the scruffier and grottier and grimier he gets, the better he looks. I always thought he was too pretty before: now, not so much. And I liked the way he blew Shannon off -- not too casually, still not quite able to look her in the eye, but definitely sending the message that she can't control him any more.
As others have remarked, the CGI on the polar bear was hilariously bad.
Did anybody pay attention to the other things in Walt's comic book? I remember catching a glimpse of an evil-looking purple alien strapped (?) to a chair and hooked up like a medical experiment (?); a city in a transparent bubble; and of course the polar bear. All these things clearly Mean Something. I think other people have suggested the VR scenario before, where the castaways are actually not on a desert island at all but are the victims of some experiment forcing them all to share the same dream/nightmare in an artificial environment: this would explain a lot of otherwise odd features on the island, and the fact that people like Walt and Locke appear to be able to influence reality with their minds. On the other hand, this idea is a bit too much like The Matrix for my personal comfort, and I have to hope there is some better twist on the whole thing.
All in all, a very fine episode. And whoa! I did not see that ending coming. What now?