By Ken Tucker
Updated May 12, 2010 at 05:46 PM EDT

There have been a lot of excellent episodes of Lost during this final season. Last night’s wasn’t one of them. The stilted speeches that the show deemed necessary to convey the gravity of the episode’s situations could not be rescued by the actors. The special effects looked quaintly cheesy. I just wasn’t buying it.

Don’t worry. Jeff Jensen is breaking down the episode with a complete analysis in all his infinite wisdom. I am popping in here with one of my non-mythology brief reviews.

Last night’s episode, “Across the Sea,” with Jacob and the Man in Black as lovin’-and-fightin’ brothers, reminded me of a Sunday-school play about Bad and Good, with Honor Thy (Step-)Mother as a bonus lesson.

Lost has a lot of explaining to do in its final hours. But last night, the info was unloaded in a form that was less an origin story of Jacob and MIB than a dark-and-light fantasy fable. The dialogue was so stiff, I expected to see that the actors’ tongues had turned into slivers of balsa wood.

Frankly, I’ve long had a bit of a problem with Mark Pellegrino’s performance as Jacob. Whether because of the way he’s been directed or by his natural inclination, Pellegrino has rendered Jacob as more of a pious simp than a sturdy conveyor of Lost wisdom.

But last night, even the usually terrific Titus Welliver and guest star Allison Janney could not sell the long speeches they had to deliver about secrecy, trust, hidden glowing sources of power, and fully revealed displays of evil. (I half-expected Martin Sheen’s President Bartlet to come staggering out of a cave to yell, “We’ll fight the good fight, C.J. — just comb your hair and get me back to D.C.!”)

The hour was written by Lost main men Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindelof — it’s not as though the producers decided to hand off an episode to a talented amateur to see what he or she could do — so you know the drama we got was exactly what the series intended. It’s just that, at this point in its proceedings, Lost must do more than talk about its themes (and boy, was this hour talky). It has to dramatize those themes in vivid, concise ways. This was the hour’s failure.

The hour ended with the perfect music: the Doors’ “The End,” one of the most portentous, bloated famous rock songs ever. It suited the episode, I’m sorry to say.

But maybe this was just an off week; certainly Lost has more than earned the trust that this was a momentary false step on the path to a glorious conclusion.

Agree? Disagree?

Follow: @kentucker

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