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Lost: Miles Straume

January 7, 2009

(Indulge me. As we near the Season 5 premiere of Lost, I’m going to run through the current crop of main characters. There are spoilers.)

This guy is great! He’s a little asshole, a smart-mouthed clairvoyant who seems to be able to listen to the voices of the dead. Strangely, he has trouble relating to the living; he’s arrogant, obnoxious, rude and pushy. I think he’s great.

Miles joined Lost last season as one of four newcomers to the island, people recruited by Charles Widmore for his mysterious mission. We first found him tangled in his parachute, lying on those rocks where Desmond killed Clancy Brown in Season 2. He got off to a rough start with Jack and Kate, pulling a gun on them, which led to one of the best scenes of that episode: “Right now, our friends are in the jungle with guns pointing right at you.”

Ken Leung was drafted for Lost after Carleton Cuse and Damon Lindelof saw him on The Sopranos. The role of Miles was created for him; had he refused, the character would not exist. And he went from recurring character to series regular in this month’s Season 5. I’m looking forward to it.

Highlights:

  • Being traded to Locke for Charlotte. This is also one of Sayid’s finer moments.
  • Trying to extort Ben, and offering up that cryptic line: “I know who you really are, and what you can do.”
  • Having a live grenade stuffed into his mouth, by John Locke, to warn him against talking to Ben.
  • Finding the dead kid’s drug stash and cash (in his flashback scene), pocketing the cash and offering the grandmother a small refund for his ghostbusting services.
  • Rose chastising him about the peanuts. I love Rose.
  • His name sounds like “maelstrom,” which is intentional.

Problems:

  • As weird as Lost is, I’m still uncomfortable with the idea that a real psychic ghostbuster is walking around. Until now, psychic powers (like Walt’s) were only alluded to, not shown so blatantly.
  • No explanation is given as to why Miles is suddenly Sawyer’s jungle hiking buddy, although the interplay between the two is pretty fun to watch.
  • Why did he stay on the island, facing certain death even after Keamy’s strike force hit the Orchid? We get a sense of why Charlotte wants to stay, but Miles really had no reason not to head back to the freighter.
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