tek's rating: ½

The Lost Room, on Sci Fi
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Caution: spoilers.

Detective Joe Miller (Peter Krause) comes into possession of a key that leads to a motel room that doesn't exist. It can also be used on any door to gain access to any other door in the world (that has the right type of lock), as long as you can picture the door you want. Otherwise the door it takes you to will be random. Anyway, the key is an Object. There are said to be at least 100 Objects throughout the world, all of which were in the motel room when something happened on May 4, 1961. At that point, the Room and all its contents were erased from reality, as if they never existed (though because the Room is accessible with the Key, the Objects can be brought out into the real world). No one knows what the Event was that caused this, but it made all the Objects indestructible, and gave each a power, with varying degrees of usefulness. (And most of the other Objects' powers don't seem to correspond quite as well to their original purposes as does the Key's.) Oh, it is also important to note that Objects' powers don't work in the Room. Except, of course, the Key's.

Also, each time you leave the Room and close the door, it gets reset, so anything that didn't belong in the room that was left there disappears, and any Objects left anywhere in the Room will return to their location at the time of the Event. Anyway, ever since the Event, there have been various cabals as well as individuals who seek the Objects, though in large part this is because the Objects inherently attract each other. But different people and groups have different theories about the Objects, and different motives for collecting them. Few if any such people, however, are to be trusted. One man who wanted the Key was Howard Montague, aka "The Weasel." He kidnapped Joe's 8-year-old daughter Anna (Elle Fanning), to trade for the Key. It's during a fight between Joe and the Weasel that Anna accidentally gets lost in the Room when it resets, and this sets up the premise for the rest of the miniseries: Joe's efforts to try to get his daughter back.

Complicating matters is the fact that Joe was in the middle of a custody battle with his ex-wife (who we never see). So when Anna goes missing, Joe is suspected of kidnapping, or worse. Meanwhile, the only person he can trust, and the only one he told about the Key (who didn't already know about it) was his partner, Detective Lou Destefano, who tries to help him. But a forensic scientist they work with, Dr. Martin Ruber, also learns of the Key, and other Objects, and becomes obsessed with them. Particularly, with getting to the Room. (I was never clear on what initially motivated him so fiercely, and that bugs me.) And so, he does whatever he has to to join a cabal called the Order of the Reunification, which wishes to collect all the Objects in order to communicate with God. One of the leaders of the Order is Roberta Milne, though she gets in a bit of trouble when Ruber steals a couple of the Objects they possess, to help Joe....

But I'm getting ahead of myself. At one point, Ruber murders Lou, but Joe is blamed for it. So, he's on the lam. Which makes having the Key pretty convenient. He'll be tracked by another friend and former coworker of his, Detective Lee Bridgewater. But he still has to keep looking for a way to bring his daughter back, so he forges various alliances, though as I say, no one is entirely trustworthy. The one he gets closest to, however, is Jennifer Bloom (Julianna Margulies), a member of a cabal called "The Legion." There's also a former member of the Legion, Karl Kreutzfeld (Kevin Pollack), who's now a wealthy independent collector of Objects. He also wants the Key, of course, but teams up with Joe so they can help each other. Kreutzfeld is more interested in obtaining the Glass Eye, which has the power to destroy or repair all flesh. He claims to want to use it to cure his son's leukemia, which makes Joe more willing to trust him. But Jennifer certainly doesn't trust him, and warns Joe about him.

Of course, Joe will do whatever it takes to get his daughter back, and that means working with anyone he needs at any given time, including Ruber, or the Weasel, or anyone. There's a guy named Wally Jabrowski who has a Bus Ticket that will send anyone instantly to a spot outside of Gallup, New Mexico if they touch it. He seems, after a rocky start, to be the most trustworthy person Joe encounters, and off and on provides a lot of help, as well as information. Then there's a guy named Harold Stritzke, who has a Comb that stops time for like 10 seconds. He inherited it from his aunt, who was once a member, if I followed correctly, of the original cabal, the Collectors. Again, rocky start, but becomes helpful. Even provides some Polaroids that will help Joe on his quest. And there are a couple of people who track Objects but don't get involved with them personally. The Sood can provide information about their history and such, while Suzie Kang (Margaret Cho) sells the locations of various Objects to people who are looking for them (though apparently she won't deal with cabals like the Legion or the Order).

Eventually, Joe also learns of another Object, the Occupant. He's the man who was in the motel room when the Event happened. Joe will find him, and learn a bit from him, but not everything. The guy was in a sanitarium, and... he clearly hasn't aged since 1961. Like all Objects, he's indestructible. He can't die, and he really wants to. And he'll tell Joe how to get Anna back, but it's something Joe really doesn't want to do. Not only does he perceive the action as highly unethical, it's also very risky in certain ways, and even if those risks don't manifest... Joe will still be changed, and there will no doubt be lasting consequences, his life changed forever. But is he willing to do it to get his daughter back, the purpose of this whole miniseries? Eh?

I won't say. But I will say that the story ends soon after that point, and Joe's quest is resolved one way or the other. But there are plenty of questions left unanswered, plenty of avenues left to explore. Roberta Milne was passed over for promotion within the Order, in favor of some other guy whose name I didn't catch. But she goes after Ruber to retrieve the stolen Objects, and to kill him. However, when he reveals to her a vision he says he received from the Occupant, and now claims to be a Prophet, she changes her mind, and helps him escape. On the way out, he confesses to Bridgewater that he killed Lou Destefano, and talks a bit about the Objects and the Room. And I'm sure she believes him, so no doubt she now has more questions she wants answered. And something happened to Kreutzfeld, though it's unclear if he might be seen again. And both the Order and the Legion are still out there, as well as any number of independent collectors. And we've still never learned what the Event was. Oh, so many questions, so many possibilities...

Anyway. I think a lot of stuff was predictable. A lot didn't make much sense. And a lot was just entirely too convenient. But even so, the world that was established by the miniseries is a fascinating one, and it was very entertaining to watch, so I wouldn't mind seeing the story continued. I heard that it could turn into a regular series, which I suppose I'd check out if it happened, though I'd kind of prefer to just see a sequel. And if the story just ends here, well it'll be a bit frustrating, but acceptable. I guess. It was fun while it lasted....

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